Patterico's Pontifications

5/16/2011

Google Reviewing Nitecruzr’s Forum Privileges; Falsely Denies He Deleted Posts; More People Found Who Were Locked Out of Gmail

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:17 pm



Angeleno directs us to a site called The Next Web, which not only reported on the Google/nitecruzr affair, but also got a response from a Google spokesperson:

Google has responded to these claims, and has sought to clarify some of the concerns raised. An official spokesperson told The Next Web:

“Top contributors’ only additional privileges are the ability to delete posts in the forums – which Nitecruzr did not do in this instance – and escalate posts of a technical nature for the Google team to investigate further; for instance, when Blogger was experiencing issues last week, top contributors could escalate posts from users who were experiencing related problems, which was the case for Prof. Althouse. We are looking into the issue of folks’ Google accounts being flagged, and again we’re very sorry for any inconvenience.”

(All emphasis in this post is mine.)

Let’s stop right there. nitecruzr didn’t delete posts? That’s not what the forum participants said. Go to the thread right now, where nitecruzr has cleverly restored some (but not all!) of the posts. Look at what you see! A reference to nitecruzr deleting posts:

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

And another:

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

And another:

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

But they haven’t restored everything. Look at the thread where I reconstructed the comments based on Ann’s e-mail to me. Remember those comments where nitecruzr is wasting time whining about how many people are calling his comments unhelpful?

Go look for those comments now. You won’t find them.

As for the theory that someone else deleted the comments . . . nonsense. Go back to my recreation of the thread and watch as Nitecruzr mocks Ann; then she responds; then the comments disappear; then nitecruzr pretends like he hadn’t been mocking her.

Yeah, he didn’t delete comments. Whatever.

So Google just has their facts wrong. And it’s nice to hear that they are looking into the flagging of the accounts. Right now, we’re up to 8 critics of nitecruzr who were locked out their accounts (really 9, but the ninth had previously given her cell phone months earlier, so she wasn’t locked out but was asked to confirm the information). That’s out of 15 nitecruzr critics we know of from that thread, or the one I commented on. We keep running across more people from that thread to whom this happened. I have yet to meet any critic who left an anti-nitecruzr comment in that thread whose account was *not* flagged.

And if Google can’t admit nitecruzr deleted posts, then I’m sorry, but I’m not buying that they’re really looking into the flagged accounts. They’re hoping it will go away.

More from The Next Web:

With further direct reference to Professor Althouse, the Google spokesperson said:

“We’re deeply sorry for the inconvenience to Prof. Althouse. As we have said on our blog and communicated directly to Prof. Althouse, last week during scheduled maintenance we experienced data corruption that impacted Blogger’s behavior. We’ve been working as fast as we can and making progress restoring all remaining posts. As of yesterday evening we have restored all posts for the vast majority of Blogger users, with the exception of some blogs with a lot of content that are taking a little longer. We’ll provide an update and full incident report as soon as everything is back to normal for everyone.”

It’s worth noting that Ann Althouse did have over twenty thousand blog posts dating back 7 years, so it seems that her blog is taking slightly longer to restore than other blogs that were down. And Google also confirmed that it was “reviewing nitecruzr’s privileges on the forums following this incident.”

It’s worth noting as well that nitecruzr remains in the forums even today. And as far as Althouse’s blog being part of the general outage, as opposed to having been marked as spam . . . not if you believe nitecruzr. Althouse described her error message as follows:

Sorry, the blog at althouse.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

And nitecruzr has said (with respect to the same language being used to refer to another blog):

Sorry, the blog at pokeypokeyh.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not·available for new blogs.

That symptom indicates a (righteous or spurious) deletion for spam hosting – the technological issues Google has had over the past few days are coincidental.

Thanks to Dustin for these links.

Maybe he’s right, maybe he’s wrong. But, based on identical error language from Althouse, he treated Althouse’s blog deletion as resulting from its having been marked as spam. What that means, I don’t know — but I do know her blog is not spam.

So there’s a lot of explaining Google still needs to do.

UPDATE: JPSobel notes that nitecruzr aka Chuck Croll admitted removing posts from that forum on his own blog.

16 Responses to “Google Reviewing Nitecruzr’s Forum Privileges; Falsely Denies He Deleted Posts; More People Found Who Were Locked Out of Gmail”

  1. Very interesting indeed, Patterico. Thank you for pursuing this.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  2. The way that Nitecruzr has restored the comments tends to make Ms. Althouse seem (as Al Gore might say) snippy. By eliminating his series of taunting posts, Ms. Althouse’s out-of-sequence “reply” to his tersely worded warning (to have her readers refrain from harassment) comes across as a slight overreaction. As so often happens, the editing distorts the story.

    Addressing Google’s claim that Nitecruzr did not delete posts, Nitecruzr admits he did so in a comment to a post on his own blog. The comment is dated Friday, May 13th at 10:56PM. Nitecruzr does argue that the deletions were justified. However, his comment is in direct conflict with Google’s statement that “Nitecruzr did not do in this instance”.

    http://blogging.nitecruzr.net/2009/12/justice-is-for-poor-and-weak-and.html?showComment=1305352612202#c9043672689456746592

    JPSobel (59dba6)

  3. UPDATE: JPSobel notes that nitecruzr aka Chuck Croll admitted removing posts from that forum on his own blog.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  4. The problems of trust.

    Looking elsewhere, Karina’s blog at http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/ still hasn’t been completely restored, either, so Althouse has company.

    htom (412a17)

  5. Does anyone else find it incongruous that nitecruzr would request Ann to tell her commenters to stop posting on her behalf.

    I mean it’s possible that Ann would do that, you know, IF SHE HAD A BLOG to do it on.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  6. Just read Croll’s admission and other related posts at his blog. I’m not usually a sweary kind of person but cheez that guy is a twat.

    I would note that his explanation/defense is exactly what I said it would be. He’s so proud to proclaim that Althouse is undeserving of full restoration or any attention greater than say,a tiny fluffblog of mine that has essentially been extinct since 2006.

    SarahW (af7312)

  7. And if Google can’t admit nitecruzr deleted posts, then I’m sorry, but I’m not buying that they’re really looking into the flagged accounts. They’re hoping it will go away.

    Yup. I’d like to see an honest explanation of how those posts were deleted. If Google can’t explain that honestly, then there’s no trust for the other explanations that Google is investigating.

    Also, why would it take time to investigate? This shouldn’t take more than a second or two to look up. Why did all these gmail accounts, free of any intrusions or spam in the outbox, get flagged? Someone reported those Gmail accounts as suspicious, and Google knows who, and Google is hoping this will blow over with their ‘investigation’ nonsense.

    It really is embarrassing for Google to claim Nitecruzr did not delete comments while Nitecruzr actually boasts that he did so. Sarah’s right that the guy’s behavior is terrible, too. Why is Google lying to protect him? My guess is this is because his other actions with Gmail cross the line, and Google is more worried about Gmail’s reputation than Blogger’s.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  8. GREAT NEWS!!!
    Ann has a new post up stating her archives are back and I was able to access January’s files. I had checked approximately an hour ago and they were still down.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  9. Not so great news.

    Although the number of comments for each post is there, there do not appear to be any comments on the older posts. Hopefully Blogger will be able to get those back as well.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  10. I speculated in an email to Patterico that what actually happened was that Nitecruzr flagged posts as spam. This would automatically have both removed them from the forum, and locked the associated accounts.

    If this is right, Google PR are spinning based on the difference between “flagging spam posts” and “deleting posts” (a distinction without a difference). But they should really get their story straight. Google isn’t exactly looking competent or honest here.

    Dead Dog Bounce (e55cae)

  11. Gluten Free Goddess isn’t back yet. :(

    htom (412a17)

  12. Bad corporate behavior tends to spread throughout an organization. GOOG has an excellent technical reputation, but is building another to go with it. Short-term political gains can make for long-run bad business decisions.

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  15. Mark me as another account that was locked out after posting on that thread. My speculation is/was that there was a concerted effort of union members to complain to google that her blog was spam so that they would delete it. And you know, posting that theory makes me a spammer.

    Lev Bronstein
    I know communists when I see them.

    levbronstein (3e8d0d)

  16. Google deletes blogs that are causing them recovery problems, eg. blogs containing bad pointers. It uses the existing spam blog mechanisms to do this, which is the relation of the spam judgment to the recovery problem.

    It’s just giving you a useless diagnostic after google took a technical shortcut.

    Nitecruzer would have been aware of that, if he weren’t just a script kiddie.

    rhhardin (f80a8d)


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