An Open Letter To IBS Health Team

As many of you know, I posted a blog this morning which poked fun at two of my recent “followers”.  In an effort to expose the new WordPress followers for what they are, I pretended to salute them, while actually bringing to light their lack of following credentials – if there even is such a thing.  Allow me to explain:

Anyone who writes on WordPress has likely noticed a big upsurge in new followers, even when we haven’t posted anything lately.  If you write, you do so to express yourself.  Having people enjoy your work enough to follow you is an important ingredient in the process.  Sadly, a look into my new followers will often reveal serial followers who are not following for the joy of reading my witty banter, but are instead trying to increase internet exposure for their own causes.  Whether the cause is a disease or a company selling insulated windows is irrelevant.  The point is that the “following” is not being done for to the intended reason of appreciating someone else’s work, but rather for some sort of ulterior motive.  The lack of purity in the followers’ motives detracts greatly from those of us who’d like to enjoy some recognition for our efforts.  WordPress’ spambot patrol seems powerless to stop it or simply doesn’t care..

One of the two “followers” I profiled was IBShealthteam.  For the uninitiated among you, IBS is Irritable Bowel Syndrome.  True to my form, I poked fun at the syndrome and the image used on its Gravatar.

The first comment I received from IBShealthteam read:

Thank you !  Evangelical about getting the message across, what can we say !  We do read the blogs we follow by the way, is a team of us who like to follow the many great blogs out there of which yours is one we all enjoy.    We genuinely just want to help and enjoy reading great blogs of that we are guilty!

I was pleasantly surprised by the comment and appreciative of the group’s apparent ability to take a joke.  As seasoned WordPress writers know, when someone comments on your blog the very first time, you are unable to reply directly and must approve the comment first.  Since I was busy at work, I chose to wait until later to approve and reply.  I wasn’t even going to bust their chops about the Ewok-style  grammar.  At some later point, the following comment was posted:

We have just read a blog which mocks our own and while we initially took it in good humour (we even liked it!) the author has since failed to moderate our comments which light heartedly challenge his assertions about our blog.

Firstly we must address his main point, that we follow blogs for the sake of it.  We are a ‘team’ of writers, a blogging collective’ if you will, and each of us follows blogs we like under this name.  We follow the blogs which we enjoy, not for any potential gain.  We are a blog for IBS sufferers, we are not selling anything, nor do we aim to make money.  Our website has ads to cover the cost of the site, nothing else.

This particular blogger  took great pleasure in attacking our following bloggers whom we enjoy.  We repeat we are not a company.  We respect the bloggers that take the time and effort to produce great work, so to any of you that we have followed, please know that is the reason for our follow.

Secondly – the author demeaned the IBS condition in a crude and ignorant manner.  We have a sense of humour, we understand that not everyone understands the condition, but as we repeatedly state IBS covers far too many symptoms, from mild bloating through to debilitating pain, and anxiety.  We took it in good humour originally, however the authors inability to allow our perfectly reasonable comments to be published has angered us deeply.

Finally, we respect everyone’s opinion and right to express it.  However we feel that it is imperative to allow a fair response.  To write a blog, with no intent other than to mock others is not in our opinion right or proper.  We have been taken back by the warmth and kindness of the majority of other bloggers, it is such a shame that this one individual chooses to mock those who simply wish to help others.

Many Thanks

IBS Health Team

Clearly my lack of a quick reply had ruffled some feathers.  I tried to be understanding and decided to let it go.  At that point, I had only replied to one or two of my long term followers, but didn’t care to get into a pissing contest with anyone new.  Like most people, my work responsibilities trump blog chatter.  I don’t live in constant fear that my words might upset someone, it happens sometimes.  I was ready to just let it go.  Then this gem was posted in the comments section:

Other comments were approved after the ones we originally posted (the timeline clearly shows you had time to approve those), please spare us further comment, we all do this in our own spare time to try and help people with IBS – everyone here has no further interest in being a target of your sarcasm and ridicule.

In case you think we take IBS too seriously  I would just also like you know I watched my young cousin die of leaukimea, I am aware of where ‘IBS’ ranks in the scale of things, and have perspective on the severity of the condition, it does not mean we should not try to help.  I hope you have the courage to actually allow this to be published, so far your actions would make that seem unlikely.

We are all going to take some time away from wordpress, you have soured the experience for us, which is sad given how many kind and genuine folks there are out there.  We hope that you find the time and  imagination to create clever original blogs which do not simply mock others, the internet has certainly given rise to the brave ‘keyboard warriors’, you appear to be one of their number. 

From all the team we would like to say  ‘Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.’ Oscar Wilde

Okay.  That’s enough little missy.  Now please sit down and shut up.  Listen to what I have to say and try not to shit yourself!  This is my blog.  Actually, let me re-phrase that: THIS IS MY FUCKING BLOG! 

Over the past year and a half I’ve written about lots of topics, including but not limited to:

  • bullies
  • coffee enemas
  • obesity
  • fecal matter on grocery carts
  • being a temporary replacement Pope and dealing with priests abusing little boys
  • 18 decapitated heads lost in an airport
  • G-spots on 84 year old dead ladies
  • internet dating and the woman accused of manslaughter in order to do so (Freshly Pressed on that one)
  • Santa’s embarrassing Nazi reindeer griping about bringing toys to “unpure kinder”
  • heroin flavored ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s started following me on Twitter after that one)
  • an NFL player who tried to use urine from his rottweiler to pass a drug screen

It’s hard to believe that someone as sensitive as you would want to read such horrid topics.  Certainly no one would blame you for passing on my brand of humor – it’s just not for everyone.  But here’s the funny thing;  YOU FOLLOWED ME!  No one forced you to click that little button.  Surely after reading the sordid tale of my college dog crapping out a condom you would have rethought your choice.  Nope…still there.  My take on visiting the urologist was graphic and icky and sprinkled with weiner and butt jokes – but you stayed right there following along like a good soldier.

As a follower, you were sent each one of my posts.  I suppose you enjoyed reading them, even though until earlier today, you never commented on a single one.  Not a peep.  You never clicked “like” on a single one either.  In fact, after deciding to follow me, you didn’t appear anywhere on my blog ever in any way, shape or form, until today.  It’s hard to imagine that I could have misinterpreted your silence.  What the hell was I thinking?!

I’m sure that IBS is no picnic.  I’m also positive that the world is a shitty place (no pun intended).  I’m also fairly sure that the state of the world is dealt with by at least one of us with humor.

I was sorry to read of the untimely passing of your nephew.  I’m sure the pain of your loss was deep and lingers to this day.  I work with special needs children and I have attended many funerals of some of my favorites.  I’ve cried with their parents and comforted their siblings and classmates.  I passed on more prestigious and lucrative positions in my profession to work with these kids and do my utmost to help them live their lives to the fullest.  I was reluctant to take time away from those kids today in order to entertain your trivial pissing and whining.  I’m sure you can understand that.  Sometimes people ask me how I can work in such a setting.  I tell them that the kids are great to work with, because they are.  I sometimes admit to them that when things get tough, I go home and write a blog.

Feel free to thank me anytime for all the free publicity I’ve given your cause today – but just remember, not all of my followers actually read my blog.

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54 thoughts on “An Open Letter To IBS Health Team

  1. As an IBS sufferer myself, I do realize that it is a serious issue to deal with and at first, felt a little annoyed at your article. But, as I checked out the ibshealthteam I realized that there wasn’t anything of real substance on that website. And reading through the comments, ibshealthteam blew your attempts at satire into something much bigger than it actually should have been and acted absolutely ridiculous. And ibshealthteam does follow my blog and has never commented or liked anything I’ve written so I’m not sure what the point of following all of these blogs is.

    All in all, good riddance to them. If they actually treated WordPress like it is supposed to, they wouldn’t have people hating on them.

    P.S. Thanks to your interesting blog posts on the matter, you just got a new follower. And I’m a certified non-spambot. Boom.

    1. My apologies if any of my comments managed to offend you, though I think you were able to recognize most of what I wrote as (attempts at) humor. I was actually surprised that IBShealthteam responded at all, because I was sure they were spam-bots. I’m not entirely sure how (other than from gigantic online crap fights like this) they will get anything out of following everyone known to man. The fact that they never write or comment or even “like” things is kind of an indicator to me.
      Unfortunately, some of the serial followers have now started “liking” things despite the strong possibility that they don’t speak English or understand a word of what I’ve written. This epidemic of insincerity could eventually ruin WordPress.
      Welcome aboard. Feel free to go back and read some of my old stuff. I recommend “47 Shades of Pink” and “When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon-Scented Garbage”

      1. If I was too upset, I wouldn’t have followed you. 🙂 It is a serious condition, but as I read, I could tell it was tongue-in-cheek humor and this post confirmed that I understood correctly.

        I have a tiny blog and I still get spam bots as well as the serial followers who never actually read my posts. Grrr….

        I’ll check those posts out. Have a good day!

  2. This was hilarious. I just got a follow from them recently too, so also timely. Funny how testy people get about the comments so quickly. Well done sir.

    1. They followed ME of all people, and then got upset when I made poopy jokes. If that isn’t evidence enough of their being serial followers then I don’t know what is. Hopefully they’re OK with Stalin mustaches and bear fighting.

  3. Targ read you blog. Targ like yior blog Mr.Persectiive Man! (As does Mirkin Firkin, who also uses his blog and humour to help keep himself slightly less insane).

  4. I suspect this is a new form of spam and I also suspect that WordPress cares and, if they’re aware of it, they’re working on it. WP has a great spam filter. It’s one of the reasons I like it here. I agree with whoever it was who said that it might be related to that “you might like” feature.

    I’ve been finding myself wishing I could block followers. I have one in particular who might be the same person (or entity) using different, recently created blogs. “She” writes in a very personal way, but her “about” pages are generic and her pictures of herself seem like stock photos. IP addresses originate in Wisconsin, and I am concerned about what’s happening when I click on the link to her blogs.

    The only comments on her blogs, where the posts resonate on a theme similar to a profile of many female bloggers my age, when there are comments, are what seem to be people like me, popping in to thank her for following their blog. I’ve stopped doing the courtesy comment when I have a sense of stranger danger because my comment gives up my email address and IP address, which is just what a spammer wants.

    I’m considering taking down my widget that shows “people in my community,” because I suspect it’s a way to get others to click on their links.

    It’s troubling to think that they’ve gone the route of playing on sympathy and empathy. At first I was sure s/he was a spam follower, and then I got a follow right after my comment and thought, hmmmm, and then I saw what happened. If that “person” or “team” is real, they haven’t done their cause any justice and they should apologize to IBS sufferers. If they aren’t for real, they should apologize to everyone, but they won’t.

    If you haven’t reported the incident to WP, you might consider it.

    It feels like a personal violation, if not a TOS violation.

    On a related note, I agree that I’d rather have just a small number of “real” followers than a huge number of phony statistics. I also suspect that that craving for stats is another thing “they’re” playing on. I wonder if being Freshly Pressed made you a target.

    I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

    1. They definitely did a disservice to IBS sufferers. Once upon a time, I wanted as many followers as I could get, but so many of them have names like “XYRswshknr” or “atlanticboatrepairandstorage” that I would be foolish to think of them as actually following me.
      I was not about to sit here and take that writer’s crap, and my first draft was blistering – but disappeared from my computer and I had to start over.
      I am correct that these people could ruin this website and I certainly hope that WP is taking them seriously. This is, after all, the same site that shut my blog down cold because I used a forbidden web address in a photo credit. That seems pretty tame compared to having every blogger I know followed by tons of spambots who neither read nor care about the blogs they follow. I’m so upset that I’m going to have to calm my stomach – maybe a teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar will do the trick.

  5. I’ve often shook my head over the ‘Likers’ and ‘Followers’ who never leave a comment and have possibly never read a word you’ve written. I used to harrumph about it but I’ve grown more tolerant now. I don’t know why, but there are worse crimes I suppose

  6. This is crazy! I’ve been having the same thing happen with excess followers and I was just planning on writing a post lampooning some of them- I might think twice about it now!

    1. You go ahead and write it. They deserve every barb we send their way. My real problem is with WordPress letting this go on and on unchecked and unaddressed. Mark my words, it’ll kill this site.

  7. All that effort they spent on commenting could have been spent on their own site writing some useful posts about IBS. Weird. I guess people just need to vent – but I’d rather they not do it on my blog, either.

    1. I was venting too, about the insincerity of so many followers these days. They tangled with the wrong old fart though, and now I feel cleansed from the thrashing I gave in return.

  8. I thing Snoring Dog Studio makes a very valid point – what a waste of energy!
    However, I am now feeling bad about being one of those people who sometimes ‘likes’ posts without commenting on them. I didn’t realise it was a bad thing to do. Primarily it is because I really enjoyed the post, but don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said numerous times in the comments and I don’t want to sound repetitive or look like a sheep. I would rather contribute something that is original. It’s certainly not because I don’t care or can’t be bothered or because I am a spambot. I’ve got a complex now, can you tell?!!

  9. Yes, good for you Dave. You and I both work with special needs kids and handicapped adults and certainly do try to help. Feel free to write a blog mocking scoliosis. I won’t be insulted.

    1. That one was the week in normal – either volume one or two, I forget. I suggest the coffee enema post for maximum laughs and caffeination – it’s title is the one regarding the mocha latte. By the way, thanks for the follow – real people are getting hard to come by in the follower ranks these days.

  10. i noticed a surge in followers, like you said, but most of mine had ties to christian groups. i’m amazed at how many followers i have who write religious/christian blogs because there is absolutely nothing about religion anywhere on my blog – except one post about philadelphia priests abusing altar boys.

      1. i’ll take five good and helpful comments instead of 50 hits any day i can get them. but that’s when i’m posting fiction, like the short story you read.

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