Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why This Blog Isn't Migrating to Wordpress

As virtually anyone who reads this blog with any regularity knows, I have become a consistent if not avid reader of Jack Marshall’s Ethics Alarms blog. We agree more often than not, argue sometimes, tweak each other’s commentary sometimes, and sometimes just allow the other to go off on a rant, figuring some battles aren’t worth fighting. In other words, we’ve become friends, even though we’ve never actually met (I hope to change that this summer).

Anyway, I have been a frequent commenter on his blog (and he on mine, although since he cranks out his original material at a prodigious rate—probably 10 times as often as I—I comment a lot more on his site than he on mine). A couple of days ago, I went to comment on something Jack had written. The comments section on Jack’s blog asks for your e-mail address, your name, and (optionally) your website. As a commenter there, I’ve been “Rick” at my hotmail account, with a link to this page for over a year. But now, the cookie brings up something else: because, ages ago, I set up a Gravitar account as the only way I could comment on something somewhere, and because Wordpress (which hosts Jack’s blog) is linked to Gravitar, and because the people who run those sites are amoral and/or incompetent, my e-mail account now automatically generates a link to my Wordpress identity. Not only that, I can’t change it!

I must sign in through my Wordpress account, which I have never used, and which I can’t delete (not sure if this link will work, but here it is. Trust me, it reads: “ accounts cannot be deleted.” It graciously offers that I can delete my (entirely non-existent) blog, however. Asshats.

I know, I know—it’s pretty much a first-world problem not to be able to have readers of Jack’s blog click over to mine. But it’s a problem that ought not to exist, and indeed didn’t exist a week ago. Someone at Wordpress thinks this apparent new policy (there’s no statement from them that they’re doing this) is a good idea. Someone at Wordpress is wrong about that.

More to the point, there’s no reason for the change. I could understand (not like, but understand) a monetary motive, but given the fact that I’m not paying anything for either the Blogspot site I actually use or the Wordpress site I don’t, that reasoning doesn’t seem to work. If the idea is to attract more users to Wordpress, it’s a stupid strategy. I’m not thrilled with Blogspot, and had considered migrating to Wordpress. Needless to say, that ain’t gonna happen if the latter site is run by idiots, as it appears to be. And I’m now less inclined to comment on Jack’s posts (or those of a couple other Wordpress-hosted blogs I read at least occasionally), meaning less traffic on Wordpress sites: I’d presume that more traffic is good, but what do I know?

So I went to my Wordpress account, which until less than a week ago I didn’t even know I had, and changed the e-mail address associated with the account… to my (also) unused gmail address, which I had to add to do something with my work iPad. I figured this little stratagem might make sense: divert the stuff I don’t want to an account I don’t use. Nope. Didn’t work. I’m still unable to use my preferred e-mail to comment on Jack’s posts: important because that’s the address used to inform me of follow-up comments on that post. There’s something on the Wordpress site that suggests that this situation might change, because they’re fucking incompetent it takes time for changes to completely register. I can’t sign in to that account using my Hotmail account any more, but it might take a day and a half—so they say—for that address to become “available” again. Riiiiiiiiiight.

What we’re left with is a site more arrogant and less competent than Facebook, and that’s saying rather a lot. What I find most amusing about this whole situation, of course, is the fact that the blog I’m trying to access and comment on without interference from some officiously over-reaching site administrator’s unethical brainchild is… yeah, a site about ethics. I do enjoy irony. Usually, that is.

For the record, no, I am not going to stop posting comments on Jack’s site, even if I have to do so without allowing a reader to move over to this blog with a single click. And no, I don’t think Jack should stomp off in a huff and never post on Wordpress again because of their unconscionable assholitude. But I am a firm believer that karma returns, and there will be a serious come-uppance down the road for whatever knuckle-dragger came up with this scheme. In the meantime, I’ll just snarl a little when trying to post comments. Luckily, such behavior is well within my range.

UPDATE (3/25, 11:21 pm CDT): I just tried to post a comment on Ethics Alarms. It wouldn't let me post without signing in to my Wordpress account, which it insisted was linked to my hotmail address. Of course, I couldn’t actually sign in using that address, since I changed it on the site. So I signed in using my gmail address. I then posted my comment, which promptly vanished into the ether. It may have been sent for moderation (since it’s an address that’s new to the site, and Jack gets lots of spam comments); it may have been sucked into a vortex, never to return. We shall see.

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