WordPress.com has activated a feature without warning that has many up in arms of protest, making it one of the least welcoming additions to WordPress.com.
Since the beginning of WordPress.com, one of the most requested features has been the ability to showcase related posts from our own blogs. WordPress.com has activated this ability, but the links link to WordPress.com blogs, not our own.
This is bad for many reasons, which I’m sure you’ve already thought of. No control. Implied recommendation or endorsement. Inappropriate links. And a lot of confusion for our readers who believe we choose these links or that they will lead to links on our blog related to what we blog about. I’m sure I missed some other bad reasons for not liking this new feature.
It’s important that we link to other bloggers, especially others within the WordPress.com community to support and encourage them. It’s wrong to do so without some control.
You can read the announcement, Possibly Related Posts, on the WordPress.com blog.
My apologies to those who have been led astray by these links in my own blog posts. Thank you to everyone who brought this to my attention, worried something was wrong. I even had a couple people warn me that my blog had been hacked as the links were definitely inappropriate. Thank you for worrying and watching out for me and my blog.
Note: According to a comment Matt Mullenweg made on a forum post:
In the next few days we’ll have an update that allows you to block specific blogs from showing up, and eventually that setting will also apply to the tag surfer, blog surfer, and top blogs so when you block a blog you should never see it again.
With 3 million blogs – albeit less than a million active – I don’t have enough life to block all the blogs that show up as “possibles” in every list on every blog post. I cannot imagine the implementation of such a process. I’d rather choose who I link to than have to exclude them.
Among the links on my blog posts here that I tested before turning off the feature, the average was 2 in seven links per post having a vague relationship to my content. The majority of the links went to non-English blogs, blogs no longer updated (since 2006 in several cases), and totally unrelated content, such as an article about a WordPress Plugin for creating, among other things, related posts, linking to A Third of Patients On Transplant List Are Not Eligible from the Washington Post. I just learned that the Washington Post has blogs on WordPress.com, but what transplants have to do with WordPress…well, it’s anyone’s guess. Either way, 28 percent average “success” rate isn’t good enough for me. Nor is adding to my workload.
To Turn Off Related Posts on WordPress.com
To turn off the new related post feature on WordPress.com blogs:
- Go to the Administration Panels > Design > Extras.
- Check Hide Related Links.
- Click Update.
Have Your Say on the New Possibly Related Posts Feature
If you are not a fan of the implementation of this related posts feature, let your voice be heard. Many are reporting links to inappropriate blogs and content, and some worry about where these links are sending their readers.
You can comment on the following WordPress.com Forums discussions:
- I DON’T WANT POSSIBLY RELATED LINKS ON MY POSTS
- OMG! Not MORE WP Changes!
- Possibly related Posts
- Possibly Related Posts and trolls/attacks
- link that is not mine is on my post! not visible in editor
- “Possibly Related Posts” Suddenly Showing up for One Post Only w/NSFW Content
Create Your Own Related Posts Feature on WordPress.com Blogs
I share how I manually create my related posts at the bottom of my blog posts in Which WordPress Plugins Does Lorelle on WordPress Use?, Adding a Signature To Personalize Your Blog Post, and WordPress.com Blog Bling: Signatures and Writing Code.