Intelligent Design Media

UD under cyber attack? That did probably happen back in 2006, so don’t discount it

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Bio_Symposium_033.jpgFurther to “UD under cyber attack?”:

September 20, 2006: Google says we no longer exist:

www.uncommondescent.com no longer comes up on Google searches, though it still comes up on Technorati searches. No action was taken on this blog to block search engines from indexing our content. This is all very curious.

September 21, 2006 The Google Problem:

The reason we have been excluded from Google’s index is several mirror sites that automatically copy and republish our content have sprung up… [various proposed actions follow but copying our content did not turn out to be the only problem].

November 2, 2006 Censorship by Google?: In the Western world too?

Web guy Micah Sparacio permits me to publicize this problem at the Post-Darwinist, so I thought I would mention it here too, for the benefit of our blog readers and commenters:

On approximately the 19th of September, the blog operated by Bill Dembski and friends, Uncommon Descent, was delisted from the Google search index.

No reason has ever been given for why the site was delisted, despite requests for reinclusion.

This blog has tens of thousands of legitimate links, especially from trusted institutions of higher education.

This blog had been around for well over a year.

This blog has a Google PageRank of 6/10 (meaning it is considered quite important, even by Google)

The blog is run by a nationally recognized scholar and author [Dembski]

Well, over to you, Google monster. I’ve heard that the problem might have been caused by some idle fellow who swatches copy from Uncommon Descent, so that he and his friends can fool around with it. But if that kind of thing has tied up Google, then Google has some glitches to fix.

Meanwhile, I will try to link to Uncommon Descent as much as possible from the Post-Darwinist.

In short, I (O’Leary for News) was offering to simply mirror all the copy at my Google-owned Blogger blog, making it Google’s bandwidth problem. Indeed, I started to do that at one point. But then, …

November 6, 2006: Uncommon Descent is being indexed by Google again:

On September 16th, 2006 uncommondescent.com was mysteriously dropped from indexing by google.com. Deindexing means that any google search would never return a hit to uncommondescent.com. We became blogona non grata at google. We were never given a reason beyond we were in violation of webmaster guidelines. Not knowing how, we tried everything we could think of to fix it, including the new WordPress Theme “Cutline”, a sitemap, and shutting down an unauthorized mirror site (antievolution.org/buud).

We know that google reevaluated us after all this (it’s in the webmaster report) and we were still not reindexed. The next automatic cycle for evaluations was coming up in December but we had nothing new to try so we held out little hope. Then we decided to start blogging about the problem on sites that were still indexed. Denyse led that campaign beginning just last week. Then all of a sudden after just a few days of putting the word out we were just as mysteriously reindexed by google. I suspect what happened is that someone who knew someone had us manually delisted in September. In November someone reading Denyse’s blog who happened to be a stockholder at Google contacted google investor relations and asked them to explain why a major blog with a pagerank of 6/10, a blog with tens of thousands of legitimate links (many from prominent educational institutions), a blog over a year old run by a famous author and professor, was deindexed. Given my experience at another famous company which cared mightily about its stockholders, knowing that investor relations can get to the bottom of things very quickly at such corporations, I’d guess someone finally looked into the matter and quickly did the right thing by reindexing us.

The Web master of the day told us that no way could the problem have just suddenly fixed itself—apart from the (then) robotic indexing reset scheduled for a month or two later—unless human tampering had been involved. In other words, whoever was monkeying with the search algorithms to lower our rankings realized people were onto him and just stopped.

Traffic then spiked.

If anyone is monkeying around with our search ranking again, I recommend that they stop now. It is not a new idea and we are onto the possibility.

What you can do:

Tell friends about UD. We have nearly 12,000 detailed stories now on most aspects of the design controversy, going back to 2005.

Use “Uncommon Descent” as a term in your search. = Uncommon Descent + convergent evolution (and contact us if you get no hits).

Recognize that things like this are bound to happen. And it could get worse because our page views have spiked dramatically despite the rankings problem. Perhaps not everyone likes that trend… 😉

Support Uncommon Descent financially if you can afford to. We may need more expensive technology than we can now afford, to fend off efforts to keep readers from easy access.

For crying out loud, don’t expect the government to make it their problem. Free access to information is an idea that comes from below, not above.

And now, one hopes, back to our regular coverage.

– O’Leary for News

Note: The comments back in 2006 make interesting reading.

13 Replies to “UD under cyber attack? That did probably happen back in 2006, so don’t discount it

  1. 1
    scordova says:

    Thanks for offering some history on this and making the OP a sticky. It’s very important. I hope we find some resolution. Even I don’t remember the incident you posted! I guess at the time our blog was small enough it wasn’t as big an issue. Those were the days when UD only got 35 views per article posted.

  2. 2
    News says:

    Actually, Sal, we probably got more views than that. We didn’t institute a counting system (that I ever saw) until some time later, so a lot of those early posts might be getting views from years later. If anyone knows different, I hope they will tell me. – O’Leary

  3. 3
    Noremacam says:

    Hey here’s some food for thought: Can intelligent design theory be used to determine if the delisting was an act of an intelligent agent or if it was just a neglected glitch? Even though you can’t identify the agent?

  4. 4
    News says:

    Noremacam, interesting question. In the 2006 situation, the Web guy figured it had to be tampering because of how fast the problem got fixed when we started squawking. See, a glitch isn’t going to respond (it must be found, not squawked at) and a robot will only respond on schedule unless someone is manipulating it. I figure, let’s see what happens next.

  5. 5
  6. 6
    frank_the_tank says:

    The above could trigger Google’s spam filters.
    You need to remove this and file for reconsideration:

    Matt Cutts of Google:
    https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/35843?hl=en

  7. 7
    Mapou says:

    Ian Thompson @5,

    Amazing. How did they pull this off?

    The Darwinists and atheists are desperate. The day of weeping and gnashing of teeth must be approaching fast and they can sense it. Our latest humiliation of Nick Matzke must have been too much for them to bear. LOL.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    The Darwinists and atheists are desperate. The day of weeping and gnashing of teeth must be approaching fast and they can sense it. Our latest humiliation of Nick Matzke must have been too much for them to bear. LOL.

    That’s true, they are desperate for credible arguments, but I don’t rule out some random attack. TheSkepticalZone, TalkOrigins and other Darwinists staples have suffered terribly under cyber attacks in the past, so I don’t think we’re being especially singled out.

    That said, it’s a bummer our pummeling of Nick Matzke arguments was not as visible to the whole cyberworld as it could have been.

    I’d like to thank everyone who has contributed to helping us figure out what is going on. I’m not a UD admin, but I expect fixes are coming.

  9. 9
  10. 10
    julianbre says:

    Hi News, you have been hacked.
    http://uncommondescent.com/blo.....sional.php
    Contact your web hosting company and check all the files on the server.

  11. 11
    News says:

    julianbre at 9 yes, the Web master is on it. Not the best time of year for rapid response but thanks to all who pointed out the problems.

  12. 12
    johnp says:

    While you’re at it, do something to make your own website’s search function more useful 🙂

  13. 13
    News says:

    Update: Reload in progress. Takes time because we are approaching 12,000 posts and a proportionate number of comments.

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