03 August 2008

SPAM I AM

For a brief time, mine was an outlaw blog.

A couple of days ago, I got a note from the good folks at blogspot informing me that my blog had been designated a spam blog. They warned me that they would delete the blog in about 20 days if I did not request a human review to confirm that a human writes R World. I came disconcertingly close to losing nearly two years worth of writing.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I realized that my email traffic had dropped off precipitously because the good folks at cox had decided to randomly designate about half my mail as SPAM and hide it in an on-line folder. It took me weeks to realize what was going on and stop it. It may have taken me 20 days.

Imagine if the blog spam note had itself been designated as spam email. These two spam machines might have conspired to silence me altogether, de-blogged and de-mailed, abruptly made into an information-age eunuch by mindless algorithms.

In past centuries, censorship was enacted by church or state officials with a particular agenda, mindfully protecting us from offensive information. Today, censorship has become automatic, enacted by simple algorithms that mindlessly protect us from offensive information. It used to be bureaucrats who followed rules; now it is just rules following rules, algorithms that decide what gets through and what stays out of consciousness.

Given that machines are the new censors, I'm going to take this whole imbroglio as a compliment, proof that it was an excess of humanity that left the algorithms perplexed, offended, and convinced that I should be silenced.

Then again, I still find the whole idea of Dick Cheney being behind this thwarted attack on R World rather alluring. Knowing that I’ve made his enemies list is enough to make me feel masculine again, even when fully immersed in a bubble bath.

Update:
My buddy Eric pointed me to this article that (sort of) explained what happened to me. That Cheney is so crafty - he made it look like he wasn't just targeting me.

6 comments:

jen said...

bringing freedom whilst smelling good. nicely done.

Gypsy at Heart said...

That Spam-I-am! Sure don't like it done to Ron that's for sure!

So glad you are up and running again. Frightening this whole blip-us-right-out-of-existence that Blogger algorithms can set in motion. Who would have thunk it?

I'd love to know whether they tendered an apology. Some token of dismay at the near possibility of their erasing one of their blogging poster boys. What is up with Blogger? Lately, awful things have been happening to so many people's blogs. Hope it isn't a precursor to something worse.

Jennifer H said...

Do you subscribe to your own blog by email? I suggest it, for a backup, although there are also sites that offer blog storage.

The possibility of losing that much writing stops my heart.

I like your Dick Cheney theory, too. Definitely boosts your street cred.

And with that kind of cool?

We'll have to call you Vanilla Ice.

Jennifer H said...

P.S. I just realized that my email backup suggestion wouldn't have worked in this case, except to a different email address, perhaps, like a gmail account. Didn't think that through.

texasholly said...

Holy crap! That Dick Cheney is crafty!

That is crazy. Do you need any references of your non-spamness?

Ron Davison said...

jen,
now if I could only devise a waterproof laptop ...

Milena,
apparently the threat was too widespread for them to tender an apology to each one of us.

Jennifer,
"street cred," "vanilla ice." Your comments have left me feeling so hip to the jive that I can hardly stand myself. Thanks.

Holly,
I just learned that the technical term is splog, and to be accused of splogging makes me sound like I'm in much worse shape than I am. Really. But thanks for the offer to testify about my non-sploggitity.