IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!! The Meaning of Blogger's Flag: Just the facts, please...

Sunday

Just the facts, please...

If anyone has access to any facts, rather than unsubstantiated opinions, on this issue, I would love to hear from them. Specifically:

Have Blogger’s staff been given specific guidelines as to what to remove and what not to remove, or what kinds of blogs to de-index and what kinds not to de-index? Does whether a particular blog gets de-indexed depend on the mood that Blogger’s reviewer might be in on any particular day? I am sure most people would agree that the dissemination of information and opinion in society should not be subject to how the Blogger's reviewer feels on each particular day.

Blogger has announced the Flag and de-indexing are for the purpose of fighting "objectionable content," but a lot of people think the purpose is in fact to fight spam. Who is right?

I continue to feel that the Flag makes us complicit in efforts to remove blogs that contain troublesome ideas.

At the same time, I am no longer certain whether the de-indexing of legitimate blogs has been deliberate or accidental (or rather, incidental to Blogger's efforts to fight spam). Blogger staff's refusal to be clear on this issue only serves to increase the uncertainty. There has to be a way to give clear answers to these legitimate concerns without putting new weapons in the hands of the spammers. Even if the technical secret is such that no hint of it can be divulged, surely they can at least tell us so, instead of answering our serious questions with patronizing misdirections.

11 Comments:

Blogger Me said...

quite informative post.....keep it up....take care....

9/11/2005 06:30:00 PM  
Blogger Abe said...

Al,

I have a new post at Don't Let Me Stop You about your quest. Consider yourself "trackbacked." :)

9/11/2005 11:43:00 PM  
Blogger JoeChongq said...

I would love answers to those questions too.

It appears that Blogger is not really coordinated with the attack on splogs. Some splogs that are deleted only have their main page removed; all the other pages of posts are still there. And users that have multiple splogs under the same Blogger profile aren't getting them all removed.

In the last few days Blogger's ring has gotten more spammy and they have apparently greatly slowed deleting splogs. I wonder if this has something to do with the censorship controversy. Maybe they are taking some time to get things right this time and setup real guidelines.

9/13/2005 03:20:00 AM  
Blogger temporary imposition said...

you raise some excellent points here. . it's worrisome that people can be delisted just on the basis of arbitary red-flagging. Isn't this open to all kinds of abuse. You know, your case being the point in question.

Check out this blog for some interesting thoughts on blog-censorship. He's a lawyer and may find your comments of interest!!
http://nycconsigliere.blogspot.com/

I'll check in again soon.

Good luck

9/16/2005 03:44:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen Baker said...

Glad to see other people asking the same questions as I!!! I just can't get over how random it is. I mean really!!! It's just based on one persons opinion. Like I said in my blog on this issue: If it offends you.....Click the X in the corner of your screen. No has forced you to read what you are reading. It is all by choice! More power to you for writing to The google people. I love their canned responses as if they didn't even read what you had to say. I myself am considering a different site to blog on......

9/18/2005 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger Chicken Little said...

I would like to point out that while using the "next" button, the blog I was directed to immediately after yours showed a girl with fingers in both orifices. And I don't mean her nose and mouth. I flagged it. I don't care if that is censorship. Kids don't need to run across that kind of stuff. As far as words, no I don't flag for dangerous ideas, even if they want to have a blog in praise of Hitler. I don't have to read it. But I do flag spam blogs, the kind where they create a thousand identical blogs with different key words plugged into the same spots in order to improve their SEO rankings.

9/18/2005 10:20:00 AM  
Blogger Al S. E. said...

That is exactly the problem this blog is about, CL. Blogger has not defined what they mean by "objectionable content." I define it to mean pornography, depictions of violence, and spam. But someone else who, let's say, feels very strongly that the Iraq war is justified, may choose to define "objectionable content" as anything that is critical of that war. There are a lot of such people around, and if they subject a critical blog to mass attacks, who knows, maybe they'll get it de-indexed.

9/18/2005 10:56:00 AM  
Blogger Bill said...

I agree that no one should be trafficking in the inhibition of ideas, I do have to agree that I hate running across blogs that have either sexually explicit or digusting images. Spam is another thing altogether, but still irritating. I'm hoping that the Blogger/Google folks are only eliminating content that is TRULY objectionable, and not just the exchange of ideas. But I (even as an adult) do not wish to accidentally happen upon a disgusting image that I will later regret seeing. I would feel better if Blogger made a list of these objectionable sites, so we could still view them if we wished, but it would keep it out of the "Next Blog" loop. That way, I know what I'm getting into.

10/26/2005 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Brian Donohue said...

I think Al's very articulate complaint is about clarity. If you are going to prohibit or blacklist someone or something, then you had better start by defining, in the clearest possible terms, what you are proposing to censor.

I write a blog called Daily Revolution that contains plenty of content that, as Al points out, would be deemed highly objectionable by the Patriot Act crowd and right-to-lifers (among others). Part of the message of Daily Rev is that we live in dangerous times for democracy, where we find ourselves amid a fork-in-the-road moment of choice. Do we allow ourselves to be dragged down the neocon path of Orwellian instability and oppression, or do we attempt to recover the voice that nurtured this democracy (thus, I advocate on behalf of a "neo-transcendentalist" movement, dedicated to bringing the same clarity of vision and expression to the 21st century that Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman brought to the 19th)?

In Al's writing, I hear that "neo-transcendentalist" voice that I also find in Truthout's William Rivers Pitt and the New York Times' Frank Rich. Al, you're being added to the Daily Rev Blogroll of honor today.

On a related issue, I would recommend that folks visit Free Press' page on cleaning the post-Tomlinson house at CPB, here.

11/06/2005 01:27:00 PM  
Blogger Nefarious Aflatus said...

I have written here before and find recently that things have gotten more out of hand with censoring my blog at; http://newspoofs.blogspot.com.

It very much is that now my digital sketch work is being blocked with google block pages.

These are works of art I PERSONALLY HAVE CREATED and attempted to display on my blog.

It seems to me that if the third world mentality is actually the preferred mentality for the internet, why doesn't the government then just do away with the middle men that have them over barrels, such as Bill Gates, Paul Allen and Steve Jobs... and then simply deal directly with other countries around the world instead of having to depend on tantrum thowers that do nothing but promote third world rights violations anyway.

Truly it seems that on a larger scale, all anyone needs to do to get away with even defrauding someone else, is to have the blessing of someone with such connections.

Why make everything at such risk when it would be more efficient simply to deal with these other governmental entities directly?

The rights violations are still supported, why deal with the middle guys?

6/05/2006 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Nefarious Aflatus said...

I would also like to mention that my personal photo has been disabled as well.

What is the deal with these people? And why does it seem to be alright to actually hack someone elses blog because they may know someone?

Nefarious.Aflatus@gmail.com

6/05/2006 05:22:00 PM  

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