TPM Reader Blogs dead forever?

With Al Shaw over at the Cafe giving directions now for how to transfer your blog there to elsewhere, it makes me think either they are certain they’ll drop the archive of past TPM reader blogs – or else it’s the total end of TPM reader blogs.  Because this has never been offered before.

Obviously this is speculation on my part.  Unless someone else has better information.  But it’s another sad chapter.  Kind of them to provide this last chance to people to save and transfer blogs.  But ominous nonetheless.

40 thoughts on “TPM Reader Blogs dead forever?

  1. Yes, when Josh first mentioned the shut down, it was supposed to be temporary, and he assured us our blog history would stay there. He warned that we would no longer be able to comment at our older posts, but that they would be stored in linkable archives.

    Then again, he also assured us that he would give warning as to when the Readers section would go on hold. A week and a half ago, as we all know, he announced it would be last Friday night. And last Friday night, as we all know, nothing changed. Nothing changed all weekend…nothing changed Monday….and then suddenly, yesterday, with no warning, no announcement, TPM removed our dashboards and one by one several of us started to notice we couldn’t blog, or comment, or access blogs, etc.

    My assumption, based on this extremely bad handling of the closing of the Readers Posts is that, with Al’s short announcement about how to store/save our blog posts elsewhere, Josh is tersely letting us all know that this is the end.

    Why, how or when he changed his mind is beyond me. But he apparently changed his mind about the “temporary” shut down, and it seems to me he has just given us the boot.

    I could be wrong, but seeing as how he doesn’t feel the need to share his thoughts, motives and plans with us anymore, I’m going to go with my own assumption and say we’re really up the junction.

    1. Thank you, Lis, for such an excellent summary. I had the same view of all this that you have reported so well. Yes, it would appear that it’s all in the process of going down the drain. I guess I needed to see if anyone else was reading the tea leaves the same way.

      Makes me wonder if they’ll close the Cafe altogether. That was not part of the initial site Josh started. And even when the Cafe went “up” it was always disconnected from Josh’s own blog and, seemingly, his attention.

      1. Excellent point. I remember when I first started commenting there, at “Election Central” (which then became TPMDC after Obama was elected) I noticed that the Cafe side had a whole different feel to it. From the fonts, to the commenters. Josh has taken the time, now and then, to comment at the Readers Posts, but normally only to scold someone, heh.

        I think his post to us about he fate of Readers’ blogs this past month was the first time he ever posted at Cafe.

        Very odd disconnect, there. It really makes one wonder where his heart is.

        1. Wherever his heart is, I’m not sure it’s the same heart as when he started – or not in the same place either. He’s married now, he’s got kids, he’s got a little empire. We, I think, helped that get started. I’m thinking back before the election, maybe a year before the primaries, when The Muck was really big. Cafe was fun then… hidden behind the main blogs. Fewer trolls. Totally out of Josh’s view! The Cafe reader blogs were then completely distinct from the political side. More personal. More conversational – as there was a tracking feature then that allowed you to see “new” comments. And threads could go on for days and days and days. There was no rec’d list. Totally different animal then! (Sadly, many people got hurt when the change-over occurred. One guy, Glen, especially… took to drink and never came back. I remember him. Very sweet guy. Like “road kill” when the Cafe changed and it was nearly impossible to log in. Did this guy in!)

  2. I have felt that he was mad after so many got upset about the changes. I don’t expect he will have the reader blogs back. But I have also noticed the comments are way down on TPM. The comments that are there are not interacting with other comments. I learned more from the comments then the news posts about local races. I enjoyed the comments and it was what set it from the rest of the news blogs.

    1. I always learned more from you fellow readers than I did from Josh’s main site, yes. That’s why I’ve pretty much given up on the place, to be honest. I thought I’d hang around as a TPMDC/Cafe commenter but Disqus is not cooperating very well, and — as you note here — the commenters seem to no longer be discussing things, so much as making short, random points and then moving on to some other newsbite. Already I miss the great discussions we had. But then….I don’t miss them, because we now have them here. 🙂

      And at Dag, and at TPMAHOLICS.

      The community has moved on. I wonder if Josh will miss us.

  3. ~flowerchild~

    For some reason I am still able to access my blog. The permalink feature does not work anymore, but I can get to the full archive of my blogs, click on any one of them and it shows up, comments and all. I imagine this access will continue as people come in to transfer their blog to a different place.

    JMM asked for a consensus on how important it was for the reader blogs to be integrated into a new reader blog product, saying that it would make it simpler and more likely for a new version of reader blogs to become a reality if the old blogs could be left behind. In other words, it would facilitate a quicker return of new reader blogs if a new reader blog feature was financially feasible for TPM.

    Most of the responses were to ditch the old blogs in favor of getting back to the business of new reader blogs. If there were any comments on that thread to the contrary, I missed ’em.

    I’ll take a stab at finding JMM’s Cafe blog on which he asked for a tally.


    1. Yes, I remember the discussion quite well. We all chimed in and said, “Forget our history, just bring the Readers section back someday soon and we’ll be happy.” But then sometime during the course of that night, the discussion of dashboards came up, and Josh explained again that he couldn’t keep dashboards going in the new version, and then sort of threw up his hands and said something like, “Forget about it, then.” And he never came back to address it after that point.

      If I’m wrong, please correct me. But I got the feeling after that night that he had perhaps given up.

      1. ~flowerchild~

        Honestly, I don’t know if your impression was wrong or right. Lis. My own impression was that the whole episode left him with kind of a sore spot. I mean, when so many come at you with gripes and growls and demands to perform, my own response to something like that would likely be ‘go fuck yourself you bunch of ingrates’.

        I imagine he had a sleep on it and by the following morning had made some kind of decision.

        I believe the reader blogs will return, mebbe sans a few of the fancier bells and whistles, and the vestiges that remain now are more or less placeholders….because I’m thinkin’…. if the decision has already been mace to kill the reader blogs forevah, the Cafe page would already be redesigned to fill in the blank spot we left.


          1. To me this place has a “living room” feel – due to the avatars going down the right sidebar of the main page. Makes it like a “living room” with photos of the inhabitants.

            1. ~flowerchild~

              Living room is an apt descriptor, TheraP! It is more comfortable here, for me at any rate.

              I visit TPMaholics daily but have yet to post there. The same with Dagblog….but somehow I don’t see myself blogging at DAG….I’d feel like I was intruding upon the bro-mance going on there. 😉

          2. ~flowerchild~

            Ya know? I’m likin’ it, too. I just wish I had time to work on some more stuff. Bizzy here right now.

            Oh, and, poetry by the pound…the name…kinda cracked me up, LisB. hahahahaha

            1. LOL, thanks! A play on words, being my initials and all. Glad you checked it out. I appreciate it. It’s a work in progress, as I get my creative juices flowing again.

              1. I just left you a message to your “about” page over there. I shouldn’t have used your name. So change it when you moderate to “lb” – which, yes, is BRILLIANT!

    2. ~flowerchild~

      Jmm’s comment to which I refered to above…

      joshtpm [Moderator] 1 week ago
      Here’s another question. And I want to emphasize: we have not, are not committing to bringing Reader Blogs back. I’m not saying that be cagey. I just don’t want to be in a position where we find out it’s not doable and then people feel like they were let down, led astray, misled. That said, let me elaborate on the point I made above.

      I know everyone would like it back precisely as it is. And I *think* we have a way to manage the migration of the old posts. However, we still have to investigate how feasible it is and what it would cost. Here’s the question: we may face a decision where we find out the migration is actually quite complicated or its something we can’t do in the near future, especially with the election coming up and all the development work we have to do in advance of it. So we could face a decision where we can bring the Reader Blogs back fairly quickly but without migrating the old posts or wait some long, perhaps indefinite period for full migration or perhaps never bring Reader Blogs back at all.

      To be clear, that would mean that all the old posts remain up. But they would not be accessible through the new interface. So they couldn’t be commented on any more and you couldn’t edit them. But you’d have the new set up going forward.

      With the understanding that I’m sure everyone would prefer total continuity, how many would find this a workable approach for keeping Reader Blogs and the community going?

      1. Yeah, Flower, but he also said this:

        “In that case, if that’s right, it may not make sense to bring it back at all. There are limits on what we are able to do. And the dashboard function is part of the Movable Type infrastructure that we are definitely phasing out. I would like to find a new set up that would mimic at least some of that functionality. But we don’t know what that is yet.

        So, the points you make are good ones. But I think they point to the conclusion that we should not being Reader Blogs back.

        On the other points, I think we’ve been pretty clear. But I’ll try again. Reader Blogs and Dashboards are part of the custom installation of Movable Type that we created but can no longer support. As of next friday, no Reader Blogs and no Dashboard.

        Disqus has a service that is similar to the TPM Dashboard and we are working on creating a way that TPMers can use Disqus’s service. That’s the default of how their service works. But when we set up this new system we went to great lengths not to force people to set up with Disqus and have their comments posted/tracked there just to comment at TPM. That’s what led to the current system. We are going to try to give readers the option. But that’s going to take some work.

        We cannot immediately replace the dashboards. So as I said, I think this is an argument for discontinuing the Reader Blogs permanently.”

        So I guess my question is, which comment came last?

      2. kgb999

        The thing that strikes me about this whole episode is how hamstrung Josh is by the HORRIBLE options being given to him by his IT department.

        If Ghenghis can import all of our blogs in an afternoon on a whim … how fucking much “money” could it possibly cost Josh’s guys (with direct access to the databases) to do the same thing with a fucking macro script? Damn near none. I’ve seen this shit a dozen times before … Al Shaw is destroying Josh’s business and Josh doesn’t have the management skills to turn his IT department from a lodestone into a set of wings.

        The problem isn’t the platform. Tons of people use MovableType without issues – with a couple of plugins (which Al never bothered to give us) it’s as good a platform as any – and more enjoyable to use than many. I’ve scoured the relevant message boards and NOBODY else is reporting problems like TPM has experienced.

        The problem is Al hacked the living shit out of core files instead of using the Plugin/Extensions/Templates API so TPM can’t install factory patches anymore … and he doesn’t have the programming skills to do a full diff on the platform to see what important bits he keeps missing from their security updates. There have been a dozen major MT patches (some of them critical) since Al did whatever it is he did that keeps TPM’s platform files from matching the publisher’s recommended version. Choosing something different won’t make a lick of difference if Al does the same irresponsible thing in the new one. They could accomplish the same thing and let us keep our dashboards simply by reverting to stock Movable Type. But then Al would have to identify and acknowledge his own fuckup – whereas it seems clearly apparent he’s trying to blame all of the problems on the platform, not his own actions.

        If Josh has really been led to believe importing extant records into a new database would be an expense of major impact – he’s getting some nonsense advice. IMO, those of us who enjoyed the now-gone platform are taking a hit for Al’s bullshit excuse making.

        Maybe I’ll feel differently later, but at this point I don’t see wasting my time there again even if Josh does open it back up. Frankly, if he doesn’t appreciate our efforts – fuck him. I’ve got like 6 hours into a draft on net neutrality that they just made disappear while I was off doing a project for a couple of weeks instead of blogging. Fuck that.

  4. Meanwhile, just in case, I’ve started a Tab (Page) over at Tpmaholics – since everyone there has edit privileges. A page to be used to assemble info about how to find TPM Cafe folk. Check over there, using the link on the sidebar here. And we can all assist in gathering the info. Each of us has some. But much of it remains in Reader Blogs that are no longer accessible. I’m talking ONLY info that people provided publicly, not info from private conversations. Check out the Tab and tell me what you think. Once it’s assembled there, it will be a snap for something to be put up here. It would end up here on the left sidebar, under “about”. (I know that as I have the same system at one of my WordPress blogs.

    1. Cool idea. I’m having a really hard time getting the hang of blogpress, Thera, and I couldn’t find the little “pencil” thing on your list, so if you wouldn’t mind writing me in, you can let folks know LisB is hanging out right here at Once Upon. Would you mind? I’d appreciate it. Thanks!

      1. The pencil thing is BELOW the page. I’m not sure we need to include ourselves. But I will surely put that in. 🙂

        Edit: I put you in as LisB, which is how TPM people would recall you, I think. But if you prefer just Lis, let me know.

    1. I too can say something similar. There is something so comforting to me about seeing that list on the right sideboard – with the photos. A list that has nothing to do with favoritism. But like family/like friends. I also love the title. Something poignant and nostalgic about it. “Once Upon” – and unto ages and ages… a place of refuge. Yes, community trumps place! We could be in a campground… in tents. But the sense of warmth around the campfire would be the people…

    1. moat!!!!

      You may be right….

      You are among friends here, moat. Join up or just keep on commenting.

      Sounds like Josh broke your heart. You’re pissed, but I’m guessing underneath that… there’s a sense of betrayal. (forgive me for prying…)

      I love the new “remoat” handle.

      Thanks for showing up! We’ve all missed you! 🙂

      1. Thank you for the warm welcome, Therap. This is deja vu all over again because I remember when you welcomed me on to Lucidity, back in the day.

        I am pretty annoyed but I don’t feel betrayed or surprised, even.

        I have seen all the different forums Josh set up from the beginning. He has always hoped that the center of the discussion would be anchored by his invited guest bloggers. The closest he came to that may be when Elizabeth Warren was in the house for a while. But even that was a small albeit dedicated crowd.

        I remember how the America Abroad set up dwindled to the same three commenters repeating their stuff daily. I think the same thing will happen to the Cafe with no reader blogs to bring people to the party.

        So I am not mad that the Reader Blogs got disbanded, just the way he handled himself while doing it. The way he brought up the “One percent” factoid had a particularly passive aggressive twist to it.

        1. So glad you’re here, moat! Remoat.. 1%! You know, Josh never did figure out that the 1% outweighed his … what? .1%? The ‘important’ commenters, why they’re no different, no better, really, than us ‘regular folks’. The world is made up of REGULAR FOLKS. Who’s his audience anyway? The .1%?

          Let them eat cake! 😉

  5. kgb999

    Al Shaw is the reason the Cafe never worked in the first place. He isn’t qualified to hold the position he is in and Josh isn’t qualified to successfully staff the position for the needed skillset – he seems to think the ability to pull off a floating semi-transparent DIV using .CSS and the ability to maintain a professional network are the same basic function (they aren’t).

    If the decision is to be made by Shaw, TPM cafe is gone for good. It represents a direct threat to his career and he has demonstrated an adversarial attitude to his users for months as a result. Frankly, with his inept ass in charge of keeping it running, it is probably for the best anyhow. Hard to calculate the thousands of dollars that ass-clown has cost TPM.

    Sad really, because a real IT professional should have been able to handle their security issues in less than a week and it wouldn’t have been the overhead drain to Josh’s business that he has experienced by sticking with Al Shaw’s little shop of incompetent network administration. I held my fire over on TPM … kind of pointless to piss in the pool. But that assclown is by far the lamest IT “guru” I have ever encountered purporting to be a professional in the business of maintaining an online content platform. The fucker doesn’t even know how to use server logs to match an IP address to records “magically” appearing in his databases – let alone use a packet analyzer to track down an exploit payload. Putz extraordinaire.

    Until Josh fires him, he will never be able to afford the Cafe. Keeping it going would represent damn near zero overhead for Josh’s business if it weren’t such an IT drain. The bandwidth and hard drive space couldn’t possibly represent a business-impacting expense – he himself has said the traffic we generate isn’t enough to produce substantial ad revenue … which means it isn’t substantial enough to produce substantial bandwidth expense while 2TB hard drives are around $100. Josh’s platform options are are artificially limited by the lack of ability is his tech department.

    That said. Even if Josh gets his shit together – this week he accomplished the task of completely dismantling the community he invested half a decade to create. I don’t understand what his business strategy is at all. I imagine with Matt Cooper on the masthead, whatever that strategy is … it’s stupid.

    1. Good to see you here, kgb!

      I very much respect your opinion. Indeed, I have often wondered if it was sabotage or something (at Josh’s place) … because it seemed so strange that anyone would use a server in Australia… remember when he did that? Right around the time of the mid-term elections in 2006 maybe? When Rove, the guy who cut his teeth on databases, was in charge of all sorts of offshore companies doing “intelligence” for the govt? Josh said he did that because it was going to save him money. And he accepted some software platform for the same reasons. (And if your theory fits with mine… then it’s as if he played into the hands of the software gremlins.)

      Your explanation surely fits the data. Though I am no techie whatsoever! But, like I said, what if the two go together? Let’s face it, the repubs would love to take Josh down If he doesn’t take himself down first! ( he’s borrowed a ton of money… in expectation of increasing his little empire, but that alone could bankrupt him if he makes more wrong turns – ok, he’s probably incorporated… but his whole income stream is tied up at TPM – even his wife works there!)

      Your comment here is outstanding. And much appreciated. I know you’re over at dagblog, but I hope you visit here often.

      Yes, I agree Josh absolutely accomplished disbanding a community. I can’t think of one blogger that’s ever done such a nonsensical thing! It’s a community he never really cultivated. And actually ignored – allowing trolls to have a field day. But in the end many, many voices have come into their own. And other places will be thrilled to pick up the traffic.

      I paersonally think the demise of the Cafe is going to be good for the people who blogged there – in the long run. But I believe you are correct that it may not be good for Josh. And he could never recapture what he had. For people wouldn’t trust him! I’m done with the place myself.

      You’ve probably put your finger on the problem. Because it never made sense to do rebuilds right before primaries. And to do them on the promise that it would take 24 hours… when it took months? And chewed people up in the process?

      That’s behind me. Doesn’t affect me anymore. I long ago stopped looking at the rest of his site. Except to post now and then at the Cafe.

      RIP… TPM Cafe.

      And MERCI, kgb999!

      1. kgb999

        Not sure I’m following your conspiracy theory entirely. Not challenging it, just don’t quite get what you are asserting.

        I’ve been on a bit of self-imposed blogging restriction for the last couple of weeks (restore some balance … get some stuff done before the snow flies … you know). So I was pretty shocked when I did a quick check-in yesterday. Glad I did … if I’d showed up next week I wouldn’t know what the hell happened or where everyone went.

        It’s nice to be able to keep track of where everyone is off to. I kind of like the platform they’ve made over at Dagblog and the “Bro-mance” factor doesn’t bug me much … just like the folks who landed here, I consider Ghengis, Orlando and the crew to be bros … and after doing all the work to grab anyone’s stuff who asks for it, they deserve a bit of romance-style love, no? So I was going to try posting over there if I ever actually write another blog. They seem to have the same “spirit” (in terms of anything goes topic matter) that I enjoyed from the cafe … and Articleman is doing top-notch analysis right now (and they seem to have picked up Destor). But I imagine I’ll be checking out this site and TPMaholics frequently as well.

        I also was going to look more closely at JEM’s new spot … as soon as I figure out what the URL is again.

        Anyhoo. Glad I checked in when I did!

        1. It’s not much of a theory. Just speculation. Yours is a theory. And based upon expertise, I gather. Mine was just… what the heck is going on? Is it sabotage?

          I have nothing against dagblog. Nothing at all. More “busy” than what I need right now. I need a contemplative space. So a small place like this suits me at the moment. (All I really have to say at this point is happening in places where I’m not needing an audience necessarily.) Genghis has done a super job of reaching out and accommodating a huge influx! And it’s good to know so many good folks from tpm can easily be found there.

          JEM’s new spot… not sure I know about that one.

          And yes, good thing you showed up when you did. And very sorry to hear about that draft you were working on – that got lost in the shuffle.

        2. kgb,
          Jason’s site (and not just his)is:

          Has some interesting twists to it.

          Your voices join many others who scratched their head at the IT action at tpm. The theme was alive before Shaw appeared. Those matters are outside my skillsets.

          But I do understand that it could do no possible good to alienate so many people who had something invested in the site.

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