Patterico's Pontifications

5/14/2011

Patterico Criticizes Google; Gets Locked Out of Gmail; UPDATE: At Least 8 Nitecruzr Critics Were Locked Out of Gmail; UPDATE: Make that 9!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:09 pm

Over the last day or so, I have written several posts criticizing Google’s treatment of Ann Althouse. So did my guest blogger Aaron Worthing.

I collected several examples of people getting locked out of their Google accounts in the last 24 hours after criticizing nitecruzr on the Althouse support thread. The people include Althouse commenters EnigmatiCore and Dead Dog Bounce, as well as Hoystory — and Aaron.

All of whom, as it happens, left criticism on the Google support page for Althouse’s blog.

The cretin who insulted her and then deleted his taunts from the support thread, nitecruzr, is still acting on Google’s behalf even today. Commenter Dustin left a link to a thread where nitecruzr was acting as a Google support person. I went and left a comment there, noting that he was still there even after yesterday’s debacle — and essentially challenging him to disable my account too:

The comment has since been removed:

But I had now marked myself as another person who criticized nitecruzr on a Google forum page. And guess what? The very next time I tried to access my Gmail, I got this message:

That’s just what happened to the four other people who criticized Google or nitecruzr.

They want me to provide a cell phone number. That’s what Aaron, and Hoystory, and Dead Dog Bounce, and EnigmatiCore all did. Me, I went and left a support ticket with a different e-mail address, because I wasn’t thrilled about giving them a cell phone number. I have not heard back yet.

I rely on Gmail, so I’ll probably hand over the cell phone number if necessary. But I don’t like it. And I would strongly advise people who don’t already rely on Gmail to explore different options.

Since I am locked out of my Google account, I also cannot access Google Reader:

How’s that Google Chromebook sounding? The new device where you rely on Google to store all your data?

Now, since bringing this up on a related thread, I had one commenter (Beldar) suggest that this is happening because of Google’s recent Blogger outage, or some related reason. I asked for examples of people who, within the last 24 hours, were asked for their phone number. I am especially interested in anyone who was asked in the last 24 hours.

One commenter, Dana, said she was asked for her cell phone number, but she was able to hit a link called “save and continue” and bypass the question. A couple of other commenters reported being asked for a cell phone number, but have not yet answered my question as to whether they were REQUIRED to provide a cell phone number to restore their Google account. Dana, who didn’t criticize Google, was not required to hand over the cell phone number. I was.

I am convinced that Google has given this fellow nitecruzr the authority to flag accounts and require them to hand over cell phone numbers. (And if, instead, they are just asking for cell phone numbers wholesale, that’s a concern as well.)

Google, do something about this clown. GIve me back my Gmail without making me give you more personal information of mine.

In short: don’t be evil, Google.

UPDATE: A sixth person, B.E., has written to say that he too was locked out of his account. It is important to understand that the six of us — Aaron Worthing, Dead Dog Bounce, Hoystory, B.E., EnigmatiCore, and me — were all told that unusual activity had been detected on our accounts. We were required to give up our cell phone numbers to regain access. There was no “save and continue” option or other way to bypass the requirement. I even rebooted my computer and cleared my cache, and was unable to get into Gmail.

Other people have said Google asked for their cell phone numbers recently. But the six of us are different. We were required to give up a cell number.

And each one of us had criticized nitecruzr.

That’s strong circumstantial evidence that he flagged our accounts. We were disabled from accessing our e-mail because we criticized this guy’s rudeness and dishonesty.

That’s a real problem, Google. The word is spreading.

What are you going to do about it?

UPDATE x2: Two more: jpr9954 and AngelaTC. We’re 8 for 8 so far.

UPDATE x3: Make that 9. LilacSunday was locked out too.

UPDATE x4: Upon further discussion with LilacSunday, she wasn’t actually “locked out” because she had already given her recovery information some weeks or months earlier. After criticizing nitecruzr, she was asked to confirm those recovery options, and did.

489 Comments

  1. google is out of control I think it’s probably a lot cause of how far they have their head up Obama’s fundament

    (that means ass)

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:15 pm

  2. Well, if it says it’s OK in the Terms of Service, you have no right to complain, according to the theory of some.

    You should have read the ToS more closely or used an email service where you have to pay money.

    Comment by Val Hollah (39846a) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:18 pm

  3. Val,

    That does sound consistent with the arguments I have heard from some.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:19 pm

  4. google is out of control I think it’s probably a lot cause of how far they have their head up Obama’s fundament

    To me, that’s what makes it so scary.
    They have a lot of control, and very little accountability. And nobody’s going to hold them accountable because everybody uses GMail.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:22 pm

  5. I like companies what aren’t political and socialist like Diamond Foods they make tasty pringles! – or Clorox what mostly just wants to help me keep stuff clean – or Coca Cola which managed to get through the entire 2008 election without going Full Obamawhore like Pepsi

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:26 pm

  6. Did you see anything at all resembling a privacy policy at the wub-page asking for your cell/home #?

    Comment by carlitos (1596cc) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:32 pm

  7. Cartitos, when you click on “Privacy Policy” at the bottom you get this.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:35 pm

  8. the entire 2008 election without going Full Obamawhore like Pepsi

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7oh1so-2M8

    Comment by carlitos (1596cc) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:36 pm

  9. google forced black people in Africa to dance for so they could have a place to buy and sell coconuts

    what’s wrong with these people?

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:40 pm

  10. That link in 7 is a little frustrating.

    How is it fair for Google to give me a page with dozens of links to pages with dozens of links? I can’t possibly keep up with all that crap. They keep their policies buried in a maze that would take weeks to learn, and then when I ask for help, I deal with someone Google knows is an elusive creep with a habit of abusing power.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:41 pm

  11. Interesting re-read in light of yesterday and today’s Google kerfuffle – Obama & Google (a love story)…user beware.

    Google’s search engines regularly amass a huge quantity of information on American citizens. If you use Gmail to tell a friend about your upcoming ski trip, you might be surprised (and pleased, or not) to see ads for ski resorts popping up on your screen. If you use Google maps to pinpoint your location on a friend’s porch in Tennessee, Nashville restaurant ads may pop up. Google responds to privacy concerns by noting that this is not human spying, but an automatic software scan (similar to a virus filter) that delivers relevant rather than random ads to users.

    The Orwellian nature of Google’s power — its main business advantage — is now starting to freak out some people. “Your search habits are the closest thing we have to mind reading,” says Christopher Calabrese, counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union, who worries about the extent to which the government can force Google to share search records or other information.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:41 pm

  12. Well, and the PSN outage talks about that, too.

    They created a feature where you could save all your game data to “the cloud.”

    Which actually has alot of pluses, but here’s the minus.

    If i used it, i would have none of my game saves right now.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (73a7ea) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:43 pm

  13. That link in 7 is a little frustrating.

    How is it fair for Google to give me a page with dozens of links to pages with dozens of links? I can’t possibly keep up with all that crap. They keep their policies buried in a maze that would take weeks to learn, and then when I ask for help, I deal with someone Google knows is an elusive creep with a habit of abusing power.

    What’s more, Dustin, which link applies to what (if anything) they can do with my cell phone number if I give it to them?

    I can’t find it. Can you?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:43 pm

  14. They keep their policies buried in a maze that would take weeks to learn, and then when I ask for help, I deal with someone Google knows is an elusive creep with a habit of abusing power.

    Would nitecruzer be considered a third party?

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:45 pm

  15. I can’t find it. Can you?

    Comment by Patterico —

    Nope. And I did look for a little while.

    At the very least, I can say that most people who are asked for their number will never see what Google’s policy is on that information.

    Carlitos asked a good question, but how many people would even think to look for this policy? I think google users quickly learn that it is nearly impossible to absorb their policies. Any who are unfortunate enough to actually seek help will get treated like dirt, too.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:46 pm

  16. This is lengthy, and I hope it wasn’t already posted, but it’s the response of one Mike CH Google Employee Gmail Engineer:

    Why does Google ask for this [phone number]?

    It is an anti-spam system. Here’s how it works.

    Each phone number can be used to re-activate accounts a small number of times before it won’t be accepted anymore, and each Gmail account can send to a limited number of recipients every day.

    Because most people don’t buy things from spammers, they need to work with lots of accounts in order to send enough email to make money. If we think an account might be being used by a spammer, we lock it until the owner provides a phone number. So, spammers need to have access to a large quantity of phone numbers to unlock all their accounts. This is very expensive for them but pretty easy for most regular people. In most cases it is expensive enough for the spammer that it becomes unprofitable for them to spam, so they give up.

    I am not a spammer. Why am I being required to provide a phone number?

    Your account was probably compromised and used to send spam. When we detect this we send the account to phone verification. This is to lock out the spammers until you have the opportunity to sign in to your account and change the password. We have to do this because it may be days or even weeks until you next check your mail, and it’s likely spammers will try to repeatedly abuse your account during that time.

    What will Google use my phone number for?

    We will send you a number that you have to type into the web page. After that it won’t be used for anything else. In particular it will never be used for marketing things to you.

    I don’t want to provide my phone number, that’s personal.

    You can provide any phone number that has not been “used up”. It does not have to be your own. Even payphones can work.

    I don’t want to provide any phone number at all.

    You can follow the instructions on the verification page to contact support. However it may take us some time to get to your ticket, as these cases are lower priority than people who have been genuinely locked out without any way back in. We strongly encourage you to go through the phone verification process – many people have already done it, and we keep the numbers used private.

    So it’s all for your protection.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:52 pm

  17. Dana

    that’s not our protection.

    Its their protection.

    if someone hacks my email and uses it to send 5 million people an ad for a blue pill, its not my problem… its theirs.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (73a7ea) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:56 pm

  18. Aaron,

    I was being sarcastic. Very sarcastic.

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 5/14/2011 @ 9:58 pm

  19. Dana

    my bad… my sarcasm detector can really suck sometimes.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (73a7ea) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:00 pm

  20. Btw, this is totally off topic, but…

    The Ambiguously Gay Duo goes live action.

    http://www.mediaite.com/tv/snls-ambiguously-gay-duo-go-live-action-with-fallon-hamm-carrell-colbert-helms/

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (73a7ea) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:01 pm

  21. I should practice more, I guess…

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:01 pm

  22. They’re from the Gogglement, and they’re here to help us!

    Or, thinking back to another evil conspiracy:
    “TPC”, from “The President’s Analyst“.

    Comment by AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:02 pm

  23. We strongly encourage you to go through the phone verification process – many people have already done it, and we keep the numbers used private.

    That’s amusing. Give us your data. Everyone else has. Come on, man, lighten up. That should be Google’s motto. They take pictures of your yard with your kid playing in it, and that’s OK because they took everyone else’s picture too. They have a profile of all your browsing and searches, and that’s OK because no one else is complaining about it.

    It’s an overt call for people to act like sheep.

    Anyway, Dana provides their policy. They promise not to use the number for marketing.

    I am very interested in whether or not Aaron, Patterico, and the others who criticized Nitecruzr really had their emails compromised and sending spam. My guess is that they did not have obvious passwords.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:02 pm

  24. Aaron- do you believe that a spammer used your email account last night? Or Patterico’s?

    I don’t want to provide any phone number at all.

    You can follow the instructions on the verification page to contact support. However it may take us some time to get to your ticket, as these cases are lower priority than people who have been genuinely locked out without any way back in.

    How weird is that?

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:02 pm

  25. I gave in and gave them my cell phone number. I can’t do without my e-mail account for long.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:03 pm

  26. I gave in and gave them my cell phone number. I can’t do without my e-mail account for long.

    Comment by Patterico

    Are their millions of blue pill spams in your outbox? Any indication your account was really doing anything unusual?

    Anyhow, what happens if your account is ‘unusual’ next week? Will they ask for your car’s vin number?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:05 pm

  27. We’ll still see how long it takes for them to get back to me. My guess it will take somewhere around never.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:05 pm

  28. There were no spam issues with my account. The only possible explanations are abuse by nitecruzr or a very wide request for phone numbers due to recent outage issues.

    DRJ and Xrlq have not yet told us whether they were able to bypass the page without giving their numbers. They are the only ones besides Dana I know of who were asked for numbers, and Dana was able to do the bypass. Dana also did not criticize nitecruzr.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:07 pm

  29. Comment by MayBee — 5/14/2011 @ 10:02 pm

    Did you read that to mean that if you don’t give your number, you’re a low priority because clearly, if you were *really* locked out, you would have given your phone number?

    Comment by Dana (4eca6e) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:09 pm

  30. They’ll give you your gmail, Patterico. You will be grateful (rightfully so), and others will have learned from it.

    All the cool kids use gmail. I remember how many journalists went crazy when there was a gmail outage. So, not a lot of questions asked of Google.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:11 pm

  31. Yeah, Dana. That’s how I read it.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:11 pm

  32. I use hotmail still.

    DON’T JUDGE ME

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:12 pm

  33. I think Hotmail sucks. Does anyone know of a good alternative to gmail?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:13 pm

  34. I really like Gmail and don’t have huge issues with Google as a company. I was down on them for a while over China but I believe they improved on that score. They continually deny me the chance to place ads, and never explain why, which I find odd. But this nitecruzr arrogance is infuriating.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:16 pm

  35. hotmail sucks but it’s the exclusive way for how people can get in touch with me from anywhere in the whole world using electronic mail communications technology, which makes it kinda kicky I think

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:19 pm

  36. Actually, I wholly approve of this post! It lays out some facts, and it explains clearly where Patterico is drawing inferences. Certainly the issues raised are pertinent and legitimate ones, and they interest me much more than whether a particular forum geek was rude to Prof. Althouse on this particular occasion.

    And I certainly agree that it would be extremely imprudent — and bad business — for Google to empower folks like nitecruzr (whatever his level of actual, implied, or apparent authority to act for Google) to trigger some additional and nontrivial insistence for additional personal data like a phone number when other users aren’t subjected to that requirement as a condition of maintaining their accounts.

    Comment by Beldar (7c0dd5) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:21 pm

  37. What do you do if you do not have a cell phone? Google is going dead evil, IMAO.

    They’d better clean this up fairly rapidly before it gets out of control. You might try slashdotting this.

    {^_^}

    Comment by JD (bcdcf2) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:21 pm

  38. If that’s what’s happened, I should have added. Patterico’s laid out a good prima facie case that it is, even if it relies on some inferences regarding causation and motivation. So I too will be interested to see what response, if any, he gets from Google.

    Comment by Beldar (7c0dd5) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:23 pm

  39. I use Hotmail. I don’t care if it sucks (although I don’t think it does). Bill Gates isn’t a political flunky.
    I’ve had the same hotmail address for 14 years, through tons of moves. It has always worked.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:23 pm

  40. How do you “slashdot” something?

    Feel free to do it if you know how, JD-who-won’t-change-her-handle-despite-numerous-requests.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:24 pm

  41. If you don’t use your Hotmail address for 30 days they take it away. That happened to me.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:26 pm

  42. If you don’t use your Hotmail address for 30 days they take it away. That happened to me.

    That may be, but I have gone longer than 30 days without accessing my hotmail account and I didn’t lose it. I know the email I use to log into blogs is a hotmail that I hardly ever log in to read. Although I do get incoming mail there.
    I’m sure I lost one that I sent up as a Secret Santa once, but it was a completely temporary thing.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:30 pm

  43. I had the “patterico@hotmail.com” address for a couple three years and lost it when I didn’t use it. Then I was unable to re-sign up for that address for months or years, until recently, when I tried again and it worked.

    Some yahoo (no pun intended) has the patterico@yahoo.com e-mail. Annoying.

    OK, the pun was intended. Why lie?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:37 pm

  44. Oh my. Mine was okay. I just signed into my gmail account and they asked for a mobile phone number but I just left it empty and proceeded to sign in.

    No word on my account like “unusual activity.” So your message was definitely aimed at you.

    Comment by Patricia (f8db02) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:43 pm

  45. Weird how many people are all of a sudden being asked for their number, though. I don’t think that’s that common, is it? Never ever happened to me before.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:45 pm

  46. Some yahoo (no pun intended) has the patterico@yahoo.com e-mail. Annoying.

    I understand. Some Twit had @MayBee on Twitter and had never even Tweeted once.
    That isn’t quite a pun, but close enough.

    I’m not telling you to get hotmail, by the way. GMail is much cooler, and it’s never embarrassing to give your email address like it is if you have hotmail or (gasp!) AOL.

    It’s just that so many have GMail, and it’s the cool thing to have. So we see Google (at a very low level!) flex its muscle over your GMail account and we know that nobody is ever really going to push Google all that hard.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:50 pm

  47. I mean, this guy is maybe not even an employee. Imagine what the employees have access to!
    (not that they’d ever sell that information)

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:52 pm

  48. Not that it’s “cool” so much as I like the interface a LOT better.

    Maybe because I’m used to it, but I think it’s not JUST that.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:56 pm

  49. Patterico, any grounds for legal action of any kind? Perhaps a class action, even?

    The way I see it, a free service means there’s no warranty that the system won’t go down, and it’s not fair to sue them over any genuine technical problem. But deliberately and maliciously disabling your account is something entirely different. It seems to me that there is a contract between provider and user, that guarantees the service will not be deliberately and maliciously interrupted for arbitrary reasons.

    If their representative is deliberately flagging people’s accounts as spam sources, and thus requiring the phone verification, then they may be in breach of their implied contract with the users.

    What do you think?

    Comment by Milhouse (ea66e3) — 5/14/2011 @ 10:58 pm

  50. At least there should be sufficient grounds for discovery to get nitecruzr’s identity and a list of sites and accounts he’s shut down temporarily or permanently. Following up with those may present enough for a class action.

    Comment by Milhouse (ea66e3) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:00 pm

  51. Meh. Not interested in taking legal action. I have enough problems.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:01 pm

  52. About 3 days ago, gmail asked me while logging in, if I wanted to provide a cell phone number so that I could do an automated password reset if the need ever arose. I assume this is a new service. I said no thanks and continued to my mail. I think this is different than “You are locked out due to suspicious activity.”

    I would really like to see some MSM attention on this. Either one rouge volunteer, or a group of them (snickering at the conservatives on some moderator-only forum) is undermining the whole idea of the google-operated cloud. This should be bad bad mojo for the company, assuming we can get a loud enough megaphone.

    Comment by Tom (39c43f) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:05 pm

  53. His identity is public.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:06 pm

  54. Maybe because I’m used to it, but I think it’s not JUST that.

    I’m sure it’s much better. To be honest, I’ve never even looked into gmail. I hardly ever use Hotmail by itself, but the interface doesn’t bother me. I had Hotmail, then 4 different server-based email accounts, and then when I moved back here I just didn’t feel like taking on something new again.

    I do think Google is too political though.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:07 pm

  55. Nitecruzr probably gets to review the cell number you give them also.

    Facebook did something similiar to ARs Technica

    http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2011/04/facebook-shoots-first-ignores-questions-later-account-lock-out-attack-works.ars

    Microsoft and Apple both can exhibit bad google like behavior.

    This is a traditional common good that needs to be legislated. Information monopolies that get so big that they can’t be talked to need to be humbled somewhat by congress critters.

    Does Write US really mean “write us so we can spit on you”? Althouse is being treated like royalty by Google compared to how the rest of us are treated. Do we really want this in society? The marketplace offers no good alternatives.

    The information superhighway should be free, easy to use, responsible and one shouldn’t be forced to take a dirt road because the big rigs are trashing everyone.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:09 pm

  56. I also reported the nitecruzr blog for abuse and it is still up and running. So there are personal decisions being made behind the OZ curtain called Google. the only way justice will occur here is if some other informational highway behemoth puts up an ad that makes fun of Google.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:12 pm

  57. jd2,

    EXACTLY! I couldn’t agree more (though that won’t win you any points here).

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:13 pm

  58. jd2,

    On 55. 56 Not so much.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:13 pm

  59. slashdot, wired, ars technica are places you can go to escalate an internet problem. If it is worthy. Regulating information monopolies is usually news. Most congress critters are internet dinosaurs and thus a blogging tsunami will not be noticed by them until it hits in them in the pocket book.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:17 pm

  60. I have a gmail account but i no longer have a cell phone or a land line. I’ll be screwed when gmail or facebook asks me for one. And then confronted with the same wailing wail of support that is a catch-22

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:19 pm

  61. I like my anonmynity . this blogger episode has made me leary of all things google. I’ll start stuffing cash under my bed and using bing etc. I think I can get along ok. I surely won’t comment on any blogger site.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:32 pm

  62. my wife was very recently asked for her cell # by gmail, but she was able to get through without giving it. this seems like the facebook ‘happy consensual lack of privacy’ but without the ‘happy’ or ‘consensual’ bits . . .

    Comment by marc (4198de) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:38 pm

  63. Patterico, I just mentioned your blog and the problems with Google in a comment to the author of this article at ZDnet. It sort of fit in rather naturally.

    http://www.zdnet.com/blog/bott/googles-blogger-outage-makes-the-case-against-a-cloud-only-strategy/3300

    {^_^}

    Comment by JD (bcdcf2) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:48 pm

  64. Have a gmail account, but almost never use it. Gained access and sent an email tonight without being asked for a cell number.

    So, FWIW, they’re not asking everybody.

    Not sure what role this night critter has with Google, but it’s pretty clear he’s not doing the company or its reputation any good.

    Comment by angeleno (ec0b60) — 5/14/2011 @ 11:56 pm

  65. _____________________________________________

    Obama & Google (a love story)
    Comment by Dana — 5/14/2011 @ 9:41 pm

    I do think Google is too political though.
    Comment by MayBee — 5/14/2011 @ 11:07 pm

    I’m not sure how the socio-political leftism of Google’s San Francisco/Bay Area homebase affect its employees in particular, its operation in general. Whatever impact such bias has, in today’s era it is more twisted, foolish and unethical than ever before. After all, if Google apparently can happily embrace the flaky, dishonest, ultra-liberal, goddamn-America nature of the guy now in the White House, is it much of a leap to assume they (ie, specifically their corporate culture) will deal with someone like nitecruzr by patting him on the head and proclaiming “play nice, baby! You’ll be okay just as long as you don’t make us look too bad and don’t put too much of a crimp in our latte-liberal lifestyle!!”

    There is an odd Orwellian glint to what Ann Althouse and Patterico have experienced, and I think the perfect capper to that is the following report. It pertains to another one of the darlings of liberals/Democrats throughout the US and modern society. Mr. Truth Teller himself, Mr. Meaning-of-is-is, the person who’s the very essence of irony to the 10th degree:

    Politico.com, May 13:

    Bill Clinton doesn’t like all the misinformation and rumors floating on the Internet. And he thinks the United Nations or the U.S. government should create an agency to do something about it.

    “It would be a legitimate thing to do,” Clinton said in an interview airing Friday on CNBC.

    “Let’s say the U.S. did it, it would have to be an independent federal agency that no president could countermand or anything else because people wouldn’t think you were just censoring the news and giving a different falsehood out,” Clinton said.

    “That is, it would be like, I don’t know, National Public Radio or BBC or something like that…. Somebody needs to be doing it, and maybe it’s a worthy expenditure of taxpayer money.”

    Comment by Mark (411533) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:03 am

  66. My guess is they are getting cell phone numbers to sell later to telemarketers.

    Comment by backhoe (a01c8d) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:10 am

  67. Bill Clinton is hot……………..alright i’am sorry.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:06 am

  68. As with most of the Valley, lots of liberal douchebags starting with Page and Brin at Google.

    Why does it shock anyone that companies that happily censor Chinese dissidents to make an extra buck would not censor you?

    Only degenerate liberals opinions worthy of support. The rest are hate crimes.

    Comment by Sponge Bob Square Pants (fccc6f) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:42 am

  69. I would really like to see some MSM attention on this.

    The MSM usually takes a few days (or more) to catch up with the blogosphere, especially over the weekend.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0369ce) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:51 am

  70. Taking heed from the experience of Patterico and others, I’ve got a Yahoo email address, and am notifying people not to use my Gmail address any more.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0369ce) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:53 am

  71. Hotmail, yahoo and others work well.
    Something to give you further pause is that many companies use the free services of these to save the cost of operating an exchange server. Which means your data you exchange with those companies is at the mercy of the whims of google or the other services.

    Comment by vor2 (704e34) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:13 am

  72. Hey, Google’s dominance is the result of the free market. If you don’t like it, lump it.

    Comment by stari_momak (d5f987) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:50 am

  73. Damn. That is creepy.

    That’s Eric Schmidt-level creepy.

    Comment by rdbrewer (d81fee) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:52 am

  74. Hey, Google’s dominance is the result of the free market. If you don’t like it, lump it.

    Comment by stari_momak

    So, Stari, we should just take it if Google or one of its representatives is abusing its power?

    Comment by rdbrewer (d81fee) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:56 am

  75. Weird how many people are all of a sudden being asked for their number, though. I don’t think that’s that common, is it? Never ever happened to me before.

    Comment by Patterico — 5/14/2011 @ 10:45 pm

    Yahoo asked for it. Like a fool, I checked it, and now they have all my contacts. The most benign theory is they want to see these numbers to telemarketers. After all, our cell number is our last bastion of privacy so far.

    Paranoid theory? Need I even say?

    Comment by Patricia (f8db02) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:01 am

  76. Google’s dominance is due to cronyism

    FIFY tardlett.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:05 am

  77. I think any lawsuit or class action would go nowhere.
    N did wrong, I think, but assuming he did take action to close P’s account (and I do), his actions would be viewed in a more favorable light than I think people realize, and P’s in a worse one.

    Patterico did pop up on a support thread on an unrelated-to-Althouse thread to heckle N. about his job performance.

    Even if it isn’t, that action can reasonably be construed as a kind of abuse of Googles services. If disabling P’s gmail prevents him from repeating that kind of action, or even just discourages disgruntled threadjacks in general, N’s actions might be bad customer relations, but reasonable to keep the support threads from being overwhelmed by blogger users or socks of google users or of friends of unhappy google users from entering unrelated support threads with heckling messages.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:21 am

  78. I never give anyone my cell number and the reason is a true one – I can never remember it. I don’t call it, and I don’t particularly care what it is as long as I have a land line.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:23 am

  79. Google’s latest offerings.

    Comment by rdbrewer (d81fee) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:24 am

  80. Thing is, you know that asshole has been operating like that without consequence for years.

    Comment by rdbrewer (d81fee) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:28 am

  81. Bill Clinton’s remarks probably go back at least as far as thelong-cherished hopes that Hillary expressed during the Lewinsky scandal – “We need to rethink this whole internet thing”, which I equated at the time to “We need to rethink this whole first amendment thing” as the context was the desirability of suppressing rapidly and widely disseminated rumors.

    Of course, in that case all the scurrilous falsehoods turned out to be true.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:36 am

  82. You should really ask them about this at the official gmail and blogger twitter accounts.

    Comment by Charlie Norris (4f7565) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:40 am

  83. Stari might be more aptly named “stasi” in honor of google.

    Comment by Mr B (852d60) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:42 am

  84. Patterico did pop up on a support thread on an unrelated-to-Althouse thread to heckle N. about his job performance.

    Sarah, what about me, then?

    I am not a blogger of any note. I showed up on an Althouse related thread, not to heckle but to help. I pointed out how Nitecruzr was making incorrect assumptions which were causing time to be lost and were causing frustrations for users (including users who are mere commenters).

    I agree with you that it is bad customer relations. That should, in and of itself, be cause for others to rethink their relationship with them.

    I also think it is more than just bad customer relations. It calls into question their entire support paradigm– including the saving of money by giving the keys to unpaid volunteers who obviously feel that they get something out of the deal. Since it is not pay, and the prestige is not large either, it is very likely that power will be the real motivator for some.

    And when you have power, you will have abuse of power. Google wants to grant this power, in exchange for free customer support, but not be accountable or responsible for the actions of those it has empowered. That, to me, is worse than just bad customer relations. It is a threat when coupled with the reach of Google.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:44 am

  85. (moved from previous thread)

    Patrick,

    I got the phone screen also, on Thursday (I think it was…maybe Friday). I did the same thing Diana did…left the phone block blank and hit “Save and continue”. It logged right in.

    It’ll be a cold day in Hades when I provide Google with a phone number. (And it’ll be an even colder day before I give Apple a credit card number just for the privilege of browsing their iTunes library.)

    The bigger they are, the meaner they are.

    Comment by creeper (f1f686) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:46 am

  86. Also, a simple question.

    If Google will allow unpaid volunteers to have this kind of power over the accounts of their users with apparently little oversight and abuse prevention, just how much power does an actual Google employee have, and why would we expect the culture of oversight and prevention to be any different than shown here?

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:51 am

  87. Patterico, you should consider Fastmail. They have a free service, although I would skip it and use one of their paid plans. I’ve had an enhanced plan there since 2002, and I love it. I redirect all my other email addresses to that account, so I manage a ton of mail that would flood a Gmail account. Their spam filtering is first rate, and everything is tweakable to your liking. They have a webmail interface, but I use Thunderbird through IMAP. Searching 9 years of stored email plus attachments is very quick.

    Comment by Robert Arthur (e04563) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:57 am

  88. Under the heading of “Post in haste, repent at leisure”…

    Reading others’ comments above, I believe the phone screen I got was different from the one you’re seeing, Patrick. I do not recall any reference to “unusual activity”.

    There are some parallels between the blog crashes and gmail activity. Many blogs were frozen or lost posts but Althouse is the only one I am aware of that was removed completely. Many people have been asked for their phone numbers but only a few have been locked out of their accounts. It wouldn’t take much paranoia to wonder if they’re using the widespread blog failures and phone requests as a smoke screen to cover more specific intrusions.

    Tinfoil off.

    Comment by creeper (f1f686) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:00 am

  89. I don’t think I’ve commented about this anywhere else (but I may have on Facebook) and cleaning my cookies this morning I noticed one from nitecruzer’s blog (which I may have visited.) Yesterday I went to look at my gmail account and was rapped with the phone number request; I don’t use it much so just went away.

    Yes, if Google turns evil we will be in a bad place. Or if Google decides to help the government.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:08 am

  90. I am curious about the cell-phone things. If one was wondering about possible nefarious ends–how hard is it to eavesdrop on cell-phones? What does having a specific phone number allow you to do that you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise? I do remember a case in the late 90s of a Republican phone call being eavesdropped on and released to the press, so it’s not like the idea is beyond the pale.

    Not saying this is the intent, but one of the cardinal sins of strategy is only considering what you think your opponent *might* do, instead of what he *could* do. Since the account flags appear to have been made in bad faith, one can only assume that the request for more data is being made in bad faith also. And since there may be a group that is actively trying to flag accounts for political reasons, and since they may already be used to operating in a JournoList-type culture, where they coordinate things amongst themselves, I’m sure they assume others do it too–and could want access surreptitiously, for a variety of reasons.

    Or it could just as easily–more easily–be a few immature liberal-oriented techies who are abusing their power. Time will tell.

    Comment by The Federalist (19a52b) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:09 am

  91. Enigmaticore Oh, I agree with you about N. and his rude fails. He flagged you under a pretext that you were interfering ( even though it is only “getting in the way” of his own helpfulness by commenting on it) and potentially a spammers sock.

    He clearly blamed Althouse for any commentary on behalf of her that cast a negative light on himself, and might be assuming it is all at her instigation – and if not, something he must put a stop to to keep control of the support thread. I blame his training – I think he’s trained to give out boilerplate help that assumes Google was correct and the blogger at fault.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:11 am

  92. Also Chromebook seems like an imprudent thing to use.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:15 am

  93. This guy “nitecruzr” is named Chuck Croll. I saved a copy of his profile in case he flushes it down the memory hole.

    http://brainshavings.com/supplements/chuck-croll.htm

    Comment by Alo Konsen (cae88c) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:22 am

  94. I think he’s trained to give out boilerplate help that assumes Google was correct and the blogger at fault.

    If they have trained him, then this would increase their culpability, no?

    It appears that he flagged me because he felt I was interfering, by using a process that (as Dana quoted above) is a spam-prevention tool. In other words, he’s using a spam tool for another purpose. I’d call that abuse on his part. How, precisely, do I go about bringing that abuse to Google’s attention? I am not seeing such an avenue.

    And that raises the question, if ever there is more meaningful abuse by someone working on behalf of Google, how does one bring that to their attention?

    And would a Google employee only need to have one of these unpaid volunteers to have his back in order to make it that abusive action could never be reported back to the company?

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:24 am

  95. It’s curious what does and doesn’t get flagged:

    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2011/05/have-you-ever-had-thought-on-topic-of.html

    Comment by narciso lopez (72470d) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:31 am

  96. Well – in the light *most* favorable to N.s use of a spam flag – it reasonably follows that, if Google is assuming Althouse is an illegitimate spammer user of blogger services until proven otherwise (the boilerplate used seems to indicate great faith the reliability of spam detection or the fault of the blogger) you are in league with the spammer, commenting on behalf of a spammer, and sock of Althouse or otherwise in cahoots with spamming enterprises.

    So, he therefore flags you as a spammer until the matter is disproven. Actually out of spite, you know, but with a plausible pretext of action.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:33 am

  97. it reasonably follows that, if Google is assuming Althouse is an illegitimate spammer user of blogger services until proven otherwise

    I don’t know. I mean, it’s Google. Couldn’t he just google Althouse and see within seconds that it isn’t a spam blog?

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:35 am

  98. I don’t see it as plausible, though. I do not believe a reasonable and unbiased person would ever judge it as such.

    However, let me stipulate that it is plausible. Does one wish to engage in commerce with a company that permits abuse by those performing work on their behalf so long as there is a plausible pretext of action?

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:39 am

  99. That “light most favorable” is actually bending over backwards so far for Google that you’re staring at the back of your knees. And suggesting that maybe I deserved to have my account flagged for “heckling” this guy? Pffft.

    He abuses his authority to retaliate against me for criticizing him for … abusing his authority.

    Htom: did you get the screen like I got, talking about unusual activity? The one SarahW thinks it was justified for me to get? Or did you just get the (apparently standard) request?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:39 am

  100. I would also give Google a fair warning. Just because the service is free does not mean it cannot be eventually regulated. After all, if the State can put the onus upon a swimming pool owner to enclose his own property because of what others might do, then certainly enough precedent already exists for expansion of regulations to include proper stewardship of those who operate free public services considered critical for the commonweal.

    I personally am not sure I would go there, but the Internet is a immature field of law, and I think in other fields more has been done with less as regards to making those formerly legally not responsible now legally responsible for certain behaviors and actions. After all, though Blogger is a free service, Ann Althouse certainly had a property interest in what she had built up. Is there not a great precedent for the law to be decided here? And could not the common carrier principle be applied to free as well as for-fee services? I think so, and without any great twisting of the law. Is Google a utility? I’d be curious to see how that plays out. Is Google a commercial enterprise tending towards monopolistic behavior, or a trust? It would seem to make money somehow, so I’d have to say it could be open to the charge. All these are questions that I would seem to think are not quite settled in the law–but that probably will be in the next 10-20 years.

    Therefore, My Dear Google, when you go 98% to one party, if that party is out of power you are out of luck if you have been also ticking off the “reasonable man” at the same time–because then who will defend you? No one who can. For if you act in a way that can only be called blatantly liberal, then blatantly liberal you will die if liberals are not in power.

    Comment by The Federalist (19a52b) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:41 am

  101. Further, and relevant to Bloggers.

    If unpaid volunteers can flag individual users as being suspected as spam, locking them out, then is it not plausible that unpaid volunteers can flag blogs as being suspected as spam, locking them out and thereby silencing them (and causing work for them) for a period of time and possibly longer?

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:43 am

  102. Good point, Enigmaticore.

    Comment by MayBee (081489) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:47 am

  103. For a long time, Google would ask me for a cell number or alternate email address every time I logged into Gmail “for password recovery.” I finally gave in and gave them the # because I was sick of them asking. But they never locked me out of the account because of it. I took out the phone # just now. We’ll see if anything happens besides renewed please to give it to them.

    Comment by Anwyn (bfb584) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:55 am

  104. Y’all are talking about two different screens. The one most of you are talking about, where you can leave the phone number blank, is a standard screen I’ve gotten several times over my years with gmail. The page asks you for an email address and phone number that you could potentially use to restore access to your account, should you ever forget your password or something. I periodically get reminders from gmail asking if the address I gave is still good and if I do want to give a number. I have always left the phone number blank and never had a problem logging in.

    The page Patterico got is something different. I did see something similar to that page once; I recently got married, and set up a new gmail account with my married name. All I used that account for was to set up a new twitter screenname; otherwise, it remained dormant for a while. When I did finally log in after a couple of weeks or so, I got a message requiring me to do one of those word verifications so google would know it was a real email address and not a robot account. That screen didn’t ask for a phone number, but its existence does suggest that there is some sort of automated check on that sort of thing.

    Comment by Mrs. Peel (5c3da2) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:58 am

  105. I’m not a regular here but I did leave two comments on your last post about Google/Althouse.

    On Friday afternoon I followed a link posted on Althouse’s backup blog to the thread she had going with Google Support/Nitecruzer. I too felt that his replies were not helpful so I logged in user a Gmail account and flagged every one of Nitecruzer’s replies in that thread as “unhelpful.”

    A few minutes later I wanted to make a comment at Althouse and when I hit the “publish” button it prompted me to log in. I use a Google account to comment at Althouse so I attempted to sign in as usual and immediately recieved the screen stating that “unusual activity had been detected in your account” and that I needed to enter a phone number.

    I wasn’t about to give Google my phone number, so I just hit the Back button in my browser and discovered I was logged in anyway. But it seems that for others using the Back button didn’t work.

    But the bottom line is that immediately after flagging several of Nitecruzer’s comments as unhelpful, I too was unable to log into my Gmail account.

    Comment by FedkatheConvict (32ac02) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:00 am

  106. FedkatheConvict: Do me a favor and tell me if you can log in to that Gmail account now.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:07 am

  107. I have a gmail account which I have never used. And yes, when I tried to log in, it said to send cell phone (recommended). That how it looked. It also gave me the option of save and continue, so I clicked that and up came gmail.

    Comment by PatAZ (f79bea) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:10 am

  108. @Patterico.

    I can log in now…I just used the account to post a comment on Althouse’s blog. In fact I was able to log in since Friday after I ignored the prompt to give Google my phone number.

    Comment by FedkatheConvict (32ac02) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:11 am

  109. Just wondering: in the Privacy Policy at
    http://www.google.com/privacy/privacy-policy.html
    it says:

    We restrict access to personal information to Google employees, contractors and agents who need to know that information in order to process it on our behalf. These individuals are bound by confidentiality obligations and may be subject to discipline, including termination and criminal prosecution, if they fail to meet these obligations.

    Is nitecruzr perhaps an “agent” or “contractor”? I notice they don’t say anything about “volunteers” having access, but his actions suggest that personal information is indeed available to him.

    Along a tangential curiosity: I know survivors of crime who do not give out phone numbers for safety reasons. It seems that Google’s policy places such individuals at risk. That is not a good policy.

    Comment by Sue (24e46b) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:23 am

  110. So Fedka, you did not get a notice of unusual activity?

    So far I have to find someone who did in the last 24 hours who did not criticize nitecruzr.

    Is Hoystory still around? Did he get a notice of unusual activity?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:25 am

  111. @Patterico.

    Yes, on Friday afternooon I did get a notice similar to the screen capture at the beginning of this post stating that unusual activity was detected in my account and that I needed to verify my account by providing Google with a phone number.

    I then hit the Back button and found out I was logged in anyway.

    Comment by FedkatheConvict (32ac02) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:36 am

  112. Fedka, Patterico rebooted, cleared his cache, etc, and was not able to log in. All you had to do was hit ‘back’?

    It sure sounds like you got the ‘what’s your call phone, just in case we need it’ message that many have found, and does not lock one out of their account, rather than the ‘your account is locked down until you provide your cell phone number’ which is described in that google forum in a way that suggests Google is trying to thwart serious spammers. I don’t think you can just click back out of it, or the entire program would have failed from the start.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:41 am

  113. @Dustin, perhaps the circumstances are different. However, I got that “unusual activity” notice immediately after I flagged a number of NiteCruzer’s comments as unhelpful in the Google Support Forum.

    Coincidence? Perhaps; but I don’t think so.

    Comment by FedkatheConvict (32ac02) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:45 am

  114. Yeah, Fedka, I honestly don’t know what that means.

    I believe you with the ‘unusual’ message. That’s just confusing to me because Google discusses it in terms that make clear they tried to lock people out of their accounts if they are suspected of being spammers.

    Perhaps nitecruzr undid some of his markings as unusual? Perhaps an employee did? Perhaps there’s a behind the scenes problem where nitecruzr is constantly abusing his power, and others are just trying to keep up with fixing it?

    I have no idea, but like you said, the timing is creepy. And Google is not explaining anything.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:50 am

  115. colonel read piece where
    google takes control of world
    Great googleymoogley!

    Comment by ColonelHaiku (37fe8d) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:57 am

  116. I thought I recognized nitecruzr, he’s done this before: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=164b7aa43cfacad4&hl=en

    He’s responsible for the shut down of another conservative/libertarian blog that I used to read , thread at the link.

    Comment by Mike (377b14) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:02 am

  117. Damn, Mike.

    nitecruzr
    Top Contributor
    Official Blog*Star
    7/18/09

    If you care about GISS, you will convince your readers to shut the fuck up, and wait until next week. Either Blogger may remove the interstitial, or they will delete the blog and give you something to really whine about. I am inclined to recommend the latter, right now.

    Nice link.

    And let me repeat my earlier point. There is no reference to Official Blog Star on the internet other than this appeal manager/moderator of Google’s Help Forums.

    Google chose Nitecruzer for THIS JOB, and they have left him in this job for a long time after he started being a complete jerk.

    I also notice that Nitecruzr in both this and the Althouse situation claimed the blog was fixed, and the problem is gone, before it really was.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:10 am

  118. Official: of or pertaining to an office or position of duty, trust, or authority: official powers.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:11 am

  119. According to the protocols listed above, your account can get flagged and you have to put in a number. That number can be flagged only a certain number of times, after which you will need to put in a new number.

    Which means that Nitecruzr, or someone like him, could flag one repeatedly, putting them in a position where they might need to get a new phone number in order to access their Google accounts.

    Good thing no one with that power would show any tendencies to abuse that power. That’s a beautiful account you have there; it would be a shame if anything would happen to it.

    Feh. I am done commenting on it. Everyone will make up their own mind. I am done with Google, though, at least in ways that are easily controllable by me.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:40 am

  120. From the same thread, Dustin:

    If Blogger is to retain any control over the spam and pimping here, they will most likely have to ignore the whining, and leave the matter unresolved for several additional days, as “punishment”.

    It’s clear that nitecruzr’s pet peeve is blog readers expressing concern over a blog that has been removed. And it’s clear that he believes it is appropriate to exercise whatever powers he has been given by Google (to make recommendations, at a minimum) to “punish” such readers.

    So if he also has the power to disable accounts and require a phone number — and recent events provide powerful evidence that this is the case — you can bet he thinks that is appropriate as “punishment.”

    The fact that someone like SarahW might find that “reasonable” does not negate the fact that the vast majority of Gmail users would disagree. And would be pretty damn appalled that Google has granted some schmoe with an agenda the power to disable accounts on a whim, to satisfy some petty and personal desire for vengeance for a small perceived slight.

    The more sunlight this gets, the more pressure there will be on Google to do something.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:41 am

  121. Oh — and the blog that nitecruzr recommended in 2009 that Google take a long time to resolve its problems?

    Here’s what you get when you try to access it now.

    Gone.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:46 am

  122. I know that difference between the asking for potential account recovery information and having the account flagged for unusual activity. I am certain without a doubt that it was the latter. The former never resulted in Outlook on my desktop being unable to access my email, the latter most certainly did.

    Comment by Hoystory (d0fa8a) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:48 am

  123. Nitecruzr has moderator tools at his disposal that Google provided to him. He routinely abuses them. Google prefers not to notice. It’s ok with them as long as AD revenue doesn’t go down. nitecruzr is an employee of Google by the new web 2.0 standards. Someone at google does have the responsibility of answering for him.

    As far as security pages. Google would have the answer for this also. One place to ask is in google forums, not the blogger forums. more people in the know will weigh in.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:53 am

  124. It would seem hotbutter Brett – Google Employee extraordinaire would be able to tell people exactly what power Nitecruzr has. People should know so they can be forewarned.

    So we can decide that Google loves to take pictures of generic people in their bikini in their street view work and display it to the world. But they prefer not to reveal anything about their business practices regarding the bikini wearer getting her blog banned by a nitecruzr with his pants down. It really seems like internet stalking to me which there are some laws for already.

    One can only imagine the worst about Google then.

    Comment by jd2 (fc8318) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:58 am

  125. Over the last two weeks,I have been logged out of my gmail account an average of four times an hour. I have never criticized nitecruzr. #datapoint

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:08 pm

  126. Hoystory:

    That makes you, me, Aaron, EnigmatiCore, and Dead Dog Bounce who have all told me that they got the “unusual activity” warning and were REQUIRED to give up their cell phone numbers.

    All five of us criticized nitecruzr.

    So far, everyone else has just said they were asked for their numbers, but didn’t have to give them. Lotta that activity going on lately, which is odd . . . but there is a pattern here.

    A sixth guy has emailed me saying he was asked for his number after criticizing nitecruzr. I have emailed to ask if he was REQUIRED to provide it pursuant to an “unusual activity” warning. If so, that will make six of us.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:11 pm

  127. Poor support is the hallmark of a free service.

    Consider a for-pay email service. Usermail.com at $20 a year has been my choice for years; IMAP, POP and detailed spam control, plus a real human answers the occasional technical support email. Also there is netaddress (usa.net) and the somewhat expensive but maniacally secure Hushmail. There is also Yahoo plus and Hotmail plus, but Usermail is better for the same price.

    And it isn’t all that hard anymore to run your own email on the patterico.com domain. Talk to your web-hosting service.

    Comment by M. Rad. (001f15) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:11 pm

  128. Over the last two weeks,I have been logged out of my gmail account an average of four times an hour. I have never criticized nitecruzr. #datapoint

    Auguste,

    And each and every time you were REQUIRED to give your cell phone number to get back in? #noyouwerent #datapointfail

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:12 pm

  129. I will indeed consider getting an e-mail using my hosting service. My thinking goes like this: if Google doesn’t address this very soon, I will try to set up patterico.com e-mail, and start telling everyone who e-mails me at Gmail that I have switched from Gmail because of the potential for abuse.

    If they don’t address this, I will do my level best to make sure they get the black eye they deserve.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:14 pm

  130. Nitecruzr was dropped on his head when he was a baby.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:15 pm

  131. google deserve TWO black eyes AND a swollen pair of nuts I think

    this is egregiously toolish behaviour and disrepectful to everything America used to stand for

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:17 pm

  132. It did ask me for a phone number, and it didnt look like I had any choice in the matter – fill it in, then “save and continue” to my electronic destination. I was able to circumvent it by going to a different google page, and then back again.

    Comment by A.G. (2d7d7b) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:28 pm

  133. This happened to me about three or four days ago, I have no Blogger account, and I’d never heard of nitecruzr before he singlehandedly did something something something.

    I just refreshed the page and it went away.

    Comment by Jesse (38e215) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:44 pm

  134. it reasonably follows that, if Google is assuming Althouse is an illegitimate spammer user of blogger services until proven otherwise

    I don’t know. I mean, it’s Google. Couldn’t he just google Althouse and see within seconds that it isn’t a spam blog?

    Comment by MayBee — 5/15/2011 @ 9:35 am

    It would seem so – but then again, based on the boilerplate, he’s not to rely upon his ability to discern spam from real. He’s supposed to take the tack that she’s at fault.

    The (I assume) boilerplate/turingtest remarks list more obscure ways to be guilty of “spamming.” His insisting she had better read her articles to see how they are in violation means that her violation is assumed, and his only role is to escalate if she keeps protesting.

    Meanwhile, she’s still the Russian lacy underalls mafia until proven innocent.

    Google OUGHT to do it differently. And N. is just overall being jerky, using his little laminated booklet of acceptable actions to be a bully.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:48 pm

  135. I think that that NiteCruzr guy is just an over zealous volunteer. I had a client blog get locked on Blogger a year ago for four days. Nitecruzr was not helpful and pretty full of himself.

    We moved the client to self hosted wordpress and have never looked back.

    Comment by Andrew (861b0d) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:50 pm

  136. This happened to me about three or four days ago, I have no Blogger account, and I’d never heard of nitecruzr before he singlehandedly did something something something.

    I just refreshed the page and it went away.

    Yeah, well, then “this” didn’t happen to you. I couldn’t simply refresh the page and have it go away. You weren’t REQUIRED to give up your number. I was.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:51 pm

  137. Hi. i had in the last month 3 separate requests from google to enter my phone number ,i’m a blogger and posted lately a few critical articles about google from the web on my blog.
    Imanaged to by pass the request each time.

    Comment by Jack (de0939) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:55 pm

  138. I think that that NiteCruzr guy is just an over zealous volunteer

    Yes, and he was chosen by google to have special powers and be Google’s go to help for customer service. If you follow google’s ‘contact us’ directions, that’s who you get, and they’ve understood their chosen moderator abuses power and cannot stand anyone asking the wrong questions since 2009 at least.

    We moved the client to self hosted wordpress and have never looked back.

    Comment by Andrew

    Good move.

    I’m addicted to Gmail, but I’ll find an alternative. Email is more important to me than even my cell phone service (think about it, I bet most feel the same way these days).

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:55 pm

  139. UPDATE: A sixth person, B.E., has written to say that he too was locked out of his account. It is important to understand that the six of us — Aaron Worthing, Dead Dog Bounce, Hoystory, B.E., EnigmatiCore, and me — were all told that unusual activity had been detected on our accounts. We were required to give up our cell phone numbers to regain access. There was no “save and continue” option or other way to bypass the requirement. I even rebooted my computer and cleared my cache, and was unable to get into Gmail.

    Other people have said Google asked for their cell phone numbers recently. But the six of us are different. We were required to give up a cell number.

    And each one of us had criticized nitecruzr.

    That’s strong circumstantial evidence that he flagged our accounts. We were disabled from accessing our e-mail because we criticized this guy’s rudeness and dishonesty.

    That’s a real problem, Google. The word is spreading.

    What are you going to do about it?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 12:59 pm

  140. Imanaged to by pass the request each time.

    Comment by Jack

    As many have said, there are two cell phone requests.

    There’s one, where Google just randomly asks for a cell phone number. I gave them mine a long time ago (because my google voice phone number forwards calls to my cell phone anyway).

    There’s another, where Google locks down your account and you can’t get back in unless you provide your cell phone, because some agent or process of Google has identified “unusual activity”. In this case, given Nitecruzr’s own comments, unusual spammer activity includes merely defending someone from being accused of being a spammer, or criticizing Nitecruzr’s cussing and mocking attitude about technical problems that are Google’s fault.

    If you could get into your Gmail account without your cell phone being entered, then you didn’t get slapped with this lock down. Read Google’s discussion of the lock down to understand what I’m talking about.

    I do wonder if I was especially insulated from Nitecruzr’s BS because I already had entered in a cell phone number.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:00 pm

  141. My guess is that when/if this gets looked into, the unhinged nature of the devotees defense of Ann will make nitecruzr’s self-defense quite easy. He will say: these nuts think we crashed blogger to hurt ann althouse.
    “This is not a “nitecruzr issue,” folks. It’s a Google issue. Google needs to step up and take responsibility for what it did to Althouse.

    You might wonder why I appear so invested in this. Well, a big company once tried to take away blog-related property from me, too: my domain, patterico.com, in which I had invested years of sweat equity. The company that stole it (or, at a minimum, allowed it to be hijacked by a corporate cousin), 1&1, was every bit as unresponsive and rude as Google (yes, Google) was to Althouse.

    She got bad service in the context of a full on freakout by some not-so-rational fans. Probably happens when Bieber’s site goes down too.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:02 pm

  142. Gmail has been doing this to me periodically over the past few weeks (and just did so now). I have not criticized Blogger or google.

    Comment by jpe (fe8c3b) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:04 pm

  143. Never mind; I just got the request to put in a cell number screen, not an unusual activity page.

    Comment by jpe (fe8c3b) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:05 pm

  144. Gmail has been doing this to me periodically over the past few weeks (and just did so now). I have not criticized Blogger or google.

    What is “this”? Are you FORCED to give a cell number? I doubt it. Take a screenshot and send it to me.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:06 pm

  145. Comments crossed. Just what I suspected.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:06 pm

  146. See? Those who criticize get different treatment.

    It’s as plain as day.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:06 pm

  147. http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=114129

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:14 pm

  148. “Google will only use your phone number to send you a verification code and to make sure it is not being used to create or verify a large number of accounts. We will never share your number or use it to send you unwanted messages. We promise.”

    You can believe them as to the misuse of the number or not, I get that part. But this persecution complex is kind of complicated by the existence of a FAQ.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:15 pm

  149. And my point of bringing up my own, disparate experience with gmail is this: Gmail sucks. It constantly throws all kinds of roadblocks in the way. The fact that you were asked to verify via an established verification procedure can be assumed by Occam’s Razor to be another example of Gmail sucking.

    (It just sucks less than everything else.)

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:18 pm

  150. Dustin, I too had already put my Google Voice number into Gmail as a password recovery tool long, long ago. That did not insulate me from the “unusual activity” lockdown apparently instituted at nitecruzr’s behest.

    Comment by Hoystory (d0fa8a) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:19 pm

  151. Comment by Dustin — 5/15/2011 @ 12:55 pm
    I’m fairly low volume user (normally no big files to send and much few emails outbound than inbound), but I’ve had two Yahoo accounts for years–one under my blog nickname for use in Greater Blogistan, and the other under my real name for use with family, online orders, etc.–and have had no complications with it.

    [Knocks on his wooden desk very loudly several times, throws salt behind his back, says kain ahorah.]

    Every couple of months I’m asked to confirm my password–but that’s it.

    Comment by kishnevi (4fe729) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:24 pm

  152. Auguste, I pointed out that you were not REQUIRED to give your number several times a day. You did not correct me so I assume I am right. Making your argument beside the point.

    I recognize your name and expect this sort of slippery behavior from you.

    Point blank: were you told several times a day that there was unusual activity on your account and REQUIRED to give your phone number?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:24 pm

  153. For those saying bad customer service is a hallmark of a free service, consider this: Google’s customer service isn’t much better when you’re a paying customer.

    I once used AdWords to generate clicks until I realized that they were creating ad impressions for keywords I did not request, meaning I was paying for clicks which came from people searching for completely different things (which I discovered from observing the referring URL’s of visitors to my site). I could not get a reply from Google in response to my numerous complaints, so I stopped my AdWords campaign.

    Except Google continued to publish my ads and I continued to be charged for clicks I didn’t want. It took me almost a year to get the situation rectified and my money refunded, and the time I wasted trying to negotiate their non-existent customer service was worth more than the amount in question.

    So that was one instance. These days, I have a paid Google Apps account ($50/year) in order to sync my employees Outlook calendars to Google, both as a backup and so I can take advantage of a couple of scripts to process the calendar data which I can’t do with Outlook. I had terrible trouble setting up their sync tool and Google would just not reply to my help requests. I was left to their help forums, where I received BS non-help from forum moderators (generic replies, links to irrelevant help docs etc). Here I discovered that many large businesses have wasted fortunes in fruitless attempts to switch to Google Apps, because there is just no help support for their many bugs.

    Anyway, I said some pretty scathing things about Google and their “support” in that forum, and I too was locked out of the Gmail account I used for the forum, on the basis of “suspicious activity.” I refused to give them my cellphone# and so lost the account, no biggie for me however since it was a disposable address anyway.

    Comment by Sharke (109425) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:26 pm

  154. Kind of reminds me of posting a comment at a global warmer site. Real Climate, Climate Progress, and Google tech support appear to have this in common.

    Comment by papertiger (e55ba0) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:26 pm

  155. Perhaps it is contained within Google’s terms of agreement, but it bugged me a bit that when I wrote private notes to people or received them, there were usually ads seemingly based on the word contents of those e-mails. Now I rarely use google mail. Is that where they make their money, with the intrusive ads?

    Don’t know which e-mail is best, but I’ve had hotmail the longest. I seem to rely on yahoo mail the most though. The problem is that yahoo screws up and can’t make up its mind about what is spam and puts mail in the wrong categories. I find comcast and excite too cumbersome. Juno has a nice offline set-up if you want to pay for mail, which is otherwise free to access on the net.

    Comment by Calypso Louie Farrakhan (d36a3f) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:27 pm

  156. Have any of those who gave up their phone numbers received Obama fundraising appeals, threats, or re-education instructions? That would be the nail in the coffin.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:28 pm

  157. Patterico,

    Speaking of slippery, are you intentionally missing my point, or am I just still emotion-hungover from the Timbers-Sounders game last night?

    The point I am making is this:

    I have significant gmail hassles several times a day. You have significant gmail hassles several times a day. I have found no documentation about why mine happens, and yet I have not assumed bad action on the part of Google, because I know that Google has this kind of weirdness all the time. I have, however, showed you documentation about why yours happens, and yet you continue to assume bad action on the part of Google, because you happened to argue with some random guy who may or may not have the power to initiate any action whatsoever.

    I’m saying that when it rains, I don’t assume it’s because I insulted the Gods.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:29 pm

  158. Dustin, I too had already put my Google Voice number into Gmail as a password recovery tool long, long ago. That did not insulate me from the “unusual activity” lockdown apparently instituted at nitecruzr’s behest.

    Comment by Hoystory —

    Thanks for answering that. I should add I didn’t comment in the Althouse thread. I won’t, either. I need my gmail right now. I have used my Google Voice number for professional contacts, instead of giving them my cell phone number, and if I lost that I’d be in trouble.

    It’s not the end of the world. I could start a new gmail account to criticize these people if I cared enough. Still, their creepiness is an effective way to shut up people like me.

    Kishnevi, thanks for the tip. I’ll consider Yahoo, which I have heard is an attempt to compete with Gmail. I’ll think about hosting my own, as well.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:31 pm

  159. Patterico, did you see the Blogger profile for “nitecruzr” — a.k.a. Chuck Croll — that I saved? His LinkedIn profile, his Google profile, and his nitecruzr.net WHOIS entry have all been identified too.

    Comment by Alo Konsen (faf54c) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:31 pm

  160. I have, however, showed you documentation about why yours happens,

    Why lockouts happen without any unusual activity or spams in the outbox? I missed that.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:32 pm

  161. Auguste,

    You didn’t answer my point blank question.

    Yes, we noticed.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:33 pm

  162. And … I suspect you won’t.

    Because a truthful answer demolishes your argument and you know it.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:34 pm

  163. Recently I had a CISCO service installed via ATT.
    We already used ATT for our land line and long distance.

    Their customer service rep asked me about the cell phone service, which we use another provider for because we need the big button phone rather then a full text Iphone type deal.

    Shortly after we start experiencing problems with the non ATT cell phone service.

    So I ask you, is it possible that ATT is monkeying with our cell service?
    Is giving out cell phone numbers opening yourself up to low level harassment from the bigger corporation?

    Comment by papertiger (e55ba0) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:35 pm

  164. No, I’ve never been asked to present my cellphone number. Is that some sort of shibboleth for whether gmail hassles are sufficient to cause comment? I must have missed it.

    http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=43692

    Lockouts happen for all kinds of reasons. The between-the-lines message of that FAQ is “shit happens, people, hang in there.”

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:37 pm

  165. Anyway, I said some pretty scathing things about Google and their “support” in that forum, and I too was locked out of the Gmail account I used for the forum, on the basis of “suspicious activity.” I refused to give them my cellphone# and so lost the account, no biggie for me however since it was a disposable address anyway.

    Please do your best to find the link to that forum.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:37 pm

  166. I got to say, if Google dropped everything to mess with me every time I bad mouthed them on the net, that would be a full time operation for them.

    OTOH I don’t use their email account although I think I have one, so maybe they do and I Just never noticed.

    Comment by papertiger (e55ba0) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:41 pm

  167. Gosh, I did not want to reply again, but I have to.

    I’m saying that when it rains, I don’t assume it’s because I insulted the Gods.

    It periodically rains. If it rains when one insults the Gods, it could be coincidence. If it rains 90% of the time you do, and this is proven over a large enough sample, then it is not.

    Let’s say that one in a thousand accounts had a problem where the accounts were compromised to where a spammer had access to their credentials to use to send spam.

    How big of a universe would it have to be in order for it to be within a few standard deviations in rate (one in a thousand) for there to be 6 people having it happen?

    Compare that number to the universe of “people who criticized Nitecruzr.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:42 pm

  168. Auguste:

    Six people in the last 24 hours were REQUIRED to give their cell phone number. All six criticized nitecruzr.

    Many others were asked for their number but not required to give it. Different situation.

    None of the six of us actually had suspicious activity. We just criticized nitecruzr. Bam! Our accounts were locked and we were falsely told there had been suspicious activity.

    You are a liberal and you love being pigheaded and calling conservatives conspiracy theorists, so you won’t acknowledge the obvious pattern. My goal is not to persuade you, which is impossible. My goal is to show onlookers that you can’t be persuaded by any amount of evidence, no matter how clear the pattern.

    I have accomplished my goal. You are discredited.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:44 pm

  169. Enigmaticore,

    You’re missing one extremely important component to that hypothetical. Can you not see what it is?

    The question is, how many accounts were verified during the period of time we’re talking about? I’m not standing here saying “spammers were *actually* attacking the accounts of those who were asked to verify.” I’m saying “something triggered Gmail’s verification procedure.” And I bet if I went out and did a Twitter survey I could find not 6 but 60,000 accounts it happened to over the same time period.

    I bet that because it is vanishingly the most likely explanation, especially when talking about Gmail.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:46 pm

  170. Lockouts happen for all kinds of reasons. The between-the-lines message of that FAQ is “shit happens, people, hang in there.”

    Comment by Auguste

    That’s your argument?

    It sounds like you don’t take Patterico’s circumstantial evidence seriously, or Google’s general attitude seriously. You’re a good little follower.

    And if Patterico’s moderator bans you and says you can’t prove it wasn’t just a glitch they will get around to one day, I suspect you will change your tune. But Patterico wouldn’t do that, being not evil.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:46 pm

  171. Pattericao, my reply to you at 168 is the same as to Enigmaticore at 167. You haven’t (apparently) given so much as a moment’s thought to how many accounts this might have happened to.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:47 pm

  172. I got to say, if Google dropped everything to mess with me every time I bad mouthed them on the net, that would be a full time operation for them.

    OTOH I don’t use their email account although I think I have one, so maybe they do and I Just never noticed.

    Comment by papertiger — 5/15/2011 @ 1:41 pm

    I’m glad you said that, so I can make this point for people who don’t get it.

    This is not a conspiracy theory. I don’t say Google’s CEO targeted me due to blog criticism.

    I say one guy, nitecruzr, was given powers by Google that he shouldn’t have, and has used it to retaliate against critics. It’s a Google problem. But it’s not a conspiracy theory. I don’t generally subscribe to those unless the evidence of a conspiracy is clear.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:49 pm

  173. You’d think by now Google would have outright told us that their “official blog star” moderators, chosen specifically to handle appeal requests and moderate the help forums, do not have the power to flag commenters as ‘unusual’ or ‘suspicious’, requiring further documentation.

    Oh wait, no you wouldn’t think that, because it’s pretty clear Google has every reason to keep that information to themselves and hope this blows over.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:50 pm

  174. Pattericao, my reply to you at 168 is the same as to Enigmaticore at 167. You haven’t (apparently) given so much as a moment’s thought to how many accounts this might have happened to.

    Comment by Auguste — 5/15/2011 @ 1:47 pm

    Bullshit. I found six people it happened to in 24 hours and they share the same characteristic.

    Now go find me six that this same thing happened to, who have zero evidence of suspicious activity, who did not criticize nitecruzr. Find me one within the last 24 hours. Go.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:52 pm

  175. http://twitter.com/#!/billymeltdown/status/69458860729044993

    That’s just in the first 15 seconds. Not really looking for homework, though, thanks.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:54 pm

  176. Six people reading this post said it happened to them and they criticized him. Many people here have Google accounts and not one has stepped up to say this happened. Many thought they did, but when you quiz them further you find it is not the same. They, like you, Auguste, were requested but not required to give their number. They were not told of suspicious activity. They were ale to bypass it.

    Six to zero. EnigmatiCore discussed the chances. I told you, nothing will convince you because you are bound and determined not to be convinced.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:55 pm

  177. http://twitter.com/#!/Henrik_Iversen/status/68615764239859712 And there’s someone locked out, since I realized the lack of specification that it’s a “demand” probably makes you fell quite superior.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:56 pm

  178. http://twitter.com/#!/billymeltdown/status/69458860729044993

    Dumbass, he said asked. Same as you. We were required.

    Talking to you is a waste of time.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:57 pm

  179. Ah, well. Clearly we’re talking past each other. Have a good one.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 1:57 pm

  180. @ auguste Good luck. You’re fighting the good fight. The Bayesian grid on this looks terrible for them. Don’t fret- yesterday P. had overwhelming evidence that Ann’s outage was NOT part of the overall Blogger Fail… If you win here, he’ll say he won and move on.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:00 pm

  181. Did Henrik Iversen actually have unusual activity? Then it’s different. You don’t know the answer.

    Did Henrik Iversen criticize Google? Then it’s the same. You don’t know the answer.

    If someone retaliates against a small group of critics by burglarizing their houses, do you refute the inference of retaliation by showing many people are residential burglary victims?

    Are you this stupid all the time?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:00 pm

  182. Actually, I’m rethinking that flounce. Here are 5.1 million (give or take a few duplicates, of course) results that would suggest that either nitecruzr does a LOT of arguing and subsequent abuse of power…or there is another explanation.

    http://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=google+unusual+activity+cell+phone+required&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:00 pm

  183. I suppose there is a reason I have recently switched from gmail back to yahoo!

    Comment by crosspatch (6adcc9) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:01 pm

  184. Now provide a Google search that shows burglary is widespread. Congratulations! You just showed Watergate had no political motivation.

    To describe you as logic-challenged would be kind.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:02 pm

  185. If someone retaliates against a small group of critics by burglarizing their houses, do you refute the inference of retaliation by showing many people are residential burglary victims?

    If people live in a city with an incredibly high burglary rate and get burglarized, do you assume that it’s the same person retaliating against them?

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:02 pm

  186. Your Watergate example is actually quite apropos, thanks. No one assumed the burglary was part of a conspiracy until they had far more evidence than “it got broken into during a presidential campaign.”

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:04 pm

  187. By the way, I have never had a problem with Gmail before. If I got locked out 3 to 4 times a day and stuck with it, I’d be stupid.

    Oh, that’s what Auguste did?

    Well…

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:05 pm

  188. yesterday P. had overwhelming evidence that Ann’s outage was NOT part of the overall Blogger Fail… If you win here, he’ll say he won and move on.

    Comment by eli —

    Now hold on, yesterday YOU said you had proof it was nothing more than this outage, and ignored any request to show evidence. You also ignored any evidence that you were wrong.

    Now, you claim it was the other way around. Sounds like you’re a nutcase.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:08 pm

  189. Wow. That was actually pretty funny. It ignores several realities of modern communication, of course, but I would have to call that par for several courses.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:08 pm

  190. Auguste, if this is random and six out of maybe a couple dozen people had it happen to them in 24 hours, then 1/3 of Gmail users would have been locked out in the last 24 hours.

    The fact that this obviously did not happen would have meaning to someone who wasn’t a lefty hack trying to score cheap points with hack arguments.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:08 pm

  191. Auguste, would you be this obtuse if you received a subpoena tomorrow to appear before a grand jury in Los Angeles County just 24 hours after jousting with an assistant district attorney online?

    Just wondering.

    Comment by Hoystory (d0fa8a) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:09 pm

  192. It would depend how many subpoenas the average person receives in a week.

    And great, not one of you has ever had an error with Gmail before. If I were you I’d go play the lottery before that run of luck reverses.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:11 pm

  193. If that happened, Hoystory (and of course it won’t!) that would be one example. If it happened to five other people in this thread who hoisted with me, it would be more like our example.

    But grand jury subpoenas get issued all the time!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:12 pm

  194. Dustin,
    Don’t be silly. I said, ‘I’ll make the claim that there was only an outage not a spam-designation to test the evidence that there WAS a spam designation”. I’m in reasonable mental health. Is it your claim that P. never pretended to “know” that Ann was not part of the widespread outage… because that thread has not been scrubbed- so the cutting/pasting would be quite easy.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:12 pm

  195. Do the math for us, Auguste.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:13 pm

  196. This flagrant abuse of centralized power cannot stand! When we put this much power into an unaccountable bureaucrat who can bury our concerns in a maze of paperwork, we’re depriving ourselves of… OH, this was an issue with a private entity? Gee, you don’t say. Hope you all just learned a little something.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:16 pm

  197. Eli woke up on God’s day and thought, “hey, this is another great day to be mendoucheous”.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:16 pm

  198. Don’t be silly

    No, I quoted you making a claim that ruled out any possibility but the blogger outage, and you ignored the evidence to the contrary.

    The truth is that we just don’t know why the blog was removed. Even Althouse doesn’t. Most of us assumed it was just the outage at first.

    It’s reasonable to assume this official moderator who handles appeal requests can see what is being appealed, given how he claimed it was the spam detection repeatedly.

    You now lie about what you said, and that’s the end of our conversation.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:17 pm

  199. Look, here’s my thing. I’m actually not even denying the possibility that nitecruzr is a vindictive ass with delusions of grandeur. For all I know, he signed all of you up for spam email lists which cascaded spam into your inbox, leading gmail’s verification trigger to fire.

    I actually find *that* much more likely than the idea that anyone at google, including a vindictive ass with delusions of grandeur, is easily able to punitively lockdown your accounts without any kind of oversight.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:18 pm

  200. Just for fun:
    eli,

    If a company mistreats someone, one can both a) argue it’s unfair and b) suggest that they switch to a different company.

    Althouse’s blog deletion was not the same as the other outages. It was marked as spam. I think you need to do a little more reading to get up to speed. The links are in the post. Scroll up and click.

    Comment by Patterico — 5/14/2011 @ 5:17 pm

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:18 pm

  201. OH, this was an issue with a private entity? Gee, you don’t say. Hope you all just learned a little something.

    Comment by stinkdaddy

    What did we learn? That this private entity sucks, and we should move on? That’s true.

    And we should also try to call attention to this so that others don’t rely on Google either. So they learn the easy way, instead of the hard way.

    If you have some point about private entities being no better than public ones, I’m afraid you’re wrong. I can opt for a different email provider. If democrats (and to be fair, some republicans) get their way on many bureaucratic ideas, we wind up unable to opt for a different EPA or health care system.

    Few Conservatives have blind faith in private companies. That’s the point of competition.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:20 pm

  202. Dustin,
    Run away if you want… but I said (cut and paste rules): “Why did the rest of the blogs go down? Was it a systemwide error in spam marking or filtering?

    I have no idea. And if that’s your evidence, neither do you.”

    response? or am i being crazy?

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:21 pm

  203. Notice the similar snide condescension from P. when claiming very directly that her outage was different, and that I was uninformed. Same thing with augueste today. Sometimes the appeal to rationality is just a salve.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:23 pm

  204. This was his evidence:
    “The Google guy said it was spam. When other blogs came back up, hers didn’t. Other than that you have a great argument, Eli.

    Comment by Patterico — 5/14/2011 @ 5:45 pm”

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:25 pm

  205. Dustin:

    Absolutely. If you don’t like the free service you’re getting from Google, then ask for a refund and try another free service. Yeah, that is the point of competition. But I don’t see much “I’m switching” going on in this thread. I see a bunch of “I’m going to pitch a big fit and then carry on using Google anyway.”

    Unable to opt for a different EPA? That’s, uh, a novel approach to it I suppose, but there’s only one environment so I’m not really sure what your point is. Do I get to choose which police force will show up when I call? (And if your answer is, “Yes, you can move somewhere else” then consider how that might apply to your desire for a different EPA.)

    And my other point was, be more reactionary. Tons of companies have tons of peoples’ data and massive opportunities to pull crap like this (if they wanted, and assuming this is in fact some stunts being ‘pulled’ and not some tech glitch which I personally doubt.) Everything’s fine, no pro-active complaints, then suddenly you can’t have the service you want when you want it and the whole thing’s terrible and it’s a conspiracy because six people could choose to give an automated system a phone number if they wanted free support faster.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:28 pm

  206. I answered these two warrants like this:
    “Try this: paste in any evidence that the blog was designated as spam at any point. Customer service nearly always pastes in a scripted checklist as a screen.

    If you’re leaning on hers coming up later than others, you should be less cocksure in the future. Because that’s obviously a leap. Her massive support from Instapundit and bajillion posts may have taken longer to restore.”

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:30 pm

  207. Your calling someone cocksure?

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:30 pm

  208. I missed that Eli had a tag team partner, “auguste”.their asshattery is so cute. Why do their type think they are so clever, when they are so transparent and predictable?

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:31 pm

  209. He says, some other blog is up (legal insurrection)… I say some blogs will come up first, some later, come last… there’s no evidence that hers is coming later for any specific reason.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:31 pm

  210. Why do you have to lie about my position and fail to answer the evidence?

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:32 pm

  211. The entire tenor of the discussion, from the word go, was that the support person said the error code Althouse was getting meant her blog was being reported as spam.

    He didn’t say: hey, calm down, it’s a systemwide outage, everyone is affected. He immediately told her that she was claiming she needed to seek a “false positive spam review.” He continued throughout the thread to refer to it as a “spam review discussion.”

    He is the support guy, so I’m guessing he knows more about the error codes than eli does.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:32 pm

  212. Eli sure is a whiny little beeyotch.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:33 pm

  213. “If democrats (and to be fair, some republicans) get their way on many bureaucratic ideas, we wind up unable to opt for a different EPA or health care system.”

    Don’t you just elect different people who then put a different system in place?

    Comment by Jesse (38e215) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:33 pm

  214. Absolutely. If you don’t like the free service you’re getting from Google, then ask for a refund and try another free service. Yeah, that is the point of competition. But I don’t see much “I’m switching” going on in this thread. I see a bunch of “I’m going to pitch a big fit and then carry on using Google anyway.”

    You kind of suck at reading. And you’re kind of a dick.

    That opinion was free!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:34 pm

  215. This is transparent and predictable because I’m pasting in the same args as yesterday… while you pretend that something else was said. If you have an answer, make it

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:34 pm

  216. Eli also swore he read the links, before asking why Althouse was too stupid to do the things she talked about doing in the first link.

    He complained that this was no different than not getting coffee (which is a really stupid comparison, even from his POV, since you pay for coffee).

    Eli kept saying the links don’t say anything about the points we kept citing, and when exposed for not having read it, he explained he was just politely calling us liars.

    I’ll make this claim: her blog was never classified as spam.

    He said that after the evidence he lied about reading was repeatedly pointed out to him. Then he claimed it was “evasive” to cite that evidence again, since apparently once Eli ignores something and uses the word ‘douche’ a few times, it’s evasion to look at the evidence again.

    What’s really amusing is that he comes into the thread being hostile and ignoring everyone’s point in the most obnoxious terms, and then when his ‘argument’ is torn to shreds, claims he really respected all of us when he came here, and is so sad to see we aren’t what he had thought.

    In other words, he flails around wildly, trying to avoid the actual facts and arguments. He’s got an axe to grind, like Auguste.

    Just in this case people convinced themselves that google had targeted Ann for political reasons (a thesis which nobody seems to be defending anymore- though they are cagey about admitting that), so they freaked out.

    This is Eli making an absurd strawman.

    I didn’t notice him making the argument that Nitecruzr is a douchebag or a nobody, but instead he’s acting like Nitecruzr did, assuming the worst about everyone who disagreed with Nitecruzr’s actions, and obviously even lying about them.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:34 pm

  217. I’ll consider Yahoo, which I have heard is an attempt to compete with Gmail. I’ll think about hosting my own, as well.

    Actually, it’s probably the reverse. I know I had my Yahoo mail long before I heard of Gmail–which is the biggest reason why I didn’t care when I had those log on problem with Google. I didn’t really need their service.

    I’ve also got a Hotmail account–a little more cumbersome than Yahoo and about once ever two weeks it refuses to load correctly once I sign in,no matter how many refresh reloads I do–but I think that’s an ISP problem and not a Hotmail problem. Once they allowed forwarding to accounts outside the Live system (for a time they didn’t) I had everything forwarded to my Yahoo account, so now I only need to go there about twice a week to clean out the spambox.

    As I said, I’m a low volume user, so hosting your own may be the way to go for you.

    Comment by kishnevi (4fe729) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:34 pm

  218. To which eli will say, as he has in the past, “they always set that forth as a guideline.” Well, anyone who actually reads the thread, which I have linked on the blog, can see that is not what was happening. So I will not argue with Eli about it further. I will simply note that I think his interpretation is crap, that the evidence is here on my site, and the reader can make up his or her own mind.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:36 pm

  219. But I don’t see much “I’m switching” going on in this thread. I see a bunch of “I’m going to pitch a big fit and then carry on using Google anyway.”

    I guess you’re not reading the same comments I am.

    And criticizing something like this is not ‘pitching a big fit’. What kind of moron describes legitimate complaints that way? This is an interesting and serious issue.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:36 pm

  220. I thought Eli was better than this. *shakes head sadly*

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:37 pm

  221. That’s ok Patterico — you kind of suck at drawing reasonable inferences from microscopically-tiny datasets. As for the dick thing, I suppose it’s mututal, and for some odd reason I guess you think I’m concerned by things I’ve known since birth.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:37 pm

  222. stinkdaddy is just one of those people who enjoys going around telling people: “Tough.” And he will deliberately misread people’s comments in order to experience that little thrill.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:38 pm

  223. A “legitimate complaint” would be saying, “The service is down. This sucks. How inconvenient.” Pitching a bit fit would be adding, “OF course, this is only happening because Google hates conservatives / we criticized nitecruzr / whatever else we dream up to feed our persecution complex” based on the fact that six whole people experienced problems in the middle of a massive outage.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:38 pm

  224. “stinkdaddy is just one of those people who enjoys going around telling people: “Tough.””

    No, I like pointing out when people who generally enjoy telling people “Tough” in other walks of life turn into giant, conspiratorially-minded babies when something doesn’t go their way.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:39 pm

  225. Can stink daddy, Eli, and auguste actually read?

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:39 pm

  226. Do you mean this error code?

    Felix Wong said…
    Blogger is still down for me. If I try to go to the dashboard it gives an, “We’re sorry, but we were unable to complete your request… error code bX-ixy9ss” error.

    13/5/11 11:22

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:40 pm

  227. That’s ok Patterico — you kind of suck at drawing reasonable inferences from microscopically-tiny data

    Actually, I’m pretty good at it. The dataset we had, extrapolated to the country as a whole, would have 1/3 of all Gmail users experiencing this issue in the last 24 hours. I’d guess that’s about 60 million people or more.

    And that didn’t happen. Meaning something else caused this to happen to us six.

    The answer to what that is, is obvious. If you disagree, you’re wrong. If you don’t like being told you’re wrong . . .

    Tough.

    Ooooh! That felt so good! I can see why you like being this way!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:40 pm

  228. Run away if you want… but I said (cut and paste rules): “Why did the rest of the blogs go down? Was it a systemwide error in spam marking or filtering?

    I have no idea. And if that’s your evidence, neither do you.”

    response? or am i being crazy?

    Comment by eli —

    You call it running away when I explain myself 20 times to you and then give up?

    That’s pathetic.

    You have heard and simply ignored the evidence contrary to your POV. I could explain it again, but you are dishonest and will pretend I didn’t, yet again.

    You may have spammed the thread with nonsense and ugliness, but that doesn’t mean people who fail to convince a shill like you are ‘running away’.

    Did Google’s official moderator submit Althouse’s blog for an appeal from spam detection? Was Althouse’s blog suffering from the same errors as all the blogs that suffered the same problems?

    And more to the point: I didn’t say Althouse’s blog was detected as spam. I have no burden. I said I have no idea, but there’s evidence it was removed in a way other than just the glitches. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CLAIMED TO KNOW FOR SURE, and now you lie about what you said because you failed to show any evidence for your obnoxious shilling.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:41 pm

  229. BC, as your fake villain said politely yesterday (to someone without a bizarre sense of self importance funding persecution complex):
    Chuck said…
    Felix,

    If you continue to see a bX code when trying to login or access the dashboard or another Blogger utility, may I suggest that you first clear cache, cookies, and sessions – then restart the browser.

    13/5/11 11:30

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:41 pm

  230. “Meaning something else caused this to happen to us six.”

    So you’re saying correlation is causation, AND that you’re good at inferring things from data. Sure thing dude.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:42 pm

  231. Eli,

    I mean the error code that caused the support person to tell Althouse that she was seeking a “false positive spam review.”

    If you have evidence that the error code means something else, then you should be the new nitecruzr. You certainly have his people skills, dishonesty, and annoying attitude.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:43 pm

  232. So, I just provided the error codes… the bX range.. go look for yourself big guy… was that what ann reported?

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:43 pm

  233. So you’re saying correlation is causation, AND that you’re good at inferring things from data. Sure thing dude.

    Nope. But correlation does not negate causation either. Go ahead and give me the reasonable alternative explanation. Go.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:44 pm

  234. I should mention in connection with my Yahoo mail service that the account I have using my real name started getting spam within a few hours of being opened, but my other one took some time to start getting spam. Even so, the spam I get on Yahoo is far less in number than the spam sent to my Hotmail account (or my ISP account, which I never use) and usually is correctly sent to the spam folder and not the main inbox–maybe one out of a hundred isn’t; and sometimes non-spam is put in the spam folder, again at about the same rate.

    Comment by kishnevi (4fe729) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:44 pm

  235. So, I just provided the error codes… the bX range.. go look for yourself big guy… was that what ann reported?

    I just provided the quotes from the support guy, little guy. I’m no longer interested in debating this when the thread is right there. Any further discussion with you is a waste and it ends now.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:45 pm

  236. Oh, also, I like how your “guess” about how many people use Gmail is part of the proof.

    Dude, stop digging. If you want to say you suspect this happened the way you’re describing it, that’s one thing. Flat-out saying you know what happened based on correlation = causation + what you admit is an outright guess doesn’t demonstrate much beyond than that you really, really, really want this to be about someone picking on you.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:45 pm

  237. Don’t wanna bc I’m mean?

    Here:
    “From: Google Help
    Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 12:19 PM
    To: annalthouse@gmail.com

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

    My blog is not in any of these forbidden categories. Look at my Site Meter statistics — http://www.sitemeter.com/?a=stats&s=s17althouse — and you will see that this is one of the most popular blogs in the Blogger system. I am a law professor at the University of Wisconsin, and my blog is frequently quoted in mainstream media. This is not a blog that should be taken down, and it’s important that it be restored quickly.

    Instapundit is blogging about the disappearance of this blog — http://pajamasmedia.com/instapundit/120665/ — as many people are asking about the problem.

    I can’t request a manual review using the dashboard link because attempts to get to my dashboard produce an error: bX-fgcocb”

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:45 pm

  238. Can’t wait for stinky’s alternative explanation.

    On pins and needles, really.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:46 pm

  239. This new batch of trolls is exactly like every other batch that came before them.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:46 pm

  240. Fair enough. Peace.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:47 pm

  241. “Nope. But correlation does not negate causation either. Go ahead and give me the reasonable alternative explanation. Go.”

    What was that about me having reading comprehension issues? Slow damn and look back over the part where I already said I personally think it’s a tech glitch. (Sorry if “I doubt it wasn’t a tech glitch” is too complex a formulation.) And sorry you can’t tell the difference between “Patterico is saying he has proof that he doesn’t have” and a claim that I have proof of my own. Again with the reading comprehension.

    Nice of you to admit that you didn’t actually prove a thing a minute ago with your definitive statement that this wasn’t a tech glitch, though.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:47 pm

  242. “Can’t wait for stinky’s alternative explanation.

    You mean the one you were too busy pretending to have “proved” that you’re being persecuted to notice I gave like 10 mins ago?

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:48 pm

  243. So you’re saying correlation is causation, AND that you’re good at inferring things from data. Sure thing dude.

    Comment by stinkdaddy

    Is this supposed to be an argument? It’s not. Patterico is showing strong evidence, and you’re dismissing it with a platitude you don’t even understand.

    Were tens of millions of people locked out of their gmail accounts? No. Those who have tried very hard to prove otherwise have consistently failed, all showing the ‘please give us your cell phone’ message as opposed to the ‘you will never get back into gmail without your cell phone number, due to suspicious activity’ message.

    ‘Sure thing dude’. Yeah, I get it, you’re sarcastic and have a religious faith in the honesty of Nitecruzr, and the lack of special ability to flag things as suspicious or screw with dissenters, despite powerful evidence to the contrary.

    It will never be possible to convince someone like you.

    BTW, if I’m reading his profile correctly, nitecruzr has left over 45,000 comments. This is a hard core nutcase. I would be surprised if he’s not among the shills trying to dissemble against what happened with these gmail users. Several of these shills are not arguing in good faith.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:48 pm

  244. Fair enough. Peace.

    Comment by eli —

    How many times does someone say goodbye before we get the impression he’s being overly dramatic?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:50 pm

  245. “Is this supposed to be an argument? It’s not. Patterico is showing strong evidence, and you’re dismissing it with a platitude you don’t even understand.”

    No, Patterico is showing anecdotal evidence and then claiming that as proof.

    “Meaning something else caused this to happen to us six.”

    Point me to the part where this is a statement of suspicion, or etc. If I say that 1+1 is 2, am I making a definitive statement or describing my opinion? What about if I say, “I think that 1+1 is 2″? Because Patterico could have phrased it differently if he wanted to imply the slightest bit of doubt. Not like he does much writing or anything, though. I could see how he’d get confused.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:51 pm

  246. Oh, also, I like how your “guess” about how many people use Gmail is part of the proof.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-11743524

    Gmail has about 200 million users.

    His guess was pretty damn reasonable.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:51 pm

  247. 193 million Gmail users as of late 2010.

    I estimated there were maybe 18 people who criticized nitecruzr on that thread, and divided 6 into 18.

    Went back and counted. There were 14 total people. Plus 1 (me) on another thread. So 15 people we know of who criticized him in the last 24 hours.

    6 out of 15. With a total population of 193 million, you would expect that if it was part of a random distribution, that would be about 77 million users that this should have happened to yesterday.

    I guessed 60 million. I wasn’t too far off.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:53 pm

  248. “BTW, if I’m reading his profile correctly, nitecruzr has left over 45,000 comments. This is a hard core nutcase. I would be surprised if he’s not among the shills trying to dissemble against what happened with these gmail users. Several of these shills are not arguing in good faith.”

    …Isn’t leaving comments his job?

    Comment by Jesse (38e215) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:53 pm

  249. I do respect that I should gtfo, but just take a breath a look at this one moment:
    “And more to the point: I didn’t say Althouse’s blog was detected as spam. I have no burden. I said I have no idea, but there’s evidence it was removed in a way other than just the glitches. YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CLAIMED TO KNOW FOR SURE, and now you lie about what you said because you failed to show any evidence for your obnoxious shilling.”

    - you didn’t but P. did. and still is. i pasted the quote just a bit ago.

    I claimed to know for sure! And then lied? This is what I’ve already pasted from yesterday:
    ““Why did the rest of the blogs go down? Was it a systemwide error in spam marking or filtering?

    I have no idea. And if that’s your evidence, neither do you.”

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:55 pm

  250. “‘Sure thing dude’. Yeah, I get it, you’re sarcastic”

    You picked up on that, huh? Good catch, I know it’s subtle.

    “and have a religious faith in the honesty of Nitecruzr,”

    Ahh, now we’ve reached the part where you’re just blatantly making things up. Try and follow along: I said Patterico is pretending that six incidents prove his theory. I said that was an unsupported statement. Then I made fun of you guys some.

    Attacking Patterico’s argument != defending nitecruzr. I have no idea who the guy is, or what powers he has. He seems like a douche. But that doesn’t prove a damn thing. Is this difficult to follow?

    “and the lack of special ability to flag things as suspicious or screw with dissenters, despite powerful evidence to the contrary.”

    Wow, six whole people! That’s a lot!

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:55 pm

  251. You guys just learning about the data collection ?
    Look, Google supports the guy – don’t kid yourselves – you are right wing, and your cellphone # is an excellent campaign tool for the bleeding libs all through google and their left wing founders – as well as Napolitano’s Homeland Security directive that goes against those clinging to God, guns, and anti-gay…
    You think google is going to control their staff with access ?
    They most certainly cackle and giggle when another right winger coughs up the “connection of the data dots” – and in that deep bureaucracy whomever uses it against any of you – sending into the demo machine, harassing you with late night hang-ups – or whatever other shenanigans occur , will merely be praised and promoted…
    It’s another breeding lib nest “LIST”.
    The LIBS own it all fellas.

    Comment by SiliconDoc (7ba52b) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:55 pm

  252. “I estimated there were maybe 18 people who criticized nitecruzr on that thread, and divided 6 into 18.

    How many people who didn’t criticize nitecruzr on that thread got locked out?

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:56 pm

  253. Just an odd note: Althouse’s archives are still MIA…

    Comment by Sue (24e46b) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:56 pm

  254. Not like he does much writing or anything, though. I could see how he’d get confused.

    It never takes long for the trolls to embarrass themselves. It is congenital. And this one is no drive-by.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:56 pm

  255. …Isn’t leaving comments his job?

    Not according to the trolls.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 2:57 pm

  256. “It never takes long for the trolls to embarrass themselves. It is congenital. And this one is no drive-by.”

    More reading comprehension fail? I’m saying that Patterico does enough writing to know the difference between “I suspect that 1+1 = 2″ and “1+1 = 2,” so if he doesn’t want to catch crap for abusing correlation and tiny datasets he should probably qualify his statements.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:00 pm

  257. Note how stink finger continues to conflate getting asked to verify, with being locked out subsequent to giving personal info. The differences have been well explained, but this cock just wants to be a cock.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:00 pm

  258. How many people who didn’t criticize nitecruzr on that thread got locked out?

    Comment by stinkdaddy — 5/15/2011 @ 2:56 pm

    He’s been trying hard to find out.

    Most of these people would have encountered Althouse’s links to this blog, too. And yet it appears the answer to your question is zero. We can’t know for sure.

    However, we also don’t know that it wasn’t 8 or 10 people locked out of their gmail accounts. And we don’t know if nitecruzr flagged some accounts that didn’t get locked out for other reasons (they already were verified somehow).

    You can’t handle one set of data differently than another, and then whine about much more even handled comparisons of the two categories.

    Something very fishy has happened to the group of people who criticized nitecruzr. That is just a fact. Perhaps there is some amazingly unlikely explanation for it, but that explanation is not random cell phone requests from Gmail. You’re being very unreasonable to say otherwise, IMO.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:00 pm

  259. @SiliconDoc #250: lolwut

    (Seriously, Patterico, like I said at 198, it’s possible nitecruzr went off the rails after 45,000 comments and decided to screw with you. A little bit. In a really weird, passive-aggressive and plausibly deniable way. But the overall tone of the Althouse-and-Gmail argument is a LOT closer to SiliconDoc’s than the one you say you’re advancing here. Maybe that means you let someone be wrong on the internet, potentially, and not start whipping the masses into a froth.)

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:03 pm

  260. if he doesn’t want to catch crap for abusing correlation and tiny datasets he should probably qualify his statements.

    What?

    I am convinced that Google has given this fellow nitecruzr the authority to flag accounts and require them to hand over cell phone numbers.

    That’s qualified.

    It seems like he’ll catch crap from three shills, at least one of them, eli, being a partisan shill, no matter how he qualifies his statements. In fact, you assert the exact opposite of the truth.

    Yes, the dataset of people who criticized Nitecruzer is small in that only a a few people criticized him and them came here to discuss whether or not they were locked out of gmail. And yet, that’s compelling information, no matter how hard you try to shape the facts.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:03 pm

  261. ” And yet it appears the answer to your question is zero. We can’t know for sure.”

    Um, well there’s already at least one example to the contrary posted in this thread. Scroll up. Look at the twitter post where some random guy has the same complaint.

    So if it turns out that there are 5 other random people on the planet that got locked out, would you reconsider? Or would you just dig in harder? If an equal number of non-nitecruzr critics isn’t enough, how many would be?

    If you had 6000 or 600 or even 60 I’d be more sympathetic. You have 6.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:04 pm

  262. “Meaning something else caused this to happen to us six.”

    And that isn’t. But feel free to continue ignoring what I’m saying and substituting whatever is more convenient for you to argue against.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:05 pm

  263. Note how stink finger continues to conflate getting asked to verify, with being locked out subsequent to giving personal info. The differences have been well explained, but this cock just wants to be a cock.

    Comment by JD — 5/15/2011 @ 3:00 pm

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:07 pm

  264. JD. At least one of those Twitter links was indeed about being locked out. Just fyi.

    Comment by Auguste (5789a2) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:10 pm

  265. “Note how stink finger continues to conflate getting asked to verify, with being locked out subsequent to giving personal info. The differences have been well explained, but this cock just wants to be a cock.”

    Ooh, clever! Can you make armpit fart noises too? I stopped seeing calling names as effective argumentation somewhere around 4th grade, but I guess that’s just me.

    As for the rest… you’re saying there’s a claim here that one of the “Nitecruzr Six” did the automated phone verification and is still locked out? If I missed that, then my bad. But I’m not seeing that sentiment in these comments.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:15 pm

  266. Statistical distributions mean that 6 out of 15 doesn’t necessarily equate to 77 million users. If there is a statistics whiz who wants to run some models and see how likely it is that this is a randomly high distribution within the larger population, I’m all ears. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be surprised.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:20 pm

  267. Ooh, clever! Can you make armpit fart noises too? I stopped seeing calling names as effective argumentation somewhere around 4th grade, but I guess that’s just me.

    As for the rest… you’re saying there’s a claim here that one of the “Nitecruzr Six” did the automated phone verification and is still locked out? If I missed that, then my bad. But I’m not seeing that sentiment in these comments.

    Yeah, I’m getting the sense that stinky doesn’t understand the distinction we’ve been making.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:21 pm

  268. you’re saying there’s a claim here that one of the “Nitecruzr Six” did the automated phone verification and is still locked out?

    No, that’s not it. How many times does this need to be explained?

    A lot of people are asked to provide their phone number, but do not have to. That’s normal Google trying to collect as much information as possible.

    A different thing is where accounts are locked down because of ‘unusual activity’, and unless they provide their phone number, they are locked out.

    How could you possibly misunderstand this to the point where you say it’s about people who provide their number and can’t get in? Are you even reading the posts? Are you just trying to troll? What is your malfunction here?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:25 pm

  269. Patterico – it is either choosing to conflate them, or is incapable of understanding same.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:26 pm

  270. So if it turns out that there are 5 other random people on the planet that got locked out, would you reconsider? Or would you just dig in harder? If an equal number of non-nitecruzr critics isn’t enough, how many would be?

    Did you read my burglary analogy? I’ll give it again.

    There is a town meeting with about 30 people. 15 people criticize the local government. The next day, six of the critics get together and learn that all 6 of them had their homes burglarized the night before. Have the other 9 critics? They don’t know.

    Then a couple guys (we’ll call them stinkdaddy and eli) come along and say: shut up, idiots, people get burglarized all the time. One of the critics says: gee, were 40 percent of the town residents burglarized last night? eli says, no, but I have this Twitter message that says a guy in Timbuktu had his house burglarized recently. And stinkdaddy says: yeah. And if I can find you six people in the world who had their homes burglarized in the last 24 hours, and weren’t at the town meeting, will you shut up? Or will you dig in your heels?

    Then the six people who had their homes burglarized laugh and point at eli and stinkdaddy, because they both just wet their pants.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:27 pm

  271. And with that, I am going to make an effort to allow you people to argue with these morons on your own. I have work to do.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:28 pm

  272. “How could you possibly misunderstand this to the point where you say it’s about people who provide their number and can’t get in?”

    Ok, tell me what the reasonable interpretation of “being locked out subsequent to giving personal info” if then. Because to me, it appears to be a statement that someone “[gave] personal info” and then, subsequently, was “locked out.”

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:28 pm

  273. They are not “arguing” Patterico. They never have been.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:28 pm

  274. 271 proves that stink finger does not know WTF it is talking about.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:29 pm

  275. “Then the six people who had their homes burglarized laugh and point at eli and stinkdaddy, because they both just wet their pants.”

    So first you assign an excessive degree of concern to me, then you use what you just made up to argue against me. Then you finish it off by saying you have other things to do, thus demonstrating your “lack of concern” after spending what appears to be about 6 hours arguing with people in this comment thread.

    Mm’hmm.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:30 pm

  276. I for one welcome our New Google Troll Overlords.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:33 pm

  277. “271 proves that stink finger does not know WTF it is talking about.”

    Wow, you’re really proud of your little name-calling thing eh? Ok, how about, rather than asserting I’m wrong, explaining how that plain-english statement clearly says something other than what I’m interpreting from it.

    “I got locked out of my house subsequent to getting drunk at the bar” is not a statement that, after getting hammered, I got locked out because _____________.

    “I felt full subsequent to eating” is not a statement that no longer being hungry happened after I ate because _____________.

    And saying that people got locked out subsequent to providing personal info is not a statement that people got locked out subsequent to providing personal info because _______________.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:33 pm

  278. Is it true Rachel Mancow is writing an autobiography on his life as a man?

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:36 pm

  279. “YOU ARE THE ONE WHO CLAIMED TO KNOW FOR SURE, and now you lie”

    “Why did the rest of the blogs go down? Was it a systemwide error in spam marking or filtering? I have no idea. And if that’s your evidence, neither do you.”

    Pissed my pants laughing maybe.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:37 pm

  280. You don’t need to interpret my comment in any way. The very specific circumstances have been laid out, ad nauseum, in this thread, and others. As have the differences between a request for informant, and the unusual activity type that requires disclosure. Now, go on back to your faux very faux superiority and imagined brilliance. Your act here is stale.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:37 pm

  281. Simon Dodd writes me on Twitter:

    I had the exact same gmail lockout thing after clicking the “not helpful” button on NC’s responses.

    Will follow up with him to see the nature of the lockout.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:39 pm

  282. You claimed it was not marked as spam, Eli, and mocked those that noted that not-employee just some dude in google forums noted that it had been marked as spam. But I see how we should take your word. This is a trollish tsunami today.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:39 pm

  283. “I have no idea” means different things in these parts. I understand why ya’ll are so twitchy and defensive… the world must be a very confusing place.

    I’ll wish you the best of luck… but i’d put money on google.

    Comment by eli (feea19) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:42 pm

  284. “Have the other 9 critics? They don’t know.”

    How many people in the town didn’t criticize the government? How many of them got robbed? The people who’re whipping themselves into a frenzy over how they’re being persecuted for criticizing “the government” have no idea, and they openly admit that they have no idea. Yet for some reason they continue to see, “Six of us got robbed !” as the end-all-be all, despite their glossing over that the ‘robberies’ happened in the middle of a widespread power outage.

    But no, you’re right. The people who think it’s kind of funny to immediately turn this into a knee-jerk example of how those six people are being persecuted based on one of many possible scenarios are the ones behaving laughably.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:43 pm

  285. Nitecruzr’s debate style is to just be make sure he has the last word, no matter how irrational he’s been. Thankfully, his supporters can’t delete the comments they are ignoring over and over again, but their attempt to misconstrue the discussion is consistently mistaken, and that’s no accident.

    This isn’t good faith disagreement.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:44 pm

  286. Patterico, its becoming more obvious that there is some link between marking nitecruzer’s comments and getting punished with a notation to one’s Google login.

    Until Google explains this, I have no alternative but to conclude the obvious – that Google has empowered this cretin with the ability to do this.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:45 pm

  287. “The very specific circumstances have been laid out, ad nauseum, in this thread, and others. As have the differences between a request for informant, and the unusual activity type that requires disclosure. ”

    Yeah, I get it. Some of you are seeing a distinction between different types of phone verification pages that I’m not entirely sure exist. (If there are screenshots or any other non-say-so proof of this skippable version, I’m missing it.) What I’m not getting is how that leads you to say that some people verified their numbers and are still locked out.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:45 pm

  288. stinkdaddy, if you are trying to argue probabilities, then go learn some mathematics.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:45 pm

  289. “his supporters can’t delete the comments they are ignoring over and over again, but their attempt to misconstrue the discussion is consistently mistaken, and that’s no accident.”

    When all else fails, simply lie, eh? No you’re right, saying “I don’t know what Nitecruzr’s powers are. He seems like a douche, but that doesn’t prove anything” is as clear-cut a demonstration of support as there is.

    F’ing black and white worldviews in which everyone’s firmly on one team or the other: how do they work?

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:47 pm

  290. Your account was probably compromised and used to send spam. When we detect this we send the account to phone verification. This is to lock out the spammers until you have the opportunity to sign in to your account and change the password. We have to do this because it may be days or even weeks until you next check your mail, and it’s likely spammers will try to repeatedly abuse your account during that time

    We strongly encourage you to go through the phone verification process – many people have already done it, and we keep the numbers used private

    So you couldnt protect the accounts from spammers, yet they want phone numbers and they’ll keep them private. How do we know they wont be compromised like the gmail accounts?

    Comment by carmachu (875835) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:48 pm

  291. I love it when eli and stinkfinger and their ilk resort to making up positions. By a show of hands, who here is advancing the position that people are being locked out for unusual circumstances and having been asked for and giving out their cell phone numbers? I may have said something inartful above, bit you have to be aggressively ignorant and/or dishonest to continue to advance a position when it is quite clear what is being discussed.

    I am so sad and disappointed to see eli turn out to be exactly as we expected. Ditto stankfinger, just a bit angrier.

    Comment by JD (b98cae) — 5/15/2011 @ 3:53 pm

  292. I just recently (yesterday) was asked for a cell number.
    I hit save and continue without providing one.

    Comment by BigFurHat (057d7f) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:08 pm

  293. Is it racist against white iellgals to have a problem with them sucking jobs from legals?

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:09 pm

  294. I think there is another issue here: that Google seems to have recently asked an awful lot of people for their cell phone numbers, albeit in the less coercive way typically experienced by those who have not criticized nitecruzr.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:09 pm

  295. Nitecruzr is the president of USA.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:10 pm

  296. @290 above – my teenage daughter, who’s never heard of Althouse, had the same problem a bit ago, and subsequently found that yes, her entire address book had been sent a link, from her Gmail account, without her involvement.

    The reason for the cellphone # request was simply to have Google text her a verification code. (She also has a GVoice account, so providing the cell number added nothing to her disclosure with Google)

    My sense, having read the thread here, is that Google personnel are not doing this, other than very indirectly, via allowing a spam attack to flag so many accounts with suspicious activity.

    Comment by Patton (658c00) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:10 pm

  297. Patton:

    Your comment simply establishes that, yes, sometimes people actually have suspicious activity happen on their accounts, and are then asked for their cell phone number.

    Which we already knew. I still have yet to hear of one person who had NO suspicious activity, who got requested in a coercive manner in the last 24 hours, who did not criticize nitecruzr.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:13 pm

  298. yes, her entire address book had been sent a link, from her Gmail account, without her involvement.

    Yeah, that does happen. That happened to my wife’s hotmail account a long time ago, actually. That’s why I asked Patterico if he had anything like that in his outbox, or any indication of any kind of suspicious activity.

    He said he hadn’t, and that’s my understanding of the other people who criticized nitecruzer and were locked out of their gmail accounts.

    It seems that people who criticize nitecruzer wind up reported as spammer accounts, as though they were like your daughter’s account.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:16 pm

  299. Patterico, I don’t think it’s reasonable in the sense that I think its how Google or any of its agents ought to act, – just that following him to another unrelated thread to complain about his bad or unprofessional treatment of another Blogger use or Blogger users in general is defendable as interfering with his attempt to provide support to a user in that thread – though we both know that is little more than a pretext for punishing you for bringing attention to the Althouse debacle.

    Mikes link is pretty shocking and makes it clear he has even more discretion than I thought, and is possibly punishing political viewpoints as well. I hope N. gets his.

    I thought I recognized nitecruzr, he’s done this before: http://www.google.com/support/forum/p/blogger/thread?tid=164b7aa43cfacad4&hl=en

    He’s responsible for the shut down of another conservative/libertarian blog that I used to read , thread at the link.

    Comment by Mike — 5/15/2011 @ 11:02 am

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:25 pm

  300. I think there is another issue here: that Google seems to have recently asked an awful lot of people for their cell phone numbers, albeit in the less coercive way typically experienced by those who have not criticized nitecruzr.

    Comment by Patterico

    Their excuse sucks, too. My guess is Google sees more value in tying people to addresses, phone numbers, and more than that. They were recording wifi data in a suspicious way, and my recollection is they are tying google accounts to addresses.

    And yet, with all this information, they couldn’t tell that Althouse’s blog was not spam in less than 24 hours? They have all this data, and they have an amazing search engine that sorts through all this data in microseconds. But when Google screws up, or it’s time to ask them a question, suddenly they can’t handle basic information?

    They just happen to need more private data on everyone, just to make sure our accounts are spamming? That’s very convenient.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:25 pm

  301. A couple of thoughts – I looked at my gmail account and if you click on the “even more” area then blogger then blogger buzz you see the following:

    “Here’s what happened: during scheduled maintenance work Wednesday night, we experienced some data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. Since then, bloggers and readers may have experienced a variety of anomalies including intermittent outages, disappearing posts, and arriving at unintended blogs or error pages. A small subset of Blogger users (we estimate 0.16%) may have encountered additional problems specific to their accounts. Yesterday we returned Blogger to a pre-maintenance state and placed the service in read-only mode while we worked on restoring all content: that’s why you haven’t been able to publish. We rolled back to a version of Blogger as of Wednesday May 11th, so your posts since then were temporarily removed. Those are the posts that we’re in the progress of restoring.

    Again, we are very sorry for the impact to our authors and readers. We try hard to ensure Blogger is always available for you to share your thoughts and opinions with the world, and we’ll do our best to prevent this from happening again.

    Posted by Eddie Kessler, Tech Lead/Manager, Blogger”

    I was asked for the cell phone and just hit continue/save and pressed on.

    As for NiteCruzr I suspect this is a group account and not an individual. Google the account history and it goes back at least as far as 2006. Probably a group account that whatever people google trust with managing blogspot use. That is a lot of posts for one person and the technical depth to answer some of the questions seems like a collective knowledge.

    We have had one of our hotmail accounts disabled because someone used it for a spam return address. We had to answer a few questions and the account was re-enabled. People can screw with you that way — go to a site known for its email harvesting and sign up with someone else’s email and eventually that email will be used as the host email for a spam campaign.

    I think it had less to do with political leanings than some jerks ala the SNL skit with Nick Burns computer tech screwing with people who complained.

    Comment by vor2 (704e34) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:28 pm

  302. Sarah, I think you’re probably right. Nitecruzr pretends it’s not obvious that Althouse is not a spammer, and that opens the door for him to pretend those supporting her are actually her bots, and therefore unusual spam Gmailers too.

    He knows that is BS, but he thinks it’s enough cover to abuse the agency Google chose him for.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:28 pm

  303. Saying not all illegals are criminals is like saying Nitecruzr has a brain.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:30 pm

  304. Whoops, meant to say that N’s action in flagging your account is something defendable if he thinks you are interfering and/or going to continue to interfere.

    I was thinking his responses were based on a general google support policy of putting the onus on the blogger before re-opening a pulled blog, since they will believe most pulled blogs were legitimately pulled based on whatever criteria they use to search/sift for the.

    Honestly Mike’s link has changed my idea of what his motivations are.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:33 pm

  305. I think it had less to do with political leanings than some jerks ala the SNL skit with Nick Burns computer tech screwing with people who complained.

    I agree. Nitecruzr is not mad at conservatives. He’s mad that people complain about his attitude problem. In fact, one of the groups of people who noted his misbehavior was a group of gay bloggers. Not that gay=liberal, but still, many of them were liberals.

    That is a lot of posts for one person and the technical depth to answer some of the questions seems like a collective knowledge.

    I can’t say I agree. The vast majority of the time, someone asks a question about any of a huge number of areas, and nutecruzr links his blog, which covers a narrow set of issues. This leads to people asking nitecruzr for the relevance of his reply, and nitecruzr calling them ‘coyotes’ for some reason. Many of these blogs from months to years ago, no longer exist. The accounts that dissed the guy are no longer active. My guess is 99% of the reason is that people decide they deserve better than blogger and google offer.

    It is a ridiculously high number of posts. If this nitecruzr is more than one person, it’s a surprising consistent quality to his writing. It’s also a little strange of a group lets one from that group twitterer and blogger use their name as though it’s just him. I can’t say you’re wrong, but my impression is that it’s just one guy.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:34 pm

  306. Whoops, meant to say that N’s action in flagging your account is something defendable if he thinks you are interfering and/or going to continue to interfere.

    Defendable is a very weak claim. I can defend slavery. I would just be wrong.

    Nitecruzr was not justified in deleting many of the comments in that thread. Some of the deleted comments were germance to the subject, and most of the unhelpful nonsense comments came from nitecruzer, who openly mocked Althouse’s problems.

    In fact, I think this lays out the game. He can’t pretend to be attempting to protect a super sterile thread, where no deviation from the problem can be discussed, and also troll the thread with random accusations of ‘coyote’ and ‘tell your readers to do this!!!!’.

    He was interfering. He can’t then tell people who respond directly to his comments that they are interfering. It seems he used an excuse that only Althouse and Nitecruzr get to talk in that forum, but then why is it a forum at all?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:37 pm

  307. You are indeed. Perhaps if you read the post at the top of the page, and looked at the picture found within that post, you would have seen it.

    http://patterico.com/files/2011/05/Google-Locked-Out-of-Gmail1-600×335.png

    Comment by carlitos (1596cc) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:37 pm

  308. Google delisted “PrestoPundit” from it’s search engine just after I published the original article identifying Barack Obama’s father as a socialist, and when I pointed out the Obama in his memoirs says directly that his father’s ideas give him his political ideals.

    It has now flagged my Taking Hayek Seriously blog as a “spam” site.

    Google often equals Evil if you are aren’t a big player, and you aren’t on the left.

    Comment by Greg Ransom (aada0b) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:38 pm

  309. 307 was directed at the aptly-named stinkdaddy, who said:

    If there are screenshots or any other non-say-so proof of this skippable version, I’m missing it.

    Comment by carlitos (1596cc) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:39 pm

  310. Sorry, Carlitos. People often cross post over me because I can’t shut up.

    But yeah, he’s missing something major. It’s not clear why Eli and the others come here, insist we haven’t proven something, and then in their boasting, show they didn’t bother to review the evidence.

    It’s OK if someone doesn’t care enough about this to read through the post. No one has time for every controversy, and this is hardly the worst one in the world by any stretch. I just don’t understand why people are as invested as some of these people are, and yet they didn’t care enough to check the claims out.

    That’s why I get this ‘bad faith’ vibe.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:42 pm

  311. carlitos,

    Actually, my screenshot is of the NON-skippable version.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:48 pm

  312. But yeah, he’s missing something major. It’s not clear why Eli and the others come here, insist we haven’t proven something, and then in their boasting, show they didn’t bother to review the evidence.

    It’s disappointing, isn’t it? Eli is not who I thought he was.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:50 pm

  313. I can’t say you’re wrong, but my impression is that it’s just one guy

    It is possible. I’ve seen one person derail a pretty good computer geek site with his endless posts. He had literally thousands of posts and I’m pretty sure it was all him.

    If it is one person I pity his lack of a life…

    Comment by vor2 (704e34) — 5/15/2011 @ 4:56 pm

  314. Expect more idiot trolls, now that Balloon Juice has linked and mocked this.

    Logic is hard for some people.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:05 pm

  315. It’s not a conspiracy theory, balloon juicers. We’re talking about an out of control low level Google tech volunteer blog*star whatever.

    And we’re blaming Google because it’s clear this guy shouldn’t be given this kind of power. The best defense I see is that there could be some damn implausible explanation for the gmail lock downs, and thus nitecruzr is only abusing other powers.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:08 pm

  316. Ah. Maybe someone could post a screencap of the ‘skippable’ version, but it’s been described a bunch of times here.

    Comment by carlitos (1596cc) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:09 pm

  317. So shilling for oil companies is all of a sudden good when it comes to Gov Palin and her record as gov?

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:14 pm

  318. Comment by Greg Ransom — 5/15/2011 @ 4:38 pm
    Mr. Ransom–apparently they’ve changed their minds. I could reach both PrestoPundit and THS via a Google search with no problem. (Unless you’ve posted something at PrestoPundit since 2009, in which case there is a problem.) In fact, doing the same searches with Bing also led me there, but the additional results were in many cases less direct than Google (eg, showing a post at DailyKos attacking your post instead of linking to other posts at your site).

    Comment by kishnevi (827a72) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:15 pm

  319. So shilling for oil companies is all of a sudden good when it comes to Gov Palin and her record as gov?

    Comment by DohBiden — 5/15/2011 @ 5:14 pm

    Are you a bot?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:16 pm

  320. The question is, how many accounts were verified during the period of time we’re talking about

    That is part of, and consistent with, my point.

    Knowing the size of Patterico’s audience, and how pervasive Gmail accounts are, I’d be expecting quite a few people who were locked out in exactly the same manner as the 6 of us, on or about the same time as the 6 of us, who hadn’t posted critical comments of this yahoo in the past 48 hours.

    If so, it is odd that they aren’t saying so.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:21 pm

  321. Um dustin the left are hypocrites is what I’am implying.

    And no when oil companies do wrong they deserve to be villified.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:25 pm

  322. I apologize, Dohibiden. Yes, the left is very picky about which companies are evil and which are not. I think in particular Google is seen as a progressive company, and just reading Althouse’s comments, a lot of lefties are delighted that her older posts and comments aren’t restored yet. They hope it never comes back, and it’s clear they would happily report the blog as spam if they thought it would make that happen.

    Google’s blogger is an awful place to keep a blog you want safe from liberal fascists. We see a similar issue with Google’s other products, such as Youtube.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:31 pm

  323. Patterico, Balloon Juice? Oh, great, Mini Charles Johnson.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:33 pm

  324. It’s like a Sadly No with less humor.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:38 pm

  325. Yeah, I get and do dispute that Patterico saw that page. What I’m saying is, this whole thing about Patterico/Althouse fans getting different treatment hinges on this “unlike us, some people get a version they can skip” thing, which as near as I can tell is based entirely on a few people telling Patterico that’s what they experienced and him taking it as fact.

    I don’t see screenshots of the supposed alternate version of this page, and when I ask if that’s a mistake I get pointed to a pic of the page that I’m not disputing. Then you do a little endzone dance about “trolls.” You folks are weird.

    Screenshot of non-skippable version != screenshot of skippable version. If this is still too difficult I can try using smaller words or something, but I really don’t know how to make the actual point any simpler.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:42 pm

  326. Damn typos. Rather, “I get and do not dispute that Patterico…” etc.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:42 pm

  327. less unintentional humor, SPQR.

    Comment by narciso lopez (72470d) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:43 pm

  328. Liberal or no, Google’s been having problems lately. It’s embroiled in a nasty feud with Facebook over privacy. And just last Wednesday, the WSJ reported that Google is setting aside some $500 million to settle a U.S. criminal investigation into allegations it made huge but illicit profits by accepting ads from online pharmacies that break U.S. laws. (For subscribers, link here.) That would be one of the largest corporate settlements with the government ever.

    Comment by angeleno (4a5ab7) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:53 pm

  329. :roll:

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 5:54 pm

  330. Move to WordPress. If you are running your blog like a business, pay for the hosting and put it on Rackspace Cloud.

    We manage blogs that get between 1 and 10 Million page views per month and would not host them anywhere else.

    At least get a real domain name and not use a blogspot subdomain. Then you could at least put up a page telling people what is up.

    Comment by Andrew (861b0d) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:00 pm

  331. Actually, now that I think about it, it sounds like some people are confusing the occasional, optional nag screen that from time to time asks *everyone who already hasn’t* to provide a mobile number with a specific screen that came up because — for some reason or another that I don’t pretend to know, and you shouldn’t either — six accounts apparently got marked as abusive in some way.

    So yeah, I’ve seen the screen that allows you to click “save and continue.” You’re right, it’s real. Problem is, you’re dead wrong in thinking that it’s an alternate version of the “provide a number so we know you’re not a spammer” screen. It’s a nag screen that randomly pops up for anyone who hasn’t provided alternate means of being contacted, asking them to do so in case they lose their password. You all are equating this to Google telling you, “There is suspicious activity on the account, so we need you to verify it” when that’s not the case.

    Save and continue screen: Asks you if you’d like to setup a way to retrieve your account should *you* lose your password in the future.

    Verify screen: Tells you that you have to verify yourself to log back in because *Google* has determined (correctly or not) that there was suspicious activity.

    Yeah, some people saw the save/continue screen while this whole fake outrage was going on. And a red truck drove by my house literally seconds before I stubbed my toe just now. Post hoc ergo propter hoc, etc. The whole claim that you’re getting treated differently is based on an inability to distinguish being asked to provide optional, alternate contact info (which every big-time free email provider I can think of does: hotmail, yahoo, etc) and having to verify your account because it’s been marked as spam. Feel free to get all “Oh, flip flop! Caught ya!” as though exposing me not being able to immediately remember that screen without seeing a pic somehow disproves that

    In short: There are six accounts that got locked. I don’t dispute that, but if you’re going to continue trying to tie the alternate contact page into that then you’re going off the rails.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:00 pm

  332. Blech. As though me being unable to immediately recall, etc etc, sentence ends with “that randomly asking people who don’t have alternate info on file to provide some in case they lose their password in the future is a normal, non-targeted, and completely unrelated part of using Gmail.”

    I get that it’ll be convenient to ignore this because “I’m a troll” or such a defender of that nitecruzr guy who I think is a giant douche, or whatever. But you have your answer on the “Save and continue thing,” whether you choose to accept it or not.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:03 pm

  333. And it is just a coincidence that it happened when it did. Pure coincidence. Stinkyfinger diddles goats.

    Comment by JD (29e1cd) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:08 pm

  334. Here you go:

    http://www.netbanker.com/WindowsLiveWriter/GoogleVerifiesEmailAddressandMobilePhone_A739/image_thumb.png

    There’s a version that pops up from time to time even for people who already have their info on file.

    Note the article:

    http://www.netbanker.com/2011/03/customer_service_tips_google_verifies_contact_info_via_interstitial_page.html

    “From time to time (2x per year?), Google drops an interstitial after login to verify that it has the correct email address and mobile phone number on file.”

    If you don’t have that info on file you get one that asks you to provide it rather than check that it’s correct:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-Dhqc_vlLQeU/Tc1j9ok3iJI/AAAAAAAAIvM/0kFrxV9fjcU/s400/Google-AccountRecoveryOptionsPrompt-Small.jpg

    Feel free to press on with your anti-nitecruzr thing (though expect to catch crap if/when it gets presented as anything more than a suspicion) but how ’bout dropping the misunderstanding/misrepresenting the alternate contact process thing? Given that it’s demonstrably bogus and all.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:17 pm

  335. “And it is just a coincidence that it happened when it did. Pure coincidence.”

    Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Maybe you should look up that “post hoc, ergo propter hoc” thing I mentioned. Did the red truck make me stub my toe?

    “Stinkyfinger diddles goats.”

    Are you like 9 years old or what? I don’t know whether to interpret this as a very pathetic adult or a par-for-the-course elementary schooler.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:19 pm

  336. Stinkdaddy- none of those look even remotely like what I saw.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:20 pm

  337. Hey I heard stinkdaddy diddles himself.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:22 pm

  338. It is not easy to ignore you because you are a troll. It is easy to ignore you because you an aggressively mendouchous asshat. You have been treated in a manner commensurate with how you have acted. No better, no worse. Quit trying to play the victim.

    Comment by JD (29e1cd) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:28 pm

  339. “Stinkdaddy- none of those look even remotely like what I saw.”

    Wow, dude. Ok, follow along.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re on of the ones who did get totally locked out, right? Patterico describes you as such.

    And I’ve already said that yes, I totally grant that six people getting locked outt’ve their accounts for some unknown reason.

    You with me so far?

    I’ve also said that, completely unrelated to whatever happened to those six accounts, sometimes people get asked to provide alternate contact info. I’ve also provided examples of what those screens look like.

    Can you figure out which part applies to you?

    I don’t know what it is with you guys. I ask for a shot of the “Save and continue” screen and you link me to a shot of the verify screen. I point out that yes, there is a save and continue screen and here is what it looks like and then I explain how it works, and you respond with, “I got the verify screen!”

    Do you recognize that there is a difference between apples and oranges? Is this about extremely poor reading comprehension, or is this just a willingness to misrepresent and misdirect to whatever degree is necessary to “win” the argument?

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:33 pm

  340. “Quit trying to play the victim.”

    Victim of what? Someone making a hilarious ass of themselves by resorting to grade-school insults and name-calling? I’m not victimized by that. I’m not bothered by it in the least. I’m just trying to figure out what point of view I’m supposed to be laughing at you from.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:34 pm

  341. Can you figure out which part applies to you?

    I can.

    Now, see if you can follow, since I did the same courtesy for you.

    There must be some rate in which people ended up in the state of condition pertinent to me.

    One of two things is true. First would be that a high percentage of Gmail (or users with Google accounts just for blog commenting purposes) had the kind of lockout that happened to us. If this is the case, then Google just collected an incredibly large number of cellphone numbers. That would be alarming.

    Or, only a very small percentage did, especially within the last 48 hours. In which case, it is extremely unlikely that 6 of them happened to also share the unrelated characteristic that they just happened to complain about this one particular unpaid volunteer– indicating that Google, who wants us to trust them with our searches, with our email, with our files for the cloud, lets unpaid, unaccountable people put a user’s access at risk.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:45 pm

  342. I’m much more likely to lose my cellphone than my passwords; the security scheme seems … insecure.

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:46 pm

  343. This from a troll that conflates those ideas when convenient. I guess being an unjustifiably arrogant prlck is a feature in stink finger’s world.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:47 pm

  344. Certain right wingers and their selective outrage about Palin’s treatment of oil companies is nothing short of amusing.

    And google does have an authoritorian streak.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:48 pm

  345. and being a self-diddling toolbox is a plus in stinkdaddy’s woprld too.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:50 pm

  346. The phone number thing is nothing nefarious. It’s their verification method. That is all. The troll nitecruzr flagged your accounts.

    The guy is a troll and you all are getting played.

    Comment by jimbob (b09f70) — 5/15/2011 @ 6:57 pm

  347. One of two things is true.

    No, those are the two options you’ve laid out. Those are the options that are convenient for your argument. Other options exist, the most likely of which seems to me that people are being punished for busting into support threads that don’t relate to them, as Patterico aptly demonstrates in the original post. There’s also the “something none of us have thought of yet” factor. Just because you can only think of two possibilities doesn’t mean those are the only ones that exist.

    So some questions to answer:

    How many people who didn’t criticize nitecruzr got locked out? We have at least one example from a Twitter post linked upthread.

    How many people who barged into threads that don’t relate to them got locked out? Is this a normal way of punishing people? Patterico, etc. are framing this is them being unfairly punished for criticizing this out-of-control blah blah blah… ok, what about the part where you aren’t allowed to bust into support threads that don’t relate to you? You feel that has no bearing? I’ve looked over these support threads, and the guy gave — haughtily, granted — several specific warnings not to behave in this manner. From what I see, people chose to ignore that and are now shocked that there might be consequences for ignoring the rules.

    “Collected” those phone numbers? Do you know they’re even saved? Have you checked the policy on that? Are you aware that any phone number can be used, including for instance a prepaid cel, office line, or even a payphone, if one of those still exists?

    And while we’re at it, on this point, you guys need to really figure out where you stand. When it’s convenient to portray Google itself as doing this, nefariously forcing you to give it your info, being this big ol’ liberal monolith, etc. you do so. Then when called on that being ridiculous, you revert back to “Oh no, we’re just worried about nitecruzr abusing the powers that we ‘re not entirely sure he has,” and then a few minutes later back to the Big Evil Google thing. Make up your minds.

    “I’m much more likely to lose my cellphone than my passwords; the security scheme seems … insecure.”

    Yeah, that’s probably why there’s also a field for an alternate email address. You can choose how you want to recover your info, or you can choose not to set it up at all.

    Comment by stinkdaddy (3def13) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:04 pm

  348. Shorter stinky finger – you are all just bigg poopy heads.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:09 pm

  349. “. We were disabled from accessing our e-mail because we criticized this guy’s rudeness and dishonesty.

    That’s a real problem, Google”

    I think the key for nitecruzer, or whoever else flagged you, is that you did it in an off topic forum. He seems quite anal about the blogger forum only being used for help and advice.

    Comment by Bruuuuce (8c9005) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:11 pm

  350. world*

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:13 pm

  351. I think the key for nitecruzer, or whoever else flagged you, is that you did it in an off topic forum.

    This is the most recent meme from the trolls. That a not-employee not-agent not-a-representative-of google has the authority and ability to disable your email because you make an off topic comment, while routinely doing so himself.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:15 pm

  352. No, those are the two options you’ve laid out. Those are the options that are convenient for your argument. Other options exist, the most likely of which seems to me that people are being punished for busting into support threads that don’t relate to them

    No, that falls into the category I mentioned where someone working for the benefit of Google is overstepping their bounds, which reflects poorly on their designs to implement a cloud, or be trusted with email, or with blogs for that matter. After all, as was documented earlier in this thread, the purpose of that lockout, as described by Google employees, is to prevent spam- and to make sure that a username/password combination cannot be used to send spam emails before the user realizes their accounts were compromised.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (491183) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:16 pm

  353. Stinky finger sure does try hard to be completely unreasonable.

    He says it’s a complete coincidence that something really bizarre happened. That’s his argument.

    He says he hasn’t seen the skippable version, even though the descriptions of it are clearly not the same as the non skippable, and thus asserts something that is ridiculous. With no evidence.

    Why do our trolls rely on this ‘without absolute proof, my ignorance proves I’m right’ crap?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:16 pm

  354. I can’t figure out what stinkdaddy thinks is the purpose of him coming here, and repeating “explanations” that have already been found unconvincing because they don’t match the details.

    So, stinkdaddy, please explain to me what you think you are doing, since your “explanations” fail to explain and yet you continue to repeat them over and over again.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:25 pm

  355. SPQR – I get the impression that if someone here said the sky is blue, stinkyfinger would get all tard of thunder on on telling everyone how Druid they were because everyone knows that Rayleigh scattering, and how you stupid new earth science deniers listen to the flying spaghetti monster in the sky instead of facts.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:31 pm

  356. Stinkyfinger is compensating for something.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:35 pm

  357. so many American institutions are corrupt and diseased but with google it’s still shocking how fast it happened

    lickety-split, really

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:36 pm

  358. I think stinkboy now admits that nitecruzr punished us but maintains it was justified. Am I reading you right?

    If so, you should eat some crow for acting like it was so ridiculous for us to think we were being punished.

    Acknowledge that this is your position, forthrightly, and we can move on to demolishing your stupid argument that we deserved it.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:46 pm

  359. Goodnight, you off-topic racists.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:53 pm

  360. Like I said He is compensating for something.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:53 pm

  361. I would think that a guy who has the power to lock accounts would be required to say, AT A MINIMUM: I have the power to lock accounts, to punish you for breaking into a support thread. I warn you: if you do that, I will lock your account.

    And if he said that, I think Google would have a lot of angry users complaining.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:56 pm

  362. Night JD. For the rest of you, there should be a podcast coming up in about an hour where I spent maybe 15 minutes discussing this with some guy. Will link when available.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:56 pm

  363. They didn’t seem to recognize that 9/11 affected all Americans — we’ve all lost some shampoo in line at the airport.*

    Comment by happyfeet (3c92a1) — 5/15/2011 @ 7:59 pm

  364. Just for the record, any multi-national, multi-billion corporation that has “don’t be evil” as an unofficial slogan probably is.

    Now, if its slogan was “make cash and screw the rest,” I could trust that.

    Comment by Ag80 (5b5a38) — 5/15/2011 @ 8:19 pm

  365. Let this be a lesson to all who have foolishly trusted Google up until now: They are not a bunch of libertarians who want to expand access to all information; they are a bunch of leftists who want to control all access to information.

    That they profit is not absolution for their sins. All tyrants profit from their sins.

    Comment by 5th Level Fighter (dd5bcf) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:00 pm

  366. You are a complete fucking asshole. Suck a dick you George Bush loving elephant asshole.

    Comment by Greg (75b982) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:08 pm

  367. Aaaaand the Balloon Juice crowd is heard from.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/15/2011 @ 9:21 pm

  368. Let us experiment… I have posted a comment critical of Nitecruzr just now. We have a screen shot of it up. Now, it is off-topic, so I would not be shocked is it is removed, but that isn’t what I wish to test.

    You see, I just spent Thursday, Friday, and most of Saturday in Washington DC. While there, I accessed my gmail account from my laptop in the hotel and from my cell phone. I have obviously returned, and have further accessed my gmail account again from my laptop and from my cellphone.

    At no time have I received notice of “unusual activity” and been required to provide a phone number for verification purposes.

    I have, in the past, been randomly logged out of Google, but since it merely requires I enter my user name and password, I suspect that is a function of IP addresses, cookies, and other random internet BS. I have also used my cellphone to recover/reset my password when I have been logged out and could not, for the life of me, remember my password. Again, it did not require my number in those cases, I just found thee txt message system to be far easier to use, as I am horrible at remembering answers to security questions.

    So we will wait and see if I too become subject to some heightened level of scrutiny from Google.

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d027b8) — 5/15/2011 @ 10:28 pm

  369. Anyone want to bet whether stinkdaddy, eli or Auguste is actually nitecruzr hiself, or absent that, at least another “volunteer” Google (interesting that Firefox’s spell check insists on the capitalization) moderator.

    (And I repeat my observation from a prior thread – that it is of little surprise that eli, who states on his blog that Russ Feingold is his favorite WI politician and finds Althouse’s banning “delicious”, would support the outrageous actions of nitcruzr and Google.)

    Comment by Have Blue (854a6e) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:46 pm

  370. And Greg makes it even more clear that the issue is liberal fascism. Remember “free speech” is only for those who speak correctly.

    Comment by Have Blue (854a6e) — 5/15/2011 @ 11:49 pm

  371. What’s really interesting is how reflexive the contrariness is from much of the left. They complain about corporate and government intrusiveness into their lives, but want more of it in the lives of others (for their own good). And when conservatives take a stand against corporate intrusion themselves, they get ridiculed for not allowing the “free market” to work unimpeded, as if complaints and boycotts weren’t part of the free market dynamic.

    The cognitive dissonance is astounding.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (44da70) — 5/16/2011 @ 12:29 am

  372. Exactly. Where is it written that my only recourse against a company that mistreats me is to switch to a different company? I’m not allowed to criticize them as well?

    Under that logic, every person taking that position should shut the hell up and just read a different blog. Don’t complain. Don’t criticize me. Just go away.

    Of course, I don’t take that position, so I allow the criticism. But I wonder if they recognize the inconsistency of their position. Given their supreme illogic on other points, I sincerely doubt it.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 12:34 am

  373. If conservatives started praising President Obama, say for his social engineering, a large segment of the progressive movement would immediately criticize the conservative position anyway. You can take the exact same stance as them, but if you identify as a conservative, you’re wrong.

    Then again, if they were able to think things through, they wouldn’t be progressives.

    *Note: I differentiate progressives from liberals, especially classical liberals, who I believe have valid platforms even if I happen to disagree with them.

    Comment by Stashiu3 (44da70) — 5/16/2011 @ 12:52 am

  374. Dumbfuckistan is right here.

    Comment by mike (0e863f) — 5/16/2011 @ 12:59 am

  375. switch to hotmail. they’d never do anything like that, and they don’t share data with bing, what with all this clinton era monopoly suit and all.

    Comment by liberpolly (371862) — 5/16/2011 @ 2:12 am

  376. Balloon Juice-istan is right here.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 2:33 am

  377. stinkdaddy ran away right after admitting I was right that we were punished.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:12 am

  378. This whole brouhaha has been very instructive to me. I have had a Hotmail account for about 10 years and have had very few problems. It does an excellent job of controlling spam and serves my purposes very well. I got a Gmail account a few years ago on the recommendation of a friend, but have used it very little. I only keep it as a backup in case something happens with my Hotmail account, which would be a first. After reading about this, it looks to me like a disruption with my Gmail account is more likely. I guess I’ll keep it for awhile, but I’m pretty sure I won’t allow myself to become dependent upon it for important contacts. And BTW, the builder of my new computer installed Google Chrome on it, which I uninstalled after fiddling with it for awhile, being unable to see any advantage over Explorer. Had the same experience with Firefox some years ago too. I’ve heard all the horror stories about problems with Explorer, but haven’t experienced any major problems myself during the 13 years or so that I’ve been online.

    Comment by Cap'n Eddie Ricketyback (af5c25) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:17 am

  379. And when conservatives take a stand against corporate intrusion themselves, they get ridiculed for not allowing the “free market” to work unimpeded, as if complaints and boycotts weren’t part of the free market dynamic.

    This is similar to Texans asking FEMA to not be partisan or corrupt in the disbursal of aid. Liberals laugh, saying ‘I though you didn’t like government spending, so now you can’t have your tax dollars back!’

    It’s also similar to conservatives asking for intellectual diversity on a college campus, getting a reply that they don’t support affirmative action.

    It’s just a dumb, yet widespread application of the democrat’s favorite argument: you are a hypocrite if you aren’t a democrat. Even though they apply this so poorly it’s actually they who are the hypocrites.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:19 am

  380. Anyone want to bet whether stinkdaddy, eli or Auguste is actually nitecruzr hiself, or absent that, at least another “volunteer” Google (interesting that Firefox’s spell check insists on the capitalization) moderator.

    Eli isn’t him. He’s got a Palin Derangement and Obamacare shilling blog, as well as a much more passive aggressive tone.

    The other two could be him, though. Give how hard Nitecruzr reacts to the idea someone doesn’t agree with him, I can’t say I’d be surprised.

    Either way, those three argued in bad faith.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:21 am

  381. See what y’all make of this, which I received just this morning:

    Hi,

    To become a participating provider with DentalPlans.com please call our Provider C.A.R.E Department at 1-800-494-9294 ext, 428. You can also send an email to PMP@DentalPlans.com. For more details, please view the link below.

    Thank you

    Cassandra McQueen | Live Chat Specialist | 888.632.5353 | Cassandra@DentalPlans.com

    DentalPlans.com
    8100 SW 10th Street, Suite 2000
    Plantation, FL 33324
    http://www.DentalPlans.com

    Keep It Clean, Go Green!
    Learn what DentalPlans.com is doing to go green: http://www.dentalplans.com/gogreen

    —–Original Message—–
    From: Robert [mailto:patterico@gmail.com]
    Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 5:12 PM
    To: Cassandra McQueen
    Subject: When you were offline (via LivePerson)

    [Are you a DentalPlans.com Member? ] No

    I am a Dentist. I want to join your network. How do I do that?

    _______________________________
    The above message was sent when you were offline, via your Timpani site.

    Message sent from IP: 74.105.134.224

    Now. The Elis and stinkdaddys of the world will tell you that this is utter vindication that something unusual was happening with my account.

    Here is what I will say about that. The IP address at the end? It belongs to serial troll Torquemada aka Javert aka Sponge Bob Square Pants aka a million other names.

    Whether someone is just making up something right now to make it LOOK as though there was really a problem with my account or not remains to be seen.

    The first question I would ask is: have any of the other five people this happened to received any new indications that there was some intrusion on their account?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:38 am

  382. Oh: I should have added: serial troll Torquemada aka all those other names always lists my e-mail address as his when he leaves comments. And he has it in for me in a VERY personal way.

    So there’s that piece of information as well.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:39 am

  383. Patrick

    I have had lots of evidence of people signing me up for various lists, especially (ahem) gay email lists and the like. also alot of muslim international dating services (muslim mail-order brides).

    But bluntly that stuff has been going on since around march of last year when we were doing the everyone draw mohammed thing, especially withe muslim mail order brides thing.

    And i saw no recent uptick in that.

    Comment by Aaron Worthing (e7d72e) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:41 am

  384. Patterico-

    I have not. I have sent practically zero emails from my gmail account, and have received none of late.

    Comment by Enigmaticore (a6843f) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:42 am

  385. Suck eggs you obama loving pedophile.

    Refers to the trolls who like to stroke Nitecruzr’s vajayjay.

    Comment by DohBiden (15aa57) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:45 am

  386. I don’t think this means a thing, other than that Torquemada aka etc. is such a petty and small man that he filled out a contact form at DentalPlans.com and used my e-mail address as a return address.

    I don’t see how in the world that would trigger a flag on my account.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:45 am

  387. You get under the skin of people with no integrity, Patterico. That seems to be their shared characteristic.

    Anyway, I take it this email isn’t in your outbox in Gmail?

    It’s really easy to spoof an email address. I could send emails from your email address all day if I wanted to. This isn’t evidence of an intrusion unless it appears in your outbox. When my wife’s email was compromised ages ago, the sent messages were still in her outbox, and sent to her address book.

    This is obviously not like that. Dentalplans was probably not in your address book. Javert aka douchebag spammer was trying to come up with clever ways to harass you because he’s a weirdo.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:48 am

  388. I don’t see how in the world that would trigger a flag on my account.

    Comment by Patterico

    It’s a legitimate email response from a company. There’s really nothing unusual about it, aside from the fact Torquemada used your email address instead of his own when filling out the form.

    ‘Dental Plan’ is a meme, you know. It is supposed to be annoying.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:51 am

  389. Sent message was not in my outbox. Good idea to have me check. That plus the existence of the contact form I linked answers the question.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:51 am

  390. I bet Torquemada didn’t realize that the e-mail I got was going to come gift-wrapped with his IP address!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:54 am

  391. Good idea to have me check.

    Only to establish there was no intrusion, just in case someone wants to claim this shows there was. The form is evidence enough that this is just a routine response, with nothing to do with your gmail’s security.

    I get spam all the time. Gmail is pretty good at putting it in the spam folder. I also get emails from businesses all the time. It doesn’t seem plausible that gmail is making accounts as unusual because of email they received.

    I guess torquemada thinks the internet is serious business.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:56 am

  392. What are you going to do about it?

    umm….roll on the floor laffing?

    Comment by wheeler's cat (305a2b) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:58 am

  393. jeez Patterico, get a grip.
    No one is persecuting you, you are persecuting yourselves.
    Julian Sanchez was right.
    All you guys have anymore is ressentiment and conspiracy theories.

    Comment by wheeler's cat (305a2b) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:02 am

  394. And…of course the poster nutjob for conspiracy theories and mental illness posts.

    Comment by Simon Jester (725046) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:03 am

  395. Nishi going off her meds was yet another predictable occurrence.

    Comment by JD (6e25b4) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:50 am

  396. For a while, I wondered if nitecruzer was an artificial intelligence being used as a screener. That now seems unlikely. Or it’s taken over!

    Comment by htom (412a17) — 5/16/2011 @ 10:34 am

  397. In the post and throughout the discussion Patterico avers that he and five others (let’s call ‘em the GMail Six) were either required, required or REQUIRED to hand over their personal cell phone numbers to Google in exchange for the privilege of getting their own email accounts back. Once obtained, these numbers would presumably be stored by Google forever for the use of its dark overlord who would eventually go on to, um, do whatever dark overlords do with random strangers’ cell phone numbers. On the other hand, the screen shot tells a different story, stating that Google has detected unusual activity on the account, which the user can restore immediately by inputting a verification code from Google. That code, horror of all horrors, would have actually have to get to the user somehow, or he’d have a hell of a time trying to input it. So they give the user two options: SMS text to any cell phone number you input, or a voice call to any phone of any kind – and not so much as a hint that either number would be retained or used for anything else. So who am I to believe, the GMail Six or my lyin’ eyes?

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/16/2011 @ 1:50 pm

  398. XRLQ, you have actually not shown any contradiction.

    Yes, Google trying to get everyone’s cell phone number presents a privacy concern that seems pretty wide open and applicable to millions.

    However, the problem here is that Google treated dissenters with ‘unusual account’ flags that locked them out of their account.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 1:53 pm

  399. and not so much as a hint that either number would be retained or used for anything else.

    BTW, this is wrong. Read the thread again. How could google claim that asking for phone numbers will force spammers to give up or obtain many phone numbers?

    Because the numbers are retained and linked to a finite number of accounts, permanently.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 1:54 pm

  400. 1) That “Unusual Activity” Flag I get here at work all the time then I have to enter one of those CAPTCHA things to continue my search so It MIGHT not be personal, Who Knows??

    2) I have gmail but I don’t use it that much I prefer Yahoo. You might start out with the Free version and then upgrade to for Pay. The unlimited Inbox and Folder Filtes are nice.

    Comment by Dan Kauffman (623f5c) — 5/16/2011 @ 2:24 pm

  401. This was generated by a search (on Google) for “Google Patterico.” Apologies if I missed a reference to it higher up.

    Comment by angeleno (ec0b60) — 5/16/2011 @ 4:58 pm

  402. Thanks, Angeleno.

    From your link:

    “Top contributors’ only additional privileges are the ability to delete posts in the forums – which Nitecruzr did not do in this instance

    Someone was deleting those comments. Nitecruzr was saying he wouldn’t tolerate them, and then they vanished. Just looking over that thread and what was removed, it’s really hard to accept this claim.

    We are looking into the issue of folks’ Google accounts being flagged, and again we’re very sorry for any inconvenience.”

    I suppose they already denied that nitecruzr could have done this, but I note they describe the power of “Top Contributors” rather than “Official Blog*star”. In fact, from my reading of the threads, they did not accurately describe “Top Contributors”, who have to ask the “Blog*Star” to escalate or moderate. My guess is that this source is not accurately explaining the situation, and hoping that the relatively minor nature of google censorship and account flagging becomes less of an issue with time.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:11 pm

  403. They’re saying that nitecruzr didn’t delete posts, huh? Remarkable.

    Then who did?

    And how do they know this?

    I will ask that blogger for the spokesperson’s contact info and ask those (and other!) questions.

    Comment by Patterico (283fc8) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:19 pm

  404. Dustin,

    Any evidence nitecruzr is on the forums today? Last I checked Scott Jacobs’s and Xrlq’s comments were still there and (atypically) nitecruzr had not responded. I wonder if he got a little talking-to.

    Comment by Patterico (283fc8) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:23 pm

  405. Did some comments vanish? Not complaining, just askin’

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:33 pm

  406. He appears to still be in the forums.

    I just googled his handle with today’s date. I haven’t really been paying attention to the forums anymore. I did see a discussion where he distinguishes between the major blogger breakdown and spam detection. According to Nitecruzr, if the blog is called “removed” that indicates spam was detected.

    Sorry, Eli.

    I haven’t paid enough attention to know if he’s dropped his tempo, but that’s the impression I get. If he’s got half a brain, he’s not going to intervene like he has been, and if Google’s got half a brain, he no longer can delete comments.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:33 pm

  407. To my own q above, nevermind. I found them.

    Dustin – well, he might be chastened into politeness for a day or two, anyway.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:37 pm

  408. Sarah, that’s as much as can be hoped for. This isn’t one of those leopards that loses its spots. But he does seem more polite.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:41 pm

  409. Did some comments vanish? Not complaining, just askin’

    Most definitely. You should read my posts about what happened. They lay it all out.

    See, you came on here calling his actions “reasonable” without learning the facts first.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:46 pm

  410. I think Sarah meant comments vanishing from this thread, not Google’s. And then she located them. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 5:49 pm

  411. Oh. That may well be, in which case I owe her an apology.

    I think I’m still annoyed she called nitecruzr’s actions reasonable.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 6:04 pm

  412. UPDATE: Two more: jpr9954 and AngelaTC. We’re 8 for 8 so far.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 7:49 pm

  413. UPDATE x3: Make that 9. LilacSunday was locked out too.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:03 pm

  414. Are you kidding me?

    This is ridiculous.

    Google would know what triggered the flagged accounts (and their answer seems to confirm it’s not the routine ‘do you want to give me your number?’ request).

    I wonder just how long this has been going on.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:12 pm

  415. I did see a discussion where he distinguishes between the major blogger breakdown and spam detection. According to Nitecruzr, if the blog is called “removed” that indicates spam was detected.

    Sorry, Eli.

    Has eli been back to acknowledge that he was wrong?

    Yeah, didn’t think so.

    And stinkdaddy ran like a coward once it was clear I was right about this.

    Who’s surprised?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:18 pm

  416. I am surprised. And so disappointed. I had such high hopes for them.

    Comment by JD (318f81) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:20 pm

  417. I am in email conversations with LilacSunday. It appears that she had already given her recovery information some time before, so her situation was presented differently. I am asking her more questions.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:27 pm

  418. JD,

    Eli is not who I thought he was.

    So sad.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:28 pm

  419. Google needs to account for the behavior of its volunteer, Nitecruzr. Nitecruzr’s treatment of Ann Althouse in the Help Forum was a case study in how *not* to provide customer service, and the deletion of critical user comments and Nitecruzr’s snide remarks was a rather pathetic and transparent attempt to evade accountability.

    But now Google has crossed the line with these selective lock-outs directed at people who commented in Althouse’s thread the Help Forum. If this isn’t a blatant and ungoverned act of retaliation by Nitecruzr, then Google needs to explain what it is.

    Comment by Lilac Sunday (0e8595) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:30 pm

  420. UPDATE x4: Upon further discussion with LilacSunday, she wasn’t actually “locked out” because she had already given her recovery information some weeks or months earlier. After criticizing nitecruzr, she was asked to confirm those recovery options, and did.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:35 pm

  421. I hope I got that right, LilacSunday.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:36 pm

  422. Right as rain, Patterico.

    Comment by Lilac Sunday (0e8595) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:42 pm

  423. For the record, I didn’t even show up until after the NiteCruzr comments had been deleted. The comment I left was just a general sympathy snark about what passes for customer service these days. I found it incredulous that a blog as big as hers couldn’t get any attention.

    I didn’t even make the connection until our esteemed host asked me if it had happened.

    (I also suspect that there’s a group of Wisconsin liberals that did the original spam flagging of the Althouse blog…now THATS some info I bet we’d all be interested in seeing. )

    Comment by AngelaTC (10ffd2) — 5/16/2011 @ 8:57 pm

  424. Patterico, I’ve also got recovery information on my Google account, but cell phone wasn’t one of the things I gave them. It would make sense if they offered to send a code to the number they already had on file, but I had to enter the number. And there’s no way they had it on file. My phone is only about a week old.

    I didn’t screen cap it, but I know that I was confused when they wanted the number instead of having me confirm the info they had on file. In fact, I was surprised when the phone rang – I expected a pop-up message telling me that the number wasn’t on file.

    Comment by AngelaTC (10ffd2) — 5/16/2011 @ 9:04 pm

  425. They’re saying that nitecruzr didn’t delete posts, huh? Remarkable.

    Not that remarkable IMO. It’s not as though there has ever been a shred of evidence that Nitecruzr did delete his own posts. All we’ve ever known or even had reason to suspect is that someone did.

    Then who did?

    Dunno, but the smart money says it’s probably someone with moderation powers who saw Nitecruzr’s comments and deemed them inappropriate. Which is another way of saying just about any TC except Nitecruzr. [And no, the "he was covering his tracks!" rationale doesn't wash, either. If Nitecruzr had been trying to cover his tracks he wouldn't have simply deleted his own comments; he'd have edited themto make them sound more refined and professional than they were - and, at the same time, to make Ann's comments sound even more pompous and obnoxious than they already did, a feat in itself. Simply deleting his own comments while leaving her responses intact would not have accomplished that, as it would be clear to the reader she was responding to something which, for one reason or another, was no longer there.]

    And how do they know this?

    I’d like to think Google has records of who did what when, in which case they should be able to say who did it. On the flip side, how do/did you know Nitecruzer himself did it – a fact that was frequently assumed in these posts but never in evidence (and which, quite frankly, has never even made sense)?

    I will ask that blogger for the spokesperson’s contact info and ask those (and other!) questions.

    Asking questions is good. Next time, try asking questions first.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/16/2011 @ 9:47 pm

  426. Dunno, but the smart money says it’s probably someone with moderation powers who saw Nitecruzr’s comments and deemed them inappropriate. Which is another way of saying just about any TC except Nitecruzr. [And no, the "he was covering his tracks!" rationale doesn't wash, either. If Nitecruzr had been trying to cover his tracks he wouldn't have simply deleted his own comments; he'd have edited themto make them sound more refined and professional than they were - and, at the same time, to make Ann's comments sound even more pompous and obnoxious than they already did, a feat in itself. Simply deleting his own comments while leaving her responses intact would not have accomplished that, as it would be clear to the reader she was responding to something which, for one reason or another, was no longer there.]

    Beautiful argument, but as sometimes happens with you, Xrlq, your sarcasm outstrips the facts supporting your position. For example, Ann asks nitecruzr: so, this is just a joke to you? She is referencing comments immediately preceding that comment where he is mocking her. Next thing you know, those comments were gone — and nitecruzr is doing a “what? me joke?” routine:

    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.

    Either you forgot about that or you’re just horribly naive and bad at interpreting evidence.

    Can the sarcasm and re-read the posts. You’re digging yourself a hole here.

    By the way, two more people have surfaced who were locked out just after commenting at that thread. My, those coincidences are adding up!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 9:52 pm

  427. Torquemada spammed another site’s contact form with my e-mail. The guy sent me a polite “reply” and I have told him he was pranked. I will probably post about this when I get time because Torquemada’s hapless idiocy makes a great story, and I will never ever let him live it down.

    Ever.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/16/2011 @ 10:19 pm

  428. What kind of a person spends his Friday evening filling out contact forms at random Internet sites so I will get e-mails out of the blue?

    Comment by Patterico (283fc8) — 5/16/2011 @ 10:42 pm

  429. Xrlq: on another thread, JPSobel notes that nitecruzr aka Chuck Croll admitted removing posts from that forum on his own blog.

    Shocka! A shred of evidence that corroborates the other clear shreds you ignored.

    Still waiting on Eli and stinkdaddy to return.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/17/2011 @ 7:05 am

  430. It may or may not apply, but check your computer for a backdoor trojan that is spoofing google: “sinowal” is its name. It’s pretty sophisticated, is not detected by most of the best spyware out there, but it’s masking over the real pages. I finally got seriously spooked when Bank of America’s site was totally spoofed and instead of the usual sitekey after initial login, it asked for recovery data. Even all the usual “this site registry is a-ok” assurances, I knew it was dead wrong. Then, I could no longer log into gmail. And I have never visited or insulted anyone on any of these mentioned websites.

    Paranoia strikes deep, people.

    Comment by Joan of Argghh! (12bcaa) — 5/17/2011 @ 7:07 am

  431. “What kind of a person spends his Friday evening filling out contact forms at random Internet sites so I will get e-mails out of the blue?”

    Patterico – Torquemada’s many personalities all have very thin skin.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/17/2011 @ 7:26 am

  432. “Patterico – Torquemada’s many personalities all have very thin skin.”

    Plus the moron still has no idea how he was nailed on his sock puppeting. No reason ever to tell him.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/17/2011 @ 7:29 am

  433. Xrlq: on another thread, JPSobel notes that nitecruzr aka Chuck Croll admitted removing posts from that forum on his own blog.

    Shocka! A shred of evidence that corroborates the other clear shreds you ignored.

    Key word: shred. That Chuck/Nitecruzr “admitted” to removing “all of the unnecessary posts from her discussion” with an eye to “run the forum on a ‘one person / one problem / one discussion’ basis is evidence he may well have deleted your troll comments, Matthew Hoy’s, and any others not from himself or Althouse. It’s no evidence at all that he deleted his own comments to cover any tracks. You simply made that up.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/17/2011 @ 8:05 am

  434. Xrlq, then which alien lifeform deleted his comments?

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/17/2011 @ 8:10 am

  435. BTW, now that you have real evidence someone (Torquemada) actually spoofing you, you might want to re-think your whole theory as you should have done from the beginning. At this point, it seems like Chuck/Nitecruzr is guilty of nothing except being rude on the Internet – and frankly, to someone whose own rudeness had largely warranted it – and Google is guilty of nothing except taking appropriate protective measures where an account actually was compromised. Maybe he tampered with the other eight people’s accounts, as well?

    Meanwhile, you are responding toward Google in much the way Barack Obama and Henry Louis Gates did toward Sgt. James Crowley, whose only sin was to act appropriately upon encountering Gates breaking into a house – before he had any way of knowing that Gates was actually breaking into his own house. If Google has an inkling that the person attempting to access my GMail account might not really be me, then for Christ’s sake I want them to “lock me out of my own account” until my identity can be reasonably confirmed. Does that give the Torquemadas of the world more power than we’d like them to have? Maybe, but the alternative would give them even more.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/17/2011 @ 8:17 am

  436. BTW, now that you have real evidence someone (Torquemada) actually spoofing you, you might want to re-think your whole theory as you should have done from the beginning. At this point, it seems like Chuck/Nitecruzr is guilty of nothing except being rude on the Internet – and frankly, to someone whose own rudeness had largely warranted it – and Google is guilty of nothing except taking appropriate protective measures where an account actually was compromised

    Xrlq,

    Pay attention.

    My account was not compromised. No weird e-mails in my outbox. The two web sites he wrote to have contact forms. You just surf there, fill out the form, use my email address, and you’re done. Not a “shred” of evidence my account was compromised. I had already considered that theory and rejected it.

    Also, I asked the others if they had any evidence of their accounts being compromised. They did not.

    Also, nitecruzr is guilty of more than you say. He deleted comments and then pretended they had never been there. You ignored that.

    ALL of this is information already available on my site. In short, you’re reaching incorrect conclusions because you’re not informing yourself, and wasting my time making me repeat all this.

    I know you’re not a troll, but you’re acting like one.

    Comment by Patterico (4363dd) — 5/17/2011 @ 8:35 am

  437. Joan, Torpig.Sinowal has been around for years, and should be covered by most antivirus. Patterico uses Apple products. I’m asserting that it is extremely unlikely to the point of actually impossible that all 8 people who criticized Nitecruzr got this trojan or others at the same time.

    Also, Sinowal spoofed banks, not email clients.

    Anyway, I get where you’re coming from. But it’s not paranoia when eight people encounter someone who definitely is abusing their authority, and then they all suffer from something that is best explained by someone abusing their authority at the same company.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/17/2011 @ 9:03 am

  438. Patterico: yes, I am well aware that you accuse Nitecruzr of having pretended his comments were never there in the first place. What you haven’t done is provide any evidence to back up that accusation, or any of your other wild fantasies about him or Google. I don’t know how you can claim to know whether your account was or was not compromised, but by your logic, neither was mine, even though Google itself provided me with an IP address of a site that had accessed it. Nothing unusual in my outbox, so I guess that means no one was there. Or that whoever was there didn’t send anything. Or that if they did, they were more adept at covering their tracks than my ex-wife was when she broke in two years ago. Or .. oh never mind, that theory can’t possibly be right because Patterico has already considered it and rejected it!

    But never mind any of this. Disagreeing your with your conclusions is acting like a troll, while intentionally posting baiting, insulting, off-topic comments to a support thread where you’re not even seeking or offering support yourself is NOT acting like a troll. And war is peace. And ignorance is strength. Etc.

    SPQR: any top contributor with moderation privileges who saw the comments and deemed them unhelpful and/or inappropriate could, would and frankly should have deleted them. Yes, it’s possible that Nitecruzr himself had second thoughts about his intemperate remarks, wisely deleted them, and his now getting beaten up for finally doing the right thing. More likely, IMO, the person who had the good sense to remove the offending comments was probably someone with the good sense not to make them in the first place, i.e., any just about any TC except Nitecruzr. Either way, deleting rude, unhelpful comments was the right thing to do. Blame Nitecruzr for making the bad comments. Don’t blame him, or anyone else, for getting rid of them.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/17/2011 @ 9:34 am

  439. Taunting Ann that she couldn’t find 100 devoted readers to down ding his comments (although there is no evidence that Ann asked anyone to do so) and then erasing that comment and taunting her that she can’t find 200 devoted readers once the down dings go over 100 does not point to the actions of anyone other than nitecruzr, much less a rational, neutral third party.

    Comment by Have Blue (854a6e) — 5/17/2011 @ 9:47 am

  440. A troll would assert my account was compromised and force me to repeat the substantial evidence it was not.

    “At this point, it seems like … Google is guilty of nothing except taking appropriate protective measures where an account actually was compromised.” –Xrlq

    Troll.

    Comment by Patterico (4363dd) — 5/17/2011 @ 12:15 pm

  441. . I don’t know how you can claim to know whether your account was or was not compromised

    ?!?!?!

    Or that if they did, they were more adept at covering their tracks than my ex-wife was when she broke in two years ago.

    What are you suggesting? That someone logged in normally to the gmail accounts of all 8 of the people who criticized nitecruzr, sent spam, and then deleted all of that spam, and none of these people have received any replied suggesting the spam was sent (or have any other indication)?

    Because simply logging into someone else’s gmail isn’t going to trigger an unusual activity warning. I tried at least 50 passwords to one of my gmail accounts last night, and that didn’t do it either (I got a captcha).

    No, if this happened to one person, it would merely be odd and borderline suspicious. It happened to eight people sharing an experience with someone who abuses Google’s granted powers.

    More likely, IMO, the person who had the good sense to remove the offending comments was probably someone with the good sense not to make them in the first place, i.e., any just about any TC except Nitecruzr

    One reason we doubt this is the timing of the deletions. Nitecruzr’s comments were left up in a way that helps Nitecruzr, before and after other comments critical of Nitecruzr were deleted. nitcruzr already admits to his behavior.

    You are radically ignoring and spinning what we know about this.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/17/2011 @ 12:24 pm

  442. And for the record, I’m not one of the people who was locked out.

    I need my gmail account right now as I migrate to a more reputable email service, so my criticism of nitecruzr was effectively chilled.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/17/2011 @ 12:28 pm

  443. Xrlq, you’ve evidently never been introduced to my friend Occam.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/17/2011 @ 12:48 pm

  444. Xrlq is also ignoring:

    The fact that the Dental thing email I got looks like a response to a contact form;

    The fact that both odd emails I received came from businesses that have a contact form;

    The fact that no person of the other 8 told me they had unusual activity (Dustin noted this);

    The fact that deleted comments complained about the number of people downdinging nitecruzr comments, and nitecruzr comments complained about the same thing;

    Nitrcruzr was accused of deleting his own comments and failed to deny it, while admitting deleting some comments;

    And so on and so forth.

    The illogic and brushing aside of evidence ranks up there with some of our more annoying trolls. And with attitude aplenty to spare.

    Comment by Patterico (4363dd) — 5/17/2011 @ 1:31 pm

  445. Dustin, you’re wrong. “Simply logging into someone else’s gmail” can indeed trigger an unusual activity warning, if you do it from a site that Google does not trust and/or associate with your account. That’s precisely what happened in my case last week. If you tried your 50 passwords from your home account, or any account you have regularly used to access GMail, your experiment was meaningless.

    SPQR, your buddy Occam and I are actually pretty tight. Thing is, we don’t have anywhere near enough information to know exactly what happened, but there are plenty of explanations that are simpler, more straightforward, and all around more plausible than Patterico’s crazy conspiracy about Google falsely claiming to have detected unusual account in 9 trolls’ accounts when in fact they were not, just to punish the trolls for annoying a puffed up volunteer who does not even work for Google, much less own the company (and who, even if did own the company, would probably care more about his own profits than annoying Patterico and his brothers in trolldom). One is that the known spook, who was obviously following that thread, and who Patterico caught red-handed falsely holding himself out as Patterico@GMail.com, may have also attempted to access the other trolls’ accounts as well. Another, even simpler explanation is that posting spam to Google’s help fora can get your spam flagged as … spam?

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/18/2011 @ 6:14 am

  446. Xrlq

    What information would you like? given this level of information you require to make any kind of decision would certainly have hindered oneself in pursuit of just about anything.

    Pat complained about the higly inappropriate politically driven behavior of a moderator who – in typical moderator fashion, deleted, played dumb and retaliated against Pat.

    This has been a pattern, I’ve experienced it, several times defending Pat. I make strong direct comments about people who are distorting and outright lying about the man and now – just happenstance – my kids are under cyber attack (they have strong resources though and whomever the creeps are they picked on the wrong girls).

    didnt happen before I defended him – happened after I defended him.

    Same scenario with Pat and Althouse and I’m afraid he maybe cut of from Google soon forever.

    Over Politics, opinions.

    Go figure – you know if people are so afraid of words and opinions – why in the hell do they blog.

    So I’m sorry you feel duty bound to spread your cheeks and break strong wind over the lack of 1000% information – good luck in your quest

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (becc0d) — 5/18/2011 @ 6:58 am

  447. Patterico’s crazy conspiracy about Google falsely claiming to have detected unusual account in 9 trolls’ accounts …

    Interesting definitions. “Conspiracy” to describe the actions of one person. “Troll” to describe people who, on a thread devoted to the issue of whether a blog is spam, post comments explaining that they have knowledge of the blog in question and it is not spam. “Crazy” to describe a position backed up by all manner of evidence, most of which you ignore.

    (and who, even if did own the company, would probably care more about his own profits than annoying Patterico and his brothers in trolldom

    That’s like saying “even if Patterico were President he would have more important things to do than run a blog.” The words “even if” make no sense here, but they do serve a deceptive rhetorical purpose. They describe an alternate scenario where nitecruzr’s actions would be less likely, and then falsely draw a connection between that scenario and reality. Yes, nitecruzr would behave differently if he were CEO of Google. He’s not.

    Another, even simpler explanation is that posting spam to Google’s help fora can get your spam flagged as … spam?

    Again, you’re using wordplay to massage the argument in a deceptive manner. People were leaving germane comments that related to the topic of the thread. Apparently, because they were critical of the moderator, you feel comfortable classifying them as “spam.” You don’t identify the mechanism by which we get from “on topic comment critical of moderator left” to “commenter locked out of his email” but you seem to have no problem with the former (reclassified by you in an Orwellian manner as “spam”) leading to the latter. I see a future for you at Google.

    Sounds as though some difficult and recent personal experience is causing to see all problems through a peculiar lens, in this case causing you to discount evidence and act rudely to people who are being more level-headed in their analysis than you. Whatever is causing you to act this way, this is starting to feel like a waste of time. I have seen you before when you become impossible to reason with and it is not really productive to continue speaking with someone who brushes aside the best evidence to launch insult-laced attacks based on distortions.

    What does Occam say about the fact that both these companies have contact forms? Or that the response I printed looks like a response to a contact form? What does Occam say the chances are that all the critics I spoke to just happened to do something that triggered an honest alert but that they have no evidence of?

    No, you are not acquainted with the real Occam. Your pal is an imposter with the same name.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:13 am

  448. I make strong direct comments about people who are distorting and outright lying about the man and now – just happenstance – my kids are under cyber attack (they have strong resources though and whomever the creeps are they picked on the wrong girls).

    didnt happen before I defended him – happened after I defended him.

    Not knowing the details, this (unlike my scenario) sounds a lot more like correlation not equaling causation. I don’t see the logical connection there.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:22 am

  449. Pat,

    True, but the problem with moderators they hate to be criticized or their actions second guessed.

    It seems that every time I defended you or someone else on other blogs – my emails were shared, passwords, almost instantly.

    The guy at Blogger had more tools at his disposal to retailate with

    Its a timing thing, funny how many years you were with google and just happened to have this happen… when….

    you speak out against Google – you have to share your personal details or lose an asset

    I speak out – suddenly my email is available to many spam sites that were not availing themselves

    I speak out – and suddenly my kids have HIGHLY unusual activity – which is being addressed.

    Didnt before despite the fact that one of my children is highly visible

    Happenstance – could be

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (becc0d) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:30 am

  450. Xrlq – Nitecruzr is an agent of Google, as he was empowered by them to act on their behalf in a way ordinary users cannot to take actions affecting the accounts of other users. It doesn’t matter if they pay him a salary or not – and he probably does get a few perks for his trouble.

    He’s a gatekeeper of sorts for Google/Blogger. He can add and remove comments from support threads, control support threads, flag accounts and escalate complaints. He’s working for them, trained by them, given discretion in handling of complaints, even if that discretion is limited to highlighting or forwarding complaints with a recommendation for action.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:31 am

  451. Have a great day Pat, Drive safe. Thanks for doing what you do

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (becc0d) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:35 am

  452. Sarah W

    So why did he flag a blog as spam because he disagreed with it?

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (becc0d) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:37 am

  453. It’s very plain that Nitecruzer/Croll had a big attitude about Althouse’s protests.

    Althouse knows her blog is a widely-read and quoted legitimate blog without any spamminess to justify its removal – and it was naturally alarming to be told her blog was not merely lost in an unusual “outage” – but removed or at least not put back, because it was under suspicion on some unknown criteria or algorithm or complaint campaign that marked it as a spam blog until proven innocent.

    Croll is affronted by Althouse’s demand to be restored. Hold your horses missy is the tone throughout – You’ve been marked as spam and it is my obligation to act as if you are a spammer abusing Google, and you are not entitled to any special treatment because your blog is special. That’s what they all say, he implies. Don’t you act special with me. Don’t you take an attitude with me, he says, don’t piss me off by repeating anything of that sort. By the way, you must be wrong anyway, probably you just don’t know why you are spam because you aren’t reading the rules, Missy.

    When Ann’s thread naturally attracts comments from avid readers of her blog attesting the truth of her complaints, this just wears Nitecruzr right out. He thinks – Don’t you get it? Did I not make myself clear? But I don’t care about your ACTUALLY being spam. You are spam, and you will remain spam, until the SPAM REVIEW has taken place. Any more annoying support of your “not spam” claim will be treated as SPAM.

    Spammers have bots and troll accounts and I will make sure you understand what I told you in the beginning – you will get no immediate relief. You are marked as a spammer and will be treated as a spammer like anyone else, until there is a SPAM REVIEW and I am still deciding whether you even deserve that. I WILL NOT STAND FOR ANY INTERFERENCE from your so-called readers – which could be your socks or a bot or HARRASSING ME for treating you in a way that is a point of pride for me – spammer-until-reviewed Ann. Just like anybody else.

    He’s well aware now that he’s stepped in it. This is no spam account but danged if she is going to jump any blogger line. GET IN LINE – I’ll bump this up but —

    He makes anyone pay who gave him a hard time under the pretext of controlling the situation according to Google/blogger practices. Anyone who bothered him in that thread is a spambot until proven otherwise. He flags all commenters to punish. He rationalizes it as thread control, in his lofty role as egalitarian spam blocker.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:59 am

  454. And he may well be motivated by animus towards Althouse’s content – though that is not necessary for him to be a rude, officious, vindictive creep laughing at Ann’s predicament. He might be taking great delight in stretching out her inconvenience or that of anyone else who takes up for her in HIS threads.

    The thing is, he should have a: been sympathetic with Ann and explained that he hao d no power to treat her differently, except to expedite escalation of her complaint. He might have said kindly to her suporters, I appreciate your attesting as to Ann’s legitimacy, and this system, while imperfect, is the best in place to deal with the larger number of spammy abusers who game the system so well. Please do me the courtesy of letting me talk to Ann alone to speed resolution and restoration of her account.

    But no, he preferred pettiness and rudeness, as it made him feel better about himself for some reason.

    Comment by SarahW (af7312) — 5/18/2011 @ 8:08 am

  455. EricPWJohnson – I have not experienced any problems similar to the ones you describe as a result of defending Patterico in other places. Then again, I don’t know where you have defended him, apart from a brief appearance at Protein Wisdom.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/18/2011 @ 8:28 am

  456. Daley

    I dont know who it is – its happenstance – could jut be a coincidence, this has happened before at another blog which is now shut down.

    My point is that Google’s rep retailated first against Althouse and now against Pat.

    Retaliation isnt a new concept on the internet but the trolls here think that its a fig of Pats imagination

    Comment by EricPWJohnson (becc0d) — 5/18/2011 @ 8:36 am

  457. Patterico:

    You discredit yourself as well.

    Go and study conspiracy theories, and you will see often it’s not the pattern that’s in dispute, it’s how to interpret that pattern.

    Most people agree something caused the World Trade Center Towers to fall, but there is disagreement as to what all the signs mean…

    What makes a conspiracy nutjob is they look at the pattern and see what they want to see.

    Google asks for a phone number as a security measure. It’s used to verify you are actually you.

    Routinely you will be asked to provide such a number, just in case. At those times it will be optional (this is for when you say, forget your password…so that you can verify yourself).

    Other times there is suspicious activity re: your account, and it’s needed to verify you are a “normal” person.

    So there’s two possibilities here:

    1) 24 people is really not *that* many… also these 24 people all have similar interests and during a specific time were doing something. If they all got caught (with other people) in a technical glitch, it might seem as if they were related…

    Consider this:

    Many people will go see a new Star Wars movie the night it comes out. Many of those people will be friends, or talk online, etc. So if they all go see the new star wars movie, and later Verizon has technical problems…they might talk to one another and notice they all had problems….and then “OMG, the star wars movie did it!”.

    2) It’s possible that it is directly related to you people mouthing off to this person.

    However, you’re missing the obvious….

    You know what counts as “suspicious activity?”

    WHEN SOMEONE TRIES TO LOG INTO YOUR ACCOUNT. So here’s a thought…maybe you pissed this person off and they started trying to log into your account by guessing your password….knowing that even if they failed they would cause you a hassle.

    So yes, this person could be behind it….but to assume that they are a Google employee and represent some official Google plot is frankly, stupid. It is remarkably ignorant, paranoid, and it shows how ready you are to bend reality to suit your own narrative.

    Comment by Bill Patterson (0e7124) — 5/18/2011 @ 6:54 pm

  458. Bill Patterson, it’s not a conspiracy theory. Patterico isn’t claiming that Google’s executives had a plan to get critics.

    It’s a hum drum tale of a peon abusing a little authority. Google’s mistake is letting unpaid jerks be the face of the company when blogger has problems.

    You know what counts as “suspicious activity?”

    WHEN SOMEONE TRIES TO LOG INTO YOUR ACCOUNT.

    No. That’s not true. You need to read the posts and the threads. Failing to log in will create a captcha. Only suspect IPs or a high number of sent emails will flag an account for this lockout.

    Google asks for a phone number as a security measure. It’s used to verify you are actually you.

    No, that’s not true either. Google makes no effort to ensure you use your own number. They even say they don’t care if you use a payphone.

    So yes, this person could be behind it….but to assume that they are a Google employee and represent some official Google plot is frankly, stupid.

    And for you to claim Patterico is asserting an official Google plot is, frankly, a lie.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:30 pm

  459. Bill Patterson – You discredit yourself by offering the above tripe without having read the related posts or threads.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:38 pm

  460. Only suspect IPs or a high number of sent emails will flag an account for this lockout.

    As far as we know, anyway. This clearly is not true, since Patterico’s account did not suffer any intrusions. And none of these people report an intrusion. They didn’t get replies complaining they sent spam. Nothing. You can see if suspicious IPs have accessed your Gmail. None reported anything like that.

    And if someone was trying to guess these folks’ passwords, they would have caught that captcha message. I haven’t heard any report of that.

    Go ahead and test my claims. Log into your own Gmail account with the wrong password 50 times.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/18/2011 @ 7:42 pm

  461. Hey Scott, how’s our little experiment working out? Three long days, and I haven’t encountered any anomalies on my GMail account, have you? As Patterico might put it, “My, those non-coincidences are adding up!” Never mind those, though; just focus on the coincides that do occur, not the many more than don’t. Fortune tellers have to stay in business somehow.

    Dustin, here’s a better idea for an experiment: try logging in 50 times with a wrong password from a strange computer Google does not already associate with you or your account. Better yet, post your GMail address (or the username, plus confirmation that the domain is what we’d expect it to be) for all to see, and let a few other users have a crack at trying to log in with fake passwords (as we must, since only you will know the real one). Then, and only then, will your little experiment actually mean anything.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:08 am

  462. Since you and Scott left those comments, Nitecruzr has not even reappeared on the threads in question, while we have learned that Google is reviewing his privileges in the forums. If Google had never said any such thing, he had deleted your comments, and/or he had reappeared on those threads, showing he saw your comments and had not been taken to task by the company, I’d be interested to know whether your accounts were affected. Since none of that is true, it tells us little.

    Comment by Patterico (ca3bc4) — 5/19/2011 @ 1:33 pm

  463. Yeah, I’m a bit disappointed. I’ve had absolutely no consequences due to my post…

    Almost makes me wish I had called him a sh*t-stained c*ck-wipe…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs (d027b8) — 5/19/2011 @ 1:40 pm

  464. Dustin, here’s a better idea for an experiment: try logging in 50 times with a wrong password from a strange computer Google does not already associate with you or your account.

    I log into my account from strange computers all the time, and sadly, I forget my password all the time, too, so that’s part of how I’m familiar that you just get a captcha.

    Here’s a backup gmail account suitable for your challenge:

    trisodiumphosphatemolassas@gmail.com

    Again, it seems really unlikely to me that someone managed to lock so many nitecruzer critics out of their account by brute force guessing their passwords, odd viruses, intruding into their accounts, or anything other than someone flagging them as suspicious solely because they criticized nitecruzer. It’s just the best explanation I can think of, but I’m happy to find more information about this lock out process if you’re willing to attempt to log into my account a few (or more) times.

    Frankly, if we’re right, is it that surprising that nitecruzr stopped doing it once it was reported in several fairly major outlets? Especially when it’s easy for him to see that these are tests?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/19/2011 @ 2:33 pm

  465. I’ll repeat what I said at Xrlq’s blog. The blockquote is the beginning of a typically rude and fact-challenged Xrlq comment; what follows is my response:

    Sure, I’m the one impervious to logic here, for thinking something simple and straightforward is more likely to have happened than the mass conspiracy theories you’re spinning.  That’s what the birthers say, that’s what the “racers” say, that’s what the 9/11 truthers say, it’s what all conspiracy theorists say.  They’re never the ones being illogical; the rest of us are just in “denial.”  Which, technically speaking, is actually true: each of you is saying something stupid and irrational, which I, in turn, I am denying.

    Obviously, I haven’t been following this phony scandal nearly as closely as you have been spinning it …

    Buried in that tendentious comment is the most accurate thing you have said to date regarding this affair: you don’t know the facts. I’m not just talking details, either. You don’t even understand my basic argument, which assumes no conspiracy and never has, but rather alleges that Google granted a moderator overly broad powers, which he abused — and that Google needs to pay more attention to how it interfaces with customers. Oh my God, what a wild conspiracy theory that is!

    Your lack of knowledge hasn’t dissuaded you from rushing in and issuing insults right and left, cheerfully distorting the facts in every comment, and comparing our reasonable theory to every ridiculous conspiracy theory under the sun.

    If you’re ever ready to debate what I’m actually arguing, rather than your distorted version of it, let me know. It would require you to learn the facts first and comment second. Until then, I consider it a waste of time to argue with someone who so fundamentally misunderstands my argument that he thinks I led the charge to comment at the Althouse support thread; or thinks I have ever argued that nitecruzr conspired with Google to do anything; or who repeatedly argues that 2+2=5 and anyone who disagrees is a conspiracy theorist.

    Comment by Patterico (ca3bc4) — 5/19/2011 @ 5:21 pm

  466. And yet, Xrlq thinks he knows my buddy Occam …

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/19/2011 @ 5:25 pm

  467. Sure, I’m the one impervious to logic here, for thinking something simple and straightforward is more likely to have happened than the mass conspiracy theories you’re spinning.

    X,

    That’s exactly how I feel. You’re claiming people like me are crazy just because we are saying the simplest and most straightforward explanation is what happened. YOUR assumption about what triggered these simultaneous lockouts is much more convoluted than mine is.

    And Patterico right to be exasperated people keep switching his POV with some massive conspiracy. It’s like complaining that McDonalds left the cheese off your Big Mac, and the cashier screaming that you can’t prove the CEO of McDonalds intended to do that.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/19/2011 @ 5:30 pm

  468. Scott,

    I’m not particularly surprised that you got no consequences. nitecruzr’s usual MO is to a) lecture interlopers, b) delete their comments — and, I believe, c) flag accounts. In your thread, he never even returned, so we don’t know if he even saw your comments. But if he did, the evidence that he didn’t follow parts a and b of his usual practice would logically suggest that he was not going to follow part c either. In other words: something caused him to depart from his usual practice. What might that be? I suggest that Google’s spokesperson saying his privileges were going to be reviewed might be a clue.

    That is, if logic matters to you. If you’re Xrlq it will just be further evidence that we’re all no better than 9/11 Truthers — an argument accompanied by 4-5 distortions of what we have been saying here for days.

    Comment by Patterico (ca3bc4) — 5/19/2011 @ 5:32 pm

  469. Patterico – I have met your buddy Occam, Sir, and Xrlq’s friend Occam is no relation to your buddy Occam.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/19/2011 @ 5:39 pm

  470. Another comment left at Xrlq’s follows. Again, I quote him and then respond to him.

    Of course, we both know your objection to Nitecruzr wasn’t just how he ‘interfaced’ with Blogger customers, but how he supposedly disabled 9 people’s GMail accounts to retaliate for their troll comments to one thread or another, all the while exerting superuser powers Google itself maintains TCs do not have.

    Or, put another way, my objection is that Google granted a moderator overly broad powers, which he abused — and that Google needs to pay more attention to how it interfaces with customers. (The broad power being the power to disable people’s Gmail accounts.)

    Maybe that’s why I said precisely that:

    You don’t even understand my basic argument, which assumes no conspiracy and never has, but rather alleges that Google granted a moderator overly broad powers, which he abused — and that Google needs to pay more attention to how it interfaces with customers. Oh my God, what a wild conspiracy theory that is!

    See, this is a nice example of your argumentation style with respect to this issue. You persistently argue/assert/imply that people have said something different than they have said. For example, above, I said a and b:

    a = Google granted a moderator overly broad powers, which he abused

    b = Google needs to pay more attention to how it interfaces with customers

    Then you come along and imply I never said a, by saying: we both know that your argument is not just b, but also [a rewriting of a]:

    Of course, we both know your objection to Nitecruzr wasn’t just how he “interfaced” with Blogger customers [point b], but how he supposedly disabled 9 people’s GMail accounts to retaliate for their troll comments to one thread or another [point a, rewritten], all the while exerting superuser powers Google itself maintains TCs do not have.

    Why you imply I never argued a, when I did with crystal clarity, I cannot begin to understand.

    That leaves the incredible baffling question: how in the world could a Google spokesperson have possibly taken on my theory?

    So yes, I’d call that a conspiracy theory, unless you think the Google spokesman who described TCs’ powers was actually Nitecruzr himself in drag.

    Yes, that’s certainly the only logical explanation for why a Google spokesperson might say nitecruzr has powers he doesn’t really have! Oh, wait — I just thought of a way simpler one: the spokesperson is as familiar with the facts as you are. Here’s another: the spokesperson is not nitecruzr in drag, but is trying to cover up his errors.

    Even then you’d still need co-conspirators in the GMail division to write the code that falsely claims to have detected suspicious activity anytime a TC exercises the broad powers non-conspiring Google programmers don’t even know they have – but whose non-conspiratorial code nevertheless has to properly interface with their own for GMail to function at all.

    This is babble to me. If you know the precise mechanism by which accounts are flagged, don’t be coy. Tell us what it is. Until you do, any jabbering about false code is meaningless. In another thread, you asserted that people might have been able to cause accounts to be locked by simply clicking a “report abuse” button in a forum thread. In truth, I have no idea whether that is possible or not. If it is, it is, again, a Google problem — as I don’t think Gmail users think their accounts can/should be locked up simply because they tell some rude idiot who is suggesting that a clearly non-spam blog is spam that, in fact, the non-spam blog is not spam. The point is, the mass lockout among at least 9 of about 15 critics is too stunning a percentage to be easily explained as coincidence — especially when coupled with nitecruzr’s rudeness and dishonesty, and his admission that he deleted comments . . . all of which make it that much more likely that he is the one behind the flagging of the accounts.

    This still boils down to one moderator abusing privileges he should not have had. That said, it is a moderator who was given those privileges BY GOOGLE, at a place where GOOGLE TELLS PEOPLE TO GO WHEN THEY “WRITE US” — and thus this is a Google issue and not a mere “dude on the Internet being rude” issue.

    But then, I have said all these things repeatedly already. So why would you pay attention to what I am saying now when you so blithely and consistently ignored it before?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 7:41 pm

  471. It’s interesting. I wonder if any of the commenters I have not met, who sound like dishonest trolls, are actually nice people if you meet them. Because I have met Xrlq more than once, and I liked him. But if my only impression of him came from his comments on this controversy, my only confusion would be whether to put him in the dishonest or moron pile.

    Having met him, I know it’s neither. He’s just really good at forming an impression right off the bat, using sarcasm, and digging in no matter what. 90% of the time he’s right, which makes it entertaining for him to be on your side. But when you can watch him blithely ignoring facts, that other 10% of the time, it’s infuriating. Mainly because, since you know he’s not stupid or dishonest, you know he should know better — and you think that if you keep explaining it, maybe he’ll see the light.

    Amazing how stubbornness can trump any number of positive traits.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 7:51 pm

  472. I was puzzled too, having a memory of agreeable interactions with Xrlq in the past.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/19/2011 @ 7:54 pm

  473. I once had a disagreement with him where we had to discuss it on the phone. I would love to have a feature where two people enter a 5-10 minute comment voice exchange, which is public for everyone to hear, but where the discussion is more fluid. The second he started to attribute a false characterization of my view, instead of having to wait hours and spend minutes typing about why he’s wrong, I could INSTANTLY cut him off and say: “Whoa, hoss! I never said that!” Then if he tried to claim I did I could stop him and say: “Show me where. Never said it. Never, ever, ever said it.” And he would be forced to prove it, back down, or temporize while looking for proof, and it would all take a lot less time.

    I have said it a million times: this is a crap medium for debate. With some personalities, it’s even crappier.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:00 pm

  474. Beldar always make discussion threads look like the ideal debate format. But I’m not Beldar. And neither are 99% of folks.

    Anyway, I did answer Xrlq’s challenge RE the gmail account. I’ll wait for someone to report they tried to log in a bunch of times.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:11 pm

  475. Dustin:

    I just tried to log in using the password “1.” I was given a captcha. I don’t quite follow what you guys are trying to prove with this experiment, but to make it work, do I need to fill in the captcha every time or not?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:16 pm

  476. Just tried a dozen times, mostly filling in the captcha, a couple of times not. Got tired of it.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:24 pm

  477. The reason Beldar makes it look easy is because he is very polite.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/19/2011 @ 8:24 pm

  478. SPQR, here’s the diffrence between your buddy Occam and mine. Your Occam seeks out the simplest explanation, period, while mine seeks out the simplest plausible explanation consistent with the known facts. They’re not always the same thing. My Occam says 19 hijackers conspired to hijack the four jets that brought down the Twin Towers, damaged the Pentagon and crashed in Pennsylvania. Yours, I presume, would say that the pilots must have crashed the planes on their own, as that would have only required eight people (our four, if you assume that the pilot overpowered the co-pilot or vice-versa) rather than 19. Much simpler explanation, that. Wrong, of course, but simple.

    In this instance, let’s assume for argument’s sake that it really is “simpler” for one moderator to have flagged 9 accounts, and for those accounts to have been locked as a result, than it is for one hacker to have attacked them. Not sure why you think one theory is simpler than the other, as each involves only one bad actor (and mine involves a hacker doing what hackers normally do, while yours has a volunteer moderator doing something moderators normally do not do) but never mind that. Where your Occam goes off the rails is in attempting to reconcile your theory with the other known facts. If, as you suggest, the nine accounts really were locked by Google because a TC had flagged them for abuse, why didn’t Google tell them that when they logged in? Why lie instead and tell them Google had detected unusual activity on their accounts, when their real reason for locking the accounts was unrelated? And why on earth would they willingly unlock these accounts simply by having the known or suspected trolls provide an authorization code, without so much as a promise not to repeat the trollish behavior that got them locked out in the first place? That doesn’t make sense. Your version of Occam may not care about that, but mine does.

    Then there’s the Google spokesman saying TCs have no powers not held by any other users, except to delete other people’s comments, which woudln’t have resulted in anyone’s mail account getting locked. Why would that person be in on the lie (unless, of course, you are arguing that anyone can flag anything as spam with similar results – in which case there’s no more reason to suspect Nitecruzr than anyone else)? Again, your explanation doesn’t make sense, while mine does. Sure, you could concoct some elaborate theory that would make sense out of that nonsense, but by the time you were done with it, you’d end up with a theory so complicated no one in the Occam family would touch it with a ten-foot pole.

    My advice: introduce your buddy Occam to my other buddy to my other buddy Einstein, who famously (though probably apocryphally) urged everyone to keep everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.

    Comment by Xrlq (c4b0a4) — 5/20/2011 @ 6:50 am

  479. Dustin, I tried it too, with a string of wrong passwords (usually nitecruzr9 or some such), sometimes with the captcha filled in correctly, sometimes incorrectly, sometimes skipped. Now’s as good a time as any to actually log in and see if it made a difference.

    Comment by Xrlq (c4b0a4) — 5/20/2011 @ 6:53 am

  480. If, as you suggest, the nine accounts really were locked by Google because a TC had flagged them for abuse, why didn’t Google tell them that when they logged in? Why lie instead and tell them Google had detected unusual activity on their accounts, when their real reason for locking the accounts was unrelated? And why on earth would they willingly unlock these accounts simply by having the known or suspected trolls provide an authorization code, without so much as a promise not to repeat the trollish behavior that got them locked out in the first place? That doesn’t make sense. Your version of Occam may not care about that, but mine does.

    What does this even mean? Nobody is saying Google “lied” through the fully automated unusual activity message. We’re saying something triggered that alert and that something is related to the nitecruzr incident and logically appears likely to have been initiated by nitecruzr himself. Absolutely nobody is claiming that the automated message is a “lie” by Google.

    Then there’s the Google spokesman saying TCs have no powers not held by any other users, except to delete other people’s comments, which woudln’t have resulted in anyone’s mail account getting locked. Why would that person be in on the lie

    I already offered up a couple of theories which you are ignoring. Keep in mind that the Google spokesperson was wrong about nitecruzr deleting comments from the thread, given the evidence (that you keep ignoring) that comments were deleted, nitecruzr admitted deleting comments, and when called on some of his ruder comments, the ruder comments disappeared and then nitecruzr pretended that Althouse was getting upset at his non-rude comments which remained.

    Let me say that again, since you never addresse this point and pretended that there was not a shred of evidence nitecruzr deleted his own comments: when called on some of his ruder comments, the ruder comments disappeared and then nitecruzr pretended that Althouse was getting upset at his non-rude comments which remained.

    So I don’t know why the spokespiehole got it wrong, but she did. My theory is (trolllike, you’re making me repeat it) that she did not bother to acquaint herself with the details. Like you.

    In any event, having gotten that part stunningly wrong, why would she be accurate on another point: namely, the extent of nitecruzr’s privileges?

    I guess we’ll have to wait for the outcome of the investigation that they say they’re doing — but really aren’t, and won’t unless pressured to.

    I’d ask them about it, but I’m not the press, and they expressly tell you that inquiries to press@google.com will be ignored unless they come from “the press.” I’m not important enough to be on Google News — although a blog that regularly copies my posts word for word is. Maybe I could get that guy to ask!

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/20/2011 @ 7:13 am

  481. underpants Gnomes.

    Comment by daleyrocks (bf33e9) — 5/20/2011 @ 7:46 am

  482. Whatcha mean?

    Is Dustin around? What happened to that Gmail account?

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/20/2011 @ 10:04 pm

  483. Xrlq, frankly, I don’t find your insinuation of some vague aspects of Trutherism at all amusing.

    Comment by SPQR (26be8b) — 5/20/2011 @ 10:26 pm

  484. What does this even mean? Nobody is saying Google “lied” through the fully automated unusual activity message. We’re saying something triggered that alert and that something is related to the nitecruzr incident and logically appears likely to have been initiated by nitecruzr himself. Absolutely nobody is claiming that the automated message is a “lie” by Google.

    Really? For one who now denies having accused Google of lying, you sure did expend a lot of ones and zeroes speculating on whether there had or had not been any unusual activity on your account for Google to have detected / not detected. If your whole theory is now that Nitecruzr clicked the links next to your comments reading “report abuse” (a link anyone could have clicked), then why not just say that? At that point the Google rep’s claim that TCs have no special powers other than to delete comments is either true or false. If it’s true, then you’re positing a slightly smaller conspiracy than what I outlined above, but a conspiracy nonetheless (and one across Google divisions, involving people who probably don’t know Nitecruzr and have no reason to lie to benefit him). If it’s false, and an abuse flag by a TC registers no differently than an abuse flag by anyone else, then maybe it’s time for another experiment. I just flagged Scott’s comment for abuse. On the next screen it asked me to select between the following: (1) spam and commercial activity, (2) porn, (3) offensive content, (4) hate speech, (5) copyrighted material and (6) illegal content. None of those options were perfect fits but our comments were indeed a bit spammy, so I selected option 1 and added the explanation in the text box below “Off topic criticism of the moderator, not seeking help for own blog, unhelpful to purpose of support thread.” Of course the same can/should be said about my own comment in the same thread, but on the off chance Google is smart enough to pay attention, anyone flagging their own comment as abuse would look odd so I declined to flag my own comment. I’d encourage Scott to similarly flag mine, and other users in this thread to flag both. If, at some point, either of us does finally start getting unusual activity warnings, we probably have the answer to the riddle.

    SPQR, sorry if you’ve mistaken me for anyone desiring to amuse you. The fact that you, like P, prefer to oversimplify things and ignore the large conspiracies your own theories entail does not necessarily distinguish you from the truthers. Sure, some truthers specifically posit huge conspiracies, but not all do. Some just throw out wild accusations of what George Bush or Bill Clinton or whoever supposedly did with his bare hands – then go on to allege activities that could not have possibly been pulled off without a huge conspiracy. In that respect, calling someone a conspiracy theorist is actually a bit of a compliment, as you’re giving him credit for thinking through his theory through. Which I don’t think Patterico has done in this case, if he really thinks Nitecruzr alone could have accomplished everything attributed to him in this thread (let alone another commenter’s claim that Nitecruzr disabled blogs entirely – a claim P has not endorsed directly but did at least flirt with for a while).

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/21/2011 @ 7:56 am

  485. Just to clarify – my theory on the new experiment is NOT that one person can trigger an unusual account activity warning alone but that a certain number can. If Scott gets a warning based on my flagging alone, then I’d say they’re a bit trigger happy with their security warnings.

    Comment by Xrlq (56a2ad) — 5/21/2011 @ 8:02 am

  486. XRLQ,

    That gmail account allowed a log in without any problems. It didn’t ask for a phone number, and it didn’t even display a captcha in my case.

    XRLQ, part of the reason Patterico ‘flirted with’ various ideas is that he was entertaining various possibilities. The reason you have to say he merely ‘flirted’ with them is that as we learned more about the issue, a reasonable person could rule out most of this stuff.

    There’s nothing wrong with that… it’s a sign of good faith.

    I think it’s clear, albeit not proven beyond any shadow of a doubt, that these gmail accounts were locked out because of a reaction to those comments that were critical of nitecruzr.

    That’s simply the only explanation that doesn’t require a very strange coincidence or conspiracy. Yes, the conspiracy theory here is actually the one where all these hackers intrude into all those gmail accounts at the same time.

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/21/2011 @ 8:05 am

  487. my theory on the new experiment is NOT that one person can trigger an unusual account activity warning alone but that a certain number can

    I don’t mean to be a dick about this, but that’s a conspiracy theory.

    People worked together to make all these people sharing this ‘criticized nitecruzr’ feature get locked out in a way other people weren’t.

    Note how few people were voting Nitec4ruzr’s comments unhelpful. Where were these people who took his side in that thread?

    Comment by Dustin (c16eca) — 5/21/2011 @ 8:06 am

  488. Xrlq continues the pattern of distortion, with implied falsehoods nearly every sentence.

    Really? For one who now denies having accused Google of lying, you sure did expend a lot of ones and zeroes speculating on whether there had or had not been any unusual activity on your account for Google to have detected / not detected.

    Your claim is that I “now” “deny” having accused Google of lying. That implies a change of position. I don’t recall accusing Google of lying at any point, although I sure have accused them of saying false things and (at a minimum) not seeming to care very much about being accurate. In that sense, they are behaving quite a bit like you have. But — correct me if I’m wrong! — I don’t recall accusing them of “lying.” And if I haven’t, that’s not a change in position as you have falsely implied.

    If your whole theory is now that Nitecruzr clicked the links next to your comments reading “report abuse” (a link anyone could have clicked), then why not just say that?

    Beeeeeeecauuuussseeeee, I don’t really have a “theory” as to the precise mechanism by which nitecruzr accomplished the flagging. I am not expert on Google’s procedures. So please, please, stop attributing to me positions and theories that I have not taken. PLEASE. It is that aspect of your argument that continues to infuriate. Of course, if your ONLY goal is to infuriate, then I suppose you won’t stop.

    At that point the Google rep’s claim that TCs have no special powers other than to delete comments is either true or false. If it’s true, then you’re positing a slightly smaller conspiracy than what I outlined above, but a conspiracy nonetheless (and one across Google divisions, involving people who probably don’t know Nitecruzr and have no reason to lie to benefit him).

    I’m not quite sure what you’re arguing here. Perhaps a little more clarity is in order.

    If it’s false, and an abuse flag by a TC registers no differently than an abuse flag by anyone else, then maybe it’s time for another experiment. I just flagged Scott’s comment for abuse. On the next screen it asked me to select between the following: (1) spam and commercial activity, (2) porn, (3) offensive content, (4) hate speech, (5) copyrighted material and (6) illegal content. None of those options were perfect fits but our comments were indeed a bit spammy, so I selected option 1 and added the explanation in the text box below “Off topic criticism of the moderator, not seeking help for own blog, unhelpful to purpose of support thread.” Of course the same can/should be said about my own comment in the same thread, but on the off chance Google is smart enough to pay attention, anyone flagging their own comment as abuse would look odd so I declined to flag my own comment. I’d encourage Scott to similarly flag mine, and other users in this thread to flag both. If, at some point, either of us does finally start getting unusual activity warnings, we probably have the answer to the riddle.

    OK. Whatever. Do whatever experiments you like. I’m not particularly interested because the biggest experiment is the one that occurred on Althouse’s support thread. The results of that experiment were overwhelming, and yet you continue to spin that data. So I have no doubt that you will spin the results of your current experiment as well. If your argument is logical for why the data doesn’t come out the way you expect that is one thing. (Such as when I had a logical reason that yours and Scott’s comments had no effects on your accounts.) But don’t just ignore it — as you appear to be ignoring the result of the experiment with Dustin’s email address that you don’t like.

    SPQR, sorry if you’ve mistaken me for anyone desiring to amuse you. The fact that you, like P, prefer to oversimplify things and ignore the large conspiracies your own theories entail does not necessarily distinguish you from the truthers. Sure, some truthers specifically posit huge conspiracies, but not all do. Some just throw out wild accusations of what George Bush or Bill Clinton or whoever supposedly did with his bare hands – then go on to allege activities that could not have possibly been pulled off without a huge conspiracy. In that respect, calling someone a conspiracy theorist is actually a bit of a compliment, as you’re giving him credit for thinking through his theory through.

    Your elaborate explanation for why comparing us to 9/11 Truthers has been carefully considered, and rejected. Like SPQR, I consider it an insult. That said, you have behaved so irrationally on these threads that I can’t seriously say my feelings have been hurt. As I said before, your behavior has been that of a troll: ignoring facts and arguments that don’t suit his position; consistently implying arguments by the other side that they haven’t made; making utterly illogical arguments; and generally seeming impervious to reason on every level. When a troll insults me, it usually rolls off my back. For some reason, that’s how I feel about the total bullshit accusing that we are like 9/11 Truthers. If anyone resembles them here, in fact, it’s you, with your insults and consistently inaccurate portrayals of history.

    Which I don’t think Patterico has done in this case, if he really thinks Nitecruzr alone could have accomplished everything attributed to him in this thread (let alone another commenter’s claim that Nitecruzr disabled blogs entirely – a claim P has not endorsed directly but did at least flirt with for a while).

    Bullshit. Anyone who follows your link will easily see that I did not, as you claim, “flirt with” the idea that nitecruzr disabled blogs entirely. Once again, you failed to do the actual homework and follow the link to see what was actually going on. What happened at the “Gone” link that you didn’t click and didn’t read is this: a person WHOSE BLOG HAD ALREADY BEEN DISABLED came to nitecruzr looking for help. nitecruzr didn’t like her attitude and the attitude of her commenters, and so he insinuated that they all needed to be “punished” by having the resolution of her problem take a really, really long time.

    That was in 2009, and the blog is still gone. Meaning the person never got helped.

    Which means: Google seems to rely on cretins like nitecruzr to decide whether to “escalate” a problem, and otherwise they aren’t really going to bother to do anything. And when they have a guy who revels in that power and goes around threatening people because they have inadvertently pressed his personal buttons, that means this little power-hungry nobody can prevent you from EVER having your problem resolved. There is no other way to contact Google directly that I have seen, but through people like him — unless you’re “the press.” If a major blogger like Instapundit gets involved, you may eventually get a real employee. But the woman at the “Gone” link wasn’t Ann Althouse. And, two years later, she never got any help at all, that I can see any evidence of.

    Oh, I never got a response from Google at my alternate email regarding the issue I asked about. Either a) someone looked into it, saw I already sent my cell phone, and didn’t send an email saying “we see you already resolved your problem,” or b) they were never going to lift a finger to help, ever. No cell phone, no Gmail.

    I can’t say for sure which it is, of course, but I rather suspect it’s b. I just wasn’t going to abandon my email with no backup option for months or years to prove some minor point about their lack of responsiveness. When I get a chance, though, I will look into alternate email, and I think others should as well.

    I’m going to let you have the last, likely dishonest, word. I start a trial on Monday and a) have no further time for this and b) consider the time I have already spent to be, on balance, a colossal waste. If you haven’t made an argument by now that is convincing, after days and days of intellectually dishonest claptrap, it’s unlikely that you will.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/21/2011 @ 12:47 pm

  489. As for the rest of you, if Xrlq asserts that I have taken a particular position in any future comment of his (such as when he falsely claimed that I “flirted” with saying Nitecruzr deleted a blog), please do not take that claim at face value. His track record of characterizing my arguments on this thread and related ones is so poor that if he says I said x, I would assume I did NOT say x until I had thoroughly checked out his claim that I did.

    Comment by Patterico (c218bd) — 5/21/2011 @ 12:51 pm

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