Over four years ago whether a blog should or shouldn’t have comments was a heavily debated topic in the blogging community. Back then I wrote about one possible benefit of disabling comments.
One of the benefits I see coming from disabling comments is the number of links you end up getting back to your site.
Almost a year ago I wrote about the fact that blogging was ready for disruption. (I still think it is.) And that the new “pro blog recipe” was a blog without comments.
Lately this topic seems to have risen its head again yet not in the same way as it has in the past. In fact, rather than there being a debate for or against a blog having comments it appears that most independent bloggers have resolved that a blog without comments is simply much more enjoyable and manageable while larger outfits still see the need to engage the community.
Matt Gemmell, who recently shut off comments on his personal blog, added a few reasons to the fray. Here is one of his reasons that I have also enjoyed since turning comments off on my personal blog.
I feel more willing to publish short pieces, and to write more frequently.
When I had comments on I wouldn’t publish anything that I thought may not start a conversation. Which ended up leading me in a direction I simply didn’t want to go in – I was starting conversations for the sake of starting conversations. That isn’t why I have my personal blog and I don’t want it to be. So, off went the comments. And it isn’t because I don’t want to hear the opinions of those that read my blog. It is because I don’t want to write simply for the gratification of receiving comments. It has been very liberating.
There is still a place for comments on blogs. Even personal blogs. Some blogs have very good reasons to have comments on them. In fact, even Jason Kottke turns on comments from time-to-time when they are needed. But there are better examples like Horace Dediu’s Asymco. He has made it plainly clear that he runs Asymco in order to work with his community on figuring out a problem. He wants feedback, questions, answers, rebuttals to his hypothesis and blog comments is his primary way of accomplishing that.
So while the debate rages on – and all debates are good when they furnish constructive conversation – unlike Gemmell I firmly believe it is a matter of choice by the publisher rather than a cut-and-dry answer. There are pros and cons to having comments on or off and, once weighed, the publisher can then make a decision on how he or she would like to run their own blog.
After a little over a week of posting over on The Watercolor Gallery I thought I’d write down a short and sweet update. You know, for posterity.
Lets just say I’m enjoying myself. I’ve wanted to put together a site like this for longer than I can remember. Tumblr has made this incredibly easy. So far The Watercolor Gallery’s archive is sporting over 30 works of art dating from 1868 to 2010. I’m learning how to keep on a schedule, to build up a queue for times when I’m not near the computer, and also finding my slightly critical but more or less positive voice for the blog.
I have many, many ideas for The Watercolor Gallery and I’ll be working on them as the site gets more and more of an audience. Right now, after only a week, the audience seems to be near 50 people per day. I’m extremely happy with this.
The first idea is to have weekly feature threads which I’m starting this week. This week’s feature thread is Scrolls from China. Each day The Watercolor Gallery will feature a work from their archive in hopes to bring some attention to orphans in need in China. (The posts for the entire week are already in the queue and scheduled thanks to Tumblr.)
Other ideas that I have will require a slightly larger audience. Also, a slightly more global audience. As it stands, as far as I can tell from the few statistics I’ve been able to gather, most of the visitors to the gallery have been from the United States.
The Twitter blog has a brand new design and it looks pretty slick. However, it no longer shows trackbacks and/or comments for each blog post effectively losing a few years worth of data. Boo.
Talk about a job title. Ocean Rower has to be one of the best ones I’ve come across yet and Roz Savage, who is currently in the Pacific Ocean rowing solo from Hawai’i to Tuvalu in her second stage of her Pacific voyage, has the privilege of owning it.
I’m still reading her daily posts on her blog from back in June, I hope to catch up sometime soon, but I’m hung on every word. She is a must read/follow/subscribe.
Side note: Hurley is by far my most-favorite character on LOST. Charlie Pace was always a close-second and when we lost him in Season 3 I always said that if Hurley goes I won’t watch anymore. With only one season of LOST left I think it is safe to say that Hurley will be around until nearly the end if not the end – so I’m happy about that.
Why do I enjoy Jorge’s blog? Because of posts like this. Jorge recently came to New York to be a guest on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon ((Here is a video of him being on the show which I think is classic.)) and in doing so stayed at a hotel where he had some interesting observations. That is why I like his blog.
I’m going to be making small adjustments, enhancements, and do some all-out-late-night hacking in order to get this site up to snuff to handle notes, links, mobile photos, mobile notes (or, anything too long to fit on Twitter), and videos. I’ve already put the most recent mobile photos in the sidebar and spruced up the way WordPress shows the mobile photos category. I’ve got a lot more planned although I doubt the overall design of this site will change much.
I plan on sharing some of the code I write here on the blog too. So expect the geek knob on this thing to get turned up a bit. (You’re probably thinking, wasn’t the geek knob already at 11?).
I also plan on sharing a lot more Viddler-development related information through this site. As I look around at how other Evangelists are spreading information about their respective products – I see that I’m lagging behind. I don’t want to give any excuses, but, Viddler has been pretty focused on growing our Business services lately. And we’ll continue to be. But I’m going to take some time to spruce up our developers offerings as well as see if I can create some energy behind development on top of our platform. If you’re developer, stay tuned.
The FAIL meme strikes again! This time it is my friend Albert Yee, whom I’ve mentioned before, that is setting up a fail blog for SEPTA (or the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority). He aptly calls the site SEPTA fail.
He’s looking for help too. So if you deal with SEPTA on a regular basis – please read his blog post letting you know how you can help out.
A fantastic site
written by Howard Hall and
Roger Ebert is hitting a stride on his blog. He began blogging not too long ago. Well, in the world of blogging it wasn’t that long ago. It isn’t like he hasn’t been writing for longer than I’ve been breathing – he just hasn’t been blogging as long as I have. So take that Roger! Where his first pieces seemed to be op-eds his latest pieces seem to be more “blog like”, and I like that. Personal reflections about how Roger sees the world rather than how he thinks others should.
I’ve long respected Roger’s opinions of movies. It turns out I agree and respect his opinions on a great many things. Consider this my recommendation to subscribe.
Source: Roger Ebert’s Journal (Sadly it seems “blog” isn’t a good enough word.)
Ps. You can have a post-script on a blog, right? Anyway – I think I should take a taste of my own medicine and get back to some real blogging myself. Hmmm.
“Say the thing with which you labor. It is a waste of time for the writer to use his talents merely. Be faithful to your genius. Write in the strain that interests you most. Consult not the popular taste.”
Not that I’m planning on going against the grain just for the sake of doing so, but I like the sentiment to always do what you feel passionate about rather than conforming for audience or peoples.
I recommend adding THIS DATE, from Henry David Thoreau’s Journal to your reading list.
I’ve been subscribed to Koren Shadmi‘s Livejournal titled Paper Feast for a long time. Â This morning, while sipping my coffee and reading his latest entry called China Rocks, I did a quick search for his name on my site and was surprised that I’ve never mentioned him.
I’m rectifying that right now.
Koren is an amazing illustrator. Paper Feast is a behind-the-scenes look at his work for newspapers and magazines when they ask Koren to provide an illustration for their articles. Â The process is as amazing as the results.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a must-subscribe.
Source: Paper Feast by Koren Shadmi.
The eBay Ink blog is a really snazzy looking corporate blog for eBay, Inc. Doing some digging I see they are using WordPress for their site, but they lack the “powered by” link anywhere in the sidebar and/or footer.
I love watching the trends of the traffic on my blog; even if said traffic is not that high. In fact, I think it is much easier to monitor my site’s traffic trends then it is for us at Viddler because I’m able to keep a much closer eye on even the smallest of trends.
Take for example this passed Monday night, when the Green Bay Packer game went into overtime. Though short lived due to a long pass by Brett Favre, during the time this game went into overtime my site received hundreds of referral hits from the major search engines. Why? Because I show up on the first page on Google when you search for NFL overtime rules. These types of things happen all the time – and to nearly ever blogger.
Sometimes these trends can be predicted (which is why blogging about niches is so popular). Other times though, trends just appear out of no where.
Take for instance the most popular post on my site; Tolype Velleda. I know what you’re thinking: “How the heck is that the most popular post on your site?” Because the number of visits to this page is skewed by the fact that my photo of this moth comes up on the first page (and sometimes in the first row) for a Google Images search for the word moth. Combine that with the fact that, when clicked, the photo of the moth is only contained in a small frame above my site loaded in a lower frame. This happens, a lot.
It is funny to see where you get traffic from. Some of the searches I end up seeing a lot of referrals from are funny to me because – once and a while – I know people are looking for something completely different then the content on my site. For instance, doing an image search for ‘pot’ on Google will refer you to my post about a gift Eliza gave me. I’ve gotten emails asking: “Did you know your site comes up when I search for pot? Do you have any weed?”. No joke. And to answer those wondering, no I don’t have any weed. Ask Josue, he has some.
I could go on forever about all of the odd ways people end up seeing my site. What are some of the weird ways you’ve seen on your site?
Sounds sorta weird, right? The last version before the next version. Well, what I mean is that I’ve just uploaded the last of the bug fixes, tweaks, and features to my personal web site before it goes through a major overhaul.
By the time 2008 rolls around I hope to be sporting a completely new suit. I’ve got a lot of work to do before I get there, which is why I’m setting this goal 60 days out. First, I need to update to WordPress 2.3.1 (or whatever version is out by the time I get around to updating from my current 2.2.1 build). This jump should be fairly painless besides changing some template code to include the way WordPress handles tags now, and since I am going to be building my site’s new template from scratch anyway, it won’t really be any extra work at all.
I’ve been using this “out-of-the-box” yet hacked template for far too long and I think it is beginning to wear on me. Don’t get me wrong, I really like this template and it has definitely served me well for the way I’ve structured things around here. But I’ve been poking around with some new front page features that simply do not work with the current template. That, and I’ve recently been giving the photos section a lot of attention and what I wanted to do there wasn’t working out with this structure so really I don’t have much of a choice.
Onward and upward. I hope for at least the next two months the recent changes (which are very subtle but were nagging me) serves me, and you, well. But I can’t wait until the beginning of a New Year and the beginning of the next iteration of this site – which I hope will serve me for at least a year.
As always if you find something wonky just let me know.
Update November 23, 2007: Ok, so maybe I lied. After playing with new layouts for a few days I’ve decided to stick with this one and just make small cosmetic changes to make the theme more my own, to update the markup, and extend the features. I’ve done 2 small things to this end over the last two days.
The first thing I did was add support for hAtom. I’m still experiencing some oddities with the dates, and I will continue to make adjustments as I learn how to pull off the date requirements for hAtom with WordPress, but for now the main page of this site will syndicate the latest entries via hAtom with no problem.
The second thing I did was reconfigure the navigation. I’ve been wanting to tighten up the vertical use of space for a little while – so even though this isn’t the final version of the navigation it is definitely a step in the right direction.
Next up is a new heading. Having ‘Colin Devroe’ as an H1 worked for a while…. but soon it shall read something entirely different and may even include some graphics! *gasp*. Until then, enjoy.