“walking a fine line”

Once in a while it’s good to step away from my own blog to visit others. There are so many on WordPress that are interesting and well written. And there are as many personalities as there are blogs. Each unique unto itself.

WordPress.com

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The Worpress community repesents a microcosm of the world at large since its members are from all over the globe. The conversations run the gamut from religious beliefs to political persuasions to everyday life. Sometimes a blog includes a range of topics, like mine; sometimes there’s a particular focus, like a journal of one’s daily activities. What’s valuable to the writer, is what drives the blog. Otherwise what’s the point?

What fascinates me about the blog world is that we all coexist, side by side, with true freedom of expression, except for what might be deemed inappropriate by “management.” Except for a short period where I was mistakenly being spammed from leaving comments a month or so ago, I’ve not otherwise seen evidence of suppression by WordPress. Heck, they’ve even allowed some spams to come through for my deletion. Although they have fortunately prohibited more than 26,000, for which I’m extremely grateful.

Just as in life, bloggers can rally with others who seem like-minded. Many do. I have. I guess that’s how we form relationships as human beings. It’s comforting; it’s secure; it’s familiar. But what’s nice about WordPress is that we can step outside our comfort zone to “test the waters” without being “seen.” We can read others’ opinions, get a feel for who they are, and decide whether or not to engage in conversation. That’s not always easy to do in real life, without “getting into it” from the get-go.

I think most of us want to be part of the larger community. I don’t imagine too many prefer isolation. I know I don’t. When I first began this blog in July of 2010, I was hell-bent on writing. But I learned in time that while I had readers, most were not really interactive. They came and they left without leaving their imprint. So I worked at making connections by getting out and about. Leaving comments on others blogs, brought them to mine where they reciprocated. I’ve formed strong bonds with a few based upon respect, compassion and positive support.  

The Westboro Baptist Church picketing at the m...

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There’s a fine line between “telling it like it is” and expressing one’s opinions, I think.  Walking the line between both is difficult at best. Refusing to walk that line can mean isolation, a lone voice in the desert. I don’t think we were built to live like islands unto ourselves. Where are we when Mother Nature upends our lives like Katrina or Japan? To whom do we turn if our loved ones are wiped out in a tsunami, and we’re left alone having isolated ourselves from others?

8 12 09 Bearman Cartoon Freedom of Speech

As I’ve indicated, it’s hard to be true to one’s own self, while coexisting with others who feel as strongly about their own true selves. It’s a matter of give-and-take, compromise really, just as in any relationship, even political ones and religious ones. It really does come down to compromise. Being correct can be isolating.

Research still points to the fact that Alzheimer’s might be in my future since my mom suffered its effects for years before she died. That is an isolating disease. I don’t care to self-impose more years of isolation…

by not being open to compromise…hugmamma. 

husbands…can’t live without them

A sure sign of my significant other’s undying support and love was reflected in something he did for me, which I’d not even asked him to do. When WordPress suspended my blog, my husband came to my defense by messaging the support staff a few complimentary words. In return, WordPress emailed an equally supportive message.

Hi

WordPress Logo

Image via Wikipedia

Thank you for your note. 

The site you mention was actually removed by mistake, and it has been restored to its original state. We have notified the site owner of this, as well. We are incredibly happy that you’re enjoying this blog (and we’re sure the owner is, as well) and hope that you do continue to do so.

We do apologize for this, and if you have any further concerns at all please just let us know.

Enjoy your weekend  🙂

Anthony

WordPress.com

As with my previous experiences with Comcast, this one with WordPress continues to support my feeling that you can “get more with honey, than with vinegar.” This situation felt a little closer to the skin, in that I felt personally attacked, being labeled a spammer. Nonetheless, launching a retaliatory attack of words would’ve cost me more.

Stress is as much a killer, as heart disease. As it turned out, with whom would I have been engaged in battle? An automated system that would have come out the victor, not having shed any blood in the process. I didn’t mince words, but the matter wasn’t going to be resolved without the help of WordPress’s support staff. So I enlisted their aid, and while resolution seemed tedious and painstakingly slow, respect on both sides was never jeopardized. In the end, we both got what we wanted. I was able to resume blogging, and WordPress retained a consumer of its product.

Firetruck shirts

Image by Jordan via Flickr

isn’t that what life should be about?…getting along with one another?..hugmamma.

a hiccup…albeit a big one

The last 12 hours or so has had me pondering the ups and downs of blogging. Not something I’d set out to do when I awoke yesterday. But being blindsided by another “tsunami,” I had to deal with it. I’m becoming very familiar with those of late, as regular readers of my blog are aware.

I’d been writing about being spammed out of leaving comments on other blogs. “Speaking” with WordPress support staff, I was told to check with Akismet, which I did, but got nowhere. So I hunkered down and continued writing, hoping the situation would even itself out. Meanwhile I’d check to see if I was able to leave comments with blogging buddies. Eventually it seemed I could, with a few of them.

I got a message from Akismet saying they’d tweaked the system, leading me to think I would no longer be spammed from participating in the WordPress community. Proceeding to publish my last post, I pressed “click.” What happened next was reminiscent of the viral attack on my laptop several weeks ago. Across the top of my blog were words to the effect that it was suspended because I’d broken rules and regulations, and needed to go elsewhere with my blog, which was no longer suitable for this site. Well, I have to admit it was like a punch to the stomach.

WordPress.com

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Recovering somewhat I sent off a message via an automated screen, and clicked “report blog.” That seemed to trigger the message to the entire community that “hugmamma’s mind, body, and soul” was suspended. So it looked to me like I “cooked my own goose,” by seeking help. A couple of friends inquired as to what happened, and I told them what I knew. Waxing philosophical, I decided what occurred was probably inevitable, given that I was labeled a spammer.

I held no ill-will towards WordPress, still don’t, because I’m on their site gratis. I understand I must abide by their rules. I just wasn’t sure which rules I’d broken. But I’d need to “cool my high heels,” or flats as the case may be, and wait to hear back from their review. 

The entire situation was disconcerting to say the least. But now I was free to do other things which I’d neglected. So I puttered, and puttered, and puttered. Eventually I returned to my laptop and began looking through tech sites which reported on WordPress’s recent DDoS, Distributed Denial of Service attack. In so doing, I came to understand its vast reach on the internet, and its correlating, gigantic presence.

My hobbit’s eyes were opened. My spam situation was microbial compared to what WordPress has been dealing with this last week or so. And from what I read, there are only 75 staff who handle millions of customers. I now understood why my blog was probably still reeling from the trickle down effects of the attack. It’s not to say I shouldn’t have queried the support staff about my issues, because they would not otherwise have known. It is true that the “squeaky wheel” gets the oil, or whatever the adage is.

Robogallery

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With such a massive operation, it’s obviously imperative that WordPress is on a highly sophisticated automated system of checks and balances. However it wasn’t infallible to hackers determined to wreak havoc. My blog, it seems, got caught up in the warfare. I’d be curious to know if other blogs were similarly affected.

So while the events of recent days have “stirred the pot” until it boiled over, I’m a little wiser to the downside of blogging. There are things beyond my control, and in those instances I can seek solace in my family and God, knowing that there’s always a bigger picture in which I’m just one of his creatures.

It did help that when I awoke this morning, 2 messages awaited me from the WordPress support staff.

 

Hi, 

Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. I have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.

We are very sorry for that happening and the inconvenience it caused you.

--

Anthony

WordPress.com

and

> Since my blog, "hugmamma's mind, body, and soul" has been suspended, I wondered if I could have access to my files.

Your site doesn't appear to be suspended - what's the URL of the site that you're speaking of above?

--

Ryan M.

WordPress.com | Automattic

Thankfully, WordPress's relatively small administrative staff does respond to questions from a non-paying blogger like me, even in the midst of managing a major crisis. I tip my hat to them for doing the best they can, which is pretty good, considering.

i'm learning...not such a novice anymore...hugmamma.  

halleluja! for small favors

Tried to leave comments on my blog buddies’ blogs. Thank goodness 2 of them worked, jeanne’s blog and The Daily Dabbler. I posted 2 comments on each consecutively, to make sure it wasn’t a fluke, as well as to celebrate the moment. Gotta love those small moments! Not so lucky with Scriptor Obscura and Sage Chronicles. Am letting them know via this post that I’ve left comments which disappeared into “thin air.”

Cover of

Cover via Amazon

Bought a book which might help me understand the machinations of the internet better, especially the manipulations of others to get ahead of the pack. I think the title speaks for itself, Get to the top on Google,” by David Viney. Someone left a comment a while back asking how it was I got to the top of Google’s ranks. I responded that I had no clue. Remember I’m a writer, not an internet guru. I’ve no clue about Akismet, let alone Google. I write. I click. And it’s out of my hands. Except for checking stats on my blog, I rarely venture out to see what’s happening with my site on Google. When I do, I’ve no idea what to make of what I see. I do see a lot of sites using my posts, but I just shake my head not knowing what to make of that.

My brother’s more tech savvy, so he’s been trying to clue me in on what’s what. I guess manipulation is part of life. We all do it, to some degree, to get our way, to get what we want. But when it oversteps, in the hopes of hurting others, then it’s in another league altogether. But I’m not going to go there. Just want to let readers of my blog know in case your comments are hijacked too. My advice? Don’t stress. Celebrate the small things that do go right.

thank you, jeanne, and the daily dabbler…for “taking my calls”…hugmamma.

“spammed” out of wordpress.com community

 

WordPress.com

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It seems Akismet has probably decided I’m no longer welcome out there in the wordpress.com community. Can’t complain really because they’ve kept thousands of spammers from getting through to me. So I’ll keep blogging, in semi-isolation, possibly leaving comments on other blogs, hoping they’ll be “unspammed.” WordPress support staff seem as clueless as me, so there’s no real answer to my disappearing comments. Tried to post one this morning on “Success Network Recipes.” My comment “looked” like it might be accepted, but it wasn’t.

Now I know how spammers feel, except I’m not trying to coast on someone’s publications. But it is interesting to see firsthand, the downside of blogging, and technical control. When I tried to email Akismet again as suggested by a member of the wordpress.com support staff, the screen that came up asked if I wanted to buy into spam protection. Confused I emailed back to the support staff at WordPress asking if I now had to purchase spam protection. I’m awaiting their reply. The blogger of Success Network Recipes said in her post Perfect Solution for Blogging,”

This is a very good question, Lucy. Recently I noticed WordPress have been adding charges to their .com version on certain elements which were free before, such as getting your API key to activate Akismet

This is all a little frustrating, to be sure. My foray into the wider world of wordpress is probably being seen as intrusive by the controls that are locked in at Akismet. Unfortunately, the nuts and bolts of computers can’t “think outside the box.” So perhaps the human in control of making decisions is away from his station, or perhaps there’s no human at the helm. Hmmm… Makes you wonder.

The other possibility is that my user name “hugmamma” is too suggestive. When I first began blogging, I did get a few spammers who obviously thought I was a “madame.” One foreign gentleman asked what I meant when I wrote “a babe in the woods” when I spoke of being a total novice to blogging. I had to laugh at what must’ve been going through his mind. Me at 61? Duh, I don’t think so. For sure he didn’t read my “About” page.

All kidding aside, I’m in a marginal “pickle.” I can write, but I can’t participate. So I’ll go back into my hovel like a hobbit, keep writing, and ponder my options. Meanwhile I hope you’ll keep stopping by to visit and read, and hopefully leave me comments, which I promise will not be spammed. As a wise soon-to-be 25 year old soul, my beloved daughter, once said to me…

DSC_3525

Image by ph54441 via Flickr

 

the only consistent thing in life is change…so we’ll see…we’ll see…hugmamma.

“lemonade out of lemons”

no spam!

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Am experiencing some difficulty posting comments on other blogs, including wordpress Daily Post, Random Thoughts from Mid-Life and The Daily Dabbler. Wondering if anyonelse has found themselves in this situation before. WordPress support is trying to figure things out, as am I. It might be that Akismet is spamming my comments. So I emailed them a message of inquiry. Funny that wordpress’ own blog should be spamming me, since I’m a wordpress blogger. But computers aren’t infallible. Thank goodness! Otherwise, they might replace the human race. Our brains still top computer nuts and bolts, I guess. Now if we could only figure out why my comments to those 3 blogs keep “vanishing into thin air.”

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

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This is a good time to send hugs to the wordpress support team for helping me out of “jams.” I’ve seen a couple of their pics. They look like they could be my sons, or grandsons. If they were, but even though they aren’t, I sure wouldn’t want to beat them up for something that might be beyond their control, and mine. And besides, I’m paying nothing for their services, except what I invest in time and writing. Those are significant to me, of course, but everyone’s life is of importance to them. So, hey! I’ll just keep doing my thing, until I’m no longer able. There are a million other exciting things that await me. So many things, so little time.

Just want to let blog friends, Random Thoughts from Mid-Life and The Daily Dabbler, that I’m unable to post comments on your blog, but I look forward to your leaving comments on mine. I’ll still visit your blogs, however. You’ve valuable things to say, and I’m glad you’re sharing!

will keep writing…hope you keep reading…hugmamma.