Entitled to Free WordPress Plugin Support

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I don’t agree with people who post, expecting WordPress plugin developers to give free support for free plugins. I know people in the community say WordPress is free and a lot of the community contributes their time to support it in forums, plugins and themes. But… the days of the free Internet are gone and WordPress is kept free because people have found ways to keep it free and available to everyone. I don’t think everyone understands this. Too many expect everything connected with WordPress should be free, freely given and supported.

This is what I wrote today in one of the plugin support forums. The post I replied to wasn’t too ranty but I don’t think it was fair. Also, consider more than feeling entitled to free help, consider the source and think about how sustainable all that will be in the long run if we don’t support the developers of WordPress core, themes and plugins as we expect them to support us.
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I’m not adding the link but it wouldn’t be hard to find if you felt you must. I don’t want to make this about the individual plugin or developer when it’s really about the WordPress community, all of us.

Ad Blocking May Change the Way the Web Works

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The open web was around before advertising and SEO and the commercially focused web. The open web was not based on making a buck by turning the web into a spam pool.

If advertisers want my attention they can find a better way to get it than aggravating me to the point where I block their ads!

But, it’s so much easier for them to keep on spamming. Using sneaky, under-handed and aggressive tactics treats people like robots. No one wants unavoidable advertising, running on bloated software, forced on them over and over and over. Why do you think people go ad blind? Part desensitization and part self preservation, ad blindness keeps people from getting spam overload.

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PageFair chief executive and co-founder Sean Blanchfield, said: “With ad blocking going mobile, there’s an eminent threat that the business model that has supported the open web for two decades is going to collapse.”

Source: The impact of ad blocking set to hit $41bn | The Drum

Why Have a Membership Site?

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I’ve been thinking of ways to keep my domains active, other than using them as blogs. Keeping a blog is time consuming, every day. I’d like to have a few sites active as blogs (those I can sustain reasonably) and find some other use for the rest. A complimentary use would be smarter than spinning off in another direction.

So, membership sites came up as an idea. Not only could I find another way to use the domains/ sites but they could manage to pull in some money which would make the whole thing a little self sufficient.

However, what sort of membership content would work for me and what would people find useful? This is where I am in my planning. I did find a post which had me thinking…

I’m going to share two different ideas for members only content. The first, value content, appeals to your audience from a learning and business perspective, while the second, insider content, appeals to your audience from a more curious angle. Either approach can be effective. Ideally you find a way to use them both.

Value content is content that will help your readers make money or do something they’re really interested in. It’s especially useful and relevant to your readers.

Insider content gives your audience some insight into you and your work routine or life. Humans are naturally curious and interested in people we admire. Entire TV shows and magazines are dedicated to documenting celebrity life.

Source: 3 membership site ideas

I’m not sold on Members only content. Yes, it likely works for many people. But, it also makes more to keep track of and organize for the site owner. I’d need to schedule more content. Content in addition to my regular posts. Likely, longer posts which would take more time to write. Considering I want to work my way back to daily posting, this type of content is not sustainable for me.

Instead a membership could be for use of a discussion forum which the site owner moderates or live content/ chats. The live chat, podcasts and etc. could be kept available as archives (when the content is a month old, not so fresh that a membership has no real value) for your site readers. But, members get the time spent with you to ask questions, get feedback, etc.

There is also the ebook or newsletter. I’d consider an ebook, but keeping it fairly short. I’m not at all keen on the newsletter idea. I really don’t think anyone still reads those. I don’t.

Of these ideas the discussion forum seems the most sustainable for me. But, is it useful enough for people to want a membership?

Do Modern Photographers Need Ethics?

During this year’s World Press photo contest, about 20 percent of the entrants that reached the second-to-last round of judging were disqualified for significantly altering images in post processing and Giovanni Troilo was stripped of a first prize in the face of charges of misrepresentation and posing images (the photographer said he had “made a mistake,” but had not intended to deceive). In the vigorous debate that followed, some ridiculed the concept of “objective photojournalism” as philosophically tenuous in a postmodern world.

Source: Posing Questions of Photographic Ethics – The New York Times

Posing versus factual photography. Where is the line drawn between getting a good looking photo and showing the truth in images?

People take photos of everything these days. A photograph used to be something to illustrate the truth, the situation as it is but that changes as people get tempted to get a photo that sells, that makes the story look more interesting. Photographs can lie, or at least trick people into believing things which are not true.

In Defense of Using Ad Blocker

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I’ve been coming across more sites which ask me to turn off ad block on my web browser. Most are keeping it friendly, like this request from Guardian (asking for financial support instead of support through ad views). That’s fair enough and I do understand. However… how about changing the ads to something I don’t mind viewing.

Why do people use Ad Block?

The reason I use ad block are the video and other bloated files which automatically open when I visit a site. I don’t especially care that most of them are ads. I don’t want to be stuck with big files opening on my web browser.

I pay for my ISP, bandwidth included. Perhaps there is free , or very cheap,  unlimited Internet service in the US. I don’t have that option here in Ontario. I pay an extra $20 a month to have unlimited bandwidth. Before paying that extra I was spending between $5 and $45 per month for going over the allowed bandwidth for my account. That wasn’t friendly.

If sites ran simple text ads or (at very least) kept bandwidth heavy ads from opening automatically, I would view their ads. Until then… I’m already supporting them by spending $20 a month ($240 a year, plus 15% tax) more to my ISP. See if they can collect it from them because I’m not willing to spend more just to view advertising I have very little real interest in.

How much are you willing to spend to view advertising?

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If you want to find ad block for your web browser take a look at the apps and addons available. For Google Chrome there are 5 which I have used at various times. I continue to use more than just one.

LiveJournal Wants to Get Noticed Again

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livejournal1Do you know LiveJournal? Do you remember the early years, before weblogs (blogs), when they were called online journals or diaries? LiveJournal started out then. It wasn’t the only one. Not much is left from the online journal days. Not many of the sites are still around, few of the networks lasted this long. Blogs became the new thing and online journals just didn’t endure as it became popular to splog rather than write something personal.

Ironic that the splogging has devolved and the personal touch is now considered marketable.

There are still WordPress plugins for LiveJournal crossposting and importing within WordPress. But, there are only three, not a lot of selection but they have all been updated in 2014. Not a lot of dust collecting on them so far.

I like LiveJournal. Not just because we have a history together, though I’ve been forgetting to check in very much. LiveJournal has staying power. LiveJournal has new features and wants to pick up and grow again. Instead of falling into the easy path of marketing to users of their site they want to get inventive, try something new, a different approach to making money while providing a web service people will actually come back to use.

Not many people online now will remember the days of sending virtual gifts. You can do that on LiveJournal, inside the community there. Sure you can easily send anyone an image file through email, but there is something nice about a gift you picked out, paid a bit for and then sent along. A gift with intentions rather than just a gift out of impulse. I think we are lacking that now that things are all so fast and easy online.

But, that is a small thing at LiveJournal. What I especially like this the LiveJournal bookmarketlet. It’s the LiveJournal version of WordPress PressThis. Just as you can use PressThis to post to your blog from your web browser and now add links, images and commentary – you can do the same with LiveJournal. Better than Blogger which has not been updated in too long. LiveJournal has all the features I look for in a bookmarklet for content curating. It is a really good option for posting content from other sites, as a content curator.

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