Thumbs down on WordPress Reblogging

I’m a big WordPress.com fan and I do want my blog to increase in popularity but I value readers and commenters more than I value “traffic”.  I believe the intention of the new “like” and reblog feature was to assist WordPress.com bloggers to get wider blog exposure.  However, I say thumbs down to the copy-cat from Tumblr WordPress.com “like” and reblog feature. There is no provision for opting out. We can opt out of possibly related posts so why can’t we opt out of this feature too?

The Reblogging Feature Announcement

Have you ever come across a blog post that you enjoyed so much you wanted to easily share it with the readers of your own blog?  We All Like to Reblog

  1. timethief
    June 1st, 2010 at 5:58 pm
    Is there an opt-out option or are we compelled to allow others to reblog our posts?
    Andy P
    June 1st, 2010 at 6:21 pm
    There’s no opt-out as it stands, but allowing others to reblog your posts will ultimately bring more people in to read your blog. If you’re concerned then you can still make a post private, or your entire blog private.

timethief
June 1st, 2010 at 6:17 pm
Your comment is awaiting moderation.
I asked this question above: Is there an opt-out option or are we compelled to allow others to reblog our posts?
When I posted it I forgot to state the reason I asked it is because it directly relates to copyright. WordPress.com does not hold copyright on my blog contents. Myself and my guest authors do. What benefit in other blogger reblogging our entire posts on their sites. Why would their readers click through to read the original when the full contents have been “reblogged” without our permission? Why should we be compelled to take part in a scheme that robs our blogs of traffic and gifts those who are too lazy to research, write and publish their own post on the same topic. What benefit is there to those using search engines to find the SERPs returning duplicated content. rather than unique relevant content?
Thank you, in advance, for an reply that specifically addresses the copyright issue and the ability to opt out of this “reblogging” at your earliest convenience.

This comment “in moderation” has not been posted as of June 3, 2010 @4:38 PM.

The Reblogging Experiment

Today Richard (thesacredpath) tried some experimentation with the new wordpress “like” and reblog feature.  He reblogged my Basic Netiqueitte for Beginner Bloggers post and then he reblogged his reblog of my post.

The Reblogging Results

1. All links to the original article are gone in the second-generation reblog.The read more and site link at the bottom of the second-generation reblog link back to the second blog, NOT to the original.

2. The possibly related posts links to the reblogged post, NOT to the original.

Limitations of Fair Use

Here’s a good summary of the limitations of fair use from Jonathan Baileys article The Limitations of Fair Use.
1. Focus on commentary and criticism: Make sure that you are using the work to talk about it. Using a passage from a book to review it, quoting from an essay to rebut it or showing a clip from a TV show to comment on it are all likely fair uses.
2. Use as little of the work as possible: Use short quotes when practical and only thumbnails of images. Really hone in on what you need to use and leave out anything you don’t.
3. Attribute obsessively: Always make sure that you attribute the works you use, not just to help strengthen your point, but to show good faith. Though not always important to a fair use argument, it discourages any potential conflicts before they happen.
4. Focus on transformation: Finally, and most importantly, make sure that your use of the work does not replace the original, but expands upon it. When using someone else’s work, as yourself the question “Do people, after seeing my use of the content, have a reason to view the original?” If the answer is no, then the use is much more questionable than it would be otherwise.”

So readers, what’s your opinion of the value of this wordpress.com “like” and reblog feature?

Read also:
Say No to the Plethora of Exclusive Like Buttons
Is WordPress.com now a Social-Networking/Micro-Blogging Platform?
Reblogging

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144 thoughts on “Thumbs down on WordPress Reblogging

  1. I don’t know what WordPress hopes to gain, by making it easy for people to take other people’s work (instead of doing their own). I woke up this morning and found out that someone had taken 5 of my recent blogs and posted them on something called “Scoop It.” These same posts were also reblogged on this person’s WordPress site improperly. Photos were moved around or deleted, and my initials were even removed from the end of my poem “Flowers Blooming Bright” (which was cut and pasted together without the photos between the verses).
    Now I am either going to totally delete my blog or go private–I have not decided yet which way I will go. But I will go. I just posted a notice on my webpage to all the good and honest people who have liked and followed my blog. I am angry.

    http://storieswithnobooks.com/2013/08/06/literary-thief/

    • Hi there,
      I hear your unhappiness but let’s put this in perspective. Content theft by copy and paste and by RSS Feed is and has long been rampant. “People have been reblogging others’ posts since blogging started, but our new reblogging system enables authors to retain greater control over their content.” Providing a properly attributed excerpt of your content for reblogging purposes in your RSS Feed is promoting your content.

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/reblogs/

      However, what you describe is not reblogging; it’s a copyright violation.
      “… my initials were even removed from the end of my poem “Flowers Blooming Bright”.

      I’d like to make you aware of these steps you can take here at WordPress.com, provided the offending site is free hosted by WordPress.com:

      http://en.support.wordpress.com/content-theft-what-to-do/

      http://automattic.com/dmca/

      With regard to scoopit.com it’s a legitimate content curation site. This is a link to their copyright policy SCOOP.IT INC. Copyright Policy. http://www.scoop.it/copyright-policy

      Hope this helps and wishing you all the best.

      • I’m with tt on this.

        Initially I was totally against reblogging, assuming, from the limited information I had that the whole post was to be hijacked, which turned out not to be the case, it’s just the first para or two (Mary, as tt said, you’ve been ripped off, not reblogged – follow her advice).

        Now I’m happy to be reblogged – a lot of my stuff finds its way onto Scoopit these days and, recently, being too ill to write, I’ve taken the plunge and, on two occasions, reblogged the work of others – I just wish people would realise they should post comments on the source blog, not mine – I deserve neither credit nor condemnation for something I didn’t write but merely thought worth sharing.

        A word of advice about reblogging – ensure that whatever you reblog, it meets the standards you’ve set for your own blog. Plonking down a slab of text by someone who can’t punctuate, or doesn’t know paragraphs exist, or why, when you can do these things without having to think about it, will introduce a terribly jarring note which will not thrill your readers. And no, rewriting someone else’s material so that it does meet your standards simply isn’t on. Either reblog, warts and all, or don’t do it. And if you encounter a blog written by someone who doesn’t know, or care, where the spell-check button is, don’t even bother with it – if they don’t care, why should you?

  2. Hi timethief – I just received notification of my first reblog. I wasn’t sure what that meant so I googled and found my way to your post. I’m not sure what to think. Am I reading correctly that I can click approve to complete this reblog, or there is nothing I can do at all?

    I’m not sure if I like this feature or not?

    Here is the reblog: http://pushdumpfatbutton.wordpress.com/2012/05/25/strawberry-banana-smoothie/

    And here is my post: http://wp.me/p2loA8-md

      • Thanks timethief – I did read that article before I posted here, but didn’t get to the comments (so many, thanks for including a link to that specific comment). I read this part – see below, and that’s what threw me off (the “you might need to approve it first”) part.
        ________________________
        “An excerpt of your post will be published on the reblogger’s site (with a link back to your original post), and you’ll receive a reblog notification in the post comments (you might need to approve it first)”
        ________________________
        At least I’m not alone in my thoughts :) Can I ask you what to do with the notification? Just delete so it stops showing up in my notifications?

        Hope you don’t have to work this weekend!
        Thanks again.

  3. Hello, timethief, et al –

    You said above that:

    “Fair Use means that people have the legal right to take small quotations (and even a thumbnail, if it is small enough) from your content with or without your permission. “

    That’s not quite true. People can utilize a bit of accredited content within certain guidelines, but not universally across the board. Even Jonathan Bailey says in the above linked article:

    “The types of uses that are considered fair are actually very narrow in scope.”

    I can imagine very few instances where a “reblogger” would capture content that applies to the Fair Use Doctrine, but perhaps the WP staff might call me unimaginative? On the US Copyright Office’s “Fair Use” page, they wrote:

    “Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.”

    http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html

    So that eliminates the rationalization many “rebloggers” offer when they help themselves to someone else’s work, that they aren’t plagiarizing because the reblog thingy gives credit to the original (or as you’ve seen, most recent) incarnation of the work.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the WP executives have adopted a new business model that they imagine will make the site more marketable. Perhaps they are looking for a buyer?

    (If I got the HTML tags wrong, feel free to laugh!)

    • I have left issue behind me. I chose to accept what is and move on as the only other alternatives are to (1) move my blogs off wordpress.com free hosting onto self-hosted wordpress.corg installs, or to (2) have them remain on wordpress.com free hosting but set the blog visibility to “private”.

      In order to reblog a post one has to be logged into wordpress.com and click the “like” button on the top gray navigation bar. See here for how not to enable that “like” button on your posts so it won’t appear on the navigation bar. http://en.support.wordpress.com/sharing/#like-button

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  5. Hi TiTi,
    Matt asked for two weeks on 6th June…. three weeks have now passed.
    Do you know, is it “open season” again yet on this ?
    Or has Matt maybe run off and hidden in the hope that the furore has died down and we’ll all forget about it ?

  6. Though initially I had liked the re- blogging idea but soon realized after reading the comments in forum, that someone can really survive and get traffic by reblogging alone..
    I mean this- probably he/she would create links and become a search engine sort of and en-cash upon other bloggers…
    You are right when you say that we want some real subscribers or viewers. May I add that- and not be around like a thousands of books lying in the book shop without any title- slip..
    It’s like scrapping the original content.. and without the author knowing about it; or even without any credit be given to him :(
    Actually not done..
    Ever since this has been up, I have noticed a downfall in my traffic too- obviously, they have read it, why would they now come to my site now??
    I so wish that WP.com realizes and enable an opt out feature; but are they listening??

    -Olivia

  7. Hi Timethief

    I tried to reblog a Time Magazine feed about Kevin Costner’s oil centrefuge separator and the reblogging feature tried to reblog a completely different article.

    My post about the reblogging problem is here and maybe you would try to reblog the Costner article, or perhaps of your readers would try it to see whether you get the same problem.

    I’d like to know how the reblogging can go wrong without someone manually coding the feed to deliver the wrong article.

    • Hi David,
      OMG! You comment slipped right by me. I didn’t reblog the post you referred to. I had one hell of a week. I’m in pain and haven’t slept for days. I’m going to pass this on to Richard, okay.

    • David, I just tried it, and left a comment on your blog post. I also did not get what I expected. What I got was the latest posting in the newsfeed. Apparently the only thing it is allowing you to reblog is the latest post – whatever that may be – from the newsfeed. I tried it on a couple other newsfeed posts and got the same results.

      Definitely either broken by accident or on purpose.

      • Yes, you are right – it pulls in the latest post. Even stranger is that I just tried a reblog from ‘Time’ using what looked like the latest post (on tropical storm Alex) and it pulled in another post (on Timothy Geitner). So I pulled in the ‘Geitner’ post and it reblogged the ‘Alex’ article.

        I copied the text in to the comment section on my post, as a record of what it pulled in. The reason is that I am not sure what can actually change on my posts over time because after all – what I have pulled in is a feed within the same overall WP system….

        I have submitted it to WP Support as a bug, on the principle that reblogging does not work as intended, even though the error may emanate on the ‘sending’ blog rather than the ‘recipient’ blog.

  8. I don’t understand your point Kothea in your 2nd paragraph.

    But perhaps you inhabit a different world.
    I would suggest then it would be hard to teach children how to think AND write with creativity, relevance and be original in thought, if adults continue blindly the path of wholesale, mass copying without permission.

    How would people here propose to teach the ethics of plagarism to the next generation without learning how to cite/credit their sources of information?

    • Great question Jean. If the adults of this generation have no respect for copyright then how indeed will they teach the next generation not to plagiarize, but to properly cite/credit their sources?

    • Yes, I think I must inhabit a different world.

      My world is a post-graduate world where we had to cite and discuss the ideas of others and then to forward our own ideas.

      Of course I do not condone plagiarism.

      Philosophically speaking “how much original thought is left out there anyway?”

      • @KOTHEA –
        This article is posted in a wordpress.COM blog that’s being hosted by wordpress.COM. The feature being discussed is only available to wordpress.COM bloggers and apparently you aren’t among that number. It’s my opinion that your continued commenting here amounts to trolling. That’s why I have posted the last comment from you that I will approve on this matter.

  9. I’ve used this new feature and I like it.

    I’ve also told someone who copies my posts and presents them as their own that perhaps the re-blogging feature is a good alternative way to go! For this reason alone it is a great feature.

    Anyway. just to bring to everyone’s attention something off at a tangent (but related): if you edit the html of the re-blog and put in /nofollows then wordpress seems to take them out again.

    there i said it!

    • Reblogging is a tool for the fake bloggers who do not and/or who cannot not to create original content. Suggesting that reblogging is a tool that will prevent content theft is fallacious and if you don’t know what a fallacious argument is then I urge you to find out.

      The correct alternative for content thieves is to get busy offline, preferably on the end of shovel somewhere in a community garden, and give back to society rather than remaining online poaching the work of others, and passing themselves off as bloggers, when most if not all, are sploggers.

      There I said it. And I said it in a polite way rather than shouting – bullshit!

      • OK. I have a circle of followers of my blog. I find some useful content. It will take me too long to write the content in my own words. I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT TO PLAGIARISE IT, as I never can agree with that. However the re-blog feature let’s me share it whilst giving credit to the author. That is not plagiarism.

        Now if I had a blog where I solely re-blogged then that certainly raises ethical issues. but I don’t do that.

        Re-blogging allows those that I have re-blogged to gain potential new traffic from my blog. Fine that’s OK and fair enough.

        I can’t see the problem so long as the link is properly accredited. Which it is as it is a url++.

        Furthermore some people obviously don’t like this feature. So it would be perfectly reasonable to let them opt out of the re-blogging network.

  10. Perhaps the only thing that can’t be stolen:

    A person’s life story, a person’s family and a person’s relationships with their closest, loved friends. And all the real-life stories that derive from that. And make that blog public to those same people to confirm the authenticity of the unique blog stories. Make them your witnesses also to whatever you publish.

    If I should start naming my family members, my loved ones in blog postings and someone wishes to reblog, then some folks have truly the fallen down along the path of low morality.

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  12. One of my articles got “clipped” by another blog using Clip-to-Blog (Clipmarks) which is usable on Blogger, WordPress, Typepad, Vox, Live Journal, and Movable Type.

    The origin of the clip – my blog – is in teeny, teeny letters and not large ones and in the title like in the WP Reblogging feature. And the clip sure had a lot more than 50 words. Yes, there was a linkback (that’s how I found out about it).

    It looks like the day and age of Clip-to-blog and Reblogging are here, and I’m not sure there is much we can do about. WordPress seems to simply be trying to keep apace with the same blogging feature being offered by other venues. Even without reblogging, we are going to get “clipped” and who knows what else.

    Do you think putting the “Do Not Copy/Copyscape notice” at the top of each page makes a difference?

    • @Sandra Lee
      I’m so sorry I missed this comment of yours somehow. I don’t know if the copyscape notice will be effective or not but I am using it.

  13. Well, I’ll be the first to admit, that I don’t know what the chuckEcheese all this Twits about anyway, or the tweet, or Re-tweet or twEATme…but, I did stay in a Holiday Inn Express Last Night….

  14. I’d like to thank you for writing this and bringing it to wider attention, timethief. I hear the forum threads on it have been blocked? I couldn’t be bothered to go look.

    Almost as bad as encouraging plagiarism is the extortion angle. In order to prevent this happening you have to pay WordPress the upgrade? This is a downgrade, if anything.

  15. Is there any other blog sites that have the quality themes and tools that wordpress.com has that isn’t going the way of social blogging which wordpress.com appears to be following?
    I think Word press is banking on people not paying attention to their blogs.
    I also think they are banking on people not wanting to take the time to move their blogs.
    But if they are going to mess with my intellectual property rights and say screw you if you don’t like it, I for one will drop them like a hot potato in July.

    I have been thinking about including parts of my book as I’m putting it together but I’m certainly not going to do that if they’re going to start allowing re-blog!

  16. One thing that the lofty of WordPress seem to forget is that even though their main portion of bloggers are getting free service, it’s always been the high quality and non facebook like nature of word press that has drawn us here.

    As I said in the forum, they are opening themselves to litigation with this new ploy to bring more members.

    Do they really think their paying members are going to put up with this kind of invasion into our intellectual property? This is tantamount to bringing over a marauding horde of vikings to your town and letting them rape and pillar the town and say it’s going to bring more taxpayers to your citizenship.

    Thanks but NO thanks!
    I for one am unemployed and can’t afford the css upgrade and that is why I chose Word press in the first place, because it set itself apart.

    If they are going to have the childish and moronic attitude of “It’s our sandbox and if you don’t like how we’re screwing you, go play somewhere else.” I’m thinking they will probably regret their idea sooner or later. One can only hope it’s sooner not later. I like everyone else have invested a lot of time in setting up my blog on wordpress and not only do I not want people stealing my ideas, but I don’t like not having the ability to chose what happens to my blog.

    It can be argued in a court of law that the space which our blog sits, belongs to wordpress, but the intellectual property that resides on that site belongs to the user and as such we should have any and all rights under federal and international copy right agreements to control how that property is used and dispensed.

    I think this is a very arrogant move on Word Presses part, an unbelievably arrogant move.

    • It can be argued in a court of law that the space which our blog sits, belongs to wordpress, but the intellectual property that resides on that site belongs to the user and as such we should have any and all rights under federal and international copy right agreements to control how that property is used and dispensed.

      So therefore the host has a moral responsibility, within reason, to help protect those rights rather than to offer plagiarists an easier method of performing breach of copyright.
      Rock on, 1P !

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  18. Hi TT,

    Matt’s claim that this will drive traffic to our blogs is a crock.

    OK, for those, like you and a few other forum stalwarts, who have blogs aimed at, and popular with, WP users, I can see that happening. However, for most of us, I suspect it will have little or no benefit.

    Whatever the true motivation behind this function, I sincerely doubt it has much to do with increasing traffic to blogs. Unless, of course, Matt, and others at WP, really do believe that all WP users spend their time reading each other’s blogs. Which would be worrying.

    Ron.

    • @Ron
      I don’t think there’s any benefit in speculating on motivation. IMO whether or not the intention behind these features was to increase traffic is not in question. Whether or not they will is another issue. And as for me I’m seeking targeted readers. I don’t want a high bounce rate created by one time click in and outs. I’m seeking more regular readers and subscribers.

    • @Amit
      I have Tumblr blogs I use for posting videos and brief quotations. I don’t mind if they are reblogged. However, when it comes to the blogs I do create content for then it does matter to me and that’s why they are on wordpress.com and not on Tumblr.

  19. Thanks SO much, timethief – I’m all fixed up.

    Not only that, with my new CSS upgrade I can fix a thing or two about my theme that I’ve never liked ;-)

  20. I have one wp.com blog and really hadn’t seen this. It not so bad for the blog I have there, good even, but if it were my personal blog I’d be pretty perturbed and have to leave.

    • G’day Cooper,
      It’s good to see you (your new avatar). I don’t believe that all wordpress.com members are even aware that the “like” button and “reblog” feature have been activated.

    • @phoxis
      I’m with you. I don’t care how many new features are added. I want the option to to be able to opt out of each one.

  21. @timethief … wow if it is turning into a social networking…it’s gonna be bad, if I want to write in social networking, I would have written in my FB notes rather than in my blog.

    Let’s wait for Matt’s 2 weeks notice…will he allow us to talk about it again or keep closing every thread related to reblogging.

    What do you think? Do you think he will let this matter clossed or open for discussion again?

  22. I am horrified. I am a writer. I spend hours and hours on original content. I engage with my readers. I have spent years building a following. My words are MINE, grown of my own experience.

    This is simply enabling content theft.

    If this goes through I will have to leave WordPress.

    I am just devastated.

    • @shoreacres
      I hear you and I do want to tell you that these “like” and “reblog” features are already functional. Therefore it’s not a matter of “If this goes through … ” because both were activated as of June 1st. If you click any title of a post on a wordpress.com blog and then look up at your gray navigation bar you will see the Like button and if you click it then you will uncover the reblog feature.

  23. Wow this is very concerning and an issue that everyone needs to be aware of. Thank you TT for having our backs on this one and getting the word out about the possible implications that this plug-in will have on blogger’s content and protection of our work.

    • @RecycleCindy
      Hi there. Yes, this is a concerning issue because as it stands the reblogging feature amounts to wp.com advocating and inviting other members to use their tool to violate my posted copyright policy. Here at wordpress.com the “like” button and “reblog” feature are embedded into our top navigation bar and we can only remove them by purchasing a CSS upgrade. As I have said somewhere up there in the comments I don’t cotton to purchasing upgrades to remove unwanted features. I would prefer to see wp.com TPTB provide an opt-out option and I have no idea why they have not done so. The fact that Matt chose to close the forum thread is disturbing and more disturbing yet is what he said:

      matt
      CBBQTT
      Jun 6, 2010, 7:40 AM

      “I usually don’t like closing threads, but there seems to be a spiral of misinformation going on here. People are confusing our feature, which drives traffic to your blog, increases engagement, and builds your community, with spammers who leech off the internet.

      I would like everyone to try out this feature for two weeks. See if your blog disappears from Google, if aliens come and attack you, if your traffic goes up, down, or stays the same. Reblog a few posts and see what it looks like. Like a few things. In two weeks I’m happy to have a discussion with everyone on their concerns, ideas, bugs, and hugs, but we really need people to actually use and comprehend the feature first!” http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/reblogging/page/5?replies=147#post-472791

      • Hi TT, Iread this last night and That is the weirdest reply so far! I was shocked by it.

        What is it that makes them want to keep this reblog feature so bad? I really am wondering now.

        • @Novroz
          I believe that Matt is stating his intention for the introduction of the feature ie. “which drives traffic to your blog, increases engagement, and builds your community”.

          The rest is in IMO defensive posturing. I am not in the least confused about copyright and Fair Use and I have not misinformed anyone. It’s my guess that what makes him so defensive about this feature is that it’s most likely chained to the “vision” he has for the future of wordpress.com. Too bad it’s a vision that he has failed to share with the members. I could be wrong but I expect that we may be seeing more copycat and knock off social networking features in the near future.

  24. TiTi

    You know how new I am to blogging, with that being said,, after reading this article and valuable commentary I don’t know how my own will stand up. For what it’s worth I’m against it. And this is what nailed it down for me:

    1. All links to the original article are gone in the second-generation reblog.The read more and site link at the bottom of the second-generation reblog link back to the second blog, NOT to the original.

    I’ve a lot to learn about blogging TiTi ….but that’s just wrong!

    • Hello there,
      It’s good to see you but what’s with the old man avatar? lol :D

      We all have a lot to learn about blogging because it’s not frozen in time — it’s unfolding and evolving. That being said I don’t like the way microblogging and Twitter and Facebook have changed it and I simply will not be playing the build a bigger army than the other guy game. Nor will I become a fake rancher, if and when that’s introduced at wp.com (just joking).

  25. I don’t understand why people don’t just copy and paste and give complete credit.
    Why is word press making things easier for lazy people who are plagiarizers anyway?

    Rather than just linking to an article I typically add the post or article and link to the article. I feel if i’m just linking to the article I’m not really giving full honor to a guest posting so I both include the article with full citing and include a link so they can go see more articles/posts of a similar nature if people like it.

    If re-blog just ends up citing the copiers blog after a second re-blog why do they even bother telling people about proper citing efforts?

    • Hello there,
      Yes, the fact that the second generation reblog does not link to the original is worrisome and there is nothing we members can do about that. No matter what comes to pass I will still continue to backlink and to quote and properly attribute and cite my references just as I have always done. I will not allow any cutesy Facebook like button and/or copy-cat Tumblr reblog feature to disrupt my ethics and the way I blog.

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