Duplicate blog problem solved! (Cock-up wins over conspiracy… again!)

26 Jun

You may remember two recent posts (Annoyed and A week after being Annoyed), relating the curious story of a near-perfect duplicate of most of the Digital Curation Blog. Kevin Ashley, the current Director of the DCC, emailed me with a couple of suggestions. One was:

“One possibility has occurred to me which pre-dates [my] arrival – could this be related to the migration of content from the Phase 2 web site to the Drupal installation by someone at [the web design company] ? I recall them saying that they needed to do a series of experiments to tweak the process for moving content from blogspot to Drupal and perhaps it was easier via an intermediate WordPress instance.”

This got me searching through old emails, where I found an email copied from someone else, with this interesting information:

“Date: 23 October 2009 08:48:25 GMT+01:00
Subject: Re: Blog imported

[...]
Quoting Dan  [...]:

We’ve imported the export of the blog from Blogger via WordPress – as mentioned on Tuesday.

The result is pretty good and we need to pull across the name of the author from the XML file – that will require a bit of coding.

There are striking similarities between the email and some of the properties I described, including no author names. This was followed up by the DCC, and today was confirmed:

“Yes, that was us – but it was never supposed to be public.  It was set to be hidden and Kevin is right – it was used as a way to convert Blogspot posts into a format we could import into Drupal.

It should have been deleted on site launch.

Sorry for the inconvenience and embarrassment that Chris had to get involved.”

And later:

“It’s odd though – if it’s been live all that time.  The most views it’s had were on June 13 (40+ views) and then June 20 (20 views).  Though it only had 485 views in 2 and a half years [...].

Makes me think that it was private for a long time and then somehow it was picked up by Google.”

I’m a little sheepish that maybe I ought to have remembered this, although it’s nearly 3 years ago. I did check the dates to see if they were close to the launch of the new DCC site (March 2010), and it didn’t seem to fit. Anyway, I’m pleased that we now know why it happened, and it has been fixed. As so often, it’s a mistake rather than a deliberate attempt at copying! And it’s nice to get an apology.

One Response to “Duplicate blog problem solved! (Cock-up wins over conspiracy… again!)”

  1. Kevin Ashley 28 June, 2012 at 00:31 #

    Glad my hunch was right. But I’m also surprised that they didn’t just use a private WordPress instance to do this (private as in locally-installed.) And to think that *anything* hosted on WordPress.com could remain hidden is .. well, naive.

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