Mybloglog closure and Yahoo’s blog – a little subtler than the usual sleaze?

Posted on January 14, 2010


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Let’s start by repeating what I posted to the Yahoo developer network blog in response to the mention of the possibility of Mybloglog being closed by Yahoo, because nobody quite saw it on that blog, other than me:

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“Mr.Yeh, let me tell you how this looks from a user’s point of view. I’ve just invested a certain amount of time into creating communities for my blogs, linking to them, and encouraging visitors to sign up for them, if they wish to be notified of updates. That’s time out of my day that doesn’t get paid for by Yahoo with anything other than a service that you’re now telling us might get shut down really not very long after I’ve taken time to link everything together, meaning that my time might very well end up having gone to waste.

How does that make this user feel? REALLY ANGRY. Betrayed. And totally unwilling to ever try another Yahoo service if you go ahead with this, no matter what that service might be, because I’m tired of this garbage. How much of my uncompensated time got eaten up this summer because your ever so delightfully whimsical CEO decided to kill Geocities, leaving us to scramble looking for replacements, because … tee hee hee … Yahoo decided that an FTP server was one of those luxuries its users didn’t need, meaning that we had to do our downloading by hand, one file at a time? But hey, who cares? It’s not like our time is worth anything, right?

Except maybe to us. You know, those lowly users without whom Yahoo would have no content onto which to stick its advertising, outside of a few newsfeeds one can pick up elsewhere. Seriously, if all that you people are going to offer in the long run is AP feeds, then why wouldn’t visitors just go to the AP homepage or to some real news site? Why bother with Yahoo?

My own personal position – and I really, seriously doubt that it will be a unique one among your user base – is that I’m really tired of having my time put to waste because your company feels like flaking out, so tired that if you do this to us one more time – as you say you might be about to – I will never submit another piece of content to another page on your server ever again, outside of those I or one of my friends moderate, and that I’ll start pushing to have those moved elsewhere. Enough is enough. Yahoo is either going to choose to be a credible hosting service or it is not.

If not, you’re going to end up with the user base you deserve, and your stock prices will reflect the change, especially after some of us write to a few of your investors and explain to them why the quality and quantity of the content on those servers has started to drop, and why advertisers are wandering off. I hope that wasn’t too vague. If it was, be sure to send a message to the corporate acquisitions office at Microsoft, and I’m sure they’ll be able to explain it to you.

Posted by: Joseph Dunphy at December 26, 2009 3:02 AM

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I posted, and then looked at the blog the next day, and instead of this passage

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“so tired that if you do this to us one more time – as you say you might be about to – I will never submit another piece of content to another page on your server ever again”

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saw this passage

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“so tired that if you do this to us one more time – as you say you be about to – I will never submit another piece of content to another page on your server ever again”

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It’s subtle – nothing more than the removal of a single word – but this is enough to create the illusion that I don’t know how to conjugate the verb “to be” … which I do, by the way

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I am
you are
he, she, it is
we are
they are

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Aside from the political convenience of having an angry critic appear to be illiterate, which anybody who has been following my blogs will know that I am not, this simple deletion of a single word takes a comment about something that Yahoo’s staff has said that it might do, and transforms it into something that contains a clearly inaccurate statement about something that said staff has said that it will do, an inaccuracy that can be seen for what it is, merely by reading the page. This is a very effective way of quietly smearing somebody who has expressed some very reasonable anger.

Yes, a little subtler than the usual Yahoo managerial response, that of simply deleting the remark and sending a threatening message, subtle enough that even I found myself wondering if I had just done a poor job of proofreading. Over a week passed without my being able to clarify anything, because any attempt on my part to post produced an error message stating that I had posted too many times, already, even though I had only posted to that blog one time, that I could remember. I believe that this was the first time that I had ever posted a comment on that blog, but I could be mistaken.

Finally, I was able to reply to this comment

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I agree MBL had some potential, but it’s been neglected for years. It doesn’t really DO anything. Sure, the stats are solid, but the rest is just pointless. Communities you can’t even post in? Ever heard of CMF Ads? They have a great forum. BlogCatalog has a better widget. Even BC has forums. The MBL widget is just another script to dump in your sidebar and forget about.

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writing

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“It doesn’t really DO anything.”

Sure it does. It ties all of one’s content, no matter where one has posted it, into one tidy, easy to follow bundle. It provides an easy way for users to be notified of new posts in the locations which they find to be of interest.

“The MBL widget is just another script to dump in your sidebar and forget about.”

Which is what I think it should be – a convenient, labor saving tool that does what it is supposed to do, with a minimum of effort and drama for the user. Not everything needs to be a chance for somebody to post. If I wanted my blog to have a guestbook, I could easily give it one. What I don’t like about Blogcatalog, among other things, is that using it effectively forces me to give my blog a guestbook, one without comment screening, whether I want one or not.

Posted by: Joseph Dunphy at January 14, 2010 1:23 PM

 

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Again, my comment was mangled, so quickly in this case that automatic machiniery had to have been involved. This time I had carefully proofread, triple checking my work – this was no typo. What I had written is not what appeared, and I immediately had a question

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Is there some kind of weird swear word screening program in use on this page? I ask, because I typed“It ties all of o n e ‘ s content, no matter where o n e has posted it”

(spaces introduced by me in an attempt to prevent a repeat of what just happened) and got

“It ties all of o n e ‘ s content, no matter where be has posted it,”

That’s not cool, and this is not the first time I’ve found myself unpleasantly surprised in this manner, on this very page. What o n e types is what should end up being seen by those reading o n e ‘ s comment.

Posted by: Joseph Dunphy at January 14, 2010 1:49 PM

 

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I must say, though, that if this is an accident, it’s a strangely convenient one, one that looks a little too well designed. If one wishes to argue that Yeh has a right to keep my remarks from appearing on his blog, I will actually be quite supportive of that argument, but to post a distorted version of what a respondent wrote and attribute it to him is defamatory, absolutely underhanded behavior. I could not even credit it with what, under these circumstances, would be the faint virtue of originality, because I’ve seen this game played before, by a school newspaper editor intent on punishing a candidate in a student government election for having written a harsh rebuttal to a previous editorial, meaning that I am not even compensated for my aggravation  by being left with a halfway decent story to tell after the fact.

Programming a virtual booby trap into one’s system to do one’s dirty work for one, wouldn’t lift such conduct to a higher moral plane.

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