Patterico's Pontifications


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

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:54 pm

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:35 PM

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

Behold the “courtesy and patience”!

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

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:45 PM

2 of 99

And then:

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 6:46 PM

2 of 100

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

Ann responds:

“2 of 100″

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

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

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:16 PM

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

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

Courtesy and patience! To which Ann responds:

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

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

From: Google Help
Date: Fri, May 13, 2011 at 7:56 PM

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


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

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

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

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

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

Soon thereafter, a guy named Dead Dog Bounce says:

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

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

Looks to me like Google just jumped the shark.

And AC245 says:

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

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

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

Damn straight.

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

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

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

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

88 Responses to “Back from the Memory Hole: The Full Record of Google’s Shabby Treatment of Ann Althouse”

  1. Thanks for making a record of this. I think it’s really important that people understand what they are doing when they rely on products like Blogger.

    Free can be OK, and sometimes it really isn’t the best way to go. It’s really clear that Google is totally unreliable for normal customer service. There’s a pervasive attitude of ‘it’s our authority, and if we don’t make it right, that’s OK’.

    How amusing that someone called ‘electobutter’ is the voice of reason we were waiting quite a while to reach.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  2. one, i discovered that ann’s archives are still missing. all explained in my post on the subject in like the 5th update.

    two, the most ridiculous thing about this a–hole dissing ann for low reader response was this…

    gee, maybe her readers weren’t responding on that thread because her blog was down and they had no idea how to even begin to protest. They cut off the main method of communication between her and her readers and then wonder why they weren’t showing up?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  3. When “2 of 95″ people find that last answer I quoted “unhelpful,

    that should be helpful I think I gotted confuzzled when I read that

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  4. They cut off the main method of communication between her and her readers and then wonder why they weren’t showing up?

    What’s interesting is that dozens of people did find their way to that thread, despite this cut off. So all this talk about ‘maybe he just had no idea about Althouse’s blog’ isn’t quite right. He had all the evidence he needed come right to him to show that Althouse was not spam, and had lost a good blog a lot of people wanted to read. And he still acted like a dick when representing this silly authority.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  5. I will say this as counterbalance.

    When i ran that everyone draw mohammed thing on blogger… i never had trouble.

    I mean I uncovered sites naming it as a hacker target. and i don’t know anything about preventing hackers, so the best i could do was use a page sort of like ann’s and give them a head’s up that this might be coming. The big facebook page WAS hacked, but not my site.

    And you had to think other people were falsely reporting me as spam or something to try to take the site down.

    And somehow through all of that, the site never had any problems, at all.

    not saying that makes althouse’s experience okay, but just noting my experience.

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  6. that should be helpful I think I gotted confuzzled when I read that

    Thanks happy. Exactly right. Fixed.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  7. Yes, Aaron, it was clear earlier that the reason you complimented them was that they actually appeared to have your back about a controversial publishing that a lot of other publishers would be too scared to support.

    That strikes me as odd, if it was really possible to take Althouse down with abuse reports. We’ll probably never know the full truth.


    Google’s mission is to organize the world‘s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

    They mean by organization to delete information that doesn’t help their company. By universally accessible, they don’t mean Chinese people. By useful they mean profitable.

    I have no problem with Google being motivated by money, but one of the problems with their ‘Don’t be evil’ mantra, which is an implicit claim that other corporations are evil, is that they are putting themselves is a special moral category. When that happens, it usually goes along with future moral lapses. Instead of telling us how non evil they are, they should dedicated themselves to a real code.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  8. Well. Nobody can dampen my mood right now. A friend just got great news. He doesn’t want me to talk about it here, but I have a big smile on my face.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  9. Well at least now we have a chronological narrative of sand infiltrating this man’s vag.

    (I hope Brian Leiter and/or “Professor Anonymous” don’t think that was misogynistic)

    deepelemblue (4c78cb)

  10. misogyny is the new racism

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  11. I blame Sarah Palin

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  12. Well. Nobody can dampen my mood right now. A friend just got great news.

    It’s OK. You can tell them about my high score on Peggle.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  13. The update at Instapundit suggests that “nitecruzr” is not a Google employee, nor authorized to speak on its behalf, but rather part of a community of Blogger fans and users who participates in that particular forum.

    It may not be fair to attribute the statements or actions of “nitecruzr” to Google.

    The disappearance of the blog for a time, though, may fairly be laid at Google’s feet from everything I’ve read or seen so far and based on reasonable inferences based on their control of their product.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  14. Beldar, Google has given nitecruizer the power to close threads and delete comments, as well as some kind of special ability to refer removed blogs for an appeal.

    He seems to be used for the job of ‘help’ by Google, and his messages are sent to Althouse as “google help”.

    Employee? Not in the normal sense, as he’s probably not being paid (though I don’t know that for sure), but he is tasked with a job, and he’s been doing it this way for some time. I think Google had plenty of notice that they were represented by snotty customer service with a bad attitude. I think they are 100% responsible for the fact that when Althouse needed help with their glitch, she was bound to get treated like crap.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  15. I think nitecruzr is someone not unlike a commenter on a blog that has been around long enough and done enough to get the ability to post.

    Like, I am not Patrick (clearly), but I post at the Jury so what I say/do could, in a fashion, be laid at his feet.

    At any rate, nitecruzr should lose whatever authority he currently enjoys, and Google should ponder what else they can do to punish him. Maybe remove his blog completely for a while…

    Scott Jacobs (dbfc1e)

  16. With my personal experience with Google I find them to be an arrogant collection of pricks on the whole. They are very amateurish in many regards as well. I cannot conduct business through my ISP’s mail facilities because they have contracted it to Google’s GMail. And GMail disallows ALL zip files. I send new versions of the customers product for testing using zip files. I receive zipped dump logs. If I can’t use zip I am shut down, by an amateurish collection of creeps.

    “We’re BIG. We’re Google. We don’t HAVE to service customers any differently than bulls service cows.”


    JD (bcdcf2)

  17. “snotty customer service”

    Now obviously I know what you mean by “customer service,” but isn’t Blogger free? The bloggers who use the service are not, strictly speaking, “customers” — they are something more like (granted we’re fairly virgin territory here) collaborators with Blogger/Google in a symbiotic enterprise in which Blogger provides a free publishing platform with very few barriers to entry; in return, the bloggers/writers/participants generate free content, which, if it’s good, Google can leverage in various ways to turn a profit.

    In a sense the “customers” are not the bloggers using Blogger, but the readers providing eyeballs to Google, and the advertisers/affiliates who give Google cash money.

    I know that seems weird, but the internet is weird, right?

    d. in c. (ac417f)

  18. the female JD

    > “We’re BIG. We’re Google. We don’t HAVE to service customers any differently than bulls service cows.”

    You know that is totally unfair.

    I mean cows enjoy what bulls do to them…

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  19. At any rate, nitecruzr should lose whatever authority he currently enjoys, and Google should ponder what else they can do to punish him. Maybe remove his blog completely for a while…

    Comment by Scott Jacobs

    And please bear in mind that he’s done this several times in Google’s name. So it would be more like if you repeatedly deleted any comments from democrats for months, and once that happened to someone prominent, they held Patterico to blame for it.

    Now obviously I know what you mean by “customer service,” but isn’t Blogger free?

    A very good point. At least in some way, blogger is free. Althouse has worked on her blog for years, and it’s clearly very important to her, and I suspect the ads from it are profitable to Google, but she doesn’t pay a bill for the service. And like my PSN (free online component to my game console) outage for close to a damn month, I get the impression that if it’s free, there is a sense that it’s not so bad when customer service completely falls apart (The paid competitor to PSN has had a few outages, and they were handled with more speed and better communication).

    Anyway, I think your other comment is also quite smart. Google’s customers are the seekers of content who read Althouse, too. Google has specialized in getting content from non-google content makers to non-google content consumers, and cleverly, they have very low accountability for screwing up.

    And that’s OK. Blogger is worth what you pay for it. But I won’t be starting any google services that I think I’ll actually have to rely on. No way in hell.

    Dustin (c16eca)

  20. Dustin — obviously your larger point stands, in the sense that whether they are “customers” or (in a real sense) “partners” with Google, the bloggers still deserve courteous treatment b/c without them the enterprise fails.

    The reason I brought it up is my general sense that our practical reality in the world is changing a lot faster than our language and habits of thought, on all levels and frontiers — so it’s a useful exercise to continually re-evaluate how our language splits away from the brand-new things we use it to denote.

    As Marcus Aurelius said (in a line popularized by Hannibal Lecter), “Of each thing, continually ask of it: what is it to itself?”

    d. in c. (ac417f)

  21. Great job putting this all together, Patterico. I’ve followed this story with interest all day and appreciate all that was done here to publicize the problems. As someone who uses Blogger, it was quite disturbing to follow what was happening to Ann. If it could happen to Ann Althouse, it could happen to any of us. I’m very happy it looks like there will be a positive outcome for her.

    Nitecruzr may not be a paid employee, but as others point out, Google has clearly granted him a position of authority, including the power to decide whether to “escalate” blogs to be reviewed. Google clearly needs to terminate the relationship.


    Laura (9d1bb3)

  22. It is a fundamental principal of agency law that only a principal’s acts can confer apparent authority on the alleged agent.

    So what has Google done — things that you know without doubt are acts or statements from the corporation through its corporate officers — which persuade you that this fellow has any authority at all?

    He says he has some authority to “escalate” something. Does Google say that too? Because if he just claims it on his own, that’s nothing.

    He can delete posts on a forum. But is that pursuant to some authority that Google has given him? Has it been shown conclusively that the forum is in Google’s control?

    I don’t know the answers to these questions. If you say, “I don’t either,” then neither of us has a basis to claim that this guy has been acting with apparent authority from Google.

    If someone claims to instead know the answers, I’d be curious to see the backup for that claim. Perhaps its persuasive. To attribute this guy’s statements to Google, though, there does need to be such proof.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  23. Shorter version: Laura, what you say (#22) is “clear” to you doesn’t seem to me to have even been comprehensively addressed.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  24. To explain something I said above (#23), “Has it been shown conclusively that the forum is in Google’s control?”

    Yes, this is some sort of community forum whose URL is a branch off of, and I’m assuming that Google has the ultimate authority, should it choose to use it, to control (including by editing or deletion) anything that appears on it. But it’s entirely possible — and consistent with the update I linked from Instapundit — that Google might have made such a forum available for the day-to-day control of volunteer members of the Blogger user community. “Nitecruzr” is listed as “Top Contributor, Official Blog*Star,” which is not how I would expect a paid corporate employee of Google to be described.

    I don’t know how extensive a working relationship exists between Google’s paid customer service staff and volunteer community members who post on such forums, but I seriously doubt that Google has ever told them, or represented directly or indirectly to the world, that such users are authorized to speak or act for Google.

    I respectfully submit that the most which is even inferentially established is that Google hasn’t — to our knowledge, which is admittedly incomplete — yet publicly blocked whatever access and forum authority “Nitecruzr” has. But I don’t see a basis for claiming that his bad conduct or stupidity is fairly attributable to Google. Rather, I see reasons for caution in drawing that inference, and reasons perhaps not to draw it.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  25. From the Google Help Forum Terms of Service (emphasis mine):

    Much of the content of Google Help Forum — including the contents of specific postings — is provided by and is the responsibility of the person or people who made such postings. Google does not actively monitor the content of Google Help Forum, and takes no responsibility for such content. Instead, Google merely provides access to such content as a service to you.

    By its very nature, Google Help Forum may carry offensive, harmful, inaccurate or otherwise inappropriate material, or in some cases, postings that have been mislabeled or are otherwise deceptive. We expect that you will use caution and common sense and exercise proper judgment when using Google Help Forum.

    Google does not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any communications posted via Google Help Forum or endorse any opinions expressed via Google Help Forum. You acknowledge that any reliance on material posted via Google Help Forum will be at your own risk.

    Participants in Google Help Forum only have moderation privileges when logged into an account with such privileges. It is within Google’s sole discretion to grant users moderation privileges. Such individuals may not perform moderation functions when utilizing other accounts, and in no instance is Google responsible for the activities of these users.

    This disclaimer is certainly broad enough to include the forum actions and comments of “nitecruzr” unless there’s first some showing that he’s more than just a forum user — e.g., a showing that he’s a paid employee of Google with actual, implied, or apparent authority to speak or act on its behalf.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  26. Does Obama really want to increase domestic oil drilling?

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  27. Patterico- it is worse than that.

    First, it appears that not every post in the discussion is represented in the one you pieced together. At least one comment from me, wherein I offered constructive criticism for Nitecruzr, is missing. It preceded his posting of the link to “Don’t Attack Here”. Naturally, it was not an attack.

    Second, after deleting my comment, he seemingly messed with my Google account, as I could not log in to it. It said that they “detected unusual activity”, and that I had to enter either my cell number, so they could send a verification code to it via text, or my home number, so they could have an automated voice read me a verification code.

    I was not eager to give Google my phone number, but it was the only way to access my account.

    Now, I cannot prove he is the cause of that. However, the timing is highly suggestive of it. I had logged in to post my comment. It asked me what name I wanted displayed on the Google Help threads, and I used the same one I am using here. I made my critical post, and then went to Althouse’s backup blog (also on Blogger) and tried to post. I found I was not logged in and the ‘unusual activity’ message. It was literally seconds. I still had the Google help thread open, and I hit refresh and my post was gone.

    That person needs to be as far away from a position of authority as is possible.

    Enigmaticore (491183)

  28. Nitecruzr is Barack Obama.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  29. I followed Dustin’s link in #14 to Nitecruzr’s blog The Real Blogger Status. He seems like a dedicated volunteer (per Beldar, supra) who puts a lot of effort into helping people straighten out their difficulties with Blogger’s services.

    He has a post dated Friday the Thirteenth (yesterday), OK, It’s Back. At this writing, it has 26 comments, mostly from bloggers asking for help in the aftermath of the recent Blogger outage.

    I submitted the following remarks to the moderation queue on 5/14/11 at 5:05am PDT, and got the usual message, “Your comment has been saved and will be visible after blog owner approval.”


    Your responses to blogger Ann Althouse on behalf of Google at the Blogger Help forum have attracted some attention at the high-traffic blog “”.

    Your exchange with Altman on that Help forum thread has been rendered unintelligible by selective deletions of comments and copied emails. As it now reads, she comes off looking like a flake.

    However, Patterico has reconstructed the thread. It can be accessed through a link at his 5/13/11 post Back from the Memory Hole: The Full Record of Google’s Shabby Treatment of Ann Althouse.

    You may want to take the opportunity to present your side of the story in Patterico’s comments. Over the years, he has shown a real committment to letting people with diverse points of view make their best case.

    When Patterico vehemently disagrees with somebody, he still engages with them, in his posts’ comments or via links to their website.

    There could be a lesson in that last paragraph, especially when you are representing Blogger or Google. In that regard, you might find it helpful to respond to the remarks of commenter “Beldar” (#23 to #26).

    By the way, I have a low-readership Blogger [Blogspot, actually] blog on an obscure technical issue — but one with possible political implications. Does Google want me to worry that if my “published” work becomes controversial, it could be misclassified as Spam, and disappeared?

    Do you?

    – – – – – – – – – –

    Cross-posted at the above-linked Patterico thread as comment #29 (best guess).

    AMac (f36e7b)

  30. Is this a sign of things to come? If they can treat a relative giant like Althouse this way, what can they do and how can they treat a prole? With impunity. THIS is the road to 1984.

    teapartydoc (c38f30)

  31. If he’s not an employee… then who was deleting not only his commments, but the comments of others, like me?

    Aaron Worthing (73a7ea)

  32. He has moderation privileges, Aaron.

    Scott Jacobs (dbfc1e)

  33. There is a difference between being an unpaid volunteer and being an employee.

    But there is a similarity- both work for who they work for.

    This guy works for Google. This is how Google provides their customer service. As such, ‘terms of service’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding, means that he represents Google. Perhaps not in the legal sense, but the court of public opinion has its own laws.

    Enigmaticore (491183)

  34. As such, ‘terms of service’ claims to the contrary notwithstanding, he represents Google.

    /Gosh, that was some mangled English the first time. Proofread, darn it!

    Enigmaticore (491183)

  35. Her archived blog posts are all gone except for the current month, still.
    From what I’ve seen, it’s the usual left wing censorship, and despite the Google Employee helping and stating he loved her blog, I say don’t expect the miraculous, as in her archive reappearing.
    The usual occurs – some left wing tyrannist gets faced, gets owned, doesn’t like what it sees, or wails homophobe, racist, mysogynist, and then the left wing deleting powers that be do the dirty work.
    It’s called “maintaining a sustainable environment”.
    I have yet to see a single fair moderator anywhere – they are all full of it, unable to seperate their ideology from their decisions, and the staple base piles on like rabid dogs encouraging unfair play in almost every case…
    Youtube does it all the time – it’s the report on your neighbors be a narc web 101 way, and the unaccountable masters of deletion revel in their power, and as soon as the “troll” (it’s ALWAYS a troll according to those wielding the power and their psychotic supporters, no matter what) is expelled and everything expunged, the group click that’s left rallies again, thanking the banmaster, snickering obnoxiously, congratulating each other, and kissing the banner’s behind sweetly(lest their allegiance be questioned).
    It’s sick to see each and every time.

    SiliconDoc (7ba52b)

  36. Don’t know if this has been stated yet but Ann’s blog is not really “back” yet. Currently she has only the content she imported from her back up blog and one post on the situation she wrote yesterday after the blog came “up”. The material from her backup blog includes several posts from several years ago (during a past Blogger meltdown) and a bunch of posts from yesterday and this content doesn’t even constitute a full front page.

    Everything else is still gone. Her archive tab shows how many posts should exist, but May’s tab accesses just what is currently on her front page and not the 147 posts that should show from May. I made the mistake of refreshing a page I still had open but had not read yet (I was interested in the comments) and got a notice that, “Page not found, The page does not exist at Ann Althouse.”

    That is more than 20,000 posts plus the reader feedback gone.

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  37. Is Ann using the free service? I don’t see how anyone has the right to complain about bad, unreliable, or rude service for a free product.

    If she wants reliability she should 1) back up her work herself. 2) Buy space from an internet hosting service. 3) Host her own blog.

    Does it sound like I’m blaming the victim? I am. I don’t expect good service from anything free. I think it is stupid to do so.

    zkethgvkfjcjytrd (0bba8a)

  38. Nitecruzr is a volunteer with moderation powers.

    What I find interesting is that Ms. Althouse apparently did not hear from anyone who actually worked at Google until the very end–and that’s assuming Brett aka electrobutter is actually a Google/Blogger employee. IOW, Google either thought not actually responding was good customer service, or was content to let nitecruzr handle it for them. I suspect the latter, which to me means that Google needs to be held responsible for nitecruzr, no matter what his actual status with Google might be.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  39. Does it sound like I’m blaming the victim? I am. I don’t expect good service from anything free. I think it is stupid to do so.

    Just wait until healthcare is ‘free’, and nitecruzr is your Heathcare Support moderator.

    Kevin F (fc3356)

  40. If you need to send zip files, just rename the extension to something else, then the receiver renames it back to zip and it works fine. The data doesnt change and the software recognition just keys on the extension label.

    As for Ann, she uses a service, it is what it is, deal with it or use another service, it isnt like it is a big secret that blogger sucks. But what do you expect from someone who voted for Obama…

    Joel Mackey (f0513d)

  41. I don’t expect good service from anything free

    But that doesn’t mean you should except bad service, or no service at all, which is what Google/Blogger seems to specialize in.

    kishnevi (07cf78)

  42. I wrote one of the comments mentioned above.

    I also received the “Please verify your identity” block which required my cellphone number this morning.

    That’s chilling behaviour if ever there was such.

    Dead Dog Bounce (e55cae)

  43. As a former moderator here, I would contend that if I acted like nitecruzr when I was supposedly there to help, “disappeared” comments just because they made me look bad, and Patterico did nothing in response to a large number of complaints, people would rightly claim that it reflected directly on him… no matter what disclaimers there might be. Legally, he’d be covered. Morally and ethically, not so much.

    For what is probably their largest and best customer, Google needs to step up and handle this better.

    Stashiu3 (44da70)

  44. the left calls themselves liberals but they do not believe in liberty.

    Case in point the Indiana Supreme Court allows cops to conduct unlawful entries.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  45. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The folks at Google are a bunch of Nazi’s. No hyphenation. No psuedo or crypto. The real thing.

    glenn (2a84e9)

  46. I still like to use google maps.

    DohBiden (15aa57)

  47. Nitecruzr sounds quite a lot like a government employee.

    Bill (be0390)

  48. The anschluss has begun.

    creeper (f1f686)

  49. kishnevi: Brett from blogger (“electrobutter”) has “Google Employee, The Blogger Team” underneath his username on the forum. If he isn’t a Google employee, then Google has some real problems in terms of people being able to claim such a status. Actually, I think he is a Google employee.

    If Nitecruzr is just a volunteer moderator, which seems to be likely, but he has the authority to close threads and delete posts (which regular forum users do not have), then Google needs to remove that status from him, because he is obviously not a suitable person to hold such a position, given his abuse of that power and his rudeness.

    Joshua (5588d9)

  50. Re #23, etc.: Beldar, I do appreciate you want to be cautious in drawing conclusions about the relative roles of Google and Nitecruzr. However, I’ve seen Nitecruzr “working” at that Google Help website for over a year now, and despite the Google forum’s lawyerly disclaimers, I would respectfully disagree with you and assert that in the real world, Google being silent while Nitecruzr is obnoxious and claims/appears to have a certain amount of power — i.e., “escalating” complaints, deleting comments galore — implies their endorsement. I believe Google not blocking his account — meanwhile allowing an “account” as big as the Althouse blog to twist in the wind, still not completely restored — speaks volumes.

    Hopefully his account will be blocked going forward and Ann’s blog will be completely restored. We’ll see.


    Laura (9d1bb3)

  51. Though I like having the “spell check” feature of the Google Tool-bar on my PC (Heaven Knows, I need it), I have no use for the rest of it; and,
    other than maps, and the occassional search, try to stay away from this company – in fact, since I’m offered the choice, I’ll use Bing for searches from now on.
    I’m using my computer less and less now, so I doubt that Google will miss me.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  52. What should happen from here is that bloggers (including Instapundit) should quit Blogger en masse and use a different hosting service.

    It won’t happen, which means that from now on, anyone who receives similar treatment from Blogger/Google, including Glenn, has only themself to blame. Remember, the “new” business model is that you are NOT entitled to any decent treatment from a company, regardless of your loyalty.

    For the record, Expression Engine has similar crappy customer service, which started happening when they got big and popular. We recently quit using their hosting service after EIGHT YEARS of custom, many millions of pageviews, and countless numbers of people whom we helped set up their own blogs and online businesses with EE. Like I said to you when your people called my wife “stupid” — cold day in hell, Rick.

    Kim du Toit (ba2890)

  53. Well, so long as they’re following their “Don’t Be Evil” creed, and what-not.

    It’s things like this that feed the perception that Google’s true goal is the pursuit a far-left, global technocracy.

    JR (dc08fc)

  54. Ann Althouse is one of those super-rich fascist wingnuts that step on the backs of the little people.


    DohBiden (15aa57)

  55. Geese Louise! Unless the rather moronically named “nitecruzr” owns about 40% of blogger stock, I’d be seriously considering feeding him to the alligators. The guy is a one-man PR disaster.

    Mojo (a29e97)

  56. An additional thought: the comments above indicating a couple people have had unusual difficulty with their Google accouts, after having posted at the Help forum, sure makes one wonder precisely how much power Google has vested in Nitecruzr.

    Laura (9d1bb3)

  57. I am another who suddenly had problems with his Google account after posting a criticism of Nitecruzr.

    Enigmaticore (491183)

  58. Comment by Laura — 5/14/2011 @ 12:22 pm

    He apparently flagged their accounts as spam accounts, and the rest was Google’s automatic system. I’m pretty sure flagging accounts is within the power of any moderator on almost any forum; so the problem is not that he had extra authority but that he abused it, and engaged in verbal abuse as well.

    Myself, I have no Google account, so I don’t know how the system works. Or more accurately, I have one but because of a system upgrade on their end (and I assume technical matters on my end or with my ISP), I was never able to actually sign in for the account, and simply gave up. That was several years ago. Don’t know if I would have those problems now, and at the moment I’m not interested enough in Google services to find out.

    kishnevi (510a0a)

  59. I’m big on accountability. It’s essential for placing responsibility.

    Here, it seems to me that Prof. Althouse knowingly chose to use Blogger, rather than one of the many, many alternatives. Some of those alternatives are at least as blogger-friendly and much more reader/commenter-friendly, but they aren’t free to blogger and reader. Many of them lack Blogger’s checkered record of downtime both before and after it was acquired by Google. Many of them offer better customer service than Blogger, either before or after it was acquired by Google. Her loyalty to Blogger seems odd to me, but so do roughly half of the value judgments she expresses as a blogger. In any event, she’s well informed and well positioned to make such judgments, and to abide by their consequences.

    It likewise seems to me that Google is responsible for her technical problem yesterday, but I’m confident that Google’s various licensing agreements disclaim any legal liability to Prof. Althouse or other Blogger bloggers affected by the problems.

    Google is also responsible for its limited customer service that relies, at least in part (and perhaps in large part) on volunteers to help answer repetitive questions on its user forums. But with Blogger, as with most of its other products, Google has chosen a business model that relies on ad revenues to cover operating expenses (including customer service) while providing free-to-the-end-user software and data management to the most massive of mass markets. No one who chooses to blog using Blogger should expect the kind of immediate and personalized customer service response I get from TypePad, for example, but that’s because TypePad’s business model includes subscription fees paid by the blogger, and they in turn permit TypePad to offer a much more labor-intensive and (on a per-inquiry basis) expensive level of customer service. Prof. Althouse’s experience tends to suggest that if she thought she would get better customer service based on the volume of page-views and visits to her blog (and resulting ad revenue to Google), she may have been badly mistaken. The results she’s gotten are, I expect, pretty typical for Blogger. If those results are “shabby,” then Google is equally shabby to all Blogger customers.

    And we come at last to the l33t-named “nitecruzr,” who so far as we know is just some guy (or gal) who’s posted 40,000+ times on the Blogger Help Forum and, in the process, has apparently garnered some admin functions for the forum that let him do things like delete posts and (perhaps) fast-queue particular complaints for attention by Google’s paid customer service employees. One can opine that nitecruzr was rude, unhelpful, petty, and perhaps worse in his dealings with Prof. Althouse.

    But even if they were offensive to Prof. Althouse or her sympathizers, nitecruzr’s acts and statements were those of a volunteer who lacked either actual authority (which would require an agreement between him as agent and Google as principal about the scope of his rights and responsibilities as Google’s appointed agent) or apparent authority (which would require Google to cloak him in the same trappings as its actual customer service employees have) to speak for Google or act on its behalf.

    Basically, then, Prof. Althouse was the subject of what many would consider rude and abusive conduct from some guy. Not Google, but some guy/gal who seems to have taken his/her very limited authority way too seriously.

    If that’s so, then the only way that Google engaged in “shabby treatment” of Prof. Althouse was in failing to anticipate and prevent its non-employee non-agent volunteer from being rude and abusive. I think that’s quite a different degree of responsibility than that which is implied, for example, by the headline of this post, and most of its text, which seem to have been based on the probably mistaken assumption that “nitecruzr” was a Google customer service employee whose acts and statements could fairly be imputed to Google.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  60. I’m working on a post, Beldar, that shows pretty conclusively that Google is far more responsible than you portray.

    I can’t show nitecruzr is an “employee” as I originally assumed. But my post will prove he is a person at a forum designated by Google in a “contact us” link who has powers to flag your account, escalate your question for review, and delete posts at the forum.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  61. google shouldn’t just get away with letting their googlewhores rape people like this

    they have to take responsibility

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  62. while we wait for Mr. P’s Post of Justice here is a nice song to hear from our dead friend Mr. Hutchence

    happyfeet (3c92a1)

  63. Not Google, but some guy/gal who seems to have taken his/her very limited authority way too seriously
    Google allows him to set himself up as Google’s representative, so I think Google has more responsibility and liability.

    There is also this problem, completely independent of nitecruzr: that Google reflexively took down a blog based (according to what we know for now) solely on one complaint about the comments on one specific post–that is, not even about what the blogger herself wrote, but about comments left on her blog. [It is of course possible that other people made mendacious abuse reports, but we don’t actually have any information to confirm that in any way.]

    kishnevi (510a0a)

  64. “… you are NOT entitled to any decent treatment from a company…”

    And that, at least in the view of the Indiana Supreme Court, holds true for the 4th Amendment within their jurisdiction too, it seems.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  65. For all we know, “nitecruzr” os a WI public-employee who is offended by Ann’s comprehensive coverage of the fascist/BrownShirt demonstrations in Madison.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  66. Fat Finger Error: “is” not “os”.

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  67. I agree with Beldar’s essential point. Prof. Althouse has seemingly treated her blog as a hobby facilitated by a free Blogger account, and now she’s upset something went wrong. If it was that important to her then she should have selected a forum that would be more responsive to her needs. She should have hired people to advise her, set up her own web domain with backups, paid fees, and/or purchased insurance to protect her interests/investment — the way we all do with things that are important to us.

    Of course, it’s regrettable a Google rep or volunteer was rude but rudeness is a part of life we can’t always escape. (Internet lovers should be especially aware of that.) IMO the real problem is that people are expecting more reliability from Blogger than it’s reasonable to demand. This is a free service on the internet. A couple of days down time is not the end of the world and if you think it is, you shouldn’t be relying on any free service.

    DRJ (fdd243)

  68. I rely on AT&T for DSL service that I pay for, and go days without since their infrastructure in the neighborhood is so crappy.
    But then, I think I’m on a first-name basis with some of the “suits” in the Executive Suite down in Dallas.
    The local outlet (ex-PacBell) ignored my pleas for years, they don’t ignore a note from the CotB/CEO’s office, and haven’t – but they are yet to solve the problem.
    Kind of $uck$ when you pay for 1.5Mbps service, and Speakeasy says what you’ve got is 0.20/0.31!

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  69. Patterico, the only thing newsworthy about this, with due respect, has to do with whether Google’s a reasonable choice for a high-traffic blog like Prof. Althouse’s. That some guy who isn’t a Google employee was rude to her on a forum — meh, that’s certainly not “man bites dog,” and it’s so common it’s not even an interesting version of dog bites man.

    Suppose you succeed in showing (per #61) that nitecruzr is indeed “a person at a forum designated by Google in a ‘contact us’ link who has powers to flag your account, escalate your question for review, and delete posts at the forum.” In what way is that different than my inferences about him? You’ve just picked a fancy way of saying he’s involved in helping run their volunteer user-community forum — not that he’s plugged into Google’s corporate boardroom (or vice versa).

    He’s still just some guy, not a Google employee.

    Google’s business model makes use of “some guy” volunteers. One can fault them for that, like one can fault them for being free or for not relying solely on paid employees to do customer service. One can point out that a known downside of relying on volunteers is that they sometimes behave badly, sometimes precisely because they’re unaccountable. But one can also make a case that Google is meeting a set of market demands that don’t include what was once considered “Cadillac-level customer service” (now itself an ironic idiom).

    But this incident still comes down to some guy — some volunteer who is neither employee nor even independent contractor for Google, and for whose acts and statements Google affirmatively disclaimed responsibility — being rude on the internet.

    Some guy being rude on the internet. That’s uncommon how?

    kish (#64), you write, “Google allows him to set himself up as Google’s representative, so I think Google has more responsibility and liability.” What’s your evidence of that? Because that’s inconsistent with the Terms of Service I quoted above (#24), and I haven’t seen anywhere that Google has “allowed” him to set himself up as “Google’s representative.”

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  70. Oh, and kish (#64), I agree with you that the vulnerability to being taken down precipitously is (a) endemic to Blogger (because it’s free and therefore has zero financial entry barrier against abuse), (b) a good reason for a high-traffic and sometimes-controversial blogger not to use Blogger, and (c) that those things have nothing to do with nitecruzr.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  71. But this incident still comes down to some guy — some volunteer who is neither employee nor even independent contractor for Google, and for whose acts and statements Google affirmatively disclaimed responsibility — being rude on the internet.

    Did you read what I wrote? This guy has the ability to flag Google users’ accounts, so that they have to provide a phone number to Google to keep the account active. Proof coming momentarily.

    If they give that kind of power to someone, they can disclaim responsibility for him all day long. Don’t mean they’re right.

    That’s far more than “some guy” being rude on the Internet. It’s some guy with power given to him by Google being rude.

    By analogy, if I give someone (say, Stashiu) the power to monitor comments, and he deletes your comments and makes rude comments to you, I can “disclaim responsibility” for him until the cows come home. But I need to step up and take responsibility, because by giving him the power I have given him, I am responsible.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  72. Stashiu would never do that, of course. It’s a hypo.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  73. Stashiu would never do that, of course. It’s a hypo.

    There might be a few trolls that would disagree; but, whatever happened to them – they deserved it!

    AD-RtR/OS! (3ddda9)

  74. Patterico, I did read what you wrote. Did you read what I wrote?

    If your point is that Google accounts generally are vulnerable to interference through acts of unpaid volunteer forum geeks for whom Google disclaims responsibility, that’s an interesting argument, and (as I’ve said now several times) that would be a good reason for a blogger not to use Blogger, and perhaps a good reason for everyone to beware their vulnerability.

    But if you’re still arguing about nitecruzr in particular, then we’re repeating ourselves, and I’m bored.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  75. The hypo I was going to use, actually, was an assertion that “Patterico has a demonstrated history of relying on commenter ‘happyfeet’ to point out Patterico’s mistakes,” citing comment #6 above. Literally true, badly misleading. But literally true (even to a very limited extent) only because of your acts and statements as a principal, not because of happyfeet’s attempts to self-cloak himself in your authority.

    Beldar (7c0dd5)

  76. Beldar, read my new post and see if you still have the same position.

    I note that you didn’t respond to my Stashiu analogy, but perhaps the new post will make clearer for you the extent of nitecruzr’s authority — and the actions of Google in giving him that authority.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  77. If your point is that Google accounts generally are vulnerable to interference through acts of unpaid volunteer forum geeks for whom Google disclaims responsibility, that’s an interesting argument, and (as I’ve said now several times) that would be a good reason for a blogger not to use Blogger, and perhaps a good reason for everyone to beware their vulnerability.

    That is exactly my point. I am only using nitecruzr as a specific example — and I am upset that Google is disclaiming responsibility for his actions after giving him these powers, and they’re getting away with it because people like you are saying “hey he’s just a third party guy and Google is disclaiming responsibility.”

    For people to understand the more general point, they need to understand the extent of nitecruzr’s authority in this particular instance.

    And going around saying “Google has disclaimed responsibility” is muddying those waters.

    Patterico (c218bd)

  78. nitecruzr is Chuck Croll

    As long as anybody can walk into Sears or Walmart, and buy a computer or piece of networking gear, take it home, and install it by herself (himself) there will always be possible problems. I’ll try to help identify the problems, and figure out the solutions.

    My websites:

    Brian (f8d244)

  79. Not even in communist France does one have the right to friendly customer service.

    Ann’s ‘don’t you know who I am?!’ style doesn’t invite friendliness, and the communication skills of her commenters don’t inspire confidence that their interventions were well managed.

    Those who have worked customer service jobs will know, sometimes there’s only so much condescension you can put up with. At a restaurant, you may be able to get away with that tone, but this google-affiliated-ish dude obviously has very little skin in the game, and doesn’t have much motive to put up with anything at all he doesn’t like.

    He may be right or wrong, but there’s no injustice here. Just a bad market choice by Althouse. I find that a delicious irony, given her attitude… but YMMV. In any case, she may want to start learning to deal with mySQL, or hire a polite and subservient person to handle that.

    eli (feea19)

  80. MayBee – I think (but do not KNOW!) that the “Top Contributor / Official Blog*Star” designation may be nothing more than a function of how many posts someone has on that forum. That’s pretty typical of a forum like that. Althouse is “Level 2” and the people just joining are “Level 1.” Maybe after 5,000 posts you get that designation.

    That said, when you mouse over “nitecruzr” you see that the guy is named “chuck” and there is a photo of a giraffe. When you mouse over “Brett from Google” you see “Brett has not created a profile yet.” I can totally see where someone would miss the difference, especially if this were the first time they used help, AND if some jerk was acting as the gateway to service.

    As I mentioned above, apple do a much better job of making their real employees obvious on their support forum.

    carlitos (1596cc)

  81. Odd that someone who states his favorite Wisconsin politician is Russ Feingold would find Ann’s attitude annoying. Worse that that person would find her free speech being blocked, her reputation sullied falsely, and a major portion of her life’s work being literally trashed, “delicious.”

    (And it has been well documented that Ann’s supposed “‘don’t you know who I am?!’style” was not that, but instead a logical response to the accusation that her blog was a “spam blog.” The logical basis for that statement might be important to a person who has trouble getting more than five comments on a post on his own blog.)

    Have Blue (854a6e)

  82. This is an interesting thread. It accuses Chuck Croll of being a supporter of pedophiles:

    LOL (1d3a96)

  83. My submission to the comments of nitecruzr’s post “OK, It’s Back” at his blog “The Real Blogger Status” has now failed nitecruzr’s moderation.

    It’s cross-posted as comment #30 in this thread.

    Further evidence that nitecruzr is aware of Patterico’s postings on the subject of Google’s treatment of Althouse, and is choosing not to engage the issues.

    AMac (4826b2)

  84. Amac, that was a good comment, too. It was civil and laid out a case, while referencing this blog, with no reason to deny publishing.

    If Nitecruzr really believed his behavior was OK, he would see your comment as the perfect opportunity to defend himself to a reasonable criticism.

    But instead he didn’t publish your comment. He didn’t publish mine, either.

    Dustin (c16eca)

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  86. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam

    Milhouse (ea66e3)

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