Saturday, September 10, 2005

Blog Censorship

This post is for those of you that think Blogger is hurting you because they are censoring blogs with Flag as Objectionable. I got a spammy comment from one of those, the whole comment was:

"I am putting together a separate blog on this particular topic."

If you are going to leave a comment about your site on my blog at least post some information and be on topic. This one was posted on my Flag Button Flaw which certainly had nothing to do with censorship. It was about how the Flag button isn't getting enough splogs removed. It is people like this that cause spam to be such a big problem. Blogger used to not remove any blog because of freedom of speech crap. SPAM IS NOT SPEECH!!!

Spam like is vandalism or graffiti. So what if it is on the spammer's blog? If a spammer moved into your neighborhood and started spray painting lots of objectionable content all over his house wouldn't that bother you? Blogger has a duty to the entire internet to get rid of splogs.

If this person actually read my blog you would think it would be clear he was targeting the wrong audience. I help run a blacklist to help censor spam from getting posted in wikis.

I posted the text below as comments to his "Hidden Censorship on Google's Blogger is now Official Policy." See that post for the context of what I wrote.


Do you people realize the problem Blogger has been under with all the spam? The main purpose of this flagging system is to clean the spam out. They aren't censoring blogs, they are just not promoting objectionable ones. You can still be as objectionable as you want. The only blogs actually being removed are a small portion of the pure spam blogs.

Blogger isn't going to care if a legitimate blog has been flagged a bunch of times if it is not actually objectionable. They are apparently overly cautious when they review flagged blogs because splog fighters are having a hard time getting obvious splogs deleted.

I suspect that the pinging not happening has nothing to do with being blacklisted. My blog apparently stopped pinging in the last couple days yet I have gotten several groups of hits from the Next Blog ring.

If you notice the Next Blog ring appears to be working different than before. Just a few weeks ago you would hit a bunch of duplicate blogs if you traversed the ring long enough. Now that doesn't happen. So obviously in addition to cleaning the spam from the ring they are using a larger random sample at a time to provide the ring.

Have you ever noticed that your ring hits are usually in groups? The reason for that appears to be because to populate the ring they choose a group of random blogs and they make up the randomly ordered ring for a short period of time.

They aren't censoring ideas, they are censoring spam. If you think spam has anything to do with actual ideas other than get rich quick then you have no clue what is going on. Spam is ruining internet search engines. Almost any search is full of spam results. How are people supposed to find anything? Finding actual information is like finding a needle in a haystack full of shit.

If no one can find your blog because the internet is so full of spam it doesn't matter that you are uncensored. No one will read it anyway.


I and many other spam fighters have been trying to get spam blogs and Blogspot members who spam removed from their service for a long time. The one time I got any feedback from them said something like that they did not police content of blogs because they wanted to protect freedom of speech.

The spam blog I was writing them about in that case was a porn spam blog full of explicit images. I mentioned to them that it should not be in the Next Blog ring because kids use that ring too.

They didn't want to have to make the distinction. Luckily months and months later they finally are doing this and now you want them to stop. I have no doubt they are still strong supporters of freedom of speech. But spam is not speech. They have a duty to the rest of the internet to clean out spam.


If they are de-indexing perfectly legitimate blogs it likely is because they don't have good guidelines yet as to what should be removed. With the small portion of spammer blogs that are actually getting deleted it seems to me there is more than one viewpoint on what gets removed. The same problem likely affects the sites getting removed from the ring.

But what is objectionable is totally subjective anyway. I don't think Bush bashing is objectionable, but obviously lots of people do. How can you write specific rules for determining something subjective. Obviously there are certain things they can write rules about such as pornography, but where is the line between porn and artistic nudity? And does it matter? Should there be no nudity in the Next Blog ring? We know Americans have a far different view of nudity than European countries and what is acceptable for childeren to see is totally different. There are lots of very good blogger photographers that I would never have seen if it weren't for the Next Blog ring. If you rule out nudity I would guess half the photographer blogs I have seen would be banned.

Blogger is saying that the Flag is not mainly for combating spam, but look at the timing. Their huge spam problem becomes heavily publicized across high profile blogs. And shortly after they come up with the flag system. Obviously they are using it for objectionable blogs too which they should be, but no matter what they say about it the main inspiration of it was to get rid of the spam problem.

I don't think Blogger (as a whole) is trying to censor legitimate blogs. It just depends if you get the wrong reviewer or if they are in a bad mood when they check sites that have been flagged. And they must do it very fast; some spammers create hundereds of totally useless blogs.

If they were doing it toally on the Next Blog flag I am sure my blog would have been removed from the ring as soon as the Flag button was implemented. Spammers hate my blog and I am sure have flagged it numerous times.

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