Do Really ALL of us want to Reblog ?


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After a huge wave of excellent features and themes from wordpress.com in the last months, wordpress.com included a new feature what they call “Reblogging”. At the fist look i thought it was something like the facebookish “Like” button on the top for bookmarking, or subscribing it in readomattic, or like in StumbleUpon. But it read like this :

If you decide that you want to share the post with your own readers, you can click the “Reblog this post” link and you’ll be taken to the new QuickPress tab on the WordPress.com home page. This will auto-fill a snippet of the post text, a link back to the original post, and a link to the blog. If the post includes any images we’ll also automatically add a thumbnail image to the reblog post. Finally you can add your own comments to the reblog post then select which blog you’d like to post it to (if you have more than one).

I thought okay, wordpress.com is trying to get “social” (were we unsocial or anti-social before?), but i discovered the feature was like this:

You have a blog in wordpress.com, you visit some other blog post, you like it (or don’t), you click on the “Like” button on your admin bar, one count increases on that blog “Like” count and a drop-down comes down asking for if you want to “Reblog” that post. Which takes you to the QuickPress tab with a snippet of the automatically added. As far as i have seen probably the first 450 characters along with the header image or video. The tags are added automatically now you might or might not add some personal comments and Publish the post in your blog.

If you reblog some post which is short post, or has only a picture image it results in reblogging the whole post.

Let a guy named “A” reblogs another original blogger “B” ‘s post, then the guy has a “read more” backlink to the guy “A”. Now another man “C” spots the reblogged post in “A” ‘s blog and re-re-blogs it in his blog. Now re-re-blogger “C” has the “read-more” link to the re-blogger “A” ‘s blog. So the original blogger “B” is lost. The more deeply a post gets reblogged the more the “read-more” looses significance, because there is more site jumping than reading more.

You can say, “okay disable it then!”, but wordpress.com haven’t introduced any option to disable it. Probably the hypothesis “We all want to reblog” statement was taken as true.

Let me compare the existing features to control blog reach and blog feedback control in wordpress.com

Features to control blog reach

  1. WordPress.com has options to make a blog private, which only will allow visitors which the blog owner wishes to allow.
  2. WordPress.com has options to make selectively password protect a single post or page without the need of making the whole blog private.
  3. WordPress.com has options to block google or other crawlers from getting into and index your blog.
  4. Wordress has options to block comments and visitors from certain IP address.
  5. WordPress.com has options to hide related links below the blog posts.
  6. WordPress.com has Publicize option to spread the posts through facebook, twitter, yahoo and also has options to disable it.

These adds significant flexibility. Anyone wants to use the feature can use it, or can simply disable it.

Features to control feedback

If you really enjoyed the post then you can click the “Like” link to signify this. This will then show the author how many readers liked the post.

If i like a post why should i push a “Like” button, and post a torn away portion? All the blogs contain AT LEAST one of the below feedback systems (if at all the owner wants feedback):

  1. The five star rating system, with custom images, text, position.
  2. The Nero rating system.
  3. Add to blogroll
  4. Subscribe to blog
  5. Subscribe to RSS feeds
  6. Contact form with the “contact-form” shortcode
  7. The digg button with “digg” shortcode
  8. The yet to be officially released re-twitter button with “tweetmeme”
  9. Through other custom text link widgets (facebook, stumbleupon, share by email, bookmark it etc) which may be in the blog’s widget column.
  10. And at last and the greatest, the comments, where good posts gets appreciated, discussed upon.

And at the most if i really feel that this should be in my blog, then i would make a post writing some short text about it and link the blog.
So the blog reach features and these blog feedback features all can be selectively enabled or disabled, which does not depend on each other.

Feature that takes away the above controls

All of a sudden wordpress.com rolls out a feature which cannot be disabled which is in the same class of features mentioned above. Reblogging is that feature which has the potential to take away the control. This might not post such threat, disturbance, dislike in the wordpress.com community (be it minority), if it had a “I want to disable Reblogging in my blog” option.

What I think

Have you ever been into a splog site? It has the same stuff there, crawls around the web gets posts and posts the first snippet of the original post. Also we have seen proper blogs with reblogged contents in a proper manner. These two are different. The reblogging feature can be easily used to make a splog. Beginners generally create a blog and find contents what they would write. This gives the perfect thing to do: “Oh man! wp.com is like facebook.com with a personal page of retweets!!”. And then “hey check this out” and “hey check that out”. What this will get probably is more traffic. But i cannot tell for sure, probably the duplicate posts will increase in wordpress.com and google searches. Now you might ask why, these feature is nothing new, if one liked to do it it can be done by copy pasting, blockquoting etc. etc. But there is a difference; with this feature the resistance is decreased, because it is now easier to make a repost.

This is feasible in the so-called “social” networking sites with the “friends” as there is nothing creative, just pushing and sharing stuffs here to there, and that is okay i think, and that’s why they have the “Like” buttons and such sharing features. WordPress.com is an excellent blogging platform, where many bloggers host these excellent quality work, and is not one of those crap places, so it belongs to a different class.
What it brings is actually an indirect effect, by making it easy to reblog, that i think everybody supporting me can understand.

And of course there is the copyright issue. Lets say i do not want my works to be copied, not a single character, without permission. Under this condition if some one wants to reblog he/she can contact me for a permission, and then copy-paste or copy-paste-edit the work. This can be done also with the Reblog feature, but the problem is this feature will attract a different group of people who will make blogs mostly on reblogged contents, and the copiers increases, not not everyone will notice the copyright, some will ignore them, and then it would be difficult. My blog is under Creative Commons ShareAlike Attribution 3.0 license, i believe in FOSS. This enables copying my stuff and using with attribution. Till now some bloggers have personally asked me if they can copy the works and remix with their thoughts and remake a post with attribution, even the license permits it. Now these are real bloggers, who knows what it takes to make real content. Even if i had a restrictive license i would have waved the restrictions because for it is being used in good purpose. But the case with reblogging it is different, different community would use it. I am very sure that real most of the bloggers who create genuine contents will not use it.

What we want

The feature wordpress.com has introduced, is liked by many bloggers, and it is okay. But there are some people who did not liked this. Many of them are experienced bloggers and volunteers in the wordpress.com forums and discussed this matter in wordpress.com forums, and posted their views in their blogs. Many want them removed many want an option to disable the one-click reblogging and “Like” feature in their blogs. Without disappointing anyone what can be done is adding an option “Disable Reblog”, and allowing the unwilling bloggers to disable this feature. That will end the story. Or optionally introduce a “Hate” button which will instantly delete the blog post from the owner’s blog.

below paragraph added 08.06.10
Different people will have different views, and that is natural. For someone something at a point of time is right, and for others at the same point of time may be wrong. These views can change. Also the outcomes of the “thing” can be anything and which is independent of the thoughts. Reblogging can bring bad results or good results, that time will tell. WordPress.com has taken this step definitely after having a study and not just introducing this “one fine day”, so i respect the descision of wordpress.com. Some people have licensing issues, some people simple does not like it, some people likes it, some will use it properly, and some will not use it properly, and for a certain person these opinions could also change. But the main thing is that everybody’s point of view should be respected, and thus they should be provided with the freedom to choose their way, which is the elementary appeal of FOSS. If the selection/choice is wrong then then user has to face the consequences. The freedom to choose the an option as per the opinion of a user at a certain point of time is very important, and is the most essential thing.

Related Posts

Update Information

04.06.10 : A stray line was moved into proper position. Typo fix. Link fix.
08.06.10 : Last paragraph added + Related links update

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About phoxis

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21 Responses to Do Really ALL of us want to Reblog ?

  1. jay.me says:

    I think you bring up good points here Arjun.
    I initially thought it’s cool, still I do, but I didnt think about it making things easier for sploggers. ..which stinks.

    Perhaps the best solution is to give bloggers the opt out choice.
    I am no blogging expert by any means, so I really dont know.
    –but I am not going to worry that much about it. =)

  2. timethief says:

    @Arjun
    Please forgive me fro the delay in responding. I had 2 medical appointments I had to keep and when I returned there were bloggers seeking support on the forum. I have read Matt’s comment on Richard’s blog and on arisfali’s blog to. I recognize that there will not be an opt out allowed and that disappoints me. What I noticed about the reblogged excerpts that Richerd did of my posts is that although my copyright clearly states a brief excerpt of up to 50 words the reblogged post was 75 words in length.

    “A brief excerpt of content (up to 50 words) may be quoted as long as a link is provided back to the source page on this blog and the authorship is correctly attributed.” The full page can be viewed here > http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/copyright/

    At the very least I would like to see the 75 words allowed by the reblogging feature reduced to up to 50 words only.

    • phoxis says:

      Reblogging is a tool which makes reposting easy. Now this tool can be used in both good and bad ways. This probably will create some traffic, more posts and keep the servers busy. But the quality readers will decrease.

      It’s supply creates demand situation, you have given a tool with which you can do a repost easily. For example, if i did not have the twitter button on this post, then how many people would retweet this ? But there is something near your hand which you can do. So the “copy-pasting was always there” phrase is an excuse. And it all depends on the extent it is done. A genuine blogger will not use this feature wrongly, and go through the licences, but this will attract those facebook, and twitter people, who day and night are tweeting posts, videos, images around the internet.

      And as far as i have seen the brief excerpt of the content is not 75 words, it’s 450 characters.

  3. You bring up some really good points. We definitely need an option to “opt out” of being reblogged.

    • phoxis says:

      Thanks for supporting the view. I found out this feature inconsistent and incompatible with the similar classes of feature, i have described, which currently exists.

      One thing to be noted that, if a disable option is introduced, then probably most of the people will use it, as there are a major number of people who want to reblog other’s post, but do not want theirs to be reblogged.. Which will render the reblog feature unused. Probably this might be a cause.

      • merillion says:

        Phoxis,
        Re: “there are a major number of people who want to reblog others’ posts, but do not want theirs to be reblogged.. ” – is this true? A Major number? I’m surprised, because from what I see on WP blogs, the bloggers are into putting their own creativity in their blogs and making them as good as they can, & with their own thoughts, etc. (sure, I know there are prob. exceptions.)
        As for me, I have no desire to “RE-BLOG” someone else’s work. After all, I can add the blogs I love to my blogroll – all a reader has to do is CLICK :).

        • phoxis says:

          from what I see on WP blogs, the bloggers are into putting their own creativity in their blogs and making them as good as they can, & with their own thoughts, etc.

          This is absolutely right. WordPress.com has a very good blogging community, most of the bloggers post quality content, and there is no debate on this. But what i am saying, is a different community would get started along with the existing people. The different community are similar to those of who use facebookish applications, reposting, things. Now in wordpress.com i, and no body would like to have such blogs who depend on reblog mostly.

          Personally i have no license problems, because the works are licensed under a CC-BY-SA , but i would definitely don’t want my, and anybody’s stuffs first 75 words scattered all around internet as in splogs.

  4. phoxis says:

    Matt said in http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/reblogging/page/5:

    I usually don’t like closing threads, but there seems to be a spiral of misinformation going on here. People are confusing our feature, which drives traffic to your blog, increases engagement, and builds your community, with spammers who leech off the internet.

    I would like everyone to try out this feature for two weeks. See if your blog disappears from Google, if aliens come and attack you, if your traffic goes up, down, or stays the same. Reblog a few posts and see what it looks like. Like a few things. In two weeks I’m happy to have a discussion with everyone on their concerns, ideas, bugs, and hugs, but we really need people to actually use and comprehend the feature first!

    It is too early to draw the true outcome of the feature. Many people think it is cool, and some thinks that it is not good for them, maybe for some cause. What the people were asking is to introduce a disable/enable feature, with which the people who at present think this is not a good feature could disable it, and the people who liked the feature continues to use it. At any point if some one discovers he/she is missing a good amount of traffic disabling this feature, it can again be enabled. All the existing features in wordpress.com has high flexibility, as mentioned in this post. The only one which becomes an exception is this feature.
    Google ranking will not dip-down probably, but aliens could attack if you use this feature. :)

  5. shoreacres says:

    And there is something else….

    I post original essays about once a week. The comments that I get are substantive, related comments that engender further thought and discussion. Many people read my posts not only for my content, but for the comments as well.

    I believe post and comments belong together in a true blog. Re-blogging tears them apart, and treats my post like Lady Gaga’s latest sleazy photo.

    I have copyright information all over my page. I go after sploggers. And I don’t appreciate what WordPress is doing here. My content is MY content, not WordPress’s content, and if they don’t allow me to maintain control, I’ll eventually be driven elsewhere.

  6. Pingback: Do Really ALL of us want to Reblog ? (via Phoxis) « A FINE MESS!!

  7. Pingback: I ♡ this post! I reblog it! (I’m a spam blogger) « Ludus naturae

  8. Pingback: Rebelión contra el “Me gusta” de WordPress.com | Ayuda WordPress

  9. timethief says:

    @phoxis
    quoting Jennifer from WYSIWYG

    “Over the past few days I’ve thought again and again about why the copyright issue of Like/Reblog hasn’t been addressed. Here’s why:

    http://en.wordpress.com/tos/

    By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog. ”

    Read the rest here > http://justjennifer.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/customer-dissatisfaction/#comment-1136

    • phoxis says:

      Excellent point found by Jennifer , and thanks timethief for commenting about it.
      I recently tried to read the tos for some other causes, but it did not clicked that this might be one cause.
      But as i have said already that the main thing is what i have told in the last paragraph : Click Here If some one has the right and the power that does not mean it has to be applied. What the main appeal is that the freedom should be there and the users should have a choice to choose from. A user wanting to use a feature can enable it and other disable, especially when there is a group of people including many experienced bloggers it should have been looked after. Then it would have been good.
      It’s a bit disappointing for me.

  10. skshoyeb says:

    Obviously, any features can be introduced. But using it or not must be left to the bloggers. Definitely, Enable/Disable option should to be clipped along with this feature!

  11. Pingback: Reblogging, and countermeasures… « wordpress tips

  12. Cynthia says:

    Going back to Matt’s “try it for two weeks… ” – that comment was 6 June – so, it’s been 5 weeks now … I can’t find any re-opening of discussion, can you? I am also very upset about the re-blogging vs. my copyright rights and the loss of attribution and links beyond first quote, and would like the opt-out. I can pick and choose most other features, why oh why oh why are they so resistant to making this one optional too? One other random thought – Phoxis mentions this feature “feeding” the sploggers – do you think this is connected to the whole phantom referral phenomenon? As most of the phantom referrals on my dashboard have URLs involving sex in some fashion I have never investigated any of the sites – now I’m wondering if I should go look to see if my content has been re-blogged or scraped somehow? Shudder…

    • phoxis says:

      Yes lazy bloggers and spammers might use this simple 3 click solution as a tool to spam, and use this tool in a wrong way. It’s all about using the tool in the right or the wrong way. Reblogging feature does not have any direct relation with copyright, for examply a CD/DVD writer does not have anything to de with copyrights, but if you copy copyright protected CD/DVD with it then the work done with that tool is not good.
      If you notice i have included the possible spamming in the “What I think” section. And for phantom referrers, i have not faced such problems may be because i do not have much hits.
      For me, i do not like lazy people or spammers do a reblog (in any way with any tool) , be it part or full content. But i have no objection if some one uses it for good purposes and not for generating hits and spam links. Also i don’t have other choices cause alls under CC-NC-ND.
      And as i have already said, every people would have different opinions and, and what i want is the freedom. It is strange that we did not receive any clear explanation why wordpress.com is insisting on not including a “disable” option. Probably there is something important with this feature, but it should be discussed. Lets see what wordpress.com does in future with this issue.

  13. Usi says:

    lol, I like the part that if we reblog others post it will also catch it comments.

    as I am very lazy writing posts and etc, this is really good for me, but I saw some people criticizing this, as you can see a comment above mine criticize this, but I need to tell that if some one has many sites or blogs then it is great tool then.

    thanks for this great info.

  14. voltaproduct says:

    Thanks for this information about reblogging .

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