07 January 2022

In case of (blogging) emergency.....

The recent temporary disappearance of Yellowdog Granny's blog has again drawn my attention to the problem of what I could do if my own blog were ever taken down.  It's still not quite clear why her blog was removed, but apparently it involved a "dust up with a reader" whom she banned from commenting for being off-topic.  I doubt it's generally that easy to get a blog taken down, otherwise every blog on Blogger that discusses anything controversial would have disappeared long ago, and I'm sure the trolls who have been obsessively harassing me for over two years now have tried reporting me to Blogger already, and yet I'm still here.  Nevertheless, it's possible (though I think unlikely) that they will eventually get this blog removed by one method or another, so I need to be ready to set up a new blog on a new platform just in case.

I make frequent back-ups of the whole content of the blog; I'm not sure whether a back-up file could simply be uploaded to a new platform to recreate all 16½ years of this blog there, but at least I could copy-paste the most important posts into the new blog one at a time (a laborious process, but doable).  The problem would be choosing a platform.  There are many others besides the big three (Blogger, WordPress, and Tumblr), and there are plenty of articles on the web which evaluate blogging platforms by various criteria, but none of them apply the all-important criterion of freedom from content-based censorship, which would obviously be my main concern in this scenario.

For a while I considered Substack, which I know does have a strong commitment to free expression, but it seems geared to celebrities and print authors interested in a paid-subscription model to make money, which is not what I'm trying to do here -- I want my blog to be open to anybody in the world who might find it of interest.  dBlog sounds good in many ways, but it's a very new platform and the association with cryptocurrency is a huge red flag.  Finding a platform dedicated to a particular political orientation probably wouldn't work either.  A right-wing platform would support my views on guns, transgenderism and (probably) Israel and Brexit, but would object to almost everything else I say.  A radical-feminist platform would object to my supporting sex-work legalization and opposing censorship of pornography (even though I don't actually like it).  Anyway, any thinking person's views evolve over time and I'm sure mine will continue to do so.  I'd need a platform that supported free expression across-the-board, on principle, regardless of content.

As it happens, among platforms I'm familiar with, it seems like Blogger itself is the one with the best policy in that area.  For example, when you go to a blog that posts highly-explicit sexual material, you see this:
.....and you proceed to the blog by clicking on the orange button.  It's the best of both worlds -- people who don't want to see explicit sexual material can easily avoid it, and those who want to post such material or view it can easily do so.  I haven't seen this used for blogs with political or other opinions which might upset somebody, but it seems like a good option if Blogger felt the need to pander to the professional offended people who have become such a blight on discourse of all kinds.  As it is, I've seen Blogger blogs with content seemingly much more "unacceptable" than mine, and they remain in existence.  But still, if a mainstream-left blog like Yellowdog Granny could be taken down at the instigation of a single asshole, I need to be prepared for the possibility.  13 years ago my blog was "locked" (not removed) for two days because some idiot algorithm flagged it as spam.  Shit happens.

If any readers know of a blogging platform totally committed to free expression for all viewpoints, left or right or whatever, regardless of which sacred cows get their panties in a twist about it, I'd be interested in knowing.  This will probably never happen -- but just in case.....


Blogger Jack said...

I haven't heard of a platform like what you describe that doesn't have red flags attached to it like you mentioned. My guess is that Wordpress might be safer, though much more expensive than Blogger since you'd need a host and various other things. Then it would be about finding a hosting company that had good policies.

07 January, 2022 05:24  
Blogger Rosa Rubicondior said...

Good luck. If you find one, be sure to let me know, please.

07 January, 2022 05:40  
Blogger Mike said...

I don't know of any that look like Blogger. Under settings/manage you can download your whole blog then upload it to another blog. I wonder if YDG did that.

07 January, 2022 08:56  
Blogger NickM said...

I personally think Wordpress is a generally better platform overall but Jack is right - it will cost more. Having said that you can get your own domain etc... So... I dunno. I do have a couple of websites going but they ain't going to cause any controversy. Ancient computer games and my wife's translation biz... No, I'm not going to cite them here because you never know. And that is really the thing. That is the truly Orwellian issue. I read JK Rowling's tweet of infamy (Infamy! Infamy! They've all got it infamy!) and the truly horrid and astonishing thing is quite how innocous it seemed to me. It was very considerate of LGBT stuff until JKR stated a basic biological fact. It is one of the reasons (laziness and technical issues - like having to re-do the graphics - I guess that's laziness s well) is the reason I haven't got my own blog going - yet. But I'm worried about getting "cancelled" after putting in a lot of work to essentially no monetary gain. And this is even though "Invisible Tigers" is going to primarily be about philosophy of maths and science which and not the obvious troll triggers such as religion and politics and such.

I am going to ask a question Infidel. I will well understand if you don't exactly respond - though you do have one of my email - one of anyway. In what way do you get trolled? What are the points that drive people? I am not seeking to avoid and I am well aware that in a world with 4 billion people online somebody is going to take offence at anything. I'd just like some idea what I'm letting myself in for. I mean we live in a World where right-wing nut-jobs weren't just gonna lynch Hilary Clinton but that noted luminary of the left Mike Pence!

07 January, 2022 09:34  
Blogger Leanna said...

The day I found out YDG lost her blog I made another blog. It's my backup. A just in case some asshole religious ass decides he/she doesn't like the content and wants to have me shut down. It almost happened once a couple of years ago but they goofed up when they tried to have me censored. I've been very careful lately since the YDG incident.

07 January, 2022 09:35  
Blogger VoenixRising said...

I switched over from Blogger to a self-hosted Wordpress platform (find a host, pay a yearly fee to have them host it) 10+ years ago. Gotta be careful choosing a host, however. Some are more liberal (I use that in a non-political way) than others. Attempted to move mine to a certain host a few years ago and they wouldn't move my blog because it was "pornographic." Well, DUH. Found another host that couldn't have cared less and I've been there ever since. If you're interested, email me and I'll pass on the info.

07 January, 2022 14:14  
Anonymous Nathan said...

Self hosting with your own domain name is the only way to go.

07 January, 2022 14:58  
Blogger Bohemian said...

A Dust Up with Yellowdog Granny I'd of bought Tickets for... but I did wonder where she went and found out via another follower of her delightful Blog. I've been controversial, I fuck with Trolls and Bots to amuse myself until they bore me, then delete them. Eventually they just go away since most can't handle being toyed with... AS IF anyone would actually take them seriously. Censorship is interesting, The Book of Faces has a very curious Censorship, they once Censored an Image I Posted of a 1920's Naughty Cabinet Card Nude that is tasteful and Bohemian and was in a Vignette on my Sideboard Cabinet, go figure... yet they allow some real Porn damned near anywhere and some really dangerous radicalized sorts to spout all their venom. Makes me wonder who the Censors really are?

07 January, 2022 19:37  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jack: Not so sure about WordPress -- I seem to have heard of cases of WordPress blogs being taken down for "objectionable" content. But I don't really understand the "hosting" aspect of it.

Rosa: I'll certainly post anything useful I find out.

Mike: YDG's new blog is also on Blogger, but it doesn't have any of the posts from the old blog. I think her old blog was just suspended for review, not actually wiped out, and she still hopes to get it reinstated. If a blog is deleted because the platform objects to the content, there's no point in starting a new blog on the same platform.

08 January, 2022 00:52  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

NickM: I wasn't aware that WordPress charged bloggers to use it. Having a blog on Blogger doesn't cost anything at all.

I always encourage people to read Rowling's own words -- her blog post (it's in my sidebar) as well as the tweets -- to see that there's nothing hateful there. Those who claim it is hateful are obviously just relying on what others say about what she said. One always has to read the actual piece in question.

These days the poison of political correctness and woketardia is seeping into even fields like math and science. One is always wise to be cautious.

As to my trolling problem, it's entirely the transgender nuts. I posted about this here and here. The troll comments take many forms, including personal insults, name-calling, and childish taunts (example); mindless reciting of slogans; ad hominem attacks on writers or sites I link to; demands that I condemn someone or something for something or other; Gish-gallopy pronouncements obviously meant to lure me into wasting huge amounts of time and energy responding in detail; wilful misunderstandings of what I said or accusations that I said things I didn't actually say, again obviously meant to draw me into time-wasting clarifications.

There have been other things too -- it's been over two years now that this has been going on. That's the really weird part. I'm sure every person who reads this blog has seen something they disagreed with or even got mad about, and occasionally people try to argue about things in the comments; I certainly see plenty of things on other people's blogs that I vehemently object to. But even people who like to argue eventually reach the point where they either agree to disagree or just quit reading and move on to something they find more congenial. To keep on and on harassing somebody with this kind of trolling for two years, even after I've made it clear that I'm never going to let any of their comments through moderation or engage with them? That's clearly some kind of mental aberration.

As to right-wing nut jobs, they only comment very rarely and soon go away when it's apparent I'm not going to be intimidated. They're not that nuts.

08 January, 2022 01:15  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Leanna: I've been thinking about creating a back-up too so it will be ready if I ever need it -- maybe even a "parallel" blog, where I'd post all the same material I post on this one. But there's not much point in doing that until I find a truly censorship-free platform.

Voenix: I'd be interested in whatever you can send -- my e-mail is in my profile, or I'll try to find your address. For me it's not an issue of tolerance for porn, though (although I don't like to see that censored either) -- it's about tolerance of expressing opinions.

Nathan: That may turn out to be the case, but I'm not very internet-savvy. I'd prefer a reasonably simple solution.

Bohemian: Censorship is almost always completely irrational. Given the number of people on a major platform (I think there are over three billion people with Facebook accounts, for example), it's impossible to have actual people reviewing everything posted and censoring things on a case-by-case basis. If they get a complaint about something, they investigate it, but mostly they seem to rely on automated algorithms, with ridiculous results. For example, during Tumblr's porn purge, a lot of photographs of deserts got deleted because the algorithms were programmed to look for images with large areas of skin tone (indicating nudity), and the color of sand registered as being similar to skin color. Censorship of political content must be even more scattershot since that's usually text and not images.

08 January, 2022 01:31  
Blogger NickM said...

Wordpress doesn't cost as such but they don't do the server stuff. So you have to buy a domain and get it hosted by a third party.

08 January, 2022 02:30  
Blogger NickM said...

Thanks for the heads-up on trolls. It will be useful. Especially the stuff about you being accussed of things you didn't even say. I really hadn't thought of that!

08 January, 2022 02:34  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

They love that kind of crap. "You linked to writer X, who supports the ACLU, and the ACLU defended the neo-Nazis in the Skokie case, therefore the ACLU is racist, therefore writer X is racist for supporting them, and you didn't explicitly condemn writer X for this, therefore you're racist." If you try to explain why this is ridiculous, before you know where you are you'll have wasted 15 minutes responding to what's basically a drive-by pie-throwing, and put yourself in a bad mood at that. Which is the troll's intention.

08 January, 2022 02:57  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

I was cancelled once by Blogger (apparently only a review that I was not aware of) and attempted several different platforms, but I could not figure them out (I'm not that techie) and then, lo and behold, discovered my original blog reinstated. That's why I have "original" in quotes in my description. I dabbled with Tumblr recently but they kept flagging me for porn content (even though it was "artsy") so I quite that one, although I really, really like their archives a lot.

08 January, 2022 08:49  
Blogger NickM said...

The sand = nudity thing amuses me somewhat darkly. From my experience of AI it almost invariably does better with images than words. I find this very odd indeed because any alphabetic system is essentially a digital code. For example this mid-range laptop had no probs recognising me when I opened the lid to write this but would it understand this mere blog comment?

08 January, 2022 16:48  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Ricko: Weird that they would cancel your blog and then reinstate it without explaining.

Tumblr should be the last place for a blogger concerned with free expression to go. There's still some good content there, but the control freaks are running it into the ground. The idiotic and unpredictable censorship policies keep mutating like covid variants.

NickM: Don't forget the innate and apparently universal stupidity of the pro-censorship mind. I've never heard of a censorship policy anywhere (on the net, by a national government, whatever) that didn't produce insanely ridiculous results. Not one.

When Tumblr bloggers figured out the desert-picture-mistaken-for-porn thing, a few people were posting "send dunes" instead of "send nudes".

Machines can't understand anything. Only a conscious mind can do that.

The common denominator with trolls is that they think they have the right to police what opinions you express, and that you should be accountable or answerable to them in some way. That is to say, at heart, they're fascists (and incredibly arrogant). One must never yield to them an inch.

09 January, 2022 00:15  
Blogger Daal said...

wordpress dot com has a good free version that I used until I decided to pay $5ish a month to keep ad free. when people discuss pros & cons of wordpress, it's often about wordpress dot org, which is quite different from wordpress dot com...

10 January, 2022 17:26  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

it's bad enough that ydg is down...but I lost 16 years of my posts..that...breaks my heart...I'd still fight but there is no one that I can reach to fight with...sigh*

11 January, 2022 11:46  

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