Colette

April 6, 2021

I recently discovered that WordPress effectively hijacked WriterInSoul by, without either asking or telling me, sticking a post of their own into my blog. It appears just before my own last post, “Short Thought” dated 3/14. I found the intrusive post by happenstance; it doesn’t show up “behind the scenes”, only on the public blog itself. I even logged out of my blog and took a look just to be sure it wasn’t something only I saw. Labeled a “Sponsored Post,” the text peddles some WordPress blogging course, one I will not be linking.

I’ve now had this blog 7 years and nobody but me has ever written anything on it so I was very taken aback to see this ad-posing-as-a-post dumped in my blog. The more I thought about it, the more pissed I got. I understood fine at the outset that, in order to have a free, no cost blog, I’d have to accept that WordPress would tack ads onto my blog; I even mention this in my introductory page (so no one would think I was injecting said ads). The terms were clear. Allowing “fake” posts to be stuck in my blog is something else entirely. Moreover I didn’t allow it. I wasn’t even told.

Two weird ironies if you will. My very last post, one I wrote before seeing the WordPress spam was about this very issue, namely when the other party you’ve been in a relationship with changes the rules of engagement without consulting you (or expecting consequences from you). The second irony? Today completes 7 years of writing this blog and WordPress DID see fit to send me their auto-generated message, “Happy Anniversary with WordPress.com!” Aww gee, I am so touched.๐Ÿ˜• Now get your stinking, grubby fingers the %#&@! off my blog.

Here’s the thing. If, without asking or telling, WordPress is willing to stick posts on my blog, what else are they willing to do? Edit my posts? Stick words in my mouth? Delete posts? See, I just don’t know. I am a tiny, tiny, non-paying fish in this Land-o-Blogging. I have either no or very little power. But the blog is something a person, this person, does (or did) out of passion, love of writing, and so on. My blog has been very honest, my truest self, my writing self. To my thinking the hawking WordPress post sullies it. Worse, the WordPress content, what with its “Sponsored” business suggests I sponsored it, that I am in collusion, and/or that I possibly got a kickback for it. I’ve never asked for a DIME on this blog, not for me, not a cup of coffee, not for a cause of any kind. Yet WordPress sees fit to shill for their business on my platform, effectively posing as me, or minimally implying my permission. Not okay.

I told you I was pissed. This is me pissed. I’m putting this post here for a couple reasons. I don’t think I see the point in complaining directly to WordPress or only complaining to WordPress. It’s not like we have any interactions, any sort of ongoing conversation. And with this move, one that trumps previous WordPress moves like changing behind-the-scenes features (such as recent “improvements” to editing capabilities), WordPress is strong-arming me. They’re changing the rules.ย They’re monkeying with the blog proper, by-passing me, not even telling me. It changes how I feel or pushes me further in a direction I was already going. This does NOT make me want to embrace WordPress. It makes me distrustful.

I wonder now if they’ve done this before and I just missed it. I’m not ruling that out but I’m disinclined to think so.

I have, already, dialed back on this blog, but I’m still here. One doesn’t get the cryptic message about the blog having been deleted, or gone private when you type in WriterInSoul, a message that you find when a blogger has decided to go away. I just snorted thinking what if I write no more posts but WordPress keeps at it? No more photos of my garden or living room, or smart remarks, or reflective essays, just post after “Sponsored” post peddling stuff. Um, who reading this post wants to take a WordPress course on blogging or needs to find info about such things on my blog?? ๐Ÿ˜

What bothers me may well bother others equally and yet others either not at all or not much. I recognize that. But what WordPress did by dumping into my blog gets me where I live. This was mine. And whatever I do or don’t do with MY BLOG going forward, I wanted to tell you all this.

Colette

UPDATE 9/17/21: If you’re reading this post as of this date, the “sponsored post” which got me so riled is no longer here. It showed up mysteriously & went away the same. WordPress never contacted me about it in any fashion. I did, earlier in the year, attempt to contactย them only to find that wasn’t really possible (for me and likely other bloggers using the free, as in no cost, platform). I did find an online forum where one might post questions and discovered another blogger had already posted about the matter, wanting to know why the “sponsored posts” had been injected into their personal blog and asking how they could be removed. The public response from the WordPress rep was boilerplate PR fare which explained that WordPress was more or less conducting an experiment by sticking their commercial posts into non-paying bloggers ‘ sites. The WordPress response was not satisfactory and it was certainly not apologetic. The platform has increasingly gone commercial in its bald attempts to shake money out of people, not least of all its bloggers. I still feel as I did when I wrote this blog entry 6 months ago, namely screwed over by WordPress. At the very least, they should have asked or informed prior to putting their post on my blog. Doing what they did introduced mistrust into my dynamic with them not to mention the potential for other unwelcome, uncondoned intrusions. I couldn’t stand for this one; I sure don’t want to set myself up for more.

Short Thought #284

When you’re in a relationship of any stripe (business, personal, intimate, etcetera) and the other person arbitrarily and without notice changes the rules of your engagement, to my mind that gives you license to change the terms as well, or at least to renegotiate them. Maybe you’d like to make a few changes your own damn self. I have found though, that the others don’t typically see it this way. They seem oblivious to the reality that their action doesn’t exist in a vacuum and that you might see their behavior as an opening or opportunity for a reciprocal move. They will act surprised and inconvenienced even if it’s said to them just as I have here.

Eva C

In almost 7 years of having this blog, I find that I have never mentioned the late singer Eva Cassidy. In that I don’t write much about music generally and have included song links a few times at most, it isn’t so strange. Still, this particular omission cannot stand. If I share one musical artist with you, one you may not have heard and who I find riveting, it needs to be her. Listening to Eva is like a gift. You can google her name to find much more information and lots of other music so I will skip any of those details. Eva Cassidy Over the Rainbow

A New Day

I don’t want to “go back to the way things were.” 2020 was pretty damn good to me. I watched images on TV and cried, I was often heartsick with all that happened, and I felt stressed and worried at times – decidedly anxious – but my reality was not bad at all. I had work, food (enough to put on a few pandemic pounds๐Ÿ˜), and a secure roof over my head. I don’t have children I had to keep occupied or educated. I’m not ill-suited to staying home or away from other people. Moreover, I did everything Saint Doctor Fauci said to do and did not contract the virus. (Because I never was anywhere to catch them I didn’t get a single cold or come down with the flu either.)

2020, for me personally, was the best year I’d had in five years, years in which there was a problematic situation in my life, not of my making, which had deep negative effects on me. Think of it like this. Imagine – and this is not my story – that just prior to the pandemic you’d had a terrible illness that was cured or went into remission. Or maybe your child or partner – again not my situation – was an addict but got their act together just before 2020 and was no longer abusing any substances. Or perhaps – really not my story – you’d been in prison and were released before last year. In any of these imagined scenarios, independent of anything else and assuming you didn’t get a bad case of the virus, 2020 would be looking pretty $%&@# good, no? It did to me. It did to me.

I don’t know that I’m out of the woods – my problem could definitely be reinstated as it’s fully beyond my control – but I can not tell you how very fine 2020 was in its absence. In this blog I called last year a “cake walk” for me compared to the preceding ones. Seriously, I’d take five 2020s, only in the sense of my own small existence and in NO WAY minimizing all the horrible things that have happened to other people, over one of the previous five years. Maybe I’d take ten of ’em, not sure. I’ve said this for years and don’t know if I ever said it in the blog but I maintain that sometimes you don’t fully see how bad things were or how you felt in its whole until things get better. I think that about grief for instance, or any kind of downtrodden period. Only when they lift (assuming they do) can you see how bad or oppressive it was.

People talk about having a word for 2021. If I’ve got one and to the extent it remains within my control, my word is freedom. Of course the cynic in me feels obligated to note that it could all go to shit but barring that…

I did read 30 books in 2020 per my “resolutions”. I’m recently drawn back to “spiritual” (which is not religious) or life-affirming works of a sort I haven’t read in awhile. Thanks to a mention last year in Ally Bean’s lively blog I read Glennon Doyle’s Untamed. Before my local library shut down for many months in early 2020 I happened to see and check out Oprah Winfrey’s The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose. This is a beautiful book, literally and figuratively, and one that should have general appeal to a certain kind of person, whether or not they respond particularly to Oprah herself (as I do). I would suggest it to anyone interested in living their life in a full and meaningful-to-you way. It’s made up of bits of prose by Oprah and quotations from over 60 people she esteems. Once the library reopened and I’d returned my copy I checked out the “Playaway” audio version so I could hear the various people in their own voices which really added to it.

In a mini free library I picked up Tosha Silver’s Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead, which, once I got around to looking at it, truly resonated with me. It’s probably a bit “out there” for a lot of people (although not so out there to preclude Dr Christiane Northrup from writing the intro), but I think Ms Silver presents a vibrantly different way of looking at life and its possibilities. She’s smart and fun too, no dry, boring monologues here. Her universe is a generous one, where you get what you need, which isn’t the same as having all your wishes filled. She counters the western notion of grasping, clinging, struggling and fighting for everything with one of relaxing into a belief that the universe/divine order will provide what is needed if allowed. What I think? There’s no harm in considering Silver’s ideas especially if traditional western thinking doesn’t truly suit you.

To take a sharp turn in another direction, I’ll end by saying my creativity is charging along, strong as ever. For most of 2020 I let a pair of earrings bide their time in my Amazon cart; I told myself not to buy them because I figured I could probably make a similar pair with what I have onhand. I did buy a packet of ready-made hoops, an indulgence by my standards. Late 2020 I got to it and made them.

I’m already thinking summer. I love wearing jewelry but my necklaces don’t get much play. My winter tops – mostly zip-ups and fleece – aren’t really necklace-friendly and about six months of the year, maybe more, I’m swimming in sunscreen and have never wanted to get my necklaces greasy (not sure how’d you’d even get sunscreen off of them successfully). I have an idea to wear chokers in summer, thinking they won’t get as close to the sunscreen terrain.๐Ÿ˜Š Anyway, I made this one today. It goes with my current mood/frame of mind, in a good way.

Clouds at sunset

It was a brisk-and-breezy fall day. At sunset I saw the clouds doing interesting things outside my bedroom window to the East. I was intrigued by the way they contrasted with the dark tree. (I aimed skyward to eliminate other buildings, utility poles, etc.๐Ÿ˜Š)

I thought the sunset itself might be equally interesting. The other day I wrote about how a nearby tree had been removed & how much it changed theย view in unexpected but delightful ways. This view includes two dead trees but with almost all the leaves down around here, that’s now moot… till spring. Anyway, I took this panoramic shot of the skyline to share with you. I am just drunk on this “new” view. Without the tree which had been nearest, the sky has been blown open. I can’t stop looking at it, all day long. It feels like a surprise gift.

And even more panoramic.