Fortunately for me, I made the decision after a mere couple of weeks to switch from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, so I am not affected by the current difficulty with comments that bloggers on WordPress.com are experiencing. Phew!
However, it is becoming a sizeable problem particularly in the political blogosphere, where commentators are more likely to have good reason to use an alternative name to comment under. Sometimes for reasons of wit – the rash of commentators claiming to be Raisa, as mounted by David Cameron for instance – sometimes because they work in sensitive jobs and whilst they don’t mind the owner of the blog site knowing who they are, they might not wish to advertise their true identity to the rest of the world, or their employer.
Since Wednesday, ‘anonymous’ commentators using a genuine e-mail address have been met by a message saying:
‘That email address is associated with an existing wordpress account, please log in to use it’.
This message baffled a horde of commentators who had no idea that they did have a wordpress account, nor idea of how to loggin into it.
Apparently the problem can be traced back to a troll who had been posting comments using the e-mail address and avatar of Matt Cutts. Matt who? For the uninitiated, Matt Cutts is the CEO of Google, and when you are the CEO of Google being annoyed by a troll and you decide to stamp your foot, it can be a pretty heavy handed stamp indeed.
Software engineers were dispatched to the dimly lit cellar to come up with a solution. Back in 2007, Gravatar (which is where you went to get those dinky pictures that link to your e-mail address and pop up when you comment) and WordPress conducted a trendy civil partnership. Gravatar customers were automatically awarded wordpress accounts. By Thursday afternoon, the software engineers had flicked a switch which stopped anyone using, oh, lets say for instance, Matt Cutts e-mail address along with his avatar to leave unhelpful comments on the web. They had also stopped the flow of witty comments and helpful information from individuals across the world who wished to comment anonymously, or under a temporary name on political blogs. A small price to pay when the Boss is upset.
This is version.1 of the comment update, v.2 is being worked on feverishly as we speak. It is an interesting development for a company which says it is committed to cutting down on Spam – for the one group of people who would never dream of using a genuine e-mail address are Spammers. They remain entirely unaffected by this development! Meanwhile those who do use their genuine e-mail address which they long ago attached to their avatar and have since lost their password, can get round the problem by either using the WordPress url in the above graphic, not using a genuine e-mail address, or looking to see if the web site they wish to comment on has a ‘loggin’ facility in the Meta bar.
If they do have a loggin button on the meta bar, you can use that to loggin to wordpress, and tick the box that says ‘remember me’ . You will be presented with a message saying ‘You do not have permission to access this dashboard’ – but ignore that, and return to the normal front page of the blog – you will find you have magically managed to loggin to a WordPress account that you didn’t even know you had!
I understand that WordPress have been deluged with complaints from bloggers who don’t want their commentators to have to loggin in when they comment, so much so that they have closed comments on the forum page where they made the announcement….
Thank God for WordPress.org – there’s always a catch when something is free. Like WordPress.com.