The N Word (No NOT that N word)

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Writer’s warning:  the following blog post contains content that may be offensive to some people.  Especially to those who are part of Google Blogger or Facebook.

 

Let’s get naked.

 

No really, if you are part of Blogger or Facebook, you may be in trouble just saying it much less posting a picture of it.

 

A couple of weeks ago, my blog post was about an email that I received from Google that they were changing their policy regarding nude pictures in any of their blogs.  As I mentioned at that time, I never had any nude pictures in any of my blogs.  However, for some reason, just writing about it triggered some sort of notification from Google to send out an email to me regarding their policy change that they were going to make to their service.  I tried to justify how their system worked or how it might have worked.

 

Well, a few days later, I received the following email from Google:

 

Dear Blogger User,

This week, you received an email telling you about some changes we were
making to the Blogger Content Policy. In that email, we announced a change
to Blogger’s porn policy stating that blogs that distributed sexually
explicit images or graphic nudity would be made private.

We’ve received lots of feedback about making a policy change that impacts
longstanding blogs and the negative impact on individuals who post sexually
explicit content to express their identities.

We appreciate the feedback. Instead of making this change, we will be
maintaining our existing policies (http://www.blogger.com/content.g).

What this means for your blog:
Commercial porn will continue to be prohibited.
If you have pornographic or sexually explicit content on your blog, you
must turn on the adult content setting
(https://support.google.com/blogger/answer/86944?hl=en) so a warning will
show.

If you don’t have sexually explicit content on your blog and you’re
following the rest of the Blogger Content Policy
(http://www.blogger.com/content.g), you don’t need to make any changes to
your blog.

Thank you for your continued feedback,

The Blogger Team So, overall, Google backtracked their policy and decided to keep their existing policy in place.  However, I have yet to receive that email that says “Oops, your blog does not contain any graphic images so we made a mistake. We are extremely sorry for our mistake.  Forgive us please.” However, things with Facebook are much more wishy-washy.  They have updated their “Community Standards” with generalizations that could be interpreted in many different ways.  They don’t make clear what is really pornographic except to say that if it involves a minor then it is removed otherwise it may be more discretionary behavior.   Over the past few weeks, I have reported several graphically explicit images.  Some of them were deleted by Facebook, however, most were said not violate their “Community Standards”.  So, why are some deleted and others kept up?  I believe this has more to do with who is checking the pictures rather than general “Community Standards”..  in other words, the pictures taken down are more subjective than an overall takedown of all pictures. I believe that this should be an all-or-nothing policy:  either take down all nude images or leave them all up.  This would certainly create many problems, because everybody have different value systems. This brings me to another issue: just mentioning nudity can be a problem.  As one of my friends found out, she was reported to Facebook for just the mere mention of nudity, without any pictures involved.  Apparently, one of her friends has different standards than my friend does.  Since I never saw the post, I cannot say what this post said, but it may have offended someone on her friend’s list. So let’s see:  Blogger won’t let me talk about nudity and thinks I have it on my blog and Facebook will allow reports on just talking about nudity, but allows nudity at its own discretion. Do we see a multiple standards here?  What is offensive to some are ok to other people. Here are a couple of more examples of the past that may either offend people or maybe not even bother them. Example #1: A few months ago, the magazine “Paper” had a rather graphic pictorial of Kim Kardashian in its magazine.  Since this magazine had full body nudes of her, I would have expected that this would have been shrink-wrapped to protect anyone under 18 from picking up this magazine.  No such luck as this magazine had no wrapper whatsoever and the cover itself was rather graphic as well.   It might be said that these pictures are artistic in nature rather than pornographic, but this is more opinion and a matter of taste.  Still, it shows a full naked body and should have been wrapped no matter what. Example #2: A few years ago, the magazine “New York” ran a multi-page pictorial of actress Lindsay Lohan recreating the final photoshoot of Marilyn Monroe.  The cover along with the pictures inside was of a graphic nude nature, but like example #1 could also be considered art rather than nude.  Again, the magazine was readily available to anyone as this magazine was not shrink-wrapped either.   So here we have to graphic nude magazines, neither wrapped, and both readily available to any customer who wants to purchase them.  However, to some, these might be just considered art and not any type of pornography. Let’s review all this.  What is nudity and what is art is a subject to opinion.  However, I believe that if someone is nude in a picture it doesn’t belong in an unwrapped magazine nor does belong in an open space like Facebook or Google’s Blogger service. But everyone seems to blur the lines of what is ok and what is not acceptable.  It seems that what is acceptable is trash to others even if nudity is mentioned, not even shown. Overall, doesn’t all this violate people’s first amendment rights?  However, I can never picture the founding fathers taking nude selfies of themselves or people like Martha Washington winding up naked in the latest issue of “Common Sense”. If only the founding fathers saw the world today, they may have been writing a very different first amendment, but then again maybe they had that stuff back then, but it was never documented anywhere because they were embarrassed by it.   We will never know what those founding fathers did back then.   Maybe we are better off that way.

 

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Google Clueless Again

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Fake Warning:  The following contains content not suitable for most people.  It contains content that would make “50 Shades of Grey” look like a Mother Goose fairy tale.

 

I will discuss the above fake warning shortly, but first.

 

A couple of days ago, I received the following email from Google.  Here it is in its entirety:

 

Dear Blogger User,

We’re writing to tell you about an upcoming change to the Blogger Content
Policy that may affect your account.

In the coming weeks, we’ll no longer allow blogs that contain sexually
explicit or graphic nude images or video. We’ll still allow nudity
presented in artistic, educational, documentary, or scientific contexts, or
where there are other substantial benefits to the public from not taking
action on the content.

The new policy will go into effect on the 23rd of March 2015. After this
policy goes into effect, Google will restrict access to any blog identified
as being in violation of our revised policy. No content will be deleted,
but only blog authors and those with whom they have expressly shared the
blog will be able to see the content we’ve made private.

Our records indicate that your account may be affected by this policy
change. Please refrain from creating new content that would violate this
policy. Also, we ask that you make any necessary changes to your existing
blog to comply as soon as possible, so that you won’t experience any
interruptions in service. You may also choose to create an archive of your
content via Google Takeout.

 

Let me say that I have a couple of problems with the above message.  First and foremost is that I have not used Blogger in nearly 6 months for any of my blogs and 2 of the blogs have not been used for over 4 years.

 

Secondly, and most important is that I have NEVER EVER had any explicit images on ANY of my Blogger pages.  Nor would I ever have any either.

 

So why the notice was sent is a mystery?

I have 2 theories for this.

 

The first is that this was a mass warning to all Blogger authors so that they know what their new policy will be.  However, given that they flagged my account makes me think that this is not true.

 

My second thought is that Google used some sort of reader to check their accounts for possible content that may be deemed as offensive.  However, since a reader can’t “read” pictures, it can only read words and thinks that some pictures might be included with what is written.

 

I will admit that my “Staples” blog has contained references to adult content, but contained no images.  So apparently, the reader that Google uses can only anticipate what might be there in the blog, not what really is contained within it.

 

In other words, Google is parsing the blogs incorrectly.

 

Yes, I said PARSING.

 

In computer lingo, this means evaluating words while trying to interpret their intended meaning.  Word processors do this all the time as you type trying to anticipate what you mean and try to make sense of what could be improper grammar.

 

This is all well and good if it works the way it should.  However, there are times when parsing doesn’t work quite as planned.  A good example is of course the notice that I received.

 

But there is another which I have been battling for the last six years.

 

It is what I call the job application.

 

Back in the old days, if you wanted to apply for a job, you went to the location of the business and pick up an application.  You would then drop off the application and somebody would actually read it.  If they liked what they read, you would be called for an interview.

 

This is not the case today, however.

 

Today, a job application is filled out online usually at some corporate website.  From there, you enter all your personal information and in some cases, you take some sort of personality test or other type of test.

 

After you finish the application, the applicant is usually given an email response from the company they applied to, sometimes almost immediately.  The result is usually that you don’t meet their qualifications or some other lame excuse.  I really wonder how a computer can make a decision that really should be made by a human.

 

Welcome to another case of how a parser can create unnecessary havoc in a person’s life.  I always believe that a potential employer never gets to know a candidate unless they get a physical interview with them.

 

Over the past six years of applying for a job, I have been turned down every time and have never been selected for an interview despite having over 25 years of job experience.  Ironically, the only company that I heard from for a potential interview is the soon-to-be-late RadioShack.

 

Apparently, they must have parsed my application again and changed their mind.  Maybe that was the only time I felt lucky that I didn’t get a job due  to some non-human reading my job application.

 

Maybe parsing isn’t so bad after all…if only Google would know better.

 

But then again, if they did I would not have anything to write about.

 

Before I close this post, let me explain that fake warning at the beginning of this blog.  This is really a test to see if WordPress decides to implement a similar policy regarding adult content even though no pictures exist.  If I get any notice from them, then I will know that WordPress has a bad parser as well that doesn’t know words from pictures and doesn’t know the way things are put in context and can easily be taken the wrong way if not read by a human.

 

Here to hoping that WordPress can interpret their blogs properly and not the way that Google does with its Blogger service.  I am so glad I no longer use that service and if any of you readers out there still do, I recommend switching to something else.