Lessons from the LGF Memory Hole: Comment URLsPosted: November 17, 2010
I hesitate to post this up, considering that I agree somewhat with CJ in that if you reveal too much, the lurkers and trolls may change their behavior (thereby giving us more headaches). After weighing the pros and cons, however, I’ve decided to post it because while the digging can be fun, it can also be labor intensive. That, and the lurkers appear to miss the significance; there are thousands of comments in those threads, after all. So, for those who may want to do a little archeology work (and for myself; interested to see if it instead becomes CJ’s headache), I’ll present a nifty little trick. But first a little background…
Most LGF regulars know that individual lizard comments all have direct links attached to them. They’re right next to the football (avatar), and can be included when a reply to a comment is posted.
For some time in LGF history, the URLs for those comments looked something like this (using a live, non-memory holed thread’s comment as an example):
Notice that the URL is arranged first with article# (blue), then article comment# (green). If you follow that URL today, you will be taken to the article (25592, but not directly to the comment). This is because the individual comments were assigned new URLs a few years back. Now updated, that same comment’s URL will instead look like this (arranged article comment#, then master comment #):
Paste that in your browser, and you will be taken to that comment’s own page (complete with banner ad), and see this:
You know it Thanos! Anyway, from there, you can go back to the thread, or just page through the comments in slide show fashion.
So here’s the trick: Notice that the article# isn’t included in those new URLs? Well, that’s fortunate for our memory hole sleuthing, as it turns out. So let’s use another example, but this time we’ll revisit that good ol’ deleted Pam Geller thread again (note the timestamp):
Under the old comment URLs, the comment links for the deleted threads would redirect you to the same place the main article URL takes you (the LGF front page). But since the new comment URLs are independent of their host thread, finding them just takes a little pokin’ around. To start, I suggest altering the deleted thread’s url so it takes us to the live thread that would have been immediately prior:
Then look for a comment in that thread that timestamps* around the time that activity would have started in the deleted thread’s comment section, and copy the link:
Now here’s the important part: The master comment # (red) is the key, and the article comment# (green) is basically irrelevant (interestingly, resulting page will display whatever comment # you enter, or you can wipe it). Use some logic and trial and error, and tweak that red # by increasing it by a couple (or for this example, 20), and you might just find what you’re looking for:
Hey, I just rescued Thanos from the memory hole! (poking around a little more in there, and you’ll find that Thanos was comment #13)
*For deleted threads that date before the URL switch-over around mid-2007 (if someone knows the exact date, help me out), these URLs appear to be auto-assigned a master comment number by article (not by individual timestamp). This makes the sleuthing even easier. Instead of checking timestamps, simply go to the last comment in the prior thread, copy the url, and increase the master comment # by one. Presto! It takes you to the first comment in the deleted thread!
So as an invitation to DoDers and LGF lurkers, go ahead, use the mosaic, and see who you can rescue from…the Memory Hole.
Update: LOL Just like that, CJ spoils the fun. The big [delete] button was pressed, I’m afraid. A tremor passed through the blogosphere as countless hours invested on thousands of comments met their fiery demise, and they went spiraling into It’s depths. But we soldier on. Like I said, ’till there’s nothing left but open threads and tech updates.
To Thanos: Brave blog warrior, do not fear, for we have preserved your love of Cindy Sheehan here, at DoD.