WHO ARE YOU CALLING A CUR? A LETTER TO WordPress – Marilyn Armstrong

Dear NP – Happiness Engineer at WordPress,

You know, when my responses dropped by 50% in February, I said “Oh, they’ll fix it. Surely it’s not just me …”

By the middle of March, having gone from getting an average 400-450 hits a day to barely hitting 300 on a good day, I wrote a very polite note and got an automated response — and nothing more. A week later, I wrote a sharper note … and got an automated response saying you were “working on it.”

Two weeks later, I tried again and this time was told “the problem was a lot bigger than it looked and please be patient.” By then, it was April and the bottom had fallen out of my site. Previously, until the turn of the year, everyone could reach me with just “Serendipity”

Because, you see, I was the first person to use the name. It was mine. Always. From February 2012, I had always gotten ALL my responses on that title and never had a problem — so don’t tell me this has always been a problem all along because that’s NOT TRUE.

All through April, I waited. I got an occasional note from this or that “happiness engineer” that you had fixed it, but it was NOT fixed. The only fix I could come up with was to change the title of my 6-year-old blog to meet whatever are your new standards — the ones you never told anyone about.

That’s another cool thing you do. You just change stuff and it doesn’t seem to occur to you that your changes make a difference to anyone. Apparently we are all just cogs in your wheel.

I got a little snarkier and was ignored.

So finally, I got really ANGRY and I YELLED at you. Oddly, that worked. It may not be the best way, but the best way, the reasonable way, totally failed to get anyone’s attention. If you want polite users, try politely responding to queries. It’s a two-way street.

I tried nice. I tried polite. I tried reasonable. I tried patience and you IGNORED me. Now — I’m yelling? Well gee, what a shock. What did you think was going to happen?

I’m very angry about having to change the name of my blog after six years. You allowed people to take the same title and I was told there could only be one of each name. I know because I was turned down for a bunch because they were already in use, so I assumed that other people had the same requirements as I did, but apparently, not true.

You just said ‘Oh what the heck” and let anyone take any name without regard for previous occupancy. Yeah, it got me really mad and it got a few followers mad. They pointed out it was unfair since I had always gone by that name. To force me change my title so kids who jump on board for a month of freeloading and don’t build a blog, but steal my title are more important to you than people like me.

It isn’t just me. There are a lot of us, hard-working determined bloggers. We are the people who keep you in business. We pay our fees. We do the work that makes a site meaningful. We keep users interested and coming back for more. They aren’t coming back for the high school kid who will post a dozen blogs and abandon the site because it’s too much like work. We are the ones who do the job you need done and you honor us exactly how? By persistently altering the format to make basic blogging increasingly difficult.

You never consult us about the changes you are making. You just make them and tell us we’ll love it, but we don’t. You take simple tasks and make them enormously more difficult.

No one notices when I popped past half a million and I’m sure when I pop past a million, you won’t notice that, either.

Now my site seems to working. Until the next exciting new change blows it up again. But mostly, it’s working because I CHANGED THE NAME OF MY SITE so I could have a place in the search engine. It’s a very long title and I hate having to use it. It will cut into who can find me. Alternatively, I could abandon you but I don’t think I have it in me to do this on Blogger. Six years and 700,000 posts — and 675,500 hits. That’s a lot of writing, photography, commenting. I’ve involved four more writers and the result was really heartening. And exciting.

It’s like a real newspaper now with all kinds of articles by people of widely varying backgrounds. People read us. A lot more people than I imagined possible.

I went to my husband’s reunion last week. I’s a reunion of the media TV-Radio-Newspaper reporters and photographers for the Boston market — and they actually knew me because of the blog. Much to my amazement, they read us — and that means they also read WordPress. Consider that your company has gotten more actual feedback and probably business from me than maybe any other blogger in New England.

So – I am important to you?

How exactly?

What do you do for me?

Did you protect my site and my title? Did you jump in and fix the problem which really IS your database. Something ugly happened and you need to fix it. I guarantee — it will get worse. That was my specialty for 40 year in the high-tech biz and lemme tell you, if your database crumbles, eventually the whole organization put itself out of business.

It’s easier than you think. I’ve watched it happen repeatedly through the years. I could draw you a long list of companies who were hot, hot, hot and are now gone, gone, gone. Your search engine and database are the backbone of your organization. If it doesn’t work, nothing works. Sales will drop, your business will fall off and someone smart and new will pop up and say “Hey, guys, c’mon over here … we’ll take care of you …” and we will go, because you didn’t take care of us. You just love telling us how well you care for us, but you don’t.

I know you are changing the format again, too. Rumors abound and I dread what new awful software you’re going to shove out your door. I’m still hanging in with the old stuff because the new one is dreadful. It’s very cute and fiddly — and hard to use. Writers don’t want fiddly. We just want to write.

We want the spacing (still can’t get the spacing right, can you … that disappeared long ago) to work. I’d like back the point system on selecting fonts. I’d like to be able to find a picture more than 2 years old. I’d like to be able to find my own posts from 5 years ago or even three. I’d like the old custom format back where I could actually choose a color and not have it change two weeks later because someone messed with it.

I’d like to be acknowledged for the hard work I’ve done. None of the people with whom I’ve been blogging for more than five years have gotten so much as an EMAIL indicating that they meant anything to anyone at all. Shame on your company. You treat your most loyal customers the worst and then you can’t imagine why we get so angry. The only reason we’ve stuck with you is because no one else has given us alternative.

Fear not. Someone eventually will. There’s always someone who will offer a choice. YOU were one of those people, way back when. You cared, until you got too big to be bothered.

Wouldn’t YOU be angry? Or aren’t you sufficiently invested in anything enough to care what happens to it?


Your not-nearly-as-faithful-as-she-used-to-be blogger

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
– Robert Hanlon

Marilyn Armstrong
Uxbridge, Massachusetts

Categories: #Blogging, #Photography, Customer Service, manners & civility, Media, Software

Tags: , , , , , , ,

43 replies

  1. I wish you could force this letter on them, hugely enlarged, framed, on each wall of any of their cubicles, offices, toilets, coffee room, gangways, and wherever there is space enough. This is as scandalous as is Flickr, once a choice photo-site and now being sold to SmugMug………. Who the hell wants to belong to a group called SmugMug – who are they kidding….
    I too feel left out, insulted, and I feel for you with that magnificent name SERENDIPITY, the most intelligent blog I’ve come across! Mind your heart, dear friend…. nothing is worth the harm this could do to it.


    • Unfortunately, this will affect all of us. They want to make more money, but they are trying to become something they aren’t. This is a blogging platform. It’s not Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. They are trying to sell blogging to people who won’t do it. They just won’t. Those young peppy bloggers don’t exist. Yes, it is sad. Because they are going to put themselves out of business and unless something happens, we’ll have nowhere to go.


  2. I guess you did not post my comment about whether you have paid for a domain name.


    • Yes, I did pay for a URL. I thought I was also paying for a domain name and they certainly seemed to be saying that you couldn’t pick a name that anyone else had used. NOW they are saying they didn’t say that — but funny how everyone remembers them protecting our titles. They say otherwise and what exactly are we supposed to do about it?

      Yes, I pay every year to RENEW my URL, but they say that has nothing to do with my site title.


      • Well I have had my WordPress blog for two years or a little more now. WHEN I STARTED MY BLOG, it was pretty clear that you had to buy the domain name through Bluehost or some other hosting site.
        But maybe it wasn’t that obvious to those of you who had wordpress.xxxx. addresses that you did not own your own domain name, and maybe they were deceitful. It’s hard for me to tell. I was not that savvy when I started, and it was a pain to have to go through everything to get the WordPress.com account and then link it to the WordPress.org site which guarantees NO ADS ON MY SITE, and costs money, and requires that you go outside of WordPress to buy your domain. It took me 4 hours and if I had to do it again, it would probably take as long. But only if you have your own domain name do you have control.


        • I pay for my URL, but the domain NAME is not part of the URL. That is NOT what they said when we signed on. I DO pay for my URL. Every year. It is NOT free and I pay the money every year. The domain name which is really the URL and is not the blog’s title or name, is registered. To me. I own it.


        • I pay for my domain name, or in this case, my URL which is https://teepee12.com/

          I pay for it annually and it is registered and unless I stop paying for it, belongs to me. I also have no ads. I pay for that, too. I ALSO pay for extra storage space for photographs. I pay annually and have been paying for four years. Apparently having your own URL is not the same as a domain title, though I thought they guaranteed only ONE name per blog and refused you any blog where someone else was using the same title. So I think they just simply lied about it, or changed their policy and neglected to mention it, which would be very typical of them. They do a lot of shit without bothering to tell us. But yes. I OWN MY DOMAIN NAME AND I AM AD FREE AND I HAVE THE CUSTOM PACKAGE AND EXTRA STORAGE. Most of us do. This isn’t unusual and most of us really DO get it.


            • I know a lot of people don’t know anything, but I worked in tech for more than 40 years. The real issue is that the URL is registered, but it doesn’t protect your site title — or what you mean by domain name. If yours has NOT been stolen, either you registered it separately with a different company — NOT WordPress — or you just got lucky.


              • Right, I guess I was never offered a “title,” and didn’t know what that meant. I thought you were confused but apparently, as you say, there was a “Title” offered in the past, and now they don’t even offer a title. I just have my domain name that I pay for and the “free kcblog31.wordpress.com” account that I had to sign up for in order to be eligible to purchase my actual domain name that I care about. Also as you say, it never occurred to me that WordPress or the WordPress community was there to help build a following. Either my ignorance, or it wasn’t something they were promoting by the time I signed up 2.5 years ago or so.


                • Sadly, you missed the good old days. For the first couple of years, they were really pushing creativity and connectivity and there were activities and contests. Because WordPress was still relatively small, you could TALK to them, too. But they grew bigger and more distant and they stopped caring. Now, they are a platform that wants to make more money, so those of us who started with the idea of being creative and part of a creative community, can really feel the loss. Blogger (Google) was always like this.


  3. Bravo. I’ve commented long and loud on other of your posts in this vein, so I’ll just say that yes, WP is a cur. And you told ’em. But good.


    • Thank you. But last night, they wrote to tell me that really, it is all my fault. I do not write good enough material. This entire problem is because I don’t write well enough. You see? ALL my fault.


  4. Having just watched a short documentary on social media sites and the way that they are censoring certain people because of their views and/or religious preferences, this doesn’t surprise me at all. Oh how I miss the days of Xanga! This was the closest I could get to my old Xanga site and the freedom to post what I wished.. I am so sorry you are having these problems, but I’m also glad I found YOU and not some other site with the same name.


    • I still think they’ve stopped requiring people have their own unique titles and have totally screwed up their search engine. But I could be wrong. Screwed up they are. Exactly how, only their engineers know and I’m pretty sure they aren’t sure, either.


  5. I would hate to pack up and go elsewhere after five years but if something better came along maybe I would although I’m now cynical enough to distrust that anything stays the same for long. I still appear to be invisible to their search engine although google has no trouble finding our posts. Just have to keep nagging the devils we know I suppose. I still don’t see how they can allow someone to take a blog name that’s already in use. If you want a user name that’s in use already you can’t have it, same software surely?


  6. I thought they more or less guaranteed your name especially if you had a paid format. You’re right, I checked it out and they have given that name to someone else. There must be another blog system called Serendipity too. It’s a violation of copyright as far as I can tell.


  7. Oh, and good luck with your search (title) 🙂 . . .


  8. I haven’t had a wordpress problem yet, but have with other sites where you can’t easily access someone to talk with in person. Automatic sites and cyberspace are fine till something screws up. And yes, as soon as you figure a site out, it changes. Constantly. Glad I discovered your site today.


    • There are a lot of things I like about WordPress. But I hate what they are doing with their software and I hate that they never seem to care whether what they do is going to actually improve the product.


  9. Oh Snap! Love this! I so agree. After they lost me a year ago and I had to start over, I felt all the same feelings and wished WISHED there were someone else out there that I could blog with and whom I could encourage all other bloggers to join. In a new york minute!!!!


  10. Marilyn, Thank you for venting. I share many of the issues you raised however simply blamed myself for not knowing how to do things and because haven’t been as active as I would want, not up to date. I chatted with a Happiness Engineer recently regarding a link to the word diet in the text of my post that advertised a body- fat removal procedure and they explained wordpress may have partnered with a company, well they should have asked me first, I change my settings to opt out of ads . . . just saying Claudia

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Cur?

    “you tell’ em I’m comin’, and hell’s comin’ with me. Tell ’em I’m comin’, you CUR, and hell’s comin’ with me. Hell’s comin’ with me!”

    Liked by 3 people

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