Member Rara Avis
Your problem is almost certainly a result of the ISP using a proxy server as detailed in this thread. It's a bit unusual to see a local ISP do it, and even more unusual for a cable provider (they typically assign static IP addresses that never change). As I indicated in the tech thread cited, it's far more common for the big ISP's or for companies on a LAN.
The program checks the Username of the person who posted the poem against the Username of the person replying and, if they're the same, does not bump the post. This is our standard un-bump feature. The intent is to make the system more fair, so that a few people can't keep their work on page one constantly and so that even more can feel free to thank people without "seeming" like they are trying to keep their post on page one. About a month ago, I noticed there were a few people using aliases to bump their own work. I also noticed a few instances of nepotism, where valid Members were bumping the poems of others in the same household. That detracted a bit from the fairness of the un-bump, so I changed the programs to also start checking IP addresses. If the IP of the computer making the originating post is the same as the IP of the computer replying, there is no bump.
The situation, as I saw it, revolved around two people sitting at the same computer. If Jack wanted to tell Jill how great her poem was, he had probably already done that verbally and (we would hope) in much greater detail than a posted reply. So why bother with posting a less detailed reply? The only reason would be to bump the poem, and that wasn't fair to all the others here.
In your unusual case, that's admittedly a bit unfair. But only a bit, because the bump isn't really meant to keep someone's friends near the top. The intent of the bump is to bring the best poetry to the top. I'm not suggesting you would ever purposely bump a "bad" poem, just because it was posted by an off-line friend, but you and I both know that a lot of others would (and probably still do). Even if you didn't do it purposely, most courts would consider you a "prejudicial" witness just because of the personal ties to someone. You can still reply, of course, but the system assumes you are responding to the person and your reply doesn't carry the same weight as a stranger who is replying to the poem.
Again, your situation is unusual and, yea, probably a little unfair. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the alternative would be unfair to everyone else. The good news is that, if your friends are posting superlative poetry, there are a whole lot of others here who CAN bump them to the first page.