WordPress has added a new “feature” to its service that you might have noticed by now. It’s called “Possibly Related Posts,” and it adds links to other weblogs’ posts to the bottom of all WordPress blog posts. I personally learned this when people started frequenting a February 21st entry on my political blog, even though that post wasn’t completely relevant to the current political situation. I clicked on the referrer link, and found a post rather the opposite of my political viewpoint. On top of that, my post didn’t seem at all related to the content of that entry, except that both entries discussed Clinton.
One of the main reasons I switched from my previous blogging tool was because it would place Google ads on my site, many of which were for political groups with the exact opposite opinions as mine. As such, I was essentially promoting the opposition’s viewpoint.
And now WordPress is doing something very similar with the “Possibly Related Posts.” I like the feature to the extent that it increased traffic to my blog, but I dislike the feature because it’s promoting opposite viewpoints, and because it’s just ugly. Don’t get me wrong, I welcome opposing views on my site, but only when someone took the time to comment, not just when someone posts something to their own site. After all, with comments I can respond, with links to opposing weblog entries, I cannot.
Because of this I find myself in quite a dilemma. On the one hand, I have no problems with promoting other blog posts, so long as they’re not completely opposite my viewpoint, and it’s done in a decent fashion. Additionally, I appreciate the increase in traffic to my site. On the other hand, it is ugly and it essentially makes me promote arguments which I disagree with.
If the “feature” allowed me to eliminate certain links, I think I would keep it. As it is, however, it’s way too close to the reason why I dropped my previous blogging tool.
For the immediate future, I will leave it on to see if I get any more increased traffic (although, I’m a little perturbed that all the increased traffic is to an old post of mine that isn’t very relevant anymore), and to see if the links become too objectionable. If it becomes too objectionable, or too worthless, I’ll remove it.
In case you’d like to disable the “Possibly Related Posts” “feature” for your own blog and don’t know how, follow these instructions (taken from Possibly an Announcement):
If you want to remove the related posts from your blog entirely, just go to Design > Extras and check the box to do so. But if you remove related posts from your blog we’ll remove you from other people’s blogs, so you won’t get traffic from that.
As far as this weblog goes (that is, my non-political blog), I cannot see good reason to remove it just yet. Although, again, it is pretty darn ugly.