Patterico's Pontifications

5/13/2011

Back from the Memory Hole: The Full Record of Google’s Shabby Treatment of Ann Althouse

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:54 pm

As we explained here earlier this evening in a couple of posts, a “support” tech at Google calling himself “nitecruzr” was rude to Ann Althouse in this Google “support” thread. However, he kept taunting Ann, and then removing (memory-holing) his own taunts, but leaving her responses — making the thread an unreadable mess. At a Facebook site there is a collection of screenshots, but it’s tough to understand the flow from a collection of random screenshots. When I e-mailed Ann about it, she said she was receiving the responses in e-mails. I asked her to forward those to me. Now can you see Google representative nitecruzr’s abusive conduct towards Ann, in all its original glory and splendor.

The full conversation is available at this link, which I created by cutting and pasting from Ann’s e-mail. Before we go to the full conversation, though, let me just highlight nitecruzr’s rude responses so they don’t get lost in the shuffle.

He starts out by snidely putting the burden on Ann to read all the guidelines, rather than looking at her blog himself and explaining how Google justifies labeling a well-known political blog as spam:

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

This is not an automatic response. I will suggest that you read the articles, so you understand what the problems are. The fact that you include the detail “This is not a blog that should be taken down, and it’s important that it be restored quickly.” belies that possibility.

I’ll work with you on this – but you have to work with me, not against me.

Many interlopers enter, either criticizing Google for their behavior in deleting a well-known blog without reading it, or saying the same thing has happened to them — and that they get error messages when they try to start their own thread. nitecruzr, showing his deep respect for their plight, patiently explains how they can start their own thread and offers his help bitches at them for interceding in Ann’s thread and deletes their plaintive cries for help.

Somewhere in here, nitecruzr says he has escalated the issue for review — but, just to keep things rude, warns her that she gets only one appeal, and risks losing her other blogs if she exercises that right to appeal:

OK, this is escalated to Blogger Support on your behalf.

We are sincerely sorry for any inconvenience which we are causing. Please be patient, while you wait for your blog to be reviewed – and only post in this question. When you reply in other questions, or ask duplicate / multiple questions, it just makes more work for everybody – and delays resolution of everybody’s problems, including yours.

And, please be aware that this is the final review, and the decision of the umpires cannot be appealed.

(Emphasis added by me throughout.) He then drops this steaming pile of rudeness on Ann:

I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.

Please inform your readers that their harassment is useless. This forum is here to help people with blog problems, where blogs are small or large. We don’t like coyote attacks, and we don’t stand for them.

Wow. It’s “harassment” to stand up for someone who just watched a big company whisk years of their work right off the Internet for a patently implausible reason?

Remember that “courtesy and patience” line. It’s going to sound mighty ironic real soon.

nitecruzr then becomes simply obsessed with the number of people who rate his answers unhelpful, to the point where he spends his time whining about it rather than helping Ann.

When only “2 of 95″ people find that last answer I quoted “helpful,” nitecruzr professionally ignores them and works on helping Ann snarks at Ann further:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

Come on, you can do better than that. How about 100 at least? Surely you have more than 100 readers.

Behold the “courtesy and patience”!

nitecruzr then comments twice more about the number of people hitting the “unhelpful” button.

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:45 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 99

And then:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

2 of 100

Note well: these are messages from “Google Help”!! Good lord. How about, you know . . . helping?

Ann responds:

“2 of 100″

Yes, I have readers, nitcruzr, and they are unhappy with the way Blogger is treating me.

That causes nitecruzr to realize he is being abusive, and he finally starts helping Ann nitecruzr then waits until the number hits 114 people, and says:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

2 of 114 people found this answer helpful.Shoot – can’t you find at least 200 faithful readers?

Courtesy and patience! To which Ann responds:

So… it’s just a joke to you? You mock my predicament. Everyone is telling me to get off Blogger. I have defended Blogger, on line, for so many years to people who’ve told me to leave.

This is when nitecruzr starts deleting his abusive responses, because he now dishonestly pretends that Ann is getting upset at a previous comment he made:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM
To: annalthouse@gmail.com

nitecruzr has posted an answer to the question “Blogger disruption caused complete removal of my blog.”:

Ann,

Believe it or not, the above “OK, this is escalated to Blogger Support on your behalf.” is a standard escalation advice. It’s been in Blogger Support’s queue for 4 hours now.

Oh, she was complaining about your helpful statement that you escalated your complaint to Blogger Support for her? Is that it, nitecruzr? Uh, sorry, that doesn’t pass the smell test. It’s just that, now that he has deleted all the abusive comments, that’s the last comment of his left standing. He soon repeats the comment and adds:

It’s been a long 3 days, and the harassment from your readers doesn’t make it any easier.

Nice try, but people were on the thread and saw his little jokes. Even before nitecruzr repeats his lie, Hoystory is already on him:

Nitecruzer, having second thoughts about the abject unprofessionalism of your snark? When trying to disappear comments down the memory hole, you need to delete the ones that reference the flushed content. May I suggest contemplation of Wheaton’s Law?

Soon thereafter, a guy named Dead Dog Bounce says:

Nitecruzer, thanks for deleting the joke at Ann’s expense. Always important to hide the evidence after the deed is done. However, it’s a sad fact that a coverup always looks really bad.

I have to say that I’m deeply shocked at the abject lack of any sign of real world feeling. The Althouse blog represents something close to Ann’s life’s work. It must be in the top 1% of blogspot blogs. If this is the kind of response that Blogger staff have, I’m going to have to downgrade my already low view of humanity.

Looks to me like Google just jumped the shark.

And AC245 says:

Are you now pretending that all the obnoxious comments you made throughout this thread (and then later deleted) never happened, nitecruzr?

Or is your contribution of petty, snide, and insulting commentary also part of the “standard escalation” procedure in threads you participate in?

For what it’s worth, I reported each of your (now-deleted) comments as abusive, and encourage other readers to do the same for any similar ones you post. You are not the type of person that a reputable corporation would want to have dealing with their customers, and Google/Blogger should be made aware of that fact.

Damn straight.

With the comments deleted, Ann’s responses were left hanging, looking like she was raging against nothing:

Finally, a guy named Brett aka electrobutter intervenes, compliments Ann, and says that they are working to get the blog back online.

But not before a Google employee has been revealed to be a complete prick and dishonest weasel.

As I noted earlier, I have posted the entire thing at this link, so you can see it all in context. Simply unbelievable.

How Are Google and Its Related Services and Products Looking After the Company’s Rank Mistreatment of Ann Althouse?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 6:12 pm

When I was having all those outages a while back, a friend suggested I return to Blogspot (which is where I started). He actually cited Ann Althouse’s experience as a positive. And until today, that seemed like good advice.

Now that they have shown that they can simply mark your blog as “spam” and whisk it away from you without notice . . . I don’t think I’ll be going back.

I think I know how Ann feels. I had my domain stolen once by 1&1. The level of corporate “fuck you” attitude from 1&1 was very similar to what Ann is experiencing today. By the way, this is about the level of service I have gotten when I have submitted a request to join Google Ads. I simply get a rejection — and when I ask for an explanation, I get nothing.

Twisting the knife, the “support” person called “nitecruzr” apparently said:

“I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.”

In spite of? What?

Not only has that quote been deleted from the support thread . . . they’re already trying to wipe evidence of this off Google.

Moments ago I searched the phrase:

“Ann, I’m going to treat you with courtesy and patience, as I ask Blogger to review your blog. This is in spite of your huge blog with over 20M posts and over 25M visitors a day – not because of that.”

The search showed the quote in a number of places, including at this link (Ann’s support thread) from which it has been removed, but also at the Save Althouse’s Blog Facebook page and elsewhere. I followed the link to the Facebook page, and when I hit the back button . . . all the links were gone.

Gone.

Now the only result I see is my blog.

I’m not going to lie. I find that creepy.

[UPDATE: I think I figured it out. The problem was that one search started with the word "Ann" and the other didn't. I note that the search without "Ann" still shows that the phrase was used in the support thread, and has been removed. So I still wouldn't put it past Google to cover their mistakes . . . but I can't prove it's happened. Sorry for the false alarm.]

One comment I still see at the support thread, but can’t find any context for:

Shoot – can’t you find at least 200 faithful readers?

I’m not sure what that means, but it is dripping with hostility. Plus he keeps talking about how she can appeal it, ONCE! — but after that she has zero recourse and can basically go to hell.

If all this has nothing to do with her union coverage I’ll eat my hat.

Someone needs to find out who “nitecruzr” is. I suggest using a different search engine than Google. They (or he) may have wiped that information clean.

In unrelated (not really!) news, Google has introduced a new gadget today, which Aaron discussed earlier: the Google Chromebook. It’s like an iPad — only without the hard drive! What a great idea that seems like today! You simply access all your stuff through the cloud. Unless . . . the cloud goes down. Like Blogger did. Or the Playstation Network did. Or . . . they decide that all your data is spam, perhaps because they don’t like the political content of your data, and tell you that it has all been removed without notice and there is one appeal which you will lose and that’s it.

Yeah, no thanks to that either.

Google is not helping itself today. If nitecruzr still has a job tomorrow, that company is doing something very wrong.

UPDATE: Someone finally came on the thread and told Ann they’re working on getting it back. OK, fine — I sort of expected that would happen. But they still need to address the incredible rudeness of this nitecruzr guy. They deleted his comment about the 200 readers — but not before I got this screenshot:

UPDATE x2: The support thread says they may mark your blog as “spam” for the violation of “affiliate marketing.” Does that mean you can’t have an Amazon search widget, as both Ann and I have?

If so, that is good reason to get the hell off of Blogspot.

UPDATE x3: Dustin found the Bing cache for that comment nitecruzr made. Screenshot:

That “don’t attack here” link goes here, to a post where nitecruzr explains that “Justice Is For The Poor And The Weak – And Blogger Justice Is For The Owners Of Small Blogs.” Well, yeah. It’s also for the owners of larger blogs, too.

I get the impression that nitecruzr got upset that Ann pointed out that she has a blog with a large readership — and treated her worse as a result. In other words, his veneration for the right of small blogs leads him, not to improve service for those blogs, but to equalize matters by giving equally shitty service to the larger blogs.

Well done, Google. Well done indeed. Where can I buy my Chromebook now? Yes, I’m kidding.

UPDATE x4: Apparently the Amazon Affiliates program is not the issue, since Blogger is specifically integrated with Amazon Associates. Thanks to Dustin.

UPDATE x5: I have the full story including all deleted bits of the Google employee’s abuse towards Ann, here.

PSA: How to Find Althouse’s Blog (Update: SHE’S BACK!) (Further Update: Her Archives Are NOT Back)

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 2:21 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

Big Update: It looks like she is back!  Yay!

Big Update/Correction: It turns out I spoke a little soon. Yes, she can post new stuff, but even though you can clearly see on the sidebar that archives know she posted a lot, you can’t see her old posts. Like you see this listing “April (360)” indicating that there are 360 posts listed in April of this year, but if you click on the link it claims there were no posts in that archive.

Update: And now we have a Facebook protest page: Save Ann Althouse’s Blog.  Of course I had my own issues with Facebook, but that’s another story…

As some of you noticed, Blogger has been having some trouble today.  That is Google’s excellent free blogging service.  And seriously on any other day I recommend using it.  The fact I created two blogs of my own on that site testifies that it isn’t hard to use…

But one person in particular has been getting it worse than most.  Ann Althouse’s blog has literally disappeared.

For now, you can go to her backup and get her continued wit and wisdom.  As for what is going on there, Insty writes:

THE FOLKS AT GOOGLE don’t quite seem to understand the Althouse blog. Hey, guys, it’s not a spam blog. It’s been in the New York Times and everything. You should put it back up.

Seriously, for their own self-interest given the lost ad revenue, if not on principle.

[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]

UPDATE BY PATTERICO: Some very important new information here.

UPDATE BY AARON: Well, lookie here.  I posted this complaint on their site:

And look now…  its disappeared.

UPDATE BY AARON: Below the fold is a screencap of a yahoo cache of one of the insults directed at Ann mentioned in Patrick’s post.  I suggest you right click on it, and open it in a new tab to view it.

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Like Superglue to Stupid (II): Did You Know That Oliver Willis REALLY Hates George W. Bush?

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 1:51 pm

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

As you might have seen ABC News’ article where Bush supposedly gives his “first public reaction” to the killing of bin Laden.  Now you can nitpick that, gee, the official Bush statement the night of would seem to have been the first, but aside from that it is a nice little article:

“I was eating souffle at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies,” Bush said when asked what he was doing when he received the call from President Obama, according to an ABC News contributor who attended the event.

“I excused myself and went home to take the call,” Bush said. “Obama simply said ‘Osama Bin Laden is dead.’”

Bush said Obama described in detail the secret mission to raid bin Laden’s Pakistani compound and the decision he made to put the plan into motion. He told Obama, “Good call.”…

When asked by forum moderator Melissa Lee of CNBC how he felt upon learning the news, Bush said he was “not overjoyed,” explaining that the campaign to track down the 9/11 mastermind was done not “out of hatred but to exact judgment.”

The development is ultimately a victory for the American people, he said.

“The guy is dead. That is good,” Bush said of bin Laden. “Osama’s death is a great victory in the war on terror. He was held up as a leader.”

“The intelligence services deserve a lot of credit. They built a mosaic of information, piece by piece,” he said, claiming no credit for himself.

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BREAKING: Liberals Confused That GOP Not Crazy

Filed under: General — Stranahan @ 12:48 pm

[Guest post by Lee Stranahan]

Over at HuffPost, political scientist and media critic Brendan Nyhan is trying to figure out Why Did Birther Support Drop So Much?

After the White House released the long-form birth certificate that Obama critics had been asking for  months, Nyhan wrote an initial piece saying that this move would have no effect.

Will Wednesday’s release of Obama’s long-form birth certificate put an end to the birther myth?

The odds aren’t good. The problem is that people can be extremely resistant to unwelcome factual information…

Given how much evidence is already available, it’s hard to see why a long-form birth certificate would suddenly change the minds of people who are predisposed to believe in the myth.

This follows in the long tradition of such piece’s as Salon’s 2008 Why the stories about Obama’s birth certificate will never die.  But lo and behold – polls show him that the issue is dying.  Nyhan is trying to figure out what went wrong.

So why was this correction so effective when others tend to fail? (PDF) The answers aren’t entirely clear yet, but here are some initial thoughts. First, the birth certificate’s release was an unusually definitive debunking that became a major news event, so there was saturation coverage of some very strong corrective information. Second, no prominent elites on the right contested the validity of the birth certificate, which meant that coverage of its release was almost entirely one-sided. Finally, it’s possible that support for the myth was soft because poll respondents didn’t really believe it but were using poll questions about Obama’s religion and place of birth as a way to express disapproval (as some commentators and pollsters have argued).

Although I give Nyhan him props for admitting his mistake, he seemed blinded to the reason he made a mistake in the first place – his initial broad assumption was wrong.  If he’d been open to the idea that Republicans weren’t crazy lunatics making an unreasonable request, then he wouldn’t be so confused by the poll numbers.

 nurse-ratched

This is political analysis by way of  Nurse Ratched, where you calmly and condescendingly explain why the political opposition is not just wrong, but actually certifiably crazy. It’s a way of delegitimizing your opponent’s position on all issues. (By the way, in this One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest analogy, the role of McMurphy will be played by Andrew Breitbart.)

Do you know who I think is NOT confused by these poll numbers? The White House. And I think that’s why they hesitated so long in releasing the long form. The GOP=Crazy narrative works to their advantage so they want to keep it going as long as possible.

- Lee Stranahan

Sockpuppet Friday—The Stan Lee is Everywhere Edition!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 11:23 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

As usual, you are positively encouraged to engage in sock puppetry in this thread. The usual rules apply.

Please, be sure to switch back to your regular handle when commenting on other threads. I have made that mistake myself, a lot.

And remember: the worst sin you can commit on this thread is not being funny.

—————————————

Last week, the Friday frivolity involved the new movie Thor.  This week involves one of his daddies, the indispensible Stan Lee.  As you may or may not know, Stan Lee makes it a point to appear in most of the movies involving his characters and IGN put together a montage of Mr. Lee’s appearances:

And yes, Mr. Lee even appears in the new Thor movie.  I have been pretty hard on Oliver Willis this week (and I am about to be even harder on him in a second if Twitter is restored), but I will say I agree with pretty much everything he said here:
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Getting Freedom of Expression VERY WRONG at LSU

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 9:33 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

I meant to mention this the other day, but besides the time crunch there was the natural aversion borne from the fact that, wow, so many people are getting so much wrong in all of this it makes my head hurt.

So let’s dig in, shall we?  Remember that night when all of us were celebrating the death of bin Laden?  Well on that same night someone went to LSU’s war memorial, removed the American flag that flew there, and burned it:

The American flag that flew on the pole over the LSU War Memorial was cut down and burned early Monday morning, LSU Police Department and witnesses report.

The burning occurred only hours after President Barack Obama announced Sunday night al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden’s death in combat.

Cpt. William Conger, University military science associate professor, said he and three ROTC students discovered the charred remains of the flag at 5:45 a.m. during physical training. They later retired the flag.

The Louisiana and University flags were also cut down, Conger said. The state flag was left unscathed, but the University flag is currently missing, Conger said.

Now this flag burning is obviously an expressive act, but it was likewise illegal.  I mean the constitution protects your right to burn your own flag, not to steal someone else’s and vandalize it.  The good news is that we then caught the (alleged) bastard who (allegedly) did this:

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So Now There IS a Recording From the Helmet Cams of the SEALs Who Killed bin Laden?!

Filed under: General — Aaron Worthing @ 7:21 am

[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.  Or by Twitter @AaronWorthing.]

So says CBS News giving us the latest of our 72 versions:

CBS News national security correspondent David Martin reports the 40 minutes it took to kill bin Laden and scoop his archives into garbage bags were all recorded by tiny helmet cameras worn by each of the 25 SEALs.

Officials reviewing those videos are still reconstructing a more accurate version of what happened. We now know that the only firefight took place in the guest house, where one of bin Laden’s couriers opened fire and was quickly gunned down. No one in the main building got off a shot or was even armed, although there were weapons nearby.

And, by the way, these were nutters known to wear and use suicide vests.  Killing them on sight makes perfect sense from a safety point of view, although I would have preferred we captured bin Laden and waterboarded him as needed.  (And in case you are not a regular reader, my position is we should have captured bin Laden solely because of the intel we could have gained.  In other words my objection to killing bin Laden is purely a tactical concern and has nothing to do with morality.  I had zero concern for his life.)

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