The Public Library Of Charlotte Mecklenburg County Censors An Anti-WordPress Site

 

charlotte mecklenburg library Censorship

charlotte mecklenburg library Censorship

I wasn’t planning on writing about my local library this morning but my hand has been forced by their actions.  I’ve complained previously about their Internet connection in the past and met with some results.  Granted that was after literally years of complaining.  I’ve been meaning to complain about a recent experience in the West Blvd. branch where card playing for money (what you and I would call gambling) was occurring, right underneath the eye of the security guard on duty, and how I still haven’t heard back from the library administration as to why this is allowed by their policy. (That was the guard’s excuse to let it continue.)

wordpress™ wank has been blocked by the library.  That’s right.  The leading site that tells the truth about Matt Mullenweg and the sad shape of ethics over at Automattic has been censored by The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County.

The irony of this is that their own blog is hosted on the wordpress.com servers.  That’s right.  The library who last year tried to get the entire Charlotte community to read and discuss To Kill a Mockingbird, a book that has been censored many times previously, as no problems with censorship and racism themselves. (Which makes for even more irony.) I guess their stated goal of “of expanding minds, empowering individuals and enriching the community” doesn’t apply when it concerns a vendor of theirs.  Can’t empower individuals when you deal with a company that believes discussion shouldn’t be open. Can’t strive to make information available to anyone who wants it when that information is locked away behind an Internet proxy.

How Matt Mullenweg and Automattic deals with complaints

Wordpress censorship

WordPress censorship

Looks like I “offended” Matt Mullenweg a bit too much.  Write a pair of posts describing how they have ignored a long list of splog reports and I now have my wordpress.com account suspended and my posts in the support forums edited without permission.  But in addition to that, I’ve been blackballed by Akismet and it appears that my comments on wordpress.com are being trashed automatically. (A picture of that after the fold.  Guess I won’t be posting comments to your blog anymore, wank.)

What bothers me about all this is that it started on Matt’s end when I suggested that since most of the support forum volunteers were not going to be able to attend the first WordCamp, that it would be a great idea if Automattic would drop each of them a tshirt into the mail.  That way Matt and crew would show how thankful they were for the time and the work that they put in.  This, of course, didn’t fly over too well and since that point, many of us noticed a “cooling” of staff’s attitudes towards those who helped out.

There, I said it.  All this because of a lousy tshirt.  A simple gesture that would have taken at most an hour or two and would have meant a lot of some people.  Hell, the gallery folks sent me a tshirt for reporting an issue with their website. (I still need to blog about that.  There’s pictures here and here.  Yes, it was 6:30 in the morning.  It was early and I was tired and hadn’t shaved.)

Since that time, I’ve had Matt and others from Automattic lie about me, post insults, make light of my physical handicaps, and make light of my former relationship with my ex fiancee.  While he goes on and on about how approachable he is, he has refused numerous times to discuss how his company has acted towards me and has refused to follow up on the questions that I raised.

All this does prove three things though.  WordPress.com is not pro free speech, not pro customer service and fully believes in censorship.  Can’t wait for the next time Matt gets up on his soap box shouting out to the whole world how they support it so much.

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Matt Mullenweg lies again

drmike-128.jpgYou know you would have thought by now that Matt Mullenweg would have learned his lesson about lying in public.  Guess not.

Link

Love this bit:

Anyone is welcome to participate.

I guess that means I’ll be getting my original wordpress account back.

edit: Considering he’s now changing his story on other points, it doesn’t surprise me.  I wonder why he is the only person who I’m not able to get emails from.  Donncha has emailed me.  Mark has as well.  But for some reason, email from Matt can’t show up correctly.  Never gets resent either.  Hmm, I wonder why.  Could it be that it never got sent in the first place?  Now there’s a thought.

Reedit: Oh wait, they’re doing advertising on the Dashboard of WordPress.com now.  Something Matt called stupid many eons ago. (Gone to find that link.)

Matt apoligizes for a volunteer but Automattic employees are free to insult

drmike-128.jpgAnyone else think it’s strange that Matt takes the time to apoligize for a response from options but yet rudeness from an employee directed towards another volunteer goes unanswered?

 

edit: By the way, I noticed that root has been marked as inactive as well.  I haven’t seen anyone else mention that.

 

Oh, and Mark?  Maybe the reason why we’re having to create new usernames and email addresses is because you folks are locking us out of the forums.  You may have noted the “Inactive” notation besides our usernames?  Gotta admit that I scratch my head though when the folks who have answered most if not all of the questions raised in the support forums keep telling you that you, Matt and the rest are wrong and have been rather rude and insulting.  It’s a pity you folks can’t see what is occuring and you would rather call it a “hate campaign” instead of being open minded and respond to complaints.

And again Mark, if you want that list, I’d be happy to provide it to you.

WordPress says no to Sponsored Links in Themes but gets caught adding them into their own sites

Wordpress ethics

WordPress ethics

Yep, it’s yet another post on the topic of Sponsored links found within WordPress themes.  Now, before I begin, let me state my opinion on the matter:  Personally, I don’t care.  I can see why some folks consider such links to be “evil” and I can understand why some folks consider them to be a “necessary evil.”  If I really wanted to use a theme that had such links, I’ve got to admit that I would take a look at the site that’s being linked to and make a choice to leave them in or remove them.  That’s up to me.  I still think my idea of doing a tag labeled “Sponsored Links” within the main WordPress theme site would have been a better idea than removing them.  Let the “purchaser” decide with the best information made available in front of them.

But what bothers me about all this though is what occurred recently on the BrowseHappy.com site.  You know the one.  Where a number of Automattic staff, volunteersdevelopers, and others had that discussion and Matt Mullenweg goes out of his way to show how he listens to his endusers try to explain to him how a website that hasn’t been updated in years, contains outdated information, and even he finds to no longer apply really shouldn’t be linked to from the WordPress backend, totally ignores them, and we still have the link on the backend. (Quick aside: Instructions on how to remove said link.  Not sure if they apply on the latest 2.3.2 version of WordPress but you should get the idea.)

So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I was reading a thread over on the wordpress.org forums on browsehappy.  I decided to take a look at the site as I remembered that site having Adsense affiliate code links on it and I wanted to see if they were still there.

 

Browse Happy link

Browse Happy link

Imagine my complete surprise (I’m going link happy on the post, I know) to discover that there was actually a hidden link to freecookingrecipes.net in the footer of that site.  As well as a hosted image.

Hmm, well that was strange.

I saved some quick screen captures to cover my ass in case anyone doubted me, reported it to that thread on wordpress.org and fired off an email to the WordPress Security email address.  The links disappeared within a few minutes but my comment on the wp.org forums went unanswered and the email to security went unanswered as well.  Again, someone must have heard because those links were gone within 15 minutes.

OK, let’s think about this for a second and cover some history.  The folks at WordPress have done the hidden links previously and appear to not really be willing to talk about it.  Matt says on his blog (I can’t find it right off.  I guess you don’t get that link tonight.) that he made a mistake and/or the linkage was placed without his own personally knowledge. (Again I can’t find it right off so that may not be 100%.  Please forgive me if it’s not.) edit: Here it is.

So anyway, let’s give some thought about this link and what it is doing there.  I’ve been thinking about it for quite sometime and I can think of three methods of how it got there.  Let me list them and explain the reasons why they shouldn’t be the cause. (Please note that I said “shouldn’t” instead of actually proving them not to be the cause.  Keep reading.  You’ll understand shortly.)

  1. The link was placed there by a well meaning Automattic employee, done with the holiday spirit in mind and everything’s fine and
    browse happy code

    browse happy code

    cool.  Gotta admit that this is the one that I want to believe but I can’t see it.  The link was hidden and not visible within the browser. (Note the screencap to the right.) If the link was added with good intentions, it was done in such a strange way.  I would think that you would want folks to be clicking on that link but no one could see it.  Also a quick check of the main WordPress developers at the time showed no one else having such a link.  If an Automattic employee had been exciting with adding in such a link, you would have thought that they would add the same link to their own personal websites.  This was not the case.

  2. The link was placed as part of a hack against the website.  I’m iffy about this one for two reasons, one more important than the other.  The lesser argument, which Options makes here is how was the hacker, if there really was one, able to upload an image to the server.  Granted, if they had access, they could have done it but wouldn’t they have gone after juicer options like the main wordpress.org site? (Which, by the way, did not have the link.) The other argument ag
    ainst this comes from personal experience.  I’ve had sites hacked before and every time it’s ever happened, someone else somewhere else has had the same thing happen to them.  Hackers don’t pick a single site as a target, at least I’ve never seem them do it.  A quick Google search shows no discussion about folks getting hacked with this link.  In fact many pages have posters who seem quite happy to be adding in link to this site.
  3. The link was placed as a sponsored link with the intention of at least one member of Automattic staff.  Gotta admit that I don’t like saying this but this is really the only choice we have left.  There are arguments against this of course.  The main one being of course  how they got caught previously with the hidden links to advert pages on the wordpress.org site a few years back.  Matt made a big deal with pulling themes with sponsored links in them from the WordPress Themes site. They make a big deal in the WordPress.com support forums over affiliate links and usually either get them removed from the blog or ToS the blog.  It’s real hard though trying to find solid arguments against this as being where those links came from.  I really can’t think of any but I’m trying.

That’s all I wanted to say.  I think I’ve provided a case for what I believe really happened.  I’m sure folks will disagree with me but I can’t do much about that.

Two forums threads on the topic as well as that email to security went unanswered. Email to the recipe site went unanswered as well. (I was curious.)

edit: Please excuse any typos.  It’s been a long day and it’s time for me to go home.

I wonder if Matt is still holding it

XGEP8966.jpgA long while ago, King Matt the First blogged about his experiences with Amazon Grocery and his attempt to get some toilet paper out of them.  I’m still scratching my head over how can one *NOT* have room for a four pack of toilet paper (um, one roil on the dispenser and the other three under the sink?  That should work.  Does in my bathroom.) but I had to chuckle when a Google Adsense advert came over the blog here for toiletpaperworld.com.

I did have a second look though over their shipping policies.  They don’t appear to list many full case packs for sell on the site.  I did find this one though.  Kind of strange that their  case price is $71.84 while they offer free shipping for anything over $75.  Makes you have to order 2 cases for the best price.  Hmm, I wonder where we could put all those rolls…
 

Is Automattic the new Enron?

mattron_sm.jpgConsidering how bad things have become with WordPress, one has to wonder if they’re going to become the new Enron. Considering they have no ethics policy in place and how some employees use that to their advantage, one has to wonder what’s going to occur.

And, yes, I can give tons of examples. Today, I have better things to be doing.

edit: The image comes from elsewhere. I didn’t create it.

10 Confessions Of A Telephone Company Customer Service Rep

Customerservice.jpg Link

I gotta admit that I agree with most of these. One of my biggest pet peeves of working in the wordpress.com support forums along with other forums is when folks write these big long novels as support requests and don’t get to the point or clearly state what the problem is. Or even the folks who don’t want to give you details as to what the actual problem is. Bloodly hell….

You want help? Here’s the method I wish folks would use in requesting help:

1) Read the tools already provided to you. We have a search bar at the very top of the forums. Try dropping in some keywords into it. Chances are someone else has already had the problem before you. Something broken? Take a look at the front page of the forums. It may already be reported. There may already be a solution.

2) Say hi to start off your post. Chances are someone is going to go out of their way to help you. Be polite. Works wonders.

3) State specifically what the problem is in under 20-25 words. Stating specifically helps. “I’m having an issue with adding a new link to my blog roll” works a lot better than “Something doesn’t work.” “My CSS file is missing from x-y-z.tld” works a whole lot better than “My blog looks funny.” (Although I’ll grant that one since many new users might not know what CSS is)

4) Got an example? Link specifically to it. If it’s a general issue, provide a general link so we can see the issue. Specific issues need to have specific links. Never assume that we’re going to see the exact same thing that you’re going to see. If I could read minds, I wouldn’t be sitting here answering support questions on an online forum.

5) Thank the folks who will help you.

6) Wait. Chances are there are other folks also needing help. Give them a chance to help you.

And if you’re a webbased business who relies on volenteers to run your support forums, thank them once in a while. Give them the tools that then need to do their job help your clients. Listen to suggestions made by them to you. Pop in once in a while and show some interest in what’s occuring in the forums. Publicly thank those who go out of their way to cover your asses. (I’d give you a link to that but that hasn’t occured.) Drop a tshirt into the mail when you have a big get together and the volenteer can’t attend. Sure, comping them for stuff is nice but doing something nice for them is even better.

And if one of those volenteers tells you that you’re wrong about something, take a second and think about what is occuring. They may be right.

Else you may discover those volenteers slowly drifting away

Has anyone ever noticed that…

drmike-128.jpg

…we’re seeing less and less of Automattic staff in the WordPress.com forums?

Or Donncha or Matt on the WordPress Multiuser support forums?

It’s rather frustrating.

Usually when we see a staff member, it’s because I’ve emailed them to ask for assistance.

Must be nice to sit back and let the volunteers handle the issues
and folks complaining. Or the extra coding and hacks over on WPMu.

Gotta admit that I’m getting rather tired of all of it currently.

I’ve made the suggestion a couple of times over the last few months
that they at least publicly thank those who help out. Seen anything?
Nope.

Ditto on hiring a weekend support member.

Trent disappeared fairly quickly from the wp.com support forums. Anyone else notice that?

I get more thanks from the 80 year old homeless guy I hand a cup of coffee to every Saturday morning.

*sigh*