Encyclopedia Dramatica was down. Not just down but the custom page was returning a 5xx error blaming CloudFlare. This was when I started to worry. It was CloudFlare who canceled services for the Daily Stormer leading to their being taken down in a DDoS attack. ED has been a guilty pleaure for over a decade now but I've been expecting a day when they would face the showdown with the final boss of censorship. Oh, and the icing on the cake? They weren't able to make an announcement until a few hours ago when Twitter allowed them to post again.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Our Frontend host has booted us because of the "Offended" page, I'm working to setup couple of alternatives.<br>Would have notified y'all sooner, but - Twitter Jail.</p>— Encyclopædia Dramatica (@eddotse) <a href="https://twitter.com/eddotse/status/992693356609376257?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 5, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
What makes it even more troubling is that it comes hot on the heels of YouTube freezing the Million Dollar Extreme channel in the midst of their Crush500 series contest. In fact in the second round, Hyde has promised a $5000 prize (that's if Sam doesn't pull another Dark Skyes/brony dating sim scam). And all this happened just <i>after</i> a handful of kratom advocates on YouTube had their channels (and all their content) deleted without warning. The same thing happened with a handful of nootropic related channels but some of those were reinstated with YouTube calling the situation an "accident." It would seem like less of an accident if it hadn't happened just after CNN's story put enough heat on several YouTube advertisers to convince them to pull their ads from the site.
This wouldn't be the first time ED had run into some trouble. The Australian Human Rights Commission had ED removed from Google search results coming from the Antipodes in 2010. They recovered from a DNS block and restored the site via Google cache where it was hosted at encyclopediadramatica.ch and a few other domains before being housed at encyclopediadramatica.rs. More recently, the site was facing a SLAPP suit filed by Jonathan Montsarrat.
“It is absolutely disgusting. It’s a horrible, horrible website that is deeply offensive.
“We’ve tried not to say anything about it, but occasionally people come across it and it brings everything back up every time.
“We’ve tried to have internet experts get it closed down, but haven’t had any success.
“The people behind this phenomenon of ‘trolling’ - where people deliberately post offensive material on the internet to get a reaction - have caused great upset." Those were the words of Sylvia Lancaster on ED's page mocking the death of her daughter and "glorifying the killers" by "saying they should be 'knighted' rather than be in prison." Lancaster was neither the first nor the last to attempt to <a href="http://archive.is/20PFW">take down ED</a> because they were offended and likely won't be the last. That said, like 8chan, ED is one of the canary's in the coal mine of net-based free speech, and as such, worth keeping an eye on.