Blog changes and awards

On Christmas Eve, I posted a list of Christmas-Themed Science Fiction, which included a large number of links to Amazon. Unfortunately, while images of book covers are fine, and links to Amazon are fine, apparently images of book covers which are also links to Amazon are strictly forbidden by WordPress. As a result, the blog was put into some kind of limbo state, where it continued to exist, but would not appear in any user or topic feeds. I spent considerable time removing all such links from the blog, and this post will serve to test whether that act of contrition was sufficient, or whether I am doomed to spend eternity posting book reviews to myself alone.

On a more positive note, I’ve taken a few minor steps to improve the blog: cleaning up the menu, making slight modifications to my about page, and adding a review policy for authors who drop by. I’ve been reading quite a bit, so there should be plenty of short story and novel reviews this year. I’ve also been watching some films I missed while living in Asia; I won’t review the big-name films that everybody’s probably seen like The Hobbit part x, or Ender’s Game, but I’ll review some second-tier films that people might be on the fence about watching.

I’ve also recently been nominated for two blogger awards:

Thank you, Jacqueline Crawley

Inspiring

versatile-blogger

Thank you, Sue Archer

These awards work in a similar manner: the recipient is to list 7 interesting things about themselves (do I have time to do 4 interesting things before my next post?), and then nominate 15 other people for the award. I have been meaning to do a series of “appreciation” posts, where I briefly describe the sites of my frequent visitors, so perhaps this is an opportunity to begin.

I sometimes wonder how long it would take for an award of this type to encompass every blog at WordPress. I could try to determine this mathematically; I’d have to find a published statistic about the number of blogs and new blogs being created each day, then I’d have to backtrack a few awards to estimate the average number of days between awards. Unfortunately, that’s not a project I’m likely to work on this week.

Please give me some feedback in the comments section: do you enjoy reading a “Seven Interesting Things” post? How do you feel when you are nominated for one of these awards?

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27 comments

  1. Sadly, it appears that I am still in limbo. If you do manage to find this post, let me know how you did so. In the meantime, I will again attempt to resolve the problem…

  2. Hey there, congrats on the awards. Strangely enough I also nominated you for the inspiring blogger award as well a couple of days ago, just been a bit slow letting people know and providing the link. And I found the post no problem through the wordpress reader.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Do you also see this post on the topic feeds?
      Here is one it where it should show up: https://wordpress.com/tag/limbo/

    2. Oh, and thanks for the nomination as well!

  3. Just checked and yes I can.

    1. Thanks for your help. I don’t see it there, so they must have recently changed the software to not display users’ own posts.

  4. I found you in my Reader. I think someone is flexing a bit of muscle at WordPress for some reason. I’ve seen three different bloggers who were placed in timeout today for basically doing too much. Your post worries me. What harm can a linked image cause? If it’s a problem, WP should address it in their own software and make it impossible to do that.

    1. Looks like it’s time for me to cruise the forums and see if I can piece things together.

  5. I got this in my e-mail feed

  6. I just read coldhandboyack’s post and I’ve seen people complain that they were punished for having too many followers. I don’t know who is flexing their muscle at Word press, but this is worrisome indeed.

    1. I’m pretty sure my problem isn’t too many followers πŸ˜‰ but that would seem to be more evidence that new algorithms and/or policies are being implemented without notice. Or, it could just be the rise of the machines…

  7. I got this in my email feed, and had no problem reading it online. My friend Effrosyni Moschoudi had similar trouble, probably because she used a book cover with an Amazon affiliate link. The weird thing is that I’ve been doing that for ages on my blog, but have been using shortened links, through bit.ly. I wonder if that makes a difference.

    1. Using bit.ly links would make them much more difficult for an automated system to identify. Whatever happened to me isn’t being implemented wordpress-wide, though, because another blog using identical links didn’t have any problems.

  8. You turned up in my Reader. I’m baffled – I link book covers to Amazon in almost every post and have never had a problem. I always understood that the main reason for disappearing from the Reader was using a combination of too many tags and categories – 15 is the maximum combined, I believe. How were you linking? I do it as an image and just put the Amazon URL in the Custom URL box…

    Anyway, welcome back!

    1. Yes, I once tested for the tags and categories limit, I thought I found 14 was the max, but possibly it was 15. This post only has 6, but I’m getting mixed reports as to whether it’s viewable under those subject tags.

      I was using a different linking setup than you were, because I was doing one of those affiliate things (not to make money, since I typically review 99 cent or free items, but because I didn’t want to fill up my allocated space with images). I’ve since realized WordPress gives us much more space than I thought. Here is their latest policy regarding affiliate programs: http://en.support.wordpress.com/affiliate-links/

      Now that I’m aware of that policy, I’ve removed my affiliate links. If I ever get the blog’s problems resolved, I may go back and do the links as you’ve done them.

      1. Ah, that explains it – though WP’s policies on Affiliates sounds about as nonsensical as a lot of the other stuff they do. Yes, loads of space though – I’ve got about 1500 images on the blog and so far have only used 5% of my allowance – I reckon I’ve got enough room for another twenty years or so, a prospect that makes me feel quite faint… πŸ˜‰

  9. Hi
    I use the library system – to get the reading material, images and info for my reviews. I give my review at the beginning. So far it seems Ok – as I say where the info comes from and the links connect .I have many great readers of my art blog and less [but still great] readers in my Sci-Fi review. I guess art has a general appeal.

    Regarding the awards. I appreciate what it is. I put out awards to the blogs I look at the most. I hope my post sends others to these blogs. Some people resisted the awards and I understand the inconvenience + the time it took. I wasn’t comfortable posting 7 things about me – thought that was too personal – however I tend to be a team player and assume many will skip that part and go to the links.. I too wander at the math.

    1. wonder/wander – math can be like that.

      1. Your post came to my mail.

    2. I’m not worried about posting 7 things about myself, except I was afraid my readers might find them boring!

  10. fromcouchtomoon · · Reply

    Glad you’re back! I hope things work smoothly again.

    1. In theory, everything was resolved this weekend; I’ll make a post later today and see what happens.

  11. You have come up in my Reader stream… Hope you have managed to iron out the gremlins!

  12. That’s odd, I’ve never had an issue with Amazon links and pictures. Then again, I haven’t reviewed a book for a while, so maybe this is a new problem.

    Anyway, glad you’re back, the blog’s looking nice, and congrats on your awards! I look forward to reading some interesting things about you.

    1. I didn’t have any problem for about a year, but I guess there were changes either to policies or algorithms. Now I have even more of a backlog of reviews to write!

  13. That’s a most annoying and arbitrary (it appears) display of power on WordPress’s part. I know in my earliest days I ended up unintentionally putting myself in limbo by attaching way too many tags to my posts, but that’s a different matter.

    They do seem to be working on quietly making WordPress less usable, though, between the New Stats Page and, in the menu bar on top, replacing the link to go to the home page of the journal you’re reading with going to your own journal’s home page instead. Because yeah, that’s the thing that’s most important when I’m trying to find my way around an unfamiliar theme: finding my own blog that I already have bookmarked and might well have as my homepage anyway.

    1. The policy page seems clear to me now, however, I’m pretty sure that when I first started blogging, there were some other pages that were far less clear.

      So far, WordPress has been an ideal blogging platform for me, and I hope that will continue. Of course, there are always risks when you don’t control your own platform; that’s why I’ve never bothered with a facebook page to promote the blog.

      I’m not sure what drove the change you mentioned, but I’ve seen posts which indicate they’re reorienting interfaces towards smartphones and such; this might make sense for reader interfaces, but seems like a horrible choice for author/administrator interfaces.

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