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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dakota War College Epitaph?

Pat Powers has deleted all of his old blog content, leaving a fairly big hole in the hyperlinked, multivocal social narrative known as the South Dakota Blogosphere. I may have a broader post-mortem later.

For the moment, though, let us heed the dearly departed's words on Yankton Media Inc's deletion of some online commentary:

Nothing like standing behind your words of hate, eh?

How completely chickensh*t.

—Pat Powers, "Sounds like the Vermillion newspaper hates Republicans. And Kristi Noem. And possibly most South Dakotans," Dakota War College, 2010.11.09


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I had provided a rebuttal, but then thought "Why bother?"

    When you wrestle with pigs, all you do is show the pig a good time, and you end up muddy for your trouble.

    (and I'm still changing all your website links to kristinoem.com)

  3. Have you deleted all your stuff Pat?

    Don't you think that changing links to send someone to the wrong site is kind of an asshole thing to do?

  4. Funny that Pat declines to provide a rebuttal to his own words. Darn shame he's taken a job that requires him not to stand by his own words.

  5. Nick -

    All but the most recent posts have been off-line for several months (since late summer) due to the server overhead requirements that got me kicked off of my previous host because I used far more than my share of shared server resources.

    For a server I shared with a dozen people, they got a little miffed that I kept going over 75% of total system resources. Because of that, I had to go from a shared server plan to becoming a website "host," going from $15 a month to well over $50.

    It's not an uncommon problem for blogs who have longevity and prosperity.

    The posts are a small part of the problem, with the comments as the main killer. For 8-10000 posts as I had, you end up with that content plus the comments. For me, it was a few hundred thousand comments measuring in several gigabytes worth of data.

    Since after the move I only had a few months of content up at best, and I couldn't have it all on line, I preferred to give the new writers a clean slate to work with, and with 5-6 people writing, it does help reduce my server overhead which I find myself still struggling with.

    As for Cory's hyperlinks, it's funny.

  6. Typical: Dakota War College generally considers deception and bullying funny.

  7. I don't consider changing links funny. In fact if I go to the trouble of clicking on a link it makes me mad if it redirects me to the wrong site.

    In the future if it happens with links on your site I'll know that Pat is being less than a gentleman. Again.

  8. So crankiness aside, let's take Pat at his word that deleting his entire history of commentary from the public record is purely a practical business decision. Would you, Pat, be opposed to another party's creating a free, public, online archive of your reporting and commentary for the purpose of historical reference?

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Cory -

    Would you like it if I stole all of your content?

    Contained within my website is/was nearly six years of intense and in-depth political history in the posts and in the commentary, especially as the medium evolved from infancy into adolescence here in South Dakota.

    At some point when it’s appropriate, and I can reproduce it in a medium which I feel gives it justice, you can safely assume I’ll revisit it myself for a historical perspective.

  11. Historical means "historic-like." In other words, revisionist?


  12. Larry, I've had many people tell me there "should be something that can be done" with all of that information and history.

    If I can determine what form that "something" should take which is both entertaining and informative, I will press forward with it.

    If former blog author Jon Lauck can publish "Daschle v. Thune," then there's every reason to believe I can fill a niche with what I've written.

    While it's amusing to see everyone superimpose their own impressions of why I'm leaving blogging, and why I took the rest of my content off-line, aside from the technical issues which started driving this, you'll just have to wait and see.

  13. The problem, Pat, is that we are talking past each other. I'm talking about preserving an important component of the social narrative and argument we (a very broad we, much broader than you and I) have collaboratively built over the past few years. I'm talking about maintaining a record of text, images, and documents that have shaped public discourse and thinking in South Dakota as an useful cultural artifact.

    You are talking about business and proprietary content.

    By the way, Jon Lauck went on o new employment, published his book, and still left his blog content online, as a useful historical document.

  14. Interesting discussion. I think if it's handled as news, criticism, education, and parody, you have rights to the material under "fair use," Cory.

    Pat may not want to hear that, of course, but that's the way it is, nonetheless.

    I've noticed that it's not easy to access the material via the various "wayback machines" out there, but I'm pretty sure there are ways to retrieve the material without specifically having to ask Pat for it.

  15. Bill, I agree there remnants and other parts that are available for those purposes.

    However, you and I both know that fair use does not give anyone the ability to use it in it's entirety, and if someone was doing that, they'd probably find that I'd be all over them, as I would expect a news organization to be all over me if I used more than a few passages of a story without permission for editorial purposes.

    (God knows the AP jumped on my tail when I unintentionally used a photo that they had originally taken.)

    Cory - Jon chose to do what he chose to do, and I get to do the same. I'm going to meditate for a while over what to do with the content.

  16. I do not question your right to choose to do with your content and your server as you wish. I simply note that it exposes values that differ from those of the broader blogosphere... not to mention your own criticism of the Vermillion paper cited above.

  17. Well, Pat, nobody would want to print it in it's entirety.

    But in the "parody" context, judges understand that larger than usual portions of a work must be used in order to establish the context of the parody being made.

    It would be quite the editing and writing assignment requiring a strong stomach and more than a little creativity, but I think there are probably quite a few good South Dakota writers would enjoy the challenge.

    And there is certainly no lack of source material to draw from. I'm imagining a possible Table of Contents even as I type this and laughing all the way to the bank. It could be a blockbuster!

    Cory, we need to talk, brother.

  18. Cory -

    The difference is that I didn't take anything down which was already preserved forever in print as a newspaper editorial.

    I took my content off-line to save myself technical headaches (and money).

    As for exhibiting "values that differ from those of the broader blogosphere," I didn't realize those were quantified anywhere.

    I would grant this; potentially, access to my archives would be looked at on a case by case basis. But otherwise, I'll just keep my cards close to the vest.

  19. I guess I don't see the philosphical difference in the existence of a print edition. You're deleting text you apparently prefer not to make the effort to stand by.

    But go ahead. Hold your cards close. I have my own hand to play.

  20. I'm thinking much of what you published is indeed "preserved forever" Pat, on various servers via various reading and archiving services.

    I bet there are dozens — if not scores — of folks who probably have pretty big collections of your published works, actually. Bigger than you might imagine.

    I know I've saved a few gems, and I'm not even especially into such things.

    You're a pretty popular guy.

  21. There are some issues brought up that seem like they could be cleared up by checking a few basic references. Unless a blog is copyrighted, readers can use materials from it to any degree they wish. News organizations put the copyright notices on their material, which is still subject to fair use.

    And why is everyone evading the real issue. Posts often disappeared from War College when they were challenged as to their factual basis, and others were partially deleted or revised when someone somewhere pointed out that they were libelous. And then there are those items that are so nasty and vicious that one would not wish to be held accountable for them.

    Some blogs are thoughtful and supported with documented facts. War College was a gathering place for the rabid rabble and would print any rumor or accusation that it could find. It may be an interesting sidelight to the mean and nasty aspect of political history, but as a source of facts and informed opinion?

    Erin B. Fields

  22. Erin, do you prefer the lefty blogs that call people nasty names and print lies and inuendoes? SDWC generally had facts 99% of the time. And posters on his site were generally civil to each other even while disagreeing. PP will be missed in the blogosphere, maybe not by you, but by most.


  23. A blog does not have to be copyrighted, as the requirement for copyright registration has been removed as a result of the US signing on to the Berne copyright convention.

    .... what was I saying about wrestling with pigs?

  24. (Not you Nonnie, you rock!)

  25. Pat's right about copyright: it's a right that exists the moment you pen your work, not the moment you file some application.

    Linda Mc (nonnie) is wrong: the tenor of the DWC comment section ha as much vile negative and ill-evidenced insultery as any lefty blog in the SD blogosphere. I would argue the factual content is roughly equal across the blogosphere. The original content ratio on SDWC is notably lower, given reliance on press releases from the RNC and SDGOP.

  26. I also haven't seen lefty blogs changing commenters URLs.

  27. I stand corrected. Based on the rules applied in an office where I work, I over-interpreted their requirement, which is to include a copyright notice. I was not thinking in terms of using any blog materials in circumstances other than those permitted by fair use.

    According to the policy I refer to, fair use in effect nullifies much of the copyright to a blog post or sequence of posts, which can be used in their entirety as long as they occur in the context of criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research and parodies.

    I can't imagine that War College is in much danger of being reproduced outside of those contexts.

  28. Bingo, Erin. I'm not looking at stealing material or violating copyright. I'm talking about protecting exactly those sort of educational, archival fair uses that allow the South Dakota blogosphere as a whole to preserve the fullest context of the community discussions and arguments that evolve here. A significant portion of the discussion in the blogosphere is cross-blog response. Being able to cite the original blog source and point readers directly to it is a key part of the "see for yourself" blog ethos.

  29. Maybe put it on a server in another country, Cory.

  30. Put what on a server, Bill? Did I say I had any content to post? cardsvest

  31. Pat earned and deserves the pile he owns.

    If a void has really opened in the chemical toilet, we should start pumping.

    dakotapeacecollege dot something?


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