Friday, 28 February 2014

Wrapping myself in the flag

The sidewalk on Maitland Avenue this week.  And this was the sunny side.
Ah, February.  Don't let the door hit you on your way out.  The theme of this month seems to be entanglement with institutions, so why not end with another?

This morning, I got an email from the Ottawa Public library.  The "BiblioCommons Team" was informing me that my comment for the King Lear has been removed from public view.  Their flagging system, they told me, allows other users to identify inappropriate postings for speedy removal, while preserving everyone's ability to express themselves.  If a post is flagged by three different library users, it is automatically removed from public view.  They conceded that systems that depend on public participation are not perfect and a small percentage of content removed by flagging does not violate our Terms of Use.

All this alarmed me as I couldn't recall posting a comment on King Lear at the web site.  Had someone accessed my account and left an offensive message under my name?  I checked my account and there it was -- a comment on a DVD of King Lear, a Royal Shakespeare Company production starring Sir Ian McKellen.  It was a much shorter version of a post I'd written for this blog in 2009, which I'd submitted to the library's web site in 2011. The closest thing to an expletive in it was "oh my goodness", and it was a ringing endorsement of the interpretation.

I figured that since this comment was on the site, then it couldn't be the one that the BiblioCommons Team had removed.  I fired off an email, expressing my fears about being hacked.

No answer came, and I checked in during the day.  My comment was still there, but the date had been changed from January 2011 to today's date.  I figured that the comment had been removed, then reinstated when found to be innocuous.

Something, I know not what, made me check again in the late afternoon.  My comment, plus the only other comment on the page, had disappeared.  (The other person had made the observation that while they thought McKellen's performance was terrific, they preferred the 1953 version with Orson Welles.  Hardly inappropriate -- or am I missing something?)

Fortunately, the same something that had made me check had also nudged me into copying and pasting my comment while it was still online.  I fired off an email to OPL with my observations and the text of my "inappropriate" contribution, remarking that I'm here to learn.  Which is true, even I was being just a little snarky.

See, I fail to see how the deletion is "automatic" after three flaggings, if my comment remained online a good five hours after I received the email.  Surely someone in charge was in a position to read it.  I'm ticked, but heck, the longer version is still on my blog and no one has demanded that I remove it.  Yet.

On the up side, our passports arrived this week.  Whew.

You may have noticed (probably not) that I've done a NaBloPoMo-type month of daily posts, but, like December, failed to officially sign in to NaBloPoMo, as I've found it increasingly difficult to link my posts there.  I plan to try again in September.

Update:  The following Monday, I received an email from BiblioCommons:  ...nothing wrong with your comment - our apologies!  Looks like we made an error in matching your review of this production to another production of King Lear, which someone has objected to and flagged.  I would like to ask your patience while we sort this out. Our plan is to restore your review once we do. 

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