Yesterday, after spending roughly an hour communicating with a WP’s (WordPress) engineer, I learned that WP has been suppressing my content and interactions for the last eighteen months.
I suspected that something was wrong around this time last year (Jan 2020) but chose not to actively pursue a resolution, which was a misjudgment on my part.
My suspicions that my content was being suppressed were magnified late last year (2020) when not a single person responded to comments I left on their posts. It was as if my blog page did not exist. Well, based on yesterday’s conversation, my page was rendered practically invisible by WP.
Before I delve into why WP restricted my content for nearly two years, here is a bit of background.
Since my first post on September 7, 2015, my blog has grown by ~1,650 supporters a year. WordPress calls them “followers,” but I prefer to use the word, supporters. At this growth pace, I should have had a minimum of at least ~8k supporters on the low end and ~10-20k supporters on the high end, if not more.
Comparing last year’s net growth of only 48 followers to the previous years, you could see my concern. Grant it, in 2019, I published a paltry 24 posts. Still, in terms of outreach, my engagement numbered in the thousands, which should have yielded a significantly higher number than forty-eight supporters based on my page’s historical data.
So, here is what WP explained as a reason for my page being made invisible. Have you heard of Akismet? Well, Akismet, whose parent company is Automattic Inc., is a service that WordPress uses to track and filter comments. According to WP, the high number and frequency of my engagement prompted Akismet’s algorithm to flag all of my interactions as Spam.
And herein lies the problem with misusing or overusing technology with limited human oversight. The folks behind the algorithm did not know that I spent ~2-3 hours on weekdays and 5-8 hours on weekends engaging people within WP’s community. By engaging, I mean reading someone’s article and commenting. Without knowing this bit of information, Akismet’s algorithm mistook my engagement as commercial advertising or proselytizing.
For those who have been asking, now you know how my page grew so quickly. I took the time to interact with others without asking for anything in return. If I find content that sparks an aha moment, I can’t help but cheer on the writer for capturing something that spoke to me.
I’m not sure what lessons I’m supposed to share. Even so, I strongly encourage reaching out to https://akismet.com/contact/ if you suspect anything amiss as it relates to interacting with supporters and others. I hope to have this issue resolved soon and join you once more in the comment section.
For those of you who have been on this writing journey with me since my foray into the blogging world, I see you.
Thanks for taking the time to stop by my blog and read this post. I hope you found it useful.
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