On her blog One Cool Site, timethief recently discussed WordPress Followers. She has noticed a high number of Followers who are actually commercial sites, spammers, etc. and wishes WordPress would provide us a way to moderate Followers and block or delete the undesirables.
Since reading that post, I’ve taken another look at my Followers list, which has grown significantly in the last month or two, and sure enough, a lot of those Followers are actually just spammers of assorted flavors. Disappointing, because it means I don’t have as many interested new readers as I thought I had. Obviously the spammers don’t know or, more likely, don’t care that Pied Type visitors do not see my Followers list and therefore their effort is pointless — except, of course, to annoy me.
Of more concern to me are the Likes, which are visible to my readers. I like Likes. They provide a way for us to say, “Hey, I was here, even though I had no comment to add.” Unfortunately, anyone can click that Like button and their avatar will appear. There is nothing we blog administrators can do to moderate and block or delete spam Likes. (You’ll see at least one among the Likes on my last post.)
I don’t want that trash appearing on my blog. I don’t want my readers to see them or worse, click on them. I don’t want to give the perpetrators the visibility, publicity, or satisfaction. But WordPress has given us no way to block or delete undesirable Likes. It’s an all-or-nothing situation. We can turn Likes on and display all of them, or turn them off completely.
I like Likes. I like their “Kilroy was here” aspect and I like that in a small way they thank my visitors by promoting their blogs in return. It would be nicer, of course, if they linked directly to the owner’s website instead of to the Gravitar page, assuming the owner has a website. And it would definitely be better if visitors had to actually come to Pied Type to click on Like instead of doing it from a reader or feed somewhere. (Ditto the Views/Visits counter.) I try to encourage that by only allowing excerpts on my feeds, but I have no way of knowing how effective it is because WP stats don’t distinguish.
In any case, consider this an advance warning: If my Like buttons suddenly disappear, it’s because they were drawing spammers. Actually, they already have; even one is too many. It’s like a big ugly zit sitting there in plain sight of everyone who lands on the page. My apologies. But send your “ewws” and “yucks” to WordPress.