blogging gobbledygook and such

I didn’t want to write about this, since everybody has said pretty much all there is to say, but I have yet to find a post that says what I have just discovered about it. Anyway, I will repeat some of what has been said before I show what I found out.

1. I do not like that Possibly Related Links are linking to sites I don’t want to link to. Yes, it is nice to get hits from blogs I don’t know about, but more often than not the links from my posts are totally unrelated to my post, and vice versa for the hits I get from other blogs enabling this feature.

2. Luckily, I found engtech’s post on how to disable links to other places but at the same time keep links to my own posts, using CSS. Since I have the CSS upgrade, it looks like I could get the best of both worlds for this feature.

3. I suspect (but have no means of proof – I’m not that techno-savvy) that this feature is the source of an influx of spam I experienced recently. This post is linked to from this WordPress.com blog post through this feature. I received an influx of spam (in the region of hundreds in over a day), all in the same post, before I turn the comments off. Then, I updated this post to link to this blog where my post was featured. I received an influx of spam as well shortly after updating. These two blogs where I link / am linked to receive high traffic, and is quite possible that the reason for the influx of spam is due to the fact that both blogs have this feature enabled. This is just my hypothesis.

4. I found out that engtech’s solution
– works when you are logged in or out of your blog using Mozilla Firefox, but does not only hide links from other blogs but also links within your blog (previously, engtech provided another CSS code which works to include links within your blog but exclude links outside of your blog, but WordPress.com has override it and engtech used child selectors to overcome this, but it doesn’t seem to work now)
– does not work when you view your blog with Internet Explorer, whether logged in or out

I also found a link in my blog (with that feature) that does not seem to be under WordPress.com – is Wired.com under WordPress.com’s VIP hosting? In icanhascheezburger.com, you can clearly see that it is hosted by wp.com at the end of the front page; I don’t see this at wired.com.

Anyway, the implication of no. 4 is that it is almost like the Google ads controversy (that we are not allowed to put up ads for ourselves but wp.com puts up ads in selected blogs without the blogger knowing it, simply because it is not seen by users who are using Mozilla Firefox). We may be able to control the Possibly Related Links feature when using Mozilla Firefox, but not if we or our readers are using another browser.

I’ve been doing my own Related Links through good ol’-fashioned linking, and I find that that works best in the end, thank you very much! Turning off Possibly Related Links now…

Related Link
Another Related Link

ps. My research of this is not exhaustive, just what I have experienced thus far with my blog and reading from links I have provided here.

Comments on: "Impossible To Like Possibly Related Links" (21)

  1. I had a huge spam problem for several weeks but that was before they added the “possibly related links”. I was getting between one and two hundred spams a day. They seemed to have slowed down for now. I am not sure there is a way to keep spammers from having huge runs like that. Everytime someone builds a better mousetrap it seems the spammice learn how to steal the cheese without tripping the trap.

    I actually like the possibly related links feature. I like to follow them and see what is on the other end. I have already found a couple of interesting sites I plan on visiting again. I think it will be a fun addition for me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    sulz: i never had that kind of spam problem before, which is why i linked it to this, but your theory is very possible, of course.

    the problem with this feature is that you cannot choose who to link to, which means that an anti-racism post can be linked to a pro-racism post with this feature! there are people who have reported that their posts were linked to mature blogs with mature content.

  2. Wired.com host their blogs on Typepad. Maybe wordpress.com are trying to bribe them to move by sending thousands of links their way?

    sulz: it’s not even a possibly related feature anymore (i would think that would be in the context of linking among wp.com blogs), it’s like a search engine result! except it drives traffic to sites which are receiving more than enough hits.

  3. It does seem a little dodgy, but I haven’t noticed any increase in spam since we got the feature, and there’s only been a very slight increase in the number of page views. I think it’s a bit ineffectual; half the time it doesn’t seem to come up with any links at all.

    Cool idea, including your own related links. Kind of feels like beating the system, but I admire that!

    sulz: i’ve been doing it since the start, bobby! ๐Ÿ˜† it’s also more credible for you to click to a link which the blogger has made because obviously the blogger wouldn’t be linking to something totally irrelevant.

    yeah, same stats pretty much, and it’s not like i’m getting new readers or commenters through it!

  4. Staff (can’t remember who, but I think it was Matt) reported that the feature includes links to the mainstream media deliberately. Matt seems to think this is a great bonus to us; this is, however, the single reason I’ve disabled this.

    1) Those mainstream media sites don’t use the feature and will NEVER link back to the blogs in the same way, yet unlike blogs who don’t use the feature, they are not excluded. This is simple favoritism of mainstream dominant media over blogs, and an appalling thing to see on a blog platform

    2) The blogosphere arose in large part to subvert the control of information by the mainstream media. For us to be forced to pimp for multi-billion-dollar corporations who already cut us out of the loop is completely unacceptable. Matt, with whom I’ve been emailing, either completely doesn’t get my point or has other reasons for what he’s done here, and courting some of those billions might be one of them.

    One day when my computer stays up for a solid hour at a time I will do my blowout post on it; right now all I’ve got is a quote from Dante, a video about fascism, and a cartoon about China. But that expresses my feelings well enough.

    sulz: good points; if we wanted mainstream media’s take on our post, we would search and link to them. and the ironic part is that matt told engtech that it’s wrong to use css to cut off outside links because it’s ‘gaming the system’ by having blogs link to you but you don’t link to them. ๐Ÿ™„ anyway, they’ve made sure that that doesn’t work with css.

  5. fuh yuh! very technical entry! hahaaaaaa… diversion from fluffiness? ๐Ÿ˜›

    sulz: i have many sides, not just fluffy. 8)

  6. I think what a blogger blogs about has a lot to do with whether the new links help out with main stream media interaction. I have noticed an increase from main stream media links traffic on some posts. I picked up around 20+ extra views today from CNN on my SDSU drug bust post, that I probably would not have gotten except that they have a similar related blog links setup. My last post on Obama I picked up 30 views from the Fox news system. And even on my more human interest types (yes I know I do not make many of those) of posts I have noticed I am getting traffic from blogs that I have never visited where my links have cross matched. I am still a small blog, but the extra links help drive my views over 300 for the first time ever today. My highest total ever before today was 286. That combined with all the sites I have visited following possible related links showing up on my site has made this one of the more enjoyable designs that WordPress has came out with since I first started blogging.

    sulz: yours is the first good experience i’ve heard of this feature; your experience would be what wp.com was thinking of in this introduction of this feature.

    while you have no problems with the randomness of links, my gripe remains that we cannot choose who do we link to because it’s natural to want to control where our blog links to, and for those of us who do have no option for that with this feature, even with the css upgrade. it’s all or nothing. also, another thing that this feature was made into an opt-out rather than an opt-in; imagine if this were something charged to your bill. you would be furious! and there were many complaints about this in the forum for this reason, and it’s very much free right now. ๐Ÿ˜†

  7. I don’t think that possibly related posts is a reason for spam….
    I have not recieved any spam after this feature was implemented. Infact my spam count have gone down. But, maybe, I might be wrong…

    sulz: no, i didn’t mean that it was the sole reason for the influx of spam i experienced – rather, that the fact my posts were linked to from two high-traffic blogs through this feature that may be the reason. anyway, it’s just my theory, of course i can’t prove it.

  8. The feature is good, just the implementation is bad. Rather than linking to mainstream media, the links should only have been for other posts within the wordpress community. Only then would it have been of any use.

    I used to use the Sphere widget on my self hosted blog, but apart from mainstream media, they also displayed other results to small time blogs that it really was useful. A bit more fine tuning and so can this feature.

    Can’t vouch for the spam, haven’t noticed anything… infact it has gotten less for me.

    sulz: yes, that would’ve been much better for sure. the reason i turned the feature off is that i have no control where it links to, and i don’t want to give traffic to mainstream media unless i linked to it myself. but it doesn’t address this problem still, especially people who have found links to porn in it! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

  9. Hey, I don’t like this feature either. But is there anyway to get rid of it without having CSS upgrade?

    sulz: ashish helped me to answer you, heh. ๐Ÿ™‚ the css upgrade doesn’t get rid of it but helps to style it so you can keep links in your blog but stop links to other blogs from showing… but wp.com has disabled that.

  10. I turned the thing off because it wasn’t as useful as it was made out to be. WordPress is better off without stupid features like snapshot or prls. ๐Ÿ˜€

    Poonam: Go to Design in your dashboard, Extras and tick mark “Hide Possibly related links” and save the changes. It will go away. ๐Ÿ™‚

    sulz: yeah, i can’t believe i thought snapshots was cute!

  11. Ashish: Actually I tried doing that umpteenth time, but it still showed until yesterday.

    sulz: strange? i had no problems with that. you should contact staff about that then.

  12. does not work when you view your blog with Internet Explorer, whether logged in or out.

    I should’ve mention this, but I forgot… Child selectors don’t work on IE 6 and earlier versions. However, IE 7 does support Child Selectors.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to diss what Engtech did, but the use of child selectors, IMO, is not the right approach to this problem because it won’t work in IE 6… and, “unfortunatelly”, it’s still the most used browser.

    sulz: i understand your point, but if i’m not mistaken, he did use another code before using this one with the child selectors. the previous code worked at first, then it didn’t; presumably staff had override it?

  13. I agree with the points raincoaster raised and I would like to add another one, if I may. We still have bloggers who are assigning the same huge, blocks of identical, irrelevant tags to each and every post they make. This gaming of the system renders the “possibly related” function useless IMO. I shut it off because on the very first day I clicked every “possibly related” link and found that the majority of the titles were not relevant. I also commented to Matt on the official wordpress.com blog post annoucemnet about this. Such systems are, of course, helpful and useful only if the tags and catgories the bloggers supply are relevant. Also note that in other social networks one has the ability to block specific users and their posts but we do not have that ability here at wp.com.

    sulz: of course you may, and it’s pertinent too. almost everybody found some bug or other with this feature, yet there are hundreds and thousands of active wp.com users who are still using it, just as they are using snapshots. hopefully staff will keep to their promise of improving this feature, asap!

  14. but if iโ€™m not mistaken, he did use another code before using this one with the child selectors. the previous code worked at first, then it didnโ€™t…

    Child selectors working in Internet Explorer? I don’t think so. IE6 has always ignored child selectors. Perhaps there was something else in his code that worked in IE6?

    Anyway, turning that feature off would be the better approach to solve that issue, and like you said, creating those “related links” manually is the way to go.

    sulz: no, i meant that the code engtech has in his post about this right now is the one with child selectors, but he had another code previous which worked, then didn’t. it is the same with the current code now; it blocks all links when used (including links to my own blog) but does not block any link when viewed in internet explorer.

    yeah, i will do that for now. hopefully staff will roll out the improved feature soon, though i doubt we will be allowed to do as what engtech and i would like to!

  15. I guess we just see thing differently about the “possibly related” connotation of the new link provider. I actually love the randomness of the design. If it were not fro random I would never have found this blog. I am big on random it takes you to places you might never have been exposed to before. It is like going to a party. You can either wander around and talk to the same people about the same subjects or you can mingle and interact with people, places and issues that are either similar or totally different than you expected. That is why I think the new links are awesome. I see the new addition as something to spark interest and possibly lead you a blogger into new territory.

    sulz: i agree about the randomness, just not the way it is implemented! for instance, we have a next blog link which work just the same as the randomness of possibly related links, but it is only for our own view. what i don’t like about this feature is that the readers are subjected to the randomness, and if they stumble upon an inappropriate post, i don’t like that it came from my blog. i also don’t like to permanently link to outside blogs this way.

    i’ve come across lots of blogs through randomness, some of which i made blog buddies this way. ๐Ÿ™‚ i guess you are more receptive to this feature and perhaps therefore you have a better experience!

  16. i don’t have it in my blog and never will. the real estate of my blog is important to me – i can’t clutter my posts with RANDOM links to OTHER blogs! why, the global tags are already doing it in a way! besides, if i want to be helpful to other bloggers i know exactly how to use sphere to offer possibly related links to my bloggers the way i want. the big advantage in my way is, the related links to other blogs appear in a sphere page, not under MY post! ๐Ÿ˜€

    some day i am gonna have manually edited related links under my posts, so bye bye prl!

    ———————

    what happened to your sweet candy lips????????

    sulz: hmm, if one doesn’t mind the extra steps in the workaround, it’s a much better solution!

    i just felt like it’s time to use a different one. ๐Ÿ™‚ (i also saw two other bloggers using the same avatar, so i’m pretty irked at the moment! at least this avatar was specially-made by my blog buddy crazyasuka!)

  17. kaylee2 said:

    nicepost ๐Ÿ™‚

    sulz: thankyou ๐Ÿ˜‰

  18. It’s really irritating to see that links at the bottom of the post! I was once directed to a porn site!! ๐Ÿ˜€

    sulz: yeah, that was the big complaint in the forums about this! the porn sites are simply undiscovered sites which have not been reported as mature. still you wouldn’t want to risk linking to such places again if you knew the possibility, would you?

  19. so we have avatar stealers on the loose? maybe it’s time you registered your avatar at myfreecopyright and numly? both are free web services! ๐Ÿ˜€

    if your avatar is registered, you can challenge the thieves and “force” them to stop using it, since it’s registered and copyrighted!

    sulz: but see, it isn’t mine to being with, that’s why i can’t claim copyright! i love this avatar, and i think change is good every now and then, even for avatars. ๐Ÿ˜‰ don’t you think it looks like me?

  20. yeah, i almost forgot that you got your candy lips some place else ๐Ÿ˜ณ
    maybe you should copyright your present avatar then! :mrgreen:
    mine is protected at numly.

    it’s good to see your candy lips in your pingbacks – how did you make it possible?

    sulz: wow, we could copyright stuff, for free? i will go search numly and see. ๐Ÿ™‚

    haha, simple, i still have it under gravatar. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ You all got porn links? Wahhhh! I didn’t get any porn links. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ

    sulz: you want porn links?? haha, don’t worry, it’s only a matter of time! (the porn links are blogs which were not reported to wp.com, which may explain why you don’t get them now, they’re all probably reported already!)

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