Sunday, February 17, 2019

Being Flogged on my Blog

by Shane Joseph (writer), Cobourg and Toronto, April 01, 2016

A new type of warfare, where the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

This hasn’t happened to me before, but recently I stumbled across a blog on the secret lives of well known British and Hollywood actors posted on my blog site - except it wasn’t from me! It was an article about the private and somewhat seedy lives of Laurence Olivier, Vivien Leigh and others in their cohort. On closer inspection, the article seemed to be a machine-generated “cut and paste job,” taking strings of data from or about this rather poorly rated (on Goodreads) book titled Damn you, Scarlett O’Hara: The Private Lives of Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier by Darwin Porter and Roy Moseley and creating some sort of a review, replete with pictures, video and sub headings. The sentence structure was noticeably garbled and the only things that stuck out were the juicy references to some of the salacious acts these famous actors had indulged in. The title of the blog was even more ridiculous: How To Begin a Writing Career.

I soon discovered that this imposter had not only snapped this ridiculous article on my property but he (or she) had changed my passwords and shut me out of my own site, a site I had cultivated over many years as a place for well thought out articles and book reviews, with no advertizing to support it; it had been my volunteer contribution to literature, and now it was despoiled.

Several thoughts ran through my head. First, I felt violated. I thought that the authors of this book were taking cheap cracks at promoting their work via sites that featured quality reviews and articles. But then I also wondered: were the perpetrators the authors of this book themselves or was it someone who had decided to play a trick on me? Has anyone taken machine-assembled reviews of my books and plastered on them on other blog sites to my discredit? There were embedded links in the article that suggested some advertising of essay writing services that I dared not click onto lest I be taken to another limbo. I recalled seeing these links on another syndicated news site where these “floggers,” as I have labeled them, had shown up and practically overrun the site with their gobbledygook, rendering that site unworkable and unsuitable for anyone looking for credible editorial. I had protested to that site’s owner, and like Jesus driving the greedy merchants from the temple, he reacted and that site has now been (almost) cleaned up. And now, were the floggers visiting me in revenge? I also looked at the positive side: someone must be reading my articles otherwise I couldn’t have become a target. The only comfort I could take from this episode was to conclude that anyone familiar with my writing would quickly recognize that even though I am a colonial with a different language rhythm , I do not write broken English. I hoped my readers would ignore this crap.

Whatever the motive, a few facts stand out for me. (1) If floggers are able to make a living from this activity, they must indeed be selling to a low level of reading populace (2) If people are actually reading this stuff they must be reading for keywords and not for structure, coherence of thought, and elegance of language (3) If there is no constant vigilance, we will let the internet sink into a Tower of Babel, allowing for the privateers who have being trying to control it for a long time have their proof that gated communities work best.

As for me, my site was cleaned up, passwords restored and tightened into unbreakable combinations. and I will continue to seek quality in my writing and send a message to the floggers in a couple of keywords that they will surely recognize: “Up Yours!”

About the Writer

Shane Joseph is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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3 comments on Being Flogged on my Blog

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By riginal on April 01, 2016 at 09:01 am

They say you can't flog a dead horse Shane but these dead (numbnut) 'hoarses' interfering in other peoples' sites and trying to find a voice therein are just about the pits but then it's a pity conscience and respect are rusted relics in their vocabulary, fragmented as it is. Despot 'piggybackers' hoping for a free ride. Human cockroaches spreading literary disease. The hackers with no knackers? Is it me or are people abandoning their reasoning or resolve for a cheap shot? :>)

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By HomeRearedChef on April 01, 2016 at 10:18 am

"Up Yours!" What an excellent way of expressing yourself ~ and decent of you, too, since I feel they deserve worse... "Floggers," what a great way to describe them. I read about this type of thing last year, and just can't imagine what they actually get out of doing this? Perhaps they are bored of life? Perhaps they crave to have even just a smidge of the talent they see you have? I believe these type of people are immature, and most assuredly have nothing better to do with their time.

I am glad to know that you were able to get going again.


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By Barbara MacDonald on April 02, 2016 at 08:29 pm

It is simply disgusting...UP THEIRS...Maybe they will finally realize that taking something that you have not created simply has no value...friggin idiots.

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