Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Deleted


On the 18th of January, almost three weeks ago, at 00:34 in the morning, I got a shock email from Blogger telling me that my blog had been deleted.

Hello, Your blog at http://bullsxvi.blogspot.com/ has been reviewed and confirmed as in violation of our Terms of Service for: MALICIOUS_JAVASCRIPT. In accordance to these terms, we've removed the blog and the URL is no longer accessible. For more information, please review the following resources: Blogger Terms of Service: http://blogger.com/terms.g Blogger Content Policy: http://blogger.com/content.g -The Blogger Team


Needless to say, I got the shock of my life. In the first place I was not aware of any malicious javascript on the blog, and, in the second place, I had put a huge amount of work into it since my first post in June 2007.

It is a serious blog despite my poking fun at people and institutions from time to time.

When I sort of got over the shock I tried to figure out what was going on. Clearly a robot scanner had classified my blog as a spammer. The only thing I could figure was the following.

This was the 24 hour period covering the internet strike to stop SOPA in the USA and in favour of freedom of the internet. The StopSopa site had put up a special internet strike page and was providing javascript, to webmasters and bloggers who were participating in the 24 hour strike, to divert incoming readers to the strike page. The javascript was constructed so that this diversion just covered the 24 hours of the strike.

I put the javascript into my blog template/header, but it didn't work. It didn't work on my website either. So I resorted to a basic html redirect instead. And that worked fine.


I was familiar with the html redirect code as I had used it in the past to redirect from an old outdated blog to a new one. So in this case it was no big deal.

And then my blog disappeared. Deleted by Blogger as spam.

The irony of this is that the strike itself was strongly supported by Google who own Blogger.

So I put in a request to Blogger via the Dashboard for the blog to be restored and went off to the Blogger support pages to see what was likely to happen. I saw correspondence from loads of people whose blogs had been deleted and it was not clear from most of them if they had ever come back. I saw only one example where the guy said his blog had been restored, eventually.

There was an appeal mechanism listed. But it was accompanied by dire warnings that any other blogs you might have would be rigorously examined and if there was anything wrong with them they too would be deleted. A serious disincentive as (i) I do have other blogs, and (ii) I didn't think there was anything wrong with this one in the first place.

I then thought I had lost all my posts from this blog as I didn't have a backup, but, as it turned out, I got the blog in the Google cache before that updated itself and scrubbed me.

So, for the last three weeks, the blog has been available only on my website and without any of the comments.

In the meantime I learned that both the javascript and html redirect code was extensively used by spammers to move their operations around the internet and avoid being closed down. Needless to say that didn't help my humour or give me much hope of being restored.

When nothing was happening with Blogger I decided to risk an appeal and put it in last week.

This morning I got an email telling me that BULLS had been restored and thanking me for my patience. What a relief. That was one strike that nearly turned into a lockout.

However, I had meanwhile opened a new blog for my religious ramblings and so I now have two holy blogs. I think I will use the new one, for now at least, to follow the International Eucharistic Congress which is being held in Ireland in June next. The last such congress in Ireland was in 1932 and much has changed since then.



Et cum spiritu tuo!


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1 comment:

Blogg Zzerz said...

Man, I had a similar problem.

I like what you wrote.

Take care.