A mere ten months late, I bring you news that the Army has started running a group blog at wordpress.com. It’s quite a busy site, with 39 posts during November alone, although 10 to 20 per month is a more normal figure. There’s a steady trickle of comments on each post; and most posts – but not all – are commentable. The theme is fairly run-of-the-mill; a standard wordpress.com free site with the ‘custom CSS’ upgrade, costing roughly £10 per year.
I’m also told that the Navy’s JackSpeak blog, which disappeared offline when the Navy’s site got hacked in early November, may be making a return at some point, possibly also at wordpress.com. The Navy’s site was initially taken completely offline, with visitors being sheepishly redirected to the most recent National Archives copy of its careers information for a good couple of weeks or more; it’s now back more-or-less as-was, minus the JackSpeak site.
The Romanian hacker responsible for the attack quoted his method as ‘SQL injection’, and published details of usernames and (encrypted) passwords for three databases on the server: one of which was the WordPress-based JackSpeak. However, it seems as though the globalops area of the site, which shows monthly updates of Navy fleet deployments, had an admin account with the password ‘ppp’ – making you wonder quite how tightly that particular section of the site had been secured.
There’s a delightful exchange of comments on Slashdot on the subject:
The RAF, meanwhile, has its own blogging initiative of sorts: but it’s a baffling attempt to force (very) occasional ‘blog’ content into its main ColdFusion CMS. Meanwhile, back at HQ, the MOD runs a few blogs in a Typepad account: its Defence News and Afghanistan blogs are very active, with multiple posts daily, but are really just press briefing and news aggregation channels.
It’s a rather chaotic picture in terms of technology platforms, which isn’t great as a matter of principle – but given the rock-bottom costs involved in, say, a Typepad account, it can’t be high on the priority list for rationalisation. And if it works, it works.
PS: Please don’t be shy about sending me tip-offs, if you’re doing something – or indeed, anything! – with WordPress in government.