The Caramel Crunch (22 February 2020)

Over at Caramel (Learner at Love), CARAMEL has started a new prompt. I’d like to see her prompt do well, and I had some time today to write a post, so here we go…

The prompts are called the Caramel Crunch and so far are centered around a moral question. For your convenience I shall repeat her question.

You have a horrible cold and you realize you are infectious. However, there is a culture in your workplace of still attending work when you are ill. You realize that if you phone in sick, your manager will then have to spend time ringing other staff  and may not be able to find someone else who can cover your shift. You realize that the other staff will be under a lot of pressure to keep up with the work. They always turn up for work even when they are ill.. What would you do?

This is another easy one for me. Let’s take it step by step. A culture of still attemding work when you are sick is code for a culture of going into work and infecting healthy people.

There’s one reason. If you’re infectious, stay home and don’t infect anybody else. Some people want others to think of them as martyrs, but in reality they are a risk to everybody else’s health.

Second, the manager might have trouble covering you. Tough. That’s the manager’s fault for not forming (or training) a team with sufficient diversity of its skills. How many of us has been promised on-the-job training which has been non-existent?

The last thing to point out is that in the UK, somebody can take up to a week’s sick leave, without anybody’s say-so excpt their own. Certification from a doctor is only required when you go beyond this timespan. That’s the law. If your manager doesn’t like that, they should speak to their MP.

My background? I worked for myself for twenty years. If I didn’t work, either through holiday (even public holidays) or sickness, I didn’t get paid. It would have been in my interests financially to work 24/7. But, you know, we need some distance at times – holidays to recharge our batteries, and time to recover our health when we’re below par. When you’ve worked for yourself for long enough, you realise that downtime is neecessary regardless of the cash.

Four Views?

For non-UK readers, this is a classic comedy sketch called Four Candles by British duo The Two Ronnies. For UK readers, I hope you enjoy the re-run.

When I first moved from Blogger, there was an amount of work to do importing my old site to WordPress. While I was messing around, getting the look and feel acceptable, I set the new WordPress site to be private. Nobody could see it. And yet, within a few hours, I had a follower! How could that be?

Okay, I worked that one out, I think. During setup, WordPress asked me what I wanted the blog to be called. It also asked me what I wanted to be called. So I guess that, behind the scenes, WordPress automatically set my personal account to follow my blog. Which would explain the one follower.

I got the new blog into shape, and put it live. Then I noticed I started getting followers. Some real, some suspiciously named as if to entice me into buying something. It’s funny – I have several followers who have the word vitamin in their name. Please, I’ve already had a stroke, so there’s a clue. Do they really think I give a shit about taking vitamin pills?

But I can understand that companies realise that there is a hub of people here on WordPress, so the platform represents a form of advertising which entices unwary bloggers to their site. And maybe they do make money from some of them? Not from me, I’m afraid. I’ve got all the vitamins I need. I always will have.

The other thing I noticed: when I publish a post, I go back to my published list just to check that the post went live okay. After that, I like to quickly re-read the post live on my site, just to give it a final all-clear. I am prone to making typos, plus there are problems anyway with my keyboard, so it gives me a chance to perform some last, last minute corrections.

In the past, I could budget having five or ten minutes before anybody read my post. So, as long as I got in quick, I had that final chance to review it.

Until this last week or so. Now, when I publish a post, by the time my published list updates, my posts – every new post, as far as I can tell – has four views. These “viewers” never interact, never like, never comment, so I’m pretty convinced that they must be bots of some kind. Anybody any ideas?

Don’t get me wrong – there are some people who seem to read and like everything I write, without comment, but but they do at least respond with a like. I am not one bit being critical towards these people, because I appreciate that English might not be their first language, so they may hesitate to leave a comment, although it would be welcome if they felt the urge. I am at least reassured that they are real people – at least by liking my work, these readers are interacting with me.

It’s funny because some bloggers seem to me to be very hung-up on their stats, but I’m more and more concluding that none of it adds up.

Okay, those are the WordPress funnies. Now, one last user funny: this notion of having to pre-approve all your comments seems nonsense. I don’t wish to lecture bloggers who have been on here for years, but it seems nonsense to me. In six months using WordPress, I have had 1,700 comments on my posts. You know what I think about WordPress’s stats but that one seems about right. Of these, Akismet has trapped maybe twenty which it thought were spam. Of those, probably two actually were spam. My settings are to ensure that the commenter has a WordPress account, but that’s all. In fact, I would happily turn Akismet off altogether, except there is no option to do that. It seems to get more decisions wrong than right, and for two bits of spam in two thousand, I’d take my chances. If people want to pre-approve every one of these, that is an awful lot of work they’re making for themselves.