JHR wrote in with a question or two (exerpted):

Dan -

I am intrigued by your move to blogging (if that is the correct term). I consider you a wise, beyond street-wise, codger - not easily taken in by every new fad. Obviously you find something of value in blogging.

I am looking for something more satisfying than the Daynoters affiliation...

What do you find rewarding about blogging? How does one such as I, a Certified Curmudgeon, tap into the Blogger World? What are its restrictions?

I would really appreciate your commentary on this - at your convenience, of course. If there is a Blogger FAQ posted, merely a link to that will suffice. I don't ask you to reinvent the wheel!

Regards, (from a Blogger wannabe - I think)



Dan -

As I was moving along, something else occurred to me: I am a bit put off by any "Edit this page" concept. Or is that peculiar to the Wiki concept? (A rather strange concept, IMO.)

I welcome commentary, and will publish it - pro-, con-, and indifferent - with my rejoinder. (Helps fill otherwise empty space!) However, I do NOT relish the idea of "Edit this page." My thoughts, however wrong-headed, are my own - not to be tampered with by any other without a nickel in it. Comment - certainly. At length, and as flaming as you see fit. But change my thoughts at your peril. That's why they're copyrighted, FWIW.

Am I confusing the Blogger concept (unclear to me) with the (already confusing) Wiki concept?



Well, now; this one will get a bit involved as it gets back to why I post and why I have multiple sites. Lets start of with some definitions:

  1. Blogging: Web Logging, either with a regularly posted log of events (personal or otherwise) or a listing of sites posited as worthy of review by others.
  2. Blogger: a tool that allows easy composition and posting of a weblog. A great 'starter kit' when coupled with Blogspot, a free hosting site.
  3. Greymatter: another posting tool, hosted on your server, supports multiple authors, ala the Back Porch.
  4. Moveable Type: another winner. While I don't use it myself, I have redone Tina Cheek's site from this to this under it.
  5. b2: another tool; no personal experience, but Dave Farquhar has a very nice site running on it!.
  6. One excellent source of site tool information is here (thanks, Ciara!)

Hmmm... and the difference between Daynotes posting and blogging... To my eyes, there's not that much. "Daynotes" implies a measure of regularity; and the members tend to post once each day.

Perhaps 'community'? Daynotes by definition is a subset of web journals; and while the sites vary, the overall feel is often similar. The Weblogs community, and by extension, web journals, may follow the same theme of a daily journal, but the sheer number of sites generates significant variance. ...and cross pollination leads to sites re-interpreting other sites' styles, adding to the variety we see.

...and where some communities are limited by a self-imposed membership criteria, most are not and move from loose affiliations of friends or like-minded individuals to wider affiliations of dissimilar people who likely would never have aggregated without the crystallizing effect of one or two individuals. ...and how do those aggregates form? From cross linking to other sites, following discussion group threads (and joining in!), monitoring update services such as the XML feeds produced by Userland and Weblogger, and watching referrer logs.

As to how I ended up with a blog site, I'd started testing an EditThisPage site to see if I could develop a collaborative site for music reviews. Essentially goofing off by posting the absurdities of life as I ran across them, I never opened the site up to other authors; rather, I kept myself as the only authorized editor and proceeded to scratch an itch I hadn't realized existed: I started writing stories and posting pictures and generally trying out different communication methodologies.

Several months later, I found I was able to maintain my Daynotes site as a medium to one audience and expand my writing into other topical areas on the ETP site. ...and two events occurred: the Userland servers hit a scalability crisis and CoffeeCup added an applet to their HTML editor that allowed for quick and easy posting from both home and work. So I renamed the blog and moved it over to my domain. That worked well. Soon I added a stories section and later Whitenoise was born. Whitenoise is more of a link farm than another blog; it is intended as an adjunct to my bookmarks: if I want to reference something, I throw it in there figuring I'll find it with a <ctrl-F>. ...and every so often I move like items under a heading.

One upshot of those changes is that now I may return to the ETP site and make it a multi-author site. Time will tell on that. ...and at some point I may add a comments section to the blog, but for now that's on hold as I don't pay my hosting service enough to support scripting.

You asked about protocols and "who's in charge"; the short version is that it's anarchy at it's finest. I think we can work with two Golden Rules: "If you don't like a site, then don't come back." and "It's their site and they'll run it the way they want to; if you have a problem with that, see rule 1".

Yeah, there are some generally accepted standards, but for the most part I wouldn't worry about anything like that. You're most conversant with HTML; you own a domain; and you have an excellent system for getting your content formatted. The only differences I see are the ability to stick a quick comment up rather than working up a lengthy post and the establishment of some community ties.

Blogger could fill the first need (although you are skilled enough with ftp to make that perhaps unnecessary). As to the other, just follow your nose through the web and see who you enjoy reading; perhaps drop them a line, and add them to a link bar on your site (that's an accepted norm; I don't have much on my writing pages: my links live on a separate page that's hidden in plain site (see rule two above <g>). As a matter of fact, start with my links page and wander out from there; listed there is as diverse a group as you're likely to find. ...and each of those people has a links bar or a links page.

...and don't forget the Weblogs update feed on that page; I found Ciara of Synergy and Cecil of We're Hosed there. I mean, how could you not check out pages with those titles? to your question regarding Wiki sites: Wikis invite collaborative and interactive works; Manila sites such as EditThisPage and Weblogs can be set to allow or disallow additional authors or discussion groups. Greymatter allows comments if they are enabled; several comment systems are available as scripts that run on your server. But the use of site interaction is strictly up to the owner; see rules 1 and 2 above <g>.

...and blogging versus regular posting: I use my Daynotes page as a 'review of the day' catharsis, more or less a reminder to myself about what went right during the day. ...and of course, it is mainly a tech site. The blog, on the other hand, gives me two things: a 'quick out' for the crazy stuff I run across, and a venue for longer or more thoughtful pieces that really wouldn't fit in on the main site.

Short version? Come on in; the water's fine!