Lessons from the LGF Memory Hole: Comment URLs

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.

28 Comments on “Lessons from the LGF Memory Hole: Comment URLs”

  1. nil stooge says:

    Nice job Chen! Bet you’re giving the Johnson headaches and nightmares. What’s the over/under for when he fixes this gaping void in his own little iron curtain?

  2. It almost makes me wish I still visited his site since self banishment. Not enough to actually visit mind you, but almost.

    • Bunk X says:

      Nothing much to see over there anymore. There are a few contrarians left, like Albusteve and Talking Points Detective, even though the latter is apparently a leftist. Word went out some time ago to cut the downdings, and NOBODY dares to downding the Chuck.

  3. Internet Septic Tank Engineer says:

    Dim Commentnum As Long

    Private Sub Form_Load()

    Commentnum = 7570435
    Text1.Text = “http://littlegreenfootballs.com/showc/” + Format(Commentnum)
    WebBrowser1.Navigate Text1.Text
    End Sub

    Private Sub WebBrowser1_DocumentComplete(ByVal pDisp As Object, URL As Variant)
    Dim sText As String, sTextHTML As String
    Dim SleepS
    sT = WebBrowser1.Document.body.innerText
    sTextHTML = WebBrowser1.Document.documentElement.outerHTML
    RichTextBox1.Text = sTextHTML
    Open “e:/test/testdataup/C” + Format(Commentnum) + “.htm” For Output As #1

    Print #1, , RichTextBox1.Text

    Close #1
    Commentnum = Commentnum + 1
    Text1.Text = “http://littlegreenfootballs.com/showc/” + Format(Commentnum)
    WebBrowser1.Navigate Text1.Text
    End Sub

    ‘This to make the progress bar work and to show a status message, and an image.
    Private Sub WebBrowser1_ProgressChange(ByVal Progress As Long, ByVal ProgressMax As Long)
    On Error Resume Next
    If Progress = -1 Then ProgressBar1.Value = 100 ‘the name of the progress bar is “ProgressBar1”.
    Label1.Caption = “Done”
    ProgressBar1.Visible = False ‘This makes the progress bar disappear after the page is loaded.
    Image1.Visible = True
    If Progress > 0 And ProgressMax > 0 Then
    ProgressBar1.Visible = True
    Image1.Visible = False
    ProgressBar1.Value = Progress * 100 / ProgressMax
    Label1.Caption = Int(Progress * 100 / ProgressMax) & “%”
    End If
    Exit Sub
    End Sub
    Private Sub Back_Click()
    On Error Resume Next
    End Sub

    Private Sub Go_Click()
    WebBrowser1.Navigate Text1.Text
    End Sub

  4. Uh oh, LOL. I think CJ might be on to us!

  5. My Little Ponytail says:

    Chuck’s AWOL. Wonder what that means?

  6. nil stooge says:

    ChenZhen, as The Minotaur :
    Meaning he just zapped the comments in the deleted threads. i.e. the trick won’t work now.
    He’ll also remember to zap them in future thread deletions, too.
    He thinks he’s a Zappa.

    Would’ve taken just a single SQL statement once he was aware of the hole.

    No doubt all the loozards feel more secure now that their little Iron Curtain is intact again.

    • My Little Ponytail says:

      You’re assuming that the thing was set up intelligently to begin with. If the tables are fuldkommen gak, the SQL foo is kukkuk.

      • nil stooge says:

        Well it’d take just two SQL statements at most – one to restructure the comments table and add a ‘show/hide’ field, and a second to hide all comments linked to disappeared threads.


        Johnson may be a dishonest crapweasel with limited writing and analytical skills, but he’s not an idiot when it comes to code.

  7. Internet Septic Tank Engineer says:

    nil stooge :Well it’d take just two SQL statements at most – one to restructure the comments table and add a ‘show/hide’ field, and a second to hide all comments linked to disappeared threads.
    Johnson may be a dishonest crapweasel with limited writing and analytical skills, but he’s not an idiot when it comes to code.

    Yes he is an idiot!

    How many blogs have you ever seen where the first comment is two hours before the article is posted?

    Charles Johnson couldn’t program himself out of a wet paper bag even if he was on fire and chased by a Potato bug!

    Look at this crap.

    LGF 20G

    Charles Johnson
    Sat Apr 8, 2006 at 8:30 am PDT • Views: 9

    What? This is post number what? No way. Get outta here.

    (Although it is numbered 20,000, it’s not really the 20,000th post because some posts have been deleted for one reason or another, and those numbers are not reused. My little green admin tool informs me that this will actually be post #19,801.)

    * down
    * up

    * spy
    * email this
    * print

    refresh | ► spinoff links (0)
    Tags: Open Thread, Post 20000


    * Comments are open and unmoderated, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Little Green Footballs.
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    Hide comments | Jump to bottom
    1 Liz Ard Sat, Apr 8, 2006 6:31:23am replyquote

    * 0
    * down
    * up
    * report

    wow !
    2 jeremybi Sat, Apr 8, 2006 6:32:41am replyquote

    * 0
    * down
    * up
    * report

    Double wow!

    Fucking triple WOW! A real time machine!

    ROTFLMAO at Chuckie.

    Oh, there are about twenty six THOUSAND articles with that amazing “feature”

    • little green putz says:

      “Disagreement and debate are welcome, ”

      And the moon is really made of cheese. Ah, life in Bizarro world

    • nil stooge says:

      That’s an interesting admission by Johnson, because it’s given at a time prior to when he was interested in erasing his past. Then he admits that 20,000-19,801=199 threads had been deleted, presumably – since it’s prior to his political epiphany – for less than nefarious reasons.

      Now there are 225 threads missing from the range 1-20,000. Of those, Chen and a nameless netizen have recovered 23. The inference is there are only 3 interesting, lately deleted by Johnson, threads in that range still unrecovered.

  8. Bunk X says:

    Just a question. Why are you showing everyone your decryption-fu? 😉

  9. Internet Septic Tank Engineer says:

    Bunk X :Just a question. Why are you showing everyone your decryption-fu?

    All will be revealed Grasshopper. Remember the wikipedia thingy where it was contested that Charles was hiding stuff?

    You know the part where they were saying there was no proof?

    Well, now there is proof. The place looks like a swiss cheese. Chen forced Charles to hide all the comments from the threads that he claimed he did not hide.

    Charles is pwned (whatever that means) big time!

  10. Internet Septic Tank Engineer says:

    Bunk X :Seems to me the same as a loud soccer coach hollering at his team where the opponents’ defensive holes are while the opposing team listens and takes notes.

    Yeah, but in this case we got the defensive holes all neatly wrapped up and saved before they became holes.

    I give you a token hole. Comment 1997513 no longer exists, it is gone forever.

    It was a comment that was posted to article 17397 which is deleted and gone forever. Or is it?

    article 17397

    The Vultures of the Venomous Left
    Wesley Pruden sums up the instant politicization of the Katrina disaster: Not much traction with the abuse.
    The vultures of the venomous left are attacking on two fronts, first that the president didn’t do what the incompetent mayor of New Orleans and the pouty governor of Louisiana should have done, and didn’t, in the early hours after Katrina loosed the deluge on the city that care and good judgment forgot. Ray Nagin, the mayor, ordered a “mandatory” evacuation a day late, but kept the city’s 2,000 school buses parked and locked in neat rows when there was still time to take the refugees to higher ground. The bright-yellow buses sit ruined now in four feet of dirty water. Then the governor, Kathleen Blanco, resisted early pleas to declare martial law, and her dithering opened the way for looters, rapists and killers to make New Orleans an unholy hell. Gov. Haley Barbour did not hesitate in neighboring Mississippi, and looters, rapists and killers have not turned the streets of Gulfport and Biloxi into killing fields.
    The drumbeat of partisan ingratitude continues even after the president flooded the city with National Guardsmen from a dozen states, paratroopers from Fort Bragg and Marines from the Atlantic and the Pacific. The flutter and chatter of the helicopters above the ghostly abandoned city, some of them from as far away as Singapore and averaging 240 missions a day, is eerily reminiscent of the last days of Saigon. Nevertheless, Sen. Mary Landrieu, who seems to think she’s cute when she’s mad, even threatened on national television to punch out the president — a felony, by the way, even as a threat. Mayor Nagin, who you might think would be looking for a place to hide, and Gov. Blanco, nursing a bigtime snit, can’t find the right word of thanks to a nation pouring out its heart and emptying its pockets. Maybe the senator should consider punching out the governor, only a misdemeanor.
    The race hustlers waited for three days to inflame a tense situation, but then set to work with their usual dedication. The Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, our self-appointed twin ambassadors of ill will, made the scene as soon as they could, taking up the coded cry that Katrina was the work of white folks, that a shortage of white looters and snipers made looting and sniping look like black crime, that calling the refugees “refugees” was an act of linguistic racism. A “civil rights activist” on Arianna Huffington’s celebrity blog even floated the rumor that the starving folks abandoned in New Orleans had been forced to eat their dead — after only four days. New Orleans has a reputation for its unusual cuisine, but this tale was so tall that nobody paid it much attention. Neither did anyone tell the tale-bearer to put a dirty sock in it.
    Condi Rice went to the scene to say what everyone can see for himself, that no one but the race hustlers imagine Americans of any hue attaching strings to the humanitarian aid pouring into the broken and bruised cities of the Gulf. Most of the suffering faces in the flickering television images are black, true enough, and most of the helping hands are white.
    07:55 AM PST | link: 109 comments | link only

    And for your enjoyment comment 1997513 which is as we all know a comment to article 17397

    0 mad_scientist
    9/06/2005 6:04:29 am PDT 0 down up report

    taking up the coded cry that Katrina was the work of white folks, that a shortage of white looters and snipers made looting and sniping look like black crime
    Look like black crime? It looks like it because it IS. This is not meant to be racist, but it NO is a largely African American populated city.

    So, it would make sense that a majority of those left to loot would be African American.

    I was wondering how long it would take before the “race baiting poverty pimps”, Al & Jesse, would try to blame this on the white man (or consercatives, who are all racist in their eyes).

    Also, I think it says a lot about the government welfare state and what it produces. It produces cripals…people who cannot help themselves, and depend on the government for everything.

    Charles, we won.

    • snowcrash says:

      I think you said it best a few threads back, it is how well the game is played and how much fun you had. What more can we ask for?