Monday, December 27, 2010

Yahoo Answers persecution

[EDIT: This issue has been resolved, this article left for archival purposes - ironically my answer that was removed, then reinstated was voted as best answer, located here

I have been an active member of the Y!A community since 2007, rising to the #1 spot in the Consumer Electronics-Land Phone section.

At 10:25pm I received the following violation email:
Hello joe r
You have posted content to Yahoo! Answers in violation of our Community Guidelines or Terms of Service. As a result, your content has been deleted and 10 points have been deducted from your points total. Community Guidelines help to keep Yahoo! Answers a safe and useful community, so we appreciate your consideration of its rules.
Question: Should I buy Ooma, home phone service?
Deleted Answer: the service is not very "free" magicjack -$20/yr or nettalk - $30/yr is a much better price than $250 up front, then $12 or so per year for taxes and fees.. i would recommend vonage over ooma because side by side, it would take you a year and a half to even break even with the cost of vonages service... http://nyphonejacks.blogspot.com/2009/12/vonage-vs-ooma.html
Violation Reason: Spam
In Yahoo! Answers you may not post links with the purpose of directing commercial activity to a non-Yahoo! site or an email address.
If you feel this content was removed in error, please read the Community Guidelines and make sure that this content: 1. respects the question-answer format and is not chatty or personal communication; 2. does not contain non-relevant links to external sites or other questions and does not promote your own blog or website; 3. is respectful to other people and does not offend other community members. If you still believe this content has been removed in error, please contact Customer Care and tell us why.
Yahoo! Customer Care
Which I immediately appealed. As stated at http://answers.yahoo.com/info/community_guidelines I did not violate any of the guidelines set out for the service. Here is the text related to linking to your own blog while answering a question

Exploiting the community

Yahoo! Answers is a place to gain knowledge, not customers, page views, or dates. If you have years of experience in something, have a special hobby, own your own business, or if you are a knowledge partner, it's OK to accompany a good, on-topic answer with a link to your website, blog, or email to offer more information. However, it is not OK to post links that are unrelated to the topic or are clearly meant only to solicit others for personal and financial gain. Also prohibited are solicitations like "Will you add me as a contact?" or propositioning people.

My answer to the question (quoted above) did NOT violate these guidelines. The link WAS on topic with what was asked, and the link was not clearly meant to solicit anyone for my personal or financial gain. The main purpose of  me creating this blog was that I was constantly answering the same questions on Y! Answers over and over again, so I felt that I should provide information to everyone, so that they can find the information themselves. Perhaps some people want to find the answer to questions with out losing points for asking a question, or perhaps some people want additional information or resources when asking a question, that can be added to, or updated once the question has been closed from Y!A.

Just within the last few months I have decided to attempt to place advertisements onto the blog. So far the experiment is a failure, and i have only accumulated just under 50 CENTS in the 2 or 3 months that the ads have been on the blog.

I received a reply from Tanisha Adison, who obviously can not read the community guidelines of the website of which she is a moderator, at 12:02am DEC 27 2010. Here is the form letter response that she cut and pasted from the generic responses that these people send out


Thank you for writing to Yahoo! Answers Customer Care.

Your content was deleted for spam.

In Yahoo! Answers, you may not post links with the purpose of directing
commercial activity to a non-Yahoo! site or an email address.

On review of your case, we have decided not to reinstate your content.

Please refer to the Answers Community Guidelines and Yahoo! Terms of
Service for further information on participating in Yahoo! Answers.

We appreciate your contribution to making Yahoo! Answers a valuable
knowledge search product.

Thank you again for contacting Yahoo! Answers Customer Care. Your case
number for this issue is 78671160. Please reference it in all future
communication about this particular issue.


Tanisha Adison

Yahoo! Answers Customer Care


Y! claims to not provide telephone support for "free" products or services, but this is just one service of Y! that I use. I am also a paying customer - I pay for several domain registrations with Y! which I am considering moving to a more reputable company, one that knows how to read their own terms of service, and community guidelines. 

Of course I appealed this as soon as it hit my in box, and was sent this generic response

Hello joe,

Thank you for contacting Yahoo! Customer Care. This message is to let
you know that your Yahoo! Answers inquiry will require some additional
research before we can determine what, if any, action is warranted.
Please note that we are routing your issue to an Abuse Support Agent who
has specialized expertise. We try where possible to provide a written
response within 24 hours, but actual time may vary. 


The Yahoo! Customer Care Team

What type of expert do they need? Someone who graduated High School that knows how to read THEIR OWN community guidelines, on their own website? It has been 12 hours since my account was suspended, and 10 hours since last I have heard from them. Obviously they do not care about those people who contribute to their community to make it a reputable place for people to come for quality answers to their questions.

EDIT: 3:02PM DEC 27 2010 - 17 hours and still waiting on an "expert" to get back to me, in which time I have received 2 additional best answers, one from the person who asked the question, and another by votes from the community.

EDIT 5:30PM DEC 27 2010 - The people who answer the phones at Y! claim to not have a number for Y!A nor can they help with troubles with Answers. They also claim that they do not have a direct email address for Tanisha Adison, nor do they have the name of the person that is in charge of Answers. I am beginning to think that there is no such person as Tanisha Adison, as there is no Facebook or myspace pages with that name, nor are there any phone listings with that name, and the only web hits that I found were several people who complained about her removing their content from Y!A. I find it difficult to believe that someone could work for a tech company such as Yahoo, and not have any online presence. This post/blog, just hours old is already ranked #3 in google and yahoo for the search term of "Tanisha Adison"

EDIT- 11:30PM DEC 27 2010 - nearly 25 hours have passed, I send them another follow up email with no reply as of yet. I will be transferring  all of my paid services from Y! sometime tomorrow if this has not been resolved by then. (Even if it has been resolved, I may still move some or all of my paid Y! services to a different provider) This is unacceptable, and not the way to do business.

EDIT - 11:58PM DEC 27 2010 - It appears that Yahoo has removed this blog from search results for "Tanisha Adison" but it still remains as the #3 listing in google search results. If yahoo has the time to alter or tamper with search results then why do they not have time to reply to a legitimate concern of someone who has contributed to the Answers community for the past several years?

EDIT- 9:00am DEC 28 2010 - I got an email for yet another best answer voted on by the community, yet still no reply about the violation. How is it that I continue to receive best answers if I deserve to be suspended from the community? Also - how is it that most answers that I provided a link to my blog were chosen as best answer?

EDIT - 9:41pm DEC 28 2010 - Finally at 11:23 this morning my answer and account was restored, 37 hours after it was unjustly removed, and the initial appeal was denied by the illiterate  Tanisha Adison. As of this moment a Yahoo search does not bring this page up for a search of " Tanisha Adison" (although it WAS ranked #3 just several hours after it was posted) it still sits at the #3 position on Google with or with out quotes.Although my account was restored, I still do not have my top contributor badge, nor am I ranked #1 in the land phone section as I had been prior to this unjustified suspension.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Phone commands for Linksys ATA devices

 I found this information out there on the interwebs somewhere, but forgot to save the website of the source. This information should work for all Linksys/Sipura ATA devices.

**** "Active IVR Menu"

You will hear "Sipura configuration menu". Enter option followed by the pound key.

110 "Check WAN IP Address"

It will announce the IP address of the WAN port.

120 "Check WAN Network Mask"

It will announce the Network mask of the WAN port.

130 "Check WAN Gateway"

It will announce the gateway of the WAN port.

140 "Check MAC Address"

It will announce the MAC address of the Sipura SPA-2100.

150 "Check Firmware Version"

It will announce the firmware version running on Sipura SPA-2100.

160 "Check Primary DNS Server IP Address"

It will announce the Primary DNS Server IP address

170 "Check WAN Port Web Server Port"

It will announce the WAN port web server port.

210 "Check LAN IP Address"

It will announce the IP address of the LAN port.

100 "Check WAN internet Connection Type"

It will announce the WAN Internet Connection Type.

101 "Set WAN Internet Connection Type"

Enter "0" to use DHCP, "1" to use Static IP, or "3" to use PPPoE.

111 "Set WAN Network Mask"

Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

121 "Set WAN Gateway"

Enter network mask using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

131 "Set WAN Gateway"
Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point. Note that the WAN Internet Connection Type must be
set to "Static IP", otherwise you will hear "Invalid option".

161 "Set Primary DNS Server IP Address"

Enter IP address using numbers on the telephone keypad. Use the * (asterisk) key when entering a decimal point.

7932 "Enable/Disable Wan Port Web Server"

Enter "1" to enable, or "0" to disable

732668 "Reboot the Sipura SPA-2100"

The Sipura SPA-2100 will reboot after you hang-up the phone.

73738 "Factory Reset"

Enter "1" to confirm, or "* (asterisk)" to cancel. Sipura SPA-2100 will inform you that the "Option Successful"

877778 "User Factory Reset"

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Anual VoIP service for $30/yr no PC required.

I have been sitting on this for a while, wanting to wait until I had a hands on review of this product, but time and financial restraints have not allowed for me to get my hands on one of these devices and try out.

There is a new Skype and MagicJack killer on the block, which will even give other consumer centric VoIP products like Vonage and OOMA a run for their money. The NetTalk is a new product that similar to the MagicJack comes with a low annual cost - comparable to a monthly bill for landline phone service. The service is $30 per year, which is $10 more than what MagicJack is offering, but with the recent issues that MagicJack customers have been experiencing with attempting to reach certain destinations, and the limitations that require the MagicJack to be connected to a PC to work this product is a better choice.

This device connects directly to your router, similar to how a traditional VoIP service providers ATA would (think Vonage, or OOMA) The initial cost for the device is $70 which includes the first year of service.

So far all of the reviews that I have seen for this device is positive, so check it out at http://www.nettalk.com/ and let me know what you think in the comments.