our new robotic overlord

Look what I just found on the forum:

whoareyouthen.png

And suddenly the purges are making a lot more sense. Not a member. Not a moderator. Not a key master. One dormant blog, no forum posts prior to January 3. Looks like the happiness engineer finally took charge. With the usual fanfare and openness, naturally.

And yay! it’s a woman! Well, it might be. To be honest, it sounds a lot like a bot.

75 Comments »

  1. Kissing Bandit said

    Oh, changes taking place.

    What I’m curious about is the lack of Member, Moderator, or Key Master next to her name. How is one to look up her profile?

    -KB

  2. drmike said

    KB, you look at the page source within your browser.😉

    Actually Hanni’s been around for quite some time. I’ve pointed out a couple of times that her profile doesn’t work. Note the low account number.

    The blog‘s pretty empty as well.

  3. drmike said

    Um, the word ‘profile’ up there has a link to her profile.

    *sigh* I see we have yet another broken wordpress theme installed.

  4. Oh, well spotted. http://en.forums.wordpress.com/profile.php?id=267 verifies that she is indeed our new Happiness Engineer; any posts she may have made before the 2nd have been hidden or deleted. They’re probably just waiting to hack bbPress to give her her very own title.

  5. Also: this is wordpress.com, and you are on Netscape. There are no non-broken themes. Or as near to none as makes no difference.

    (I nearly installed Light, but it is lacking an ‘overflow:hidden’. I feel much better about the lunarpages thing now.)

  6. drmike said

    Feel free to change ‘work’ to ‘word’ in my comment. Wouldn’t want to offend anyone with my typos.

    [humour]How do you know I’m on Netscape!?!?!?!? Are you tracking me?!?!?! Where’s your privacy statement?!?!?!?! Have you invading my computer?!?!?!?[/humour]

    By the way, can you see a link with another browser? Netscape’s dying anyway.

    Looks like Andy’s going after Rain [Link on Rain] now. I guess Andy couldn’t do a five second Google search and review the Perfect 10 vs Google case. (Posting that hoping Rain will see it.)

  7. Mark said

    Hanni has indeed joined us.

    drmike – I go out and take a photograph. I own the image, I own the domain and I want to put a thumbnail of my image on my blog and I want it to be over 150px. If you could point out just where in the Perfect 10 ruling that I am forbidden to this I would be grateful (as will the plugin authors that sbk has just indicated in the forum thread.)

  8. drmike said

    Mark, feel free to explain to me why I should respect your question when Automattic refuses to do the same with me?

  9. drmike said

    That still doesn’t excuse Andy’s rudeness either.

    I think AutoMATTic is going to run out of volunteers fairly shortly if their employees keep this up.

  10. @Mark
    Does that mean that we will see multiple choices for thumbnail sizes soon?

  11. drmike: you’re right, comment links aren’t indicated in Firefox either. Is it SO hard to make a wordpress.com theme that actually works properly? Visible links are a pretty damn basic usability thing.

    (It’s a shame, because apart from that and the textareas and the floating metabox overlapping my image and the redundant icon preceding my non-existent tags, I was quite liking this theme. I’m starting to think I’m stuck with Almost Spring for ever, and even that one screws up on widgets.)

    Also, you’re right in that Andy’s rudeness to rain was totally uncalled for. Maybe he was summoned by Matt and Mark to take the heat off them. Will Lloyd, Alex and Toni be popping in to fling random insults at volunteers too, just to make sure we’re all aware that this is how things work now?

    Mark, I don’t suppose you could enlighten us on why Hanni’s status as staff is being concealed from forum visitors? Or why she’s not on Automattic’s staff page? Is it a Lloyd-style situation with her previous employers, or is she just shy, or is it still official policy only to announce the appointment of male employees?

  12. drmike said

    Could always switch over to Kubrick or WP Classic.😉

  13. timethief said

    hanni has been lueking on the forum for awhile now. A couple of weeks ago “hanni” used a contact box on my blog to tell me that she had noticed the “i love wordpress” graphics that I made over a year ago that are included in the FAQs were still linked to my old deleted islandtimethief blog and that she had “fixed” this for me. I sent her a one word answer – thanks (rolling eyes).

  14. timethief said

    Update I just emailed Mark saying:
    Please remove both the timethief link and the logos as well from the FAQs page linked to here ASAP http://faq.wordpress.com/wordpress-logos/

  15. drmike said

    I pointed out the broken profile as well a while back.

    This theme is strange (I’d call it broken but w3ank’s done enough theme changes for the day) as I’m logged in but yet I have the Name, Mail and Website fields.

  16. drmike said

    Never mind. I’m not logged in. (But I’m seeing “Welcome back drmike”….)

  17. I don’t know which is more fun, the sockpuppet whose series of forum posts about Hanni just got deleted (not me, btw — I do of course have a backup account, but I can’t be bothered to log out and back in again) or the Club Penguin child currently spamming the forums with randomly-capitalised FAQs.

    No, wait! raincoaster just gave Andy a linklist FTW.

  18. timethief said

    OOPS! I forgot to post the link to “hanni” the robotic moderator’s profile link http://en.forums.wordpress.com/profile.php?id=267

  19. drmike said

    What did the sock puppet say? (Wasn’t me who did it.)

    Hanni’s got a Member tag now. Rather strange that they didn’t give here a Staff one like Lloyd has.

  20. The whole thing has, as usual, been handled appallingly. Even if she isn’t directly responsible for the sudden wave of banning, censoring and general discourtesy to volunteers, she’s going to end up blamed for it because the timing is just too much of a coincidence and the secrecy has made her look shady (again).

    What a way to welcome your latest employee.

  21. oh, and the sockpuppet merely wished to inform the forum populace of the existence of their new robotic overlord. Since, you know, her staff tag was missing and everything.

  22. drmike said

    We’ll probably be blamed for that as well and Matt will be stopping by calling us “rats” or some such nonsense.

  23. Kissing Bandit said

    …the Club Penguin child currently spamming the forums with randomly-capitalised FAQs.

    Hey, this is the perfect time to spam the forums. Staff’s on holiday.

    -KB

  24. […] timethief Well, wordpress.com now has a new paid Moderator aka “Happiness Engineer”. Mark has confirmed this on wank’s blog but not in the […]

  25. Richard said

    That penguin is selling stuff on it’s blog. The cost of Purina Penguin Chow has gone up considerably.

    Hit my self-hosted blog with a comment saying I could get “sponsored” if I would just contact them. I have Defensio’s penguin detector set to high. Defensio now considers it spam.

  26. drmike said

    Forums as well.

  27. timethief said

    Staff is not “on holiday”. Mark is working and tellyworth is covering hanni’s ass and pulling down the sock puppet posts. Spekaing of sock puppets I hear tell that someone has 17 unique wp.com accounts with 17 unique email addresses and 17 bloggers who are willing to put staff through using them.

    Yee haw! Here we go Howdy Doody boy! Fan this!

  28. timethief said

    Now the next thing we will hear is poor little hanni. It wasn’t here fault. She didn’t do anything. And who we will hear it from? Well from the regular forum volunteers of course, because they are addicted to answering questions and do not want to stop.

  29. timethief said

    The foregoing is not to say that hanni actually did anything. It is to say that anyone who sees their employer pave the way for them by implementing the kind of despicable behaviour that we have witnessed will get exactly what she deserves. The volunteers will fawn all over he – sheesh guys it’s not her fault. She will tell herself that this will never happen to her. And the whole wp.com deception machine will keep rollin, rollin, rollin all the way towards some more venture capital.

  30. timethief said

    Sheesh … someone changed my avatar. It wasn’t me. I’m *rotflol* because whoever did it obviously does not know what that symbol means.

  31. drmike said

    Anyone else notice that Timethief’s pissed?🙂

  32. timethief said

    Did you see the glowing blue avatar in wank’s sidebar next to my name? Where did it come from? I haven’t used it for some time now. OOPS! and now it’s gone. Why am I not surprised?

  33. timethief said

    The word “Moderator” has now replaced the “Member” word that was belatedly added as an adjunct to hanni’s name, after wank blew her cover as an undercover Moderator.

  34. drmike said

    So she’s an unpaid forum volunteer then? That’s what Moderators are in wp.com lingo. I thought Mark said she was an employee. She should at least have the Staff tag.

    Kind of an insult against her if you ask me.

  35. timethief said

    This is to let you know that I have now dealt with the email sent to my yahoo email address by the blogger claiming he had organized the 17 usernames with unique email addresses and IPs that were preapred to whoop it up. I admit that I was tempted to respond by saying “go for it!’ but I’m a better person than that. I’m turning my backside to wordpress, breaking some wind and then I’m walking away.

  36. forumperson said

    been around a while it seems… hmmm…

    http://wordpress.org/support/profile/4242

    “WordPress › Support » Profile
    Hanni
    Member Since July 28, 2004 (3 years)
    Website http://pinksocks.co.uk
    Location United Kingdom ”

    http://www.scamcity.co.uk/journal/2004/09/20/wordpress-navbar/

    September 20th, 2004, Early Evening | permalink
    WordPress Navbar
    “As I mentioned last month, Blogger launched a navbar on their blogs and now WordPress has the same thing thanks to Hanni at Pink Socks, which I’m trying out for a while… ”

    http://codex.wordpress.org/IRC_Meetups/2005/September/September07RawLog
    Hanni is here @ 17:47

    http://codex.wordpress.org/IRC_Meetups/2005/May/May18RawLog
    Hanni is here (use Ctrl/ F)

    http://photomatt.net/2004/07/30/for-pay-wordpress/
    In Comments

    http://photomatt.net/2004/10/12/os-cms/
    again

    http://faq.wordpress.net/view.php?m=200408
    All the way at the bottom. All the way. Bottom.

  37. drmike said

    Hmm, now I’m seeing the blue dot in the Recent Comments list as well.

  38. JRSofty said

    So is Hanni actually a person or is Hanni a bot?

  39. judyb12 said

    now Hanni is a Moderator:
    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=20056&page&replies=3#post-153542

  40. judyb12 said

    oh, and the answer she/he gives is a total non-answer to the problem.

  41. drmike said

    There’s a bunch of incorrect replies like that. Both from Hanni and Telly.

    Maybe new Automattic employees need to read the wp.com FAQ. It appears that it may help.

  42. drmike said

    Here’s another one:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=20061

    So let me get this straight. Automattic would rather have what appears to be an untrained staff member give incorrect answers instead of a volunteer give a correct answer?

  43. JRSofty said

    I wasn’t asking if Hanni is a moderator or not. I’m sure Autospasmattics can assign a bot as a moderator. The question was is Hanni a real person or just a program pretending to be a real person?

  44. @forumgoer: last I heard of Hanni@pinksocks she had junked wordpress and was rolling her own blog software (the blog itself is long gone). It’d be odd for her to take a support role rather than a tech one, plus she was in Britain rather than France and her .org support posts don’t sound anything like these .com ones. I wouldn’t assume it’s the same person until proved otherwise.

    I’m wondering whether she’s on probation and won’t get any official recognition until they’ve definitely decided to keep her (or not, in which case she will simply disappear and never be mentioned again).

    @timethief: good call. If you go postal on them, it retrospectively justifies their treatment of you. Don’t give them that ammunition.

  45. is Hanni a real person or just a program pretending to be a real person?

    I think she’s a real person pretending to be a program. And maybe this kind of chirpy, artificial, cut-and-paste devoid-of-personality approach is exactly what the forums need, if Automattic wish to be acquired and to persuade people to spend more money on upgrades. Far more professional than letting a bunch of users bitch and gossip alongside the actual support. I can see the logic behind it, totally.

    But actually, I think users do like to see real people doing support. It makes the place feel more homey and less corporate. So it could easily backfire.

  46. Cat said

    What’s the deal with all the staff presence in the forums? It’s like half of them suddenly realised there are forums..

  47. Support’s closed for the week so official support is being handled via the forums. Of course, that means that should anything go wrong with my blog I am without support until next Monday, since I can’t post there.🙄

  48. OK, looking for ‘proof otherwise’ on Google and the largely dormant blog, it does seem to be the same Hanni. Apologies to forumperson.

    Odd. Well, not that odd, since she knew Podz back when he was Podz, but still, odd that she should pop up sounding so lobotomised compared to when she was on .org. Maybe she’s been on a course. Or maybe Matt has informed her that the target audience of .com is really, really stupid people. Who knows?

  49. Kissing Bandit said

    So, timethief, did you actually delete your blog willingly or did it get axed?

    Also, I know now that staff is not “on holiday” thanks to TGA in another post; instead they’re spending their time weed whacking any threads in the forum which step out of line.

    -KB

  50. She deleted the blog herself as she doesn’t want anything further to do with wordpress.com. Can’t say I blame her. Oh, and staff admitted that wpbloggingtips was being blocked from global tags for censorship purposes. I’m sure that if I renamed my ‘dot com’ tagegory ‘wordpress.com’, they’d do the same to me.

    (I’d do it in a second if the links would would work — global tags bug the hell out of me, and it was kind of nice not having to deal with them when I was using Iceburgg over Christmas — but I don’t fancy the broken links purely for revenue purposes).

  51. This statement by Matt on Adam’s blog gives us an idea of what is yet come. “The forums are changing to (we hope) better serve users, who they were created for. More of those changes will be apparent later in the year, but the gears are turning. Think less like discussion forums, more like Yahoo Answers.”
    http://archgfx.net/blog/2008/geek/blogging/desaparecidos-wordpresscom-sucks

  52. Well, I’m a user, and the forums are not serving me. Maybe that should be rephrased to ‘serve users who do not piss us off’.

    What happens to the knowledge bank of answers you’d built up over the months? Junked, because they’d rather reinvent the wheel than learn anything from mere users.

  53. Richard said

    I’ll bet all of those copy and paste answers TT had put together will end up in the new system and perhaps a few of mine as well, in fact TT had mentioned somewhere that some of hers was already showing up in the FAQ’s – reworded somewhat if I remember correctly.

    They would be stupid not to use those, they are good.

  54. Thing is, I think a more straightforward, less forum-y approach would be an improvement over what the forums have been. It’s nothing to do with the staff or volunteers. Really, it’s the same five questions over and over with a couple new ones thrown in for good measure.

    The problem (to me, at least) is how this was done. There doesn’t appear to have been any attempt at letting volunteers know what was going on, nor has there been any official announcement of the change. I’m not suggesting that Toni/Matt/whoever’s in charge should put all their plans out there at the first moment’s thought, but it wouldn’t hurt to let the people helping you know that they’re being outmoded.

  55. Richard said

    It’s normal for a company not to share plans with outsiders, and forum volunteers are simply bloggers answering questions – aka outsiders.

    The thing is that most of the FAQ’s are written by, and for, people who know a thing or two about html and how wordpress works and I don’t know if any at wordpress have the experience with technical writing to be able to think or write on the level of a novice. What is obvious to someone with experience will not be obvious to a novice.

    And that comes from someone who spent the last ten years doing just that sort of thing.

  56. There doesn’t appear to have been any attempt at letting volunteers know what was going on, nor has there been any official announcement of the change.

    Because, basically, they don’t think it’s any of our business. It’s a control thing. Consulting people, giving them a heads-up… this would imply they care what we think, or, worse, that we might have some influence over how things are run. They don’t care what we think. They don’t even care enough to be polite.

    Rather than explain that the way things were run was going to be changing, that they would no longer be requiring our services and, by the way, meet our new member of support staff, they just pre-emptively banned the people they thought would make the most noise and implemented the new regime in silence. They probably realised that pissing off the forum regulars would get rid of them a hell of lot faster than politely asking them to leave. It was dirty, but it was quick. I reckon they eliminated about half-a-dozen on the first go. Staff hanging round for a week should head off any newbies who might be tempted to start answering questions, and the remaining stalwarts can be banned as soon as they’ve baited them to get them to say something they shouldn’t. (Raincoaster won her first round, she may not be so lucky next time.)

    I wonder whether .org is next, or whether they’re just going to let it carry on festering until it dies of neglect?

  57. […] (well, that’s not quite true, but I think everyone else has said everything I would say quite eloquently enough so I’ll stay away from the […]

  58. This is just an interesting tidbit. Hanni’s empty blog is now “private”. And she left a comment on this blog which has been deserted http://atthe404.wordpress.com/2007/10/09/date-test-2/#comment-1398

  59. Here we go again with the avatar changing. My green left eye is the avatar that should be appearing and not the dragonfly.

  60. Richard said

    @TT
    You’re caught in the wordpress zone.

    @TGA I don’t know if there is any hope for the .org forum unless they make it a complete automaton with canned answers, and if you ask about anything they don’t have canned, you’re on your own. If you click on topics with no replies over there, there are 780 pages of them. .com only has 7 but that will grow.

  61. she left a comment on this blog which has been deserted

    Oh, she also knew Root back when he was Root. Mirrored his Gemini theme when he pulled it down during the Kubrick Wars, which is so long ago I can’t find a post about it here. (Root was against Kubrick becoming the default theme in 1.5, Matt and Michael Heilemann responded to this by attacking Gemini, there was banning and locking and deletion all over the shop. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.)

  62. Ray said

    It’s normal for a company not to share plans with outsiders, and forum volunteers are simply bloggers answering questions – aka outsiders.

    This is somewhat disingenuous. The forum is indeed staffed by volunteers. But these volunteers are also customers and they make up the community Matt is so fond of. The forums are an enhancement to the WordPress backend feel. By making changes without notifying or informing the members, it becomes a massive kick in the teeth. Microsoft can do this because they have a customer/provider relationship. WordPress cannot because the relationship is very different.

  63. Slave said

    I, for one, welcome our new Robotic Overlord.

    ALL HAIL OUR NEW ROBOTIC OVERLORD! 😉

  64. options said

    Oh, she also knew Root back when he was Root.

    ^^

    however, Root’s banned from forums too. funny thing — yet last time he’s been on the fora like some two monthes ago, aparently he ‘should take break’ as well. just in case.

    there are strong tacticians in the Automattic team, but there’re also solid positional players, who think strategically seeking for the long-term advantages by eliminating all possible weaknesses such as “bad elements” or “manipulators who have an agenda“, or just “generators of a lot of noise, who sometimes have a different agenda”.

    that was a strong move, Aaron Nimzowitch would be proud, he would call this a prophylaxis. while I’d rather think about the mere “paranoid conspiracy theories” (still no explanation, nor an apology).

    hey you, lords of the keys, just so that thou knewst — my agenda is on my userpic!

    [of course, if only it can be seen there, ha-ha]

  65. whatswrongwithautomattic said

    Just noticed that Root’s been marked as Inactive as well in the forums. Hanni’s “blog” has been made public again and the previous posts have been removed.

    Wank, you probably have some trackbacks in your Akismet queue. Not sure if it’s an issue with Akismet or with Movable Type sending them to a WordPress blog.

  66. rescued [sigh]

    I’m not sure what the point is in marking as ‘inactive’ an already inactive poster, unless my throwaway comment about the Kubrick Wars served to remind Matt he had another potential noisemaker on his hands. Sorry Root.

    [sighs again]

  67. tester21 said

    We have another new Moderator http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=21032#post-159456

  68. Who knows whether this one is staff or merely another wannabe parachuted in from another forum? Evidently they don’t bother to tell us anymore. Anyone want to volunteer for referring to her as staff in public and seeing whether they get corrected or deleted?

  69. timethief said

    I checked out that link and saw the new Moderator tag behind Isadora’s name. She’s Italian and has often helped bloggers by translating tips I write for them. Maybe she has become a Moderator on the Italian forum, that is, if wp.com has one.

    I also clicked the link for the Happiness Engineer job and it’s still posted. After the label changes that ended with Moderator Mark did say “Hanni has joined us”. He did not however, say, what her job was. Either they are still looking for a Happiness Engineer or they have hired one and forgot to take down the posting.

    As far as the mac blogger that must be a Canadian posting goes, it’s usually thesacredpath or wolfieb that answer mac questions on the wp.com forum but, they aren’t Canadians. Now and then Trent does appear and answer questions and he is a Canadian.

  70. Root said

    I don’t know what her current status at WP is but Hanni is a kool chick and a geekie girl. She is one of us. Looks like she has been out of the loop for a while and might not know the full forum saga.

  71. options said

    I’ve got exactly the same impression. very tactful (though rather cagey with strangers😉

    she was (is?) handling support tickets.

  72. I’d guess ‘was’. She hasn’t posted to the forums for nearly a month, isn’t on the staff page and her forum profile no longer states that she’s a happiness engineer. Maybe it just wasn’t a good fit. You know, like with Bryan Veloso and everyone at Habari.

  73. Root said

    Yeah. Hanni knew Root when Root was Root🙂

  74. […] 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. […]

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