Monday, December 10, 2007

The ALA Calls the AL a Spammer

The ALA sure doesn't like the Annoyed Librarian. Then again, lots of people don't like the AL, so I suppose I'll just have to accept it. Friday's post linked to the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom's website, which had the ALA President's response to the Golden Compass flap.

The link didn't go to the site itself, however. Instead, it went (and may still go) to an intermediary page that said the following:

"403 Forbidden
Please stop referer spam.

We have identified that you have been refered here by a known or supposed spammer.

If you feel this is an error, please bypass this message and leave us a comment about the error. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

If you are actually doing referer spam, please note that this website/b2evolution no longer records and publishes referers. Not even legitimate ones! While we understand it was fun for you guys while it lasted, please understand our servers cannot take the load of all this cumulated spam any longer... Thank you.

Also, please note that comment/trackback submitted URLs will be tagged with rel="nofollow" in order to be ignored by search engines."

I think this is hilarious. I'm not sure how or why this blog was identified as spam by the ALA, but it might just show the ALA's attitude toward criticism. "Hey," I can imagine some nitwit in the ALA office saying, "why don't we consider any blogs or websites critical of us to be spam? Obviously no sane or thoughtful person could ever be critical of our drivel, so it must be some evil spammer!"

You can still click through to the website, because despite the warning that this blog is spam, they still don't want anyone to miss out on all the thoughtful things the ALA President might have to say about "banned" books.

When you do get to their website, you see "Office for Intellectual Freedom" in large font at the top of the page, and underneath what must be the slogan of the OIF: "Free People Read Freely." That's right, they're happy to defend your intellectual freedom as long as you don't say something they disagree with. Free people should read freely, as long as they don't read the AL. This spamming accusation could mean that for some folks in the ALA, intellectual freedom means the freedom to think like them.

Of course, it could just be a technical glitch, in which case they should just fix it. Since the AL is the #1 library blog in the whole world, surely someone at ALA reads it, and if they're reading this, they can fix this problem. And if nobody there fixes it, then we can be sure that the people in charge are either technically incompetent or just too dumb to tell the difference between this blog and "referer spam" or that they want to deflect any criticism by pretending the critic is a spammer. It could be that they're all of the above. Only time will tell.

Update: Darn it, less than a day and they fixed the problem. With that kind of rapid response, just what am I supposed to be annoyed about now?

39 comments:

librarianfoo said...

Yer funny, AL. Or are you still cranky?

A blog software is dumb software. It's not like the software will check all referrers and when it saw your blog as a referrer it thinks "oh, this one comes from AL blog. She's nasty criticizing us, therefore she must be banned." It won't know that the referrer came from your blog or any other blogs.

The ALA blog is set to reject all referrers regardless whether they're from legitimate blogs or not.

Dunno if they allow the linking from within ALA web domain.

It does give you a link to bypass that page. Might as well contact them, as they mentioned on that page.

Go get a rest, will ya? ;-)

AL said...

I'm not cranky, I feel great, and I don't really think someone at the ALA is trying to single out the AL. But if it's true that their blog is set to treat all other bloggers as spammers, I still think that's funny.

Unannoyed said...

I just tested it from my own blog: and I got through: no 403 for me. Either the ALA needs a certain amount of traffic from a certain referer to send out a 403 (and the AL is certainly more popular than my blog, and my blog is not library themed, and thus up to now never linked to the ALA) or their software (or somebody else) decided to have received more than enough traffic (and perhaps other items as well) from "An Alternative Voice in Librarianship since 1876".

Meredith said...

Could be worse; apparently some filters consider the ALA blogs pornography. :)

JJ Schmidt said...

I'm a little offended that I wasn't mentioned as pointing out this little quirk.....

Anonymous said...

This might be a simple marco in the ALA site engine, if they get more then X,XXX,XXX hits from their site from a single independent source point, the engine identifies the site as Link Spammer.

You might try taking your links to TINYURL.com, feed them through that site, and see if you can get the links to work that way...then the server at ALA might identify your link as coming from tinyurl and not "THE HEATHEN BLOG" [Appears in white letters on a big bluescreen of death...mwhahaha]

Merc Kat

Anonymous said...

It is about time someone labels this swill as spam. Maybe if more do, then the attitude will improve

Soren Faust said...

...and I bet you're an avid reader of this swill, as well. Ha ha, charade you are.

Soren Faust

Anonymous said...

Problem fixed. It was a server spam filter, not censorship, as we don't single out any sites, whether they are critical of ALA or not.

If anyone still encounters the 403 message, please let us know. Thanks.

Jenny Levine
jlevine@ala.org
ALA

AL said...

And now what am I supposed to be annoyed about?

Oh, and "swill," indeed. Send the link to your blog and we'll see if it's ever worth reading.

Jonathan said...

There you go again A.L. Jumping to conclusions and then ranting about the erroneous conclusion.

While your blogger account uses an awful captcha to ward off comment spammers, other blogs can use different methods which can have their own problems (as you experienced).

No, everyone is not out to get you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to post-jack, but I ran across this quote and I wanted to send it in for a 'dear annoyed librarian' topic:

"Even after spending 3 years and thousands of dollars getting the degree, I believe there should be some sort of certification process. The title “Librarian” should be based on knowledge and skills, regardless of how it is acquired — whether through a degree program or years of working in libraries."

What are your thoughts on this quote.

Thank you! - sorry again for post-jacking!

Liz said...

It appears there are still people that don't get that this blog is satire...

Bunny Watson said...

Liz said: It appears there are still people that don't get that this blog is satire...

To quote the Blackadder: "Baldrick, have you no idea what irony is?” “Yeah! It’s like goldy and bronzy, only it’s made of iron.”

Americans have a tin ear for irony & satire both.

Leo Klein said...

Brilliant Thought of the Day (copyrighted):

Alas, no matter how annoyed you get, there's always someone more annoyed than you.

Humans -- can't live with them, can't live without them.

Spekkio said...

@ Leo
To paraphrase my father:
Humans: can't live with them. Can't take them out back and shoot them.

Anonymous said...

It's clear that current MLS students and recent graduates who have taken the so-called "fluff" technology courses understand referrer spam and spamdexing quite well. Those who wasted their time studying MARC, Cutter and AACR2 (totally useless courses in today's technology environment), and/or who haven't taken a recent gaming / social computing class obviously don't even understand the message content let alone how to avoid these kinds of problems. It takes a pretty strange ego to think that the ALA blog software decided to single out AL. Perhaps AL needs to take a blog/wiki/podcast course to assure that she is competent to manage and moderate a modern Library-oriented web site? I'm sure Meredith will make room for AL in her next class. Even John Berry understands these things now.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:44
If John Berry is so knowledgable would you explain why his blog feed went from
http://blatant.libraryjournal.com/blog/?feed=rss2
to
http://feeds.feedburner.com/BlatantBerryBlog
with no notice at the old blog to redirect the reader?

It is difficult to benefit from his knowledge if you don't know where he is.

AL said...

"It takes a pretty strange ego to think that the ALA blog software decided to single out AL. "

Yep, and that's exactly what I thought, too. I was as deadly serious in this post as in everything I write. Thanks for taking up some of your valuable time to set me straight.

"Perhaps AL needs to take a blog/wiki/podcast course to assure that she is competent to manage and moderate a modern Library-oriented web site?"

What I do or do not know about said technology I prefer not to talk about here. If I ever decided to write a hyperbolic technology blog, you might be surprised at the things I know. Regardless, I should note that there are librarians who do things besides manage websites.

Anonymous said...

It is difficult to benefit from his knowledge if you don't know where he is.<<

Library Journal, Blogs tab, the Blatant Berry Blog Dropdown. See http://www.libraryjournal.com/blog/1080000308.html.

Anonymous said...

It appears there are still people that don't get that this blog is satire...

I know satire and I've read some very good satire. However, I think of the AL as simply sarcasm with a dash of bitterness.

Anonymous said...

I should note that there are librarians who do things besides manage websites.

You mean there are librarians who actually perform traditional library-work?

Anonymous said...

I find it really strange that we judge the worth of people based on their knowledge of techonology. It's a TOOL people! It is not the be-all end-all. There is more to a person's value than how well that person can understand techno-babble. And yes, I'm talking about occupational value here. You can always find some tool to administer technology.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:31
I know where Blatant's blog is located. The point is that I didn't know that it had moved and figured that he had stopped blogging since nothing new showed up in my Google Reader. Many other blogs manage to let us know when the feed moves. I'm a bit surprised that LJ didn't.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure Meredith will make room for AL in her next class.

In the Web 2.0 environment where one can easily engage in self-directed study about current technology, why would anyone need to take a class unless one needs formal certification? There are so many free tutorials, etc.

Those who wasted their time studying MARC, Cutter and AACR2 (totally useless courses in today's technology environment)...

Huh? Prove it. You obviously have no clue about technical services trends. Even if we all switch to XML, the fact that you have catalogers who understand MARC will prove to be invaluable.

I find it really strange that we judge the worth of people based on their knowledge of techonology. It's a TOOL people!

Word! Skills can be acquired. Emotional intelligence is quite different.

clinking clanking collection said...

I think this is great. I mean, the way we all talk to one another. It shows the true colors of a librarian: bitter, angry, snobbish, & petty. If only we could talk this frankly to one another at work, the world would be a better place. As it stands, we all have to suck up and face each other day in and day out with banal civility and feigned professionalism, betraying the real feelings of abhorrence we have for one another. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

"Humans! You're not worth the flesh you're printed on!" Name the movie

Anonymous said...

It shows the true colors of a librarian: bitter, angry, snobbish, & petty.

I would broaden that a bit to include American white collar workers.

Brent said...

The funny part is how many people actually would visit the ALA website? Seriously.

There is no need for this type of software to block spam.

...Oh right, the Bush administration is trying to hack them!

Anonymous said...

re how many people visit ALA, about 45,000 per day (see Alexa's ALA report). Alexis also reports that AL "rants about the state of librarianship" and doesn't crack the top 100,000. Her penetration into the global market is 0.00003% with a page rank of 127,651,773 (where 1 is #1).

Brent said...

Those stats are misleading. They are ranks. But yeah, I stand corrected. There are some valuable resources on ALA's website. I still don't see a justification for blocking websites.

Denial-of-service attacks I understand those need to be prevented. But links from a simple blogs, that's a bit loony.

Anonymous said...

It shows the true colors of a librarian: bitter, angry, snobbish, & petty.

I would broaden that a bit to include American white collar workers.


I concur. There's nothing unique about the rantings of librarians. I've worked in other "professions" and there are just as many bitter and annoyed workers there.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Prove it. You obviously have no clue about technical services trends.

Who's clueless here? AL posts something absurd, someone complains, and AL's minions snicker and relish in the cluelessness of someone who just doesn't understand that everything AL writes that's not obvious fact is clearly sarcasm and contrarian just to make witty reparte.

Of course, if someone takes AL to task and posts something equally absurd and inflammatory (MARC and cataloging classes are useless) in witty rejoinder, AL's minions all of a sudden have never heard of sarcasm or humor. You might as well stick a broomstick up their arse and whack 'em on the patella with a rubber mallet. Heck, even AL isn't always seeing it of late("Thanks for taking up some of your valuable time to set me straight"). She's really been cranky the last several days. It's affecting her trollish sense of imbalance to her detriment.

Don't be a drone, it's not attractive.

Anonymous said...

I think this is great. I mean, the way we all talk to one another. It shows the true colors of a librarian: bitter, angry, snobbish, & petty.

AL could fix this right here right now. All it would take is for her to post her (or who knows, his?)real name and require everyone else to do so. A point John Berry has made on more than one occasion. Anonymous and pseudonymous persiphlage inevitably degrades into inanity and, more often than not, hostility.

Anonymous said...

Ok I, the Privateer6 will reveal myself....


I AM SPARTACUS!



Seriously the problem with going public ANON 9:07, and I note that you are posting anonymously, is that despite declarations of openess, freedom of speech, listening to opposing viewpoints, etc. A lot of librarians, especially in academia, are closedminded, selfish idealogues who will base their hiring decisions on what they discover on the internet psoting by you. If you don't hold their political ideology, they won't hire you.

Trust me I have posted some things under my real name in the past. One interviewer commented on some of those posts, and I believe that it costed me the position.

The other problem can be seen with those conservative bloggers who do post their real names on their blogs and have those folks who diagree with them harrass their work to get them fired.

Again so much for free speech and intelectual debate.

P6

Anonymous said...

AL's minions all of a sudden have never heard of sarcasm or humor.


Have you ever heard of the RADCAT list serve? The idea of ditching MARC is gaining in popularity. It's not inconceivable that someone could have thought that poster was serious.

Sarcasm--so genX. What's next? Avatars with people wearing ironic t-shirts?

Trust me I have posted some things under my real name in the past. One interviewer commented on some of those posts, and I believe that it costed me the position.

Yes, I know of someone who didn't get an entry-level position because of his blog. How do I know this? I knew the chair of the poor sap's search committee.

SafeLibraries.org said...

AL, why does the OIF blog prevent people from leaving comments? Quite ironic, no?

Liz said...

Minion? I'm a minion? And here all along I thought I was someone who enjoyed sarcastic, witty humor! OH NOES, the sky is falling!

Anonymous said...

I should note that there are librarians who do things besides manage websites.

You mean there are librarians who actually perform traditional library-work?

You mean there are librarians who actually work?

No, wait, she just said "do things besides manage websites." I assume those "things" mostly include watching youtube, writing blogs, downloading pornography, chatting with co-workers, and looking busy.