this particular trainwreck

Now, this cannot possibly be a serious attempt at providing support, since wordpress.com’s target audience (i.e. people who can’t spell FTP) are not going to be comfortable on IRC in a zillion years.

So either it’s intended as a replacement for the off-topic forum or it’s a place for staff to chat about who to ban next. Whatever. I’m starting to tire of this particular trainwreck. It’s all a bit staged. I had one of my epiphanies over in adam’s comments, wherein I realised that the good people of Automattic are clearly addicted to these little flamewars, else why would they provoke them and go on provoking them? OK, part of it’s so that people will run around slagging them off and consequently look so bad that the decision to ban them is retrospectively justified (they pulled the same trick on that guy whose username they stole, winding him up to such an extent that he started to sound like the unreasonable one). And part of it’s to make the remaining forum regulars feel so unwelcome that they’ll leave without having to be ‘asked‘.

(Of course, nobody ever requested that I stop making forum posts, they just stopped me making them. It’s not a lie, though. It’s merely a redefinition of the verb ‘to ask’.)

But also? It’s a break from the routine. Maybe it makes them feel a little more edgy, a little less corporate. It makes a weird sort of sense that if you’re being forced to make your support operation more professional and less personal, you should take the sting out of the sellout by doing it as personally and amateurishly as you possibly can.

I’m slightly annoyed with myself for playing into their hands.

20 Comments »

  1. drmike said

    Yeah, we’re all annoyed at you too. Was just telling someone yesterday “Damn, that wank! She does nothing by paly into people’s hands”😉

    Surprised you didn’t mention/ bitch the return of feed stats.

  2. I didn’t care about feed stats when they had them. I didn’t care about feed stats when they took them away. I’m not going to start caring about feed stats now they’ve brought them back, and if they remove them again I won’t care then either.

  3. V2 said

    Looks like I have a new bear garden to fill with crap. Woo hoo!.

  4. Kissing Bandit said

    And the drama continues — I’m beginning the think that Lorelle should have been the appointed “happiness engineer” since she’s made it her duty to defend the crapiness that is Akismet.

    I’m wondering how long it will take for Matt to drop in and start pointing out that the two bloggers linked to in the article “had their Akismet problems solved” and neglecting to mention that the problems were only solved after the bloggers publicly raised a stink about it.

    -KB

  5. timethief said

    Matt’s Happy New Year! rang out on December 29th and by New Year’s day this is what I was faced with:

    (1) All of my comments were “eaten by Akismet”. When I suddenly experienced the phenomena of all my comments made under 2 usernames being “eaten by Akismet” myself and several other bloggers tried the de-spamming method Lorelle describes. It did not work.

    After 3 dozen “despammed” comments had been retrieved one would think that Akismet had learned but I repeat it did not work. What we did next was described by thesacredpath both here http://archgfx.net/blog/2008/geek/blogging/desaparecidos-wordpresscom-sucks#comments
    and here http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=19992&page=2&replies=107#post-154591
    Both thesacredpath and myself posted Akismet support tickets but it wasn’t until the issue was raised with Matt on Adam’s that the problem was addressed. Then, remarkably, the problem was “cured” just as suddenly as it arose.

    (2) My usernames were rendered “inactive” which effectively denied me the same peer support that other bloggers have on the wp.com forums.

    (3) My blog settings which were not set to “private” as the blog did not contain a single mature image or post with mature text was “fixed” so that none of the tags or categories on the posts appeared in the wp.com global tagging pages. (See: Matt’s admission in the comments on Adam’s blog). (See also: the posts in question at http://bloggingtips.tumblr.com/)

    Just stop to think about how many Club Penguin kids get comments from other Club Penguin kids that contain subject matter they don’t agree with. As bloggers they have the option of “deleting” comments that at odds with their own opinions even though this is bad form. However, as we have observed on the forum some are using IP blocking and, others are marking such comments as “spam”, when they aren’t.

    Now, ask yourself if you think that some adult bloggers could be doing the same.

    Akismet like any other program is not perfect. The people using it aren’t either.

  6. Kissing Bandit said

    I really wish more people would read about the troubles you’ve had TGA, timethief, drmike, et al because it would surely make them look at Matt, Automattic, and the fanboys in a completely new light.

    Oh, and I take back what I said about Lorelle being the happiness engineer because she’s showing herself to be a worldclass bitch and people are starting to call her on it and that’s definitely not a quality you want in a happiness engineer.

    Instead of trying to play the Automattic puppet, she probably should have just kept her mouth shut.

    (I admit I’m playing into their hands as well, but I’m not ashamed. At least, not yet.)

    -KB

  7. There’s an amount of hyperbole at that link that I can’t say I’m comfortable with.

    (For what it’s worth.)

  8. Stevie said

    I get the same feeling from Lorelle that she might be bitchy, but I have no issues with her,

  9. drmike said

    The first time I “met” her was in an email that she had sent me. She had noticed that I was answering questions in the wp.com forums and “invited” me to work on wp.com documentation within the Codex. From the way she wrote the email, it made it seem like i was expected to do so.

    I don’t mind helping out (if you haven’t guessed that about me by now) but she made me feel very uncomfortable.

    She was also going around sprouting the “party line” for lack of a better term when the paid themes idea started to be batted around.

  10. Kissing Bandit said

    Hyperbole or not, Lorelle certainly wasn’t doing Akismet any favours with those comments and that e-mail.

    Fewer words generally means less rope to hang oneself with — I think that’s why Matt’s comments always seem so short.

    And for the record, I’ve never met Lorelle, so I have nothing against her either.

    -KB

  11. Fewer words generally means less rope to hang oneself with

    Succinctness has never been one of Lorelle’s virtues😉 I get the impression she’s just out of the loop where Akismet is concerned (telling people not to report it to Automattic if they get caught and nag all the bloggers they know to de-spam them; when in fact the official line at the moment is that you should contact them through the form on akismet.com and preferably not mention it anywhere else).

    What caused the problems on that thread was some random guy citing her as an expert on something she doesn’t really know about. Lorelle being Lorelle, she’s not going to say ‘I’m kind of out of the loop here, you need to talk to the tech guys about this’. She’s going to try to be helpful, haul some ancient cookie-cutter answer out of her files, and assume that said cookie-cutter answer is still relevant because nobody has bothered to tell her any different.

    I never get annoyed with Lorelle for toeing the party line; she must get a fair chunk of traffic from the dashboard and that carries with it an implied obligation not to rock the boat too much. Rather, I’m pleasantly surprised when she raises issues like global tags being a usability nightmare and the killing of the theme viewer. (OK, so she was fobbed off astonishingly easily on that last one, but I’m sure she’s aware that if she pushes this stuff then her dashboard spot is in danger.)

  12. Understand that I say this as someone who is tangentially (at best) related to this mess, but I think Lorelle is genuine in what she says. I think she’s just less extreme in her approach. I appreciate that, and sometimes it’s a better approach.

    I also think she realizes that her kind of blog (more intelligent, more critical, more thought provoking and useful) isn’t wordpress.com’s bread and butter. Most wp.com bloggers go crazy with excitement over their global tag hits (for example), and while she disagrees (and so do I, which is why I only use a couple, mainly out of laziness), she also knows that she isn’t the target audience*.

    In other words, she picks her battles.

    * It’s a business model I’m not sure I like, but it’s the one Automattic has chosen.

  13. drmike said

    As an aside about the global tags, all it took was modification of 4 lines to add in local tags that ran alongside the sitewide ones on wordpress multiuser.

    Well that and a copy and paste. The same function that displays the category tags within a post is the same function that displays the categories on the Manage Posts page on the backend. Clients didn’t like seeing those tags on the backend.

    Took maybe a minute of coding and 5 minutes of figuring out which quotes went with which bit. Code within that bit was a mess.

    Oh, and my trackbacks are being labeled as spam. Not sure if it’s because it’s me or if it’s an issue with them coming from MT and going over to a WP install.

  14. WordPress.com Importers

    Matt posts on the WordPress.com Blog that the staff has enabled two experimental importers Thursday. These will allow users of Blogger, Typepad, and Movable Type to import their previous posts from those systems into new blogs here at WP.com….

  15. new features?
    http://wordpress.com/blog/2008/01/17/akismet-interface/

  16. Kissing Bandit said

    Hmm, I guess Matt was paying attention after all.

    -KB

  17. OK, all that does is separate comments from trackbacks and pingbacks, which is better than the previous system of lumping them in together but I’m guessing is pretty easy to implement (I always assume something’s relatively trivial if it can be done on the theme level — unfair on theme developers, but hey, not like they’re used to getting respect.) What those blog commenters were asking for was a graded system that lets borderline cases float to the top of the queue and obvious ones sink to the bottom. Auntie Spam does a basic version of that by ordering according to the number of comments left (so if you post ten comments in a session you are waaaay down there), but they probably can’t do anything more sophisticated without giving away too much about their algorithms.

    Also, I need to stop pointing to neglected forum threads, it’s far too much like volunteering.

  18. drmike said

    You can point folks at the spambots posting to the forums and how they’re being ignored and left even though they’ve been modlook’ed. For example:

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic.php?id=20598

  19. brbrl said

    Am I the only one who thinks it a little more than unusual that WP.com uses WordPress’s tutorial on how to connect to IRC?

  20. Yes🙂

    What, you thought they were going to write another one especially for us? We’re not that important.

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