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Sunday, February 01, 2015

Content Review Is Not As Simple As Spam Review

We've been providing advice for blog owners, unhappy about unfair spam classification, for a few years, in Blogger Help Forum: Get Help with an Issue.

Some blog owners have similar questions about unfair objectionable content classification.

Content Warning

Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable. In general, Google does not review nor do we endorse the content of this or any blog. For more information about our content policies, please visit the Blogger Terms of Service.

These blog owners, seeing how objectively we are able to evaluate spam classifications, request similar service for content classifications.

I like to summarise spam guidelines by using excerpts from my FAQ, What Types Of Blog Content Are Considered Abusive, By Blogger Spam Mitigation Policy?.

I provide advice, using multiple sources which quote Blogger policy.

My FAQ is a compilation from Blogger Content Policy, from Google Terms of Service, and from practical experience with interpreting verdicts delivered by the Blogger Policy Review team.

When it's useful to triage spam appeal requests - or to advise non self aware spammers of their unrealised starus - we can generally do that.

Some content classification may not be based solely on Blogger policy.

Advising blog owners why their blogs have been unfairly accused of hosting objectionable content is not so simple. Objectionable content classification is not based solely on TOS guidelines - it is generally based on objections by the readers of a given blog,

Here I will note that the easiest way to avoid an Involuntary Content Warning being placed on your blog, is to accept a Voluntary Content Warning. Also, we need to remember that neither the "Voluntary" or "Involuntary" Content Warning is absolute, and will not protect your blog against malware or spam classification.


"Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable."

The more readers you get, with diverse opinions, the more likely a controversial blog is to get this classification.



Objecting to blog content is not complicated.

Start with the navbar "More" drop down menu.


From the blog as displayed, click on "More", then "Report Abuse".



"Report Abuse" links you straight to Blogger Help: Report inappropriate content.


And you have "Report inappropriate content".



Click on "Child safety, nudity, or adult content", then on "Report child safety, nudity, or adult content" - and you get "Blogger Help: Child safety, nudity or adult content".

Please provide the URL of the blog in question (e.g. http://example.com). *

Just enter the URL of the blog - and Blogger takes it, from there.

There are several possibilities, leading to reader induced classification.

Objections by the readers of a blog can be caused by several mistakes, by the blog owner.

  • Adding blatantly objectionable content into a blog.
  • Unwisely advertising a blog where mildly objectionable content is not appreciated.
  • Unwisely provoking readers with unwanted opinions.

Blatantly objectionable content.

Blogger / Google Content and TOS guidelines do not describe all unwanted content. Some content is "legal" by Content / TOS guidelines, but still inappropriate for a medium such as Blogger blogs, which may be viewed by underage children.

Blatantly objectionable content is almost guaranteed to receive objections, for any blog with a normal reader population.

Mildly objectionable content, unwisely advertised.

Some blogs may contain material that is perfectly reasonable, to the majority of a normal reader population. If advertised unwisely, to a population which does not appreciate the content, a blog may still receive content objections.

Unwanted opinion, inappropriately objected.

Some blogs may merely offer advice or opinion that is unwanted by the readers. To a reader population which is large and vocal, such a blog may still be objectionable.

Content warnings are collaborative, and relevant to level of offensiveness.

Blatantly objectionable content may be placed behind a Content Warning, given only a few complaints. Mildly objectionable content may require more complaints - and unwanted advice / opinion, when receiving large volumes of complaints, may still be placed behind a Warning.

Some blogs may be placed behind a warning. Other abuse reports, depending upon the severity of offense and report volume, may result in the blog being deleted or locked - and even the owner's Blogger account being deleted or locked.

White listing is not an option.

A blog, receiving an unfair Content Warning, may be examined by Blogger Policy review - and the Warning may be removed. If the blog owner continues adding similar content - or unwisely advertises the blog where it is not appreciated, more complaints will be placed by the readers. Such a blog will probably be again placed behind a Warning.

Content classification reflects opinion.

Spam classification and review is based upon relatively mature and objective guidelines, and is not subject to public opinion. Content classification is based upon opinions of the reader population - and review must be based upon opinion of Blogger Policy Review.

Spam classification is based upon automated, heuristic filters, which are trained by the review process. Since content classification is based upon opinion, training is not an option. People can be capricious, and persistent.

Blogs with a liberal and small reader population may get away with hosting content, that would be quickly objected, for blogs with a conservative and large reader population. Blogger Policy Review may take these details into consideration.

The bottom line.

Whereas spam classification and review is based on published rules, content classification and review is based upon opinion. Blogger / Google corporate philosophy, headquarted in the USA, may be different if it was headquarted in China or Iran, for instance.

Some classification may be unavoidable, with a blog owner unwilling to compromise.

Dude, hit me with a comment!