Saturday, 15 May 2021

A warning

 Ok, so I had an email from Blogger to say that they had deleted one of my posts because:

' Your post entitled 'Just finished, currently reading, new books' was flagged to us for review. We have 
determined that it violates our guidelines and deleted the post.'

' Your content has violated our malware and viruses policy. Please follow 
the community guidelines link in this email to learn more.'

As you can imagine panic ensued because they then said this:

' We encourage you to review the full content of your blog posts to make 
sure that they are in line with our standards as additional violations 
could result in the termination of your blog.'


Anyway, they had indeed deleted a post that I posted on the 4th. March, entitled, 'Just finished, currently reading, new books'. It had several book reviews, including Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, and a photo of new books and nice comments and discussion and it's just gone. And, stupidly, I feel like I've lost an arm.

First of all I thought I should change my Google password (although I only did that recently) but then I thought it best to Google, 'Malware attached to blog posts' first, and I found this:

Malware and spam in blogs

And saw the bit at the bottom regarding spam comments. I headed over to check the comments to that post which are still there and 'lightbulb moment', sitting there was a spam comment I had not deleted.  I deleted it of course, but too late, the post has disappeared into the ether.

So my question is this, has this happened to any of you with a Blogspot blog? Does anyone happen to know if this is all that's required to stop my blog being deleted... to make sure I delete any spam comments that might have suspicious links? (I usually do but that one escaped my notice.)

And also... this is to warn anyone who is not aware that this sort of thing can happen. I'm borderline traumatised... an over reaction I know. But I've had my bookblog since 2007 and the idea that all that work could just disappear without my say so is freaking me out quite frankly. 

Any ideas or comments on this very welcome.

UPDATE: Message from Blogspot, they have apparently reevaluated the offending post and reinstated it. I think I should've stayed in bed this morning...


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Cath, Same thing happened to me yesterday (first time ever and blogging since 2008). I freaked out and had no clue what to do but, today they reevaluated and my post: A Perfect Daughter review is up now. I have no clue how to avoid this??

Lark said...

That's scary! I would freak out, too. In fact, yesterday, when I tried to go to my blog site I got this big red "danger" warning page instead warning me that my blog page was unsafe and deceptive and might be trying to phish personal information. What?! It's my blog. The warning was gone later, but still... It did cause me a bit of panic.

Cath said...

Diane: Thanks for letting me know that this same thing happened to you yesterday. That's comforting at least but not nice for you either. I thought it was to do with the spam comment I'd forgotten to delete but given your experience that may have nothing to do with it. I'm all at sea with this and rather disturbed by it. And, like you, no clue how to avoid it. :-(

Lark: Thankyou for assuring me that you too would freak out. Our book blogs mean a lot to us as they represent years of effort. And what you experienced is not that disimilar to Diane and myself... accused of spreading malware and in your case 'phishing'. What the heck is going on? I bet that caused you a bit of panic... it would have had that effect on me too.

Jeane said...

I saw the warning page Lark mentions last night, too- it was here on your blog, Cath, and on my garden blog that's still hosted with blogspot, and every other blogspot blog I usually visit. My husband told me it just meant that Blogger hadn't updated something which tells Google their sites are safe. And that they'd fix it and all would be fine. So I tried not to panic (I have three blogs still with Blogger tho I've moved my book blog recently to WP) and checked this morning, all is fine again. I HAVE had an issue where I once deleted a spam comment from my email notification, and it promptly deleted a bunch of other comments that were NOT spam. Never got those pieces of conversation back.

I find this alarming, that they could just randomly delete your posts for no good reason. Makes me feel anxious to move my garden blog to WP now, too.

TracyK said...

Thanks for that warning, Cath. I would be upset if that happened to me, especially if I had not heard of it before. I would think that the fact that it is happening so much would indicate it is Blogger's problem, but who knows?

Mystica said...

Thank you for the heads up. I would be traumatised too.

Sam Sattler said...

I do think it's likely, Cath, that something is going on between Blogger and Google, but that spam comment you mention could have been the trigger that set it all off. The strange thing is that Google owns Blogger from what I recall, so you would think that this kind of thing would be more unlikely than it is.

My entire blog disappeared from Blogger several years ago for two weeks, and I could not even access the blogger software even though I had a second active blog going at the same time. Freaking Out was my first option...and I took it. Everything I'd worked on for years was suddenly gone. Luckily I had backed up the blog only a day or so before it happened, so when I was granted access again - with no explanation from Blogger - I was able to reload everything.

Back up your blog. I've gotten lazy I'm going to do that as soon as I finish this comment. Thanks for the warning that strange things are happening again.

TracyK said...

I backup my blog after every post is published, and do my best to make a copy of each post when finalized, so I can recreate it if necessary.

Cath said...

Jeanne: Well, it does seem like the problem was with Blogspot as your husband suggested. Hopefully it's now fixed but it caused a lot of consternation!

I had no idea that you had moved your bookblog. It did redirect me when I went to your old Blogspot one but my reading list was not updated of course. I've altered that now and you're back on my reading list. Did you find moving your blog straightforward?

Tracy: Yes, I think it was a Blogger problem but I was glad I posted as I then found out it wasn't just me. It was certainly disconcerting though.

Mystica: No problem.

Cath said...

Sam: Yes, I think it was definitely a Blogger problem but I do think that spam comment triggered something. Just a few minutes after I deleted it I got an email to say they had reevaluated the post and reinstated it. That can't be a coincidence.

I'm actually horrified that your entire blog disappeared. That must've been horrendous. And mine is not backed up because I've no idea how to do that. How do you do it?

Tracy: I've actually no clue how to back a blog up. How?

Sam Sattler said...

Cath, go to Settings first. Scroll down to "Manage Blog" and click on "Backup Content." This will produce a backup file that you can upload through Blogger someday if something goes wrong and your content disappears like mine did.

Jeane said...

Cath- it was more involved than I had expected. My husband helped me a lot (his work involves website design and code). I think he actually liked the challenge of making the new blog look just like the old one! it functions a LOT better. I am disappointed my plan for putting up a notice on the old blog directing people to the new one didn't quite work- redirects are fine, but I don't think many people saw the notice so, like you, they have missed the updates from feed reader or blog rolls. I should have handled that part differently, perhaps.

I've periodically backed up my blogs in the way Sam describes before- but I really ought to do it a lot more regularly! I remember another blogger once years ago (when issues like this were happening) said she downloads and prints out all her blog posts every now and then- keeps them in paperbound format. I suppose that's a good way to know you never loose what you've written, but I haven't quite felt like doing that myself yet. I wonder how many printed pages it would produce, ha.

CLM said...

I had the exact same thing happen as Lark on Saturday (different from Cath's issue?). It totally freaked me out and prevented me from getting any of my real job done over the weekend. I tried to go through the verification activities it seemed to require but I had no idea how to use get or cURL. By Sunday it had recovered - of course, no explanation. Then on Sunday I have an even weirder but unrelated to Blogger problem that distracted me from the terrifying red warning. About a week ago I wrote a review in Word, then drove to the library to return the book and do some errands. Well, yesterday, when I went to retrieve it no sign of the review *and* the library says I still have the book checked out! I searched and searched for the Word document but I can only assume I left it open when I went out and deleted it by mistake later. The book will probably turn up. However, except for mowing the lawn and planting some things that probably won't survive, it was a completely frustrating weekend. I wish I could blame Blogger but I can't. I will back up the blog; thank you for the tip, Sam.

I am enjoying Atlantic Crossing on PBS.

Cath said...

Sam: Well I 'think' I've done it and have it saved in My docs. *Fingers crossed*

Thanks for your help!

Jeane: That's interesting. I'm thinking starting a new blog on Wordpress from scratch would be a lot easier than trying to move all of the content of my present blog there. For me anyway as I'm not that tech minded. I'm not tempted to try really but more tempted to start a new one there as a back-up from the present day. I'll think about that. Your new bookblog there looks great!

I don't think I would be tempted to print blog posts out as the paper would take over the house!

Constance: It does seem like Blogspot was having a real problem there for a couple of days. I'm not surprised you freaked out. Nope, there never does seem to be an explanation.

And that's weird... what happened to you with the book review and the library book. That kind of thing makes you wonder if you just came over from an alternate universe by mistake...

TracyK said...

I see that Sam gave you instructions for backing up the blog. I think that the backup file is what you would use if you set up a new WordPress blog and wanted to move all content into the new blog.

I still have no interest in changing to WordPress because I see so many bloggers who use WordPress complaining about the editing function there. But I guess if Blogger keeps messing up blogs, there will be little choice.

Sam Sattler said...

Tracy, I tried WordPress for a while, and luckily I ran it simultaneously with the Blogger software just in case I didn't like it...and I didn't. In my experience, WordPress, at least then, was a lot less flexible than Blogger and I did find the editing process to be a bit tedious. It may have improved by now...but I found that I was paying for a product I didn't enjoy using as much as the free one I was already familiar with.

TracyK said...

Sam, thanks for that comment. I really really don't want to make that change, and hope I can stick it out with Blogger.

Jeane said...

I think the switch to WP can be simple if you use one of their premade templates? Mine was custom-built by my husband, so that might be why it ended up complicated. I was already familiar with how the editing works on WP from doing a bit of website work there for my husband before, so it wasn't too much of a stretch for me to adjust...

Constance- is your libaray putting returned books through quarantine? Ours had all returns dropped in a large bin, which sat untouched for several days before they were scanned to be checked in. Because of covid. So they'd still be checked out on the accounts until then.

CLM said...

I did back up my blog (not sure where the backup resides) and do not have the energy to switch to Wordpress. I did have to use Wix for a school project last year and I found it fairly easy to manipulate. I liked how it looked:

Jeane, for a while it was taking a week for any returned library books to be logged in but suddenly that seems to be over - they are all returned except for the one that is missing. I am sure it will turn up but it is a weird coincidence with the document disappearing.

Cath said...

Tracy: I'm planning to stick it out with Blogger too, no real wish to change to WP when I don't know how it works. Plus, yes, people complain about that too.

Jeane: Ah right, I see. I'm not planning to switch unless absolutely necessary but it's nice to know these things.

Constance: I backed mine up too and shoved into a file in 'my docs'. Whether or not I would be able to use it if it became necessary, well that's a whole other story as you say over there! LOL

CLM said...

I think I say, "That's another story!"

Here is a weird one - my red screen came on Saturday afternoon not Friday and I certainly don't have a news or conservative site.

Susan said...

What?? I've never heard of this happening before. I do have comment moderation on, though, so all my spam comments get deleted so they're never actually posted. Deleting a whole post without warning seems like an odd way to deal with the problem. How irritating!

Cath said...

Susan: I know... scary huh? All seems fine now... until the next time. 'Very' irritating.

Tina said...

That’s great information, I saw someone else mentioning this issue a while back & thought it may be an isolated thing. I had to set my permissions for comments to pre-approving before publication. There was a persistent “spammer” leaving comments on my food/life blog at Squirrel Head Manor so I now pre approve. That might take care of this issue.