Like the Bad Old Days on Blogger (Plus, What’s up With Althouse?)
Apparently, Blogger has been down for almost a full day (see this story at the Blogger Buzz blog).
It reminded me of the early days of blogging when James Joyner started OTB in January of 2003 and I started PoliBlog in February. We both started on blogspot blogs and the tendency of the service to constantly go down led us both to quickly move to self-hosted sites.
One Blogger site that isn’t back up is Ann Althouse’s (indeed, at the moment surfing to her site gives one a “Blog has been removed” page). I don’t read Althouse much any more, but was curious about her site’s status after reading about an Internet mystery at Lawyers, Guns and Money. The main mystery is the status of Althouse’s site but the reason for the interest is that apparently she had posted about three candidates for Dean on the site and the comment section turned ugly. Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports explains, Three Finalists for Wisconsin Deanship…
…described here on a blog by Wisconsin LawProf Ann Althouse, who asks for “comments” from her readers, who then proceed to trash and insult the candidates for Dean of her school! Wow!
More at the link.
I am interested in this as I find, for obvious reasons, the intersection between academia and blogging to be of interest. It sounds as if things got out of hand at Althouse’s site, but it is difficult to know for sure given that the site is currently inaccessible. I must confess, my initial reaction is that posting about job candidates on one’s blog is a problematic maneuver at best.
Update: Via Instapundit I see that Althouse’s problems appear to be with Google itself. Althouse is blogging at an alternative site: Althouse2. Apparently, Ann suspects politics. While I can understand her frustration at her site disappearing, I must confess I have a hard time thinking Google is out to get her. This all comes full circle to my intro to this post: there are reasons to pay for one’s own hosting.
Update 2: After reading the whole help thread, I must confess: one does get what one pays for and Blogger is, well, free.
My daily blog traffic is something akin to what Althouse gets in 30 seconds, but when I recently had Blogger difficulties, I received the very same shabby treatment from a Blogger help expert who apparently became upset as I was not servilely responding to his Jedi master greatness. I found my own fix that others found more helpful than his and the thread was immediately cut.
Althouse always expects a conspiracy. I had a coworker who used to log every bad thing that happened to him during the day into a calendar. His goal was to show the systematic abuse he was facing. Flat tire? On the calendar! Steak overcooked? On the calendar. Favorite website down? You better believe that’s on the calendar.
Althouse is getting the same crappy treatment that everyone on blogger gets.
Her blog is back and she’s still rattling on about conspiracies against her. Seriously Ann, you’re not that important for people to be conspiring against you.
Does this woman not realize that when you rely on a free site like that you get what you pay for? Apparently not.
Seriously Ann, you’re not that important for people to be conspiring against you.
Google wouldn’t have to be conspiratorial. They’d just have to kill the blog. Given that Google is poor about communicating the justification for their actions, it’s not all that far-fetched.
In any event, though I don’t read Althouse’s blog, I’m glad it’s back.
Does this woman not realize that when you rely on a free site like that you get what you pay for?
Very true. Even so, in the event that Google does take down a blog, at the very least they should offer to forward the content. They’re under no obligation, but it’s the decent thing to do. Maybe when it’s not a glitch as it might have been with Joyner, they might have. Not sure. Again, it goes back to Google’s poor communication skills. Blogger was better when it was independent.
Outside of her own speculation there’s no evidence that what happened to Althouse was anything other than the same technical difficulties that were plaguing everyone else on Blogger.
I don’t disagree. I just disagree with the notion that wondering if that’s not the case (at least before her blog got back up) qualified as “conspiratorial.” Google AdSense cut-off a series of controversial bloggers last year for unspecified reasons but were likely ideological (they all had similar, controversial, themes). It doesn’t breed trust in their decision-making process for Blogger as well. How do you define “hate speech?” If anything, it’s Althouse’s profile that protected her because people noticed, not her being so unimportant that Google wouldn’t bother.
I guess what I’m seeing from Ann and from Patterico, who’s written at least three blog posts about bad customer service at a company that provides a service that nobody pays for, just strikes me as over-reaction. Additionally, I would think that someone who’s been blogging as long as she has would have a better understanding of how things actually work, apparently not.
Once again, there’s no actual evidence that her blog was “marked as spam” or anything else. The fact that it happened at the same time as a system wide outage, and the application of Occam’s Razor, tells me that its likely that this was accidental and not the result of some vast left wing conspiracy.
I started out on Blogger myself, and when the combination of the outages and the inability to do things on the blog that I wanted, I moved. It’s no big deal.
Did you read the Help transcript? Their help desk was certainly under the impression that it had been marked for Spam, referring her to the Spam Appeal Guidelines. It was part of the context of the entire conversation.
Over-reaction? Probably. But if I was looking at eight years of lost writing, I would be over-reacting, too.