impossibly related

Is anyone else in love with the fact that the ‘possibly related’ spam links at the end of this encourage us to equate usability testing with a cholera epidemic?

(BTW, Toni’s linked post appears to confirm that Hanni didn’t stick around for long. All 21 staff are now namechecked on the about page. )

Meanwhile, on the .com forums, mikecane and fromtheleft have been unpersoned for hating on Sphere and the new dashboard, and this poor guy got shunted over to wordpress.org before being shoved right back over here, none too politely at that (why yes, it was moshu, since you ask). He asked for help ever so nicely, too. It was quite sad.

25 Comments »

  1. What? No mention of the Queer for Christ link?

  2. I didn’t find it as incongruous as cholera.

    Anyway, $75 in WordPress vouchers? That is so cheap. How many mugs do they think people need? Couldn’t they stretch to a voucher from one of their friendly hosting affiliates?

  3. Dr Mike: The what, now?

  4. The Swimming Upstream link from the first link in wank’s post.

    As to the vouchers, that’s usually what volunteers get for their services.

  5. Kissing Bandit said

    My heart broke for that poor fellow. Before anyone should have tossed him to the .org wolves, they really should have asked for more specific details (i.e. his blog’s URL) considering that it was improbable he just randomly wandered onto the .com forums.

    I can understand Matt wanting to float on the success of WordPress.org, but naming his hosted blogging service WordPress.com was the most boneheaded decision I’ve seen in a long time. Almost makes me wonder whether he spent any amount of time considering the ramifications of such a decision.

    He really should take the time to formally address the difference between the two, define some proper naming conventions (i.e. WordPress = stand alone software and WordPress.com = hosted service) and make sure every person entering into the realm of WordPress(.com) knows where to go for help.

    Right now, finding the .com forum is like navigating a maze for brand new folks and the current support system is just a mess.

  6. engtech said

    man, they don’t even check the possibly related links on their own blog posts?

  7. Dave said

    “He really should take the time to formally address the difference between the two”
    But he changed the color of the .com favicon! Are you people never satisfied?

  8. that’s usually what volunteers get for their services.

    What, volunteers get stuff for their services now? Other than being shafted?

    it was improbable he just randomly wandered onto the .com forums.

    Unfortunately, it’s not that improbable. People who should be on .org wander into the .com forums all the time, if only because .com is a much more guessable tld, and this particular helper simply jumped the gun. It does get tiresome having to ask people for their URLs all the time, since requests for a URL field in the post form have been falling on deaf ears for, oh, years now. Not that this is any excuse, just that when somebody asks a question you don’t immediately understand, it often is because they’re on the wrong site.

    It’s not in Automattic’s interests to minimise the confusion. .com gets to bask in the open-source goodness of .org and .org gets to look like a profitable enterprise. The important thing is being able to present a coherent brand identity to investors and premium clients, and if that negatively impacts on everyday users, well, c’est la vie. What’s a handful of bewildered newbies and exasperated support volunteers, in the grand scheme of things?

    they don’t even check the possibly related links on their own blog posts?

    Well, checking them wouldn’t do a lot of good anyway, since they’re uneditable, and turning them off would make them look somewhat foolish (and Matt’s friends at Sphere might feel hurt).

  9. Richard said

    I finally made the complete break from the .com forums after a restful week away in the Sonoma area, and it didn’t take a lot of wine tasting to make the break.

  10. That impossibly related cholera epidemic link was a perfect reminder of how imperfect that feature is.

  11. options said

    poor, poor guy. most popular wordpress.COM fora tags — that .ORG tag (the biggest one) got nuked. naturally.

    Almost makes me wonder whether he spent any amount of time considering the ramifications of such a decision.

    KB, not a second I guess. and that’s, btw, how wordpress.com domain was gained exactly 3 years ago. i.e. that (a lie) is what wordpress.com has been started off from the very beginning. (for the record, later that ninny guy who donated domain in exchange for linkback, appeared on TC and seemed to be fully satisfied)

    also, it seems mikecane has been unpersoned for hating on domestic search engine. he was wrong, imo. the search is still fairly good (and it was made by the third-party, not even by Automattic); at least I find it as very useful utility. still can’t see his (rather harsh) post as a valid reason for ban — there’re dozens of really rude posts (seen and encouraged by moderators and staff) but its’ (regular) posters still are active.

    btw, I used to get about 800 hits per day on my aged post on “how to search all wordpress.com blogs” when they announced it on their news blog (via possibly related link ;-) unfortunately my post “on ads” doesn’t have the same success. guess, I need to improve my SEO.

  12. options said

    oh, and .com .org confusion just’ve exceeded my wildest expectation (a pingback from .org guy).

  13. Matt A. said

    Hey options, here’s one of the “Possibly Related” links on your post. What do you mean, it doesn’t work?!?

    Warning: May cause blindness or seizure. Proceed with caution.

    Link one

    The kid apparently paid for domain mapping. Oy.

  14. options said

    ha, a good one, Matt! a very wise warning (and the domain name already speaks for itself too).

    it definitely works, I just can’t cook it well enough! ;-)

    aside from the joy of seeing funny inbound referrers, which I mentioned in my first comment* above, the on stats outgoing clicks are almost as much entertainable.


    *) you may probably not see it at the moment, because, for the time being, it obviosly got stuck in the moderation queue. I guess due to excessive number of links (not to my posts).

    so this particular comment (the one you’re reading now) would be already the third one in this thread.

    confusing, eh? confusion will be my epitaph…

  15. (for the record, later that ninny guy who donated domain in exchange for linkback, appeared on TC and seemed to be fully satisfied)

    I have always had the distinct impression that he was forbidden by the lawyers to say he was anything other than satisfied. There were certainly lawyers involved, and since neither party’s behaviour bore close scrutiny (Ric was squatting, and Matt made promises he had no intention of keeping) it was in everyone’s interests to keep their mouths shut once the matter was settled.

  16. options said

    certainly looks like that.

    interesting that this for several times linked post (e.g. from here and that TC thread) on this matter has gone for good from all the archives. however, all the other posts from that blog still are in archive.

  17. Ric’s protest blog at http://free.wordpress.org has been removed as well. It’s good to be reminded that archive.org isn’t as immune to tampering as people tend to assume.

  18. Teck said

    Hello I was reading in your article that Hanni,
    didn’t stick around long and I just came across
    a forum post posted today with Hanni,
    responding to it…

    Here is the link… » hanni Moderator

  19. Kissing Bandit said

    Interesting. She drops off the face of WP.com for 2 months and then suddenly makes a reappearance for a single thread. And it appears she’s still not a Happiness Engineer.

  20. Do you think she’s doing it to mess with our heads or with theirs? I mean, if she was still on staff Toni would have mentioned her, she’d be on the about page, weekend support would have happened, she’d have graduated to ‘Staff’ or ‘Key Master’ like the other two and they wouldn’t have needed to hire a replacement…

    On the other hand, she does get the pink .keymaster class and still talks in terms of ‘we’. This is a mess. Hosts should make it crystal clear whether somebody posting on the forum is an employee or just another user. Wasn’t it one of the excuses for banning active volunteers that people were mistaking them for staff? Colour-coded CSS classes are not cutting it. It’s reasonable for users to assume that everyone with a ‘Moderator’ tag after their name has the same status. You know, much like everyone with ‘Inactive’ after their name has the same status of having pissed off Matt and getting denied all weekend support as a punishment ;)

  21. Hosts should make it crystal clear whether somebody posting on the forum is an employee or just another user.

    It’s funny that you mention that as last week I’ve been having forums where I still help out at remove the moderator or other custom titles from my profile and replace it with the standard one for their visitors. I agree on that point and it’s been raised before a number of times.

    Colour-coded CSS classes are not cutting it.

    They’re not very visible on some of the computers that I use. Almost looks like the white background on some of them.

  22. Forgot this:

    It’s good to be reminded that archive.org isn’t as immune to tampering as people tend to assume.

    Actually I noticed something on that. wp.com now has an adjustable robots.txt file. Compare that to yours.

    I wonder if they used a plugin to do that or if it’s something custom.

  23. I’ve been poking around the site looking at posts (Actually I’m seeing what happens when I report ten spammers) and I’ve noticed something about Related Posts.

    It doesn’t always work.

    See a post? They may be there or they may not be. Leave a comment or even refresh and they may go away or pop in afterwards.

    It’s weird.

  24. Hanni’s reappeared. 23 forum posts within the last 2 weeks.

  25. She must have been on sick leave or something, then. It happens.

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