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Watercooler: Important Tech Update

We have an important tech update coming relatively soon. As soon as this weekend actually. It’s about images and videos that can be included in MyFDL diaries. Here is what will be most noticed:

The above image will replace any image not from the approved 3rd party hosting site list. Here’s the back story, the why, and the how this is going to work.

We recently had a very unfortunate incident where a diarist used an image from a 3rd party website; that website had a malware attack on it. Google constantly crawls websites, and crawled MyFDL, and found this 3rd party embedded image, hosted at the infected 3rd party website.

Google marked MyFDL as a malware site, and browsers for tens of thousands of would-be users threw up a red-list warning that MyFDL was dangerous.

As a result, over the time period that it took with intensive efforts to get Google to remove that red-list warning, more than about 15,000 users did not look at MyFDL or any MyFDL diaries according to the differences of previous user traffic to actual traffic over that period.

Nobody wants that to happen again; not staff, not diarists who wish to be read by a wide public, and no users who wish to read MyFDL, which by the way is recipient of about 20% of the 1.4 Million unique visitors per month. Yes, over 250k unique visitors read MyFDL diaries per month. The overwhelming popular topic at MyFDL is firsthand experience Occupy diaries, which is why they are favored on the MyFDL frontpage over other topics.

People really like to read about direct political action, things they can do, more than anything else, regardless of the myths that get made up here about how many comments make a diary popular. Brian’s AARP diary has about 4,000 responses as of this writing by point of fact, despite the seemingly low number of comments.

So we can’t have MyFDL subject to red-list Google warnings again – not if we want to continue the mission; advancing direct political action.

The allowed list of 3rd party image hosting sites is here which will shortly be enforced by computer code, instead of previously, by trust, like the rest of the terms of service.  We’ll mitigate any perceived loss of diary enhancement by a series of HTML clinics over the next few days and weeks to show how to find, use, embed and prettify your diaries with pics and videos, starting tomorrow.

To answer the first probably most asked question, this will NOT AFFECT YOUR CURRENT YOUTUBE ABILITIES. Copying a youtube URL into the HTML tab as you have done in the past will work just dandy and as usual.

Everybody here at FDL really wishes that this code enforcement of the TOS (Terms Of Service)  for MyFDL wasn’t necessary. But it has proven to be so, and so we must so that the most can take advantage of what FDL and MyFDL has to offer.

MyFDL planned enhancements to the comment system like “show text” and “edit” are a bit delayed due to this necessity, but the tech team will bring to you as is reasonably do-able, since this security piece had to be bumped up in priority.

Thanks in advance for your understanding.

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Kelly Canfield

Kelly Canfield