Monday night was a typical night. After drafting a post, I hit “Publish,” and guess what happened? It wouldn’t let me. I was directed to my Dashboard where this message awaited me: “This blog has been deactivated because we believe that it does not comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service or advertising policy. ”
My first thought was: “Huh. That’s odd.” I hit refresh. Nothing. I tried my Stats. Nada. Tried getting to the blog from the outside on my Safari. Zilch. I hit the link on the Mean Message WordPress sent that suggested that I contact them if I think they made a mistake.
Monday night when I realized that I may have lost my 77 or so posts — my entire blog — I got nervous and depressed. I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, but I still wanted to write. So I did. I wrote this:
I’m typing this on Pages on my Mac on the night that WordPress deleted my blog, hoping that after my two frantic messages sent via their panic button, they restore it.
I went to hit “Publish” on a cute post about handbags, when this message pops up: “This blog has been deactivated . . .” Wait, wuh? “. . . because we believe it does not comply with the WordPress.com Terms of Service or advertising policy.”
So they just delete it? Without telling me why? Immediately I clicked the link that said to contact them if I believe they “misclassified” my blog with a message like, “What’s going on? Tell me what to fix and I’ll fix it.”
I texted Angela. “WordPress deleted my blog. Said I violated a rule.” She had a similar reaction to mine. “What? Why? It must be a mistake.” Her exact words were: “What rule could you have violated?? Being too awesome?” Which was a perfect and appreciated response and made me feel a little better, as a good friend always should and she always does.
As I put the kids to bed after obsessively checking my phone for the “WE’RE SO SORRY” email from WordPress (which didn’t come), I thought about what I would do if WOAW was over. Would I start over again? I’ve worked so hard on WOAW and I was really starting to get into it. The blog was my little nibble at success. Six weeks after starting the blog, I was Freshly Pressed, which was like winning the World Series in your rookie year. In four months I managed to amass over 600 followers. I was so proud of the blog. It was such a source of positive feedback for me, feedback that I desperately needed. And it was fun.
When the kids fell asleep, my husband came home and I told him that I was depressed because my blog disappeared. I didn’t expect feeling as sad as I did. He told me not to worry and that it would be straightened out. I know with everything going on in the world, in my life even, this shouldn’t be so important to me, but it is. I’m sorry if that’s wrong.
So I’m typing this on Pages wondering “what’s the sense.” Well, the sense of it is that sometimes I need to write. Writing this non-post is helping me sort my brain. If the blog is gone, it’s gone. I’ll email my closely-knit blogger family to let them know and to warn them that WordPress apparently doesn’t believe in due process. I never had a chance to fix any errors I may have made, or even know why I was deleted. Oh well.
On Tuesday I woke up to the same ugly Mean Message on my blog. I pondered if The Met shut me down because I posted pics of the Opera Hall. Or maybe someone hacked me, or spammed me, or sent a virus. Or maybe half of the WordPress users in the world were deleted and it was a WordPress issue.
On Wednesday morning the Mean Message remained. I thought it was all over. Later Wednesday morning Dylan emailed, asking what happened, which I thought was super sweet (and shows why he’s a member of my WordPress Family). I emailed my go-to Blogger Buddy David (a.k.a. Justin Timberlake) who offered to help any way he could, and texted my mom. My work buddies tried to figure out the problem, and my friend Anita told me I shouldn’t feel guilty for being sad about losing the blog, because it was something I enjoyed.
Finally, Wednesday afternoon, I received an email from WordPress. This is what it said:
Thanks for getting in touch.
Can any links to [deleted for obvious reasons] be removed, please? These are not permitted on WordPress.com and our system has an automatic check in place for them.
Thank you in advance.
Well, okay then. Progress! They didn’t forget about me! Still, I had questions. I hadn’t been able to access my posts. I had no idea where the suspect link was posted. I thought perhaps it was in my Roller Boogie post since that was the last post that had made it through to Publish. Turns out the Cyber Police are quicker than that. The suspect link was in the post I was trying to publish as I got the Mean Message. It was a link for a picture that I got off Google Images. I immediately deleted the picture and the link. I’ll post the handbag post (minus the blog-killing pic) tomorrow. (Special thanks to my new friend Al at The Blog Identity for noticing I was gone and welcoming me back!).
Anyway, to make a short story long, for two nights I was blogless. But when I read back what I wrote that first night on Pages, I realized something. I’m a writer. Like, a real one. Believe me, I’m under no impression that I’m any good at it, but still, that drive to write is there, and it’s never a chore. I never dread it. I always want to do it.
Another lesson learned: I’m never linking again. Or at least I’m going to be really super careful about what I’m linking. My apologies to WordPress for (a) unknowingly violating their rules and (b) harassing them with a total of four panicked “HELP ME” messages. But can’t y’all figure out a way to let us know what’s going on before you freak us out by deactivating us? Maybe when we hit “publish” on the violating post there could be a pop up that says: “You can’t publish this post. We’ll tell you why in a couple of days. For now, don’t publish.” Then at least we’d know that all our stuff wasn’t lost in the WordPress matrix, never to be found again.
So what did I do on the two nights I was suspended in WordPress Purgatory? I wrote. I found a screenplay that I had started way back when and I converted it to my Final Draft program, edited it, and got super psyched about it.
Us writers! We’re always writing . . .
Glad to be back! Have a nice night.