two NFL players

Too Much Blocking

I had speed issues with my WP installs for a while now. I could not figure out what I was doing wrong until now. I used too many plugins to block brute force attacks.

My default plugins for my WP installs are iThemes Security, Wordfence Security, and Jetpack. I use iThemes to change the WP-config and .htaccess files. iThemes has its own brute force protection. Wordfence is used a firewall and scanner. Jetpack has its own brute force protection. By disabling Jetpack’s brute force option, my sites sped up. I’m already protected with iThemes Security.

Sometimes I forget that a website suffers because of over-protection. When I overprotect my sites with a lot plugins, my sites suffer from performance issues. It is like doubling up on prophylactics… the effectiveness degrades because of friction. It is the same for plugins. Too many security plugins destroy the effectiveness of one security plugin.

person in spiderman costume

Being a Site Admin Sucks

In 2009, I purchased a domain called RealLifeSuperheroes dot org (or RLSHorg). I used WordPress as the Content Management System. I reposted articles about people dressing up as superheroes and fighting crime. My friend and I secured an advertising deal with Lionsgate for the Kickass Movie in 2010. To further the site’s usability (or UX), I added the BuddyPress and bbPress plugin. I also added a multisite function so people can blog on the site.

After watching the movie “The Social Network” I gave my site up to anyone who wanted to run it. I was done being the site’s webmaster. A guy named Watchman (from Milwaukee) said he’d run it. With no WordPress experience the install became severely infected with viruses. Watchman allowed anyone to register. I could not recover the website, so I closed it down. The site had over 800 spam users. I did not have the experience to clean the infected site. Nor could not I rebuild it. So I moved the old articles to a WordPress.com archive site. Watchman gave up the domain and the GoDaddy hosting account.

A screenshot of Geist complaining about site I do not own.
I don’t want to take this personally. This individual drunk posts and claims the FBI is hunting him.

There was a lot of backlash from RLSH people. One guy in San Diego claimed I did this on purpose to destroy the community. Another guy named Geist claimed I stole money from him. I guess Watchman asked for money to keep the hosting going. Even now, people complain about my mismanagement of RLSHorg.

I learned two things from hosting a community hub-

  1. Never let the inmates run the asylum.
  2. Develop a thick skin.

Visitors do not understand the hard work and dedication that goes in a website. I spent hours on site development and maintenance. A lot of my money went into the site. I learned about WordPress (which I am glad for). But the fronted users had no idea why I did certain things. Instead they complained about my management. They said that I had a bias or an agenda against other people. They wrote blogs about how I was like to Osama Bin Laden (with YouTube videos and Photoshop memes). It was a horrible experience in hindsight. I am not sure the Pros outweigh the Cons.

Site users have no capability to understand web development. It is not their job to know. Their job is to visit and consume content. Complaining about a website means they are visiting. My job is to build and maintain the site. They are the users. They are not the admins. It is their right to complain.

I have the right not to listen. It is my right not to believe their insults. I chose to listen to gather feedback. I failed to understand that there are bad opinions. Not everyone is capable of rational thought. Some people give selfish criticisms. Frankly, some people are stuck up jerks. It is difficult to discern what was positive feedback and what was not. I didn’t trust myself. The job of a web admin is to trust that they know what they are doing. Some users are not trained web development people.

I learned that a web developer will always be linked to a website. You can build the backend to be easy to maintain. But if the new owners do not understand why things work the way they do, the site will crash. This might be the reason why some classes I took recommends adding maintenance fees. No one wants to be the garbage man. Everyone wants to be the Mayor. A site owner is both the mayor and garbage person. And being a free website garbage man sucks.

I am building a new WordPress collective at https://thecomixscene.com. The plugins I am using are BuddyPress, bbPress, Youser, and Comic Easel. My intention is to create a Webcomics hub like Tapas or Webtoons. I want to teach indie comic creators how to build and maintain WordPress sites. There are some Indie Comic collectives that do not and their subdomains are lacking. Whatever I learned in college, I want to sharing with others. Revisiting my time as admin of RLSHorg may help me make smarter choices. I don’t want to make the same mistakes as before.

Thoughts on Narrow Search

Search engines have evolved from simple keyword searches. They are more intuitive to the user. But, like most technologies, narrow search engine scope is a double-edged sword.  

Search filter bubbles are helpful when eliminating unnecessary results. If I am searching for new clothes, it is helpful that Amazon yield results based on my previous purchases. The time to search for what I want is shorten my account history. When search for a restaurant based on my likes, Google will recommend places based on what I like. From a marketing and promotion standpoint, custom search results is fantastic. The customers receive what they want based on their tastes with extensive research.

But, there is a downside to a narrow search scope. Filter bubbles promote news articles based on our political bias. This leads to misinformation or uninformed information which in turn leads to distrust. The user is not getting information based on contextual reality.  

Focus searches are great for the marketplace but horrible for news. It would behoove the user to understand how search engines work. If users want true news, they need to clear their search history. If a user needs to shop, there needs to be a in depth search history.

Le Image Issues

WPTavern reported on the Image issues with Gutenberg, the new editor for WordPress 5.0.  I reported a similar image issue-  https://wordpress.org/support/topic/adding-an-image-is-a-nightmare/#post-10647313

I’ve accepting that  images cannot post left or right. I wanted to have images within a paragraph body, but its difficult in Gutenberg. After reading the WP Tavern post, I see that I’m not the only one frustrated with the image options in Gutenberg. 

I hope that this issue is resolve before the 5.0 release date later this month.