[update: Blogger has acknowledged the problem, and is working to fix it, "despite it being Friday afternoon", which last I am entirely sympathetic with.]
Blogger, the blogging tool hosted by Google, has for maybe a week now been blocking many sites on apparently false charges of being “spam blogs”. Although the sites are still viewable, victims cannot author new posts. Judging by the posts on the Google Help Group here, Blogger is not responding to appeals in a timely fashion. (Granted, though, that they’ve got more than a thousand requests to work through.)
I first became aware of this via David Codrea’s excellent The War on Guns. Codrea was able to activate a sidebar widget (over there on the left) explaining the situation.
Oddly, comments seem to work.
Codrea is, rightfully, I think, reluctant to move, since War on Guns is a very active site with huge archives. (Including the absolutely invaluable Only Ones archive.) It doesn’t help that apparently WordPress cannot import any images associated with Blogger posts. (Can that be right? It seems like such an obvious thing to fix.) Also, he has been using a free Blogger account, and if he goes to WordPress, he’ll have to pay for hosting.
[update: I've been checking around, and it looks like there are migration tools that will in fact bring your pictures over.]
Nevertheless, he’s set up a WordPress site here, holding it in reserve pending resolution of the Blogger glitch.
This is a very tempting tin-foil-hat moment, but it’s not limited to gun blogs, or right-wing blogs, or even political blogs. Knoxviews speculates it might be some kind of anti-spammer bot that Blogger unleashed on itself, which then ran amuck on a rash of false positives. I wonder if it’s a denial-of-service attack which robotically clicks “flag as spam” buttons.
I am so very, very glad I elected to use an independent host (thank you, Hosting Matters), even though I have to pay for the privilege. (I’ve registered the domain through 2011, and my hosting fee is currently $11/month — negligible even on my very limited budget, and there are cheaper hosts out there.) And I think WordPress is a vastly better tool than Blogger, even out of the box with little or no customization.
Fair warning to those who find themselves investing time, effort, and other resources on free sites they do not control.