Wednesday, April 11, 2012

To Our Readers: Thanks to Google and to the French Government, I Can No Longer Read Your Comments

This is to let you know that I am currently in Switzerland for my Easter holiday…

Why would you care, you ask?

Well, for the first time in weeks, I can read your comments (and have been going back to try and read them all).

The thing is: When I am in France, the name, or address, of the blog — — changes automatically to

Apparently (if my understanding is correct), Blogger, or Google, has a deal with the French government (maybe imposed by Paris) that .com blogs will automatically transfer to .fr blogs (and that for reasons of content control and the ability to take action against law-breakers?). The Swiss, to their credit, have not (yet?) done so.

Offhand, nothing has changed, the blog appears (to me) exactly as normal, except — that the comments section doesn't show up anymore. To the right is a screenshot of what I — invariably — see (when in France, that is). Rather than, say, the usual "Comments (4)" link, I see "Echo 0 items" and "Leave a Comment" (which is a dead link). Readers who have tried changing .com to .fr in the location bar (try it yourself if you have time) might get the word "Comments" but never followed by a number, i.e., never with any actual remarks, because it is a dead link and clicking the link will not do anything or take you anywhere.

(No Pasarán's Joe lives stateside, so he can read your comments without problems.)

What is odd is that the blog-publishing service,, remains the same, i.e., it has not become, so the original template has not changed, nor has the means of making the post. But, somehow, for some reason (to guard against hate speech?), whatever Hal 9000 in France is perusing the content of the template is blocking the part where the Echo html appears.

In August, Echo retires anyway, but I assume that any change will still be subject to French government restrictions and that because they have little estomac for comments sections not controlled by them, little will change. If any reader has any comments or suggestions, we are open to them (I am open to them, that is, for the next couple of days!), but I suppose the solution will be a letters section made in France (or at least controlled by France).