Linda G. Hill

Life in progress

The Harsh Reality

49 Comments

So I read WordPress’s Terms of Service. Fun times. Basically they cover their “assets” by saying they can do whatever they want – we agree to this when we sign up. Feel safe? Check section 16.

  • Termination. Automattic may terminate your access to all or any part of the Website at any time, with or without cause, with or without notice, effective immediately. If you wish to terminate this Agreement or your WordPress.com account (if you have one), you may simply discontinue using the Website. All provisions of this Agreement which by their nature should survive termination shall survive termination, including, without limitation, ownership provisions, warranty disclaimers, indemnity and limitations of liability.

Here’s the link if you’re interested in reading the rest: http://en.wordpress.com/tos/

HarsH ReaLiTy’s access to “follow” and “like” blogs was suspended. This is why, and I quote from a letter made public in the forums:

Hello,

We have noticed unusual behavior in your account, and have disabled several social features of WordPress.com, such as liking and/or following, as a result.

You have agreed to our Terms of Service which specifically says your β€œblog is not getting advertised via unwanted electronic messages such as spam links on newsgroups, email lists, other blogs and web sites, and similar unsolicited promotional methods”.

Your rapid pattern of liking or following has exceeded our hourly limits many times, which caused your account to be flagged.

Your ability to follow other blogs will not be restored. If you genuinely need to follow so many blogs, we would encourage you to use an external RSS feed reader (eg. Feedly.com).

Lisa | Community Guardian | WordPress.com

As a result of this, Jason Cushman, aka Opinionated Man, owner of HarsH ReaLiTy, has said he will close down his site – and I can’t blame him. He has done more for bloggers on WordPress than anyone I know: what enabled him to do so is the very thing they are accusing him of doing wrong.

One would hope that the above is at least in part a form letter, sent to those whose blogs are flagged. One would also hope that there is a real human being investigating these automatic flags – a human being with compassion, common sense, and an eye for discerning what is truly malicious and self-serving and what is genuine human interaction, as evidenced by the comments here: Save HarsH ReaLiTy!!.

It is with this hope that I will send the above link to the Terms of Service people. I can’t help but believe that they will see that their automated systems have picked up on a unique situation and that the matter needs to be dismissed as a non-issue.

Please – I ask you one more time, if you haven’t commented on Save HarsH ReaLiTy!! do so now. The more support this gets, the more chance there will be to get Opinionated Man back.

Don’t let this be a Harsh Reality!!!

Other posts on HarsH ReaLiTy:

https://idiotwriting.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/je-suis-opinionatedman-we-have-the-power-to-care/

http://doncharisma.org/2015/01/15/this-is-a-very-sad-day-for-blogging/

https://ahillbillyblogger.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/free-harsh-reality-from-wordpress-jail/

and of course: http://aopinionatedman.com/2015/01/14/closing-harsh-reality-going-private/

Author: LindaGHill

There's a writer in here, clawing her way out.

49 thoughts on “The Harsh Reality

  1. I had so many issues with wordpress when I first began blogging and little help to resolve, wasting so much time searching forums for answers. They are like Oz, pushing buttons and doing what they want. So I moved to my own domain, which I’m surprised such a successful blogger like OM didn’t do long ago. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is what happens when we try to overautomate things. But every flag will have an override feature, no matter what. So they should take this feedback and fix it. Hope they do.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would “like” this, but I fear that I may have reached a non-defined quota for “likes” in a 24 hour period. So…I commented instead. ~ Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. [ Smiles ] I have been following him for two years and it is a pity that he went through this type of cruelty.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am so saddened I do not know what to say!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Pingback: Save Harsh Reality, Or Else! | Not Cordelia's Mom

  7. In his defence, he did say he was going to offend at least every one of is with his words, so we shouldn’t take ourselves seriously

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Linda this WordPress community is awesome. I’m new to blogging but I feel very welcome here. I’m not sure what I was expecting but I am very pleased with what I found. That being said Jason has no rights here – Automattic is business. The best way to get their attention is in terms of their purpose as a business – profits. And they get that through page views to sell advertizing. Jason does more to build WP pageviews and encourage blogging and help those who need it, than any other blogger I know. As such, he is likely one of the larger revenue boosters that WP has.

    Jason’s opinions are not always politically correct and he has built a cadre of detractors. That being said, I would think that WordPress would be ultra-sensitive to curbing Freedom Of Speech rights at this moment in time, given the current public outcry supporting such freedoms in the aftermath of the Parisian terrorist slaughter. It would be very detrimental to their business model, if it became public knowledge that they were acting in a manner similar to Muslim terrorists – except in an administrative way vs actual murder – by killing Jason’s Freedom of Speech based on their dislike of him..

    To my mind, the ToS violation that they have quoted is absolute boulderdash. There is no truth to it and they are using it to cover up a desire to silence Jason because he is not politically correct. They are reacting to a group that dislikes Jason because of his opinions – nothing more. In no way does Jason infringe on any other blogger’s rights by spamming or acing as a troll. He and I have disagreed, on his blog, many times and he has always acted like a gentleman, expressing his desire that i have the right to my own opinion. Even given that, he has still offered to allow me to guest post on his site – which would be a huge boost to my reputation, given his 50,000 followers.

    In closing i would like to re-iterate two points: 1) Jason generates more pageviews and does more to boost blogging on WordPress than any other blogger I know without doing any spamming or acting as a troll or abusing any rules. and 2) For an American company WordPress is acting in a very unconsitutional manner by restricting Jason’s Freedom of Speech on his blog especially at this time when world opinion is supporting the Charlie Hebron right to publish massacre by terrorists in Paris.

    Liked by 4 people

    • I had planned to mention the amount of money he generates in my plea to have him reinstated. I alone have a paid subscription to WordPress – on two blogs nonetheless. I can’t be the only one he has encouraged to get their own domain – in fact if he hasn’t removed it there IS a blog post which does just that. Thanks for reminding me.
      The freedom of speech thing – there’s no proof that they’re silencing him because of his views, unless you consider that his views on following are the issue. If you can come up with any specifics, I’m more than happy to hear them.
      Thanks for your support, Paul. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Thank you for making us all aware of these limitations/conditions. I say it again, Jason is so helpful and supportive and also funny – I hope he keeps writing/blogging – Save Harsh Reality!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Jeez, that’s bloody scary, Linda – like Big Brother. I agree with your comment regarding abuse of power. xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The ToS is standard boilerplate, typical of major online companies. Agree to everything we want in exchange for use of our site, that sort of thing. What gets me is that this boilerplate exists, but one does not have to read it in order to sign up on the site.

    The worst thing about all of this is that Jason has paid for his site. I could understand if WordPress shut down my blog; I don’t pay for mine. But he paid money arguably to have access to like and follow other blogs. What they have done here is worse than cancel their contract with Jason.

    They have arbitrarily changed the terms because of their own mistake.

    Liked by 2 people

    • They cover the money portion of it too in the ToS. But yeah, it says nothing about putting a cap on how many blogs you can follow or posts you can like within the space of an hour, a day, or anything else. It’s all due to a bunch of people who complained: We need our bunch of people to be bigger!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • How do we know that it’s a bunch of people that complained? What it looks like to me is that WordPress might be applying automatic analysis of users that follow. It would trigger a rule in their monitoring software, and they automatically flag.

        And yes, the money portion is covered (NO REFUNDS). But my personal opinion (which I am allowed to provide for free) is that WP is just shooting first and not even bothering with questions later.

        Liked by 2 people

  12. Reblogged this on Idiot Writing and commented:
    Please do all you can to support this dear friend to many. MANY people are SO saddened by this event – this does not just affect ONE person – it affects us all… do you bit to part of allowing our voices to be heard to defend an injustice… leave your comment to show your solidarity – at this link – https://lindaghill.com/2015/01/14/save-harsh-reality/ by reblogging it so WordPress hear the FULL story. THANK YOU! And thank you to all who have already stepped up to the plate.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. “community guardian”…see, this is the kind of shit that happens when “everybody’s special.” What was this moderator (that’s what it is, a mod, not a guardian. nice, lofty title though) “guarding” the community from in this case? Someone who did more to help a lot of new bloggers than they did? This whole thing is ridiculous.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. This is serious stuff. Hope it all works out.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Unfortunately for Jason’s situation, they do have humans checking. These moderators have made their distaste of him well known, both in question forums, and on several of his posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Yes! We need a real live human to access the situation. OM is awesome. We don’t want to lose him.

    WP has also done this to another blogger I follow :

    http://storytimewithjohn.com/2015/01/15/rip-storytime-with-john/%C2%A0

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I just purchased a site with WP, and wish I had gone with another provider 😦 I likely will when the contract is up because of this. It also doesn’t surprise me they have a “If we feel butt hurt, we’ll shut you down” clause. Fight the good fight, Linda!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would imagine most of the sites have this sort of clause in their ToS, partially because if the entire site goes belly up we can’t sue them for losing our work.
      I still think WP is the best there is – they just need not to abuse this power.
      Thanks for the encouragement, my dear. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

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