Daily Prompt, humor, reviews, Stories, thoughts, writing

How To Lose Likes and Not Influence People

I’ve been outspoken about the WordPress system on more than one occasion. So much so that whenever I did say something I was banished from the daily prompt and it’s associated pages. I’ve also been pretty much banished from the help system and these days the standard response to any question is “you’re on a self hosted site, we can’t help” which is like a car manufacturer saying they can’t help with your faulty handbrake because you parked on a hill.

I’ve also on a number of occasions suggested that the ‘like’ system in WordPress is little more than a feel good pat on the back which people can too easily manipulate for their own perceived benefit. I say perceived because different people have different ideas of how liked they really are. Some people seek likes, some people seek follow, some people seek both, some see them as a badge of honour. He who dies with the most likes and follows wins, even with a zero page count!

This rant is not about belittling people who are part of WP for different reasons to me, it’s their choice how they treat the system and how good it makes them feel. If they want to like without reading, like in the hope someone new reads their posts, or even follow in the hope it convinces new reader to visit their site, that is up to them. What this rant is about is how pointless the like system is when it allows people to do the following.

Click image to zoom
email screen1

Click Image to zoom
email screen2

For those of you too lazy to zoom the images what they show is a screen capture of my email for WP notifications from a few weeks ago, aged to protect the guilty. In two shots there was 14 notifications of someone liking my posts, some might say that’s pretty good, until you look at the time stamp and realise that they all came in within a minute. It’s even better when the total count for likes in that minute was 34.

So maybe the person had a was a speed reader that loaded all the pages into different tabs and read one after another. 34 posts in a minute, without getting down to exact figures that’s one post every two seconds. Speed reading indeed, especially given that every post bar one averages about 1000 words. Even if I round that down to 30,000 words in total for nice round figures, that is one hell of an effort in speed reading.

Now maybe there was a glitch in the email system that held all those like email back and sent them at one time. Well maybe, except I happened to be online and was watching multiple stats. Not only did those stats not show an increase in traffic that 34 page loads would create, they didn’t even show an increase in page number increase.

So how is it so? Quite easy really. It’s little more than a case of having the reader display one person’s posts and just scroll down the page hitting the like button. No pesky load times and no reading required. It’s not a direct issue of WordPress that allows this kind of ‘liking’, it’s lazy readers abusing the system in place. Whether it’s done out of pure laziness and a can’t be bothered attitude, or in the hope that the blog owner comes and reads their stuff could be argued until the cows come home. Sheesh they could even be doing it just for the likes on their own site and not even give a crap about people reading their stuff, who knows. There has been some people suggest that liking more than a set number of posts in a set time is flagged by the system but obviously like the rest of the WordPress system that only half works, unless 34 likes in a minute is not considered excessive.

The ridiculous thing is that if WordPress wanted to fix this little bug it would take about five minutes of coding to fix, but they obviously don’t want to fix it because they know that a large portion of their users are as vain as they are and not getting a regular pat on the back, even when done without meaning would cause tears and sadness.

So you’ve really gotten this far? How about a like?. Or a follow? A pat on the back? Oh that’s right you don’t need to get this far to do that.

There is stats (not shitty WP stats) that can show how long visitors stay on a page which can give you an indication of how much a page is being read but even that’s not entirely accurate because they generally only count how long a viewer had the page open in the browser. The only true way to find out if people are reading your stuff is if they actually comment and I’m not talking about comments like “well done” or “that was good” I’m talking about comments that actually reference the post, tell you why they liked it, tell you why something worked, or why it didn’t, tell you it sucked if it sucked. But how many people are willing to do that? Sweet fuck all!

For me I’d rather one negative comment about a post, providing it comes with a reason, than 10 likes. “You suck because you’ve created several plot holes, and is a comment.” where as “You Suck!” belongs on Facebook.

So what was the point of this post? No point really. I wasn’t trying to alienate anyone, I wasn’t trying to offend anyone and I wasn’t trying to suggest anyone in particular is a lazy reader (although I also wont apologise if any of that happened). I also wasn’t trying to increase my reader and follower count, or the number of likes I get and I certainly wont be dropping a like or follow on anyone who takes the time to read this without first reading their blog. I guess all I was doing was filling in a lazy Saturday afternoon….now excuse me while I go and like every post in the Daily Prompt without reading it.

6 Comments

  1. I’m a little nervous about commenting. : ). Obviously you can tell from all that stat stuff that I really do read your posts, and that’s just because I like you so much! . I honestly like the stories too, and they’re free! : )

    • Never be nervous about commenting, even if it’s a comment to tell me I suck. I’m a big boy I can take criticism if it’s delivered with reason. One can’t get better without accepting criticism. There are some writers here that claim they want criticism and then when someone offers it they get all defensive and claim they are right and everyone else is wrong. But I’d rather someone point out my errors than just hit like because it seems like the done thing.

      I know who does and who doesn’t read my stuff and you’ve passed many a test therefore the post wasn’t aimed at you. Technically it wasn’t aimed at anyone, that’s why I removed the name, it was more to point out how annoying some users really are when they treat the system the way they do.

      Free? It’s not suppose to be free, I’ve been sending you bills for months but you wont pay them! 😛

  2. Happens to me a lot as well. One day I will see my email is loaded with new emails only to find someone came across my blog and liked 5+ posts at once. Or, I will get the person whose blog I follow (and read and like their posts), will come to my blog once a month and just like all my posts for that month at once (all in a minute as well). To be honest, I like your stories – excpet for when your stories or poems, get violent. I could be wrong, but I think when you were REALLY mad at WordPress, there was more of those. I read them, but I didn’t like those. But I think you are a great storyteller and enjoy your posts.

    • Often it’s easy to pick the type of person who just likes and follows for the sake of it and good luck to them but there are people out there who genuinely think likes actually mean people like their work, that shouldn’t be ruined by people in it just for themselves.

      I was mad at WP, they’ve failed me a few times because of their inability to solve issues and I might have mentioned it a few times in anger. In all honestly I’ve never dealt with a more incompetent tech company and I’ve worked with Microsoft for nearly 25 years.

      Violent stories and poems are a fall back most of the time because each one of my novels is horror and until recently I’ve never written anything else. Most of the violent shorts and poems are ideas that haven’t made books.

  3. I like you, I really really do! I have to admit sometimes I am that reader that has liked posts without reading but only if I am truly pressed for time or don’t want to get caught at work 🙂 I do it only for bloggers that I follow and why would I do it? Just to show my support. Most times I go back and read the entire post at a later time.

    • I like me too and I admit to not reading my own dribble, but I wouldn’t like 34 posts in a minute, I don’t like me that much.

      I generally know who my readers are and who my followers are and regularly cut the following and followed lists.

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