An acquaintance of mine recently deleted her wordpress blog. I was only peripherally aware of its existence; I think having heard its mention only once and not actually having been paying much attention at the time. This acquaintance and I are both members of the same online gaming community and it was in that community environment that the news broke. The blog was intentionally deleted, and understandably this acquaintance was distressed at being in a position where she felt this was an appropriate action. I can’t really make a judgement on the necessity of such a drastic measure, I’m not sure I would have felt the same way. However this person had tried the rational and civil solution to her issue and achieved only further frustration. Whether or not you or I view the problem as significant or not this kind of treatment was not on.
So what was the problem?
This wasn’t a private blog, but she had always operated on a fairly personal basis. The blog was there to be read by those who were actually interested but was never intended for mass casual consumption. It was excluded from search engines and the like to maintain a level of control over the readership. So when the blog started to be added to aggregation websites she must have felt a little bit invaded. But this is The Internets, such things are understandable and so in order to solve this issue e-mails were dispatched requesting her omission from the listing.
Nothing. No response.
The issue was exacerbated as other similar aggregators jumped on the wagon. Wordpress does not offer tighter control via a convenient method and so the blog was removed. The last resort.
So is it a big deal? Most bloggers want more readers and would love to be added to a popular list or aggregator. You can’t make that assumption though. If you’re going to use someone else’s creative output to build on your service you need to make sure that the creator is respected and that means you need to provide an opt-in or an opt-out. Most people are reasonable, treat them like adults and you might even find they come around. The unwanted distribution or advertisement of someone else’s work however much you intend it to be complimentary needs to be executed on the understanding that it may be unwanted. If the relationship is not mutually agreeable then it is on some level abusive on one partner and this is true in business, romance and art. Pay your contributors some respect, especially if you chose them and not the other way around.