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Ephraim of Reflective Thinking has pretty strong views on Freshly Pressed. He cites two reasons why WordPress should not have “Freshly Pressed”:

1. the process of selecting blogs which are featured in the Freshly Pressed section is deeply flawed; and

2. it encourages a culture of competition which has no place in the blogosphere.

I completely agree with Ephraim on point 1 but I have some reservations on point 2. Here’s why:

To the credit of the WordPress editors, they have issued a number of pointers already on “What makes a post Freshly Press-able.” But these were done on a piecemeal (i.e., weekly) basis and in a way that conveys that they are still trying to figure out what they like and don’t like. It’s no different to a situation where judges are still figuring out what goes into the criteria for judgment while concurrently reviewing the contest entries.

But the one thing that I find especially problematic is that blurb which says “The best of xxxx bloggers, xxxx new posts…” This is very misleading to say the least. It conveys that they have reviewed thousands of blogposts from which they have selected the cream of the crop–the 19 WordPressers who get to be featured on Freshly Pressed. The truth though is that Freshly Pressed only has a handful of staffers who can only review a limited number of blogs.

In short, I have no problems with this culture of competition that Freshly Pressed purportedly cultivates as long as the competition mechanics are clear and fair.

Here then are my suggestions for the WordPress editors:

  1. Compile those ‘What makes a post Freshly Press-able” write-ups into a neat primer and display this prominently in the Freshly Pressed section.
  2. At the minimum, the FP blurb — “The best of xxxx bloggers, xxxx new posts, xxxx comments & xxxx words posted today on WordPress.com” — should be revised for the sake of transparency. Heck, you are good at churning those impressive stats anyway so why not something like “the best of xxxx number of new posts reviewed by WordPress Editors today”?

How about you? What’s your take on WordPress’ Freshly Pressed?

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3 thoughts on “Freshly Pressed and all that blah

  1. I like FP, on the whole. However, I do have a bit of an issue with it. Especially recently. It does seem to be chosen more and more by committee. They now have people who choose the FP posts blogging about what makes that post FP. I like your idea of transparency. To be honest I would love to be FP’ed. I think it is unlikely though. To be honest, I started blogging to build a platform (another wannabe writer here), I then got a bit hooked into pleasing people and I’ve come full circle. I write what I want to write about for me. I think the minute you start to put too much thought into “Getting FP’ed” it is a surefire way to make sure it never happens.

    • I also like FP. I enjoy going through some of the blogs there. I just don’t like the fact that FP editors brand them as best when in fact the appropriate label is “What our editors are reading now”, or simply “Editors’ Selection”.

  2. You raise some valid points. And I think they’ve even removed the “best of today” blurb they used to stick prominently on the main FP page. I would love to see them expand some of the features on FP (I mean, they only used to do 10 a day) if they can create a larger FP department or team. A couple things that come to mind would be to improve the view function when searching through certain tags. They used to do a magazine layout based purely on timestamp. I’d also love to see them spotlight an entire blog (like a case study) on their DailyPost site rather than single posts which tend to be one hit wonders.

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