Why I turned off WordPress ‘Like’

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I‘ve been a WordPress blogger for many years, but only in the last couple of weeks have I learned how WP’s Like button actually works. At least, I think I understand now:

(1.) People, and possibly bots, can Like your posts from several different places (emails, the WP Reader, etc.). (2.) A Like, therefore, does not necessarily mean a person actually visited your blog. (3.) Only registered and logged-in WordPress and/or Gravatar users can Like your posts. (4.) Spammers can register with WP, Like your posts, and you cannot moderate or delete their Likes. (5.) If you don’t like the way Like works, your only recourse is to turn it off. (6.) If you ever turn Like back on, all the previous Likes, including the spam, will still be there.

All this time I’ve thought a ‘Like’ meant somebody (not just WordPress users; this isn’t Facebook, after all) had actually visited my blog and Liked my post. Conversely, I thought that my visiting someone’s blog and clicking Like was telling them that I had actually visited their blog. That’s what I meant, but that might not be how it was interpreted.

There. See? I can admit when I’m wrong. I’ve been wrong about Like, and I apologize to those I’ve misinformed. It makes me sad, but that’s why I’ve turned off the ‘Like’ button on Pied Type. Like wasn’t at all what I thought it was.

(Note: The Like button was missed by some readers and was reinstated on Aug. 8, 2013. It remains on probation.)

.NAug

Also on Pied Type:
Issues WordPress needs to address



Categories: blogging, Media, WordPress

45 replies

  1. But, PT, anyone who “likes” a post is represented by their avatar, are they not? And when I hover the cursor over it, the online name is displayed. That’s interesting enough to me to want to keep the function, mainly because I recognize them. (I plan to pay more attention, however, because of your post here.) Maybe it would be different if I got hundreds or thousands of visitors, but that’s not the case. Am I mission something here?

    • Some of the avatars that appeared in my Likes were the default Identicons that appear if the person has not set up a Gravitar profile. When you hovered over the Identicons, the names that showed were commercial references like cheaplouboutins or michaelkorshandbags. Those names, when I dug around, turned out to be the names of WordPress blogs either already shut down for TOS violations or still there as empty blog templates, set up but never used. Setting up the blogs made those people WordPress users and gave them access to the Like button. There were only a couple of them, but that was too many, since I had no way to delete them. I think Likes should work like comments — screened by Akismet and subject to our approval or rejection.

  2. I’ve been on the “like spam” for months. Shifting sites. Pass wording sites. I opened a new site recently and had like spam in an hour. So password protected it. I might join you in dropping that like button across all sites soon.

    Regards,

    Dougs

  3. I am so glad you brought this up, PT! I really hate the whole spam-like thing; and recently spammers have even been able to get into my comments without being checked.

    I have been debating turning off the likes: but it still shows me if my friends have stopped by; so I’m torn….

  4. Oh hell PT, I’ve been teetering on the fence over this issue ever since I read your first post. I get so little traffic on my blog that all I have to show for all the OCDing over a given post, sometimes, are the “Likes” that it receives. In the end though, false recognition is really no recognition at all, and keeping the “Like” button for that reason alone is kind of a sucker move.

    I really hate the idea of forcing my legitimate readers to leave a comment to show they were there, but I’m taking the “Like” button down today!

    • I don’t get a lot of Likes either. But when two of only 6-8 Likes are spam, forget it. Having them staring at me every day and not being able to remove them was raising my blood pressure. (And yes, I really hate that some of them are probably watching and chortling over their success in getting us to shut down our Likes.)

  5. I have yet to do that but I may in the future. It’s important to know that you can click the the report button on the bottom right hand corner of the gravatar profile pages to report any spammy followers to Gravatar Staff. There’s a dropdown menu you can use after you click it.

  6. OOPS! I said “followers” when I meant to say “like” button clickers.

    re: fake followers
    In light of the facts that
    (1) we have no reliable means of gauging audience growth;
    (2) no cogent case for retaining the ability of anyone with a WordPress.com/Gravatar account to be able to follow our blogs without our consent has been made;
    (3) and WordPress.com developers are capable of devising an approve and manage follower function;
    I’m wondering exactly when that work, or alternatively, when work on another reliable means for gauging audience growth will be undertaken.

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/preventing-spammers-from-being-notified-of-new-posts/page/2?replies=51#post-1233832

  7. Only an on-off…no dimmer switch!
    (Oh, saw the dog show – terrific…tried to leave a comment on post, but it failed)

  8. So far I havent been “liked” by anyone that wasnt legit. (I am fingertyping on my tablet, sorry about typos and not using all the correct puncuation). But I will ashamedly admit, it makes me feel good when someome likes a post. The internet and my blog really is my primary social life. Although the opposite occurs, too. I feel let down when i dont get any, or very many, likes.

  9. Oh. Also keep in mind that I often dont feel like commenting, so a “like” is a way of telling the author that I was there and read the article. Yeah, theres no way to know if they actally read it or not, but you kinda figure out whondoes and who doesnt. I know you read everything, but there arebsome people who just pop in when they receive the email of a new post and do a “like”. I know they probably didnt read the article, or all of it since I van ramble on, but thats okay. I just think of it as a handshake when passing someone you know on the street as opposed to sitting down for a dinner or a drink together.

    • Yep, I love the pop-in visits, the quick hi and bye. It’s easy for them and fun for me. Good all around. Figures somebody would try to mess it up. Those types are always around somewhere, looking for a chance to be annoying.

  10. Now how the heck do I stop these spammers from “following” me??

    • The WordPress forums are full of complaints and discussions about the spam Followers. I’m sorry to report that to date WordPress has not given us any way to deal with them.

      • If you hear anything, let me know….they surely can do something…….

        • I certainly will. But I’m not particularly hopeful. There’s a big difference between what they can do and what they’re willing to do.

          • It seems unbelievable to me that they would watch one of the features that makes the site enjoyable, get trashed by spammers.

            • We know they’re aware of the situation They’ve got a tough problem since, as I understand it, they feel the right to Follow belongs to the follower and the blogger shouldn’t be able to delete a legitimate follower. Say you’re a liberal who wants to gain insight on conservatives and so you Follow some conservative blogs. What if those blogs didn’t like you following just because you’re a liberal? Should you be allowed to keep following? Should the blogger be allowed to delete your Follow? Nevertheless, spam Followers are messing up everyone’s Follower stats. I think we should be allowed to block Followers. There are other ways to follow/audit/watch/read a blog besides a WordPress Follow.

            • 😦 I’ve begun to just ignore the stats…I see the reasoning behind leaving things open for anyone to follow……it was fun while it lasted!

            • Understand, Followers are like subscribers. They simply receive notifications when you post something (although until now it was nice to think the number represented people who were genuinely interested in your blog). We have no control over Followers.

              The Likes are more valid, but they still don’t necessarily represent people who have actively come to your blog and read your post. People can click on Like from readers, emails, etc. without ever visiting your blog. We have partial control over Likes, in that we can turn them all on or off, or turn them on only for certain posts. We cannot, however, delete spam Likes once they’ve appeared.

              Comments, to me, are the most fun, interactive part of having a blog, and we have complete control over them, with the ability to delete and/or block any comments that violate our personal standards. Akismet does an excellent job of blocking most spam.

              As for the stats themselves, I’m always interested in the number of Visits/Views, which posts are attracting the most readers, and the Search Engine Terms (what readers were looking for that brought them to my blog in the first place).

              Oh, I do run on, don’t I? My apologies.

            • LOL, no apology necessary! I too enjoy the comments most of all and the friendships formed 🙂

            • Should a blogger be allowed to ban specific followers? You raise an interesting point because I have found myself wishing for just that a few times. But on reflection, I think I wouldn’t do it even if I had the option, except in some extreme case where the follower was only and consistently disruptive, adding nothing to the conversation. It’s sort of a free-speech thing because if you draw a line on quality of conversation, that line would be constantly moving, would it not?

            • There’s a big difference between “Followers” and “Commenters.” Followers are like subscribers on the list to be notified when you post something. Our readers never see that list. However, once they join or try to join the conversation, they become Commenters, and we have complete control over who can and cannot comment.

            • Yes, I am well aware of the control we have over commenters. I have resisted using that and can honestly say that in the three years I’ve been blogging I haven’t deleted a single comment that wasn’t pure inanity , and of the latter I don’t think there have been more than three. I’m curious if that’s similar to your experience and others’?

            • Yes, that’s about the same rate I’ve had. Maybe half a dozen deletions in my eight or so years on WordPress. Simple inanity doesn’t bother me (if it’s on topic), but I won’t tolerate gross obscenity or ad hominem attacks on me or other commenters.

  11. I have the same opinion as yourself and will re: this article in an upcoming post. Also, stats are a joke, bc of the search engines which I’m unwilling to turn off. It is interesting that the user that hits the like button can go back into their “likes” and unlike them IF they want. That’s something I like about the like button. 🙂

    • I’ve pretty much given up fighting against WP features I don’t like. They keep changing things, they rarely respond to what users want or ask for, etc. The stats get skewed by all kinds of things and yet we’ve all seen third party stat apps (free!) that return better, more complete stats. I run statcounter to gather some stats like what cities my visitors are from, what browsers they use, etc. If they can do it, WP could do it. Still, for all its shortcomings, it’s the best blogging platform I’ve found.

  12. I thought this article was interesting, because I have been considering turning off likes for my blog for the sake of cleaning it up and trying to de-clutter it a bit.

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“The opinions of others should not deter you from being yourself.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita

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