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Issues WordPress needs to address

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.

21 thoughts on “Issues WordPress needs to address

  1. I know – I hate to see questionable gravitars. “Reader” does invite spammers to just go down and click all those “likes”
    It would be a huge help if the gravitars linked to the person’s blog – make it easier to return visits, WP.
    It all makes it hard to takes the stats and “followers” seriously.

        1. Hopefully, if there’s no Like button on a post, people who might have clicked it will opt for a brief comment instead, but I’m not optimistic. I can think of too many times when I’ve read a post and really wanted the writer to know I’d been there — but just couldn’t find the right words for a comment.

          Judging from the comment below, no, it will not remove the Like button on the reader. Not unless and until WP decides to fix it.

  2. Here’s the rub. You can disable likes on your blog but that does not disable them in the Reader. Anyone with a WordPress.com or Gravatar account (they are one in the same) can follow the blog and or locate a post on the Topics pages and click the like button.

    1. macmanx said what I was about to say. We can’t control the appearance of the Like button in the reader, but we can turn off the display of Likes on our posts, which I hate to do but am seriously considering. (I did fine without it for a long time.) Of course, if we ever turn it back on, I assume all the garbage will still be there. Possibly even more, if the Like button remains on the reader. Maybe WP will remove that, as macmanx hinted, but it still won’t change the fact that spammers can click Like on our blog pages and we can’t remove them.

  3. You’re right PT, WordPress needs to fix this. At least a couple of my favorite bloggers have disabled their “Like” buttons, and now I think I know why…

  4. One busy little Follower has followed Pied Type three different times in the last 5 hours. Each time he has used the same name, changing only the number that follows it, and each time he has linked to a WordPress blog titled with the same name and number. The first two of those blogs have already been shut down by WP for violating the terms of service, but the third is still live. Of course, despite WP shutting down his blogs, his name still appears on my list of followers (three times!), with no way to delete it. Are you listening, WP?

  5. Began blogging 2006…knew nothing. Learned quickly that TypePad, the service I used, was in an entirely differently place from Blogger. Too chicken (in joke via my blog) to switch to Word Press which would have been free. But scary for a know-nothing. Blogger made it difficult for those outside their gates to leave comments.

    Did a Word Press blog, Elder Exercise, with woman in Paris who knew everything. Great idea but did not light many fires. Now see that this comment coming from Word Press, not TypePad. But I could change that: why? It does appear that Commerce has got in the way of free exchange among bloggers that I’d expected. And yet I’m still here.

    Btw, seems I cannot “like” unless using WP account?

    1. You should be able to see and click the Like button at the end of my post regardless of whether you’re using a WP account.

      I was on Blogger before I migrated to WP, but that was maybe a year after WP started, so it’s been a while. Still, as I recall, it wasn’t that hard to do. I don’t know anything about TypePad, but there’s a lot of support in the WP forums for just about anything you need help with. And the community has been wonderful. Despite my loud complaints when WP is less than perfect, I’ve been very pleased overall.

  6. I’m experiencing the same thing, just recently….I’m not thrilled at all that they are inflating my followers stats and like stats…..Why don’t these people get a life? I’m with you…it would be such a shame to take the like button off..but it may have to be done.

    1. They’re like cockroaches or something. Once one gets in and word gets around that they can operate here with impunity, they all come running. It’s a cinch they won’t just go away. Akismet catches hundreds of spam commenters here every day, and they keep coming. But at least I can moderate every single one of them and approve or trash each one at my discretion. We don’t need an Akismet (not yet, anyway) to moderate Likes and Follows, but we should be given a way to do it manually.

  7. Agree with this – a lot of bloggers on WordPress have been commenting with the same sentiments. Some posts will attract a LOT of spam likes and some not so much? I hope they do something about it! I like to be able to ‘like’ a post if i don’t have anything to contribute in the comments

    1. Who knows why spammers do what they do or how they decide where to go. But when they start spoiling the blogging environment for everyone, WP really needs to take action.

... and that's my two cents