On the rocks

Posted by

jack2_WM

Several years ago, WordPress introduced a Reblog function. If readers want a post from another site, click a button and it’s published, in an abbreviated form (55 words), on their site. Attribution and a direct link to the original post is included, but so is any photo that is featured at the top of the article. Sometimes my posts only include a photo and a short description. In those cases, the entire post is reblogged.

I have always HATED this feature, and have requested an “opt-out” alternative many times. This week, I thought my prayers had been answered and a Disable Option was finally granted. A few glitches are being worked out, but I can turn off the reblog feature on every post.

Almost….

Seems that regardless of my decision to remove the reblog button on my site, it remains viable through reader subscriptions. Kind of defeats the purpose, don’t you think?

I may need to stay in a semi-permanent state of self-medication until all of these shenanigans are straightened out, just so I don’t stress out completely.

To me, reblogging – which can be done with or without my approval – is sanctioned content theft. I work very hard on my original stories and photographs. For someone to come in and just take them, is frustrating. It’s not flattering, it’s not appreciated. I consider it disrespectful. I don’t consider it a way to distribute my material to a wider audience. (For the record – I’ve never received a single reference from a reblog.)

It’s a ridiculous argument.

It appears, that the only way I can stop my content from being reblogged is to stop publishing my writing and photos on WordPress, or set my site to private. The onus is on me to self-censor. I am painfully aware that nothing will stop someone who wants to cut/paste anything on the Internet and claim it as their own, but it would be nice if the WordPress Keepers of the Gate wouldn’t make it easier to poach content.

About a year ago, I updated my Copyright statement to include reblogging. I placed the statement in my sidebar, and a short while ago, also added it to my top nav bar in an effort to make it more conspicuous. It’s simple… if you want to use my stuff, you need to ask permission first – common courtesy.

Another WordPresser I know who also dislikes reblogs, adds a copyright statement just above the truncated word limit in every post. That way, if the article is reblogged, the statement is included. I may have to start doing that too, just to get readers’ attention.

In the three-plus years the feature has been offered, only one person has ever asked if it was okay to reblog one of my posts. (and I did say, “yes.”) I don’t approve reblog notices, so there is no trackback to the reblogger from my site. On the upside, all the people I’ve asked to remove my content, have taken down the offending post. Still, I have zero control over who can reblog my content.

My animosity toward reblogging comes from having posts of mine plagiarized – taken verbatim in toto and republished on another site, under someone else’s name. When I found out, I literally (not figuratively) felt sick. Now, whenever I get a notification of a reblogged post, I get that same nauseous feeling. It’s jarring. It’s like coming home and finding an intruder has ransacked your living room.

If you really like a post that much, bookmark it for later. If you want to share it with your readers, link back to the original post. If you can’t help yourself and feel compelled to reblog, at least ask the author’s permission. Maybe leave a comment on the original post, engage the author. Sneaking in and taking it without a single word is rude.

UPDATE: Found out Wednesday morning in the WP.com forum, that the actual word-count for reblogs as of now could be closer to 300. For my Trifectan friends, and 100-Worders (Lance and Vel) that could mean our entire posts could essentially be reblogged and not simply an excerpt. The Powers That Be are continuing to tweak that limit, and hopefully the number will be drastically reduced.

This week’s Studio30 Plus prompt is inspired by Katy Brandes, “a semi-permanent state of self-medication”

16 comments

    1. From what I understand from the discussion on the forum, the goal is to reduce the word-count on a reblog to around 50. As it is now, it’s up around 300… I think. You can adjust that yourself by adding the tag somewhere in your post. Anything after that tag, will NOT be reblogged. If you wanted to put a copyright notice in, you could put it just before the tag. The wording would be up to you, but I would include the copyright symbol, your name and your blog name, and whether Rights Reserved, or some Creative Commons License.

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  1. I’ve had it happen to me once, and my reaction was similar to the time a homeless man grabbed my beer from my table at a bar, and drank from it. Shocked. Offended. Insulted. Yet speechless and squirmy.

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  2. Oh GOD I hate reblogging. I loathe it. But let me get this straight – as I think this feature is only available in the .com version, not yet in the .org version of WordPress. You can disable the feature, but the reader can still reblog it? Or does the reader get a useless reblog button? I can’t seeeee a button, but then it’s 6 o’ the clock, I have to feed Sam, and I haven’t looked hard.

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    1. I’m not sure if reblogging is on the .ORG platform, but it was only in the last week that it could be disabled on the .COM version. Here is what a staff member said in the forum: “Keep in mind that the introduction of this (disable) option has no effect on reblogging in the Reader, where it will remain available.” Makes the whole effort to disable futile, in my opinion.

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  3. Nicely done Tara. It is important to have the permission to use anyone’s creative material no matter what it is (photos, words, sketches, etc…). It is unfortunate that WordPress does not respect that. If they had the option to turn it on (instead of turning it off) you would at least have the choice, when the choice is removed it makes WordPress complicit in the theft of creative copy, not cool.

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    1. That’s it. It’s a matter of who has a control over my intellectual material. I would like to think I did, but with this feature, I lose that control. And it is not cool.

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    1. I would probably be less cynical of reblogging if I had more control over how my content was used. I simply would still like to be asked permission first. Some sites that have reblogged my content are populated solely with other people’s posts, there is no original material. If all they want is a scrapbook of posts, they should set their site to private. I recognize that not everyone feels the same way about reblogging as I do. I might feel flattered if an effort was made to acknowledge my ownership.

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        1. From what I can glean from the forum discussions, the changes in reblogging feature are still in flux. Hopefully, it will all work out, and authors will get more control over their content and what’s done with it. Fingers crossed…

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