Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice
It’s amazing to me how much wordpress.com has grown. what used to be the realm of a few geeks in need of akismet keys has turned into a real competitor to livejournal and typepad. Along with that come users who aren’t as forgiving of glitches, because they’re not just geeking out, they’re writing down their lives. Which means i’m finding out about “the cult of matt” from The Pink Ghetto, which isn’t something i read for geek news.
For instance, i’m willing to accept that apparent contradictions between stated policy and specific blogs that exist around wordpress.com is the effect of there being more blogs than the members of automattic can actively police. I’ve found this by reporting blogs, despite fundamentally disagreeing with the mature/non-commercial policy. Since making certain of this, i’ve attempted to warn users before they get nastygrams from mark.
most users aren’t this forgiving. They see their blog getting blown out of the global tag pages, while other blogs that depart farther from the ToS are allowed to stay. Naturally, this only matters because the global tag pages drive such good traffic. The automattic defence is that nowhere in the terms of service do they claim to provide blog owners with a workable tag search engine. (this causes most people consternation when they find out their categories don’t link to their own content). Nonetheless, they provide this search engine for most people. Intentional or not, it is a slight to not provide that engine to everyone. Especially the ones who want it.
It seems especially malicious, when the global tags and top blogs are built from the ashes of blogs of the day(.com), which allowed users to self regulate, via the NSFW tag. if you used it, your post was only listed in the mature section. As much as there’s a precedent for keeping the
christians children from accidentally stumbling upon porn, there’s a tendancy to misinterpret all sexual information as porn. which is what automattic seems to be doing.
- mark shouldn’t be choosing which blogs are actually mature or commercial. that job belongs to a lawyer. that lawyer should be actively policing. the global tag pages are reasonably good at crosslinking blogs. it’s not hard to find the ones that violate the ToS.
Then mark can continue giving real support, and have the all-important disconnect with the policy makers that will allow him to be his friendly self. and have a few fewer expletives and insults hurled at him.
- increase the ability to self-regulate: letting users use the NSFW tag to kick themselves out of the ‘all-ages’ tag pages means people won’t be as shocked when they get ‘de-listed’. allowing users to put up an under 18 warning, that stores a cookie (so new readers always see it, and regular readers never see it) would keep people from being offended when the click the ‘next blog’ link.
there’s a whole lot more thought that needs to go into this. sex in the public square is taking it on, but automattic needs to do more than drop by to leave their one comment that pretends they’re listening. this is way more important than adding kewl new video features.