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The Asylum

Welcome to the Asylum. This is a site devoted to politics and current events in America, and around the globe. The THREE lunatics posting here are unabashed conservatives that go after the liberal lies and deceit prevalent in the debate of the day. We'd like to add that the views expressed here do not reflect the views of other inmates, nor were any inmates harmed in the creation of this site.

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Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

Who are we? We're a married couple who has a passion for politics and current events. That's what this site is about. If you read us, you know what we stand for.

Monday, April 18, 2005

An Enemy of Free Speech…

AOL, longtime Internet provider, has decided to take steps similar to that of the MSM when it comes to harassing bloggers. Thomas was the first. AOL TOS’d him over "rate limits" on his E-mails. Everyone who knows us knows that we send out notices. We only send out update notices to people that want them. If you ask us to stop, we remove you from the list. Thomas sent no more notices than normal the day AOL TOS’d him. That account, as many have noticed, was deleted. The hell that he went through for 48 hours was more than he wanted to deal with. We already had this site up and ready to go. He had no problem walking away from his original site; one that I point out was an AOL journal.

This past weekend, a fellow blogger and good friend sent Thomas an E-mail about another blogger that has been hit by AOL. His name is Armand, and his blog supposedly violated AOL’s TOS rules. I have been to Armand’s site, and I see NOTHING that could come close to violating the TOS rules. This is the letter that Armand sent to AOL.
(Hat-Tip To Republican Jen)

http://journals.aol.com/republicanjen/RepublicanJen/

EDITORS(s),

I can no longer reach my primary journal at http://journals.aol.com/armandt/sense. I returned from vacation to find out that there was an apparent attempt to up-load improper files to my ftp space. I loaded cute beach and bird pictures, not TOS violation trash.

My screen name was locked. When this was corrected, I could no longer reach my primary journal; however, I can reach my other journals.

Attempting to deal with the Community Action Team is extremely .. EXTREMELY .. difficult. Several .. SEVERAL .. times, I have to repeat .. REPEAT .. what I had already stated in very clear and uncertain terms. I simply want my main journal put back where it was and with all of my past journals as they were - and I don't want to be transferred to 17 more people who have to struggle .. STRUGGLE .. through their communication skills to accomplish a simple task.
As I stated in my journal while I was featured at the top of your list, I would be more than willing .. MORE THAN WILLING .. to pay extra for every single call where I can speak to someone who understands English.


I am having to spell, re-spell, and re-spell, and re-spell my journal name - screen name and URL to people who continually "re-assure" me that they are going to help me... and that I should worry about anything.

This is ridiculous. RIDICULOUS. What do I need to do to get my journal back?

Please, oh please, oh PLEASE give me a phone number where I can speak with anyone .. ANYONE .. at AOL who speaks English and is capable of solving problems.

Regards, Armand

Now, I have to agree with Armand on one very important point. Dealing with AOL over the phone is practically impossible. Watching Thomas deal with these people was insane. Practically every other phrase out of his mouth was "excuse me?", or "could you repeat that?", or "I don’t understand what you’re saying". AOL has made it an absolute chore to gain any sort of satisfaction over the phone with these foreigners that cannot—I REPEAT, CANNOT—speak clear, concise, and proper English. Welcome to the world, you morons; English IS the primary language in the world! If these people cannot speak clearly, then they should not be employed by the company.

Here is AOL’s "form letter" response to Armand’s letter.

Dear Member:
America Online has been notified of a Web/FTP site, created through your account, which violates AOL's Terms of Service. The AOL Terms of Service, which all AOL members agree to when establishing an AOL account, are intended to foster a community atmosphere that is enjoyable for all of AOL's members. The guidelines for AOL Hometown and member web pages are very specific in detailing what is and is not allowed within the AOL community.

Regarding this incident, the following information has been entered into your account record:On Un-Common Sense EDT the armandt, screen name uploaded files to the account's Web/FTP Directory. These files are inappropriate under AOL's Terms of Service agreement. The following file from your FTP site is an example of inappropriate content: Thursday, March 24, 2005

AOL takes seriously such violations of the Terms of Service, consequently we have placed a note of this incident on your account history; it should be considered a warning. We have removed all the file(s) from your Web/FTP site. Further TOS violations by any screen name associated with this account within 6 months of this notation may result in termination of your account without the chance of reactivation.Our Terms of Service agreement, is enforced so that America Online will continue to be informative, entertaining and, above all, fun for all members of the AOL community. You can review the Terms of Service agreement by using Keyword: TOS

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. Please note, the screen name attached to this e-mail will not accept replies. Therefore, if you have any comments or questions please send mail to the screen name: TOSGeneral.

Regards,
Reddy Lokeshwara
Community Action Team
America Online, Inc

So, despite the fact Armand did nothing wrong, the Nazis at AOL are threatening to remove him not only from the ‘Net, but from the blogosphere, as well. This is just another example of the bias against bloggers. And it’s inherent in AOL’s ideology. Anyone with two brain cells rubbing together can see that AOL has a significant bias against anyone who is of the right-center leanings. When the Pope died, AOL invited people to blog on it. An overwhelming majority of comments posted were negative; I find that hard to believe, and I base that opinion on how the world reacted to his passing.

This is Armand’s response to the above E-mail from AOL.

Gentlemen, There was nothing remotely close to a TOS violation uploaded by me to my ftp space. I post pictures of the beach in Cabo.. and birds.. pictures that are /still/ up, by the way, on my photo journal. Anything that would violate TOS would also cause me to lose my clearance with the military... so I'd be more than happy to find out what it is that was a TOS violation. It must have been the beach picture...? Either way, I never posted anything to my ftp space that would come close to a TOS Violation. Never. Let me be clear. NEVER. I'd appreciate seeing my journal back up -and soon. AOL seems to be trying harder to lose good customers than to keep them. After over 2 hours of dealing with nearly every Tom, Dick and Harminder at the Community Action Team - none of them can tell me anything but to "wait about 24 hours and try again." Literally. Armand... paying for nearly 10 years now. And I want that supposed TOS violation removed from my record. ...Please.

Who is offended by beach pictures? This is appalling. This is a violation of our freedom of speech. I can understand that AOL has TOS rules in place to "protect" the Internet for everyone. But my experiences online, especially through AOL, show that their TOS rules do not seem to apply to those that harass others, to those that like to drop swear words and racial epitaphs in chat rooms, and to hackers that swipe people’s screen names and identities. These people, AOL is willing to give a pass on. But people like Thomas, people like Armand, get no protections from AOL. They get no notice and no satisfaction when AOL screws them over. They have to take other measures to get back into the thick of things. Thomas blogs more than I do, and 48 hours of not being online was like a stake through his heart. He takes the hobby seriously. Very seriously.

As of this morning, Armand still has no blog, and no satisfaction. And the AOL Nazis have won round one.

The Bunny ;)

2 Comments:

Anonymous RepJ said...

Thank you for bringing this forward, Bunny! I support Armand!

2:41 PM  
Blogger Syd And Vaughn said...

Jen,

You're quite welcome. I defend bloggers as ardently as I defend our troops and our basic, God-given, enumerated rights.

Marcie

2:48 PM  

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