It took me some time after Tumblr restored my account after last year unsubstantiated termination to start posting there again – first ones were Oppenheimer papertoys and at the start of August I’ve decided to finally post my Tatort Saarbrücken papercraft there.
Everything went well for whole 6 DAYS, and then my posts disappeared from site-wide tag search, rendering them invisible to all but my followers.
I’ve heard about this before – my friend sosooley (fanartist with a substantial following) several times had this happen to her posts and she tried out all recipes that could be found from users dealing with the same issue. For her – fiddling with post tags seemed to do the trick.
I dutifully tried out all the advised actions to no avail and as a method of last resort – wrote to Tumblr support again, complaining of the issue.
During 20 days it took them to reply – I’ve tried to post new content again and tweak tags on previous one to get my posts to show, but nothing worked.
Then, today – I got this in my inbox and I’m very interested in the implications of this reply.
They have restored my account, but as a user I’ve got no indication of any restrictions set to my account whatsoever.
I was able to log in, post, react to posts of others without any problems.
This leads me to believe that Tumblr uses a form of soft ban on it’s users, by removing them from site-wide tags search (“Disappeared” with all it’s connotations) and never alerting users to this practice.
My guess would be that it’s a result of their attempts to control spam on the website – the only thing on my posts that could have triggered them were links to my personal blog for people to download papertoys templates (in PDF, free of charge). It seems to be a continuation of their fear of “affiliate marketing” they accused me of before and suspicion of any non-common links destinations.
You won’t be banned for links to AO3, Patreon or anything really common, but anything else is suspicious for their algorithms.
Ways to fight this? Not many really.
I could go with a roundabout way of linking to my creations – by linking to AO3, which will link back to my blog, but that’s a bad practice usability-wise and might be impossible for anyone else.
The only ways seems to monitor each post performance and contact support when this soft ban usage is suspected.