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Passions in Poetry

Did you think they would stop with China?

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Denise
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0 posted 11-28-2008 12:03 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

"And, as you will see when you read her post on this matter, Google has been very cozy with Obama. And we all know what Obama thinks about news sources that place him in a negative light."

http://thelibertysphere.blogspot.com/2008/11/google-blacklists-gellers-atlas-shrugs.html
Original Article at Atlasshrugs:
http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/11/sandboxed-black.html


Is this the beginning of censoring poltical speech under the new administration?

moonbeam
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1 posted 11-28-2008 12:36 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Denise!

You are in serious danger of becoming a female US version of Mohammed al Fayed - the fanatical conspiracy theorist.

But wait!  "Google" is a "she" you say?  Umm, maybe you have a point, perhaps it's just a mood swing or pms.   Maybe next week Bugs Bunny will be in line for the chop.
Grinch
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2 posted 11-28-2008 01:54 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
Is this the beginning of censoring poltical speech under the new administration?


Nope, it’s more likely an IT problem - probably an overenthusiastic optimisation of the site, possibly an updated algorithm in the Google spider that’s pushed the site over the line and onto the blacklist.

Google, and a lot of other search engines use an automated “spider” which wanders the interweb and reads web sites scoring them based on various criteria including keywords, content and links to find the best and most relevant. To get closer to the top of the results screen on the search engines you can either pay Google or optimise your page to make it look more relevant to the spider. Web designers know this and can use various tricks to fool the spider, the result is that less relevant pages can be promoted up the list. To counter this Google teach their spiders to look for the tricks and if they find enough of them they blacklist the site effectively removing it’s content from their database and removing it from the results page.

The irony is that Pam probably paid an “IT Specialist” to get her site blacklisted and will more than likely have to pay the same person to get it un-blacklisted.
http://www.domainmonster.com/editorials/google_blacklist/
Denise
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3 posted 11-28-2008 03:26 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I didn't call Google anything, Moonbeam. That was a quote from LibertySphere referring to the owner of Atlas Shruggs (a female).

I haven't trusted Google since that censorship deal they struck with China. And I no longer use it because of that.

The original article stated that the site was 'sandboxed', Grinch. I guess that's the same as being blacklisted? Why would someone pay to have that done to their site? It doesn't seem to me that she needed to do anything crazy like that to try to improve her viewership rates. Is that what you were suggesting?

You can go to this page and scroll down to see her complete November results to see the dramatic drop-off in site visits.
  http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2008/11/sandboxed-black.html
moonbeam
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4 posted 11-28-2008 03:38 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Bother, you mean Google isn't female after all, just a plain "it" - I'm devastated, I was sure it had a life of its own.
Grinch
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5 posted 11-28-2008 04:02 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

Denise,

If you want to get higher up the result page on Google you pay someone to fill your page with things the spiders like, if they over-egg the pudding though the spider gets suspicious and blacklists your site. Then you have to pay someone to un-egg the site and get the site off the blacklist so the spiders can re-index it.

BMW fell into the same trap not long ago, Google weren’t out to get them, Obama, as far as I know, hasn’t “got it in” for the German car manufacturer. BMW simply overfilled their site with spider friendly treats to climb the results page and overstepped the mark.
http://news.cnet.com/Google-blacklists-BMW.de/2100-1024_3-6035412.html

There’s no big conspiracy, Obama isn’t to blame, Google isn’t to blame, if anyone is to blame it’s Pam’s greed and her “IT specialists” ineptitude.

The fact that she’s blaming everyone else and asking for donations to fight the “conspiracy”  is proof, if proof were needed, that she wouldn’t know the honest truth if it jumped up and bit her on the.. Atlas.

  
Denise
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6 posted 11-28-2008 06:34 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I don't know enough about how search engines work to even process it, Grinch.

I do know that I have no respect for the owners of Google since their China deal, and nothing that they would do since then would surprise me.
Grinch
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7 posted 11-28-2008 07:10 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
I don't know enough about how search engines work to even process it, Grinch.


Ask Ron, my spider sense says that he’s probably forgotten more than I know about optimising sites to maximise search engine exposure and site promotion.

quote:
I do know that I have no respect for the owners of Google since their China deal, and nothing that they would do since then would surprise me.


Why do you think their deal with China was wrong?

Denise
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8 posted 11-28-2008 08:51 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Even Ron couldn't get me to understand it enough to process it, Grinch.

They censor out what the government doesn't want their citizens to have access to.
Tim
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9 posted 11-28-2008 09:43 PM       View Profile for Tim   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Tim

Google can filter out what they believe are spam sites, but also most certainly censor sites in response to governmental pressures.
Google Tiananmen Square, Taiwan independence, or human rights organizations in China and there aren't going to be a whole lot of responses.
Censorship occurs in France and Germany in relation to Nazi and white supremist groups.

You are talking apples and oranges when you talk about filtering spam sites and censorship and google certainly has the power to do and does both.


Grinch
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10 posted 11-28-2008 09:55 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
They censor out what the government doesn't want their citizens to have access to.


Of course they do, they’d be stupid not to.

You make it sound like they had a choice to deliver uncensored content, they didn’t. The choice was to deliver content at ridiculously slow speed to the growing Chinese market, badly censored by the great firewall of China. Or to deliver a high speed service that was filtered by their own highly efficient software to meet the Chinese government standards.

Censorship is imposed by the Chinese government, they own the infrastructure through which all internet traffic passes, they filter every search, from every source, and Google couldn’t get around it even if they tried. The choice was a fast censored service to the Chinese market or a slow censored service to the Chinese market, one means they get no customers the other means they’re fighting on an even playing field with Chinese search engines.

It’s a no-brainer, they’re in a competitive business in a tough market where being uncompetitive isn’t an option.

Ron
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11 posted 11-28-2008 11:50 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Generally speaking, Denise, international companies don't get to decide which laws they will obey and which they will ignore. If I do business in Pennsylvania, I become subject to the laws of Pennsylvania. Even if I like the rules in Michigan a whole lot better. The only alternative I have is to stay out of Pennsylvania.

quote:
I don't know enough about how search engines work to even process it, Grinch.

It's really not that tough, Denise. Back in the old days, things were actually pretty simple. If I had the words "Michael Jordan" on my web page and you searched for the words "Michael Jordan," the search engine would match us up. Worked pretty good for everyone concerned.

Then some bright guy got the idea he would put the words "Michael Jordan" on his web site, too, even though he was really just trying to sell Viagra. Or underwear, maybe? Any way, he would put "Michael Jordan " on his web page a few hundred times, usually in white text on a white background so real people couldn't see it, and because MJ was really poplar the search engines would unknowingly send the site a lot of traffic. That didn't work out well for anyone except the cheat. So, the search engines started looking for white text on a white background and the arms race was begun. Cheaters found new tricks, search engines added new checks, and things seemingly got a whole lot more complicated. But it only seems that way. When push comes to shove, the search engines just want to return relevant results for a search query. That's their job. It only gets complicated when it conflicts with a marketers desire to attract more eyeballs.

Google is pretty upfront with what they don't like. The owner of the site you've referenced could easily read Google's Webmaster Guidelines if she wanted. She, uh, might also want to read the Terms Of Service she agreed to follow when signing up for the Google AdSense program? The page you linked to above violates that TOS by publishing information she agreed to keep confidential.

I spend a lot of time in web dev communities and I hear a dozen complaints every week about people who think they've been banned or blacklisted by Google. It's actually not that easy to get banned. In the case Grinch mentioned earlier, for example, BMW got themselves booted off Google for something like a whole day. Nine times out of ten, the people who think they've been banned have unknowingly done something that blocked the search engines from getting to their content. Like you, they don't understand how search engines work and that lack of understanding comes back to bite them in the butt. It's a bit like putting up a web page and then complaining that it doesn't look very pretty because you didn't take the time to learn HTML? People who take shortcuts shouldn't complain too loudly when they get lost.

The bottom line, however, is that Google is a company, not a public utility, and not a government agency. Freedom of Speech applies to them, too. Just as I get to decide what does and doesn't get published on my web sites, Google gets to make those same decisions about theirs. The site you linked to above is not somehow entitled to any traffic from Google or any other search engine. She's not entitled to what is essentially an endorsement from Google. She's not even entitled to an answer. Google's implicit contract is NOT with the web sites they choose to put in their databases, but with the searchers they are trying to serve.


Denise
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12 posted 11-29-2008 09:04 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Thanks for the explanation, Ron. I understand it a little better now. Is that what she did, wrote keywords in white on her site? Is there actually a way to know that for sure, or is that just one possible reason that she could have gotten banned?

But I also believe, like Tim pointed out, they have the power to censor, by government pressure or decree, what the government doesn't want citizens to have access to. That gives me a whole bunch of bad vibes.  
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13 posted 11-29-2008 10:17 AM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

If the Fairness Doctrine, or some such spin-off comes back, Denise, we'll have our answer.
Grinch
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14 posted 11-29-2008 10:47 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Denise,

White text on a white background is just one way to get blacklisted, the link Ron supplied lists the others. The consequence of ignoring the guidelines laid down by Google is your site gets blacklisted.

Pam’s site got blacklisted ergo it contravened the guidelines. When she, or her web master, fixes the offending breach of the guidelines the nice spider at Google will automatically un-blacklist her site.

At that point I predict that she’ll be shouting from the rooftops how she’s triumphed over the evil master of censorship that is Google and the naive and ignorant masses who frequent her site will cheer and say hallelujah! All the while the people at Google along with anyone with any luck will be totally oblivious to the fact that Pam even exists.

quote:
But I also believe, like Tim pointed out, they have the power to censor, by government pressure or decree, what the government doesn't want citizens to have access to. That gives me a whole bunch of bad vibes.


Of course they have the ability to censor Denise, so does every other search engine on the planet, it just doesn’t make sound business sense for Google to do it unless the have to.

Could the Government force them to censor Pam’s site?

Well they could, but what’s the point of doing a half-assed job - if you want to censor someone you don’t just remove the ability to search for them on Google you take down the whole site either physically or by a denial of service attack. If they did a proper job you wouldn’t be reading Pam whining on about a conspiracy that exists only in her mind, you wouldn’t be reading her at all - her site simply wouldn’t be accessible.

Denise
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15 posted 11-29-2008 02:54 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I believe we will see it, Balladeer, unfortunately. I hope I'm wrong.

I guess my question, Grinch, is there a way to know if someone violated any particular TOS resulting in being blacklisted, or is that something that has to be assumed?

The government of China has Google blocking searches. Why do that if they can just take down sites?
Grinch
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16 posted 11-29-2008 04:38 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I guess my question, Grinch, is there a way to know if someone violated any particular TOS resulting in being blacklisted, or is that something that has to be assumed?


The owner of the site can - Google kindly supply a set of tools to check your site out and highlight any faults. Once you fix the faults they let you resubmit the site and hey-presto the search results suddenly reappear on the Google search page.

Can someone who doesn’t own the site find out?

Yes, if it’s a fault with the page just wait for Pam to fix the fault and get un-blacklisted and the search results will reappear. If Google is really censoring the site fixing the fault won’t help and the site won’t reappear in their searches.

Or if you know what you’re doing and have plenty of spare time you can sift through the HTML code and check if it meets the guidelines.

quote:
The government of China has Google blocking searches. Why do that if they can just take down sites?


The Chinese Government does take down sites that are hosted in China, their laws permit them to do that. They don’t take down sites hosted elsewhere however because it’s illegal, they simply restrict access to sites they don’t like by adding them to a blacklist so that Chinese surfers can’t get to them. Or they allow access, as in the case of Yahoo, but remove any banned references before they get to the end user.

I’m not an IT expert, but even with my limited understanding of how the Interweb works I can think of better ways of censoring a site than putting them on a search engine blacklist. It would be like trying to stop my wife talking on the phone by removing her listing in the phone book.

Bob K
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17 posted 11-29-2008 07:36 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K

Dear Denise,

          While you may, of course, be completely right about your worries here, I offer another case for your examination.

     China, as you know, has a difficult human rights record, and there are many reasons for wishing to have nothing to do with them.  I confess that I think that some sort of interaction with them is probably the best course.  That is not necessarily a Liberal position, since it was held by both Nixon and Kissinger and Reagan and Bush I and presumably by the current Bush II.   You may disapprove with reasons all of us should consider honorable, whether we agree in the long run or not.

     I would point out to you, however, that when it came time for China to get world wide new service, it opened the field to bidders internationally and the folks who won were the Folks at Sky News.  Sky News now supplies the majority of TV programming for China, and you can bet that the programming complies with what the Chinese government feels is appropriate content.  I don't know if you approve or not.  Should you have the same feelings you have voiced for what you believe Google may be doing — it's not clear to me, by the way, that they are, at this point — but it's good to see you upset about such an issue.

      Sky news, you will be pleased to know, is owned by Rupert Murdoch, who owns Fox and Fox news.

     My question for you is, having thrown google under the bus for reasons that appear to me to be founded on rumor and misunderstanding, what will you do with Fox News for co-operating with the Chinese, too?  The deal between Murdoch and China is right out in the open, for all to see.

     For myself, I see it as pretty much what I'd expect from Murdoch, who's first and foremost a businessman concerned with doing business and giving the market what he thinks they'll buy, though his preference is for far right wing stuff.  I don't see him doing anything particularly far out with his deal with China, though there are things I'd like to see changed there.  But what, Denise, about you?

     As far as Murdoch and Fox and their censorship of our news here, and the views that they offer us of the world, and how accurate they may be, Did you think they would stop with China?

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Denise
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18 posted 11-29-2008 10:32 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I don't agree with censorship wherever it takes place or whoever is involved with it.

I don't see Fox News here in the States as being censored. You can get more of a complete picture from them, from all sides of the coin, than you can from the MSM.
Grinch
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19 posted 11-30-2008 10:24 AM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


quote:
I don't agree with censorship wherever it takes place or whoever is involved with it.


Then you’re frequenting the wrong site Denise, as Ron has pointed out he practises a form of censorship right here at PIP.

Denise
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20 posted 11-30-2008 11:14 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I meant the censorship of the free expression of political views, Grinch. My bad for not being more explicit.
Grinch
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21 posted 11-30-2008 12:52 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch

quote:
I meant the censorship of the free expression of political views


Denise,

If your government enacted a law that made it illegal for this site to carry any political comment would Ron or the government be guilty of censorship if Ron decided to comply rather than facing a prison sentence and the closure of PIP?

If you think the blame lies with the Government then you’re aiming your wrath at the wrong target with your claim that Google is guilty of wanton censorship. China is censoring content, Google is doing what Ron would do in the same situation and complying.

If you turn your ire on China I’ll be behind you 100%, I’ll even carry a banner, but painting Google as some evil suppressor of free speech isn’t something I can believe in.

Now Yahoo - well that’s another story entirely.

Denise
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22 posted 11-30-2008 02:04 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

No, I'd give Ron a pass because I am fond of him!
Bob K
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23 posted 12-01-2008 03:24 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



Dear Denise,

           Fox is MSM.  They are part of the
empire, one of the largest media conglomerates on the planet.  They don't appear censored to you because their bias happens much of the time to fit with yours.

     When I grew up in Ohio, I used to rag on my cousins from Boston about their Boston accent.  They used to rag on me about my Ohio accent.  It was absolutely clear to me that I had no accent at all; after all, I talked normal.  My r's were so hard, you could use them to open cans, but I didn't have any accent.

     The American media overall is — I think — biased to the right.  This includes the New York Times and all the other papers that Conservatives consider part of a great conspiracy  from the left.  When these newspapers are busy not reporting good news from places that Conservatives want Good News reported from, they take it as evidence of media bias.  I take it as the fact that people are nice isn't particularly news — it's more human interest story stuff that gets fit in around the edges, when and if there's time.  I keep hearing the editorial dictum "If it bleeds, it leads" quoted, and frankly, Good News doesn't bleed.

     When the Clinton era intervention in Bosnia was going on, the Times and the other major papers were reporting that the intervention was a ploy to take attention away from Clinton's Domestic problems, that we were "nation building" (and that was supposed to be a bad thing at the time) and the focus was pretty relentlessly on Whitewater and other issues that never rose to the level of criminal prosecution.  It was very uncomfortable, but the press was doing its job.  My preference would have been for some exploration as to how these various charges came about and how they were tied in with dirty tricks, but that didn't get well investigated though I thought it should have been.  That didn't mean that the press was doing its job differently then than it is now; it simply means that the focus was in a different direction.

     Folks in Media Matters and at The Nation are pretty convinced that there is an anti-left wing press bias, and can quote examples.  While I tend to go with their politics, this particular piece of media paranoia seems to be — to me at least — shared by both left and right.  The exception seems Fox, whose coverage of left wing thinking seems almost exclusively negative in a reflexive fashion.  Perhaps you might offer some examples of Fox offering positive coverage of left wing stuff; I, for one, don't recall any offhand.  This seems neither fair nor balanced.

Sincerely, Bob Kaven
Denise
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24 posted 12-01-2008 05:37 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I am off to work shortly and have to get ready, Bob. But just a quick note: I aaid that I didn't see them as censored.

We wouldn't even have known that the surge was working if it had been up to the MSM. They could have presented a more balanced picture instead of just giving the casualties. Fox News did both. Why couldn't the others?

Every news commentary program that I have watched has a conservative and a liberal giving their opinion on a particular topic. When I watch CNN, or CBS or NBC I don't see that. Granted, I don't watch much of it anymore, so maybe I've missed something lately.

 
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