An Important Update

Dear Followers Of This Blog ...

If you did not use a Blogger / Google account when you Followed this blog, years ago, you are probably not Following now . During the past...

Friday, October 31, 2014

Interstitial Warnings And Cookie Filters

Along with problems with comments and unwanted CAPTCHA forms, we're seeing some reports about problems with persistent and unwanted interstitial displays, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

The interstitial display, and its use of cookies, is similar to the new mandatory anonymous comments CAPTCHA form. If your identity can't be determined, or your decision to view a blog can't be remembered, an interstitial warning is displayed - just as the CAPTCHA form is displayed, when your readers are preparing to comment.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Custom Domain Migration, And Google+ Comments

With both custom domain publishing, and Google+ hosted comments, becoming more popular, it is inevitable that the two subjects would interact.

One key difference between Blogger hosted comments, and Google+ hosted comments, is how they associate with the host blog. Blogger hosted comments link to the blog - but Google+ hosted comments (aka Google+ stream posts) link to the URL.

Any time you change the URL of your blog, you will lose Google+ hosted comments - from your blog. The Google+ stream posts, however, are still out there - and they still link back to your blog.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Blogger Magic - Hiding The Blog Pager And Blog Feed Subscription Lines

One of the neatest magic tricks is to make something disappear, with just a flick of the wrist (whether or not holding a "magic" wand).

We see occasional requests to make template components disappear. Many times, we end up recommending editing the blog template. Sometimes, unwanted components are part of the post template - and we have to explain why editing the post template is not a good idea.

Some template components, when properly identified, can be made to disappear with the proper CSS rule. CSS rules can be added, using the Template Designer - and do not require editing the template.

Even better news, CSS rules added using "Add CSS" are persistent. Even changing the blog template - or resetting the post template - does not erase CSS rules, added using the Template Designer.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

The New Commenting CAPTCHA Is Inconsistent

The new CAPTCHA, added by Blogger last week to restrict spam in anonymous comments, is already showing signs of unwanted effect, with some blogs.

Besides making the commenting sequence more complicated, the sequence, in general, is inconsistent. Differences in the sequence, when compared between the three commenting form placement options (embedded, popup, and full page), varied by the original CAPTCHA screening option, and the moderation option, have been noted. And how many readers, commenting on their favourite blog, will think of hitting "Publish" with "Google account" selected, to login and avoid the CAPTCHA?

The CAPTCHA form itself will discourage comments, being made by the casual blog reader, against many blogs. And the CAPTCHA, as added to all three comment forms, now makes cookie filtering issues equally critical, for the embedded, popup, and full page forms, alike.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Deleted Blog Cases Can Involve Multiple Causes

Sometimes, blogs which are under legal action by Blogger / Google can be under action, simultaneously, for multiple, valid reasons.

Occasionally, we get angry complaints, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
I got a DMCA Complaint email from Google. My blog was deleted, my dashboard is empty, I got no email from Blogger - and ChillingEffects has no complaint detail. How do I get my blog restored?
Since we don't review DMCA cases in Blogger Help - and with no dashboard or email records of a non DMCA deletion, the blog owner is left with no options.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Blogger Blog Needs Informative And Unique Content

Too many blog owners have been listening to spammers, who tell them lies, and encourage dodgy publishing practice.
You can make lots of money - just start a blog, scrape content from other blogs and websites, and add ads!
This is wrong, for many reasons.

Blogger gives us the basic definition of what is not allowed, in Blogger Help: Spam, phishing, or malware on Blogger.
Spam blogs cause various problems, beyond simply wasting a few seconds of your time when you happen to come across one. They can clog up search engines, making it difficult to find real content on the subjects that interest you. They may scrape content from other sites on the web, using other people's writing to make it look as though they have useful information of their own. And if an automated system is creating spam posts at an extremely high rate, it can impact the speed and quality of the service for other, legitimate users.
I summarise this definition, by advising you to publish blogs that are informative, interesting, and unique.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

CAPTCHA Screening Added, For Anonymous Commenters, Is Not Optional

We're seeing reports, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about a new way Blogger is blocking comment spam.
I didn't enable CAPTCHAs, for commenting on my blog! Why are my readers having to solve one, before commenting?
It appears that Blogger has added a new CAPTCHA form, to the commenting process.

In Blogger Help: The word-verification option, we see the notation.
Note: Even if you don't have word verification turned on, anonymous commenters might be asked to enter some text. This helps protect your blog from abuse.
It appears that "might be asked" is the key detail, here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Daily Post Limit Is Not Likely To Be Raised

We see signs of optimism, occasionally, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
How do I convince Blogger to let me publish more than 50 posts / day, in my blog?
Blogger Support has repeatedly declined to make any change to the daily post limit.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Don't Publish To A Custom Domain, Purely Because Of Unavailability Of The Perfect BlogSpot Name

Setting up a new blog can be frustrating - for those who have planned the subject of the blog so carefully, that only one blog name will satisfy.

We see the frustration, almost daily, in Blogger Help Forum: Learn More About Blogger.
How do I contact the owner of "mydreamname.blogspot.com"?
or
The blog at "mydreamname.blogspot.com" isn't in use. Can Blogger issue it to me?
Neither of those questions will end well, for the would be owner who can think only of publishing to "mydreamname.blogspot.com".

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Dynamic Templates Require A Full Blog NewsFeed

We see periodic signs of confusion, about publishing a blog to a dynamic template, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
My blog seems to load - but it just sits there, spinning gears!
or
The dashboard Template wizard tells me that dynamic templates are not available, for my blog!!
These are two blog owners who are not aware of the requirements of the dynamic templates - and who can't figure out why they see the Spinner of Death when loading the blog.

Most people know that private blogs cannot be published to a dynamic template - but not everybody realises that this is not an arbitrary or capricious restriction.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

R.I.P., SiteMeter

I've always been an advocate of redundancy, with essential components and features.

One essential feature of a website is the ability to remain aware of where your readers come from, and what they are reading, on your blog. Besides Blogger Stats, I've advocated both SiteMeter and StatCounter, in a complementary role to each other.

A while ago, SiteMeter decided to add video advertisements to their blog / website agent, that tracks the clicks.

An Expanding Reader Community May Make Your Blog Vulnerable To A Content Warning

Occasionally, we see a report in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, that reflects on the reader audience - not necessarily only the blog content.
Why is my blog behind a Content Warning?
Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable.
Occasionally, a quick eyeballing of the blog in question may turn up some dodgy content, which may be suggested, in the forum, as problematic.

This story may not end immediately.
But, I've had that picture gallery, for years! Why did I just get the Content Warning?
Here, the blog owner is not considering changing standards - or the possibility that the blog, becoming more popular, may be adding readers who don't appreciate a photo gallery started years ago.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Logging In To Following, Using The Google "One account" Login

Long ago, Blogger Following (aka Google Friend Connect) was part of a non Google community of social networks.

If you wanted to Follow a blog, you had to login to the Followers gadget, but separately from your login session with Blogger. This let you login to Blogger to maintain your blog, and to Follow other blogs, using any desired Blogger or Google account that you wished.

You do not have to Follow other peoples blogs, using the same Blogger or Google account that you use to maintain your blog - nor do you have to logout from your Blogger account that you are using to publish to your blog, so you can Follow somebody else's blog. This lets you separate blog ownership identity from blog Following and surfing activity.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blogger Does Not Support ".htaccess" Based Redirection

If you rename a non Blogger hosted website - and you retain ownership of the previous domain (or re publish a website within the same domain), you can redirect traffic from the old URL to the new URL, for some websites, using the ".htaccess" control file.

Some Blogger blog owners, used to setting up ".htaccess" based redirection for non Blogger websites, have renamed their blog - either from one BlogSpot URL to another, or maybe from a custom domain URL to another URL. Finding the links in the blog now broken, they wonder.
How do I setup .htaccess for the old URL?
This is an option that Blogger does not provide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Mysterious Disappearing Reading List

One long known mystery, reported from time to time in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, involves the dashboard Reading List, and panic from disappearing entries.
Where are the blogs, in my Reading List?
Some Blogger blog owners and readers can spend days setting up their Reading List complement - and see their work vanish, in seconds.

One of the reasons why this problem has not been solved is that it is not reported in consistently high volume, and has no obvious pattern. Another is that many people who use the Reading List - as opposed to a third party NewsFeed Reader - are not of the highest in technological skill level, and do not have the patience to provide coherent and relevant details about the problem.

If You Must Moderate Comments Passively, Moderate Frequently

Not all Blogger blog owners understand that they must take responsibility for the comments that are posted on their blog.

We see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.
Why do I get so many spam comments, against my blog?
and
Why was my blog deleted? I always remove spam comments!
These blog owners do not understand that spam comments need to be removed promptly, marked as spam - not removed when convenient, or maybe just deleted.

Some blog owners let people comment anonymously, because it encourages communication, and brings them more readers - and moderate after comments are published, because it's more convenient for them, and again, encourages communication. They do not realise that the easier that you make it for people to publish comments, the more spammers will appreciate the open policy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Try To Resolve Any Ownership Issues, Before You Request Spam Review

Spam review requests, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, are not unusual topics.

Occasionally, we get a spam review request, with a twist.
My blog has been deleted - but I don't have a "Restore", or a "Review" link on my dashboard!
There are various reasons for blogs disappearing from the dashboard, not all of which a blog owner may be immediately aware.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Don't Copy Content, Inappropriately

Not all blog owners understand the necessity of having unique content, as the basis for a healthy blog.

We see questions periodically, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue, about inappropriate use of content from other blogs and websites.
Why was my Blogger account deleted? I never argue when given copyright notices!
or
Why don't I have any readers? I have great content - the other blogs, where I get the content, get lots of traffic.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

If You Want To Keep A Secret, Don't Publish It

Have you ever heard the old saying
I had a friend, and I had a secret. I told my friend my secret - and now, I have neither a friend, or a secret.

Occasionally we see signs of naivete, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken.

I have a private blog! Why do I see my blog listed in Google?

or

I distinctly set my blog to be invisible! Why is my blog being indexed?

Not all blog owners know that neither the "disallow" statement, in "Robots.Txt" - nor the "noindex, nofollow" directives, in our blogs - are mandatory.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Don't Try To Map The Boundaries Of Abusive Content

We continue to see signs of innovative publishing technique, in Blogger Help Forum: Something Is Broken, about deleted / suspended Blogger accounts, and deleted blogs.
My Blogger account was just deleted! I have gotten a few DMCA complaints, in the past - but I always deleted the offending posts! Why were all of my blogs just deleted?
This blog owner does not understand that multiple offenses must be resolved, to avoid abuse classification - and eventual account deletion.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Private / Team Blog Owners, Using Non GMail EMail

For some time, we've known about a problem with non GMail based Blogger accounts, and comment moderation / notification email.

That problem, though mildly annoying to the blog owners affected, has an easy workaround - use a GMail based email address, for comment moderation / notification. That's a quick 15 minute fix.
  1. Setup a GMail account, if necessary.
  2. Change the comment moderation / notification email addresses, for the blog(s) affected, to use the GMail email account.
GMail email accounts are, after all, free.

Besides the ease of putting a workaround in place, that problem is not all that severe. The problem with comment moderation / notification email, being filtered, only affects blog owners who moderate before publishing. Owners who moderate after publishing can always use the Blogger dashboard Comments wizard, at their convenience, to moderate.

This week, we realised that the base problem - rejected email because of non GMail based Blogger accounts - may also affect owners of private / team blogs, who have prospective non GMail members. This specific problem probably affects less blogs - but it won't have as easy a workaround.