This past week has been an interesting one. I’m sure there are many questions about the new name and domain change. I put together this post to help explain things and hopefully provide some answers to your questions. I think this change is good and will create a lot of new opportunities for our community to grow.
How Did We Get Here?
In the months since the 2016 election DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks on Politiforum ramped up. The attacks consistently originated in France but were largely manageable. We experienced zero down time as a result. The DDoS attacks usually increased in duration and complexity when there were posts made that were critical of Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM). The largest DDoS attack came after posts about Charlottesville started going up. This attack didn’t take the site down but it did cause a lot of trouble for many users trying to login or post. For me, that was enough to make some infrastructure changes.
While the attacks were ongoing, I started receiving dozens of DMCA takedown notices for posts that were created that did not have links or appropriate author attribution. As a US based site, this could have caused a lot of problems for us. I’m glad to pay the full costs of running our community out of my pocket, but I won’t spend my money on hiring lawyers to defend others who were not linking and attributing appropriately. I also did not want to be put into a position of sending the legal trouble to the users who were causing the DMCA violations. I’ll post some best practices on how to avoid DMCA issues at the bottom of this post (but Iceland does not recognize the DMCA – more on that in a second).
How I Selected The Name Freebird
I’ve said before how I’ve been banned from most social media platforms. In fact, that’s why I started our community in April 2016. I did not agree with the practices of social media, discussion forums, and news sites censoring the speech of some users while allowing others to say whatever they wanted. Like many of you, I felt that I had nowhere to go and always had to watch what I said online.
I selected the name “Freebird” for a few reasons (none of them have anything to do with the excellent song by Lynyrd Skynyrd).
When I see a bird, I think freedom - but I also think community and free association. Over the past few years I’ve become an avid bird watcher (yeah, I’m one of those people). I’ve noticed that birds move and communicate freely but come together to build their own communities. I particularly like the North American Robin. I won’t go into too much detail because I want you to keep reading but, I recommend doing some of your own research if you are interested. https://www.learner.org/jnorth/robin/
Out of all social media sites, Twitter probably angers me the most. Twitter doesn’t even attempt to hide their war on conservative speech and thought. Twitter’s logo is a fat dopey bird, which is totally fitting for them considering their SJW outlook on the world. People are not free to express themselves on Twitter and their logo should be redesigned to show a fat bird in a cage - not a free bird.
I adjusted the Politiforum logo from the pyramid to the bird and placed the bird facing the title to signify new “freebirds” leaving their old communities to join ours - where they can freely express themselves. I kept with a very sharp design to signify the transformation of the pyramid to the bird. I paid a graphic designer to make the logo to my specifications so that it is unique.
The name “freebird” is not political. I think this will give our community a chance to grow in different ways and attract more users who may not primarily be interested in politics. To me this represents a great opportunity. We can break the mainstream narrative that most people blindly accept and consume. They may not land here because of politics, but they may become political as a result. Oh and let’s face it, talking politics all day long can be exhausting. We need to lighten up (don’t worry, I won’t make a bird watching category).
Why A Strange .IS Domain?
Unfortunately, free speech is not as protected in the United States as it used to be. It is far too easy for the SJWs of the world to cite their “feelings” and get sites taken down, domain names seized, and cause a whole lot of trouble for sites like ours. That’s not an attack on liberals who value free speech and expression. It’s just a statement of fact based on my experiences dealing with these issues in our contemporary socio-political climate.
.IS is an Iceland domain. For us this means that our domain is outside the legal authorities of the US and the EU. Why does that matter? Because the only way for the site or a post to be taken down would be through a court ruling from a judge in Iceland. Based upon Icelandic free speech laws, that’s an incredibly difficult thing for someone to do. Iceland has perhaps the best free speech laws on Earth. So welcome to Iceland fellow freebirds.