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web logs and wills

  1. What happens to WP web logs if a person dies and their executor notifies WP of their demise. Can one leave their account, username, password and API key number to another person in their will?

  2. Hmmm. Well the only person who knows about my blog is my boyfriend and mother. I didn't tell anyone else in my family because they think I'm weird being too much into Hollywood. But if you're concerned about dying one day, then leave all your usernames and passwords in a will. Someone once told me that we should all write down email addresses and usernames and passwords and leave them in an envelope in a desk or somewhere in our homes so just in case we die and we want our family to notify our internet friends to know what happened to us.

  3. What an interesting concept.Putting pen to paper hmmm I think I remember how. But I was actually thinking about making a "when I die file" on my cd drive and then copying it to cd and updating it once weekly. My husband doesn't compute, although I do predict from the jealousy I see turning his hazel eyes to green lately that might change. What I was thinking is that he might like to take my blog over once I'm gone or perhaps my friend might like to carry on reporting on Gabriola politics.

  4. i'm sure leaving usernames and passwords to someone else do not pose a problem at all because when creating accounts like blogs or emails, there is no proof we are who we say we are in the registration anyway.

    but i don't know about writing down passwords in leaving them in the house, anyone may stumble upon it and read your mail or blog without your knowledge. if you have nosy family members, that is.

    haha, what an unthought-of question. do you really plan to bequeath your blogs to your loved ones? maybe you should compel them to take over the blogs and start a family tradition. ;P if you've passed touch wood

  5. A Bloggers Prayer
    Now I lay me down to sleep
    All my passwords at my feet.
    If I should die before I wake,
    Blog for me, for heaven's sake.

  6. It's not just blogs is it though.
    When - because it's not an if - it happens, how do all the people you email / IM / IRC / guest blog even know what has happened? 'Blogging it' isn't necessarily a solution.

    Also, given the day of infinite storage, why delete a blog? Surely it can be a digital memorial of sorts? In which case you need ISP details, passwords etc etc etc and you just know that someone, somewhere will say "Of course we can change things over, all we need is a signature...."

    ptvguy - I do like that :)

  7. ptvguy: v. witty =)

  8. Insert the "I'm not a lawyer nor do I play one on television" and "I'm not a WP staff member but a well trained monkey" releases.

    I know we freeze the site, stick up a notice and cover the domain from then on upon notice of death of a client and if they agree. Have 19 of those currently with my hosting company

    This kind of falls under the "What happens if the blogger stops updating" question that we've been asking concerning the usernames recently.

    I would think though that Matt and crew would remove a site under notice of death, especially with the DMCA in place still.

    Of course we still don't have in writing the answer to the "What happens if someone doesn't update in X amount of time?" question.

  9. drmike: 19 wp users are dead? and their family notified wp of their deaths? who's they in 'if they agree'? i think they should delete unused blogs or blogs that haven't been updated for a long time, dead or alive. and they should also allow ppl to use a username which has been deleted. i previously deleted a wp blog and when i tried using the same name it wasn't allowed.

  10. No, clients with my company. Post above modified. I was using our experiences as an example that we'll keep the site up after notification of death of a client and approval from the family or other purposes.

  11. Thank you all for actually responding to this as most folks are inclined to go into hiding when one brings up this subject. Blogging is now and will remain part of what defined me as a unique individual. Moreover, I had no idea that one's personality, character traits and even sense of the sublime and ridiculous could be so easily shared with others in cyber space. I thought I would simply be reclusively typing away in my own home a month ago but I found a community, albiet not a structured one.
    Ptvguy The Blogger's Prayer made me smile and I'm deadly serious when I say - may I specify its use to my executor at my wake and of course request authorship be properly attributed to you?
    You see folks here's the catch you may not have considered. If you don't prepare for your own demise, no matter how unpleasant that may be, family members could make choices that could cause one "to spin in their grave" so to speak. For example I find the thought of my blogging work being wiped from the cyber slate distressing and I also find the thought of my inactive account becoming a "memorial" repugnant. The fact is that my wild irish family is a huge argument held together by blood ties. I sure as heck don't want to leave behind a family power struggle over such decisions. I want the power to choose what I prefer - now [she said flexing her bisceps].
    If one leaves explicit instructions like retaining their blog and using it to make posts during the grieving process their demise may give rise to another blogger. Moreover, blogging can be a cathartic process that might help a family member achieve closure. One could even leave special posts behind in their web log to smooth the way for their "heirs" as well. And, if the web log of the departed does not give rise to another blogger, at least the young ones in the family could have the opportunity to see and read what one has done, how they thought and who they were when they were occupying their flesh container.
    I would like to suggest that there be three rules considered to address these two somewhat related issues. The first would address all inactive accounts.
    (1) Following one year of no posting activity and no notification to WP of the demise of the client the account shall be be closed by WP admin, and the account name shall be made available for use.
    (2)In the event WP admin is advised by relatives of the death of a blogger and that blogger has specified in their will and last testament that their account be closed and the name be released for re-use, WP admin shall immediately delete their account and comply with their wishes.
    (3) In the event the WP admin is advised of the demise of a blogger who has specified in a will and last testament that their desire is to have another person "inherit" their blog WP admin shall comply with their wishes and change the name of the account owner as specified by the departed blogger.
    Note that if the "inheriting" party does not post anything into the blog within a one year time frame then rule (1) would apply.
    What do others think of this?
    Post script: It just occurred to me to ask if what we say on the forum is archived anywhere and if our "heirs" could be sent an archived forum cd containing stuff like this.

  12. agreed for suggestions one two and three. whew! how long did that take to type? took me five minutes to read. =P

  13. I found this Wired article detailing how livejournal handles user deaths. Essentially, though, it seems very simple. If the blogger leaves instructions for what is to be done with their blog, comply with them regardless of whether it fits your general policy. If they leave no instructions, do whatever their loved ones want. If you hear nothing, do nothing. I'm personally not in favour of deleting any blog with meaningful content (i.e. anything beyond than 'hello world!' and 'this is a test post') unless the author (or, in the absence of the author's wishes, their loved ones) want it gone.

  14. podz thanks for your comments made earlier on. I did take note of them and of drmikes. And what you said did raise some concerns for me how indeed would our cyber space community know that we were gone?
    sulz please tell me what =P means, okay? I'm wondering. Is it a good thing or bad thing? Also what does the cough * P stuff I've seen you use elsewhere mean. As for being wordy, what can I say? It runs in the family. We can all talk the legs of any table and ride the legs off any horse. But the real reason I use so many words is to be clear about what I'm saying. I have a history of being misunderstaood that I'm trying to overcome. wank thanks for directing me to the article. Having read it I feel vindicated for the position I took. At first I thought it was weird to expect a blog to become sort of a memorial but podz and wank have convinced that it would be okay for blogs with meaningful content that could be shared by the blogging community to be left to the community and live on after the bloggers demise. So now I'm thinking along the lines of how to set up a specific bequest to a blogging community. Oh right, in case you haven't guessed it I do have a legal background and I have a background as a librarian and archivist too.

  15. Someone on my blogroll hasn't updated her site for months and we didn't know what happened or where she was or anything. Then I fianlly volunteered to write to a real life friend of hers at MySpace and ask her. She never wrote back but another real life friend of hers, days later, who is also a blogger updated saying she has legitimate reasons and she gave him her username and password and asked him if he could update saying she's still alive. If someone's site is just there, I'm sure they must have a reason and their blog shouldn't be deleted or anything. They could be in a coma or have amnesia (sp). If someone desperately needs that username, then put a - or an _ in the username and hopefully that hasn't been taken.

  16. In contrast to my humorous reply posted above (Sorry, I couldn't resist.) I actually take this subject quite seriously. I find it very interesting. There's the question of actual legalities.

    Clearly, WordPress, as a free service, couldn't be legally bound by any property disposition instructions since, technically, none of us owns our blogs posted here. My impression of their way of doing business is that they would honor reasonable requests.

    There's also the fact that WP is a global service. We have bloggers from many countries here. Each country, province, state, etc. has its own set of laws and traditions regarding disposition of property.

    This is actually a huge question here.

  17. timethief: the equal sign is my eyes, and the P is my tongue. geddit? =P

  18. So are you sticking your tongue out at me or is it just hanging out there because reading exhausts you? If it's the latter how does that jive with bookworm, hmmm?

  19. timethief: i was just being err, for the lack of a better word, cheeky. =P bookworms have a sense of humour too!

  20. Cheeky is okay with me - I've always been cheeky but just so you know the long posts I post up are usually pre-typed. They are things I consider for a few days before I post them so I compose them in a word processing program first. :)

  21. Ahhem ... Thanks to wank who gave me the first reference,I have read everything I could find on this subject on the web. I would like to know what WordPress's policy is on the subject but I do not think it would be appropriate to file a "feedback" to have this "booted upstairs", so to speak. Does anyone know how to transmit this WordPress policy clarification on web logs, wills, and blogger's deaths to Matt Cutt in an appropriate way? Alternatively, if any angel geeks upstairs are monitoring the forum and reading this thread will you please do this for me?

  22. Angel geeks? We got angel geeks? I thought we sprayed for those.

  23. They may not be the "real" thing but just impersonators. Hence, the anti-angel spray won't affect them. They'll soar above it carrying the message without getting caught up on the cross members. Right?

  24. ptvGuy - May 26, 2006[Edit]

    Just a followup to your question on blogs being left in wills…

    I got to participate recently in a public discussion (an interactive podcast) with Robert Scoble (, who is probably one of the best known bloggers on the Internet, and Shel Israel (, who is Editor-in-Chief of Conferenza (, the leading blog
    on technology events. ( I remembered your question on this subject and was able to bring it up to them.

    You can read the remainder of ptvguy's comment on the posting "Web Logs and Wills" at

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