Search engine re-optimization

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I like this idea. We can fight fire with fire by helping to point comment-spam favorite phrases like online poker to innocuous pages (in this case the entry at wikipedia) rather than to the v!agra-ific spammy pages the comment spammers are trying to raise the pagerank of through polluting our blogs.
Semi-related: I understand why Jonas Luster wants to be careful about calling spam spam and not necessarily identifying the search engine optimization (SEO) rigging that photomatt was doing with the WordPress homepage as spam, but I also understand why the word is likely to pivot in meaning to include misleading SEO schemes, since so many of them involve spam (such as comment- and ping-spamming) especially in the blogiverse.
If you don’t know what the first paragraph is about, consider yourself fortunate (or drop by Slashdot for the deets).
If you don’t know what the second paragraph is about, just google “WordPress” and “HotNacho” or visit the Waxy page that broke the story.

Did Hugh skew it?

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Over at Personal Democracy Forum, Micah Sifry reviews Hugh Hewitt’s book Blog (about the political blogosphere) and finds it useful but hopelessly biased toward the right. This shouldn’t be surprising, given Hewitt’s day job as a right-wing talk radio host, but it’s still somewhat disconcerting given the misleadingly neutral-sounding title of the book. It seems that one thing that hasn’t changed about the Web is the way people writing about tend to model Narcissus, gazing into it like a big mirror.

Lazyweb request for help with mySQL (phpwiki problem)

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Over at The Power of Many, the wiki-driven portion of the site is down because of an error of some sort in the “page” table in the mySQL database. I’m kind of stymied now and don’t know whether the error is even fixable, or if I’ll need to revert to a backup.
Please drop me a line if you are experienced with php / mySQL and think you might be able to lend me a hand. Thanks in advance!
Update: Nevermind. Andy Baio pointed me in the right direction. A data table had crashed. I was able to repair it in phpMyAdmin. All is once again right with the world. Thanks, everyone who helped,!

Thinking out loud

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In My Back Pages, billmon explains why he reopened the Whiskey Bar and what motivated his continued approach to blogging:

So what are you supposed to do when high officials in your own government – in power, right now – brag publicly, if anonymously, about committing (or at least enabling) bestial war crimes? What do the Nuremberg Principles have to say about that? And what if said government has just been returned to office in full and reasonably fair elections, by will of the (small d) democratic majority?

I don’t know. I suppose I could have gone down to Virginia and stood outside the entrance to the CIA or the Pentagon with a sign hung on my chest — “Arrest the War Criminals” – until they hauled me away. Or abandoned my job and my family to go join the camp of permanent protestors living across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park – until I, too, could hear the secret radio broadcasts in my teeth.

Or I could have bought myself a gun, tried to identify the fuckers, then hunted them down and shot them in the street like the rabid dogs they are. It’s probably what Hunter would have wanted. But, leaving aside the morality of playing judge, jury and executioner in my own private war crimes proceedings, what good would it have done? They’re replaceable parts. You destroy one and they just run the forklift back into the warehouse and take out another. Meanwhile, you’re on death row.

In the end, I decided the one thing I couldn’t do was remain silent – which as everybody who’s ever watched Perry Mason knows, gives consent. But I also didn’t have much of an interest in writing another manifesto – I mean, war crimes, Nuremberg, Geneva Convention, blah blah blah. Nobody even hears that stuff any more. We learned that after Abu Ghraib. So I simply pulled together some quotes – just the facts, taken from the most authoritative and reliable sources I could find. And I thought, ‘OK, that’s it. You’ve done what you can do. Now you can pull the plug.

(I almost haven’t the heart to tell him that John Perry Barlow wrote the words to “Hell in a Bucket,” not the bard, Robert Hunter.)

From MJ's lips to my pate

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Originally uploaded by minjungkim.

When I arrived at the Gawker party after leaving the Blogger party I told Min Jung I was feeling sort of unkissable, surrounded by so many people spotting her trademark lipsmack. She averred that bearded men are hard to do, so I whipped off my new Blogger-swag cap and leaned forward to give her a nice wide canvas on which to do her magic.

To see MJ’s full set of snaps, check out her SXSW Kisses photoset on Flickr.