Well, we’re alive again. Did I miss anything while we were dead?
“Waaaah! They stole my content!”
Here’s the short version of what happened. In one of Neil’s blog posts, he copied the content from one of Joel “Takedown” Watts’ posts, not to steal content (heaven forbid), but to prove that Joel had merely scraped Google for links related to “the science of history.”
Joel took issue with it and claims he sent Neil an email. Perhaps he did. Neil still can’t find any evidence of it, not even in his spam pile. Joel then complained to WordPress.com, and demanded that the post containing his stolen property be taken down.
As far as we can tell, what happened next is that the WordPress guys put that post on private, but neglected to tell us why. Yesterday, Neil asked if I’d changed a post’s status to “Private,” or if we were experiencing another WordPress glitch. I said I might have fat-fingered something. I had been setting some posts I was working on from Draft to Private, because I was worried I might accidentally publish them.
“Nice blog ya got here. It’d be a shame if sumpin’ was tuh happen to it.”
So Neil, unaware of the storm brewing on the horizon, set the post back to Public. At that point, it appears WordPress interpreted our behavior as evidence that we were flouting the rules and ignoring the DMCA takedown order. Please note that neither Neil nor I received any warnings from WordPress about the Sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.
Last night I was responding to a comment when Vridar’s lights figuratively went out. I clicked to submit, and was told that comments were disabled. Then I went to the dashboard for WordPress and received the bad news. They said we had broken the rules and they were shutting us down. The actual language of the execution warrant was vague; we might have been guilty of copyright infringement or perhaps we were engaged in a get-rich-quick scheme.
We immediately started asking for an explanation. Here’s a tip for anyone out there who suffers the same fate: Don’t keep asking what’s going on, or they send your requests to the back of the queue. Finally, we were told that it was a DMCA takedown. We could try to present our case, but for now we were dead to the world. Since Neil was the one dealing with that phase, I’ll let him explain the Kafka-esque proceedings that ensued.
“Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
WordPress.com was kind enough to pack up our stuff and throw it out on the front lawn. Actually, they exported the whole site (everything except for our stored media files, which are probably gone for good) into a huge XML file, which we could use to import onto another site.
So we set the blog up over on another host, where we have more control of what’s going on. It’s more expensive, but it’s the right thing to do. Several days might have gone by before we got a fair hearing, and even then there’s no guarantee they’d turn us back on.
It’s going to take a while for us to get everything back the way it was. Comments will be disabled for a short time as we figure things out. Some of the content may look funny, because our image library was not exported.
Thanks for all the concern out there. It’s good to be alive and kicking again!
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