What you need to do *Right Now*; also, an interim status report

Hi, everybody. Teresa here. You may have already read earlier, incomplete versions of this post, which I published prematurely in order to get the THINGS TO DO RIGHT NOW part out fast. I said in them that you’d know you’d seen the complete version when the last word in it was dinosaur. That word is there now.

Onward.

First: apologies if you’ve written to us and haven’t heard back. We’ve been wrestling with the task of getting the pre-March 2008 part of Making Light back online. For a bit there, it looked like we might have lost the whole thing, not just March and April. That was exciting. Fortunately, Patrick found his alternate backup of the MySQL database that’s the difference between losing two months and losing seven years. As Erik Olson said at that point,

Good. We’re now at “this really sucks.”
Not “well, fuck, Maude, better sell the cattle.”

Thanks to many people who shall receive fulsome thanks once this settles down, we’ve reconstituted all the front-page entries, plus Sidelights and Particles. What we don’t have all of are the comments.

THIS IS IMPORTANT: collect your own comments NOW from Google or other search engines, then help collect others. Do it as soon as you can, because Google has already overwritten some caches with versions that end at 01 March. If you find this has happened to the Google cache of your own comments–for instance, Xopher, Niall McAuley, CHip, and NC Hanger have already gotten nailed–try the caches at Yahoo, MSN Live Search, or other search engines.

If you’ve been reading the comments at Making Light via RSS feed, please check and see what you have cached. It’s possible you have the only surviving version of some of our missing comments. We’re particularly on the prowl for new comments that got posted to old threads. We know to look for complete runs of comments from (f.i.) “All come singing” or “The rather difficult font game”; what’s far less obvious is the need to collect recent runs of comments in old threads like “Introduction to New Magics“.

Abi’s chart of what we do and don’t have isn’t up to date. That’s because Abi went to sleep (she’s six time zones east of Plymouth Rock), and Patrick and I are still figuring out exactly what we have on hand. She’ll be gone all day tomorrow, but we figure we’ll have the chart updated by tomorrow morning EST. If you’re doing intensive work salvaging comments and need more up-to-date information, send us your email address and we’ll try to reset the permissions so you can see our working spreadsheet in Google docs.

I’ve finally gotten in touch with Jim Macdonald. He’d been away most of today, and had no idea what was going on. The bits of Making Light’s database we have least hope of recovering are unfinished articles the editors had saved as draft posts in Movable Type. We’ve all lost some, but Jim had been working on the big final post in his Trauma and You series. He took the news very calmly, though it’s possible he was simply too tired to get upset. He says he’ll just have to rewrite the article from memory:

I’d gotten through traumatic amputations, degloving, and avulsions, and was about to start on incisions and lacerations.

When last seen, Jim was running searches on other people’s names. His suggested search string is “Comments posted to Making Light by [name of poster]”. If that doesn’t work, try something else. If that works, come back and tell us what it was.

(UPDATE: Jim has done as much comment-salvaging as he can do tonight. In the comment thread for this entry you’ll find his list of people he knows to have posted comments during the lost months, but whose body of comments he hasn’t salvaged. If you have time, please consider running some of those searches. If you know of other names, post a list of your own–Jim’s list is by no means complete. While you may wind up duplicating someone else’s efforts, you may also save the comments of people who haven’t gotten the word in time to do it themselves. Also, read the whole thread. There’s useful information in it. End of update: tnh, 0300 EDT.)

Salvaging the data is only the first part of the project. Once we’ve collected it, it’ll have to be reprocessed into proper MySQL format and grafted back onto the main database. We’ve had several offers of help, but if you want to add to them, please feel free.

In the midst of all this effort to salvage the missing months, we’re feeling awed and humble about the amount of help we’re getting. We’ve said all along that its readers are the best thing about Making Light, but that’s never seemed more true than it does right now.

(“Hey, look! It’s a dinosaur!”)

74 thoughts on “What you need to do *Right Now*; also, an interim status report”

  1. The exact search string to use at Google is:

    “Comments posted to Making Light by [name]”

    where [name] is the poster’s exact name. Please note the quote marks.

    You may find several hits. Look for the most recent one. Then, hit the cache link.

  2. Okay, I was able to get all my recent comments off of Google. Where do I send them to?

  3. This isn’t the right time for this,
    but being an annoying pedant, I can’t let it slide.

    “Fulsome” is properly used to mean “offensively exaggerated”, with flavors of insincerity, dishonesty, and a faint hint of ordure.
    It is not a complimentary adjective.

    You guys write and edit. You should know this.

  4. joel hanes,

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/fulsome

    Also means abundant/copious. And I’ve seen it oft used that way.

    quote:

    Today, both fulsome and fulsomely are also used in senses closer to the original one: The sparse language of the new Prayer Book contrasts with the fulsome language of Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. Later they discussed the topic more fulsomely. These uses are often criticized on the grounds that fulsome must always retain its connotations of “excessive” or “offensive.” The common phrase fulsome praise is thus sometimes ambiguous in modern use.

    I love it when a dictionary acknowledges extraneous pedantry in its etymology sections.

  5. Wait. I do a search for my comments, but then what? Copy the whole thing into Word or something and then send it as an attached document to you, Patrick, or just send you the link to the search cache?

  6. Be careful: I’m using that search string and getting a lot of links to suspicious advertising sites. Suspicious as in trying to persaude you to download a media codec to see a video.

  7. A link to the search cache won’t do. The next time Google runs that search, the cache won’t have anything after the first of March.

    So — save the whole thing locally.

    Here are the names of people who I have _NOT_ yet collected.

    (Note: If your name _isn’t_ on this list, that DOES NOT mean I got you.)

    Ambitious folks can try to find caches that include comments dating after 01MAR08 for the following:

    A. J. Luxton
    A.R.Yngve
    Adam Ek
    Adrian Smith
    ajay
    Alter S. Reiss
    Ame
    Andrew Plotkin
    Andrhia
    Andy Brazil
    Anna the Piper
    Aquila
    Arwel Parry
    Ben Morris
    beth meacham
    bryan
    Carol
    Ccnsul
    CHip
    Chris
    Clan
    Connie H.
    CosmicDog
    DavidS
    dcb
    Debbie
    Dena Shunra
    Dirk
    Doctor Science
    don delny

    Earl Cooley III
    EClaire
    Edward Oleander
    eric
    ethan
    Evan Simpson
    Farah
    fidelio
    Francis D
    Garrett Fitzgerald
    geekosaur
    Glenn Hauman
    Graydon
    Greg London
    harthad
    individualfrog
    Ingvar M
    IWH
    j h woodyatt
    Jakob
    Jason McIntosh
    Jen Roth
    Jennifer Barber
    Jo Walton
    Joe Eaton
    Joel Polowin
    John L
    John Chu
    John Thornton
    Jp
    Julie L.
    Kate Nepveu
    Kayjayoh
    Ken Houghton
    Ken MacLeod
    Kevin Riggle
    Kimberley Verburg
    Kip W
    Laina
    Lawrence Watt-Evans
    Leah Miller
    Leva Cygnet
    Linkmeister
    Lizzy L
    lorax
    Madeline F
    Marie Brennan
    Mark D.
    Marna Nightingale
    Martin Wisse
    mary
    Mary Dell
    Matt Austern
    Matt McIrvin
    Matt Stevens
    Matthew Austern
    Max Kaehn
    Melody
    Michael I
    Michael Walsh
    Michael Roberts
    Michael Weholt
    Michelle

    Morry
    Mycroft W
    mythago
    Nancy Lebovitz
    Naomi Libicki
    NC Hanger
    Neil Willcox
    Niall McAuley
    Nick Caldeorn
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
    pat greene
    Paul A.
    Paul
    Pedantic Peasant
    Per Chr. J.
    R. M. Koske
    Ralph Giles
    Randolph Fritz
    Richard Klin
    Rikibeth
    rm
    Rob Hansen
    RobW
    Ronit
    Rozasharn
    Russell Letson
    Sarah
    Scott Taylor
    Scott H
    Scott Janssens
    Scraps
    sherrold
    Sica
    sm
    Soon Lee
    Stephen Frug
    Steve Taylor
    Steve Buchheit
    Suin
    Summer Storms
    Susan Kitchens
    Susan
    Sylvia
    Tazistan Jen
    Tim O’Brien
    TomB
    Tony Zbaraschuk
    Velma
    VictorS
    will shetterly
    Xopher

  8. Don’t save salvaged material as MSWord unless that’s your only option.

    Most browsers give you the option of saving a webpage in its entirety, source code and pictures and all. For instance, in the File menu for Firefox the command you want is “Save page as,” and the format you want to choose is “Web page, complete.”

  9. I’ve now saved (as a webpage using Firefox) comments for Jo Walton, Nicole Boeuf-Little, Victor S and Linkmeister. There are two files for each name: one with two style sheet files and one with the actual comments.

    To whom should I send them, and do you need both files for each person?

  10. Use File|Save_As to save a copy of the file to your hard drive. The default filename will be “search.htm” but I saved mine as “search_Dave_Bell.htm”

    Send that file to Patrick as an attachment.

  11. Thanks, Dave. I sent four attachments (all in one message; probably would have been smarter to break it up into four) to Patrick at the address he posted above.

  12. Got my own and JESR, plus a fragment of the dust jacket thread. Off to make breakfast now…

  13. The comment caches at MSN are more extensive than at Google. I’ve saved 900+ comments for Open Threads 104 and 105. Don’t want to spam Patrick anymore, so I’ll wait for your updated table to see whether you”ve discovered these or any other more complete comment threads that I stumble across.

  14. In addition to the comments I got for the four people named above (Walton, Boeuf-Little, Linkmeister, and Victor S) I have saved and sent along to Patrick comments for:

    Clifton Royston
    Sylvia
    Tazistan Jen
    Tony Z
    Velma

  15. MSN also seems to have more up-to-date results for Jim’s search by individual commenter. I just saved a file that goes up to 4/26/08 for Michael Weholt

  16. I found my own cache through April 18 (which only misses two or three posts of mine, I think) but since my Internet is so slow right now that none of my email boxes are accessible, I’ll send it to you all tomorrow.

    Very best of luck with the repairs.

  17. I’ll post this here too in case you don’t see it at the bottom of the techie thread: http://frances.vorpus.org/~shweta/

    March/April archives with (almost all) comments. And the rest of them… Um, other people on the techie thread got ’em all, I think.

  18. I thought I was going to bed, but I couldn’t stand leaving the unsalvaged list so long. I’ve salvaged Adrian Smith, ajay, Andrew Plotkin up through 3-21-08, beth meacham, bryan, Connie H., Edward Oleander, ethan, fidelio, Glenn Hauman, Graydon, Greg London, Jakob, Jo Walton, Joel Polowin, John Chu, Kate Nepveu, Ken Houghton, Ken MacLeod, Kip W, Madeline Robins, Martin Wisse, Mary Dell, Michael Weholt, Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little, pat greene, Randolph Fritz, Richard Klin, Rikibeth, rm, Rob Hansen, Sarah, Scraps, Steve Taylor, and Velma.

    And now to bed. This time for sure.

  19. I’m finding MSN cached pages that date up through the last week or so: they peter out anywhere between 4/27 and 5/2. I started with the letter R in Jim’s list and went to the end, and ended up saving pages for:

    R. M. Koske
    Ralph Giles
    Randolph Fritz
    Richard Klin
    Rikibeth
    rm
    Rozasharn
    Scott Janssens
    Scraps
    sherrold
    Sica
    Soon Lee
    Steve Buchheit
    Steve Taylor
    Summer Storms
    Susan Kitchens
    Susan
    Tazistan Jen
    TomB
    Tony Zbaraschuk
    Velma
    VictorS

    I also did my own. Anyone in Jim’s list but not included here didn’t show entries post 3/1 in their MSN-cached “show all by” page; but such a thing could be cached elsewhere.

  20. On finding names from Google’s cache:

    I was doing one search that ended up with Google thinking I was a bot–Google stopped returning those results.

    So, I started doing this search:
    “comments posted to making light” 04.01.08
    WHERE I keep changing the dates, and expand to “repeat the search omitted” (rather than just the 2 results). For each date, it’d result in about 5 to 20 results.

    using this method, it seems like I’m able to get anyone’s total comments if they commented on at least one date in that range.

    I’ve done From 03.29.08–04.20.08 and 04.27.08 through 05.02.08 using this method. It resulted in approximately 175 names (including a few cases where a person used 2 names and 1 email address or vice versa)

  21. Comments from Google’s cache as described above were sent to our hosts.

    I did not create a spreadsheet of these names, and it is quite late. If a name was only a first name, then the parenthesis = part of the email address.

    so, typed very quickly:

    adam ek, adamsj, ajay, alan bostick, alan braggins, alan yee, albatross, alex cohen, andrhia, anna feruglio, aquila, bill higgins, bob rossney, bogdan bivolaru, bruce cohen, cajunfj40, dandle, carol (carol.csquare), carrie s, charles dodgson, chris quinones, christopher turkel, chris turkel, chris (zizban), cliff s, clifton royston, connie h, daniel martin, dave bell, dave hutchinson, dave kuzminski, davel, dave mb, david goldfarb, david ahrmon, david mb, dena shunra, diatryma, early cooley, eclaire, edward oleander, elise, elizabeth (eliz hubnet), emily cartier, eric 9eric-light), eric (herewiss13), erik nelson, erik v olson, ethan, evan (ethanol),

    faren miller, fidelio, ginger (neivet2), graydon, greg london, kursky, harthad, heresiarch, individualfrog, jakob (whitfield), sason mcintosh, jc (kentuckywriter) jeffrey smith, jen b, jennie zinerella, jennifer barber, jen roth, jeremy osner, jeremy preacher, jesr, jim (jimsama), jkrichard, joann (jzimm), john a arkansawyer, john L (jLnsford), josh jasper, jo walton, joxn costello, julie L (wombat),

    kathleen (kathleen.jennings), kayjay (kayjay13), kevin andrew murphy, kip w, laurie 9thensheappeared), leah miller, lee (stardreamer), lila (lilandmark), linkmeister, lis riba, lizzy l, madeline ferwerda, madeline f, madison guy, magenta griffith, maggie (maggiejoh2005), malthus (mithrandir25) marilee, mary dell, mary dell sees spammish, mary (mary.hallat), matt austern, matt stevens, max kaehn, mcmartin, michael martin, michael weholt, mjfgates, moe99, niel willcox, niall mcauley, nomie (onthebound),

    paula helm murrey, paula lieberman, paul duncanson, apul hood, paul lalonde, pericat, pete darby, p j evans, randolph fritz, rea (reaatmor), richard anderson, rich mcallister, rikibeth, rm (terchomp), robert hutchinson, robert west, rob hansen, rob hoffmann, rob rusick, robt, sajia kabir, sam kelly, sarah (aspech), sean o’hara, serge, seth gordon, shadowsong, shannon (storiteller), stefan jones, stephen frug, susan, sylvia (fearoflanding)

    tangurena, tavella, the modesto kid, tomb (twb), tw (crankycrone) ursala L, velma (des…), velma (velma at des…), vlad (fake.com), zed (apricot).

    um. I was intending to go to bed, and just wanted to try a new search method.

  22. I saved my own (and found the ones I did back in 2003 with the previous address I was using, which I’d forgotten, keen).

    A Google search method that perhaps gets better results: search a name on the entire site, like { xopher site:nielsenhayden.com }. Seems certain to fish out that person’s “View all by” in the first page or two, and also fishes out the “view all by”s of people who have named that person in their responing comments.

    I also found a page of the last 1000 comments at some point on 4/30/08. Perhaps it will help find forgotten posters. I put it up at my domain, at this link: http://www.z-amber.com/4-30-08.htm

    I saved the comments of the following, and mailed them to Patrick:

    AJ Luxton
    heresiarch
    JESR
    joann
    Ledasmom
    Madeline F
    Madeline Kelly
    Mary Aileen
    Nomie
    Pyre
    Scott H
    serge
    Xopher

  23. Jeez, by the time I read this thread I see at least two people have nailed my comments. Thanks.

    P & T: I have experience with perl and so may be able to do some automated processing of files you might need. No great insight here, but if we can end up with all files in an identical format, then come up with a perl (or other) script to do the work, you can split the files-to-be-processed up b/w those who are able to run the “approved” perl script. Sort of a SETI@home type deal. So put me on the list of people willing to donate processing time.

    It also occurs to me that if an ftp site could be set up, people could upload their work and — if all files are named consistently — people could log in and actually see what work has been done w/o need of updating spreadsheets, etc.

    I have an old iBook I use as an ftp machine here at my house. If you want me to open up an ML account there, I can, then post the username/password for people to use. It’s just a DSL connection, but it might be adequate. Or maybe somebody has a better connection?

    In any case, let me know if any of that sounds good or useful. It’s good to get things as quickly as possible, of course, in any available format, but it’s also good to get the raw stuff in some sort of consistent format, if at all possible… which it won’t be, of course, but still. The more work toward consistency that can be done by “the collectors”, the better and sooner things will be fully recoverable.

    I’ll shut up now. Let me know what you want me to do.

  24. Saved and sent two cached files of my comments to pnh (hope I did it correctly). One file contains my comments as of 4-10-08. The other file contains two comments where I apparently had a typo in my email address (the latest is dated 4-17-08).

    (I did make a couple of comments after 4-17, but haven’t located a cached file of them yet.)

  25. OK. I’ve saved my own comments up to April 26th as a ‘complete’ .html file.

    I didn’t see ‘Mez’ (another Sydney gel) listed as done, and remembering that she’s not too well & might not be around to check, I saved those as well (up to April 27th). Also Meg Thornton up to March 14th. I was thinking of doing others as well, specially us in Oz, but my tired mind canna keep up wi’ the lists as given above. I did check the people who I remember noting as being Antipodeans, and so far they’re either taken care of (thanx 4 ur work, Dave Bell) or haven’t commented more recently, or I can’t remember them (sorry 2u all lost in the synapses).

    So I will send Patrick:

    Epacris
    Meg Thornton
    Mez

    Need hot dinner & a good rest now. Happy Hunting all.

  26. I’ve just emailed the Google cache of “Comments posted to Making Light by Gag Halfrunt”, along with the cache of “The photograph that terrorized London” from March 30 2008 with what appears to be the complete comment thread.

  27. Another set. These all result from my search method above using April dates–nothing searched in March, yet.

    I’ve sent these as tar.gz’s to our hosts.

    When there’s a different name but same email address, for example, zheresiarch and heresiarch, Google is saving slightly different sets. One might have a few days more than the other.

    As before, quickly typed, and probably with more typos.
    ————–
    adrian (turtle), a j luxton, alison scott, andrew willett, anne sheller, a r yngve, backpacking dad, benjamin bagley, beth meacham, bill blum, bruce adelsohn, bruce arthurs, caroline (snowmentality), carol kimell, “carrie s sees repetitive spam’, casey (casey town…), cc rider, chip (cjhiNo), claude muncey, “cleanup alert spam again”, clew (atteenhand), constance ash sublette,

    Daniel boone, dawno, dcb (dbourne….), debbie (behl), dorothy (dorothy2583), dru (mldru), epacris, evan goer, flora postes, fungifromyuggoth, henry troup, jae walker, “joel polowin sees comment spam”, john stanning, john h (jhendry), jon meltzer, julia e smith ruetz, julea (hmhm), julia junes, justin hinkle,

    keith (kkisser), kevin riggle, larry brennan, laurence roberts, lauren uroff, leia organa, “linkmeister in hawaii”, lis (osmondriba), lois fundis, lori coulson, lynne (datusacom), madeleine robins, martyn taylor, mary aileen, mary kay, melissa mead, melissa singer, mez (mezemail99), michael falcon, michael turyn, m turyn, mythago

    “nancy c mittens sees weird messages”, nelc (akizetafive), nikolai ivanovitch…, oliviacw, paul a (pandinac), peter erwin, professor coldheart, protected static, r emrys, r m koske, ronit (ronitadancis), ryan (rnalexander), “serge sees wolf hole spam”, sisuile, syd (laurelmoons),

    texanne, theophylact, tim walters, tracie (strongerthantea), vicky (vr), victorss, vito excalibur, william littlewood, zheresiarch.

  28. Because I know I’ve just posted some 250+ names, if someone else wants to continue, my next steps (if I didn’t need to sleep) would be to

    * do these searches:
    “comments posted to making light” 03.29.08
    “comments posted to making light” 03.28.08
    etc down to March 1,
    * selecting the cache (easily done as a separate tab in Firefox) for any name not already done,
    * save the cache.

    If the person’s name could be ambiguous (“Bob” vs “Bob the Mighty”), I’m saving its filename with the email info included (“bob bobatmightycom.html”). There are plenty of regulars and rarer visitors who use just first names.

  29. I don’t seem to have any comments earlier than March.

    I posted last night (UTC), but it doesn’t seem to have gone through. I saved a large number of the comment feeds from the cache in Google Reader (which saves universally any feed that someone has watched). Only 6 of the threads were not watched. I don’t know how complete it is, and it doesn’t seem to be in order, but it may prove the most comprehensive post cache out there. I uploaded it to my site. Here’s the link:

    http://azureabstraction.com/temp/making_light.zip

    I would think trying to directly munge them into the database would be risky and tedious. Why don’t you script hack the data into the form of something Movable Type can import directly?

  30. I have around eighty names that I removed from my lists before posting that above. I think I’ll burn ’em to a CD and ship ’em.

    Here are the names I got:

    abi
    albatross
    Allan Beatty
    Avram
    B Durbin
    Bill Higgins
    Bob Rossney
    Bruce Cohen
    cajunfj40
    CarolKimball
    Cat Meadows
    Charlie Stross
    cherish
    clew
    Clifton Royston
    Constance Ash
    C. Wingate
    Dave Bell
    David Goldfarb
    elise
    Epacris
    Faren Miller
    Fragano Ledgister
    Ginger
    Gwen
    Heresiarch
    JESR
    joann
    Joe McMahon
    Joe Morrison
    John A Arkansawyer
    John Houghton
    John L
    John Scalzi
    John Stanning
    Jon
    Jon Baker
    Jon H
    Jon Meltzer
    Jon R
    Jon Sobel
    Juliet
    karen
    Kathryn Cramer
    Kathryn from Sunnyvale
    Keir
    Keir Dullea
    Keith
    Kelly McCullough
    kouredios
    Laurence
    Lee
    Lila
    James D. Macdonald
    Marilee
    Marry James
    Mary Aileen
    Mez
    Michael
    Mitch Wagner
    NC Hanger
    NelC
    Nix
    Patrick Connors
    Patrick Nielsen Hayden
    Paula Helm Murray
    Paul Duncanson
    P J Evans
    Rivka
    R M Koske
    Sajia Kabir
    Serge
    Stefan Jones
    Teresa Nielsen Hayden
    Terry Karney
    Tim Kyger
    Tim May
    Tim Walters
    Vlad

  31. Oh — one more thing that we learned from the Absolute Write rescue effort: Google uses multiple machines, and a search on a string may get any of them. Some will have different, more complete, or more recent caches than others. The same search repeated twice may get different results.

  32. Discussing this last night with my SO, she suggested that archive.org might have more of the missing threads. They have a six-month delay between crawling and making available, so it’s not immediately useful unless someone knows someone helpful on the inside there, but if some stuff just can’t be recovered, it might be good to make a note to check there in October.

  33. Thanks to anyone who saved/mailed my comments; I sent the Google cache of them as of 4/30 before I checked the rest of the thread.

  34. (Hi, lurker here.)

    I’ve done the same thing Andrew Willett describes with the MSN cached “View All By”s, starting with A.J. Luxton and going through don delny. I also tried the names that were mentioned in the original post as being already overwritten in Google’s cache. Names I wound up with saved data for (using “save as Web page, complete”):

    A.J. Luxton
    A.R.Yngve
    Adam Ek
    Adrian Smith
    ajay
    Alter S. Reiss
    ame
    Andrew Plotkin
    Andrhia
    Andy Brazil
    Anna the Piper
    Ben Morris
    beth meacham
    bryan
    Carol Kimball
    Carol Maltby
    CHip
    Chris (cbyler)
    Chris (zizban)
    Chris Gerrib
    Chris J.
    Chris K.
    Chris (kasaubon)
    Chris Lawson
    Chris Quinones
    Chris S.
    Connie H.
    dcb
    Debbie (debbie)
    Debbie (deborah_behle)
    Debbie (kith)
    Dena Shunra
    Doctor Science
    don delny
    Niall McAuley
    Xopher

    Most (unfortunately not all) of these were cached within the last week.

  35. I just did Kathryn from Sunnyvale’s “comments posted to making light” search on Google cache for March and April, and have emailed the results to Teresa. Perhaps someone should try this with another search engine.

  36. Followup to previous: I’m doing the same search on msn. The cache there seems to be better than Google’s.

  37. I usually read the threads through Google reader and since my parents were here this weekend I’m about two or three days behind, so those entries should still be available to me.

    I can copy and paste or move the threads into my shared items folder whichever is easier.

    I don’t follow all the comment threads, so there may be some gaps (mostly in the political threads.

  38. My current strategy, because I cannot remember names: I’m searching for first names, getting the omitted results, and saving everything. So I have Mary Aileen, Dell, Frances, &c. I know I’m getting duplicates.

    Thank you, everyone, for helping put things back together.

  39. More comments from MSN’s cache. Still working from Jim’s list of names at 7:45. I have tried every name from the beginning through Michelle, but I did not find caches for everyone, and some of the ones I did find are older (although I didn’t save anything with a most recent comment before March). I’m afraid I have to stop now. More names I have:

    Earl Cooley III
    EClaire
    Edward Oleander
    eric (eric-light)
    Eric (herewiss13)
    Eric Chapman
    ethan
    Evan Simpson
    Farah
    fidelio
    Francis D
    Garrett Fitzgerald
    Glenn Hauman
    Graydon
    Greg London
    harthad
    Ingvar M
    Jakob
    Jen Roth
    Jennifer Barber
    Jo Walton
    Joel Polowin
    John Chu
    John L.
    Julie L.
    Kate Nepveu
    Kayjayoh
    Ken houghton
    Ken MacLeod
    Kevin Riggle
    Kimberley Verburg
    Kip W
    Lawrence Watt-Evans
    Leah Miller
    Linkmeister
    Lizzy L
    Madeline F
    Marie Brennan
    Mark D.
    Marna Nightingale
    Martin Wisse
    Mary Aileen Buss
    Mary Dell
    Mary Frances Zambreno
    Mary Kay
    Matt
    Matt Austern
    Matt McIrvin
    Matt Stevens
    Matthew Austern
    Max Kaehn
    Melody
    Michael
    Michael Falcon-Gates
    Michael I
    Michael Martin
    Michael Phillips
    Michael Turyn
    Michael Walsh
    Michael Weholt
    Michelle

  40. Okay, I just used Perl to strip all the comments and data out of the Google Reader XML that I posted a few hours ago. Here it is in SQL import form (exported with phpMyAdmin).

    http://www.azureabstraction.com/temp/makinglight_comments.zip

    PLEASE think about the security implications of just running this file, though. This is safe, but from someone else it might very well not be. Look at the simple SQL statements and convince yourself that I’m not trying to do something malicious.

  41. Search on msn for “comments posted to making light” is now done from 03.01.08 to 03.31.08. I won’t be able to do April.

  42. I’ve got mine saved as a complete webpage, but I see Jim got them first. I’ll hold off on sending them anywhere for now, but I’ve got them. I’ve also got this chunk of thread:
    April 9, 2008
    Don�t Miss the Deadline
    Posted by Jim Macdonald at 07:19 PM * 25 comments

    And this one through post 236:

    Newsweek invents an alarming trend
    Posted by Teresa at 06:01 PM * 245 comments

    I’ll wait to send until the flood has died down and any of this is verified lost unless otherwise requested.

  43. Okay, I realized what a short stretch was left between Michelle and the start of the R’s and couldn’t leave it alone. I really am stopping now. New from MSN’s cache:

    Mycroft W
    mythago
    Nancy C
    Nancy Lebovitz
    Naomi Libicki
    Neil Willcox
    Niall McAuley
    Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little
    Nicole TWN
    pat greene
    Paul (jvstin)
    paul (pw)
    Paul A.
    Paul Duncanson
    Paul Gilbert
    Paul Lalonde
    Per Chr. J.

  44. Just in case, I’ve gone and gotten my own, and done both “save web page as” to get an HTML file and ^A ^C followed by paste into notepad for the basic text. Let me know if I should send these along.

  45. Do you (official ML HQ) have any use for the threads by topic from the MSN cache that include large numbers of comment responses, or do you only want the comments by poster?

  46. I looked for and saved my comments through April 27, then read further and saw that had already been done. (Thanks!) I will hang onto the files (raw HTML, saved complete webpage) in case they are needed later. I think I only made a comment or two after the 27th, and the only one I remember was pretty inane, so sparing the world my insight in that particular instance may well be a Good Thing.

    And I’d just like to say how impressed I am by this group of folks.

  47. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all who’ve been saving comments (not to mention the entire site) — including mine. Checking to find my comments on Google, I noticed another Debbie (Roggie) turned up on a couple of “my” entries. I’ve saved the data I found and will keep checking to see whether it shows up from others’ efforts.

  48. I have my comments, which are also the comments under Nancy C., and I am mailing them to Patrick now. I’m going to start at the bottom of the list, and see what others I can gather. Will report back.

  49. Wow, this is moving quite fast. I see my name appearing a couple of times up there, so I don’t know if the caches of my comments that I found are still needed or if they would be a duplicate at this point, but I will save what I’ve got on my computer for now.

  50. I didn’t have much time last night to grab names, but I did grep my browser cache and look up Google’s caches for the posts that I could find in my browser cache of the front page. Here’s what I’ve got of those:

    My copies that have things not in Google cache:

    Open thread 106 / April 30, 2008, 02:09 PM
    “Where do people find the time?” / April 28, 2008, 09:44 PM
    SFWA election results / April 27, 2008, 12:40 PM
    Eric Clapton, White Power enthusiast / April 27, 2008, 12:40 PM
    Live in San Francisco, it’s TNH! / April 24, 2008, 01:57 PM

    Google cache that I don’t have from local copy:

    Teresa in the Observer / April 26, 2008, 10:49 PM
    Feeling the Heat / April 28, 2008, 10:08 PM
    SFWA election results / April 30, 2008, 01:06 AM
    The Rather Difficult Font Game / April 29, 2008, 06:46 AM
    Little Brother / April 30, 2008, 06:13 AM
    Newsweek invents an alarming trend / April 29, 2008, 05:02 PM
    Housekeeping / April 16, 2008, 11:02 PM
    Open thread 105 / April 18, 2008, 01:48 AM
    Could lead to goose-stepping / April 15, 2008, 02:18 AM
    Bury my acorns at Wounded Knee / April 21, 2008, 12:24 AM
    A book by its cover / April 19, 2008, 11:34 PM
    Future of Publishing, Part 5,271,009 / April 17, 2008, 09:17 AM
    Don’t Miss the Deadline / April 11, 2008, 11:13 PM
    April 11, 2008, 11:13 PM / April 11, 2008, 11:13 PM
    Some must employ the scythe / April 15, 2008, 03:53 PM
    Pity the Times / April 16, 2008, 12:22 PM
    Forty years gone / April 08, 2008, 07:20 PM

    If anyone has browser cache files of things not on that list or with later last-comment dates, that would be good!

  51. Updates:

    Greyhawk’s flags at half-staff / March 09, 2008, 01:06 AM
    Just do it / April 10, 2008, 06:36 AM
    Deep Value / April 01, 2008, 07:12 PM

    Note that Google’s caches only display the first 250kb or so of a file; many of these comment threads are a lot larger than that, so browser caches may be critical for saving comments by people (like me) who didn’t get on the names list.

  52. I am in awe of this effort.

    I’m reminded of the time a co-worker of mine, decades ago, pieced together the block map of a dead disk by hand, on a teletype.

  53. I wonder what the comment-length limit is here. I grepped through the stuff I had and extracted the relevant urls for commenters. There are 555 of them (Jim’s list is incomplete); the list is up at http://dpdx.net/temp/names.txt.

    I’ve grabbed Google caches for all the “a”s, but I’ll note that already there’s been one person (albatross) who was prolific enough that their posts since March 1 are enough to overflow the 250kb limit of what Google returns.

  54. (I should note, for clarity, that the comment about wondering what the comment-length limit was was written when I was thinking of just posting the list. But 555 URLs seemed a bit much, even though it was permissable.)

  55. Damn. I sent a comment at 3 in the morning, and it’s still not out of quarantine. If only I’d seen the “no html” bit. The upshot is, the best search method I’ve found is { xopher site:nielsenhayden.com } where you fill in the name you want. Bound to get the View All BY in the first page or two of results, plus the VABs of people who responded naming Xopher.

  56. Noting (now that I’ve had a little sleep and can write somewhat more coherently) that each of those 270 or so names above is a name for which I saved the Google cache of their comments.

    I sent all of these to P & T in 3 large tar.gz files.

    When a person had multiple names w/ one address (“serge”, “serge sees a spam”) I saved both. While those would be 98% similar, I did notice that one might have a few comments more than the other, the different being recent.

    This may be from what Jim McDonald noted, that each Google server can have and return different results, and our results may vary by which server we get. (or it could be an algorithm different. would need to test– heresiarch and zheresiarch could work for that).

  57. MSN search on “”comments posted to making light” for April 08 is done and mailed.

  58. Wow, thanks everybody! I tried searching for my comments early in this thread and they only went up to 2/28. Thanks to the folks who got mine and everybody else’s!

  59. Argh, major apologies for referring to James Macdonald as “Jim” upthread; I do know better. Also, I have snagged VABs for Serge and all the Bruces I could find (Arthurs, Baugh, Purcell, SpeakerToManagers, no last name), since Mary Dell mentioned elsewhere that their caches were excessively old.

  60. Doh! If only I’d thought to look here earlier!

    Don’t waste any more time with Google; their cache got refreshed too fast. Hit MS http://live.com/ as for once, slowness in updating is a virtue.

    I saw a couple people have collected my comments, and my sincere thanks to you. Before I saw that, I had grabbed my own right up through 5/2/2008 from MS Live, and can send it if still wanted.

    Who are we still looking for? Is there an updated most-wanted list? It looks like MS can get us up through 5/2 or thereabouts.

  61. (Oops on calling James “Jim”; I was sleepy and following what Virginia was doing. My apologies added to hers.)

    An update: Got browser caches as of May 2nd from the following threads, from Tiger Spot (again, name / last comment format):

    Forty Years Gone / April 08, 2008, 07:20 PM
    Amsterdam / April 25, 2008, 08:48 AM
    Open thread 104 / April 16, 2008, 07:01 PM

    I’ll guess those are probably complete.

    My guess, for most-wanted on threads, would be Open Thread 105 and Deep Value, since Google’s cache truncated those by a _lot_.

    Also, note that having copies of the threads gives a piece of data that doesn’t (AFAICT) seem to be anywhere else — the comment number of a given comment. That’s critical for following “so-and-so @ number” types of later comments!

  62. Google not only refreshes its cache, but truncates after something like 250K.

    I never thought I’d ever say this, but Microsoft’s caching was superior. The Dark Side is strong.

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