Waiting on a Word

Blogger Without a Cause

The Day WOAW Died . . . May 1, 2013

Monday night was a typical night. After drafting a post, I hit “Publish,” and guess what happened?  It wouldn’t let me. I was directed to my Dashboard where this message awaited me:  “This blog has been deactivated because we believe that it does not comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service or advertising policy. “

My first thought was: “Huh. That’s odd.” I hit refresh. Nothing. I tried my Stats. Nada. Tried getting to the blog from the outside on my Safari. Zilch. I hit the link on the Mean Message WordPress sent that suggested that I contact them if I think they made a mistake.

Monday night when I realized that I may have lost my 77 or so posts — my entire blog — I got nervous and depressed.  I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, but I still wanted to write. So I did. I wrote this:

I’m typing this on Pages on my Mac on the night that WordPress deleted my blog, hoping that after my two frantic messages sent via their panic button, they restore it.

I went to hit “Publish” on a cute post about handbags, when this message pops up: “This blog has been deactivated . . .” Wait, wuh? “. . . because we believe it does not comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service or advertising policy.”

So they just delete it? Without telling me why? Immediately I clicked the link that said to contact them if I believe they “misclassified” my blog with a message like, “What’s going on? Tell me what to fix and I’ll fix it.”

I texted Angela. “WordPress deleted my blog. Said I violated a rule.” She had a similar reaction to mine. “What? Why? It must be a mistake.” Her exact words were: “What rule could you have violated?? Being too awesome?” Which was a perfect and appreciated response and made me feel a little better, as a good friend always should and she always does.

As I put the kids to bed after obsessively checking my phone for the “WE’RE SO SORRY” email from WordPress (which didn’t come), I thought about what I would do if WOAW was over. Would I start over again? I’ve worked so hard on WOAW and I was really starting to get into it. The blog was my little nibble at success. Six weeks after starting the blog, I was Freshly Pressed, which was like winning the World Series in your rookie year. In four months I managed to amass over 600 followers. I was so proud of the blog. It was such a source of positive feedback for me, feedback that I desperately needed. And it was fun.

When the kids fell asleep, my husband came home and I told him that I was depressed because my blog disappeared. I didn’t expect feeling as sad as I did. He told me not to worry and that it would be straightened out. I know with everything going on in the world, in my life even, this shouldn’t be so important to me, but it is. I’m sorry if that’s wrong.

So I’m typing this on Pages wondering “what’s the sense.” Well, the sense of it is that sometimes I need to write. Writing this non-post is helping me sort my brain. If the blog is gone, it’s gone. I’ll email my closely-knit blogger family to let them know and to warn them that WordPress apparently doesn’t believe in due process. I never had a chance to fix any errors I may have made, or even know why I was deleted. Oh well.

On Tuesday I woke up to the same ugly Mean Message on my blog. I pondered if The Met shut me down because I posted pics of the Opera Hall. Or maybe someone hacked me, or spammed me, or sent a virus. Or maybe half of the WordPress users in the world were deleted and it was a WordPress issue.

On Wednesday morning the Mean Message remained. I thought it was all over. Later Wednesday morning Dylan emailed, asking what happened, which I thought was super sweet (and shows why he’s a member of my WordPress Family). I emailed my go-to Blogger Buddy David (a.k.a. Justin Timberlake) who offered to help any way he could, and texted my mom. My work buddies tried to figure out the problem, and my friend Anita told me I shouldn’t feel guilty for being sad about losing the blog, because it was something I enjoyed.

Finally, Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from WordPress. This is what it said:

Hi there,

Thanks for getting in touch.

Can any links to [deleted for obvious reasons] be removed, please? These are not permitted on WordPress.com and our system has an automatic check in place for them.

Thank you in advance.

Well, okay then. Progress! They didn’t forget about me! Still, I had questions. I hadn’t been able to access my posts. I had no idea where the suspect link was posted. I thought perhaps it was in my Roller Boogie post since that was the last post that had made it through to Publish. Turns out the Cyber Police are quicker than that. The suspect link was in the post I was trying to publish as I got the Mean Message. It was a link for a picture that I got off Google Images. I immediately deleted the picture and the link. I’ll post the handbag post (minus the blog-killing pic) tomorrow. (Special thanks to my new friend Al at The Blog Identity for noticing I was gone and welcoming me back!).

Anyway, to make a short story long, for two nights I was blogless. But when I read back what I wrote that first night on Pages, I realized something. I’m a writer. Like, a real one. Believe me, I’m under no impression that I’m any good at it, but still, that drive to write is there, and it’s never a chore. I never dread it. I always want to do it.

Another lesson learned:  I’m never linking again. Or at least I’m going to be really super careful about what I’m linking. My apologies to WordPress for (a) unknowingly violating their rules and (b) harassing them with a total of four panicked “HELP ME” messages. But can’t y’all figure out a way to let us know what’s going on before you freak us out by deactivating us? Maybe when we hit “publish” on the violating post there could be a pop up that says: “You can’t publish this post. We’ll tell you why in a couple of days. For now, don’t publish.” Then at least we’d know that all our stuff wasn’t lost in the WordPress matrix, never to be found again.

So what did I do on the two nights I was suspended in WordPress Purgatory? I wrote. I found a screenplay that I had started way back when and I converted it to my Final Draft program, edited it, and got super psyched about it.

Us writers!  We’re always writing . . .

:) Glad to be back! Have a nice night.

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54 Responses to “The Day WOAW Died . . .”

  1. I saw that your blog had been deactivated and I was so worried! I’m happy you’re back!

  2. Welcome back! I think I would have a little doggie heart attack if a) you were gone forever and/or b) my blog was deleted forever! I enjoyed the story, but hate that you had to go through all that in order to tell it! Lots of love!

    • Jess Says:

      Aww thanks! You would be missed too. It was like a mini heart attack. All those nights posting! All that work lost!! I am glad it worked out.

  3. Welcome back! Purses, eh? The appropriateness filter must fall somewhere between makeup and purses. Is it ____? Is that it?

  4. You are a writer and a good one and this is a good example that if everything was taken away from you, You will still write! Good on you welcome back with a new sense of where you are heading…..in the write direction.

  5. Ok. Apparently I suck cause I hadn’t noticed your absence yet! It’s like the Facebook friends that it takes me months to notice that are missing. And, seriously, I weed that down all the time, and it still takes me months to notice someone weeded me out! Ok, not the point. This is suppose to be about you! I am glad you are back, and I would have missed you dearly, once I noticed, of course! :-) However, now you have me really interested in the handbag article! And I totally would have freaked had my account been “deactivated”. Heck, it freaks me out when I comment and perfectly harmless comment and I am told “pending moderation”, which happens an insane amount of time. Oops, I made it about me again! Lol. Welcome back!

    • Jess Says:

      Haha! Thanks! I am glad to be back. I am going to unlink all the links in the handbag post and post it tonight.

      It was scary thinking I violated a rule. I am not a rule violator by nature :)

      • I know the feeling. I’m a walking contradiction, cause I’m a hippie at heart, but a huge rule follower! It freaks me out to know I might have violated a rule – and it’s worse when it happens and I don’t know why!!! I can’t imagine how your heart must have been beating right out of your chest!

  6. Dylan Says:

    Good to see you’re back in the game!

    I checked around the site in question, apparently it’s a shady sort of thing with concerns of adware and spam.

    My guess is that WordPress’s anti-spam program thought you were a spammer.

    Shame that you had to pry them several times for it though, nonetheless welcome back! Also, thanks for the kind words!

  7. greenembers Says:

    Wow… that is wow. Well welcome back!

    • Jess Says:

      Thanks! It was … Wow. I need to figure out how to back everything up just in case! I guess I will follow myself and save post emails for now?

  8. godtisx Says:

    This worries me – what did they mean by linking? What did you do that they consider ‘linking?’

    • Jess Says:

      Hi!
      I tried to get a picture of a ballet bag I used when I was a kid. I google imaged and found the pic, then pasted it into my post using the URL. As I went to hit publish, I was deactivated! Turns out the place where the link was from was one of their forbidden sites. I think they thought I was a marketer or spammer. I don’t know how I would know that the site was forbidden though!

      • godtisx Says:

        RIGHT!!!! Omg, that’s scary. Well glad you got your site back, but that has prompted one of my next posts. A just incase one day this site gets deleted. Because if their rules are that uncommunicated, there are probably other ones!!! Eeesh.

        Enjoy having your page back Jess.

  9. I was wondering what happened to you! Your posts don’t always come up on my Reader for some reason, so I thought that was it. I had heard that if you put more than 15 tags on a post that can happen. Anyway, I can totally relate to you because I got the same “your blog has been deactivated” message before. I honestly was a mess after that because I seriously thought the blog police was going to come knocking on my door. I thought I was being really good about citing all my sources for photos, quotes, etc. but maybe I missed something, and they were going to take me in for plagiarism. I’m a little paranoid like that. Anyway, for me, I waited half a day before I got the response, “sorry for deactivating your blog. Technical difficulties.” I don’t think I was as scarred as you were (that wait must’ve been excruciating), but I just wanted to tell you … I know the feeling. Welcome back! :-)

    • Jess Says:

      Aww thanks! I am glad I am not the only one. I always try to give credit to things I take off the Internet but maybe it’s better not to? I don’t know. I am going to calm down with linking for sure. The blog police haha!

      I didn’t know that about tagging! I will keep an eye on it. Others have said that they miss posts too. That must be why!

      • I usually go to creativecommons.org. Under “Explore”, click “Find CC-licensed work”. These are usually ok to use. Hope that helps!

      • Jess Says:

        Thanks. I will check it out. So that means you can use it without citing where it came from?

      • Not sure! I always cite my source or at least add a link back to the website, just in case. Sometimes, the fine print will say if you need to or not.

  10. Whew, welcome back.

  11. Linda Graff Says:

    Glad to have you back. I look forward to reading every day.

  12. Jack Flacco Says:

    I had the same thing happen to me last month. Apparently a technical glitch put my blog in the nether reaches of nowhere with a nice suspension message. It only lasted for a morning, but I’ll tell you, that morning, my stomach made its way to my throat, pooling into a massive lump. The feeling of dread I felt was unlike anything I felt before. As I said, it lasted for a few hours, but those hours were hours I would never want to relive again!

    Welcome back :)

    • Jess Says:

      Thanks, Jack. It was dreadful and all these thoughts about “I should have backed it up,” and “now I have to start from scratch” started to overwhelm me. I vaguely recalled seeing something about backing up your site/posts. I will look for it and spread the word if I figure it out!

  13. Good to have you back Mrs. Awesomesauce.

  14. Gee…I have only been telling you that you ARE A WRITER for years now. Glad you listened to me (lol)

  15. 1stpeaksteve Says:

    Glad you are back! That is a bit scary that one link put you as a cohort of some devious criminals. Kind of a lesson I guess to investigate where some of the other media is originating from.

    • Jess Says:

      I totally felt like a criminal! I am not a rule breaker so I was flustered by the whole thing. I am glad I am back online. Thanks for commenting!

  16. ravenspen Says:

    So that is why you haven’t been posting. Sorry you went through so much but I am so happy you are back :)

  17. MotherJam Says:

    Welcome back. I was wondering where you were!

  18. MotherJam Says:

    And I find it interesting that you get deactivated while all these other fake bloggers do not. I know this because, as someone with a far more meager list of followers, I always notice when someone new “likes” or “follows” me–and at least 90 per cent of the time the blogger is just some sham–a company advertising something I blogged about, or a company trying to get me to sign up to “make millions” blogging.

  19. Welcome back dear friend! Thank goodness you’re here!

  20. drishism Says:

    Glad you are back. That is scary about your blog being deactivated. I agree, they should find a more user friendly way of notifying bloggers about a link infraction

  21. Glad you’re back. Would it have been better if you had saved the image to your desktop and then credited it to the original owner? I accidentally got that message once and it’s like a hot wave cascading from inside of you out. I think it was a mistake (sometimes we have to reboot our computers if they’ve been on all day. Why can’t we do that to ourselves? LOL). Anyways, I’m glad you’re back! Ellie

  22. [...] have to admit I thought was “a bite of my sandwich,” but according to azlyrics dot com (I’m scared to provide the link), ’tis not. Men At Work. Song: Down [...]

  23. […] out the website at http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com, but I’m not linking for fear of the WordPress Police). The cover attracted me because the little cartoon figure resembles a young […]

  24. Thanks for liking my post today! I have been wondering what happened…glad to have you back. :)

  25. […] Her blog is full of a variety of topics really, from her daily life, aspirations and fiction and photo challenges. What I enjoy most I think about Jess’s blog is her love for writing it and the joy it brings her as well as the joy to everyone else and I think her post on when she thought it was all over captures this well, head over and read that post here. […]

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