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Someone Stole Sherlock's 300,000 Likes (spottedsun.com)
90 points by veb 663 days ago | comments


goodside 663 days ago | link

The moral of the story here is that you shouldn't invest your time and emotional energy into things that actually belong to other people.

You didn't own a website here. You didn't write code, you didn't set up servers, and you didn't sit around worrying about whether you were monetizing well enough to keep the site from imploding under its own popularity. You volunteered to be the curator of an entry in a database owned by a multi-billion-dollar company, you took an abnormal amount of pride in your work, and after a few years they decided your services were no longer needed.

You are owed nothing. Be more careful with how you invest your time from now on.

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ryguytilidie 663 days ago | link

I actually came to write that the big takeaway for me was to care about things that actually exist. Pouring your life into a fan site that can one day disappear seems incredibly depressing. In that time others have built companies, relationships and a happy life and you have built: a collection of fan art for an obscure tv show.

Isn't there something better one could be doing?

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tikhonj 663 days ago | link

It seems harsh to judge somebody like that. It is, after all, a hobby, and it's not like it keeps him from doing other things (like having a relationship) as well.

Besides: your company? It'll probably fail before having more than a couple thousand customers. This page? It certainly had more people interested than that!

So it's not just a viable hobby, but one at which the author was relatively successful.

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famousactress 663 days ago | link

Wow. Not only is this totally insensitive, and completely fucking rude.. it's also widely naive.

He obviously built value for a lot of people. In addition I'm sure developed some very portable skills. Helping to curate a site that brings that many people joy? We should all be so lucky.

The idea that the rug could be pulled out is indeed a significant lesson, but it's frankly one that both sides of the coin need to learn. Platform sites that encourage users to invest in and create content for will suffer if that content isn't taken good care of, in the long haul.

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jquery 663 days ago | link

A more Zenlike takeaway would be to realize that everything has an end and to accept that. There is nothing that can't be taken away from you.

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pilgrim689 663 days ago | link

Precisely, I thought the "Feel free to enjoy nothingness for a minute:" quite apt. :x

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a3_nm 663 days ago | link

Accepting that everything has an end and nothing can't be taken away from you is fine, but this doesn't mean you should not focus more on things that can't be taken away from you easily (i.e. until you die).

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GoodIntentions 663 days ago | link

I read that as "there is nothing that can be taken away from you"

Same frame of mind I think, slightly different way of expressing it. :P

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danabramov 662 days ago | link

“Music is the space between the notes” – Claude Debussy

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DannyPage 663 days ago | link

The same argument could be flipped on you! I believe you post a lot on Hacker News, but you don't own the code, servers, etc. You are a volunteer commenter. What if someone blocked and deleted all of your comments? Wouldn't you feel the slightest bit of loss?

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tikhonj 663 days ago | link

Actually, that is one of the things I rather like about HN. The "loss" is built in: after a couple of days, nobody is going to read or respond to any of my comments. Everything I write here will effectively disappear several days from now. And that, somehow, is very refreshing: I don't have to worry about posterity or the future.

HN is my way of indulging in the present. No plans, no worries, no future. Very relaxing.

It's also a way of tricking myself to write. In high school, I never liked writing much and, consequently, was never much of a writer. Now I like it more; hopefully my writing improves correspondingly. HN is obviously no way to become a writer, but that is not my goal: I just want to be able to write clearly, nothing more, nothing less.

If I was doing something more lasting, I would not want to trust a single entity. This is why all my code on GitHub is also backed up at home with the most important projects also backed up on my school account: losing that would actually be painful. Losing my comment history here? Trivial.

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Splines 663 days ago | link

It depends; more than once I remember reading something on here from some time ago and I do a site:news.ycombinator.com search.

It's sort of interesting to see discussions about technology that has long since moved on.

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ghshephard 663 days ago | link

I would feel freedom. At that moment, my involvement in HN would come to an end, and I would find another way to use the 2 hours or so a day I spend on it. Think about what I could do with 700 hours/year.

Indeed, I would embrace that deletion.

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MBlume 663 days ago | link

Er, you can have that freedom now, if you want it.

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ghshephard 663 days ago | link

That's like telling an alcoholic they don't have to drink. There's a reason why I've _never_ even glanced at Reddit. And I also took the plunge and deleted my Facebook Account. I lost three months of my life to Tribal Wars. I keep my time on HN to a couple hours a day - and it is my principal news source (No Techcrunch/engadge/verge/gizmodo - unless they are linked) - but if a moderator came and said "Deleted, return never again!." - I would embrace it. Not saying that's true for anyone else. I am implying that someone who spent the better part of two years managing a sherlock fan site, only to have it go "poof!" - shouldn't feel bad whatsoever.

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phwd 663 days ago | link

That's good for you, but most likely the average HN user would cry foul and over zealous moderation.

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throwaway54-762 663 days ago | link

This is why I create a new throwaway account whenever my HN karma gets too high. No attachment, no loss.

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tdorrance 663 days ago | link

I don't think the point here is how time was spent but rather how the process was conducted by facebook. There should be a better way for this to handled.

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justindocanto 663 days ago | link

I hate not to sound empathetic but, this is a very good point. You basically just built a sand castle on somebody else's private beach for 2 years and are now crying that it's gone. It's sad & I'm sure it's depressing, but... you owned absolutely nothing you were creating.

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mindstab 663 days ago | link

Or any of the IP. He was fine with the actual IP owner also coming and taking it away from him. But either way he has no claim to any of it.

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rhizome 663 days ago | link

The funny thing is that this reminded me instantly of the Twitter API cutdowns. It's the extreme case where really, at the end of the day, the site decides what goes where, a business version of "the government has a monopoly on the use of force."

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egonschiele 663 days ago | link

I feel the exact opposite. The trend in SV seems to be building communities around your product. This is an example of a product that did it very well...someone was so entrenched in the community that it became a huge part of their life. To take that away seems to go against the idea of community.

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justindocanto 663 days ago | link

And what was his product? Somebody else's trademark? show? product?

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cubicle67 663 days ago | link

I don't downvote often, but I've downvoted your comment here because it's just sanctimonious empathy-free wankery that adds nothing at all to the conversation.

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simonsarris 663 days ago | link

Well that's nicer than what they used to do.

I remember in the very early days of Facebook Pages, as soon as they came out I created "Honda" and "Subaru", both with a substantial number of Likes (they were called fans back then, I think?)

I kept my posts on those pages strictly factual, and really just parroted emails from the two companies and occasionally asked for the audience's opinion.

After about a year both of them were shut down by the respective real car companies, and I tried to email their PR about how if they can be reactivated I could just hand them over, since the fanbase was relatively large at the time, but neither ever responded to me. Oh well.

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AgentConundrum 663 days ago | link

> Why does the other page have the original likes?

Because Facebook doesn't know how to deal with changes to pages. Seriously.

Facebook has unilaterally changed my affiliations on me at least twice. There are probably others that have changed, like things I've 'liked', but two really stand out for me.

First, they decided I didn't actually go to the Canadian college that I'm quite sure I attended. They decided instead that I had gone to a similarly-named university in the United States. I'm not sure what happened to the old page/affiliation, but Facebook couldn't handle it.

Recently, I discovered that one of my former employers had been acquired and changed/lost their Facebook page. Now, Facebook is trying to convince me that I actually worked for a band with a similar name to the former name of the company I had worked for.

In neither case was I informed of the change. Several of my friends are still considered to have gone to the American university. I assume some former co-workers are similarly affiliated with the band, but I haven't gone to the trouble to check.

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DannyPage 663 days ago | link

Similarly, I was apart of a fraternity that was local to my school. But then a female sorority with a few more people came on Facebook, took/stole/transferred the likes, and now I have a pink flower where a black and white crest once was, and no way to reclaim all the old posts or pictures. It's very weird.

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pud 663 days ago | link

Looks like it's back now, with 300,000+ likes. Thanks on behalf of the internet, whoever works at Facebook and saw this. :-)

https://www.facebook.com/ModernSherlock

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veb 663 days ago | link

Definitely. Thank you Internet, and thank you to the people at Facebook who looked into this.

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brownbat 663 days ago | link

I remember the 90s, when we all just built fan pages directly on the Internet itself.

Well, ok, that's not fair. We also made fan pages on AOL and Geocities, but we got rid of those after a while since gated Internet couldn't compete in the long run with regular Internet.

I guess now we have Facebook, though, and it's different... though I forget how.

Remind me, why did we make yet another gated mirror of the Internet?

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mocko 663 days ago | link

Most likely your page and its fans have been appropriated by the content owner. This is a feature YouTube & others now offer content owners as a way to steal a ready-constructed online fan base from real fans who invested their own time building a community around the brand. There's a moral to this story: industrial production of culture is not beneficial to its consumers.

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simonbrown 663 days ago | link

He ruled that out (though not intirely) by the fact that a previous page was appropriated and Facebook notified him. Also, if that were the case it would have probably been redirected/converted to an official page.

I don't see how you can draw the conclusion that companies shouldn't produce TV shows (I assume that's what you mean by industrial production of culture).

Edit: They have now emailed him, but I doubt it was the same kind of email he was sent before, since it doesn't mention a company.

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fredwolens 663 days ago | link

My name is Fred Wolens, and I work for Facebook’s Policy Communications Team. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience caused by the migration of the Page’s content and Likes. We have already restored the Page, and there shouldn’t be any remaining issues.

Unfortunately, the Sherlock Page was not the official BBC fan Page for the show; this caused the Page to be flagged as a violation of our terms and we mistakenly removed instead of migrated the Page. After we found out about the problem, we renamed the Sherlock Page to Fans of Sherlock to comply with our policies and migrated the fans + content. We’re sorry for the trouble caused and we’re constantly iterating on our processes to improve the accuracy of our reporting system.

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veb 663 days ago | link

Hi Fred.

Thank you for posting this explanation -- I do have a question though, the current "Sherlock" page -- is that an official page?

How long will it take for these changes to appear in Facebook search?

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Meist 662 days ago | link

Yes. The current Sherlock Page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sherlock) is official. Search should populate in the next couple days, the re-crawl shouldn't take more than a week or so.

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GoodIntentions 663 days ago | link

Having a hard time understanding why anyone would put unfettered effort into building up content on a platform where they have absolutely no right of access save at the pleasure of the platform owner.

Take that love of the show and build a fansite or better yet something where you don't have to worry about the copyright holder shutting you down.

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Ashoke 663 days ago | link

Hey Mike, your page was incorrectly flagged and removed. Facebook has restored it now and changed the name of the page to more accurately reflect what your page is about. Sorry for the inconvenience.

https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=202753086436852

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meric 663 days ago | link

It looks like he got his likes back? http://www.Facebook.com/ModernSherlock

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veb 663 days ago | link

Yep! Very pleased that's happened. Seems like a lot of people missed the page.

Still wondering about the other page though... ModernSherlock page no longer shows up in search though.

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artursapek 663 days ago | link

Cache. Not sure what's up. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://...

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pritam2020 663 days ago | link

There should be some way to distinguish between a fan page, and an official page. So, that people who want to follow either have a choice.

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saurik 663 days ago | link

There is: it is called a "community page". This person flagrantly violated this mechanism, against Facebook's terms of service, in order to capitalize on the fame of a television show he did not create and was not involved in.

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veb 663 days ago | link

This feature wasn't exactly around when the page was made.

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veb 663 days ago | link

Yeah, you're supposed to put in the official page (so people know), but there is no official page.

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pritam2020 663 days ago | link

Also, no need to delete anything just to have one official page.

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stephensprinkle 663 days ago | link

Exactly why I don't build or put marked amounts of time into platforms I have no control over.

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nothacker 663 days ago | link

Don't stop with this post. I think the girl with blog of the school lunches in Scotland showed a modern method to solve any similar customer service issue. Start a blog and continually update it with whatever your issue is in a factual non-opinionated way. Wait for them to try to shut you down, then go to the media and social avenues so that it becomes hot topic, and they'll fix it. Then they may screw you again and you'll have to go to the media again and then they'll fix it again. Perfect solution.

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nkwiatek 663 days ago | link

Not to make light of your situation with this tangent, but I must say that that is a cool 404 page.

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simonbrown 663 days ago | link

I can't reproduce it (perhaps because I don't have a Facebook account).

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hanapbuhay 663 days ago | link

I think Fans of Sherlock just jacked ModernSherlock, the vanity url.

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veb 663 days ago | link

It's actually my page!! I'm so confused. 750 likes?!

but at least the content is back: http://i.imgur.com/jil2q.png

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hanapbuhay 663 days ago | link

Yes, at least you have the page back. Grats. What I'm noticing is that my same 3 Facebook friends like both your fan page and the TV show's page. But that's possibly a strange coincidence.

This might be the work of FB running some categorization cleanup. Your fan page is now sub-categorized as a Community Page for the Sherlock TV show.

FB doesn't seem to have all popular fan pages sub-categorized. For example, fb.me/fansofapple, isn't shown connected to Apple at all.

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silentscope 663 days ago | link

"yes I know, first world problems."

yep. nice post.

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