The Devil Meets Forces Beyond His Control

August 28, 2015

A couple of days ago, I wanted to do a post about the current crisis in the Venezuela-Colombia border and when I tried to go to the Editor, this is what I found:

wP1

WP2

You can imagine my surprise. Over the years I have encountered threats and suits, but I had never had trouble posting over such a vague “concern” and obviously worried about what it was that WordPress had concerns about.

I wrote back and I got a message that said something like:

After the receipt of a valid report regarding the publication of private/personal information forbidden by our Terms of Service, posting access to your WordPress.com site has been disabled. If you would like to delete the information in question from the above posts or pages, the site may be returned to normal. If you feel otherwise, you are free to export your content and move it to a more appropriate WordPress host

Thus, it was move or die…

The post in question was a 2009 post containing information that is widely available on the web, so it seemed more important for me to continue posting and I offered to remove the material, thinking they would do it. I also noted that the material is widely available, inclusively in other wordpress blogs. I also told them that I disagreed with the procedure of stopping me from posting first and later asking me to remove the material. They were basically blocking me from posting without me having any alternative.

At this point I got this response:
I have temporarily lifted the suspension, but will have to suspend the site indefinitely if you are unable to comply with the request.”

Of course, the problem is that I still did not know what the “request” was, since the precise “information” that was forbidden in the Terms of Service was never specified. Since I did not know the specific material, I went ahead and deleted the post, which was from 2009.

I am, of course, deeply disturbed by all this. I have simply met forces beyond my control. Someone can go to WordPress and complain and without any context, my site can be blocked if I don’t agree to remove the material. It seems I have few rights, unless I want to get into  a long-winded fight, while I am unable to post, at a time that it seems very important to post about what is going on in Venezuela.

And being able to post seems to be what is important at this time…

Even more ominous, it seems as if bloggers have little power to fight this, as blog sites are more concerned with not incurring in costs associated with defending the right to say things, than allowing for the truth to be told.

The case involved, as I said, is irrelevant to current Venezuela, but this leaves a very bitter taste in my mouth. because there are forces out there that are more powerful than those that speak and defend the truth, and it is difficult for us to defend ourselves.

And wordpress is just taking the easy way out, which makes me mad and certainly will push me into considering an alternative. If my blog could simply be suspended overnight without me having even the possibility of defending myself, I certainly don’t want to live in this neighborhood ans feel defrauded by the “wonderful” WordPress platform that was supposed to “grow” with me…

NOTE ADDED: Out of the blue wordpress reached out to me apologizing for not being specific and pointing out the material which violated the Terms of Service and letting me know that I can keep the rest of the post up. I will do so as soon I can reconstruct it as I am traveling. The post was made on Dec. 17th. 2009 for those interested. 

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30 Responses to “The Devil Meets Forces Beyond His Control”


  1. Greetings, my name is Alexandra Camacaro I’m currently working with a lawfirm called Velasco & Calle D’Aleman Abogados expertos en TIC in Medellin, Colombia. I would really like to discuss the details of the incident (maybe with the page’s administrator) to write an article about it.
    If you can, please send me an e-mail and I’ll get in contact with you as soon as posible.

  2. Ray Velcoro Says:

    unscrupulous Venezuelans playing the U.S. system not new. I have been dealing with this for past five years. Cops, lawyers, private investigators, stalking, harrassing, you name it. I just turn everything around on them but it can be costly.

  3. Alej Says:

    Time to move

  4. ALasBarricadas Says:

    > Of course, the problem is that I still did not know what the “request” was, since the precise “information” that was forbidden in the Terms of Service was never specified.

    …Kafkaesque interactions with anonymous corporate bureaucracies…

    > I have simply met forces beyond my control…

    …the limited power of the individual against the monolith of an anonymous corporate bureaucracy…

    > It seems I have few rights

    …the lack of rights of the individual in a world where capitalists control the means of production and communication…

    >blog sites are more concerned with not incurring in costs associated with defending the right to say things, than allowing for the truth to be told

    …the lack of concern of rights of the ordinary person when corporate profits are threatened…

    > there are forces out there that are more powerful than those that speak and defend the truth

    …the bourgeoisie’s base and hegemonic superstructure overpower the truth…

    Geez, an American corporation cares more about profits than “rights” and “truth”, who would’ve thought? Careful, you keep ranting and raving about how American corporations and how imperial corporate hegemony doesn’t care about rights and truth, you wind up sounding like a Chavista…

  5. Kepler Says:

    Miguel,

    When was the last time the regime published GDP growth figures? I am trying to find stuff at the BCV but…

  6. Gordo Says:

    The issue clearly is one of logic. It is nonsense to advise you to resubmit your blog without the offending content while not disclosing what the offending content is. This is clearly a violation of reasonable conduct and rises to a level of being a unconscionable demand.

  7. captainccs Says:

    Miguel, as long as you use a third party service you have to abide by their terms of service (TOS). The only way to be free of it is to host your own blog which is why I host my own. But if you use a shared server others on the same server have been know to protest and block websites. That means using your own server. Of course, the costs escalate.

    One has to find a happy medium, not always easy. Please keep on trucking!

  8. Tony Tan Keng Yam Says:

    Get rid of WordPress.

    We should all boycott them.

    This kind of censorship should be ILLEGAL, in the USA and any other civilized, free country. THEY should be sued.

  9. jaimerequena Says:

    Miguel The arm of Big Brother is always longer than yours. I think you did the right thing but if I were you I will proceed filling a complain and demanding further information on tyhe issue while mounting a plan B elsewhere. Do not rest your pen. For curosity sake, wow, why dont you comment in Tweeter or email what was the 2009 issue about?


  10. I had my Facebook account disabled for 72 hours by a Chavista complaint. However, I fixed the problem by pointing out I had called Maduro an incompetent crook, he was a public figure, etc.

    But if they plan to sift through old material and block you I would definitely shift servers.

  11. bobthebuilder Says:

    Thanks for highlighting this WordPress facilitated censorship. I was thinking of engaging a commercial relationship with them but will now reconsider.

  12. Avila Says:

    The age of the little blogger may be coming to an end. Even if you host it yourself, you can also be served. I was sent a take down notice by the New York Times Legal team for reposting a chart. I fully sourced it. I am no lawyer. I have no lawyer and no real interest in arguing with a big company. Another blogger friend was threatened with a law suit over his art blog for the title since someone had a concept for a crappy video game b the same name. He had a lawyer friend who reviewed it and sent a nice FU legal letter that seems o have dispatched the threat. His was hosted on blogger. Mine was hosted on Blue host. But I am pretty certain both our platforms would have had the same response–not our problem.

  13. cc Says:

    Miguel,

    If you are hosting through a serious hosting provider your own blog, it would be very difficult for them to disable your blog over such kind of complaint. In the US, the webhost would have no liability over your content (this kind of policy is wordpress’, not the law).

    I could give you some advice for moving to a webhosting system that is actually under your control, just write me an email.

  14. ekleins Says:

    Easy. Move out from wordpress.com. Keep your domain name. Find another domain server or rent a virtual machine only for you.
    Saludos EKS

  15. Pedro Says:

    Fuck them. The truth will free us. Disappointed. Keep on trucking porfa… Quiero una arepa…

  16. sales man Says:

    Wait… you are surprised that any blog that posts any content ‘in any way’ problematic to progressive communism would be blocked? Really?

    My dear man you haven’t been paying much attention to the world outside Venezuela have you?

    You are a borderline thought criminal here.

    I have an idea. Lets move the whole Show to more friendly terrain.

    Just wink,
    regards,
    salesman

  17. Will Cavan Says:

    EFF is a great resource to defend your rights as a Blogger:

    https://www.eff.org/

  18. moctavio Says:

    They could still get to you via the hosting service.

    • Barry Says:

      HI Miguel

      WordPress seem to be making more and more problems for people not of their persuasion. I agree with Island Canuck to pay for your own website, or similar. That’s what most people do, it seems, in this kind of bind. Your new hostie will not probably have the same political problem with themselves….

      Good luck
      Barry

    • oeleboele Says:

      I own a small IT company that, amongst other things, provides WordPress hosting on our own servers to our customers.

      If you like, we can host your site for you. As i’m very well aware of the situation in Venezuela, and am very anti-chavez 😉 i can guarantee you that you will never have to remove any content unless the Dutch law forces us.

      Please let me know if you’re interested.

  19. IslandCanuck Says:

    Miguel. Have you considered just hosting with a normal company like say web.com or similar. A simple site like yours wouldn’t cost too much and you’d be independent.

    • taylortown01 Says:

      WordPress.com is popular with bloggers but limited in what is allowed.Most people use the WordPress.org platform and host with a commercial host. I use Bluehost and perhaps I can help you transfer your site over to another host. I do that all the time. It’s relatively east to do. Godaddy, Siteground and WP Engine are other popular WP hosts.

  20. Beatriz Brown Says:

    It certainly leaves a very bitter taste in at least this reader’s mouth and mind.

  21. Gustavo Smith Says:

    So much for freedom of press and debating ideas !!! Its really hot in hell but I will continue to read what the devil chooses to say.

    • pitiyanqui Says:

      Ah, but freedom of the press/speech only applies to government attempts to constrain content it feels is counter to the public (or the government’s) interest. WordPress is, fortunately, or unfortunately, a private entity and, as long as one uses their service, must abide by their rules.

      With a sense of the ironic, wasn’t it about 2009 that the DevilsExcrement switched to WordPress in the first place?


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