Was it something we said?

Our ranting has become notably less authoritative recently. (Odd, as I feel at least as authoritative as I have ever been. i.e. not at all.) And consistently less visible.

Maybe somebody has an explanation. The whole blogternet can’t have (slightly) broken, can it?

  • A week or so ago, I tried to post a comment on a student post on Pharyngula – to be told repeatedly, in the face of the evidence – that I needed to have a name and an email address. Checked. Yes they were definitely there. I copied and pasted. I rewrote them several times.

    The helpful message (I paraphrase here, and use leaden sarcasm while I’m doing it) said I was probably being blocked as spam, but that I could try enabling javascript or cookies or allowing/ deleting the science-blog cookies. Tried them all. My comment stayed unposted. It wasn’t a great loss to twenty-first century thought, to be honest. Still…

  • This blog has been leaking Technorati “authority” like an authority-leaking sieve. Over the past month, we’ve been dropping a few links a day, according to Technorati.

    One day, it was something like 40 down today from the previous day. I’m pretty certain I would have noticed three months ago, if the blog had suddenly accumulated 40 links in one day, . So how could we lose them all in one day?

    Oddly, firestats and feedburner show that blog hits are much higher than they were when we had twice the “authority”, three months ago.

  • We’ve been intermittently vanishing from the Atheist blogroll over the past few weeks. This now seems to have become a permanent affliction. I hovered over the blog’s name on an Atheist blogroll site that has a static list. It said the the last post was on Friday at 12:38. Well, no. There have been a good few posts since then.
  • When the blog has appeared on the blog roll, over the past few weeks, it has taken at least an hour to appear. If the posts are queued somewhere for an hour, where is that please? Because it doesn’t seem apply to other posts that just appear after they are posted.

    When we’ve looked at the time stamps of blogs that appear long before ours, we find they’ve been written later. And magically appeared without falling into some warp dimension on the way. Maybe it’s crossing the Atlantic then? No, that doesn’t work either. There are UK-based blogs that pop up seemingly almost as soon as they are posted.

    We were even testing an ongoing hypothesis that the blogroll would only display this blog name when there were another more recent three blogs to put ahead of it. We never managed to falsify this.

    However, being ungrateful at being consistently fourth started to seem a bit churlish when we vanished completely.

  • TW has tried pinging the blogroll, in various ways, without any effect. Pinging Technorati seems to have an effect, in that Technorati will usually list a post within a few minutes of a ping. Or even respond to the auto-ping function and find the blog posts, all by itself.

As a side-effect, an increasing proportion of visitors are coming directly from search engines. There is a fair amount of entertainment value in working out how some of these searches would have led to here, unless every other blog in the known world had already been taken straight to heaven in the Rapture.

Anyone with any ideas about what’s going on?

5 thoughts on “Was it something we said?

  1. Well, you haven’t lost any authority with me. I still think WDYB is a great site.

    I know this is no consolation whatsoever, but I, too have been losing authority in massive doses. In the last month and a half, my authority number has free-fallen by over 50. That doesn’t correspond in any way to a sudden dropoff of links that were 180 days old (Technorati’s explanation in their FAQs), since there was no corresponding flurry of new links six months ago.

    I sent a complaint to Technorati about this, but, of course, received absolutely no answer. The oddest thing is that new linkers do continue to show up. But I don’t always get an extra authority point when one does.

    As far as the Atheist Blogroll, you might want to join Blogrolling.com if you haven’t already done so. I think Mojoey recommended this a while back. You can ping whenever you post, and you get those nice asterisks and the “New” label. That seems to work pretty well for me.

  2. Thanks for the comment and if it is any consolation we love your site too! (Group hugs all round!)

    We’ve had blogrolling.com as part of the “Ping Package” wordpress is supposed to go through when a new article is posted, and over the last few days I’ve been manually pinging after each post. Neither seem to be working!

    I’ve even tried pingomatic.com which is, basically, as much use as a lead parachute.

  3. I still read your blog :). The Atheist Blogroll issue is a Blogrolling issue. For some reason they’re failing to ping sites. I’ve been struggling with it quite a bit in the past month, as my site never shows as “new” anymore when I add new posts. I’ve manually pinged Blogrolling, I’ve emailed them, to no avail. Technorati is odd too. Recently my favorite list is showing empty a few times a day. It says 13 favorites and then nothing underneath. Also when I click to see who is linking to me I see links missing. Someone submitted a reciprocal link a week ago (those are the only ones I can directly verify as they’re submitted) and Technorati still hasn’t picked up on it.

    I wouldn’t sweat it. None of the tools are 100% reliable that’s why we use more than one. And I have a feeling blogging tools’ popularity these days comes and goes as the promoters of a specific tool or site are able to keep up with the times. If Technorati becomes buggy I’m sure enough users will feel the change to where Technorati will either have to step up or get less usage as bloggers replace it with something else.

  4. I still ready your blog, but I share your pain. I dropped from a rank of 7,200 to over 15,000 in just one day after 130 links dropped.

    Plus blogrolling is driving me nuts. The stopped automatic pinging for some reason. Not it is hit and miss with manual pings.

    Keep your chin up. Good blogs will win out.

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