Cheats never prosper…

There are two things that define blogging as a social networking activity.

One is the ability to comment on posts – which is why the likes of Oliver Kamm and Mad Mel Phillips are not bloggers – the other is the ability to refer to posts (and even comments) on other blogs using hyperlinks, pingbacks and trackbacks.

The equation is a simply one – comments = social, hyperlinks, etc = networking.

Which is why Tim Ireland’s discovery that both Iain Dale and Paul Staines have taken to using a bit of script kiddie javascript to prevent Bloggerheads (and Guido 2.0) and The UK Today (which houses the ‘Iain Dale’s Dairy’ site) from ‘deep-linking to their respective sites is little short of staggering.

The script in question, as should be obvious from the screenshots on Tim’s site – and I’ve also verified for myself that the script in question is present on both sites – seeks to prevent either site from linking directly to articles or comments at either Iain Dale’s Diary or Staine’s ‘Order-Order.com’ by redirecting anyone following links from Bloggerhead or The UK Today to their respective homepages. This amounts to a completely half-arsed attempt to prevent both those site from linking directly to evidence that supports many of their recent criticisms of both Dale and Staines, not least in relation to the appalling abuse visited on John Hirst, about which Dale is, at best, tardy to act in curbing his sockpuppets and anonymongrels, while Staines has actively been joining in with the abusive comments.

And, as one can see clearly, there no question as to this being a deliberate act – the script in question is written specifically to target the two sites.

What’s most staggering about this development is not just that they’ve done it at all, but that the pair of them appear dumb enough to think both that they could pull this off without anyone noticing or calling them on it and that their script kiddie trick, once uncovered, would not easily be bypassed in a matter of seconds.

So, in order to restore normal service – if you are a Firefox user (and if you aren’t, why not?) then all you need to do is follow this link to the Mozilla add-ons section where you will find a rather nifty tool called the web developer toolbar.

This add on, which you should install, provides you with a new toolbar containing lots of extremely useful function, especially if you happen to be designing or testing a website or blog template.

However, the feature we’re most interested in here can be found on the left hand side of the toolbar in a menu entitled ‘disable’ – just pop the menu open and you’ll see that you have an option to temporarily disable Javascript.

So if you do want to follow a link from with Bloggerheads/Guido 2.0 or The UK Today/Iain Dale’s Dairy, directly to the specific posts/comments on the sites of Iain Dale and Paul Staines, then all you have to do is turn on the option to disable Javascript before clicking the hyperlink – the prevents the scripts being used by Dale & Staines from running and redirecting you to their homepage rather than to the information you actually wanted to look at.

And there you have it – not just embarrassing but an embarrassing failure as well.

Oh, and for all you Internet Exploder users out there, you can achieve the same thing – albeit with a little more pfaffing around – by turning off javascript through the Internet Options item on one of IE’s main menus – it’s under ‘tools’ IIRC, or you could look around for an IE toolbar that offers the same basic facility.

15 thoughts on “Cheats never prosper…

  1. Pingback: Bloggerheads
  2. Pingback: davblog
  3. How entertaining, a ‘Libertarian’ objecting to free-speech (or at least free linking). I just want to check, so Paul is allowed to make up rumour, conjecture and innuendo against political figures without needing to back it up with fact, and yet he doesn’t allow certain people to call him on mistakes. Do I smell just a teeny whiff of hypocrisy?

  4. And of course, for those of us that read bloggerheads / uktoday from an aggregator (like bloglines), it makes no difference anyway…

  5. Another way of stopping Javascript, and all sorts of other nasty “active scripting” is to install “No Script” on your Firefox browser. Goto http://noscript.net/ for a copy.

    It even lets you choose which site’s scripts to allow, where the page call scripts from all over the place. Of course one should leave them routinely turned off, and only turn them on for specific features when necessary. Cuts down on the ads, too.

  6. A simpler solution:

    Right click on the link, choose “copy link location” or whatever the IE equivalent is, open a new tab (or window in IE) and paste the link into the address bar.

  7. I’ve just said this at Bloggerheads and I’ll repeat it here:

    Re: ‘workaround’ comments/input (here and elsewhere)… I don’t want to go there, and I shouldn’t have to go there. That’s kind of the whole point.

  8. Fair enough Tim, although the point in flagging up workarounds in this case is to point out precisely what a futile and childish exercise this all is on the part of Dizzy, Dale and Staines.

  9. That point is taken. And now that’s been said and said so well…

    I’m especially amused that:

    a) Dale and Staines went for this in the first place (thereby proving a lot of what I’ve been saying).

    b) Knowing that that were willing to do this, that they didn’t have the brains to think of this themselves.

    c) Staines visibly followed Dizzy on the Page3.com stunt, thereby proving that he didn’t have the wit to think of that himself.

    d) They didn’t opt for (c) sooner… as they may have got away with this on the basis that it was ‘funny’ and not a clumsy attempt to censor undesirable input. They pissed way a lot of potential for misdirection there.

    Not only twats, but amateur ones at that… which I would hope reinforces your point without straying from mine.

  10. Hahahaha professional wind up merchant actually. It wasn’t a failure, it was a roaring success. It sos stupidly easy to circumvent the script as Unity says that you ought to realise you got suckered again Lassie. I did say it would happen again after all. Until the next time!

  11. Dizzy:

    It’s just a pity you didn’t let Iain in on the joke, as his efforts to defend himself on this when he was called on it have little short of cringeworthy:

    Scott Matthewman said…

    So one referrer manages to reach no. 8 in your list, even though all clicks come from a single source (as Laurence’s comment suggests).

    And yet Bloggerheads, which was at no. 6 in your similar chart a month ago, has disappeared completely.

    You’re not being honest at all, are you?

    And does it have anything to do with the fact that you’re (badly) attempting to ruin the user experience of visitors to your site if they’ve come from a site you don’t happen to agree with — regardless of whether or not they would agree with the opinions voiced on that site? (this paragraph includes a link to Tim’s piece about this script)

    If you want to portray yourself as a professional blogger, I would have thought a degree of professionalism would be in order. Acts such as wilfully distorting your chart figures and preventing people from linking to specific blog entries are highly unbecoming.

    Iain Dale said…

    Scott, I have made no secret of the fact that since the March figures I have banned Tim Ireland from my site. That includes links to him. Simple as that. If you have followed what he has said about me you wouldn’t be at all surprised. I make no apology for it. I’m simply not having him polluting this blog with his poison. He has plenty of his own sites to do that on.

    It’s nothing to do with not agreeing with him. It’s about abuse. Watch him. He will now use this comment to write another poisonous post. See if I’m not right.

    Oops.

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