Three blog notes

On AZBlog, three developments: still more spam comments; revisions of Pages; and the “About (academic)” main Page as the descendant of my old Stanford webpage.

The spamvalanche. Every so often, I note that the number of spam comments on AZBlog has passed some milestone. So: in the past two days, the count went over 1.5 million since I started the blog in 2008 (and 10k or so more have already piled up since then). If I’ve disregarded a comment of yours because I suspected it of being spam (it can be hard to tell), this is why.

Revisions of Pages. I’ve been working on revising the Pages on this blog (listed in the column on the right when you access AZBlog; this column gets you directly to material on certain topics, without having to do a search through the thousands of postings on AZBlog). In particular, I’m working on adding new main Pages (for instance, Topical) and subpages under these (two so far under Topical: “Jacques Transue”, on my late husband-equivalent and his neurological travails; and “Gay baths”, on the cultural institution, my experiences with the baths, the relationship between fiction and (auto)biography, and anthropological research in the participant-observer mold. More will come — certainly more Topical subpages and a new3 Reference main Page, and possibly more.

“About (academic)” as my new webpage. There’s a story here, going back to June of last year. As I wrote then:

From Tom Wasow, my department chair, on the 11th:

A month or so ago, a student in England wrote to our departmental staff asking whether they were aware that your web page had a link to an xxx site on it. They forwarded the message to me, asking what to do. I said I knew about the link, having seen it before, and I didn’t think there was a problem, because the xxx site is not housed on a Stanford computer, and because you have an intermediate page warning people who are too young or might be offended not to proceed. But the staff remained uncomfortable, so I asked our dean about it. She said it sounded okay to her, but I should check with the University Counsel’s office. So I did. This morning I got a call from that office, with a lengthy discussion. The lawyer I spoke to had evidently discussed the issue (without mentioning names) with people in the Provost’s office, as well as with colleagues in the University Counsel’s office. The consensus was apparently that you should remove the sentence “And another, mostly XXX-rated blog¬†here” (and its link)¬†from your Stanford web page. [The concern was that I was scheduled to teach a Freshman Seminar this winter (2014; it’s over now), and there was the possibility that freshman could come across X-rated material by linking to it from my Stanford website.

He has asked me to do this, and I have done it. But there’s a lot to be concerened about here, and I’m investigating moving most of the material on my Stanford website to another platform, leaving a link to it at Stanford.

Almost immediately, in fact, I created the “About” Page on this blog and moved essentially everything from the Stanford webpage to this blog, leaving at Stanford only a skeleton with a link, plus the .pdf files with publications, abstracts, handouts, etc. (the really academic stuff). That’s the current state of affairs.

Tom admitted that this merely added one step to the process of getting from a Stanford site to the potentially freshman-offending material on AZBlogX, and that I could prevent freshmen (and their families) from getting to stuff on AZBlogX only by scrubbing all links to my Livejournal account (which is not accessible through Google searches) anywhere — but persistent searchers could find old links anyway.

(In all of this I was mildly concerned about losing my access to Stanford resources, and possibly Ohio State resources as well, because of my offensive writings and speech. I have never had tenure at Stanford, and so lack all academic freedom protections here; and I lost those protections at Ohio State when I retired there, in 1995. Understand that all of the administrators that I report to directly, at both institutions — department chairs, cognizant deans, provosts — seem well-disposed to me personally, but both universities have phalanxes of other administrative staff (like the university lawyers) who operate independently and have no concern for me.)

In any case, I moved the icky stuff one step further away from Stanford, to protect the university (and myself).

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