June 16, 2004

Weblogs.com free sites shutdown, and supplicating gods

How Not to Shutter a Service: Weblogs.com Goes Dark (James Grimmelmann) is the best article I've seen which described those events. It would be unfair to say Dave Winer pulled a Michael Sims with those weblogs. But shutting down people's sites without any warning is a very rude thing, even given any extenuating circumstances.

First, I must take the nethead loyalty oath, which consists of stamping one's foot and saying "MY SERVER, MY RULES".

[stamp foot] "His server, His rules!" - forever and amen.

There. That allegiance being pledged, we can move on to consideration of the nuances that even though one may have a legal right to do something, it can still be against common courtesy and social obligation.

Second, I must praise him for the often-thankless task of providing a free service. Consider that done. I'll also note with deep sympathy and true consolation that he got a heavy Slashdot-slam, which is some of the most troll-filled hate-flaming known to the net.

So I haven't wanted to say much, since after all the coverage, there's not much to say. But I did want to note something which moved me to speak truth to power. When Dave Winer proclaims:

One thing is gratifying, the weblogs.com users have uniformly been patient, supportive, gracious, and just plain nice.

I have to add my voice to say this is bullying in effect to the powerless, no matter what's inside the speaker's head. If a person's files depended on the goodwill of someone who just yanked their site without any notice, then all the affected person might want to say is:

"Most kind and beneficent Blog-God, bringer of RSS, giver of links, router of media, exemplar of the New Era, apostle of Truth, Defender of the Faith, smasher of Atoms, grand radiance of the 'Sphere ... please grant this unworthy freeloader the boon of site restoration."

Yeah, they'll have to be "patient, supportive, gracious, and just plain nice". Until they get their files back. But by then it will be "old news", and practically nobody would hear what they had to say.

I've been there. And it's not pretty.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on June 16, 2004 11:59 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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feel for winer though, dude makes it sound like he's facing the void. a choir of sycophants might be preferable to silence if you're dying.

oh, and anything that makes people think about backing their shit up constantly, that's just heroic.

Posted by: sean broderick at June 17, 2004 11:23 AM