Palming my face, I am

I’m not counting on anyone remembering this, but that blogroll on the sidebar used to contain a link for the Richard Dawkins’ Foundation forum, which for years had been a pretty good message board. After their site changes, the commenting system went to hell, plus they (for reasons unknown, unexplained, and unmentioned in their site anywhere) removed links both in a username and in any comments, if they were to a personal site. Links to obviously creationist or pseudoscience sites? No problem. Just don’t link to your own site, no matter how pertinent something you’ve already posted might be.

I contacted them, trying to find the problems with half of my comments disappearing, and registering my displeasure with their pointless link rule, back in January. I got a “we don’t know what’s happening” response to the posting issue, and “we aren’t going to explain the reasoning” response to the link bit. What this told me is that the webmasters believed the site should be structured for their convenience, not the use of its visitors, and I simply removed the site from the blogroll and stopped visiting.

Am I getting miffed about being blocked from promoting myself? Perhaps, though this is a curious issue. Links in a username (aside from primarily attracting spambots,) are an extremely passive means of promotion; someone has to be impressed enough with your comments to want to see what your site is like. And if I link to something I’ve posted before, it’s kind of this crazy thing, using the web exactly how it’s intended, rather than retyping or pasting a block of content. Again, someone has to be motivated to click. I’d be fine if all links were blocked, even though it just means the webmaster is lazy, but being bigoted over personal links means the webmaster has to examine the link anyway, which means even less time saved than implementing some overreaching rule. In other words, someone’s an idiot.

Why do I bring this up now, when it happened in January? Because I just got two auto-replies to my original e-mails, identical and pointless (“Please only use this address to contact the moderators about commenting issues.”)

Get your fucking shit together, guys.

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