Posted by Mitch Mitchell on May 26, 2010
Some of you remember back in 2008 when I wrote about my gripe with Blogger blogs, which is owned by Google. Back then, I said my main gripe had to do with trying to write comments on those blogs, where you either had to register for the site so you could get notified of comments, or you could choose one of the other options and never know that someone had responded to a comment.
Now I’m going to gripe about WordPress.com blogs, and I have a minor gripe against them. Once again, it’s the commenting gripe. With WordPress.com, you can comment on the blogs and potentially get a notification. Why do I say “potentially”? Because if you click on the box that says you want to be notified of comments, like you’d do on my blog, you immediately get this email that asks you if you want to subscribe to comments. Well, if you didn’t why would you have clicked on the box?
On this blog, which is self hosted, I already have that selected, so if you get anything in the mail from me it’s because you commented, and you can decide to unsubscribe from comments at any time if you please. On WordPress.com blogs, you have to check the box, so one would assume there wouldn’t be any questions that you wanted the blog comments.
To be somewhat fair, I will say that I know why they do this. It’s a double opt-in system, verifying that the person whose name and email address that’s been used is the same person who actually wrote the post. It’s known as a double opt-in as opposed to a regular opt in because you initially had to check the box to tell the blog that you wanted to get comments. For some blogs where you don’t get a choice as to whether you want to check or uncheck a box, you might still receive a message asking you if you want to subscribe to comments, but in that case you didn’t really opt-in the first time, hence it’s not a double opt-in system. You really wanted to know that, didn’t you?
Anyway, with this system, if it gets a bounced email back, it knows to move the comment to spam. If someone else’s email address was used, certainly that person wouldn’t want to receive any more responses, but in this case the concept is somewhat flawed. At best, if someone forged a person’s email address and that person gets the response, they’d have to follow the link back to the blog, see the posting, and request that it be removed because they didn’t write it. I wonder how often that sort of thing really happens.
In my mind, one uses a double opt-in system if they have an automated email system set up for something like subscribing to a newsletter, since spam email can easily get into that, or some “friends” will do a drive-by subscription as a joke on a friend. But for a blog, I really can’t see the reasoning behind that.
Still, I have to admit that I’m more apt to comment on a WordPress.com blog than a Blogger blog because at least I can choose which of my 3 blogger personas I wish to use. But I must admit that I never subscribe to the opt-in email that shows up. Occasionally, if I’m so predisposed, I’ll pop back to a blog that I’ve commented on to see if it ever got a response, but that’s mainly only for friends of mine. For the rest… I guess it’s a one and done most of the time.
I wish WordPress.com would address that, or at least make it an option for their users. I get that it’s free, but does free mean it has to restrict what some people can do? The fix is probably in the paid version on that site; does anyone know for sure? I will say this; I’m glad it’s in the free software version for those of us who pay for our own hosting.