Is Wordpress Scaring Your Commenters Away?


About a week ago, Stumbling Gracefully texted me to ask if I was getting like, a LOT of emails from Wordpress. I checked my inbox, and sure enough I was. When I looked at the emails, I realized that I was seeing every single response to any Wordpress post I had commented on. Previously, I had to subscribe to a commenting thread to see any response made after mine. But now it seemed Wordpress was automatically checking the box “Notify me of follow-up emails” each time I commented. The result? 113 emails in the last five days informing me of "new comments!"

The blogs I follow don’t have hundreds of people commenting, but I am overwhelmed by this, and not in a good way. Additionally, I have discovered from other friends NOT on the Wordpress platform that new hurdles have appeared for them to comment on a Wordpress blog.

Now if people don’t have Wordpress accounts, they need to login with their Facebook account (and many people who comment on blogs don’t want to have to reveal their identity for a variety of reasons: eg, they don’t want their Facebook friends to know about their struggles with infertility), their Twitter account (see my reservations with Facebook) or a real email account. (See my reservations with both Twitter, Facebook.) Additionally, if your real email address is somehow connected to an unused Wordpress account (for example, your blog is on Blogger, but you once set up a Wordpress account to check it out), you will be told to log into that account if you try to use it. Can't remember your login or don't want your comment connected to a blog you never set up on Wordpress? Then go back to the start of this paragraph and try again.

And make sure you take care of all this before you start writing your comment or your comment will disappear.

There has been a lot of talk lately about blogging and whether blogs are indeed online journals, and whether comments are important or even should be important. I know some people write their blogs just for themselves and comments are somewhat irrelevant to them. For me, though, my blog Too Many Fish To Fry has been mostly about the comments and the community.

I recently read my college and travel journal from when I was in my early twenties. It was hideously awful and pretentious and written for an audience of one: myself. My blog (I hope) dramatically differs from that cheaply bound diary. Instead, I use my blog as a sounding board and as an educational tool around adoption/infertility/loss.

My blog has been invaluable mostly because my commenters have let me know that I am not alone as I struggle with the joys and anxieties of parenting after infertility. And to lose that connection to community, to the friends I have made online because of some strange (proprietary?) issues around Wordpress would make me terribly sad.

For me, the best thing about blogging is the feeling that I am not alone. That others can find my words and maybe not feel alone, too. That others can reach out and say to me, “I get this. I get you."

So Wordpress, I say to you: please make it easier for anyone to comment on your platform and please make the experience of commenting pleasant. Your customers will thank you.

Have you noticed these changes on Wordpress? Do you think they are hindering conversations on your blog or preventing you from commenting?

Photo Credit: Titanas via Flickr.


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