Do you read the comments that come after Internet news articles? Some commenters (usually anonymous) are extremely mean and abusive! Their attacks seem like the online version of a school yard bully.
Here are a few comments I read at the end of just one Canadian news story this morning:
…You are a fool.
…Hope you idiots are pleased with yourselves.
…You don’t have a clue yourself.
…BS… espoused by utter MORONS
…And we still have an idiot at the helm.
…One by one the poor saps who were taken in
…greasy, sleazy, slimy selfie king
…Nuth’n finer than a far left nutter sputtering
…another leftwing(confused) doofus of questionable mental acuity
…The big, stammering idiot with the dumb expression
When we were kids, we would respond to a verbal bully by saying, “Sticks and stones will break our bones, but names will never hurt us.” (But the names still hurt…) Or we would taunt back, “It takes one to know one!”
These responses have no effect on the cyberbully. They carry a shield of anonymity: ‘you don’t know me’; ‘you can’t see me’; and ‘I won’t be there to hear what your response is’! Freedom of speech without fear of consequence!
Have you ever had a cyberbully leave comments on your blog?
Maybe you remember “The Never Been Freshly Pressed” Club (NBFP). I started it in 2013 because there were so many of us WordPress.com bloggers who had never been ‘pressed‘. (‘Freshly Pressed’ was a WordPress magazine, of sorts, that featured the writings of every day bloggers.)
‘Freshly Pressed’ has been allowed to die. It has been replaced by Discover – a slick, modern online magazine. The editors select content from about 53 million posts per month, so the chances of your post being chosen are still quite slim, but if you do get selected, you get to put a badge on your sidebar!
After almost seven years of blogging, I believe I have demonstrated an inability to be slick or modern – therefore I am, by extension, Undiscoverable. For that reason, I think I can safely form the Undiscovered Club, and proclaim myself President of the Canadian chapter. Should he accept, Al at thecvillean is my choice for President of the American chapter. (He is current President of NBFP.)
If you would like to join our club, use the comment section below to state your unqualifications (first, and foremost, you must never have been featured on Discover.) You may also decide to volunteer for a position of your choice.
You might want to download the Unfeatured Undiscovered Club Badge to display on your blog. (I put mine on my ‘About’ page, along with all my other unprestigious awards.)
Be sure to tell all your Undiscovered blogging friends about our new Club!
In keeping with our general philosophy of “undeserved unknownness“, I refer you to this post that demonstrates the virtues of ‘unning’:
Unsubscribe, Unfollow, Unclutter – It’s UnFriday!
I am the poster child for bloggers who have long since passed their best before date, if in fact I ever had one. I have a boatload of fake followers with names like ‘fbrxy3579’ but very few of them are actual readers. Most of the people I call ‘near and dear’ give me a glassy stare, and mutter something like “I haven’t checked the internet in the past 8 months” when I ask them if they read my last post.
I don’t blame them – I’ve been blogging longer than most guinea pigs live, and my content is a ‘how to of what not’ to write about. I also have made many ‘blogging mistakes‘. Sure, I’ve fixed most of those, but I perversely hold onto others.
You probably have made some of these ‘mistakes’ too, and maybe, like me, you just can’t be bothered to take the whole ‘What Not To Do‘ thing any more seriously than the ‘What Not to Wear’ thing. If you are, however, curious – here is my list of what you might or might not want to do:
- Small font sizes can make the typeface hard to read, as does paragraphs of white words on a dark background. (WordPress.com gives all bloggers some choice of font type and size, regardless of the theme, I believe.) Many browsers do let you zoom in and out, or change the font and colors in the options panel – should the reader need to make these kinds of adjustments.
- Comic Sans typeface, Script and other harder to read display fonts – good for headings, maybe not so good for paragraphs.
- If you throw Color theory out the window with Dizzy color combinations – green and yellow, red on black, anything neon – think about the impact on readability.
- Really, really wide blocks of type. A very wide column of text might cause your readers to get lost when they move from the end of one line to the beginning of the next. Do you want that?
- One long paragraph. If you are paragraph challenged, write a post of 500 words or more. No breaks, no headings, no graphics. Then try to read it.
- Large blocks of centered text – alters legibility, making text harder to read – but might work in some situations.
An example of Comic Sans Font, small size, white on black and red on black, long paragraphs, centered!
- One line paragraphs. If you can’t get the hang of how to make a paragraph, just make each line a new paragraph! That’s what most news outlets do, right?!
- Dead ends make your blog harder to navigate. When readers land on a post, you could give them an easy to click ‘Home’ button that takes them to your home page. Try not to leave them stranded!
- Distractions – dancing critters, blinking text, auto play music. Do your readers love it when your post takes control of their computer and sings out a tune or an animated something starts?
- Ditch the search box if you don’t want your reader to find something else on your blog!
- Turn off readability on mobile devices if you don’t think people want to read your blog on a tiny phone screen!
- Big photos – when you upload your photos, do you compress them? Do readers really like to watch your photo load one line at a time?
- Categories and tags – why bother! Just throw it all in one drawer and call it a day! Of course, Categories and Tags do have a purpose that might be useful to you and your readers.
- If you never, ever proof read – will readers know that you meant ‘book’ not ‘boob’?
- If you use lots of badges and widgets and graphics that march down the side of your blog it could affect your blog’s load time. Are your readers more patient than you are!?
- Do you beef up your text with lots of visual clutter if you don’t have much to say?
- Research – there is a wealth of inaccurate, insignificant or out-of-date content that is far easier to find – why would you choose to dig a bit deeper?
- Broken links – they take time to find and fix. If you don’t want to find them, then is it a good option to just never link to any other site?
- Do you respond to all comments – or do you pick and choose who you respond to and who you ignore. Do you say “Thanks” to that person who only said “Great”?
- Do you write posts, even when you have nothing to say? Do you reblog a post you wrote before so your readers can reread something you wrote when you still had nothing to say?
- Do you use too few social media buttons? Or too many social media buttons? Who knows how many are too few or too many?
- Do you use multiple pages for what could easily be a single post so you get more clicks?
What blogging ‘mistakes’ have you read about? Have you corrected them, or chosen to keep them?
The dawn of a new day. If there are clouds, then a sunrise can be a remarkably beautiful transition from dark to light.
Perhaps our blogging hosts, WordPress.com, were thinking of dawn when they recently unveiled the New High Speed Editor. I certainly thought they had made a few improvements since they first introduced the ‘New Editor’. It loads so fast that the ever so unpopular, wait while I’m working, ‘Beep Boop Boop’ screen is gone!
Another plus – images can be dragged and dropped from your desktop right into your post. Unfortunately, the new editor is still in transition – the search feature for creating links to my old posts is missing.
How long will it take before this transitional editor is finished? Or will it ever be? Will we still have access to the good old editor that many or us prefer, or will it eventually disappear?
It is like asking, ‘Will there be a beautiful sunrise tomorrow morning’. No one really knows.
Light precedes every transition. Whether at the end of a tunnel, through a crack in the door or the flash of an idea, it is always there, heralding a new beginning.
– Teresa Tsalaky, The Transition Witness –
This week’s WordPress Photo Challenge is: Transition.
WordPress.com celebrated the US Supreme Court decision (that same-sex couples can marry nationwide) by posting a Rainbow Banner (the LGBT Flag) across the top of every WordPress bloggers ‘My Sites’ and ‘Reader Page’. These are the first pages WordPress bloggers see when they log onto their site. While only they can see it (not their readers), every WordPress.com blogger in the world was presumably seeing the same Rainbow flag.
The response from the WordPress blogging community was immediate, with questions being posted to the WordPress forum: How can I remove this!?
An early response from a WordPress Member was “The rainbow master bar was added in support of the Supreme Court of the United States ruling on same-sex marriage today… However, as this is a polarized issue and the community support forums are not the place to hold such discussions we are closing threads related to the mastbar.”
With that, they closed the topic. As further requests came in, WordPress repeatedly closed each topic after responding with “The banner is temporary. It will eventually be removed. Threads are being closed as the public WordPress.com forum is not the place for these discussions.” In some of the requests, the user simply said the banner was offensive, just as a Swastika banner would be offensive. Others said they would prefer to have an option as to what appeared on the top of those pages. Others weren’t aware of what the banner meant, and though they liked rainbows, they didn’t want one there. Others asked, how long is ‘eventually’?
At this point, I thought the Rainbow banner was one design decision that WordPress hadn’t thought out very carefully. They chose to impose their support, and an implied solidarity, onto every WordPress.com blogger. Many of these bloggers were quick to object to that kind of forced compliance and rightfully so.
One forum moderator responded to the bloggers objections by saying, they thought everyone who posted a protest on the forum was a hater. Hater? Everyone? I object to the banner, but I’m not a hater. I simply object to not having a choice as to whether I want to fly a particular flag. There are lots of flags and graphics I would object to – not out of hate – just a desire to have control of the design in the ‘living room’ of my blog. I think WordPress made two errors – one in their disrespect for their user base by posting the banner, and the other in the way they responded to the users when they objected.
What do you think?