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Censored at Stumbleupon

Final update!

Innomen’s banned from stumbleupon 🙂

Here is a copy of the email between me and Barry Conway, some yuppy stumble minion.

Hello Brandon.

We write to advise you that your StumbleUpon account – Innomen – has been suspended for a further breach of our Terms of Service.

Your account has previously been involved in a number of incidents which breached of Terms of Service, and has been the subject of a high volume of complaints from other members of StumbleUpon. On the last such occasion, we advised you – in writing – as follows:

As we advised in our previous mail, Brandon: Since your account has
now been repeatedly involved in matters of dispute in which
we have been required to intervene, you are formally advised that any
further breach of our Terms will result in the permanent suspension of
your account.

Since you have continued to write objectionable content on your Innomen account, culminating in a recent review on the StumbleUpon blog pages, we have now permanently suspended your account – Innomen.

Please be reminded that our Terms of Service allow for only one account per member, and that you should not create further accounts on our service. Should you do so, they too will be suspended.

This suspension will not be lifted, and – because you have been formally warned on previous occasions – is not subject to appeal. No further correspondence will be entered into on this matter.

A record of your account suspension will be kept on file, along with those relating to the previous incidents.


Barry Conway (StumbleUpon Community Support)

To which I replied…

Oh please. Are you actually so far gone that you believe any of that? No one contacted you. No one complained. I was a valuable member of the su community getting around one fan or more per day. I had 720 followers at the time of my ban. I had regular fruitful correspondence with many members and not one negative private message in over a year.

The only thing I’ve done to get myself banned is fail to kiss developer ass that’s why I’m being banned at 4 in the freaking morning. You’re having a tantrum. You people spammed me your stupid tea party and I wrote my opinion. And it hit a little too close to home.

You don’t want people reading it and so you banned me, plain and simple. You realize how legitimate you’ve made my work right? One is define by the strength of their enemies and I was just unjustly censored by what, the second largest social media site on the Internet?

And for what? Complaints you don’t intend to produce? Heh, I couldn’t have scripted a better exit.

Your rubber stamp TOS gives you the rights to do whatever you want with your ball, yet you feel the need to pretend some kind of due process where no is required or exists.

You may of course take it home with all the maturity of a wounded grade schooler. I’m content with the obvious moral high ground and now the total freedom to publicize this event. Though of course I’m well aware no one will care and those that do, you will ban. Still, it is a thrilling vindication.

I wouldn’t write back if I were you. It will only make you look worse. And your responses absolutely will be published, consider your reply consent to my terms of service 🙂

And thus ends my time as a stumbler. I am a little angry I suppose but really I’m more flattered than anything else. Honestly this is completely unjustified. I’ve been shut out of places before but never so unilaterally. I wonder how long it will take my fans to realize I’m gone, I know from experience that when a person is banned you can go right on sending them stumbles and it won’t notify you that they aren’t going anywhere.

I wonder if the stumbler I had in the cue to be sent will still be sent. Eh, no big deal. The community will live without me. My stumble upon died before they bent over to eBay’s dollar.

Time to fire up my reddit account or something lol.

It’s been a helluva ride.

As if their piece of shit service weren’t bloating and fucked up and broken enough, now they insist on putting my sticky post even at the top of direct comment links. So I can’t share comments without forcing my reader to scroll down through something they obviously have already read, so I’m replacing it with a link to here that was they don’t have to scroll down so far.

Update: To whom it may concern, I can be found here.

myspace.com/brandonsergent [myspace.com]

friendfeed.com/innomen [friendfeed.com]

Where to begin?

Ruled by silly little brats with porn and poetry.

Unconstitutional EULA restrictions.

Inability to introduce a page unless you claim to like it, despite how much people enjoy complaining.

Inability to respond to reviews.

Removal of classic layout.

Inability to archive or backup your blog.

Absurdly small character limits, and dimension limits for images.

Tactical patenting lock down of a profoundly important type of information system.

Update: I was recently told that there are many like me here and that I need to continue writing reviews because they serve a purpose.

I want to explain something because they served a personal purpose as well.

I truly felt free to say whatever was on my mind here. I no longer feel that way.

I feel like a fool for having dedicated so many hours in creating content and introducing so many people.

Literally my entire circle of friends in real life I brought to stumble.

People I don’t even know anymore in real life still regularly use stumble because of me, people I’ve only met once I’ve hooked before they went their way.

And now I regret each and every one.

The ability to randomly serve up the Internet according to human filters is profoundly important, and I helped a company that would see that ability packaged and sold.

These people would charge per line read if they had had the chance to patent reading.

This event reminded me that free speech does not exist, there are merely levels of restriction.

In short my heart just isn’t in it anymore.

If I were to create content for these people again it would be a shallow imitation of what I would actually like to say, because what I really want to say I have been Specifically Forbidden to say.

I might ‘offend’ someone.

In addition, this event was a solid vindication, a complete ‘I told you so’, a total cynical non-shock that confirms every assertion I’ve ever made about the social circles here.

I have said who rules here, I have said how, I have pointed out the total lack of ethics, and the motivation for their abandonment.

I have called out bigots and liars, ageists and hypocrites. But when I dared to demand transparency and integrity, then we see the true nature of things here.

When I asked pointed specific questions, and when I attempted to defend myself I got silence and threats.

It became clear that all my freedom was merely the result of not yet encountering what the mafia charmingly refers to as a rat, and what is known as a tattletale on playgrounds all over the country.

When it became clear that these people feel that they OWN my thoughts and opinions, when it came down to a hostage situation, change what you say or we’ll silence you completely, I lost all respect.

In a country where protection of the law is a direct function of how much you can afford to pay a lawyer, I can no longer afford to be an idealist.

I cannot risk the deletion of what I have already said. We exist at the mercy of a hydraulic despot, with water in this case being the only realistic way for a non media company to talk to potentially thousands of people who weren’t actively seeking their words.

Too often we trivialize, not realizing that information is the most important commodity on the planet, and people like this control the flow of it.

It may be just a blog to you, and if you saturate it with lyrics and porn, that’s all it will ever be, but to me it was the ears of the future, and to protect what I have already said, I shall say no more.

What I’m doing now: http://underlore.com/TBA/?p=1460

Updated: November 11, 2010 — 10:03 pm


Add a Comment
  1. could you possibly post a link to the event you’re explicating, or at least provide some kind of synopsis. I’m new to your blog (accessed via stumble) and greatly admire and appreciate everything I’ve read so far and thus I’m eager to commiserate your injustice, but I have no idea what your talking about.

    1. I’m not allowed to discuss it, anywhere, even here. That would be a TOS violation and they’d delete my stumble account. I don’t have the money right now to take them to court, like I absolutely would if they do that and I had the money, so my only choice, like so many other poor people, is to keep my mouth shut, or at least choose my words carefully.

      Unless you mean the new mechanic where by posts to a specific comment, for example, http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/Innomen/review/40432871/

      This link back in the day would have taken you to the comment about the pink gun situation by itself, but now stumble appends whatever sticky posts you have to the top of those comment links, so now I have no way to link to an individual comment directly and alone.

      Since my sticky is a massive rant about stumble upon I’m sure people thought (and still do) I was sending them my stumble rant, and not the comment below it. So I replaced it with a link so it becomes obvious there is more going on.

  2. gah, the suspense of online intrigue. I hate to hear of poignant progressive voices being silenced. When will the TOS end? (I’m assuming its in regards to some kind of future beta release project or something)

    1. If by that you mean when will it be safe for me to explain myself publicly? Never. Or at least not until SU actually gets competition. Like I said, their EULA is unconstitutional, as are most industry EULAs.

  3. http://mashable.com/2010/11/09/facebook-free-speech/ According to this… “the National Labor Relations Board said that a recent Facebook (Facebook)-related termination was unlawful.”

    It sure would be nice if freedom of speech started to actually count online.

    It would be a great step away from the de facto gag orders and dress codes employers impose on their employees, and in the country where everyone is an employee pretty much, these restrictions in effect become universal law.

    Freedom is relegated to the quasi state akin to the “choice” of being shot or handing over your wallet.

  4. Ever heard of createdebate.com?

    1. No, but I have spent time on a couplde of debate sites, they tend to be full of shit for the same reason I was banned from SU. Petty moderation and fear of free speech.

      1. Well this site has been all but abandoned by the moderators, so you needn’t worry about that. Indeed the opposite problem seems to exist there (trolls and spam). Here are some of the debates I have created over the years: http://www.createdebate.com/browse/debates/jessald/ Would be interested in hearing your opinion on any of them.

        1. That’s a healthy list. I’ll definitely go over it.

          Interestingly when I was banned from debate.org (which was originally debate.com) one of the only other innomen’s on the Internet took the name. I’d like to be able to link you to my old stuff, but naturally it’s deleted now.

    2. That doesn’t mean I refuse to participate however, if you have a particular subject you’d like to debate with me feel free to start one and link here, I’ll respond there or explain here why I can’t if I can’t.

    3. I have created an account there.

  5. I clicked ‘like’ on this blog page, It didn’t ask me for a review, just green lighted it. So I’d say that a few people have clicked the “check it” button. Hopefully someone will see it.

  6. Thanks, Probably the best way to alert people. Is to link them to my blog about being banned.

    http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/SketchSepahi/ would be a good one to contact. I think Joey told fadingflash and labaker. I just wish there was some way I could inform the rest of my contact list. In a way I wish it would delete me from everyone’s friend list so they notice I’ve been banned all at once.

    Also, you could start a petition, to liberate my content. Heh. Like that’ll work. 😛

    1. Hello, my old friend. Sorry to hear about the censorship against you. Despite our little spat way back I still think of you as one of – if not the – most awesome stumblers. Nobody contacted me, but I found this blogpost just now because you linked to me. (I some times Google links and mentions of me when I’m bored.) I’ve thumbed up this post and “discovered” your other post about being banned. ( http://underlore.com/TBA/?p=1460 ) Hope you’re well.


      1. Eh, given what SU is doing to itself these days it seems they spared me a great loss. Kind of like getting kicked off the titanic.

        I appreciate the compliment. Your blog is looking good. I love that theme. I hope more people that knew me run across the post, I had no way of telling my hundreds of followers what happened. And since SU hid my page, those that did find out had little way of contacting me. Indeed, SU doesn’t even alert you if you send a page directly to a banned account. So I’m sure I’ve missed hundreds of shares over the months. Occasionally I even get emails still when people share with their entire list. So I know my material is still in there, as are my lists.

        Rather underhanded and childish I think to keep the product of my years of reviews and promotion but to silently remove me.

        I contemplated suing for my content back, but I knew it would be outdated by the end either way, and basically I’d just lose time and money. Further, without integration into the SU system the reviews would be largely out of context anyway.

        I’ve gotten a lot more done since I didn’t have SU to consume time and content. I didn’t quite realize how much work I was doing for them. All in all being kicked was a very good thing, and I truly regret sharing SU with all the people that I did.

  7. It’s okay, Barry Conway is a nutcase, and he is very unprofessional. I hope he has been fired by now.

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement. But he’s definitely not fired, at least not as of a couple months ago.

      If I could talk to a different mod that would be awesome, but it would no doubt be about as effective as calling the police on the police. Barry could no doubt have pooped in my swimming pool and his co-workers would find a way to blame me.

      “Well that’s what you get for having salt water instead of nice toxic chlorine like everyone else, freak.”

      Oh well. G+ and other services filled the gap nicely.

      What’s you’re experience with the guy?

      1. I’m pretty sure he is the only person in whatever department he works in, so talking to someone else is impossible. I remember trying before. My account got suspended because I thumbed up a page about him that called him out on his incompetence. Then after about 20 e-mails over the course of months, I finally got them to remove my account from their system. I assume they keep suspended accounts on record to keep their user count up. If they were going to suspend me, then I didn’t want them to keep my account open, boosting their user count up, even it it was only one account.

        1. At the time I actually contacted a lawyer because I was suspended with no warning unless you count the vague threats over a year before. At the time SU was my primary means of sharing my writing both essays and a couple of short stories, and their suspension of my account amounts to theft of my content which they do not own according to the original TOS/EULA.

          The lawyer I contacted agreed but would not pursue of course for free and I couldn’t afford to spend the money. He wouldn’t even send a request letter for me for free. Like I needed more reason to hate lawyers.

          Point being if I ever win the lotto I’ll drop the ink hammer on them just for the fun of digging through my old reviews and maybe trying to get in touch with some of my old followers, whom I genuinely miss.

          Barry has to be an extraordinarily sad and bitter little man.

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