Thursday, 1 July 2010

A Space Odyssey?

Do you remember that I posted a little while ago about a blogger who had had her blog removed without being informed this was to happen? Well, she got it back but all the comments she ever left on her own and other blogs have still not been restored, and worse, all the comments she leaves are removed within 24 hours!

Blogging is a dialogue, it's often the comments section that makes blogs so compelling. Without the conversation what will blogging be?

I hope this is a technical problem but questions on the help forum have garnered no answers from the Blogger team, the longer they are silent the more sinister this appears. And, actually, a glitch in the system that homes in on individuals randomly and silences them is far too dystopian to ignore. So a new campaign has been launched by Eroswings to try at least to provoke an answer from someone at Blogger/Google, and hopefully restore the comments of not just MJ but also another blogger, Leni, who is suffering the same fate.

Please pop over to Eros Den and follow his simple prompts to ask Blogger what on earth is going on. The more people who do this the more likely is the problem to be solved.

I requote his quotation:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out --
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me -- and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892-1984)

This may seem, when there are such problems in the world as the Gulf oil fandango, like a very small thing. But without a voice a person is rendered impotent to deal with large or small. Today two voices have been silenced, how many will it be tomorrow?

It's time to make like the mushroom:

Mushrooms (Sylvia Plath)

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.
Thanks to: http://www.americanpoems.com/poets/sylviaplath/1415 for the poem


Lulu LaBonne said...

Loved the poem.

I didn't realise that this censorship continues - will head over to Eroswings to add my voice.

Carole said...

Eros Den's instructions are quite easy to follow. Easy and quick.

I love the mushroom poem. Every spring in Montana we would go hunt Morrells. And then of course fry them and eat them. Mmmmm.

Alesa Warcan said...

Went through phases one and two...
I hope the issue gets addressed as soon as possible.
*Speculation ahead*

It seems to me that the problem occurred thus:
a bigoted creep and their bigoted friends complained to blogger or to google about infomaniac and escritora. People will always find reasons to complain. Self righteous nutters all the more vehemently so.

Standard response from blogger/google: block/hide the blog (it isn't deleted otherwise they wouldn't be able to bring it back), check if the blog is infringing on TOS or not... Wait for the blogger's response.
Provided a number of conditions are met, reactivate the blog, issue form apology.

Normally it ends there but the comments didn't reappear because of a bug, a bug stemming from the buggy merger of blogger with google (the google/blogger merger buglist is astounding).

So, for example, maybe blogger no longer has them blacklisted, but google hasn't unflagged their idents... Or vice versa. And no one is around to address the issue because they're possibly on minimal staff because of summer holidays.

I doubt this is a case of censorship, I doubt this is a case of personal persecution.
We're talking about a service that handles hundreds of thousands of accounts... Most of that through automated processes.

Clearly it is bad service, but it all makes sense.
I'm all for MJ and Leni getting their blogs and comments back... And perhaps getting people up on their high horse is the best way to get people to move. I just don't think this is a personal issue from blogger's end at all.
Just bugs and absent customer support.

Scarlet Blue said...

It's a bit of a headache. I've posted a few questions on the forum now... and finally when I got a reply from a Google employee he didn't investigate the problem properly and closed my discussion.
It was a bash my head on keyboard moment....

Pat said...

I can't deal with forums of any kind - my incompetence - but give support where I can.

savannah said...

a very elegant response to a very inelegant situation, sugar! we each do what we can. xoxoxo

Titus said...

I like savannah's "elegant", for it is.
Will comply, but I'm taken by Alesa's explantion. However, it doesn't stop us just being cogs in a machine.

Alesa Warcan said...

My explanation is in no way incompatible with the measures Eroswings advise.
Quite the opposite. Which is why I've posted on the forum and answered the feedback form (objectively).

As you say we are small cogs in a very large automated system.
But if enough people flag the problem, it will eventually get addressed. Emphasis on the eventually.

The fact of the matter is that two bloggers are in "denial of service", why that is is up for speculation... Helping them the matter of a few minutes. : j

Eryl Shields said...

Lulu ~ it's a great poem, is it not?

Carole ~ the fact that I managed to follow them without a hitch told me they must be easier than opening a pack of frozen peas.

I'd love to go mushroom hunting, and have a couple of books on the subject, but am too chicken: the poisonous ones look too much like the perfectly safe!

Alesa ~ you remind me of my favourite philosophy lecturer: cool logic reigns!

Scarlet ~ he closed your discussion? Argh!

Pat ~ one can ask no more of you, X

Savannah ~ you've made me feel all Audrey Hepburn, X

Titus ~ I'm taken with Alesa's explanation too, and I'm sure it is a system failure, one that needs to be addressed before it affects us all.

Alesa ~ hello again! 'Denial of service' is that what they call it? I feel a story coming on...

newjenny said...

Easier said than done, Sylvia. Beware nice metaphors as guides to the ways of the world. Inheriting the earth is no longer on my agenda, sadly.

Good luck with this campaign, however. The smaller and more specific an injustice is, the more chance there is of it being rectified, on the whole.

Alesa Warcan said...

Lol, thanks Eryl!
I'd much rather remind people of their favorite philosophy teachers than a lawyer (which I have gotten recently, it was meant as a compliment;).

Umm... Denial of service... No, I only meant that descriptively. They were being denied their service.
In retrospect I realize that it could lead one to think of DDOS (distributed denial of service) attacks, but that has nothing to do with the current situation.

Leni Qinan said...

Dear Eryl, thank you for stopping by my blog and supporting me in this unpleasant situation. I really appreciate.

Today I received an e-mail from the Spanish Internet Users' Association's legal Dept., explaining that Mr. Google just deletes from his servers everything he doesn't like, in order to avoid legal issues because of the contents of the blogs he hosts.

Blogger is a free service. There is no legal contract between Google and the owner of a blog and therefore, Google has no legal obligation with the bloggers and bloggers can't complain for something that's free -this is their logic-.

But Google doesn’t want to be sued by a Court. This is the reason why they delete blogs without prior notice or further explanation: to prevent legal complications.

I'll try to explain this in detail in my blog, but basically, this is what I've been told by the 'Ombudsman'.

As Scarlet brilliantly pointed out in Erosden's blog, Google has bigger fish to fry (China and Streetview).

So please, protect your blogs.

Kass said...

Fascinating discussion. I'm trying not to be paranoid. Good thing my blog content (and mind) is so frivolous. It's only a threat to myself.

Leni Qinan said...

Something seems to be going on in the Blogger Forum. Those interested, please red this:


I've emailed MJ.

Eryl Shields said...

Jenny ~ are you trying to disabuse me of my irrational, idealist, utopianism?

Alesa ~ it sounded so official!

I once wanted to be a lawyer, went to law school and everything, it seems beyond belief now. Still, I know one or two who are very nice.

Leni ~ you are very welcome.

I have been looking at typepad today, they provide both a free (micro) blogging service and one you have to pay for (pro) and am wondering about trying the paying route. However, I'm not entirely convinced that money has to change hands for a contract to be formed. In English law, at least, an arrangement need only be reciprocal and clauses don't have to be in writing. But, yes, protecting one's blog is the best way to go.

Kass ~ always back everything up. Comments can be saved by subscribing to have them sent to your email address. It does, though, seem silly to me to have to 'protect' something like: 'lovely dahlias!' but there you are.

Leni ~ ah, the nite has come to the rescue, or has he? What does he mean by 'flame war' I wonder?

Alesa Warcan said...

At some point in my education I had an obligatory Law course... O_o It was hideous. It called on my weakest suits. : j
It demanded hard work and memory!

Leni Qinan said...

Eryl, yes, the Nitecruzr seems to be saving MJ and will soon save me too -or so he said-.

It was exhausting (from 7pm to almost 2am, CET) but it was worth it.

It's great to belong to such a supportive and loyal blogging community. Without your help it wowuldn't have been possible. ;)

Eryl Shields said...

Alesa ~ an obligatory law course, cripes!

Leni ~ let's hope he can do it. He didn't seem too happy the last I read.

It seems to me that the blogging community brings out the best in people, or perhaps it attracts the best of people: the laws of competition that seem so natural in the rest of life don't apply here, collaboration and support seem to take precedence. Thank goodness, it shows there is another way to live together.

Kim Ayres said...

I see the request is now to hold fire. Hopefully this will all be resolved.

But you're so right about the comments - they are an integral part of the blogging process. Otherwise it's just an online pamphlet

Pat said...

I followed Leni's link and scrolled down the Forum thingy. It seemed you had to explain the problem fifty million times before it sank in. It left me bemused and despairing a bit.

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ 'online pamphlet' is exactly what it would be! I love the chit chat of blogging, it feels a bit like going to the pub did when I was young: always someone there who seems happy to talk and such a variety of subjects.

Pat ~ I know it seemed to go on forever! Still, I think it's sorted now thank goodness.