NOTABLE, WHICH I AM NOT – Marilyn Armstrong

ON NOT BEING NOTABLE 

Last night, I got a note explaining that all my problems with WordPress deleting my site from the search engine along with all five writers — and 200 other followers who turned up missing yesterday — is because I do not write well enough. I am not generating enthusiasm by writing about exciting new subjects.

Apparently all the problems are actually MY fault. By not protecting the title of my blog and deleting me and the other writers and making us disappear from the engine (for what is now nearly three months) — that had nothing to do with it.

It’s all my fault. I’m not good enough.

I can’t begin to explain how this makes me feel. I’m not sure whether my primary emotion is anger or hurt. Or both. I do know that I’m not in any mood to write at the moment, so forgive me. I need to back off for a while.

At this point, I don’t know what to do or what I want to do. It’s not that I don’t love you all because I do — but I feel so damaged. In all of this, with all the reports and the back and forth with engineers, to be told there was no problem, never was a problem, and it was all my failure to write well enough to keep my audience.

Well. If that’s true, I have nothing more to give, so I’ll just slink off into my cave until I feel better about life.

I apologize to anyone I should be talking to. I just don’t feel like chatting right now.

Author: Marilyn Armstrong

Writer, photography, blogger. Previously, technical writer. Retired! Yay!

67 thoughts on “NOTABLE, WHICH I AM NOT – Marilyn Armstrong”

      1. If you were to read his note carefully, which I just did — again — what they have done is change the algorithm in the search engine to fine “new fresh material.” That means ALL of us who have been writing for a long time get dropped to the bottom of the search heap and the push up all the little baby bloggers who show up, post twice, then leave. I’m pretty sure they did this on purpose. Because we’re boring.

        This is HIS note:

        Nagesh Pai (Automattic)

        Apr 27, 07:53 UTC

        Hello Marilyn,

        Thanks for your reply. Once again, I truly appreciate your time and effort in writing to us.

        I would certainly and sincerely like to apologize for anything that has caused an unpleasant experience to you – whether it is any technology glitch, or my conduct.

        Like I mentioned earlier, any technology platform will have its glitches. I hope we have resolved issues whenever you faced them in the past. We are always on the lookout for any faults that may crop up. Unfortunately there are a few that do sneak past.

        I would like to focus on anything that is pending to resolve from our side right now.

        There is nothing deleted from your site at all! (NOTE: THIS IS BECAUSE I CHANGE MY SITE ADDRESS – BEFORE THAT, THERE WAS NOTHING THERE AT ALL, NOT THE SITE NAME OR MY NAME OR ANYONE AT ALL) The appearance of your articles on WordPress Reader search by relevance is determined by what i explained earlier as “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing with competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).

        I shared a few links and screenshots in my immediately preceeding email, which shows your author and you showing up in search. Do you think there is any specific author being left out? If yes, do let me know. I will be happy to investigate.

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        1. Hmm. Having just checked the Reader, and searched both my blog name and my own name, far more articles linked to my blog show up than do articles written by me.
          I think they need to tweak their algorithms… more than a little….

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          1. When I went looking, ALL I found were reblogs of my stuff, a couple on your site. NOTHING from my site. I don’t know if we can make them change their algorithm. If they don’t, we are going to have to figure out what to do. I wish there was another platform, but really, practically speaking, there isn’t.

            I know. Let’s just reblog each other! That’ll fix it!

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    1. Thank you. I don’t know whether to cry, laugh, or hide under the sofa.

      This is the heart of issue — a new algorithm that pushes “new” material to the top and pushes “old” material to the bottom:

      “(This is) “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing witih competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).”

      This brand new algorithm drops “old” writers and pops up anyone “new” on top. They did this on purpose. No mistake involved.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Appalling and frightening. I will be frank: since setting up this new blog (because of a problem with WP), I have taken a peek at a whole host of ‘new’ writers – and have found, in the main, that the stuff I read is utterly forgettable, turgid and trite. I cannot understand why someone like you – who writes beautifully, memorably, passionately and is, in every sense, notable, should be, in effect, pushed aside so that more dross can flood our writing sites. Populist writing does not mean the same as good writing! I rest my case. x

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        1. I don’t know. But I think they made a really SERIOUS mistake with that new algorithm. I think it was just supposed to show off “new posts” but instead, effectively “disappeared” older sites. Originally, it seemed like just me, but it’s going around and the only thing anyone has found that fixes it is to rename their site, which is unfair and annoying (to say the least) but I am finally seeing posts from people who’ve been buried under this algorithm for months.

          A lot of people never check to see how they are doing in the search engine. I never did because I don’t use the Reader much, but they have hung everybody in the reader and it’s now THE central “finder” for 23 million blogs around the world. It doesn’t work well and they always tell you that they are fixing it, but in the end, YOU fix it or you wait forever.

          They are too big. Too understaffed and they actually think they are going to attract (are you ready?) YOUNG, CHIC BLOGGERS. There ARE no young, chic, bloggers. Bloggers are readers. Most of us are past 40 and more of less settled down. Blogging is time-consuming and requires a level of dedication kids don’t seem to have, at least not until they’ve “grown up.” So this attempt to attract The Kids is doomed in advance. This is not an audience they will ever find. Kids go to Instagram or Twitter of other snappy little bits of social media. They don’t sit, write posts, format templates, and answer comments. They try it for a few posts, and when they don’t see an explosion of followers, they go somewhere else. Like their telephones.

          What IS it with telephones? I can’t stand having them ringing all the time. It’s like you never escape the constant trilling and dinging and ringing. But it has kept a couple of generations busy and they don’t READ. The people who blog are readers. Books and news and magazines and other things. You need to at least focus for 500 to 1000 words, be able to tell a real photograph from a blurry old cell phone you found on Facebook.

          The problem is, there aren’t many choices. The others are more expensive, though depending on your goal, maybe not as much as they seem. And they do have much better customer service and technical staff. WordPress grew like mad from almost nothing when we started there, to GIGANTIC now. All the little groups vanished, bought out by Facebook or Google, so now there’s Google and WP and that is pretty much IT. If one of them goes down, and if WP sticks with their current plans, they will strangle themselves in their own birth cords, there will be nowhere to write. I really hoped someone else would jump in and build something, but it hasn’t happened. Maybe it’s not profitable enough. Google, FB, Twitter, Amazon — they make money. WP? Not as much. They were never set up as sales platforms, but now, that’s what they want to be … and the people, LIKE US, who inhabit them — aren’t selling stuff and most of us pay to NOT have advertisements

          What is going to happen?

          I don’t know. But I fear we are going to be left in the end with nowhere to write. Remember Geosystems (pre Yahoo?) and there was Storybook and a whole PILE of other groups. Now, just two, google and WP. Google will hang in there because their blogging platform is only a little piece of their business … but it’s ALL of WordPress.

          The rumor — a well-founded rumor — is that WordPress isn’t making the kind of money they want to make and are pressing for more business money, fewer bloggers. This “algorithm” was one of many attempts to push that through. I think it has been a disaster from which they will be forced to pull back — and I think they already ARE pulling back having done a lot of damage in between. But they aren’t going to give up. They want bigger bucks. They want the international reach that Google has, that Facebook has/had. They want MONEY and they aren’t making it. So either they will go out of business and reform in a new style that will not work for most of us, or they will make it impossible to use them without paying a lot more money.

          One way or the other, when the REAL issue is money, they aren’t going to give up. They will keep at it until they are bankrupt or a lot richer. One way or another, it doesn’t look good for we’uns.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Excellent points, Marilyn – and I agree with you. Money is at the centre of all such initiatives, for all that the Powers That Be try to pretend that more altruistic motives are at work.
            Chic bloggers! Says it all really, doesn’t it? As someone who has never been chic (Nor aspired to being so), such conceits leave me cold.
            The result of all this is a watering down of, as it were, the literary Nile Inundations, so that, year after year, the richness and ooze becomes little more than a watered-down trickle, and fertilizes nothing.
            Ironically, that original (and highly divisive prompt word) can be broken down into what may yet turn out to be the perceived truth regarding those of us born in the forties and fifties. Not able (at least not under the transitory criteria now used)…
            Dystopian days indeed…

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            1. It’s not just “chic” bloggers, but chic YOUNG bloggers. Haven’t met any lately. Or really, ever. You bump into a few young ones whose goal seems to be to get you to sign up for their blog, but they don’t have anything there except advertisements for sneakers. Or makeup. Two weeks later, they’re gone anyhow. They aren’t the “keepers” of the blogging world and sadly for all of us, WP’s determination to address this non-existent audience will not work out well. I don’t know who is telling them that these people are waiting for their services, but they aren’t there. Blogging is a grown up thing requiring a fair bit of dedication and the ability to read 1000 words without getting too bored to bother or distracted by a ringing telephone.

              Everyone eventually learns to make sure their marketing troops aren’t lying to them. I don’t think WordPress has learned this yet. I hope they learn it soon before they go into a tailspin and land hard on the rocks below. It’s amazingly easy for these high tech companies to go bust. The high-tech cemeteries are full of the corpses of what were once the biggest companies in the world who never “got” who their market was.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. It totally deflated me. I KNOW this is their fault from start to finish, but I also realize that come what may, I’m on my own. And who is this twerpy little engineer to give me writing advice?

      This is the heart of issue — a new algorithm that pushes “new” material to the top and pushes “old” material to the bottom:

      “(This is) “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing witih competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).”

      This brand new algorithm drops “old” writers and pops up anyone “new” on top. They did this on purpose. No mistake involved.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’ve never heard ANYTHING more assinine in my ENTIRE life! If I could somehow work asshole into wordpress and make it work, I would. Not interesting enough, wtf? Intelligent, on the mark, appropriate, up to date, current, relevant, ABSO FUCKING LUTELY! YOU GARRY and THE OTHER WRITERS I find honourable remarkable and brave stating your case, your purpose, your outlook with clarity, concise and meaningful. That is UTTER bullshit! I’m furious!!!!!! I can’t imagine how you must be feeling. Incensed, beyond aggravated, but PLEEEEEEASE don’t EVER feel worth less than the bs they are throwing your way BECAUSE they are refusing to take RESPONSIBILITY for THEIR SCREW UPS! I’m furious! I understand why you need time to re-think, re-group. This is absolutely intolerable! I am at a loss for words. I want wp to read this, how do I send it to the Happiness Engineers? Please! Tell me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THIS is the critical point they are making — which is they have changed the search algorithm to look for “NEW” stuff because WE are BORING. Read it twice because everyone who hasn’t gotten hit is going to GET hit soon.

      ” (This is) “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing witih competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).

      Like

      1. Search algorithm finds what more relevant? Who sets the parameters for “relevant”?Who is behind THAT decision? some 18 year old punk wet behind the ears still???? or someone interested in understanding what life and living and concepts that touch our hearts and soul and mind and question all that exists? When is THAT not relevant?

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        1. I have nothing to say anymore. That’s is. We are going down because “we aren’t fresh and new” — whatever that means. I have no idea who set the parameters or why they did this or what they think they will accomplish by doing it. It’s ugly and it’s tawdry and it shames those of us who have worked long and hard at this unpaid labor.

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          1. It shames THEM! There is NO shame on you whatsoever. They discounted and minimalized your content which is SHAMEFUL on them! Whoever decided this. I get that they might have difficulty holding years worth of content without upgrading or adding to their system. You can overload a computer a disk, etc. But to suggest that your not new and fresh as an excuse is intolerable!

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  2. I would like to read their message. That’s unconscionable. They’re not in the business of critiqueing writing. They’re in the business of providing blogging platform to the fucking public. If they lost the money of all the people like me who fork out $30 (or more) for a domain it would hurt them — and if it WOULDN’T hurt them? Then why are they offering it? Please email me their message. That’s just stinky. Besides, you have a ton of followers. That makes you advertising for WP. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. But this is the heart of it:

      “(This is) “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing witih competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).”

      A new algorithm that drops “old” writers to the bottom of the heap and pops up anyone “new” to the top. They did that on purpose. No mistake involved.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It sucks, no question, but you could focus on SEO. I think this is a lot more about spiders than it is about your writing. And I think it’s a lot more about new blog posts than it is about your writing. With the way the human mind works, something written last year is no longer timely (which is bullshit, but…)

        It’s also how you feel about writing your blog. I think you love it (and your readers love you) so fuck ’em.

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        1. I’m just so fucking pissed off I don’t even know what to do. Breathing heavily at the moment. But Garry got it. He got fired (released, sorry) because “he wasn’t young and up to date.” TV is like that. But BLOGGING?

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          1. I think it has something to do with $$ not your writing. You have so many followers, that could have flagged you as someone they could pitch to, but that isn’t the tack you took. A question you could ask (but didn’t and won’t) is “How can I improve the chances my posts will be noticed by the algorithm?” and they’d say, “Here’s a nice package for $80 and you can add all the SEO tools you want!”

            I’m sure it’s not about your age or writing ability, but about blogs that were published in the past (and, I think, WP wanting to make more money). I checked into it and there was vast array of SEO tools that didn’t exist last year (as far as I know) all available if you want to plonk out the $$ for a business account. It’s no real “competition.”

            You have to write for yourself if you’re going to be happy and at peace with the world. That’s the lesson I’ve taken from the existential struggle of this past year.

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            1. And once I stop hyper ventilating, that’s exactly what i’ll do. And you know what? I think their algorithm is going to not only fail, but is going to reduce their profits. If we wanted business accounts, we wouldn’t have to stick with them. If you are willing to pay bigly, there are other outlets that are more stable, with better software.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. They may be trying to do that with ALL of us so they can make more money. But it isn’t happening. I’m not paying more than I’m already paying. If I had that kind of money, I’d move to TypePad where all that’s embedded already — if i could go $180 year, that is. Which i really can’t.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. This is just plain ludicrous. You and fellow writers on Serendipity are among the best most consistent writers on WP. Time to talk to WordPress CEO? After all, you are paying a fee for a service.

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    1. If they have a CEO, he’s not someone they show any kind of listing for and what would be the point? This little twerp of an engineer is giving me writing advice. If it didn’t hurt so much, it would be funny. Probably it WILL be funny. Eventually.

      So, it turns out with all these people having the same problem of being deleted from the search engine because their site titles were given away — we are all just not writing the kind of material readers want. If I genuinely believed that, I would give up.

      I think I’m pretty much giving up trying to get them to fix anything, though. Apparently paying money doesn’t mean you are a customer. They TAKE the money, but they don’t seem to feel obliged to return anything for it. I’m not having a really great morning here. And I’m waiting until they strip away a few hundred MORE followers, too.

      Like

        1. This is the heart of issue — a new algorithm that pushes “new” material to the top and pushes “old” material to the bottom:

          “(This is) “competition”. It would not be fair to use harsh terms like – Fault, here. If there are other articles that rank higher on relevance, it is likely the search algorithm finds it to be more relevant. Rankings keep changing witih competition between newly published articles and older ones. The search engine will always try to deliver what the reader would find fresh and relevant, not what the content publishers would like to push. This is a little difficult to grab, since as content creators, we would always like to believe that our posts are the best ( just like we think about people and things we love with all our heart).”

          This brand new algorithm drops “old” writers and pops up anyone “new” on top. They did this on purpose. No mistake involved.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Wherever they push it, surely it should still be there with the appropriate search terms. As I’ve said, we’re living by asylum rules these days. Anyone in any kind position of power, appears to be abusing that power one way or another.

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  4. Forgive my cursing, Marilyn and others followers, but I couldn’t help myself. Now I have the ceo’s link, can I send him my comments on your behalf? I don’t want to embarrass you.

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    1. It is just going to make this even harder and you know, I was thinking of not working quite so hard on this. Martha thinks they are trying to get us to “buy up” to more expensive stuff — but why when they can’t make THIS stuff work?

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      1. Actually, I agree with Martha – my bet is they do want you to “buy up”. I also agree with you – the carrot works a lot better than the stick if you want someone to pay more for a product.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. On your dashboard, in the TOP RIGHT CORNER, there’s a “Help” button. Write them a note. They usually get back to you in a couple of days, but if they don’t, do it again. Eventually, they’ll get back to you, though.

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  5. found on the stalls of a restroom – ‘beam us aboard Scotty – no signs of intelligent life here’
    Hey least they aren’t saying it’s hate speech but porn and S&M is just fine with them! Anyone who thinks that social websites play fair with speech is sadly mistaken – period!

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  6. I am apparently still invisible. I can’t find my blog name, my name, my sister’s name or any reference to anything we have written in the reader except one link for a post I wrote for a writing challenge on another blog. I have reached my use by date apparently. I even got an email from WordPress asking how they did at solving my recent issue. They told me that they could see my posts in the reader and sent me a link which turned out to be for someone else’s blog, not ours. I told them they were rubbish. I doubt this can be fixed but I like doing this so I’ll keep on and probably write a few more ranty posts about the Millenial Generation who seem intent on ruining everything their elders and betters ever created.

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    1. Change you site title to something similar but with another word. That’s the only way I reappeared. Then, add your name or your sister’s name to each title, so you name’s are part of the title. I don’t know any other way to do it. OR change your title to your names linked together. They aren’t going to fix it because they have not accepted that they are broken. I DID find you, by the way. It took some digging — I think I found dolls and then click on your “other blog” to get to the right one. Something like that. But you’re right.

      They really ARE rubbish.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks I’ll try that. Luckily the doll blog does not seem to be affected but it’s pretty annoying that although I write a lot of posts about things in Tasmnania not one comes up in a search.

        Like

        1. I had 7,000 posts by five writers go missing. Yeah I get it. Give the name change 24 hours to really hook in there and try to keep it as close to what it was as you can, unless you just want to more of less start over. Once you rename it, people will start to find you again and your followers will still be attached. But I’ve missed MOST of your stuff. You’ve probably been missing for quite a while, just didn’t notice.

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          1. Probably. I have always had lower traffic on that blog it mainly spiked when I posted on Cee’s Challenge and linked to her blog plus one or two posts that seem to get googled a lot. I just assumed it was me, that the blog was general interest and nothing particular to make people stop and read it although the numbers were growing over the past twelve months. I’ve rejigged the name a bit so we’ll see what happens now.

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  7. “is because I do not write well enough. I am not generating enthusiasm by writing about exciting new subjects.”

    That is such total bullshit. You write extremely well, and generate incredible enthusiasm about interesting, exciting subjects.

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  8. Someone at WordPress is an asshole. Blogs with variety and some ‘meat’ to them (like Serendipity) are the life blood of this site. I’m horrified. What the hell will I read if they drive such as you away? 😦

    Like

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