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Matt's Tooting His Own Horn Again: But It's Out of Tune

  1. Well, Matt has posted his rousing "monthly roundup" today, followed by all of the groveling "we are so grateful to you, oh great one in the sky" messages from his supplicants. I sent in this little "back to reality" comment. It's in "comment moderation" right now. I bet that it won't see the light of day. Well, except here!

    "This all sounds good. However, it also should be mentioned that major, major issues occurred during the month. Unexpected server downtime, some due to WP administrative errors, huge problems with widgets, problems with editing and posting during the month, as well as concerns about WP administration inattentiveness to users’ frustrations about those and other problems. And as of today, if you read the forums, you can see that some of these same problems persist."

  2. And he's going to see it here better than he can read it there?

    Besides, if you want drama, that ain't nuthin.

  3. Oh my...They just probably haven't gotten around to digging down into the real dirt over here yet.

  4. i love wordpress, but i also love to read the 'other' side of it that's not mentioned in the wp blog. it would be nice though if wp has a more transparent attitude and insert the bugs in the month's wrap-up along with the things they've done to improve wp.com.

  5. SixApart's issues have been known for ages. A perfect example is Mena's Corner, the cofounders blog. You know, the blog that hasn't been updated since August last year. :)

  6. http://wank.wordpress.com is usually the focal point for wordpress.com criticisms.

    As far as all the server outages and issues this month -- that's wordpress.com. It's a hybrid of the test server for new wordpress builds and VIP hosting.

    Our free accounts aren't insured by any means against issues. We're testers. What we get for testing is a blog host that:
    - is free
    - handles huge amounts of traffic (usually)
    - gives us better search engine results than if we were on our own
    - gives us a wider audience if you get enough traffic to be on the top 100

    What we lose is
    - the ability to customize themes/plugins
    - the ability to monetize
    - guarantee of service

    Like anything it's a compromise of what's important to you. I know that going for wordpress.com has ultimately cost me more time and effort in the long run than hosting on my own, but it also given me a wider audience (how wider? hard to tell).

    We're complaining about something we're getting for free... only it doesn't seem like free because we spend a lot of time and effort on our blogs which wordpress.com may or may not make money off of with AdSense. But they at least give us the option of moving somewhere else if we want to -- they provide a service and it's up to us to decide if we want to use it.

  7. Hi engtech,

    While I certainly can see and appreciate your own perspective about "something we're getting for free," my own perspective, at a somewhat different level, remains in some measure different. Specifically, my own feeling is that a person might begin to lose a sense of one's own freedom to the degree that she or he is always reminded that one has gotten something for free, is led to always feel beholden to the giver.

  8. +1 @disembbeded

    @engtech-
    just because it's not insured (or given a guaranteed uptime) doesn't mean that "Very Fast and Reliable Service" wasn't promised as a feature. if widgets, or themes, or any of the other items on the features page go down, we do deserve an explanation.

    and no, stuff like this doesn't belong on wank's blog. wank's blog is her own, and we all have our own voices here on the forums and on our own blogs.

  9. @sunburntkamel: I didn't mean to suggest it belongs on Wank's blog, I meant to point out wank's blog as a good source for finding out about wordpress criticism.

    @disembedded: Every time I get frustrated with wordpress.com (which is a lot) because I:

    - can't use Google Analytics
    - can't use Google Webmaster Console
    - don't have a fully integrated FeedBurner feed
    - can't edit my template
    - or I have to spend several hours coming up with a complicated hack to what should be a simple installation of a plugin

    I stop and remind myself that it's my own fault for going with something that is free versus something I have complete control over. This is something I've caught myself doing quite often. I'll waste time building something with free tools instead of paying what would have cost a lot less than what my time is worth.

    What I was trying to say in my original comment is that as a customer if you don't like a product you don't have to use it. And that is never a defense of a bad product or the suggestion that criticism should be suppressed. It is about customer/user empowerment. Once you realize you have control over a situation it doesn't bother you as much as it does when you're blaming someone else for it.

    I recognize that my frustration with wordpress.com is because of my own choice and I don't blame them for the constraints I have to deal with for being on wordpress.com. It's not like I can't download my entire blog as an XML file and go install it where ever I want. The only thing they don't let me do is redirect engtech.wordpress.com to another hosting provider.

    Anyhow, I've (as usual) completely diverged from what your original point was and instead used it as a soapbox for some of my general ideas that might not be specific to this case.

    They should mention some of the bad stuff during the monthly roundup instead of just the positives. Like any company, if they don't pay attention to when they screw-up as well as when things go right then they'll be doomed to repeat their mistakes.

  10. Thanks to everyone for listening.

  11. Geez, I see this and can't help but think "how ungrateful."

    Exactly how much do you want FOR FREE?

    I understand your frustrations - computer problems often comprise my biggest frustrations but I would ask you to step back and think about this. It's a free service. They are working for you to help whatever it is you're promoting.

    Relax. If you don't like this free service, go and find another free service that you can be happy with.

  12. I disagree there. Sure, this thread is emotional and I'd rather see it on a blog, but just because something is free is no reason to expect it to have no standards. The entire Open Source movement is built on the idea of social capital, which is a non-capitalistic measure of value: it measures respect. And you get more when your stuff works better.

    WordPress cares about its reputation, and the guys who run it don't want to suck. They want to be good. But I agree with the others here that it's easier to gain respect when you take responsibility for your mistakes.

  13. @gloriahopkins-

    sure, we're not paying for it (okay, you're not, and i'm only paying $20/year), but that doesn't mean automattic is giving it away. they all make healthy salaries.

    and looking over the original objections from the first post, the problem is disclosure, not service.

  14. I complained that we can't verify our blogs with Google Webmaster Console but I was wrong.

    You can verify your blog for Google Webmaster Console using this trick:
    http://jalaj.wordpress.com/2007/05/21/get-your-wordpresscom-blog-google-verified/

  15. @engtech
    Can you explain to me why doing this Google blog verification is important and how it would be helpful?

  16. It's so you can fully use the Google tool's like sitemap here on your wordpress.com blog.

  17. Ummm ... please understand that I really don't have a "clue" as what these tools are and how one would use them. For example what useful purpose does a Google sitemap have? Who uses it and why would it be beneficial to have one on my blogs?

  18. it allows you to check to see what Google is indexing on your site, if they're having any issues and also providing information on what folks are using to find you site in terms of search text.

  19. (1) it allows you to check to see what Google is indexing on your site
    Is this similar to the information I get from google alerts? Or is there more to it?

    (2) issues? like ... ? do you mean technical malfunction - page doesn't validate type stuff?

    (3) what folks are using to find you site in terms of search text
    Is this like what we already get on our blog stats page?

  20. @tt: it tells you things like when you have broken links, you can see the *real* list of everyone who is linking to a specific blog post, and the search terms is much better than the wp.com stats. I can see thinks like I rank #71 for the term facebook in US but #68 for facebook in Canada.

    It also lets you delist specific pages from google and delete pages from the google cache (like if you accidentally made a private post public).

    I was hoping it was going to let me do things like mark specific pages (/tag and /feed) as no-index, but no luck.

  21. @engtech
    Thanks for the explanation. Maybe I'll try it.

  22. It also lets you delist specific pages from google and delete pages from the google cache (like if you accidentally made a private post public).

    That's on the sitemap side though, not on Google's side, right?

  23. I'm betting that google never actually deletes anything. They tuck it all away where only the truly adept can find it. Okay maybe that's a paranoid statement, or not.

  24. That's on the sitemap side though, not on Google's side, right?

    It's on the Google side of things. The webmaster console is a quick way to delist stuff from all of the various Google search engines.

    I've been having problems with my old posts showing up as duplicate content (meaning I no longer rank well for them) because of the various tag pages, etc. I'm hoping that webmaster console will let me futz around with that. But I haven't found out how to do it yet.

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