blogging gobbledygook and such

DrMike has just been terminated of his moderator status in WordPress.com forums.

To understand the title of the post, please read the wp.com forums thread. Adding your two cents is optional.

DrMike runs his own WPMu install at daria.be – until 31st July 2007, that is.

DrMike, thanks for all your help and support. Am sorry that WordPress.com has done this to you. This is not the way to treat a volunteer.

1

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Edit 23 July 2007: daria.be is shut down today, 8 days from the supposed date.

Daria.be is now down. I will no longer support this software.
I had planned on remaining online until the 31st but due to the lack manners from the WordPress developers and continued trouble caused by them, it’s not worth my time.

Have been backing up self’s blog over there every couple of days, so this unexpected twist didn’t hit self too hard.

One can consider DrMike’s actions as not being professional, but have said in the thread (see link above) before that he is not a professional, so to consider him that may be an overestimation on our parts?

For the record, DrMike, don’t hold any grudges against you. Hope you don’t hold any against self too – let bygones be bygones, in our case at least. As we were only socially acquainted through our associations with volunteering in WordPress.com forums and your hosting one of self’s blogs, it may be… weird to say let’s keep in touch? Nevertheless, hope we could.

Edit 24 July 2007: Think DrMike is reading this post or the forums, because self’s blog at daria.be is inexplicably back up! (For how long this time? Don’t know.) Just downloaded the xml file.

Later: DrMike sent an e-mail clarifying the situation –

Greets:

Just for reference it was a typo that caused the site to come down. I
had though it was back up and running before I left for the night but
I guess not.

Comments on: "How is WordPress.com going to react to the situation in the forums?" (19)

  1. that’s effed up.

    sulz: from the way he was given the moderator status he didn’t asked for right to the stripping of it. wp.com is blatantly taking advantage and making use of drmike, and they should have handled it better than this!

  2. They’ll ignore it. No skin off their backs and there are other folks to step in.

    Regards,
    -drmike

    sulz: it does look like so… well, your absence will definitely be felt. 😦

  3. timethief said:

    Wp.com relies on volunteers and whether they go of their own volition or not changes nothing when it comes to the corporate bottom line.

    wank called it previously a game of “whack-a-mole”. If you whack one volunteer why worry when you know that another one will pop up and replace the first one?

    Do the wp.com PTB know how to play whack-a-mole? They all have extensive experience in online communities so, I say: Of course they do.

    The corporation profits from our altruism. They do so without feeling any need to recognize our contributions and, without feeling any need to express gratitude for what we do.

    What happens next is up to each of us as individuals. We will each decide to (1) continue to answer as many questions as we did before by bullshitting ourselves into believing what happened to Mike will never happen to us, or (2) we will become even more active pop-ups or (3) we will devote our time to other interests.

    I’m deeply saddened by this disturbing event. Tomorrow I will begin taking a “vacation” while I sort things out in my own head.

    sulz: going by what you’ve said, then it only seems that wp.com will always win in this case. even if we stopped volunteering, some other clueless bloggers will step in and help out, not knowing what had just happened could happen to them.

    and yet the desire to help out still burns in self! 😦

    thanks for your input, have not really thought of it from that perspective…

  4. The desire of a community to heal itself is unchanging. Yes, people will step in. On the other hand, no, WordPress.com cannot do to us what it did to Dr Mike because none of us are moderators in the first place. It’s rather like being bankrupt: when people threaten to sue you it bounces right off your back. We are both free and invulnerable.

    Their decision has harmed them; they’ve shot themselves in the foot in that the support forum is now far less useful than it was before. No matter what any of us contribute, we won’t be able to replace Dr Mike.

    I never saw Dr Mike abuse his powers. I did see his increasing frustration with the information vacuum, and I felt it myself. Automattic is run as a top-down corporation, while the moneymaker itself is opensource and non-hierarchical. WordPress.com thus was born into a clash of cultures and will continue in that tense state.

    I am not going to be going on strike; nothing I could do or not do will hurt WP.com as much as what Automattic just did. I don’t need their permission to help in the forum, I don’t need their permission to quit, and I don’t need anyone’s permission to debate anything I like in the forums. I’ll happily talk about policy till the cows come home.

    And now, of course, there’s nobody to ask me to stop.

    sulz: do agree with your point of view, but as timethief points out, (even if volunteering is something we sincerely want to do out of the goodness of our hearts, lol) wordpress is taking advantage of and profiting from our voluntary services.

    but then again, wp.com is a free bloghost service and as such, volunteering at the forums is a way of paying it forward.

  5. timethief said:

    @ rain
    Re: ” And now, of course, there’s nobody to ask me to stop.”

    Well, there’s Trent. I suppose he may ask you to.

    Yes, we are both free and invulnerable because we are not moderators.

    Moderators are judged by the end users, by staff and by management. And when you are in business, you select your staff very carefully, knowing that you will get what you pay for.

    Within this wp.com structure a Moderator is kept without the corporate information loop because they are not paid staff members. Thus becoming a wp.com Moderator puts one in an unenviable position of vulnerability in many ways.

    As they are not on staff wp Moderators are not aware of pending policy and technology changes. As there is no communication flow from management and staff to them they can make no advance plans to deal with widespread problems.They are left unsupported on the front line to cope with the emotional fall-out when anything or anyone “breaks”.

    All Moderators work in stressful conditions and are expected to perform with a high degree of professionalism and to demonstrate outstanding human relations skills. IMO that the very valuable service they perform ought to be paid work.

    sulz: word, re moderators being paid, especially knowing drmike’s not-so-privileged circumstances.

  6. If everyone went on strike it would send a message, that, whether it was acted upon or not would be noticed. If everyone keeps on working despite the crappy treatment of volunters or uber-volunteers (aka mods) it will be seen as one thing – that you’ll keep taking the mushroom treatment no matter what. And guess what? They’ll keep on giving it. Particularly the lack of respect.

    The forums help grow the number of end users and probably loyal users of wordpress. IMO, if Automatic doesn’t care enough about this service to have happy and motivated volunteers (and even happier users), it begs the question why the volunteers do.

    I’m not saying don’t help out if you must.

    But just be aware that you’re probably being taken for granted and that isn’t likely to stop until as a volunteer you’re given a little more respect… that includes treating fellow volunteers with respect, whether they be mods or simply bods.

    sulz: but if we went on strike would they actually acknowledge that? so far despite the support shown to drmike in the forums automattic has not contacted him since terminating him. and then there would be others who’d help out not knowing we need to go on strike to make a statement! mean, it defeats the purpose of us going on strike if others were to take over volunteering duties.

    but you’re right about the mushroom treatment, really. urgh! you’re right, timethief’s right, raincoaster’s right! to volunteer or not to volunteer?

    nice to hear from you. 🙂

  7. You guys can do what you want. You’ve pretty much backstabbed me by continuing on answering questions while emailing me complaining about each other answering those questions.

    sulz: for the record, did not e-mail you at all. you did not ask self specifically to stop volunteering, though you did make a general request. please excuse self for not taking orders as am too dull-witted to recognise one unless it’s directed specifically to self.

  8. As I’ve already stated, I’m not contributing any more than telling people to send feedbacks. Well, I may bitch about policy, there being nobody to prevent me doing so. (Trent’s just a wannabe who wants the status without doing the actual work, so to be honest I don’t even regard him as a moderator.)

    sulz: well, you have a policy bitchmate in raincoaster. 🙂 how do you know trent wanted the status?

  9. While you would like to make me into a monster or scapegoat wank, I just like helping people. The obvious must not be interesting enough I guess.

  10. Trent volunteered to be a moderator at wp.com.

  11. For the record, I like helping folks as well. Like I said a few weeks ago, at least the 80 year old homeless guy I had a cup of coffee to says “Thank you.”

    wp.com will go on.

    Can’t believe you actually liked to root’s post as he’s editing the comments left there.

    sulz: obviously you do, otherwise you wouldn’t done all this for free the past one and a half years!

    am just linking to everybody who’s blogging about the issue for interested readers. well, his blog, his rules, isn’t it?

    ps if you want to take him on here, you know this blogger doesn’t moderate…

  12. Trent’s job application.

    He wanted wordpress.org rather than .com, but you generally need to have been around a little longer than a couple of weeks and deal with a lot more questions to get mod status over there. 🙂

  13. You know? because of all that’s happened, I’ve started to look into other alternatives to WP – like the Habari project. I even consider to start writing my own blogging software (as if I have the time to do it).

    I do understand how drmike feels/felt because something similar happened to me a couple of years ago. It really sucks when the dedication you put into something is not appreciated and taken for granted. But alas, that’s how it is sometimes.

    Today, for what I’ve seen so far in the forums, drmike and the regulars have been answering questions still. I believe that’s good because they’re demonstrating to be the better people in all this.

    sulz: so we won’t see you around the forums (or even the spanish forums) anymore? that’s a shame… 😦 many people have turned cynical about wordpress because of this incident.

    why is he still volunteering after all this? he’s even shutting down daria.be and his own blog…

  14. “sulz: so we won’t see you around the forums (or even the spanish forums) anymore? that’s a shame… :(”

    No, I’ll still be around, maybe not as ‘often’ as before (especially since I’m finishing this big project I’ve been working on for the longest time – I really want to get it out of the way already), but I’ll be helping whenever I can… I have to admit, though, that such behavior (from staff) kinda discourages me a little.

    sulz: that’s good to know! 🙂 say hi when you can, you know how the forums don’t have many css experts to refer to.

  15. DrMike is a big guy! I’m sorry to hear what’s happened with him. I just can say: “Thank you man” 🙂

    sulz: he still visits the forums sometimes, though not as frequently as before, so you may just catch him. 🙂 his blog has also gone through a big makeover.

  16. You right, Sulz. It’s kind of foolish for me to continue to help after Matt and staff has blackballed me via Akismet and blocked me from all of the forums. Rather childish actually. Kind of ironic that they allow Timethief and atthe404 to continue to attack folks on the forums without issue. I may have told folks off on occation but at least I did it while providing an answer if I could.

    sulz: didn’t trent say he was akismatted too in some other thread? anyway you’re probably right about that. well, that’s matt and co’s problem to handle now, the forums and the volunteers.

    wish you all the best, looking forward to your new movable type blog. 🙂

  17. […] Volunteer at the WordPress.com Forums at Your Peril Half a year ago, DrMike suffered the same fate. […]

  18. […] previous messy, controversial dramas that happened between WordPress.com staff and volunteers began along the […]

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