A number of inquiries have come in regarding accessing the site via an IP address, having backups, locating the site offshore, etc. Here are the answers to those questions and the reasoning behind the answers.
Question: Why can we not hit the website with an IP address instead of the URL?
Answer: We do not support a dedicated or static IP.
There's no security benefit to doing so. In fact a static IP is more of a target, not less.
There's no added benefit as a solution if the domain were taken offline, since the domain would still occupy the database and the database would redirect traffic to the domain, for security purposes. This is necessary to ensure the SSL security certificate functions properly. You can see the results of not considering that here.
Other sites do it:
Yes. We will not, for the above reasons.
Some of the recent inquiries are expressing concern that Giza is at risk of being lost, etc. If that's not your concern, no need to read further. If it is, we've distilled and paraphrased some of the answers we've provided to those tickets.
What about being taken down?
We are not at risk of being taken down, provided our Terms of Service, to which ALL site participants are bound, regardless of whether they explicitly agreed to them, are followed. These prohibit threatening behaviors, violent behaviors, threatening speech, speech that is racially disparaging, speech calling for or plotting violence or insurrection, and other behaviors and speech patterns that are unacceptable at Giza. These behaviors are prohibited here, no exceptions. As per the terms of service, if one cannot accept that, one is not allowed to utilize the Giza Community as a platform.
Why not just move the server to Guyana or the Arctic and operate without dependency on any big-tech companies?
That would work, if we were interested in ceasing to grow as a community, dwindling by attrition, while cutting off the sources of 97% of all website visitors, which include 7 of the "big tech" platforms: Google, Bing, Yahoo, Reddit, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter. A closed community, such as a commune, or insular tribe, can do exactly that. But it's not the mission of Giza to establish such a closed community.
Likewise, what good would it do to move the server to an 'offshore' venue, if we can't utilize (for instance) an 'onshore' payment processing system and 'onshore' banks?, not to mention 'onshore' browsers and ISPs, to allow broad access and the community to sustain itself? Unless we're willing to trade chickens (or bitcoin, and bitcoin doesn't buy groceries at Safeway—the doctor doesn't take bitcoin—we can't pay our taxes in bitcoin), it's not workable. Most of our partner vendors will not accept bitcoin. But we're not an offshore gambling establishment that needs to have a bank in the Cayman's. We're not trying to be. We are GOING to need to utilize mainstream tools and platforms in order to function, and any one of those is a fail point if, collectively, we act like what the rest of the world considers... jerks. If we're not planning to do that, we needn't worry.
Why not back up the server, in case of the site being taken down?
It's backed up every 24hrs.
What's the plan if the site is taken down?
Unfortunately, ban the user who caused that to happen, apologize to the offended platform, and re-establish trust in the larger community. Giza will not be a platform occupying a tiny island in a minuscule corner of a difficult to access island on the 'darknet'. It would not survive, if it did. Most of the islands also won't survive. We're not a particular shared ideology (a church) that can operate as a nonprofit and eek out a living farming our own fields and jointly putting up barns. As long as this venue exists, it will be here, on the publicly-accessible web, for most people, doing business with American banks, American ISPs, and so on.
So is Giza just another mainstream platform?
The Giza Community is neither mainstream nor darknet. It occupies a middle ground that facilitates speculation and inquiry, favoring reliable sources and robust reasoning, questioning mainstream narratives but rejecting rageful hyperbole, vindictive attacks and hatred aimed at a scapegoat group, as well as other behaviors and speech patterns requiring our own island. That won't make everyone happy, but we were never going to make everyone happy.
But, I don't like big tech and big finance.
Nonetheless, until we stop driving cars, using banks, or accessing the internet, unless we create our own payment processor, ISP, currency, app store, credit system, jobs, economy, etc, it's a given that we will be using Google searches or something like it, Stripe or something like it, credit cards, bank accounts, and ISPs etc. It's beyond the scope of Giza to replace all those things. Moving to another app will does not solve it—you're still in someone's app store. Moving out of app stores doesn't solve it either—you still require major ISPs to not blacklist your ip address, which they can instantly, easily, and legally. You require an OS not to block your app's behavior. You require, we all require, an ecosystem that involves others, including people and orgs with whom we may disagree, to operate. Being a hermit is not conducive to creating a community.
I've heard other alternative personalities recommend these and other solutions.
Giza isn't chasing false solutions which don't fully account for the infrastructure needed to operate it. And Giza isn't those platforms. We must make decisions on the basis of what serves Giza. It's not a one-size fits all template. For Giza, there is no problem to solve. There's no evidence anyone is coming for our website or shutting down our discussion. WE could get it shut down, certainly, and therefore Giza will shut down the behaviors we've mentioned that violate our TOS that also any ISP, search engine, platform, app store, financial system, etc will almost certainly shut down. It won't do any good to set up a coal-powered generator if the local merchant won't sell us coal and we need gas in our truck to go get any but we've had a falling out with gas, and anyway the gas station is run by electricity and we won't use electricity. At some point, Bob Sutton's point comes home to roost. If we want to play in a sandbox with other people, and not live on our own island with a tiny, shrinking tribe, watching things dwindle as the world moves on, we have to have some limits on toxic behavior. A system of zero limits isn't freedom, because it does not make us free to live in a community with most other people.
Not everyone will agree with these reasons, and they're not being asked to. But rather than craft a dozen different responses to the requests, for efficiency, and in light of the unprecedented interest and nervousness around these topics, it makes sense for Support to just cut through some of the issues and explain the reasons our business infrastructure isn't fleeing to an offshore 'answer'. Not judging those people who've asked, just saying we aren't going that route.