As many of you no doubt noticed, The Mad Reviewer was not available yesterday. It was ‘either archived or suspended for a violation of the terms of service.’ I’ll explain what went down.
At 8:00am I logged onto my WordPress account to check to see if my Othello review had gone up nicely and that there were no unnoticed spelling mistakes. When the page loaded I found the exact same message everyone else did: that my blog was either archived or suspended. I followed the link to the dashboard and it said that The Mad Reviewer had been suspended for a violation of the terms of service of WordPress. So I re-read the terms of service and followed the link to appeal my suspension because I absolutely did not violate the terms of service.
I sent an email to WordPress around 8:15am on Monday. I had absolutely no response from WordPress until 2:26pm on Tuesday, over 24 hours later. Until then I had no access to my posts, my stats or the forums. I took the step of exporting my blog just in case WordPress decided to be total jerks and permanently suspend it. Honestly, I was in a bit of a panic because I’m still waiting to hear from publishers about some ARC requests. If they saw my blog was down, there was no way I’d get approved. Thankfully this didn’t affect me in that way but I was seriously considering other hosting options at this point.
It sounds ridiculous to get angry over something as trivial as a blog, but I was extremely pissed off that two years of pouring my heart and soul into daily posting was taken away in an instant with no warning whatsoever. I finally got an explanation from WordPress support at 2:26pm:
Thank you for getting in touch. Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.
Please be sure to clear your browser’s cache and, if necessary, restart the browser.
We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.
Seriously, WordPress? How about you not have automatic anti-spam controls that have been known to flag perfectly legitimate blogs and suspend them automatically? How about you have someone approve suspensions at their discretion so that legitimate blogs aren’t suddenly taken off the face of the internet and suffer stats-wise and follower-wise. Or you just have that handy ‘report spam’ button that’s on the top of every WordPress task bar for a blog and use that to find spam blogs.
I’m happy that you all stuck with me through the random suspension, but it could have been a lot worse as I’d been reading of cases where WordPress did not get back to people in upwards of a week. A week! Yes, I know WordPress is a free platform and they can do whatever they like. However, people who use the service (free or not) deserve a little due process, not a guilty until proven innocent approach.
So basically, sorry for the confusion guys. I’m glad you stuck with me through it.