I only noticed this problem recently on my poetry and light fiction blog “Tales of Unwise Paths”.
This blog is dedicated to poetry and short stories on virtually every theme possible, but EXCLUDING sex, violence, or gratuitous vulgarity. It is intended as a blog to stimulate thought, deepen perceptions, and be a platform where those who paint pictures with words can display their craft. It is meant to be a light, relaxing and mentally, emotionally and creatively stimulating venue.
Creative writers are a particular category who use the like button specifically as an invitation back to their own blogs – an invitation to view their work.
And this is how I found the Gravatar “open door to corruption” and WordPress’s indifference to closing it.
My site is aimed at adults, but there is no reason why a young person shouldn’t access it. I still operate on the standards of “good taste” and common sense judgement, characteristic of the fifties when I grew up. My assumption is my adult readers will also have an interest in the material presented and an absence of interest in the material excluded . In other words I have made a point of only presenting material which is in no way shocking nor degrading to the reader.
The problem is two fold – unsuitable Gravatar images and unsuitable followers who have pressed the like button to lead readers back to their sites containing material which is not what a person reading my blog would expect.
In the last 3 weeks like buttons have led me back to explicit photographs of bodies lying in a ditch, an obviously real human skull with a gag still in its mouth and a Gravatar image of a females wrists chained, implying a body suspended by the wrists.
These images have nothing to do with the content of my blog and I don’t want direct links from my blog to them.
In trying to find a solution to unsuitable Gravatar images and unsuitable followers, WordPress provides no solution. There is no way the recipient can cancel a like, make it invisible or cause it to revert to a neutral Gravatar image. Nor is there any way to delete a follower and block them from leaving a like, an immediate link button back to their own site.
In other words, a child, young person or sensitive person feeling safe and comfortable on my blog is one click away from perverted images – and there is nothing I can do about it.
And WordPress refuses to accept that this is a problem – leaving the door open to perverts, predators and others lacking in responsibility to run free on any WordPress site they please, while there is no mechanism available for responsible bloggers to keep these abusers and misusers off their sites.
Surely it should be possible to permit a blogger the means to require a neutral Gravatar image on their site. Why can’t Gravatar images be X-rated? And a method to mark someone who leaves a like, or follows, as spam.