02 March 2015

The Infidel reprieved

Starting about a week ago, whenever I logged on to Blogger I saw a prominent link to a new policy announcement (text mostly requoted here) which read in part:

Starting March 23, 2015, you won’t be able to publicly share images and video that are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity on Blogger.....If your existing blog does have sexually explicit or graphic nude images or video, your blog will be made private after March 23, 2015. No content will be deleted, but private content can only be seen by the owner or admins of the blog and the people who the owner has shared the blog with.

Or, as Faye Kane put it, "They decided to go the way of MySpace".

They also apparently sent e-mails to some bloggers who were especially likely to be impacted.  I didn't get one, but of course that's no guarantee of anything.  This blog currently has 2,936 posts on it, spanning eight and a half years, including a fair number of videos and images.  How the hell am I supposed to remember whether any of them "are sexually explicit or show graphic nudity", especially by the standards of some prim, pursed-lipped bundle of disapproval hired by grey men in grey suits to review and judge borderline cases?  One instance I do remember is the picture I used with this post, simply because a couple of commenters remarked on it, which surprised me a little.  When I chose it for the post, the fact that the person in it is naked didn't register to me as especially important, because it doesn't come naturally to me to think of sexuality or nudity as distinct or problematic categories.  Whether some pearl-clutcher would consider it "graphic" nudity, who knows?  And I certainly don't have instant recall of every picture and video I've ever posted.  Beyond that, I don't want to be constantly worrying about this kind of nonsense with everything I post in the future.

So I was faced with the prospect of having to find a new "platform" which would be acceptably hassle-free (some of them stink) and figure out how to transfer eight and a half years of stuff to it, which would have been a huge PITA -- I don't know much about the technical side of the internet, and it bores me.  I was planning to do a post this week asking for recommendations from readers who use different platforms for their own blogs.

I should have known better.  A few days later, an "update" appeared on Blogger Help:

This week, we announced a change to Blogger’s porn policy stating that blogs that distributed sexually explicit images or graphic nudity would be made private.

We’ve received lots of feedback [I'll bet they did -- Infidel] about making a policy change that impacts longstanding blogs, and about the negative impact this could have on individuals who post sexually explicit content to express their identities.

We appreciate the feedback. Instead of making this change, we will be maintaining our existing policies.

Faye Kane is probably right -- if I had left, I would not have been alone, but part of a mass migration leaving Blogger a ghost town enlivened only by occasional tumbleweeds.  Bloggers being what we are, even many who would never post "graphic nudity" would likely have left simply due to disgust at a tightening of content-based censorship.  And we tend not to be shy about giving our "feedback" on such matters.

So for now, the migration is off.  This is still a bad sign, though.  Whatever impulse prompted the planned change in the first place is still there, perhaps to surface again someday.


Blogger Ahab said...

Well, I'm glad you're staying put.

02 March, 2015 17:28  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks. Even if Blogger pulls something like this again and I go elsewhere, I'm not going to stop blogging. It would be a nuisance, though. Hopefully the issue won't re-surface.

02 March, 2015 18:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Godaddy hosting with Wordpress. They won't screw you around like that and the pricing is reasonable.



02 March, 2015 19:17  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Mornin Infidel ... frankly I wouldnt change a goddamn thing if I were you, just watch what you post is all ... why? I was actually reading about this a week or 2 ago in some mainstream news like HuffPost or whatever ... and we knew this was possibly going to come (although it shouldnt) being the fundamoralist dictated society we are becoming, and everything online is being watched anywayz in these times. First of all, your nude image on post you linked to DOES NOT contain graphic imagery according to what I read and this law/ rule deal, sure it is a nude body, but not even nipples or vaginal or the asscrack is showing and the posting is CLEARLY an education and informative piece on our rights, cultures and belief's ... that is a VERY educational post and the image is used for THAT purpose, and the lady is on a laptop, in fact, most of your stuff is education, socially recreational, and I dont recall seeing anything that would be too graphic or focused on sexual deviation's, beastility, or related as far as imagery. I for example have one post I have a lady topless which is an advertisement for a popular fashionwear place in Mexico City, I even have the link to the business, and the post is about bulletproof fashion wear for the increasingly troubled society in Mexico. From what I gather, if it's for arts/ theatre, educational, or whatever ... it is OK, otherwise you would have to ban half the goddamn arts blogs on the bloody internet. You could simply browse through your posting's and just see if there is anything that may need atencion is all. I just browse through mine probably once a week or so just to replace lost vidz, links or whatever. I really dont see anything too graphic on your blog, and if someone did bellyache, I would legally challenge it in a goddamn heartbeat. According to the laws it has to be "graphic" sexual nudity, or focusing on such, I think they would look at some of the hardcore stuff that mainsteam's that sort of thing. But enough from me ....

03 March, 2015 03:59  
Blogger Ranch Chimp said...

Another thing here ... is that the blog's that you have listed to the right of page that have "NSFW" after the name, is legally telling the reader/ visitor that is may be some adult content or questionable, which should be legal as well.

03 March, 2015 04:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Vic78: Thanks. I actually have a Wordpress account, for commenting on Wordpress blogs. I'll keep that in mind if this problem comes up again.

Ranch: I certainly wasn't worried that anything I posted here might be illegal -- it's that Blogger was threatening to censor or limit access to material that clearly is legal but, well, the reason why they wanted to change the policy was never expressed actually. I figure that in doubtful cases the decisions about what's too "graphic" would be made by some minimum-wage hack, not a lawyer.

The NSFW warnings are pretty literal in this case -- both of those sites occasionally post stuff that the average person wouldn't want to have their boss see on their work computer during break time:-)

03 March, 2015 05:17  
Blogger Rosa Rubicondior said...

Weird that I never got any warning, not that there is anything which could be regarded as pornagraphic on my blog, unless Fernando Botero rear-view nude painting of a decidedly chubby Adam and Eve qualifies.

03 March, 2015 14:22  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Rosa: Maybe the policy change was only for blogs based in the US? Surely even the most azure of schnozzles must have realized how something like this would be laughed at in Europe.

03 March, 2015 19:19  

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