Prepping for Blog Deletion
Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Some of you may have noticed that this past Friday, certain posts on select blogs were deleted. Those of us who run the affected blogs definitely did, as we received an email from Blogger stating the following:
Hello,As you may know, our Community Guidelines (https://blogger.com/go/contentpolicy) describe the boundaries for what we allow-- and don't allow-- on Blogger. Your post titled "What a Crock" was flagged to us for review. We have determined that it violates our guidelines and deleted the post, previously atWhy was your blog post deleted?Your content has violated our Malware and Viruses policy. Please visit our Community Guidelines page linked in this email to learn more.We encourage you to review the full content of your blog posts to make sure they are in line with our standards as additional violations could result in termination of your blog.For more information, please review the following resources:Terms of Service: https://www.blogger.com/go/termsBlogger Community Guidelines:
Sincerely,The Blogger Team
This is of course pure garbage, as the three offending posts were:
- Not All Files Are Created Equal, a treatise on the different types of hand tool files and their purposes;
- What a Crock, a post on the history and use of crock pots;
- and Basic Electrical Math, which is self-explanatory. This last post is notable because of the two links it contains, both of them refer to previous posts in Blue Collar Prepping.
What I found most egregious about this whole situation is that not only was there no way to appeal this decision (the emails originated from email@example.com, which indicates that replies will not be seen), but because the posts had been deleted there was also no way for me to look at the posts and see for myself if there was anything in them which violated Blogger's terms of service.
Well, not entirely true; there are ways, but none of them are obvious, which is why I'll share them with you now.
Recovering Deleted Posts
The first is to go to the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive and enter the URL of the deleted pages. This is the easiest solution, but it requires the page to have been archived previously and unfortunately that is not something done automatically; rather, someone must submit the URL to be archived before the Wayback Machine saves a copy of it. Further, and more annoying, is that fact that you cannot save an entire site like our blog with one key press; we have to save each and every page individually. With over seven years of material, this is a daunting prospect. If you would like to help us, please go here to read how to save a page and then submit the URLs of your favorite posts for archiving. Thank you!
Your second option is to find a cached version of your posts. There's no guarantee of this, but you might get lucky. In fact, I was surprised to discover that Google kept a cache of these pages after deleting them for suspicion of harboring malware and viruses, but nevertheless they were there.
To find a cached article, do the following:
- Search for the article in question. In my case, "blue collar prepping basic electrical math".
- If you're lucky, your search engine of choice will find it. Some might have the word "cached" near the result; Google has three dots in a column. Click on those, then click on the button marked Cached in the pop-up.
- You will be taken to a cached version of the article, which you should right-click on and save. I did exactly this in preparation for reconstructing the missing articles.
Backing Up Your Blog
After I'd done this I decided to save the blog in its entirety in case Blogger decided to delete more. While I cannot detail the steps for doing this with every platform, for Blogger the process is:
- Log into Blogger.
- Select "Settings" from the left sidebar.
- Scroll down until you see "Back up content". Click on that.
- You will see a pop-up asking for confirmation. Click on "Download" to download your blog, including posts, pages, and comments, in an XML file.
- If you have non-YouTube videos embedded in your blog, you may need to download them separately. If so, click on the blue "Videos from your blog" link immediately under "Back up content".
Congratulations, you have now made it easier to restore your blog if posts or the whole thing are deleted.
Fortunately for us, Blogger emailed us yesterday with the following messages:
Hello,We have re-evaluated the post titled "Basic Electrical Math" against Community Guidelines https://blogger.com/go/contentpolicy. Upon review, the post has been reinstated. You may access the post at http://bluecollarprepping.blogspot.com/2021/03/basic-electrical-math.html.Sincerely,The Blogger Team
However, this isn't quite true. Clicking on the link did not take me to the post; instead, all I saw was a message telling me that no such page existed.
Instead, what I had to do was go back to Blogger, click on "Posts" in the left column, and search for them by name. When I did this I saw that the posts had been reverted to draft and needed to be re-published, which I have since done. If your posts were deleted then reinstated, you'll likely have to re-publish them yourself.
To be clear, we are not planning on deleting this blog. We are preparing against unwanted deletion, not making preparations to delete it ourselves.
However, it may be time to look elsewhere for a home.