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Fixed Soft delete VS hard delete posts - Google AdSense

Discussion in 'Resolved Bug Reports' started by Moshe1010, Sep 6, 2013.

  1. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    It's not a bug, but more of a request because the master of the internet (Google) thinks differently, and it could make some major problems.
    When Google AdSense detects that a thread has violated it's policy, it would send an email with a direct link to a thread and ask to remove it in 72 hours. I had these several times with vBulletin, and I just soft deleted them with no problem and Google left me alone.

    However, this is not the case with XF. When I soft delete a thread, and a gust (Google bot) would try to visit it, it would get a username/password request (because admins/moderators still have the ability to visit this thread). Google thinks that the thread is still there, but is accessible to users only, and therefore keeps sending notices that this thread is still exists and wasn't removed. Only when I hard-deleted the thread, the issue was resolved.

    In vBulletin, when a thread was soft deleted, a user would get a soft 404 ("you don't have sufficient permissions to access this thread/section"), so Google would think the thread is gone.

    Thus, I think that a soft 404 would be more appropriate for soft-deleted threads in order to keep Google on track.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2013
    caoanh204, SneakyDave, woei and 18 others like this.
  2. Luke F

    Luke F Well-Known Member

    Huge +1 - this was a big problem for me overturning an adsense ban
    Adam Howard likes this.
  3. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    Moshe1010 likes this.
  4. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    Apparently I'm banned. I'm trying to work this out with them, but they aren't that responsive. Any suggestions?
  5. Mike

    Mike XenForo Developer Staff Member

    That's a really bizarre behavior and I can't really find any documentation on it. Various things seem to indicate that the requests are manually verified so the response code and exact content shouldn't necessarily be an issue if the data has been removed.

    However, I will move this to future fix. In terms of "correctness", there's nothing incorrect about telling someone they need to login (which would then tell them they couldn't view it, depending on who they logged in as). Changing this is technically more "wrong" though it's an edge case (telling you it doesn't exist except if you login as a moderator, you can see it).
  6. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    On the other hand, a (soft) deleted thread or post is actually deleted. So for a bot (or any guest) there is like no chance to get to see the content. Furthermore, I pledge a (soft) deleted thread or post should throw the same message like a hard deleted one for those who have no permission to see it. Because it is deleted.

    I mean, Windows doesn't look into the Recycle Bin either but says "mimimi xxx.dll wasn't found" instead. Even if xxx.dll was in the Recycle Bin.

    I think this is different to a thread in a private forum (which is not deleted).
    Veer and 0ptima like this.
  7. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    Either way, it's an AdSense policy violation to display an ad on an error page of any sort... so regardless if it's a 403 or 404 error, you can't display AdSense on it. Fixing that on your site will indirectly solve the issue that this thread is about.

    Side note - you also can't put AdSense ads on registration or login pages.
    Veer and RoldanLT like this.
  8. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    The problem is not adSense position on error/registration page. The problem is that Google sends you a link to a thread that has violated their policy (let's say one of your users posted a cracked software). When you soft-delete this thread, Google still thinks it's there since it generates 403 error (login page) instead of 404.
    Bram and Luke F like this.
  9. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    I heard that too. Once Google complains about a page, they want to find a 404 as their deadline arrives. Doesn't even matter if you remove your ad code from that page.
    Luke F likes this.
  10. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    Yes same as your forum.
    I restricted adsense on 404 pages, contact form, login, error with login and registration :)
  11. Rigel Kentaurus

    Rigel Kentaurus Well-Known Member

    How about soft delete makes a copy (thus changing the thread-id?), that as transparent as we can go with returning a 404 and still keeping the soft deleted thread around.
  12. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    Actually, that's not the case... if Google sends you a policy violation and you leave the page up, but remove AdSense from the page, you are fine.
  13. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    How do you do this?
    The problem with ad_above_content is that it's global, not caring if its a login or registration page
  14. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    melbo likes this.
  15. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    Not sure since I don't insert ads via a template, but I assume you could probably use the {$controllerName} and {$controllerAction} to insert some logic into that template.
    melbo likes this.
  16. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    I follow almost all your rules on adsense :)
  17. rellek

    rellek Well-Known Member

    Gives a problem when restoring.
  18. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    You're not that fine because they state that you may have other links that violate their policy on your website and the link they've sent you is just an example out of many. Good luck trying to find these violating links if you have a medium-big board (which you do). In my case it was just one thread (it's alway just one), and I've always managed to soft-delete it and the issue was resolved, but not this time. I wrote them a letter that I've deleted the thread (after I've hard deleted it), and they've lifted my ban.
  19. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I use this:

    <xen:if is="!in_array({$contentTemplate}, array('error', 'search_form', 'search_form_post', 'search_form_profile_post', 'search_results', 'register_form', 'login', 'error_with_login'))">
    AdSense code here
    akia and RoldanLT like this.
  20. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    You're still showing ads on 404 pages.

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