18 February 2022

Blog survival

As the poison of cancel culture metastasizes across the internet, those of us who feel potentially in the crosshairs must look to our defenses.  The recent termination of Exulansic's YouTube channel and deletion of Yellowdog Granny's blog were warnings, as was the take-down of Vox Popoli blog (the latter's content is about as repulsive and despicable in my eyes as it's possible for a blog to be, but it's the principle of the thing).  Thugs determined to silence anyone who expresses views they disapprove of are on the march, and as a target myself of a two-year campaign of hateful, harassing, and often perverted trolling, I definitely have grounds for concern that it could happen to me.

The good news is that in all three cases, the cancelers were defeated.  Exulansic already had all her videos backed up on a censorship-free platform, and she continues her prolific posting there (some other YouTubers are taking the same precaution).  Yellowdog Granny was restored with a new URL, though it took time.  Vox Popoli, having long anticipated deletion, had a back-up blog ready to go, and continued without interruption.

I'd advise any blogger who posts controversial material, or anything that some set of prigs or other might decide to be "offended" by, to give some thought to how they would get back online if this happened to them.  Preparation clearly helps toward quick recovery if a blogger gets canceled.  As I've mentioned before, I have been doing research on-and-off trying to find a blogging platform that would suit my needs and be guaranteed censorship-free if I needed to create a new blog.  I've also been making frequent back-ups of my blog's entire content.

In addition to that, I've started making screencaps of the posts I'd be most interested in preserving if this blog got deleted and I needed to set up a new one.  Re-posting them in image form wouldn't be an ideal solution (hyperlinks would be lost, for example), but it is, at least, pretty much guaranteed to work.  The back-up process creates a 70-megabyte block of HTML, and I have no idea whether it would be easy or even possible to reconstruct the blog from that on a new platform; but any platform enables a blogger to post images.  In the case of a few link-heavy posts, I've made copies of the HTML; reconstructing a single post from that would be a chore but certainly doable.

I've also been strategic by prioritizing back-ups of the posts which the trolls would be most likely to object to.  The aim here is to deter any effort to get me canceled since the very posts they most want to get rid of would immediately be restored as soon as I got a new blog up (and I'd still be linking to other material opposing their cause in the Sunday link round-ups, which would continue on the new blog).  Indeed, it's their own persistence in harassing me over the last two years that first motivated me to focus so much on opposing their cause (though since then I've come to deeply admire the brave and inspirational people who are taking a stand against that nonsense), and if they actually got my blog taken down and put me through the hassle of setting up a new one, obviously I'd become even more determined to contribute all I could to the fight against them.

I still think that my blog disappearing is fairly unlikely.  The Blogger platform seems to be open to a very wide range of viewpoints, and I've never had any indication from them that they had a problem with anything I wrote or linked to.  But in the current menacing situation, with others having fallen prey to cancellation, I'd be foolish not to be preparing for the possibility.  And if you are a blogger, and if you post viewpoints (left, right, or whatever) that some shitty fascist-minded prig might believe shouldn't be allowed, you'd be well advised to do the same.  I'd be interested to know what precautions others are taking, in case there's anything I've missed that I could be doing.


Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh shoot.
My Tumblr was one of the casualties of the Great Homogenization and de-queering of Tumblr a few years back, when they went all corporate and tried to get their money back (was it Yahoo that bought it? I don't remember).
I never backed it up, even though people advised me to do so (there were some Tumblr clones that you could backup your whole blog to) and I kind of regret it a little.
I have never thought of backing up my blogger. I think I'd just start from scratch on WordPress or some site, though.
I think blogger is quite liberal if you have a disclaimer (I have one because there's a Dong Parade every other day there!) so I have never thought about a backup plan. Maybe it's time?


18 February, 2022 02:09  
Blogger NickM said...

I have a job on. I'm doing a full web-site etc for a stand-up comic. He's left-wing and quite high profile following his confrontation with Jacob Rees-Mogg. You might have seen it. Anyway, it gonna be trolled to hell and back and I need strategies. D came round yesterday and he's seriously not net savvy despite living to a large extent online. The problem I see is he's gay, disabled and political - the perfect storm. He's also a good mate and this is a big job for me. I know I can't keep him totally safe but if poss I'd like to create two Ds if that makes sense. His comedy site will get utterly trolled but I'd like to keep his personal net use as seperate as possible. Any ideas? First off, due to the nature of the game, D has to use his name on the website so he can't use a pseudonym. Any advice? I mean in general.

18 February, 2022 06:32  
Blogger VoenixRising said...

My blog is of the self-hosted Wordpress (.org vs. .com) variety. I use iThemes Security Pro to keep it pretty locked down from outside influence (i.e. hackers - and believe me there are days the assault is never-ending). iThemes also emails me a daily backup of the Wordpress database, that while it does not contain images, contains everything else for recreating the blog in the event of a catastrophe.

I've been blogging since 2004. About a year later (after vociferously expressing my opinion on Bush and the rest of the right wing cabal at that time, I received in the mail one day a box of rotting meat, postmarked with a non-existent address in the Love Canal area of NY. Obviously I had triggered someone. This made me realize that my personal contact info was out there for all to see, and I locked that shit down immediately. Not surprisingly, the Post Office was completely disinterested when I reported it, but I learned my lesson to anonymize as much as possible.

After that incident, I transferred the blog to the Wordpress platform with my contact info anonymized. I deleted the blog completely "accidentally on purpose" back in 2012 when I inadvertently sent a link to it out in emails to headhunters while looking for work and started fresh. Oopsie.

While I wish I'd backed it up first, when reading over the few posts I've been able to retrieve via the Wayback Machine site, I'm not completely heartbroken because lets face it—a lot of it was dreck. The same goes for my earliest posts after "starting fresh" (and even many recent ones). I'm not what is commonly considered "controversial" by any means, but I do post a lot of gay stuff, both SFW and NSFW, so I am aware that it may trigger certain people.

18 February, 2022 09:48  
Blogger Mike said...

On my archives, it looks like I started blogging in 2006. I actually started in 2005 but quit and deleted the blog. But not before saving everything (about 60-70 posts). I then came back in 2006 and reposted all my original posts.

I think I used the option available in Blogger at the time. I can't remember much about the process but it might be the same as the one available now in settings, manage blog, backup content. I don't know if that saves pictures and links.

18 February, 2022 11:38  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Sixpence: That was actually Verizon that bought Tumblr and wrecked it. They later sold it to Wordpress.

I guess what to do depends on how attached you are to your inventory of existing posts. My feeling is, though, that you probably don't have anything to worry about. There are other blogs on Goggle Blooger that have even more NSFW gay material than you do. It seems to be OK as long as you have the NSFW warning set up. This is more a problem for dissenting political/social views -- although I still can't imagine what they objected to about Yellowdog Granny.

NickM: I'm not too internet-savvy either, and it's not 100% clear to me what you're concerned might happen. But I'm leaving your comment up in case someone more knowledgeable can give you suggestions.

Voenix: Thanks for the info. I definitely don't plan on letting out any personal information on the net, including my real name. There are just too many assholes out there, and some of them are dangerous.

The world of work is obviously another concern. We all need to make sure our blogs couldn't be traced to us by employers or potential employers, or we'd end up self-censoring so much it wouldn't be worth continuing.

Mike: That sounds like the back-up process I've been using. What concerns me about it is whether the back-up thus made could be used to re-create the blog on some different platform (if the Blogger platform banned me, it would make no sense to start another Blogger blog).

Oh, well, hopefully it will never become an issue. It's unnerving seeing others canceled by the likes of YouTube, though.

18 February, 2022 15:52  
Blogger Jack said...

It probably wouldn't hurt to look into another platform. You may never need it, but it would make you feel better to have a specific option in mind. I'm just not sure what it would be. The free version of Wordpress probably wouldn't be any safer than Blogger, and the hosted versions aren't cheap and probably have a steeper learning curve than I'd want to mess with. I'm sure there are other options, but I'm not sufficiently familiar with any of them. Maybe something like Substack?

19 February, 2022 04:08  
Anonymous Tengrain said...

Hi Infindel -

I’m sorry that you are even worried about being cancelled, I find that surprising. Is it Google who would shut down your blog for whatever reason? I know for years Digby turned off her Blogger comments and that seemed to solve her problem, but now she’s moved on to Wordpress.

Wordpress has a robust importer tool to bring Blogger content onto the platform intact, btw.

While far from perfect, WP has never interfered with my blog from the days of Chimpy McStagger and his Iraq War to the present. And Dog only knows I push it.

I used to host it on my own server, BUT the ongoing WP back-end maintenance wore me down and now I pay them to host it for me and keep it up to date. Worth every penny.



19 February, 2022 09:49  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Jack: Substack is interesting since it's definitely censorship-free, but it doesn't seem to be formatted for the kind of blogging I do. It merits further investigation, though. Wordpress definitely doesn't seem to have any more commitment to non-censorship that Google Blogger, probably less, and I'm still hazy about this "hosted" business. I'm not really tech-savvy and would need something simple to get into. I will continue to look into options, though.

Tengrain: Is it Google who would shut down your blog for whatever reason?

It's the trolls. The fact that they've been harassing me for two years despite not a single comment ever getting through moderation shows that they're obsessed in some way. My concern is that they might complain to Google Blogger that I'm promoting Incorrect Thought by regularly linking to sites and posts that criticize trans ideology, and get my blog removed because of that (the way YouTube canceled Exulansic for her activism on that issue). YellerDawg Granny apparently ran afoul of something like that -- she said they deleted her blog because of some sort of clash with a reader (though presumably not related to the trans issue), though she hasn't gone into detail about it that I've seen.

Worth knowing about the importer tool, thanks. Maybe other platforms have similar tools.

19 February, 2022 10:25  
Blogger SickoRicko said...

You've expressed this concern before, and I hope it never happens to you. I'm still amazed that I found my "original" blog after it went "gone" for a while. I've looked at a few other hosting sites and am too used to the ease of Blogger. I'm still learning how to do things with it. HTML language is a bitch since I'm self-teaching myself. And only the stuff that matters to me.

19 February, 2022 11:18  
Blogger NickM said...

Thanks folks, especially Voenix.

19 February, 2022 12:14  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

my friend asked blogger, don't know how and they consider any blog that uses nothing but pictures(memes)with no original posts spam. ??????? took 17 years? which is why I will be peppering ydg with posts about ggs, me n ggs, grands, etc. plus 'stuff'

20 February, 2022 00:24  
Blogger Jack said...

For whatever it is worth, I have been looking in Medium. It does not seem to be recommended as a replacement for another blogging platform but as more of a supplement. And similar to what you said above about some of the other platforms, I do not get the sense that it would be any less likely than other options to ban blogs. I haven't had time to check it out, but I briefly came across something called Ghost that sounded interesting.

20 February, 2022 04:36  
Blogger Daal said...

sobering news to contemplate -- at the same time, however, what I would worry about is losing followers as opposed to content -- I find that percentage-wise, it's the newest content that anyone looks at

22 February, 2022 21:09  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

It's true that recent content gets most of the views, but some of my old posts are writing I consider valuable, and I wouldn't want to lose them permanently. Also, I sometimes link back to them to bolster a point rather than re-state the argument in full in a new post.

As to followers, if this blog disappeared and I had to set up a new one, I think I could get the word out fairly quickly so most existing readers could find me again. Anyway, a search in "infidel753" would bring up the new blog once it was established.

22 February, 2022 23:33  
Blogger Daal said...

good points -- & as I assume whatever new blog you started would also be called Infidel753, I don't suppose that name is taken elsewhere

23 February, 2022 09:25  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I use that name pretty much everywhere on the internet -- be a hell of a coincidence if someone else had come up with the same.....

23 February, 2022 11:06  
Blogger Daal said...

a kindred spirit?

23 February, 2022 12:14  

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