Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Down with Wordpress

I used to have a Wordpress Blog, but found the features on Blogger better. I have full control of what my site will look like, without having to pay every year for the benefit. The exchange I suppose for a free service is, Blogger (aka: Google) gets to trade my personal information (marketing analysis) with buyers I don't know about. I'm assuming they do, I don't know they do, but I'm sure there's something in their policies which allows them to, without infringing on my personal rights.

After all, I have to click "I agree" with the terms and conditions before they create my account. Hence, they aren't infringing on my rights if I agree, right? But what we are agreeing to, can change I suppose, and that's little advertised.

Back to Wordpress though. I didn't have anything against Wordpress - until now. I have a few blogs I like to read which are hosted on Wordpress. But I won't be commenting on those blogs any more. Why? Wordpress made a change to their system, whereby if you have a Wordpress account and you want to comment on someone's Wordpress blog, you have to sign in (Wordpress) first.

I thought it would just be a matter of finding ways to get around it. After all, I've worked years as "Chris" from my Blogger account, and authors of those Wordpress blogs I read, know me as that. Now I suddenly have to be commenting as "herbatious" from Wordpress???

I went searching, but apparently the only way I can comment with my Blogger account now, is if (a) I don't have a Wordpress account in the first place, or (b) I put a bogus email address in my WP account details. From what I've been reading, this is not working with some unhappy Wordpress Account holders either. I'm not going to try to work a way around it though, because basically I think this infringes on my right as a Blogger to say who I am to other bloggers.

Basically Wordpress has removed the right for me to be a "Blogger" commenter on a Wordpress blog. I can be anonymous if the WP blog author, knows how to do this on their Settings layout, or I can have a bogus email address. But what I cannot do however, is comment as Blogger "Chris" from Gully Grove any more. Why? Because I have the same email address for both WP and Blogger accounts. I only have one email account, I only need one email account - why do I need another? Apparently, if I want the option to comment as "Chris" from the Blogger universe, WP says I need a second email account - a bogus one.

Whatever reason Wordpress want to give for this new change in their system being necessary, I'm not going to run through the new hoops generated. Because when I went looking for how I could delete my WP account entirely, I found this.

Basically what the WP moderator was saying on the WP forums was, when you agree to supply your information to an internet business, you lose your right to control your information from that point onwards. So why would I want to generate a new bogus email account with a new internet business, when it's just to gain access to comment on WP blogs, when their policy clearly stats, we lose our rights to control how our accounts are used.

Confused yet?

It's made me think twice about opening accounts anywhere else on-line - discussion forums, etc. My apologies to anyone who has a Wordpress blog that will now lose long-standing commenters. I regretted opening my Wordpress account not long after I realised, I couldn't change the layout without paying for it. Now I regret it even more, I can never remove the "I agree" click. They changed the system but apparently (I agree) remains.

To quote from the link I supplied above:

...We are under no legal, ethical, or moral obligation by ANY law, US or foreign, to delete your account. We have no policy in place to delete accounts. Nothing you, nor we, have done is in violation of policy, law or anything other than annoying everyone. Go away and be happy :)

When servicing customers human rights is annoying, that's a business I don't want to do business with any more. Yes, it is a policy issue it seems, so I stopped researching at that point. Wordpress had built into their business structure, choice is not an option (only sarcasm) for it's Wordpress customers.

It got me thinking about all the other places online, I give information to (Blogger included). I won't be signing up to anything  new out of curiosity any more. That's MY new policy change thanks to my WP experience. After all, that's how I came to sign up with Wordpress in the first place, I will spare you the story though. What I will share because it's related to the theme of this post, is I learned what Blogger advertises BEFORE you sign up, is more accurate than what Wordpress advertises in there Features You'll Love.

You only learn once you create an account with Wordpress, they make you pay for stuff you get for free on Blogger. Sure, you can have as many blogs as you want (as advertised) but you can only have two free ones - you pay for the additional ones you want. If WP were aiming for honesty they would say only two blogs are free, then decide how many you want according to our prices.

I guess that should have been my cue, but I didn't listen. Well, not that I have a choice, as I cannot delete my WordPress account anyway. Just bear that in mind if you haven't signed up to Wordpress yet. In fact, ignore most of the Features You'll Love advertisments, because unless you have insider experience you won't realise the false perceptions they generate. When it says, "No Lock-in...you can leave WordPress.com any time you want and your content isn’t locked in."They aren't saying "YOU" the creator of your account, even though it gives that impression it goes along with, "your content isn't locked in".

You see people make the association because they have no other choice - why wouldn't they be able to leave with their content when they decide to leave at any time?

Buyer beware with Wordpress. What they advertise for free is not anything you'll remotely get compared to Blogger. Blogger also doesn't discriminate between who can comment on your blog either - they leave that up to you to choose.

EDITED to add:  I thought this was a good article about the sites that range in difficulty to delete accounts. Because the sites that won't let you delete your account or make the process difficult, won't advertise this in the sign up process.


  1. I didn't know much of this nd you know I was on Wordpress initially. I took my blog private alongtieago but I did know that I couldn't change my email account or user name. I left because of the lack of freebies which I thought I wanted. What I really wanted was choice though. I harly use those features in reality.

    This all reminds me of Facebook trying to take ownership of personal photos.
    Trust no one.

  2. Yep, I'm not a Facebook fan for the same reason I'm now taking issue with Wordpress. They advertise how great it is to use their service, and yet hidden in the fine print is an exclusive domain, where everything you do, belongs to them.

    It won't be long until a legal case is brought against one of these companies, based on the fact there is no human rights law written in to what is basically a self-imposed conduct between internet businesses and their account holders.

    For instance, if I have a credit card I pay off in the real world, I can ask that CC company to close my account. If they don't, they are holding me liable to whatever choices that company makes and decides to charge me for later. That have to close my account.

    Just because a human being enters into an agreement with a social networking site, under loose terms of service (yet to be defined with concrete policy) doesn't mean they KNOW what will befall them at a later date, due to policy changes. If they start to smell something is off, they should have the right to cut ties completely.

    What WP effectively have is ownership over a "virtual" me. I'm virtually there in theory, resurrected every time I want to comment on someone else's WP blog, even though "I" personally walked away from WP a long time ago.

    And I don't buy the line, if you didn't want it out there why did you put it on the internet in the first place? This assumes full disclosure before a person (of whatever age) comes to understand what manner the internet is. With so many businesses blinding people with the snake-oil called "express yourself here", and barely any mention about the consequences of signing up, there has to be a point people are allowed to opt out when they make sense of the ramifications.

    Anyway, trust no-one is definitely worth remembering. Too late for this WP account holder, but they definitely proved what a poor internet social networking site experience feels like. ;)

  3. Their wording at this point in time is disturbingly childish for a start. " Don't like it? Leave!"
    Except they won't let you leave. I believe that wht they are doing will coe back to bite them because it seems their choice of words has not been crafted by a legal team at all. It seems thrown together belligerantly.

    I consider virtual me my intellectual property and as such, I retain full ownership responsibility for virtual me.
    but the real issue is that account holders are actually stake holders and policy changes, simply as a professional courtesy, should be publicly disclosed with an optional opt out. But W.P. has cut ties with ethics when they deny moral obligation.

  4. I suspect account holders are just data analysis for marketing campaigns, that's why their customer service is so lacking. They treat everyone who takes issue with their service, like they are trouble makers, impersonators, or basically anyone they can ridicule so they don't have to answer the issue.

    I was hoping if I raised the issue decently, they would "consider" the issue genuine. Of course, my discussion played out the same way all the others did.

    I always thought the threads I read which raised this issue about policy changes, were very neatly presented. I thought it was pretty decent of WP to keep them on the forums too. But as I was to discover with my own thread I was locked out of, they set you up for a ridicule, then they lock you out.

    They let you say enough to be "heard", they repeat the options people are already taking issue with, then they ridicule you to go away - shut down the conversation. You will notice if you research Wordpress.com each locked thread of a contentious issue, ends with a carefully sculpted response (by one of the regular members - rarely admin) that summarises the OP as a needless complainer, WP is the victim and just go away, or they honestly wouldn't mind if you leave, LOL.

    Of course, they would keep those discussions on the forums, because they're designed to make the voices of concern look trivial and focuses on the person complaining at fault - not WP's poor customer service. Which is very obvious by the way, when you can see past the manipulated conversations. It's textbook. Let the OP talk, cut and paste Terms of Service, Admin gives the same tired official response (word for word) and then a regular member sums up with a ridicule of the OP, with WP being unfairly scrutinised.

    You know they only offered free blogs to advertise the paid for service ones, hoping people would cross over. Am I EVER glad, I didn't have to pay for this kind of discrimination, LOL. They can act like cut and paste guru's for free, but if I paid for that, I would feel like such a mug!

  5. Forgot to say, I'm glad to hear you consider yourself the owner of your virtual property. Because without people agreeing to these Terms of Service, there would be nothing for these businesses to grow upon.

    Everything you put out there is you, and no company can claim ownership. But I don't think this will become publicly understood until court cases emerge to set precedence.

  6. Yes, intellectual property issues is most likely the way to approach this legally because no matter what policy changes W.P. make, actual law will take precedence. I don't believe there are laws preventing W.P. from switching policy but they certainly can't abuse existing law. it would be interesting to see where this would lead should a group of people take this to court.

    I found the responses very distasteful and was tempted to jump in on that thread. What they want is for the voice of dissent to sound crazy or asking too much only in self interest. By not making it public knowledge that you were locked out, it looks like you had a rant and nothing more. I believe there is a formula as you say. I've seen this game played out a great deal as an activist back in the day. It's an old trick.

    I might yet comment.

  7. Only comment if you feel you must, not for my sake though, because I don't want you having added stress so nearing the end of chemo. I honestly think the real you (as opposed to the virtual one ;) ) deserves that so much: less stress in your life that is. :)

    I'm happy to take my cause to my blog and just advertise what's happening in my case. I'm not upset with them (as in, they didn't hurt where it counts) I just think it's sad they chose this course for themselves. No-one wins when customer service shuts down.

    They've shown they treat everyone the same. Whatever you say will be met with cut'n paste policy, then (possibly) ridicule. Maybe, maybe not, but your health means more to me than their manipulated conversation, my friend. :)


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