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.
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,
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.