The Adopt a Blog Project

31 Mar 2004

When the government blocked another blogging service recently, I became nervous, because it means that the government continues to view blogs as a threat. Regardless, bloggers’ responses to the block reveal that they are not going to admit defeat so easily. As a result, I see two possible eventual outcomes: (1) the government decides to give up the blocking effort, or (2) the government steps up its efforts.

What scares me the most is the possibility that what we have seen so far is only a small taste of what is to come. We know the government is working on more advanced internet filtering technology. Every time I can’t access my site for small periods of time, I wonder if I’ve been blocked. When it comes back online, there’s still a nagging suspicion that I’ve been tested and tagged for a future block should the need arise.

Proxies work well enough for the time being, but these services could easily be blocked as well. And where would we be then?

This thought process led to my idea for the Adopt a Blog project. It could enable bloggers to skirt the current blocks, as well as ready the community defensively against a possible bleaker future with regards to freedom online.

It is my strong hope that this project will be accepted by the blogging community globally, or at the very least contribute to the formation of a lasting solution. Please, if you care at all about freedom of speech, spread the word. Adopt a Blog.

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John Pasden

John is a Shanghai-based linguist and entrepreneur, founder of AllSet Learning.

Comments

  1. It’s feasible I guess – have your people talk to mine and we’ll see where the negotiations get to. We will of course require a number of pornographic adverts be added as popups on said blog to recoup our significant losses.

  2. Ben,

    Hehe… Glad to get a positive response (in typical Aussie fashion, of course!).

    Please send an e-mail to the appropriate address as indicated on the Adopt a Blog page and we’ll work something out.

  3. Count me in.

  4. I might be able to help. In the meantime I’ve put the word out on a couple of boards, one of which I mod.

  5. Dear John,

    Even I am not from Mainland China, it’s still really interesting for a person like me from Taiwan to see you writing in Chinese describing what your life in China is. In fact, what I am doing is pretty similar to what you are now. I was an architecture student studying in University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) and after graduated I am still living in Philly now. For the last few years, I have been keeping diary showing people how I suffered from the architecture study . 🙂 You are far from your family as I am far far from mine. I guess you also miss yours like I do.

    I would be happy to invite you to my website “www.forgemind.net” but unfortunately it’s all written in traditional Chinese which you may not be able to read on your computer. I will come back to see how you are doing.

    Good luck,

    EAGER

  6. John, how is china getting your site information to block you? are they using other blog site links?

  7. Good luck with the project John. Yesterday I blogged it with a link to you.

  8. Greg,

    I don’t quite understand your question. I’m not blocked. The blocked sites seem to be blocked by their IP adddresses.

  9. The sites are blocked by their IP address (192.168.1.1 etc.), which is why Adopt a Blog can theoretically work. You can change your domain address but if it’s on the same IP address, it does nothing to alleviate the block.

    Though I haven’t written about China for a year, RACINGMIX.com is still blocked in mainland China. So is ROSEWOODHOUSE.com because it’s on the same IP (same server, too)

  10. In addition to the proposal to actually host a blog site away from the major blog hosts, there is the possibility of using mirrors. There is plenty of software that will suck the static contents of a site and then allow you to mirror the static contents locally. It wouldn’t be a “real-time” solution with the mirrors only displaying the static content at a snapshot time. But the mirrors could be updated on a regular schedule (every few hours or once a day) and if the mirrors use rsync style mirroring, the traffic on the primary host could be minimised.

    The advantage then is that any particular blog could then be found on many, many mirrors, which makes the filtering job of whack-a-mole that much more difficult and keeps the bloggers blogging in the same way as they do now and not thinking about constantly changing IPs and new hosts.

  11. So is this project aimed at people in China who have blogs? Or is it for everybody who is using a blog service that is blocked by China, like Typepad and Blogspot?

    I don’t understand this part: “The host blog should not have a significant readership in the country where it is blocked, because the host blog is running a (small) risk of being blocked in that country.”

    If the host blog is already blocked, then why use it to host another blocked blog?

  12. Jessica,

    Thank you for bringing that sentence to my attention. Poor wording. I have fixed it. It should have read:

    “The host blog should not have a significant readership in the country where the adopted blog is blocked”

  13. I sent an email to the adoptablog page offering to adopt a blog, but no response. Is this project still running?

  14. It’s still running, it’s just taking longer to get it in full swing than anticipated.

    Thank you for the support!

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