Spam Control and Watching the Readers

Hello, blogger friends!

It’s been a while since the last time I wrote one of these open posts.  Sometimes it’s good to remember there are real people on behind the screens, so I like to reach out every so often, drop some updates, and try to connect.  I hope all of you are doing well, wherever you are.  To my newer followers, welcome!

This is more of a site update post, in case you’re wondering.  The first thing I want to ask is for those of you on WordPress.  Is anyone else having issues with the feed?  I try to keep up with those bloggers, news sites, and fan sites that I follow,   The WP feed was perfect for that.  Recently, I’ve discovered that there are those I follow who aren’t showing up in the feed.  I went through my follow list to see when the last time some of these people posted, and some have dropped off the map.  That happens.  But others had posted within hours.  I’ve made it a habit now of refreshing my feed periodically and scrolling backwards to see what I’ve missed.  A side effect is that I have at least one follower who shows up with no like button.  On refresh after 30-45 minutes, I’m able to like the post.  If anyone else has noticed these sorts of things, might I recommend letting the WP tech support know?  Seemed to work pretty well when dealing with some of the more rampant spammers.

Speaking of spammers and followers… let’s talk spammers first.  Most of my “readership” seems to be some spammer who changes their country of origin on a VPN and hits up the exact same blogs every day, sometimes two or three times a day.  After that, they consistently spam me on two other blog posts that are not being hit by actual people, telling me the actual comments are being dropped by bots.  And of course, those comments get blocked or stuck in the spammer.  Nothing new there.  Since the posts being hammered are a couple of years old, I went ahead and closed comments to posts over 60 days old.  That hammering stopped.  This morning, I discovered some new followers with obvious spam profiles.  Seriously, it’s not “essential to buy {generic brand name here] electronics Muslim rocket,” no matter what your one and only blog post says.  Likewise, I’m not interested in buying gold to prop up my profile against the Illuminati.  C’mon, people. You can do better than this.  If you want to crack my site, you’ve got to really work at it.  Suffice it to say, I quietly removed them.  Nice thing about having a slow and steady readership… I notice things like this.

Adjusting for the obvious spam stalkers, actual readership on this site is about the same now that it was a year ago in spite of the number of people following me having sprouted, and likes aren’t really increasing at all.  I’ve been thinking about why that is.

My first thought about this is that my content isn’t appealing for whatever reason.  If this is the case, so be it.  We all enjoy what we enjoy.  I write about what I’m focused on at any given time, like most of us, and if people aren’t interested, that’s not a big deal.  For those who are, I’m flattered that anyone thinks I have something interesting to say.  Thank you for that.  But where the majority is concerned, I’m forced to ask, why are people following if they’re not interested?  But then somebody hits that like button on 20 separate posts in about a minute or less.  What for?  I’m watching this  happen in real time, and clearly these posts aren’t being read.  So now I’m torn how to think about that.  I’m not ashamed to say it: my self-esteem isn’t the greatest sometimes.  I like being validated on some level.  I write for me, but I also like to share.  As lame as it sounds, I get excited every time someone hits that like button.  If somebody is interested enough to comment, it makes my whole day.  I try to do better about these things on blogs I follow.  But 20 likes in under a minute by the same person?  Does that mean anything at that point?  Having said that… don’t hit the like button out of pity.  If you like what you read, hit the button.  If you don’t like it, no biggie.  I just like to know when I’m doing something others find enjoyable too.

The second possibility, which I’ve considered due to the aforementioned problem of some posts not showing up in my feed right away, is that my posts aren’t showing up in other people’s feeds.  I’ve noticed some of the people I follow have long since accounted for this happening to them, which tells me this has been a problem for a while now.  I’ll see the same post re-timed so that it shows up 2 or 3 times in a 48 hour span.  Seems to work too.  They get more likes.  Makes perfect sense.  But then I’ll look at the numbers, because I’m curious.  Some of these people have 3000 followers, and they might get 40 likes.  So again I find myself asking, why are 3000 people following and not reading?  I don’t get that.  I realize that probably is a good thing for people who are making ad money with their sites or whatever.  Personally, I’m not doing that.  Not only do I not have ads on my site, I use an ad blocker, and I typically opt-out of all marketing crap.  Commercials suck.  Besides, dealing with sensory overload as I do, I like to minimize the noise.  Ads are just noise.  Back on point, I know I would rather have a handful of people who legitimately want to read my posts over a large number of people who don’t really care.  I try to cultivate friendships out here, and that’s been surprisingly easy to do in some cases.  In those cases, a small handful of readers means so much more.  I could cross-market on other platforms and raise my profile, etc., but that’s not who I am.  I’m more concerned with the followers I do have.  You followed me for a reason, so I’m hoping the reasons are still applicable.  I know that, for myself, I read things that people post that aren’t in my wheelhouse simply to expand my horizons.  Maybe I’m doing the same for someone else?  Who knows?

There is the third possibility I’ve considered: my posts are just too long.  Time is valuable, I get it.  But I like to write, and I typically have quite a bit to say once I get going.  It’s what I do.  If “TL;DR” is the big issue, you knew what you were getting into the first time you read anything on my site.

But if you are reading… let me know.  I want to know why, or if you stopped, tell me why you stopped (which would be ironic if you’re reading this).  I’m still going to write what I want, and heaven knows there are so many projects being juggled, which could easily explain a fractured audience.  But I do like to implement good ideas, and I like to see what’s going on every so often.  What do you enjoy?  What do you think I could do better?  Leave me some constructive feedback, either in the comments section or via my contact page.

Thank you for reading.

31 thoughts on “Spam Control and Watching the Readers

  1. I agree with just about everything you said–writing for myself but still seeking validation, getting excited when users like or comment, wanting to build relationships, wondering why people with ten times my follower count only get two times my interaction level if that. Luckily, I haven’t dealt with much comment spam, but it seems like I’m getting more and more followers that don’t seem like real bloggers when I look at their pages. Maybe that explains why some people have so many followers?

    Just a suggestion, but if you want to make the extra-long posts easier to skim without writing less, you could bold 1 or 2 essential sentences per paragraph. I’ve been doing it for a while, but Idk how many people read the whole post vs. read the bold sentences.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good advice. I know I typically read the long posts as much as I write them, but there is something to be said for breaking up the wall of text. I wrestled with this because I kept thinking, “When you read books, there are walls of text.” Comes down to format and eye candy, I suppose. I appreciate the input. Those that do that sort of thing, it does seem to work on some level.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As you know, I read, I like, I sometimes comment. There are posts that honestly are not what I would normally seek out but, like you said, it is fun to expand one’s horizons. So, thanks for all the rabbit holes!

    As for the feed…I notice a difference depending which device I use: on the pc, the feed works well; on the Fire, it’s also pretty swift at updating; but the moblie app seems to lag quite significantly. So, maybe there is a connection with posts not coming through?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rabbit holes? You’re welcome! lol

      I thought about that. For me the mobile app is fairly up to date, but I keep the PC open at work (shhh… don’t tell!), and that seems to have some weird issue that requires constant reloading if I’m going to catch every feed. Of course, it may just be that tech doesn’t work right in corner of the multiverse. That’s been proven to be the case a time or three.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know I’m guilty of mass liking in a matter of minutes – but it’s because I have a few posts open from whatever blogs I’m reading and forget to like before moving onto the next one so have to go back/or reopen the tabs to like the posts.

    I’m not a massive commenter on posts, I like to have a few mini paragraphs to write as I normally feel bad just saying ‘great post’ or other short, too simple things as I don’t feel I’m adding value.

    It’s also interesting that you’ve found some posts don’t show up in people’s feeds as I’ve found myself missing posts from some of the blogs I follow, and when I go onto their pages I’ve got a few to catch up!

    And it’s definitely not lame to get excited over likes – even when I only get a few likes on a post I’m happy that what I’ve written has at least been understood by someone else! I just keep reminding myself that I’d rather have a few people that are genuinely enjoying what I do, instead of a hundred who just click like and move on.

    I’m still reading because I enjoy a lot of what you post, it’s different to what I normally read so it’s more interesting and I pay more attention. You can tell you enjoy writing it, which instantly makes a post better for me, instead of someone posting just because they feel they have to.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The feed bugs me. It’s like what Facebook used to be famous for, where the more you like something, the less of it you see because the engine is directing you towards new. But this is essentially an RSS feed. It should show everything. After all, why would we follow something if we don’t want to see it? Like you, I follow some people precisely because I’d never discover half of what they’re posting about otherwise. It’s interesting to see what other people are doing and what they think about it.

      I appreciate the feedback and compliments, thank you. Sounds like we’ve got a few habits in common. I know I need to practice what I preach and get better about commenting. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good Lords in Gravy – I can’t imagine the complexities of ad revenue and what not. It sounds positively dreary.
    I write for me – I need to skim through my “followers” and kill off the drones. Bots. Whatever. They need to bugger off.
    Excellent post, as always – and I can never get too much of your style!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thank you. Good luck with the bot-kill. There are a couple of followers that I have with zero profile at all, but they seem to be legitimately human and interested. But the ones who think they’re clever… you’ll have no problem seeing them instantly. It’s hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is the first post I read from your site, and I like it. You’re right there is something wrong with the feed. I have tried to hit the like buttom in couple of site and only the word loading appear. I read all sort of post to learn from others and see what they are up too. Excuse me, If I make any mistake in my grammar this is my second language. I will read some of your post. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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