Friday, April 18, 2008

Ethical Blogger Locked Down

Did anyone see the recent South Park episode in which the Internet stopped and the kids went to California to find "more" Internet?

We are experiencing something similar on our other blog, The Ethical Blogger, which has been locked down by Google due to suspected spam-like activity near or around the blog. I feel like I can't use part of the Internet.

With so much email spam in the world, I had proposed a while back that people communicate with one another over blogs to ensure maximum transparency. (Unfortunately, people even libel one another on blogs and YouTube, as the New York Times reported today. When people ask what do we mean by ethical blogging, this article illustrates the problem precisely.) But with blog spam, I guess that medium is not totally reliable either. Of course, The Ethical Blogger is not a spammer.

The Ethical Blogger, which coincidentally has been called a blog of note by Google's Blogger (blogspot), will be back once Google verifies the blog is run by "actual people." In the meantime, we see this apologetic message on our dashboard:

Your blog is locked

Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog. (What's a spam blog?) Since you're an actual person reading this, your blog is probably not a spam blog. Automated spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and we sincerely apologize for this false positive.

We received your unlock request on April 15, 2008. On behalf of the robots, we apologize for locking your non-spam blog. Please be patient while we take a look at your blog and verify that it is not spam.
Find out more about how Blogger is fighting spam blogs.

I am off to the Delaware shore for some walks on the beach with my family. I hope The Ethical Blogger is back soon.


Jimmy Moore said...

I got the same message on my blog on Tuesday and it has been quite depressing playing the waiting game with Blogger. Here's what I did...

What's worse is Monday is the third anniversary of my blog and I can't even celebrate the more than 3 million pageviews. :( Come on, Blogger! You can do better than this!

Jimmy Moore

Devin Stewart said...

Jimmy, thanks for the note. And solidarity!

I checked out your carbwire posting. It is interesting that both of our blogs were shut down right around April 15. I wonder if Blogger put in place new robots at that time.

The Ethical Blogger was named a "Blog of Note" by a real person at Blogger. Their robots said there was spam activity. So I guess this is the beginning of the robot wars: real people vs robots. And given their apology note on our dashboard, you would think that they would release us from blogger jail quickly. One glance at our blogs would also show that they are not used for spamming.

Ironically, the Ethical Blogger is also a blog that promotes ethical Internet behavior.

Happy birthday to your blog by the way.

Krystle said...

I'm sorry about what happened. It really is a huge inconvenience when common sense is thrown out the window and simple solutions turn complicated!

But the problem might be a mixture of misunderstanding and big corporate policy. You already know that computers, programs, and robots all operate based on the specifications, boundaries, and definitions we give it. If these new robots or crawlers or spiders are doing what we programmed them to do, but we as humans are expecting a different result and then misinterpreting the feedback, therein lies the problem.

Plus, the big corporate policies may not allow the blog to be released even though it was obviously a mistake to lock your blog. Your problem, however, is that the company's problem is to protect itself from liability. Therefore, you have to just wait it out. Sorry!


Devin Stewart said...

Good news everyone: The Ethical Blogger is out of jail. In its time in jail, it wrote a small book about the coming robot wars.