Archive for global tags

little helps

My response to the hastily convened sidebar poll (after people started whining about the front page redesign being an uninformative mess):

1. The tag cloud. I know they’re sooo 2007, but it kids people into thinking you care about the long tail.

2. A big picture of Matt in a sunny location, wearing a cowboy hat

Tags going from the front page is on the surface an odd decision considering how important tag pages are to ad revenue, so I’m wondering whether they got some kind of warning from Google about their SEO gaming? like ‘you can keep the obfuscated links in themes if you stop linking from the front page’? Or maybe they want to encourage internal users to use search instead of clicking on tags, so that the majority of tag traffic comes from outside the site and improves the ratio of clickthroughs per pages served? I’m just thinking aloud here. I know nothing about adsense optimisation or SEO, except that every design decision on a commercial site is ultimately motivated to maximising ad revenue, which is increasingly hard to come by nowadays. Also, of course, presenting yourself as the home of eleven VIP blogs and ignoring the messy penguin-ridden millions isn’t going to hurt when it comes to luring businesses away from Typepad.

In other news: how to promote your brand in a zillion tweets. Forget the guff about linkrot and fear of spam (if they actually cared about this, Automattic would have just bought tr.im or some other struggling minnow), this is all about being sad that link shorteners take your brand name out of your urls. (And squeezing an affiliate link to GoDaddy into your announcement post — every little helps…)

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dog’s breakfast

Quick question; if global tags are such a great thing, why do Automattic use internal tagegories on their own wordpress.com blogs? I know internal tagegories make a lot more sense, but if you’re inflicting the Way Of Stupid SEO Gaming upon everyone else you really ought to eat your own dogfood.

Comments (16)

more of the same

Reasons why I am glad I can no longer participate in the car wreck that is the wordpress.com forums:

  1. Sticky threads for spammers. How come this guy gets to have a URL signature when anybody else trying that particular way of cirumventing no-follow gets slapped on the wrists? Are forum stickies the latest way of promoting commercial partners who aren’t spending enough to get a link from ma.tt or the news blog? I thought the purpose of the support forums was supposed to be support?
  2. oh, wait, no, sorry, the purpose of the support forums is to sail in every couple of months and deliver the smackdown to the poor saps who are actually trying to do support, as opposed to plugging your sites. If this guy wanted a Polldaddy poll, he’d have implemented a Polldaddy poll. What he’s trying to do is a women’s-magazine-style quiz in which each answer carries a certain number of points, and if Polldaddy’s capable of that they really need to publicise it better because it’s news to me.
  3. Global tags redux. There is no point trying to argue about this, because the forces of logic are powerless against the might of the Google dollar. The suggestion of adding one’s username to tags to render them unique is a decent workaround, though.

The penguins are quieter nowadays, though. Do you think they’ve all gone to Twitter like everyone else?

Comments (4)

assorted cheap shots at lj

You want to provide asylum for lj-ers? That’s beautiful, but be prepared for:

  1. complaints that they only get two icons
  2. outrage at the censoring of porn artistic work with adult content from global tags
  3. I have to PAY to have more than 35 people on my flist???!!!!1111!!!
  4. why does my picture of a nipple get rated X on Gravatar?

I think the corporate culture at wordpress.com is probably an even worse fit for your average LJ-er than Six Apart’s was; arbitrary suspensions are an everyday occurence, not a cause for scandal, and there’s more pressure to keep things PG purely because there are so many kids. I’ve had a couple of people on my flist attempt the switch to wordpress.com already, but they find there’s no community here and get tempted back to livejournal. I don’t know why there’s no sense of community here, since most of the architecture is in place. It’s an organic thing. It either happens or it doesn’t. And of course there’s always been this underlying sense that wordpress.com is a stepping stone to when you get your own real wordpress blog, and it’s hard to make people passionate about a site that they’re just passing through on their way to somewhere better.

I don’t write anything like as much about wordpress as I used to because I don’t care about it anymore. I don’t care about the new interface that will be gone the way of all the others come 3.0. I don’t care what struggling little minnows Automattic swallow on their way up, or what empty promises they made to tempt investors. I see the same old wars being fought over the GPL and I might still find them interesting if they were still about freedom and authority, but they’re not. They’re about money.

Comments (9)

sting

Hurrah! We have a new moderator/secret staff member who is still in thrall to the commonsensical notion that categories are local and tags are global, and has as yet no clue about tags and categories actually work here.

Ah well. They’ll learn.

Still on the tagegory hobbyhorse: in which universe does catapulting your readers away from your blog and into wordpress.com’s global tag system without warning constitute ‘easy navigation’?

Easy navigation would be if you told them where they were actually going before they clicked on the link. Easy navigation would be if the same link text didn’t take you to entirely different destinations depending on the location of the text. You must be using the word ‘navigation’ in a different sense to designers and usability experts. Or maybe you’re just redefining the word ‘easy’.

At least they sold a few more CSS upgrades and gifted themselves another couple of thousand tag page links. Ad revenue must be suffering in the credit crunch for them to do this now. It’s only a matter of time before all non-logged-in users start seeing ads on wordpress.com, if they don’t already.

Oh, and anyone else notice that Matt’s pet designer has been hauled out of the chilly waters of freelancing? Anyone else not surprised? I suppose it significantly lessens the pain of having to hire somebody outside your company if you transform all your subcontractors into employees sooner or later. Not to mention suddenly being able to claim that Monotone was designed entirely by Automattic. Still being beaten hollow by Tarski and Dum-Dum in the download wars, though, despite the front-page screenshot. That must sting.

Comments (22)

answerable

I think we are all aware by now that Automattic are generally averse to having official policies on anything much, apart from affiliate links/adsense/spam/miscellaneous profiteering etc. being Teh Evil (unless they are doing it, in which case it is OK). Official policies, like, totally stifle your freedom to make the rules up as you go along. Hence, while having over a dozen tagegories on your posts probably will get you kicked out of the global ad tag pages and labelled a spammer, it’s ‘not a published rule‘ (in fact, the exact nature of the rule is a closely guarded secret) and the FAQ blithely insists there is no limit on the number of tags you can have. Who knows, one day Scoble might experience an urge to tagspam. It’s so much easier to change the rules if they’re obscure in the first place.

Inevitably, however, sometimes the freedom to invent policy on the hoof leads to staff inventing entirely different policies on the same thing without each other’s knowledge.

Last January, Mad at blog-well.com appealed for the ability to redirect traffic from their old wordpress.com blog to their new wordpress.org blog. Matt responded in comments with a workaround:

Did you try adding the domain to this blog, making it your primary URL, and then switching the DNS back to GoDaddy? It should redirect all visitors from blogwell.wordpress.com to the new domain on the new host, at least as long as you pay the 10/yr for parking.

Yay! Mad was very happy and grateful for this solution, as were several people who showed up later in the same comments thread. In response to the support issues arising from this thread, six months later Mad produced a PDF tutorial on how to make the move from .com to .org. Yay again.

Unfortunately, Matt appears to have neglected to tell his head of support that he has been promoting this feature, and when a year on from Mad’s how-to guide somebody shows up on the forums asking for clarification Mark censors the link to the tutorial, says it’s ‘unsupported’ and could stop at any time, then suggests that accounts caught doing it could be nuked. Raincoaster backs him up, having experience of seeing such blogs deleted.

Look, I know it can be hard for everyone to be on the same page because you’re all in different countries in different timezones doing different things, but your communication breakdowns should really not be the users’ problem. The original poster’s question was very simple: is it allowed, or is it not allowed? That should be answerable with ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Qualified ‘yes’ and ‘no’, perhaps, such as ‘you would need to have hosted your blog here for x amount of time’ or ‘you would have to have bought your domain through us’, or ‘only if you opt out of global tags’. Or even, if that would be too boring and straightforward to fit with the way you like to do things, the standard business-blog response of ‘contact support detailing your individual circumstances so a decision can be made’. But still, you know, some sort of reasoning other than the whim of whoever happens to be answering the question today. People who are promoting solutions given to them by your boss can be forgiven for thinking the solution is company-approved.

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definitely yet another car crash

  • Engtech on how to enable locally related posts (requires the CSS upgrade). Naturally this was censored from the forums.
  • Lorelle isn’t a fan. I think the main issue she and many others are having is that it looks like the links are blogger-controlled and sanctioned. Why isn’t there a ‘powered by Sphere’ label to disclose how they’re being generated? Please don’t tell me it’s Automattic’s reluctance to give credit to third-parties in action yet again. This is one mess they shouldn’t want to be claiming responsibility for.
  • why don’t Automattic ever think about how their actions affect people blogging about sensitive issues? or the businesses they’re supposedly at pains to attract? What if a NSFW link turns up on a Club Penguin blog? It’s all very well to direct people to the ‘Report as mature’ or ‘Report as spam’ buttons, but by that point offence has already been taken and you’ve had to deliver the objectional site another pageview in order to report them. And what if the link is offsite? Won’t somebody think of the children?
  • I’m still not seeing any related posts on this blog. At first I thought Adblock must be taking care of them, but I’ve now seen them on three other sites so that’s not it. Clearly nobody else is writing stuff related to mine and I am unique in my own little niche! Or I have been shut out of the system because somebody might take offence at my username. Whatever. I’m shutting it off pre-emptively because I’m deriving no benefit from it and it may hurt other people down the line.
  • The person who decided to make this feature opt-out rather than opt-in needs to not be in a decision-making capacity anymore. Frankly I am sick of third-party providers getting to call the shots without considering the needs of users. This is a nice feature for those who want it, but it is a bloody terrible one for those who don’t. Sure, it would take longer to build up your database, and you’d end up sending more traffic outside wordpress.com in the short term, but these disadvantages would be offset by not pissing people off by inserting spam into their posts. Sometimes you should go for the less convenient option because it’s the right thing to do.
  • Andy Beard wonders why the links, which are clearly search queries, aren’t no-followed. So do I. Well, no, I don’t really. I just think they should be. It isn’t especially fair or intuitive that people are dishing out PR to random unapproved links when they can’t even switch off no-follow for regular commenters.

    And if you’re up for some fresh outrage about the global tagging scam check out his post about language subdomains throwing up identical global tag pages (ht: adam, in comments). Whoa. What strikes me about this is the blatant conflict of interest on Google’s part: they’re not going to block these duplicate search pages because they’re benefiting from the ads served on them. If Automattic happened to be with another ad provider then I have no doubt Google would smack them hard. It all leaves a really unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Comments (17)

priorities

In the course of breaking everything else, they accidentally fixed global tags again. Obviously Matt fixed it as soon as he found out, gaming Google being so much more important than letting people upload images or check their spelling.

I think they will lose a few people over this dashboard thing. 150-post threads where staff do not bother responding are never good. You’d think they’d have put someone on firefighting duty, publically addressing people’s concerns and giving some vague impression that they listen to their users, even if that isn’t actually true. Clearly we are going with the SUP school of community management (‘so what if a vocal minority of customers hate us? they can go cause trouble on someone else’s service’) rather than Six Apart’s (‘we’re so sorry we upset you! we love you! we’re listening! right up to the point we sell you out!’)

Fair enough. I mean, we all know they’re not going to listen to their users, so it would be disingenuous to pretend.

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in which i call upon the goodwill of my readers again

Since I have now been re-unpersoned, could somebody pop into this thread and pass on my apologies that she cannot hide her tagegories because ul#catlist fails to exclude the ‘Categories’ label and div.postinfo nukes her commentlink and does not in any case include the tags, which are in a

without a class and include a random
even though the doctype is XHTML 1.0 trans and this platform is supposed to be in love with semantics.

(You don’t have to go into that much detail, just say ‘no, they definitely DO NOT WANT you hiding global tagegories in Ocean Mist.’)

Also, Lunarpages popularity contest finals! I’m really just happy to have engineered my way into the final, all I ask now is that you please do not vote for anything with a blue header. Unless it is Modern Magic, which I have decreed acceptable because of the presence of pink.

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things of which we cannot speak

Has everyone else noticed the recent flurry of forum posts about being excluded from global tags? Either something’s broken or there’s a serious crackdown going on. Conspiracy theorists may wish to dissect the following Mattquote:

Things may or may not show up on the tags pages based on a variety of factors, many of which we can’t talk about. I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

One of these things of which we cannot speak, presumably, is that global tags don’t work for future-dated posts, which turned out to be the solution to the poster’s question, and neatly much disproves to the argument that volunteer support sucks and staff always know best. (Sometimes volunteers are better placed to give an answer, because they actually blog here on a daily basis and are not afraid to say that something is a bug.)

Oh, and speaking of things of which we cannot speak, staff have admitted that ‘[b]logs created by young children outnumber mature blogs many times over’. OK, there goes your COPPA deniability. I hope you took legal advice before doing that. Or at least checked that Matt was happy to pay the fine.

Comments (10)

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