OTB Site Update [Updated]

We're slowly fixing the site.

Our new developer has upgraded the site to the latest WordPress install, upgraded all plugins, and removed the defunct SiteMeter code. He’s also cleared the database on a security plugin that had gotten enormous and changed the timing of an update that was, for reasons that I don’t understand, was taking place at 5:05pm Eastern.

Let us know if you see any performance issues related to these changes.

Next up: Fixing the ad issues.

Once the existing site is running as well as we can make it, we’ll get to making it more compatible with mobile devices and other features.

UPDATE 1: Apparently, the controversial Up/Down voting feature for comments was a casualty of the update. The plugin is no longer supported and is incompatible with the current version of WordPress. We may look into alternatives down the line.

UPDATE 2 (Jan. 26): We’ve got a different Up/Down plugin installed. It worked fine on the development site and it’s now live here. Let us know if you see problems with it.

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. gVOR08 says:

    Whoa. The home page, and then this post, loaded in about three seconds each. Then the security software closed the window saying it was on a list of suspicious sites. This time it’s staying open, perhaps because I haven’t closed the pop up ad yet.

    So… Good work, thank you. I’m sure maintaining this site is a pain, and largely thankless. But from me, thank you. And is there anything we can do on our end to get it off the blocked list? (WIN10, Mozilla, ESET NOD32)

  2. KM says:

    When I tried to comment before on another thread, I got several 502 Bad gateway errors as well as a strange popup regarding mysql. I took a screenshot if you need, James – just send me an email and I’ll be happy to pass it over since it looked like it had login info.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve gone to pretty aggressive ad blocking, and therefore the site seems to loading on phone/tablet. But I hate to do that as I can’t ad block on just one site. I don’t like to do that for all, as it breaks the unwritten contract of free site = ads. And on a more practical side, there are sites that won’t let you see the content if you ad block them

  4. al-Ameda says:

    no ‘up vote’
    down vote’
    thumbs either

  5. @al-Ameda:

    That plugin hasn’t been updated in some time and when we upgraded to the new version of WordPress it appears that it no longer works with WordPress.

    A replacement plugin with similar functionality is being looked for I believe.

  6. James Joyner says:

    @KM: Emailed.

    @MarkedMan: Understood. I’ve used one for years called “Disconnect” that allows whitelisting of favored sites. Even top-tier sites with oodles of support people have issues, since almost everyone uses third-party ads. Ours got out of control and the next step is to reign those in. I had a guy managing the ads for us but he went AWOL on us some time back and I’ve just not made it a priority to wrest control of the situation back from him until now.

  7. Gobsmacked says:

    Very slow page loading on desktop, with or without ad blocker.

  8. CSK says:


    I got that, too–I was trying to upvote someone, and I kept getting a pop-up saying that jlefkowitz with the password “NO” was blocked. Not being J. Lefkowitz, I was a tad puzzled.

  9. Mister Bluster says:

    Looking for thumbs?

    no ‘up vote’ ‘down vote’ thumbs either

    A replacement plugin with similar functionality is being looked for I believe.

    When I was running around the country climbing telephone poles for a living I ran in to quite a few people with their thumbs up their asses.
    It’s been a while though so I don’t know if they would still be there if I went back to find them.

  10. Andy says:

    Wow, the site loads much, much faster.

    The site looks pretty much the same on Windows Chrome (except for the obviously missing up/down votes). The only graphical issue I see is the “reply” text/button for each comment is rendered on top of the border that outlines each comment. It should either be totally below the border or above it. I can send a screenshot if my explanation isn’t clear.

  11. Andy says:

    Also, I’m not sure the up/down vote system was that controversial. I think I might be the only one who doesn’t like it. If I were you I’d try to find a replacement since a lot of people here like the feature.

  12. Andy says:

    Noticed one more thing since I did a double comment. I can edit the first comment I made, but I can’t edit the second comment. Not sure if it was that way before, but I thought I’d mention it.

  13. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: Please do. It’s showing inside the box with plenty of border for me.

  14. James Joyner says:

    @Gobsmacked: Loading faster for me. The ads still take some time, though. They’re the next phase of the project.

  15. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:


    Screen capture at this link:


    BTW, it also displays the same on MS Edge on Windows.

    Both browsers are the latest version running on the latest version of Windows 10.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    I really like the up down vote system. I use it sparingly but often look to see how others react

  17. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: Interesting. I’m getting in, too, in both Edge and Firefox. In Chrome, it starts off that way for an instant and then snaps into place once the page finishes loading. I’ll pass it on.

  18. Andy says:

    @James Joyner:

    Same thing in Chrome on iOS as welll. Thought it might be my computer, but it’s there on my phone as well.

  19. @James Joyner: I am having the same result in Chrome.

  20. CSK says:

    @James Joyner:

    Same for me with Firefox.

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    Just gave myself an up vote! Damn that felt Good!

  22. MarkedMan says:

    Thanks for putting the thumbs up / down back. I thought I used it sparingly but it turns out I’ve reached for it a half dozen times today….

  23. James Joyner says:

    @Mister Bluster: @MarkedMan: Good deal. Does the maroon work or do they blend in too much?

  24. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: The maroon color works fine for me. I didn’t realize how much I liked the Up/Down voting until it was gone.

    Site is super speedy. Turning off my ad-blocker!

  25. al-Ameda says:

    @Doug Mataconis:
    thanks to all for the upgrade

  26. PJ says:

    The new up and down buttons are super responsive compared to the old ones 🙂

    Edit: though, as noted above, you can up-vote your own comments…

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    @James Joyner:…Maroon and Black are the colors of my Alma Mater Sleepytown U!
    Works for me!

  28. Stormy Dragon says:


    It was probably not outsidethebeltway.com itself that was on the ban list. Occasionally the site’s ad provider will send an malvertising ad containing a redirect to another site and that’s likely what is getting blocked. When it happens to me, refresh will usually bring the site up with a different (non-malicious) ad.

  29. Andy says:

    The reply button location is fixed now as well.

  30. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: Thanks! Getting the ads under control is the next item on the agenda.

  31. James Joyner says:

    @Andy: Yes.My guess is that the settings for it were set based on having the voting buttons, so when they returned, the problem fixed itself. It was on the developer’s agenda as a separate item but seems to be OBE.