This Ain’t What I Signed Up For!

Updated November 25, 2011

Doc Sheldon

Shortly after my post recommending deletion of the Jetpack plugin, I received an email from Matt Mullenweg, in which he explained the why and how of Jetpack. While he presented his points well, I still steadfastly believe that making all 11 aspects of the Jetpack plugin set opt-out rather than opt-in was a grave tactical error. It usurps control of too many bits of control from the site owner, which could easily escape notice by either novice or too-trusting users.

I wanted to go into some detail here, exploring and dissecting his responses, but since it was sent to me in an email, I didn’t feel it would be appropriate without his blessing. If he gives me leave to do so, I’ll address it in detail here, later.

However, this morning another problem appeared. My whole reason for installing Jetpack was to have the benefit of my visitor stats at a glance, and that has been working fine. Until today.

Now, although the bar graph on my Site Stats page reflects the number of visitors and posts of my site, the Referrers and Top Posts & Pages show reference to my original blog, Ramblings of a Madman. (I haven’t posted there since last May, and am never signed in there).

Furthermore, on my main Dashboard page, both the bar graph and Top Posts reference my own current site. And as many of you now, there is no selector for this feature. Here’s a screenshot of what I’m talking about on my Site Stats page (click to enlarge):

Jetpack screenshot - Doc Sheldon's Clinic

As I said, the bar graph reflects visits to Doc Sheldon’s Clinic, but the Referrers and Top Posts & Pages are all reflections of visits to my old blog, Ramblings of a Madman.

So now, even though I had already determined that 10 of the 11 plugins incorporated into Jetpack were of no use to me, the one that I had left enabled is now totally worthless to me, as well.

So…   sorry, Matt. I was willing to give Jetpack a try, bloat and all. but as it now offers me no benefit whatsoever, I’m afraid it’s a no-brainer for me. I’ll have to find another way to get a quick glimpse of my traffic specs.

A comment on WordPress’ efforts to protect its users:

I’ve been using WordPress for a few years now, and have seen many of its changes implemented. I have never seen evidence of any change that was implemented without due consideration to the protection of users and their sites. I honestly don’t believe that there was either malice or disregard on Automattic’s part in the way they set up Jetpack.

On the contrary, I have seen several updates that I am certain must have cost the company extra in order for them to maintain sufficient user security. My belief in that remains unshaken. I think this was simply an error in judgement, in which they underestimated the current level of distrust of any corporate action that isn’t 100% transparent and harmless.

That said, though, I think that each of us should be informed, and given total control, of anything that affects our business. If Automattic changes their configuration to opt-in, returns control of our subscribers’ comments and fixes what appears to be a reporting bug, then I’d probably reinstall Jetpack, and if it performs more responsibly, recommend it to our readers. Until then, I’m on the hunt for an alternative.