Posts Tagged ‘Anton Piller’

PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT, ‘COMMENT.g’ & friends

December 24, 2009

A look at blog-IDs, post-IDs, URLs of blogger.com (blogspot)… reproduced for the benefit of  SLAPP-oppressed bloggers!

© fumigent 2009. All Rights Reserved.

Notes

  • This is excerpted from my submission to Court (see context). The Plaintiffs had argued that the presence of PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT occurring in browser caches on my hard disk, associated with certain Blog URLs (unrelated to me), is proof of my publication of articles to the blog. Here I refute that suggestion. A few other false assertions made by the Plaintiffs are also rebutted.
  • I publish this with the hope that it will be useful to other SLAPP-oppressed bloggers and technically and forensically challenged Courts.
  • Some identifiers that appear below have been redacted for the purposes of this article. They appear struck out, as in ‘abcdefg‘.

Introduction

This article seeks to explain in non-technical terms, in relation to blogs on ‘blogger.com’ (blogspot) including blog-IDs, post-IDs, and keywords such as PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT, navbar.g, COMMENT.g, etc.

A note on the non-implications of the presence of a web link

The mere presence of a certain web link (URL) on a user’s hard disk does not provide evidence of that user having visited the corresponding web page that the web link points to.

Characteristics of Blogs in blogspot.com

The web domain “blogspot.com” is operated by blogger.com (a Google company). It hosts millions of blogs. The blog ‘XXXXX‘, whose main web link is   http://??????.blogspot.com,
is one of them.

(Other popular blogging systems such as WordPress and Live Journal are not included in the rest of this discussion, as we narrow our focus specifically to blogspot.com blogs).

Blog ID’s

Each blog is assigned a unique numerical ID. For example,  the blog ID of ‘forXXX??????XXXX.blogspot.com’ is 1234…...

Articles,  “Posts”, and Post ID’s

Each blog consists of several blog articles (“articles”).  For example, the ‘XXXXX’ blog contains about 85 articles.

Articles are sometimes called “Posts” — but that terminology is unfortunate and is best avoided, as it often leads to confusion between the noun, “Post” (meaning article) and the verb,  to “post”, referring to the act of “posting” which involves either the writing of an Article or the writing of a Readers’ Comment.

Each article has a unique ID called the “post-ID” which uniquely identifies that article within the blog.  For example, Post ID 12345….. identifies the article titled “ASSET EXAMS” in the XXXXX blog.

Analyzing web links related to a specific blog and/or article

It can be seen from the above that web links specific to a blog can be identified (or filtered) by specific “BlogID=” keyword, e.g. “BlogID=123456789”.

Similarly, a web link specific to a certain article can be identified (or filtered) by specific  “postID=” keyword, e.g. “postID=8531284380621099.

The two keywords can also be used together to obtain precise matches with a well defined scope of search.

Web Links for reading, writing, editing (updating)

The most common use of a blog involves a reader reading existing content on the blog (“read access”, also known as “normal traffic”).

However, a blog can also be written to,  e.g. —

  • when a blogger writes an article on a blog, or
  • when “readers” of a blog record their comments on a blog article.

The web links that come into play during the writing of articles or comments on a blog, are distinct from web links that accompany “normal traffic”,  that is, reading of the blog.

Likewise, other actions such as  “updating” or “editing” of specific content is accompanied by distinct types of URLs that characterize the action being performed.

The following table shows  different types of web links associated with these different actions being performed on a blog.

Web-link type

Associated action

Example of such a web link,
and remarks

(Main Page)

A user (reader) viewing (reading) the main page of a blog

Example:

http://test.blogspot.com/

(Specific Article)

A user (reader) viewing
(reading) a specific article of a blog

Example:

http://test.blogspot.com/2005/04/testing.html

Navbar.g

A user (reader) viewing (reading) a blog page which contains a navigation bar.

Example:
http://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID=12124915&blogName=testing&publishMode=PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT&navbarType=BLUE&layoutType=CLASSIC&searchRoot=http%3A%2F%2Ftest.blogspot.com%2Fsearch&blogLocale=en_US&homepageUrl=http%3A%2F%2Ftest.blogspot.com%2F

“Navbar” is the navigation bar which usually appears at the top of most blogs on blogspot.com due to the manner in which a typical blog web page is constructed.

Publish-confirmation.g

A user (writer, author or editor)  submitting a blog article to blogger.com, for publication

Example:

http://www.blogger.com/publish-confirmation.g?

blogID=24069595&postID=7449672810113528192

&timestamp=1178898790159&javascriptEnabled=true

Post-edit.g

An author or editor editing
a blog article

Example:

http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?

blogID=24069595&postID=7449672810113528192

Comment.g

A reader clicking on the ‘Post a Comment’ link appearing below a certain blog article.

Example:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=34478440&postID=8789971791566103495&isPopup=true

Possible intent of the user is to enter a  a comment
into the blog. User’s choices are: 1) preview the comment (any number
of times) 2) finalize and post the comment or 3) abort the action

Comment.do

A reader previewing or posting a Reader’s Comment.

Example:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.do

The reader would be on a ‘Post A Comment’ form when
this action happens.

Table:  Different types of web links and actions associated with them

Web links involving writing of Readers’ Comments

A web link of the type “COMMENT.g” includes the “blogID=” and “postID=” keywords that help to specify precisely the blog in question, and the article in question. This type of web link indicates that the user clicked on the “Post A Comment” link displayed under a specific article within a specific blog.

A web link of the type “Comment.do” indicates the previewing OR submission of a Reader’s Comment.

Keyword PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT does NOT indicate an act of writing on a blog

It is important to note that the keyword PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT does not indicate the user writing or publishing a blog (despite the presence of the word PUBLISH therein).

The Google Group web page:

http://groups.google.gg/group/blogger-help-loginissues/browse_thread/thread/69c28e85c645b3de?fwc=1

explains the meaning of this keyword occurring in a web link —  that, PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT indicates only normal web traffic that occurs when a blog is read by a visitor.  A screen shot of the explanation is attached here.

PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT

Specifically, the keyword PUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT does NOT indicate writing.

(Please point out errors or omissions, if any. Thank you).

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Blogger resisting Anton Piller Search

October 31, 2009

(This provides the context for On Blogs and Searching for Evidence).

Introduction

I’m a blogger living in a country in Asia where the law is largely Common Law based (British legacy).  I had setup a blog on blogger.com for a community of parents (of which I am one) interested in a certain educational outfit here. (Please bear with me for the time being, for not revealing specific details beyond  “an Asian country” and “a certain educational outfit”. I assure you that this is all real!).

Armed with the blog, the blogging parents went about discussing many matters of interest to them, much of it about this specific education provider (“school”). Over several months, close to a hundred articles were posted on the blog, some of them very critical of the school’s handling of certain matters. For instance, when the school management tried to suppress one exam result which was unfavorable (and were heard beating a drum on other results which were better), the blog spoke out. Again, when it was found that the school management was not being truthful to parents about a loss of affiliation, and when they were justifying an increase in tuition and transport fees citing partial and incorrect information (misinformation?), the blog became a center of discussion on these matters.

The blog was open to comments and quite a lively discussion ensued on many topics. The house rules set it up as a community-moderated blog:  anybody could post comments, contest already expressed opinions,  object to comments stating grounds, etc. The school management was informed of the blog and was requested to join in the discussion; but they responded with a mass email to all parents asking them not to visit the blog as it was not their “official communication channel”. However, the management did track the blog closely and may even have posted a few comments on it (my guess — from the look of certain comments). To their credit they also did make some significant changes for the better, like appointing a new bus transport service provider, as the comments clearly documented how terrible the service was.

However, the real hard and persistent issues remained unresolved in the school. Gradually the interest in the blog waned as the problems remained, parents who had higher expectations found other schools, and I guess the remaining ones came to view it as a battle that cannot be won. The blogging exercise was almost written off as fruitless. Months went by without any articles being added. Only the “readers comments” remained alive and offered parents an avenue to speak out, now and then.

Several months passed by without event. I suspect that the management wanted to close off the blog for once and all. All on a sudden, this blogger was surprised by a legal attack by the owners of the school. The Statement of Claim filed in Court, cites a bunch of comments posted by readers, which they allege are defamatory.  Part of their claim was also that I had (or “may have had”) posted these readers comments myself !  The legal attack began with a Court order (a so-called Anton Piller order) to search my hard disk.  I am still objecting strenuously to these tactics, now with the help of a lawyer (and earlier representing myself in person).

(I know some of you may find it all surreal and really hard to believe, especially if you live in the US. However, this is real. The only reason I am not giving out further details is the legal situation).

As I mentioned, the blog in question is a community-moderated blog, in which readers’ comments do not go through any approval process.

One of the key points in my submissions to the Court, as regards the validity of the Anton Piller search, is that comments posted by readers (third parties) do not go through my computers (as comments do not need anybody’s approval), and will not leave any evidence in my hard disks.  I sought to write this up more clearly so that a Judge who may not have the technical background can understand the issue and appreciate why my hard disk should be the last place to look.  You can read that article at: On Blogs and Searching for Evidence“.

However, the plaintiffs’ are asking the Court to strike out my affidavit. Their reasons ? They say that my article (On Blogs and Searching for Evidence—  it is submitted as part of my affidavit) contains “various comments of a general and unsubstantiated nature relating to blogs, web links and the like”.  From there, they go on to say that the “whole of the Defendant’s affidavit should be struck off” … “as it contains nothing but opinion and conjecture”.  They also do not relish my being an “expert”. (See image).
What the plaintiffs say

The article that I wrote, which according to the Plaintiffs is “nothing but opinion and conjecture”, is at  On Blogs and Searching for Evidence.  It was written for a non-technical audience, no doubt; but “conjecture” ?

Please read and share your views there: On Blogs and Searching for Evidence

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