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Comments and comment fields

My little corner of the blogosphere is alive with entries about the disadvantages of comments. In general, I have a live-and-let-live attitude towards comments: some bloggers like them, some don't. In general, I don't find the 'urge to reply' too powerful to resist, so they don't waste my time, and I rather like learning about the other interesting blogs out there through those who comment on my site. I'm not about to turn them off.

Then again, sometimes you get insightful pieces of commentary this one from a fellow CLS student:

that was pretty idiotic (signed "your classmate')
At first I doubted whether it was honestly a CLS student comment: at this late date, is there anyone here that can still make an argument that isn't in IRAC form? Sadly, the author was indeed a classmate.

This kind of thing doesn't bug me: frankly, the blogosphere is nothing in comparison to the awful days of USENET flamewars. But as a courtesy warning to those of you who like leaving 'anonymous' comments: be careful what you say. Obviously the above doesn't rise to anything damaging, but if someone ever did leave some remark that required the author to be tracked down, it's relatively easy to do.

You see, the comments feature of most blogs (including MoveableType, what Three Years of Hell uses) records the IP address from which the comment is posted. That and TRACERT allows one to determine that is within the Columbia Law School. [1] Meanwhile, the Law School's computer networks don't allow you access to the internet until you've registered your Ethernet card(s). The CLS systems administrators should be able to check their DHCP logs, figure out what ethernet card was using a given IP address at a given time, and match that to a name. (I believe this is roughly the same method the RIAA uses to get your name if they want to sue you, but I'm not certain there.)

Obviously, such involved searching be overkill for a cogent piece of literary criticism like the above. But just in case some reader decides it's a good idea to leave defamatory, libelous, or otherwise damaging text in an 'anonymous' way here on Three Years of Hell, I feel I ought to give at least this much warning.

[1] In case you're interested, here's one of a number of TRACERT servers out on the web. Try it yourself. You can also call up a command prompt and type TRACERT, or whatever other IP address you feel like.


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You know you really are too damn techy for your own good. 'A very technical boy' as Gibson would say. Incidentally if I libel Dubya, Rummy or any of the others on here would you really rat me out ;-) M
Bah! If he was really that "techy", he'd have called it 'traceroute', and he'd also know that a much more reliable way to figure out who 'owns' the the IP would be to do a whois {ip address}@arin.net (or http://ws.arin.net/cgi-bin/whois.pl for those without a Unix shell.) ;-) At any rate, it is amusing how some people think they are being "anonymous" when they use the Internet--these are usually the people who completely lack the skills to _actually_ remain anonymous.
KillAllDash9: I've seen both 'traceroute' and TRACERT--in general I just refer to the command, but I'll admit it's a matter of habit. Also, yes, I could do a whois, but that would only tell me that the IP address is owned by Columbia. Traceroute lets me know it's in the law school.
On a Mac OS X or Linux/Unix box, the command name IS traceroute Just saying' :-)
On a Mac OS X or Linux/Unix box, the command name IS traceroute Gee, David, do I look like a hippie? ;)
Hello.i'am from china!can i make friends with you?

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