Friday, March 22, 2019

Google+ And Deleted Comments

It was a little over 11 years ago that I wrote the first Just a Car Geek post. I started this thing because friends were telling me that I should share my knowledge of odd and obscure cars. At the time there were very few people doing this. Bring A Trailer was around, but they focused on cars that were usually well out of my price range. I wanted to focus on relatively inexpensive, often obscure cars.

I needed a blog platform and I chose Google's Blogger. I was told that there were better platforms out there, but Blogger was pretty simple. I had no knowledge of code writing, html and all that stuff (I still don't), but I was able to create a blog that looked pretty respectable and was easy to read.

This has always been a little side thing for me. It's something I do for fun. I have a business, family and friends. Sometimes I've had to step away from this blog for awhile in order to accommodate my "real" life (which always comes first).

About 6 years ago I stepped away for about a year. When I came back I saw that I had over 8000 new comments.

Holy cow! I had no idea so many people had opinions about the cars I wrote about. It turns out they didn't. Almost all of it was spam. People were posting in the comment section in an attempt to publicize whatever crap it was they were selling. Counterfeit handbags. Counterfeit designer clothes. Counterfeit Viagra. Guns. How-to books. Gambling sites. Dating sites. Porn sites. Religious and political sites. The topics were endless. All these comments had slipped thorough Google's then not very good spam detecting algorithms. I started to delete the spam comments myself. I went through each comment to make sure it wasn't a legit comment. (Some of these spammers are pretty clever. At first their comments look legit. You have to read the whole thing to find out that it isn't.) It was frustrating and time consuming. Eventually I just thought "screw this" (or something really similar) and deleted all the comments; spam and legitimate ones. That was a huge mistake.

Some people got upset. I received emails asking why I deleted their comments. They thought I didn't like or agree with what they were saying so I deleted them. Nothing could have been further from the truth. I love the comments. In all the years I have been doing this I have only deleted two legit comments. One was from a person who was trashing the person who was selling the car I wrote about. Since I didn't know the seller or the commenter, I deleted it. The other one was trashing me. I wrote about a car and said it had certain amount of horsepower. (I don't rmember what.) Some anonymous commenter wrote a lengthily comment, calling me every name in the book, because the car actually came with 3 more horsepower than I wrote. C'mon. Really? Really? Yes, I have a certain amount of knowledge about obscure cars, but I'm not Rain Man. I have to do some research. Sometimes the website(s) I used for a particular car had the wrong info. It happens. I didn't feel like responding to the guy, so I just deleted the comment.

So why am I writing all this? Well, I received an email a few weeks ago from Google. They are shutting down Google+. For anyone who might not know, Google+ was Google's attempt at creating a social network website similar to Facebook. It failed miserably and Google has finally given up. The email said in part: "Support for Google+ Comments will be turned down, and all blogs using Google+ Comments will be reverted back to using Blogger comments on 4 February 2019. Unfortunately, comments posted as Google+ comments cannot be migrated to Blogger and will no longer appear on your blog."

It's possible that you signed up for a Google+ account a decade ago. It's also possible likely that you never looked at it again. But, Google knew it was there and if you left a comment on this blog or any other Google powered blog, your comment may have been linked to your Google+ account by default. Google says the shut down of Google+ and the deleting of the comments attached to it will be completed by early April. I just thought I would post this to let you know what's happening. I enjoy and appreciate the comments. Keep 'em coming!

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