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We’ve secretly replaced these Fijians with Brazilians to see if anyone in Suva would notice…

The always creative Haitham Sabbah has a great trick for searching for international blogs on Blogger. Using the URI “http://www.blogger.com/profile-find.g?t=l&loc0=**” and replacing the stars with the country code you’re interested in, you can find all authors on Blogger who’ve identified themselves as Jordanian, for instance.

Haitham’s using this trick to flesh out the Global Voices Bridge Blog index and is (understandably) frustrated that there’s no way for Palestinian bloggers to select “Palestine” or “Occupied Territories” as their country – he assumes that many Palestinian bloggers are leaving the “country” field blank, rather than filling it with “Israel”. (Palestine does have a two-letter country code: PS.) I checked to see whether Blogger supports another semi-state, Western Sahara – it does.

My frustration has been not with Blogger but with blogger users. Trying to find Fijian blogs, I’ve come across lots of Brazilian and US bloggers who appear to be amused at the idea of coming from Fiji. (One bloggers tells us he comes from Evil, Indiana in Fiji.) What is it about Fiji that makes people want to pretend to be from it? Search for blogs from Iceland and you find lots and lots of blogs in Icelandic, which is generally a pretty good indicator that their authors are, indeed, from Iceland…

(Lots of the Samoans appear to be, in fact, from Samoa, including Madison, who’s got excellent blogging skills for a three year old. And enough people know how to spell Nuku’alofa correctly that they’re probably from or in Tonga. So what’s up with Fiji?)

9 thoughts on “We’ve secretly replaced these Fijians with Brazilians to see if anyone in Suva would notice…”

  1. Hmm it’s one of the the only words in English with the combination “ij” in it –> hence must be extremely exotic.

  2. Hi Ethan,

    Every time I tried a different country code, all I got back was a page showing me some bloggers from Cuba. I was planning to look up Cuba anyway, so it’s not necessarily a terrible result, but not exactly what I want to find when I put in country codes for Mauritania, Bhutan and the like.

    Then I figured out the problem. The country code is case-sensitive. So submitting mr for Mauritania gets you Cuba but submitting MR gets you Mauritanian bloggers. Lesson learned.

  3. This issue of what constitutes a state is important, especially in the context of something like GVO. It would be nice if a system could be worked out to allow people in Palestine to selected that instead of Israel, people in Dagestan to select that instead of Russia, etc.

  4. Figured it out. I read the results more carefully and it seems to default on a collection of blog profiles, including a focus on a particular country that Blogger staff change a few times a day:

    Looking for a good Blog to read? Use Blogger Profiles to learn more about Bloggers of whom you may never have heard.

    A new country is chosen at random a few times every day.

    Earlier today it was Cuba. Now, it’s Pitcairn Island. Tomorrow, Lesotho, perhaps? Kirabati? Not that I’m a betting man or anything…

  5. Fantastic, LF – please make sure you get the blog listed in the Global Voices blog directory – very much looking forward to checking it out.

  6. There is a White Boy College Fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta, in the United States that calls itself Fiji. I want to meet these guys and have a Kava Drinking Contest with them. If they lose they cease and desist from calling themselves Fiji. Maybe they’re the guys who keep putting their country down as Fiji.

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