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Bizarro World in Civil War Cyberspace

Dimitri Rotov’s called renewed attention to a series of websites that have done their best to connect themselves to the Civil War blogosphere: The American History Club and The American Civil War Forum.

There’s something wonderfully fradulent about the discussion groups on both sites: each site recycles old usenet threads from five years ago, distributes those threads among fictional members, and then pretends the result constitutes a current set of conversations.  This means, in part, that the original author of a long-forgotten thread may see his or her comments redistributed among a number of fictional discussants: since the texts themselves retain the names of the original participants, the result is funny, curious, bizarre … and ultimately an outright effort at fraud.

At various moments the people who run the site and who are using it to construct blogs that are extended commentaries on other blogs contact the usual suspects, who, given their usual friendliness, can find themselves drawn into this mess unawares.  I learned about this early enough to alert some fellow bloggers to what was going on, but I can see that at least one’s been ensnared.

You’ve been warned. 

Comments (9) to “Bizarro World in Civil War Cyberspace”

  1. Brooks,

    I just looked and the content is gone. Whatever you said did the trick.

    I was prepared to send them a DMCA copyright infringement notice if I found even so much as a single word of my stuff on there.


  2. Eric–

    Now, isn’t that interesting? :)

  3. Brooks,

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I will spread the word on my site and link your post. I will also remove one of the sites in question from mine.


  4. I just checked the links and both sites are currently down.

  5. Brooks,

    I’m at work right now but I’m 99.9% sure I’ve got the American Civil War Forum blog portion of that site in my blogroll. It will be removed immediately upon my arrival home this evening. Eric and I each recently sent DMCA requests to another one of these scumbags several weeks ago. I suspect this is going to get worse before it ever gets better. As of 1:15 Central on September 18, both of these sites are up and running. It looks like there are links to some valid Civil War blogs out there, but the way these posts are presented make it hard to tell what, if anything, is stolen content.

  6. I’ve checked the forums as of noon my time today, and the recycled content is still there. So you can’t say the fraud is accidental: several of us have told “Sue” that.

  7. The American History Club, as of Friday 8:00 PST, is “down for maintenance.”

  8. I sent “Sue” a DMCA notice yesterday and told her that if I found so much as a single word of content from any of my sites, I would immediately notify her ISP of the copyright infringement and that they would undoubtedly terminate her service immediately.

    That seems to have done the trick. I may not be a professional historian, but there are times when my chosen profession does have its benefits. :-)


  9. Let’s hope this time they stay down until the forums are cleared.