Saturday, June 29, 2013

MBS Spanko Brunch #389

Welcome to our fifth and final brunch for the month of June. Our topic this week is a serious one. Over the past ten years, our blogging community has grown from almost nothing to a thriving stream of nonstop conversation that educates, entertains, supports, inspires, and enlightens. In recent days, however, we have watched a number of beloved bloggers close their doors because of outsiders who condemn and ridicule their chosen lifestyle.

At the same time, my longtime host, Blogger, has threatened to remove adult blogs that allow advertisements. I find myself wondering how far this purge might extend. These are troubling times. It seems clear we must stick together, but what can we do? What should we do?

What is the proper response for our community to the twin threats of intolerance and censorship? How can we best support our blogging colleagues who are under fire?

I would appreciate your thoughts and insights on these important questions. Since this is likely to be a very lengthy discussion, I don't plan to republish it. On this occasion, the comments will speak for themselves.

27 comments :

SirQsmlb said...

Personally, I will continue to read, continue to comment, continue to write on my own blog and answer every comment that I get (non-spam).... I will not go away. I will protect my fellow bloggers identities (that I know) with absolute diligence.

I don't know the answers, but I'm happy todo whatever I can. I adore this community!

hugs,
fiona

chickadee said...

I don't think there is a proper response. Being supportive of one another goes without saying. As far as blogger goes... well I'm the analogy queen so you must suffer lol

Picture a high school graduate. Parents say they'll pay for college and let him stay living at home, but only under some conditions. He must get a part time job and he must maintain a B average. No problem, thanks mom and dad. Fast forward a few months.

Now "adult" kid is out partying until the middle of the night, gets the dogs in a ruckus when he comes in, eats all the food in the house and leaves it for mom to clean up. So new rules quickly come at him, first a curfew, then household responsibilities, then sharing food expenses... Oh, the horrors!!!

Now, is it right to protest and rally against the changes when the parents are giving him a free ride? All they're asking is for him to be respectful of their home and needs. Yeah, kid, go ahead and stomp your feet and throw a tantrum. But you're not paying the bills and despite being an adult you're living under someone else's roof and must comply to their changing wishes.

Back to blogger... It's google's game. We don't pay for it. We must abide by their changing rules or find somewhere else to live. It feels like censorship, especially in conjunction with all the other attention that's being received lately. But it's really not. It's just google saying "hey, we don't think you should make money off adult content in our house."

So there's two choices, abide by the new rules or move out. Is there enough advertising income to justify the argument in the first place? I have two websites, one is quite extensive, that I made on wordpress. I'm pretty sure it's well under $100 a year. And since I own the domains, nobody can tell me what to do. Supposedly blogger converts to wordpress without too much trouble. Wordpress has a learning curve, but so did blogger.

web-ed said...

I hadn't realized this was an issue. I thought our only problem was that people got burned out and simply stopped blogging after a while, or discontinued their efforts for other personal reasons (e.g. Todd and Suzy at A.S.S.). The truth is I only have time to follow a few blogs, and I'm not a blogger myself because I am the master of Chicago Spanking Review's domain - literally. No one can shut me down as long as I pay the bills.

I suppose the biggest problem with blogging is that you have no financial leverage with your host - I've never fully understood how Blogger and Wordpress and whoever else is out there even made any money, considering their costs in servers, software, and data storage. Only two ideas come to mind:

1. Use the competition between blogging hosts. If your host is giving you trouble, move to another. The only problem with that is I don't know how to move your old posts because I'm not personally familiar with blogging software. If your host provides a backup facility, use it to keep a backup on your home computer that could be used to move your old posts to a new site. Text files are tiny - I have the entire CSR discussion forum, about 4500 posts, backed up on less than 8 MB! Of course, this does not include pictures.

2. Form a cooperative with other spanking bloggers: purchase your own domain and then "subdivide" it so that the individual bloggers' pages have URL's that would look something like this:
our_spanking_co-op.com/blogger #1.index
our_spanking_co-op.com/blogger #2.index
our_spanking_co-op.com/blogger #3.index

I am provided with 15 data bases by my web host (I use only 2, with several tables in each DB), so even if each blogger required his/her own data base, which doesn't sound very efficient, you could still fit 15 bloggers onto one site!

The cost, divided between a number of people, would be affordable. The biggest problem would be software, which would require some further investigation.

joeyred51 said...

I removed all my links on my blog because of a note I received from Blogger. It does not make sense to me, but Blogger belongs to Google and it is free.

Our community is probably too small to change Google's policies.

Dragon's Rose said...

So far, I haven't had any problems. A few blogs I follow have gone private but that is it. If blogger starts shutting dd and spanking blogs down, there are other blog platforms that can be used.

What can we do? How should bloggers react? Circle the wagons and deal with what comes. People who come to my blog with a bad attitude don't get published. I will keep blogging. If for some reason, I get shut down, I'll start another blog.

DelFonte said...

If you are concerned your blog is one of those that Google may pull, and it does seem arbitrary over who has been warned and who hasn't, then export it as an xml file. this file will easily import into Wordpress, with comments and drafts. it doesn't take much to set up a wordpress blog, though it is very different to admin. However, the blog roll won't come over, nor will links. So you need to copy those separately. I've started to use Feedly.
Wordpress also has restrictions, but if you are just basically had enough of Blogger, it's not difficult to migrate.
The lack of warning on Google's part, plus the the poor communication is appalling and causing a lot of concern to bloggers.
As for our own community, the internet will never be an entirely save venue for exchanging ideas and information. Take precautions and maintain the community as best as possible with support and respect.

kimskinkykorner.com said...

we could strike go black for a day no post no ads no money for them! hit them in there pockets follow the money so to speak !let the advertisers adult ones go black with us boycott Google 24 hrs all adult blogs and advertisers!

Vanille said...

Google's note is still quite vague as to exactly what they want from us. Of course, being the quiet, complying mouse I am, I deleted all affiliate links from my sidebar & from posts that had them (Just in case.) I also exported my blog (and Picasa albums on the day the notice came out and will do so AGAIN on the 30th when The Goog is supposed to pay their smackdown of sorts.

Daisy Christian said...

I'm very saddened by all this..I really don't know what to do..however I haven't gotten e-mails from Google so I'm confused.. I don't post much so mayb thats why..but it does seem strange that they can just shut down the blogs..it is freedom of speach however I suppose because they own it? I read that article but I guess it got way bigger after I read it

Jenny said...

I'd like to hear more about the bloggers who quit. Who were they? How were they "outed"?

If a service like Blogger allows some sites to have ads, they should allow that, regardless of the content of the site. The distinction should be whether any site can allow ads or not. Could your links be construed as ads? Not directly, but in a way they are promoting the websites that are linked.

Hermione said...

The answer to the first part of the question - what to do about intolerance - is to ignore it. There will always be some people who object to another's lifestyle, whatever that might be. If you are targeted, moderate all your comments so you can delete the ones that offend you. Going private is a good, temporary measure until the publicity dies down.

Now on to the second part - censorship. Google / Blogger does not prohibit adult blogs, nor does it censor them or intentionally remove them. The Blogger Terms of Service have always stated that "Commercially funded adult content" and "Monetizing of adult content, aka porn spam" are violations of these terms. As long as you are not doing this on your blog, and remove any advertising of commercial adult sites from your blog, you should be fine.

Note that moving to WordPress is not necessarily a long-term solution. WP will eventually crack down too. Also note that even if you have your own personal domain, if your blog is hosted on Blogger you are subject to the same Terms of Service.

MrBBSpanker said...

I didn't get an email that has mentioned anything about Blogger pulling specific sales or blogs who advertise etc. Maybe because my blog is completely a free info/resource site. But I'm not clear if blogs who share links to sales sites are going to be targeted also.

As far as the rash of intolerant and misleading articles recently concerning the DD area of the community... myself and some long time friends have been doing damage control. We have been sharing the correct info and a link to a DD description that is accepted by the community.
Sadly, there have been some sites that have either left completely or gone private.
I am researching and compiling information for an article that will help shed some light on the truth behind the author of the first offending article, the info she posted, the interviewee's position and also highlighting anyone who is willing positive links to real information from people who actually live real lives within the varied DD dynamic.
I host a DD Homepage. This has been horrible and damaging and I don't feel I, or others, who care about our community should just stick our heads in the sand and hope it all goes away.
Respectfully,
# MrBBSpanker

MrBBSpanker said...

ooops that should have read...
* willing "to share" their positive links to real information from people who actually live real lives within the varied DD dynamic.

And thanks Bonnie for publishing the best resource in the entire spanking community, and someone who is willing to ask the tough questions when needed.

#MrBBSpanker

Conina B said...

I'm a little uncertain of what's going to happen to my blog as well - I don't have "ads" to "adult sites," but I do have some links to places where you can purchase things.

I've been considering my own domain/software, but as I'm about to go on vacation that's a little difficult. I just hope I still have a blog when I come back.

In the mean time I have backed mine up so I have access to my content.

sixofthebest said...

Bonnie, I have like you never ever believed in censorship. As a lurker, I must now await the consequences of the fallout. Hopefully for us all of us, it will not be a severe one. Here us hoping a solution can be found.

Callie M said...

I wish I could say that I think it will 'blow over'. I simply don't think it will, for a number of reasons.

The normal comings and goings of blogs is just magnified because this seems a good time to 'get out'. Yes, this is caused by the media attention but I don't think for many, but for a very small few, that this is the cause.

Many are just tired to blogging, it has run it's course and served a purpose for them.

People are hyper sensitive about privacy at the moment which is unretandable. There are a number of bloggers in the community who have felt almost 'stalked' by one blogger. (I shouldn't have to make this clear but I will anyway. I'm not talking about ADDS or LDD)

This has caused the moving of a few blogs and the cessation of blogging for others.

It seems that there really are 3 reasons for the current closure and making private of some blogs. I don't think any of them is the single cause but I don't think there is a lot that can be done about it.

Things happen in communities, they do recover over time, but only if those remaining are willing to stick it out and keep going.

I will be staying, I don't have any less respect for those who have left or gone private.

The media circus hasn't made it our way and there's been no reporting in any local or national press I know of.

Great topic Bonnie!

Callie

acknowledgingimperfection.com said...

Thanks for hosting this discussion- I've been giving a lot of thought to these issues recently, and it helps to read the views of others.

I'm inclined to treat organizations who have a prejudice against our lifestyle the same way I would someone on the street spouting blatantly racist or sexist remarks. Nothing I could say or do would make a difference in the face of that kind of blind hatred. Best to divert my energy elsewhere- quietly stating my position and making my views available to those whose opinions are not yet set in stone.

Part of the reason I started blogging was to add my voice to the chorus of reason on this issue. I took precautions, of course. I chose wordpress because it seems to be one of the more tolerant systems at this time. Knowing that may change, I keep a backup of all my files (well, two backups- I'm clumsy and notoriously hard on electronic equipment).

Perhaps most significantly, having developed a close friendship with someone who was outed, I am careful to check with myself to make sure I could live with the content of every post or comment if my identity was revealed. I'd prefer this not happen, of course, but being cautious changes my perspective somewhat. Overall, I feel the benefit to participating in this community far outweighs the risks associated with being outed.

The stances taken by various hosts may alter our community somewhat, but I have no doubt that we will adapt until more reasonable policies become commonplace. I have yet to see a case where the power of censorship exceeds humankind's creativity in self expression, and that gives me great hope.

Our Bottoms Burn said...

We don't read DD or CDD blogs, so we have no idea who went down or why. Seems to be a secret that the bloggers don't wish to discuss?

As to the recent note threatening to shut down Blogs that link to commercial porn. Fine with me. Porn pays well, let them pay to advertise. Using a free platform to promote a commercial activity is nothing more than an attempt for a free lunch. It's not censorship.

Nervous about getting shut down? Spend a $100 an year and get your own domain and a host.

My reaction? A big yawn.

bobbsroom said...

Part one, same as Hermione IGNORE IT. Does not matter what you are into there will always be small mined people that know best and have such sad lives that they want to interfere with everyone else’s,

Part two, has no bearing on my blog. I started to blog for my own benefit not realising that i would come across so many like minded people and start to make some very nice cyber friends. I have no intension of advertising anything. Any links are unpaid and places i visit and use.

Thanks Bonnie, Great discussion.

Claire Colinsgrove, aka 1950s Wife said...

As far as the Google announcement is concerned, I think they sent it to every Blogger blog that uses the adult-content warning page. I suspect the blogs Google is referring to at risk of being taken down are those that consist of noting more than ads for Triple-X porn sites. But I could be wrong.

As far as the article in The Daily Beast that caused such an uproar in the spank kink community, I read it several times and would note that the article, as well as dozens of comments I read, were 100-percent positive concerning consenting adults who do spanking/BDSM as a sexual turn-on. As a 51-year-old, I can tell you such a uniformly positive stance on that aspect of spanking/BDSM is quite a change from the way it used to be seen back in the "good old days."

Personally, being spanked is a HUGE turn-on for me. The only way spanking would work for behavior modification for me would be for my husband to deny me spanking, rather than using it on me. When I first came across on internet in 1996 of people who spoke of women being subject to "real punishment spanking" by their husbands/boyfriends as behavior modification, I was very disturbed by the concept, as it really grated against my feminist sensibilities. Having gotten to know DD people over the years, I've been able to adopt a "live-and-let-live" philosophy about it.

As far as "Christian Domestic Discipline" is concerned, The Rev. Hornee Hanly, totally awesome dude, gives his Sunday sermon on the matter at http://1950swife.blogspot.com/

Bonnie said...

Thank you all for making some great points!

I know about journalists because I am one. They quickly tire of any topic, no matter how sensational, unless there are intriguing new developments. Let's make sure we don't give them any.

I think the troll army will also eventually move along if we don't engage them. I silently and immediately delete any trollish comments. This works quite well.

Disappearing blogs are a real concern. If Web-Ed is right and these bloggers were ready to leave anyway, I suppose there's not much we can (or should) do. But if they were scared off because they feared for their privacy or felt they could no longer safely express their feelings, perhaps we can do some good.

This is where community support comes in. I will not try to second guess anyone's choices, but I will let them know that our community's support for them and all bloggers, past, present, and future, remains strong and steadfast. We may have differences among ourselves, but that respectful diversity of opinion brings us closer together rather than tearing us apart.

People on the outside are entitled to think and speak as they please, but we choose whether to react.

The recent Tumblr episode, painful as it was, appears to have been the work of one bitter man. Let's hope it's an isolated incident.

As for Blogger, it's human nature to fear the worst. I know I worry because I link a number monetized spanking blogs, not the really spammy kind, but those that offer genuine content. Could I fall victim to the purge? I sure hope not.

I'm not planning to do anything differently. I have neither advertisements nor explicit pictures, so maybe I'll be OK. I have all my content backed up, so in theory, I might be able to start again somewhere else. Whether I would actually do that if MBS were deleted, I don't know.

I prefer to use a free hosting service precisely because MBS is not a business. If I started paying for hosting, it would take away the communal, sharing feel for me. Today, I pay nothing. I earning nothing. I offer my time and skills to the world with no obligations.

I understand that means the Google gets to make the rules, and as long as they are not oppressive, I am happy. In almost eight years, MBS has pushed millions of valuable clicks through their various sites. I'm hardly a free rider.

Today is Black Sunday, June 30, the beginning of the Blogger purge. How bad will it be? How many legitimate blogs will be sacrificed in the name of purity? Whether we wish to watch or not, we will all soon learn these answers.

I think that we as a community have a responsibility to support those who are displaced. I will happily promote any returning blog. I will offer whatever advice I can to help in transitions. I refer people to those who are smarter than I am when I cannot help. I will provide moral support whenever I can.

If we all contribute, our community wil rebuild and thrive together.

Anonymous said...

I used to be a blogger. I had to disappear without a word due to being outed.

A malicious and obsessive fellow member of the community made false, disturbing and despicable accusations about me to the police.

The police were wonderful and supportive but to keep my career and my self safe I had to go away without a word.

I can't tell you how painful this loss was. I could watch people talk about me on line but could say nothing. Some people were angry with me for letting them down and others thought I might have had enough and just slunk away.

It hurt not to tell the truth. I have had to move job, home and have lost the wonderful friends and support network of this community.

Being outed has been a painful, expensive and terrifying experience.

My suggestion is that people take care of real information (a city and a first name is too much information to have out there)
and that if a blogger appears to be malicious and focused on attacking others then back away from them - keep yourself safe.

I have know of two others bloggers shut down by the same person that got me. I have no doubt that more people will suffer in the future.

I miss my blog, and I miss my friends every single day. If I had any other choice I would have taken it.

Daisychain said...

I haven't been warned; and have no idea what all this is about! I am also not computer literate enough to do anything about changing.... so if I get shut down, so be it...I can't do anything to stop it, through lack of knowledge. If I disappear unannounced, dear friends, it is because Google has scuppered me, for I promise faithfully to announce on my blog if and when I intend to leave.

I don't think I actually read any blogs who advertise; at least, I have never noticed any advertisements....

As to anonymous, directly above, I am shocked and appalled...I had no idea this was going on!
Where have I been??? Why do I not know people are doing this to fellow bloggers? Come back, as a new name, and we can secretly, amongst those of us you trust, pass it on who you used to be, or hint at it, and those who knew you well may guess. xxxxxxx

Enzo said...

Bonnie - Thank you again for brining to the forefront another important topic.

I don't have much to add except for a few minor points.

To those who did not receive the Blogger email, I think it would be helpful to share. Here it is:

Important Update to Adult Content Policy on Blogger
You are receiving this message because you are the admin of a blog hosted on Blogger which is identified to have Adult content.
Please be advised that on June 30th 2013, we will be updating our Content Policy to strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger. "After" June 30th 2013, we will be enforcing this policy and will remove blogs which are adult in nature and are displaying advertisements to adult websites.
If your adult blog currently has advertisements which are adult in nature, you should remove them as soon as possible as to avoid any potential Terms of Service violation and/or content removals.
Sincerely, 
 The Blogger Team

As far as Bloggers Content Policy, the link above should work, but the relevant area is as follows with quotes added by me:

Adult Content: We "DO" allow adult content on Blogger, including images or videos that contain nudity or sexual activity. But, please mark your blog as 'adult' in your Blogger settings. Otherwise, we may put it behind a 'mature content' interstitial.
There are some exceptions to our adult content policy:
⁃ "Do not use Blogger as a way to make money on adult content. For example, don't create blogs where a significant percentage of the content is ads or links to commercial porn sites."
⁃ No incest or bestiality content…..
Child safety: We have a zero tolerance policy towards content that exploits children…. "
The majority of the blogs should be fine. At least I hope so.

As far as malicious people choosing to "out" us bloggers that is what I fear more so than Bloggers rules.

I write my blog from a 50% reality / 50% erotic fantasy base. I do know that some of what I have written seems to have "offended" certain readers perhaps in a similar vain to how the CDD article author's was offended. I can understand this to a point.

There are plenty of other people's opinions I myself do not agree with; however what I do not understand is the insults and so forth, including certain silent treatment that certain readers suddenly resort to. How far will they go? If I read something on a blog I do not like I simply move on. I do not see a need to rudely insult or name call. If I am a long term reader or "online friend" to a particular blog author I explain to that author the reason for my discontent - politely. I can respect a difference of opinions and tastes even within the same person. We are multi-faceted people and we aren't going to always agree 100%.


We will wait and see how this plays out.

Loki_Darksong said...

The main thing that has to be done is for all of us to support one another. Recently I have become aware of a split within the Spanking Community between the people who spank for fun and for professional reasons and those who are into spanking just for fun, with the latter having the issues.

I do not know how this happened or when this happened. But this division only serves to hurt us and help the ones who have decided to make our lives miserable.

A'marie said...

I feel out of touch, and I'm late to the topic, but I still wanted to throw my 2¢ in. I hope that's okay.

If you want to make money via advertising from your blog, you should host it anyway, IMHO. This gives you far more control over the content and management of your blog. It's far easier to do than you might think. I manage a (vanilla) blog that uses WordPress (the downloaded/installed version, it does not run on WP servers). The learning curve is a tiny bit steep, but truly with a small amount of perseverance it is easily mastered.

Here's a link to downloading WordPress:
http://wordpress.org/download/

As they note, you will need a hosting service, but they're a dime a dozen.



I am sorry people have felt forced out due to privacy or other concerns. That hazard of blogging never seems to go away. :( There will always be petty, malicious people.

Spanking Tube said...

I think that making money for free to google does not seem right. The thing about that. You want money, then invest it and do not use my servers!

I really am sorry to be so because I have a blog on blogger with adult content that generates profits for advertisers adult content and I will lose all that effort for more than five years for this new policy.

However, I keep thinking that during those five years, google gave me the possibility to generate some extra money with fast and secure servers. Then. Unfortunately I must comply with the rule and remove the adult ads from blog to try not to lose

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