Delete is such a strong word

I have to admit that, for the most part, I enjoy WordPress.

Blogging has given me a forum for my thoughts and has fueled my delusions of someday actually making money writing.  One of the cool things about it has been the ability to leave comments on the posts of writers whose work makes mine look pathetic, and then being tickled when they actually respond.

“Dear Mr. Hamill, I think you write real good, and you’re books r kewl. I know your busy being famous and righting another best seller. I just wanted to say Hi”
(Photo from

I’ve never actually sat down and written fan mail to David Sedaris, Pete Hamill, or any of the other authors whose work I’ve enjoyed.  Maybe they would have written me back, but I tend to think they’d be too busy living in mansions and working on their next incredible book.

Anyway, back to WordPress.  They’ve recently upgraded their website and making comments now has strings attached.  I would always get an email telling me if an author had replied to one of my comments.  I also received notification anytime anyone commented on one of my posts, which I loved.  The other day, after the latest alterations to the site, that all changed.  Now, if I have commented on someone’s post, I started getting emails anytime anyone commented on that post.

This may seem like a minor change in how the site works, but consider this; some of the people whose work I admire can easily get 60 or 70 comments to a post.  If I read the posts early in their published state, and write a witty comment, my email box will blow up with the torrent of comments from other readers still to come.  If I commented on 4 or 5 author’s pieces, my incoming email grows exponentially by the end of the day.  Between those comment emails, ads for low cost E.D. pills, and great new recipe ideas for family-fun dinners from the Food Network, I barely have time to sift through my emails for electronic coupons from the Liquor and Wine SuperStore.

I decided to click the box on the bottom of the email to manage my subscriptions.  It was a simple process;  to avoid having my email box over-flow with other people’s comments about my favorite authors, I just needed to hit the “delete” icon below the author’s name.  “Delete”?!!  These are writers who I have “followed”.  I’ve “liked” their work on numerous occasions.  Would hitting “delete” be anything less than an obvious betrayal of my loyalty?  These hard-working, creative geniuses had earned my love and admiration.  Was I expected to delete them just because of my whiney complaints of having a full email box?

You don’t really mean that, do you?


I mean it’s really inconvenient to check my not-so-smart phone all day for emails, only to find that OkeydokeyDonkey220 has written a typo-riddled comment about The Byronic Man’s latest masterpiece.  I gritted my teeth and hit the dreaded delete button.  Almost immediately, the incessant chirping of my phone slowed to the pace of a poorly made metronome.  I closed my email then raced back to WordPress.  I wanted to hurry and refollow Byronic before he discovered what I’d done.  I was already cooking up lame excuses in my head to explain to him how I had accidentally hit the button in a tequila-addled state.  Perhaps I’d go with having my dog excitedly jump onto my lap upon hearing my laughter and hitting the key with her paw (Byronic doesn’t have know the cold truth about my dog’s disability).  Maybe I would blame it on the DEA, and tie it in with Byronic’s recent funny post – no Dave – don’t try to ride the coat-tails of someone else’s creativity – you’re (slightly) better than that.

I got to WordPress and clicked on Blogs I Follow.  There he was, still high on my list.  I didn’t understand, I’d hit delete.  My computer dictionary says that “delete” and “unfollow” are two different things, but my inner voice tells me otherwise.  I hit refresh a couple of times just to be sure.  The Byronic Man was still there, right where I’d left him.

Apparently, the people who run WordPress, a blogging site for literary wannabees with varying levels of talent, chose to use the word “delete” when perhaps a different word may have been more apropos. Was it too much to expect that the people at a website dedicated to the expression of the written word could have chosen a more suitable phrase or single word for us to click to keep from getting emails?  They could have chosen any number of alternates.  Some of the candidates which come to mind are:


“You deserve better than me”



“We’ve grown apart”


or my personal favorite,

“discontinue receiving comments on this post via email”

Obviously, WordPress has the same problem as almost every other business in the world.  They have idea guys, worker bees, and somewhere, in a room with a special key and way cooler office chairs than everyone else, they have the I.T. department: those tech savvy guys and gals with the names you may or may not have trouble pronouncing.  Like most I.T. departments, they feel the need to run massive, complicated upgrades to the site every so often.  The sleek new look of the site and “increased fluidity of the browser-main frame interface” will accomplish two significant things:

1)  It will frustrate the daily users of the site, who’ve become accustomed to finding their way around without being stranded or hopelessly lost

2)  It will give the I.T. staff plenty to do developing the next site upgrade/facelift

Luckily, bloggers like me can feel free to write any kind of criticism we care to about the I.T. types as they don’t generally bother spending much time on the actual content of the site, preferring to stand behind the curtain of the Great and Imperial Oz.  These tech-heads just wreck it for the rest of us, making life difficult while creating work for themselves to feed off the corporate teat a little longer.  I’m not afraid of some I.T. dopes.  What are they going to do to me?

In any case, I’m glad that when they said delete, they didn’t really mean it.

31 thoughts on “Delete is such a strong word

  1. Dear 1PP (that sounds dirty, doesn’t it?) There are 2 ways to follow a blogger – their “site” and their “comments”. When you deleted B-Man – you just deleted your ability to receive an e-mail everytime one of his brilliant followers/commenters dropped a gem. I have a love/hate for the higher power (Wizard of WordPress, or the WOW as I like to call him/her/it). More hate than love lately, though. You can go to your dashboard and do the same thing under the Blogs I follow section.

    When you comment – there is a little box at the bottom of the “reply” screen – that is now automatically checked – when you comment on a blog, you just need to uncheck that little box. It is a supreme pain, but like you, I have enough e-mail, what with Lonely Senior matchmaking offers, recipes for things I can no longer eat, and volumes of sales ads for everything, as you noted, from ED treatment to the cure for my hot flashes.

    Unchecking that little box now….

        1. What? Wit and panache?! Gimme a sec…I thought you were gone! Damn! I hate getting caught without my utility belt! Where was I? How’s the contest going? Ha Ha…umm…you were saying?

            1. guilty as charged…in truth, I was working on my next post…an international thriller with tons of intrigue and sex! speaking of upcoming posts, will the deadly sins contest continue, or have the dullards at WOW ruined it for you? I was going to start working on each of the remaining 6 sins, and just pick up on it once you named the next sin, but I took a nap instead…

              1. Yes, the contest will continue. It will take more than the antics of WOW to stop me (MWAHAHAHAHAH)…I’ll post additional info. I have the sequence (randomly drawn from an empty martini glass) and will get that info put up.

  2. WordPress has been having some issues lately, I think. My reader is not working today, so other than those wonderful blogs I receive an email notification for (like yours!), I will not be able to read new posts of those blogs that only show up in my reader.

    As for comment notification, it used to be, you had to check the little box under the “leave a reply” rectangle if you wanted to receive email notification of all comments. I never check this anymore now that WordPress allows us to see comments in our “notifications” section on the main page. Now it appears they’ve gone to having this box automatically checked, so you need to be sure to uncheck it or you will have lots of emails. I’m hoping it’s a glitch, and things will tame down soon.

    1. It’s a glitch…those IT types love glitches…I think they put them in on purpose so they can fix them and look useful. For the record, one of the blogs I commented on was yours, and since you get like hundreds of comments, I learned so much about where periods go, that I’m actually more confused than i was before. (.).
      On the bright side, I feel less accomplished than ever, since my posts seldom score more than a dozen comments (and half of those are usually my replies!). Oh well!

      1. Many of my comments are my own. I love the banter and thus, spike up my own comments. But that can be our little secret 😉

        Sorry your inbox got inundated with comments about periods. Very boring, I’m sure. My post tomorrow incorporates the word “G-spot.” Perhaps that will be more tantalizing (but don’t count on it…)

        1. I’m eager to see how you manage to de-sex the term g-spot. I can only assume you’re going to be referring to the best part of your yard in which to plant a garden.

  3. I was just thinking about posting on this topic. WP and its changes are reminding me of the continual (oh so helpful) changes made at Facebook that launch rippling waves of bitching and abuse.

    I went through exactly the same thing as you (that’s scary) … billions of emails and fear of deleting people I follow. What bugs me is that now I have to be conscious enough (yes, I write better when unconscious) to uncheck a box every time I make a comment.

    I think I’m doomed to the billions of emails for the WEEKS it takes me to get it right. Glad I’m in good (?) company.

    1. misery loves company…and though I try to write humorous pieces, there’s often a bit of truth in them…no one can convince me that IT people aren’t just taking advantage of everyone else’s lack of tech expertise and making up problems which they can then fix.

      1. Grrrrrr. I just opened my email and found SIX comments on this post. Stop!! By order of the King. Or Queen. Of everything!

          1. Will I be rid of you forever? Because as tempting as that may sound, I would be sad. I was just sitting here trying to remember how to do it. (This morning was soooooooo long ago!)

      2. I must have missed what you told me about how to delete the continual message thing. I went to reader and my only option there is to delete you, period. Where is “manage subscriptions?”

  4. I’ve been more angry than Bruce Banner these days. I hate this new system with all my heart. Sometimes I forget to check that little box and get to read excellent witty comments like “LOL”. Good job wordpress.

    1. Again, I gotta believe this is entirely the idea of some IT geek who doesn’t use the site for anything but a paycheck. Every system and site I use goes through these upgrades and updates, and every single one of them is nothing but fodder for IT people to solidify their job security by convincing the rest of us how important they are, when in reality, they’re the ones who created the problem in the first place.It’s like planned obslescence for the products which don’t last 6 months without the need for someone from that office to tweak it. It’s bad enough when they screw up a website, we can always just go somewhere else (perish the thought), but when it’s the system I use to earn a living, it gets personal.

      On the bright side, i’ve got a totally different post all written up and ready to go…I’m fairly certain, you’ll find it most entertaining. Gonna wait a day or two to get some room a good sized audience.

      Oh look, it’s happy hour!

    1. I don’t usually get much in the way of comments. The numbers can deceiving since anytime you reply, it counts as a comment too. So a running dialogue looks impressive. My problem with that is that I’m at work all day and cannot reply to comments until I get home. Oftentimes, people have moved on. It’s a weird numbers game. Every time i have what I consider a milestone, someone posts their own and it makes mine look pathetic, so i keep those to myself.

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