Saturday, May 5, 2012

From, A Word... And A Press

The mystery is resolved. I have control of the WordPress blog again, though I don't know if I will be permitted to retain it. The Word is "change this" and the Press is... well, here it is:

Hi, Can any links to [site name withheld by me].com be removed, please? These are not permitted on, and our system has an automatic check in place for them. Thank you very much.

-- [Name Initial]. | Automattic
Well, I guess that explains it. It's good, red-blooded American CENSORSHIP, of the kind one expected in the days of J. Edgar Hoover's FBI.

But... from WordPress? Really? Yeah, really, to the point at which they were willing to whack my blog with no warning, no attempt to allow me to "correct" the situation, no information directed to me about why my blog was disabled except a vague warning that was not the place for sites with too many links... which of course had nothing whatsoever to do with the problem as they saw it.

It's been years since I've encountered the fellow they mentioned on the web. He used to comment on quite a few of your blogs. He was a young guy, ex-Army and very disgruntled (aren't we all!), fairly outspoken about it. I wonder who filed a complaint, or whether he simply ran afoul of some secret agency's routine searches. The site is still out there, missing most of its graphics and obviously no longer maintained. But who would have imagined that my neglect of my cobweb-riddled blogroll would be an offense punishable by blog death!

I have not yet decided whether to move to Blogger for my quasi-permanent address. WordPress is superior software in many ways, but a willingness to censor a user who is not himself the offender (?) is IMHO rather extreme. And the fact that they have automated the process suggests that they either have done it or will do it again. That troubles me a lot, and may outweigh my inclination to use WordPress's better interface. Censorship... not even of unprotected speech but of links to presumed unprotected speech (I glanced around the site and didn't find any right away)... is an ugly business.

One of these days I'll tell you all about it. For now, it's enough to know that you knew the victim, and that technologically and within the habits of corporations, it could just as easily have been you or me.


  1. OK, That site has been inactive for a very long time and will disappear at some point as he has moved on to other things.

    That he has annoyed people to the extent that they have banned him is not exactly a surprise, he could get a bit carried away at times, and may have hacked something, as he was good at dealing with the PhP code.

    That said, should have notified you that there was a problem, especially in the blogroll, rather than taking down your site.

  2. Bryan, that does seem a more reasonable explanation than censorship for its own sake. But from my standpoint, WordPress handled it about as badly as possible.

    I know that their service is "free" to me... i.e., supported by ads they insert, mostly on my comment threads. But I'm still pondering whether their behavior... killing my blog because it linked to another blog that was problematical... is adequate justification for me to leave WordPress for Blogger. I think it may indeed be a reason to change. Every time I think about it, I get angry all over again.

    Or maybe it's time for me to take a blog vacation... nah. Maybe after the election.

  3. I'm glad the mystery is solved. But not warning you ahead of time really sucks!

  4. Mad, I'm still undecided whether to go back to WordPress. Right now, I'm still too angry, a kind of cold anger that resents their slap-in-the-face approach to what could have been a civil, practical transaction with no side consequences.

    As things are, I had to proceed on the assumption that my blog was truly gone... i.e., I had to stay up all night re-creating and updating this Blogger blog so I'd have a place in case the WP blog never came back. An email... 10 words long or so... could have saved me the trouble, but noooo, they didn't have the common decency and civility to send me that email. So I'm blogging here until I decide, for real, the best course of action. I am not a happy camper!

  5. hey, sorry i didn't respond earlier.

    that's really terrible, you do have terrible blogger's luck. before your experience i had heard nothing bad about wordpress.

  6. 'noz, I understand full well that WordPress and Blogger owe me nothing; they are providing me service in essence for free. But as you might expect, I invest a lot of time and thought into my blog, and I hate to see it simply zapped when a simple email to me would have resolved the problem. It's the attitude that bothers me. They should rename themselves from "Automattic" to "Automattitude".



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