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
- WordPress.com has options to make a blog private, which only will allow visitors which the blog owner wishes to allow.
- WordPress.com has options to make selectively password protect a single post or page without the need of making the whole blog private.
- WordPress.com has options to block google or other crawlers from getting into and index your blog.
- Wordress has options to block comments and visitors from certain IP address.
- WordPress.com has options to hide related links below the blog posts.
- 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):
- The five star rating system, with custom images, text, position.
- The Nero rating system.
- Add to blogroll
- Subscribe to blog
- Subscribe to RSS feeds
- Contact form with the “contact-form” shortcode
- The digg button with “digg” shortcode
- The yet to be officially released re-twitter button with “tweetmeme”
- Through other custom text link widgets (facebook, stumbleupon, share by email, bookmark it etc) which may be in the blog’s widget column.
- 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.
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- Is WordPress.com now a Social-Networking/Micro-Blogging Platform?
- Thumbs down on WordPress Reblogging
- New “Like” and “Reblog” feature on wordpress – *dislike*
- Customer Dissatisfaction
- Reblogging: WordPress.com takes the thinking out of blogging
- WordPress.COM reblogging revisited
- WordPress.COM creates splogging farm via reblogging feature
- WordPress.com Forum Topic : Reblogging
- WordPress.com Forum Topic : Reblogging round 2
- Reblogging, and countermeasures…
04.06.10 : A stray line was moved into proper position. Typo fix. Link fix.
08.06.10 : Last paragraph added + Related links update