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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Scott McNulty’s 31 TNG posts

Scott McNulty:

To celebrate the 30th anniversay of a show that has had a large impact on my life I’m going to write a TNG related blog post every day this month. Why? Why not!

TNG being Star Trek: The Next Generation. Let’s see if he keeps it up. I’m rooting for him.

Colin Walker: “Should replies be posts?”

Colin Walker, in a post on whether or not replies to other posts (or, comments) should be their own posts:

There has to be a line, a point where a comment is just that and not a reply. It’s a question of semantics but not everyone’s answer to “what is a comment and where does it belong?” will be the same.

I struggle with this a lot.

It is likely the point I should have made in my post regarding Micro.blog becoming a commenting service (and the fact that I don’t like that). I don’t want to reply on my blog to every reply to my posts on M.b because then I would have dozens and dozens of posts on my blog that would be very tough for readers to follow contextually. I believe the commenting mechanism that has been around for decades, even un-threaded, is far more useful than dozens of desperate posts stitched together loosely with a link that says “in reply to”.

Webmention attempts to bridge that gap between post and reply but that also is tough to follow along if the thread gets unwieldy.

However, I also don’t want to reply to every reply on my posts directly on M.b either (though, I do from time-to-time) as that isn’t much better than using any other silo like Twitter or Facebook. Should M.b go away, all of those conversations would be lost.

This isn’t a new issue nor is it exclusive to M.b. If I replied on my own blog to other people’s posts on their own blogs (like I am in this post to Colin Walker’s blog) then one side of the conversation could disappear at any time. I can only control my side of the equation. But at least if I have my own blog I have control of that one side.

I think it is good that these topics are being discussed again. The same debates have been swirling since blogging began, they swelled again when the indieweb movement began to take shape, and I think they are happening again as a result of M.b’s growing community. I do not believe there is one single answer to many them. You have to do what is right and sustainable for you.

For now, here are my personal rules for replying to posts. These will most definitely change over time.

  • If I want to say a quick “congrats” or “excellent post” or something of that nature I will leave a reply directly on their blog. If they do not have commenting turned on I will attempt to email. If they do not have email publicly available I’ll say nothing at all.
  • If I have something substantive to add to the conversation, or if I would like my “followers” to see the post I will quote the post on my blog with my additions to the conversation. Like this post.
  • If I simply want to direct people to the content I will use my new repost tag that I’ve been experimenting with. I’ve seen others use the “a post I liked” type post. That could work too.
  • If people reply using M.b, Twitter, or Facebook I will not reply on those services*. But I may reply on my own blog.
  • If I would like to keep my reply private I will attempt to email.

As an aside: I know some of you do not want to leave a public comment. I love getting reader emails. I get a fair number of them. And some of them have been excellent conversations. So please don’t hesitate.

* I no longer have a Twitter or Facebook account. I do have a M.b account but I’m beginning to wonder if I need one as I have my own fully functional weblog. If I didn’t and I wanted a microblog and didn’t want to use Twitter, I could see having an account. If I wanted a more fully featured blog I still believe WordPress is the best tool for that. Also, I’m sure as the M.b community grows it could mean that my content would be discovered by more people. I think M.b may end up being a thriving, well run, community and service. It is why I backed Manton’s efforts via Kickstarter. But, if I have my own blog, and if I really don’t care much about my content being discovered, then I see little reason to syndicate to it. For the time being I’m still going to as I want to see how the service matures.

Colin Walker on thinking out loud on his blog

Colin Walker:

It’s always a little weird glancing at my visitor stats and seeing that someone has read a post that no longer reflects my position.

100% agree. Most of my posts are out-of-date and my opinions have changed slightly since I’ve written them.

I love this bit:

This is why I always refer to the blog as an ongoing conversation with myself – it is the public manifestation of working things out in my head.

That is why I say that writing is how I think. See also.

A list of words being used too often in news headlines lately

  • Finally
  • Blasts
  • Destroys
  • Braces
  • Defends
  • Smashes
  • …and you won’t believe what happened next

Information water torture

Emily Lakdawalla, on taking a writing sabbatical:

I feel less and less satisfied doing rushed news-update-style reporting, and am more interested in spending more time to explain science or engineering in depth, in articles that will be useful over time, not just this week. (I am really enjoying writing the book, when I can find time to do it!) I also want to do more work to develop resources to help people get into the art and science of space image processing, building resources that will have value for people for years to come.

Social media is beginning to feel like information water torture. I find it both useful and draining. And it has certainly gotten worse in the last few months with every thing I see being thin, fluff, possibly fake, or hate. I’m wearing out.

It is an important time in this information age. Tools need to become better. But, more importantly, we need to become better curators of our own information intake.

I applaud Emily for stepping back, focusing on her book, and also taking that time to reflect on how she can bring even greater value when she returns. (By the way, she has already brought immense value to the community. I am really looking forward to her book and return.)

Stop worrying, hit publish

Jen Simmons, on her blog:

So I have nothing much to say in this post. Or more honestly, I have so freaking much to say, I don’t know where to start. So I’m going to start here. I just need to break the silence. And get into a habit of posting. So I’m posting this. And I’m going to publish it without thinking about it. Without proof-reading it really. Without thinking about how it will be received.

Stop worrying. Hit publish.

Me, in September:

My blog archive is a source of both pride and head shaking. Why did I write about that? Why did I allow myself to publish that? But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Yup.

Owning my words and photos and audio bits

Jeremy Keith wrote on his blog about owning his words, or, being willing to publish his words (snarky or otherwise) on his own site under his own name. I recommend you read his entire post.

But this bit stood out:

I wish I could articulate how much better it feels to only use Twitter (or Medium or Facebook) as a syndication tool, like RSS.

I feel the same way. I sort of tried to articulate the more tangible results of publishing from my site first in Observations about “tweeting” from my site. But let me get into a bit more detail here about not just tweeting but publishing in general.

By publishing to my own web site first…

  • I feel like I’m curating a library rather than throwing loose papers into a raging torrent.
  • I have the ability to quickly move to another platform if I so wish
  • I can choose how things look and feel
  • I can track, or not track, any metric I’d like to
  • I can publish several different types of media: photos, audio
  • I can turn discussion on or off

As Jeremy said, I own my words and photos and audio bits. I love it. As I said in the observations post and even as I wrote earlier this morning; I wish everyone did this.

Everyone should write (or, blog?)

Deanna Mascle wrote on her blog on why all teachers should write. In it she says this about why students should write in every class every day:

Reflective writing at the beginning of a class or before a lesson can help students access existing knowledge and build a foundation for new information. Writing activities during a lesson can reinforce new knowledge and help students connect it to their existing framework. Writing after a lesson can serve multiple purposes from supporting knowledge transfer to fostering memory development to demonstrating comprehension. Plus, creative projects can increase engagement which in turn improves learning and retention of knowledge. Writing (if you do it right) is active learning. Writing (if you do it right) is fun. Writing (if you do it right) is meaningful.

See also this bit I linked to from Mascle about one year ago.

I think everyone should write. And I also think everyone should write publicly. So many are willing to write SMS messages or Facebook status updates… but what if you took just one of those ideas and fleshed them out? What if you took the time to take one of those tirades about the cost of strawberries at the local market and examined it from all perspectives; farmer, distributor, grocer, customer? By doing this you’d be teaching yourself, as you write, and if you still felt compelled enough with your argument to hit publish, everyone would be better for it.

Why blog?

Deanna Mascle on her blog in February of this year:

Blogging isn’t for everyone, but as I must write to think and process life, blogging is a gift (What Blogging Taught Me). I hope my blog benefits others, but I cannot measure the positive impact blogging has had on my life.

Then, yesterday, in a follow-up post she wrote:

For myself and for my students, blogging is a reflection tool as well as a tool to share what we are thinking, learning, and doing with either our community or the greater world.

Whenever I slack here on my blog I regret it, not because I lose readership or traffic (I do not track those numbers at all so I have no idea what they are), but because I tend not to think as clearly as when I’m consistent in writing. Here’s an excerpt from this by me in 2013:

But writing, for me, is my way of deep thinking. I then get to edit my thoughts. What a beautiful idea! To write something down that you‘re thinking about and, rather than the thought simply going away, you can go back and and begin to craft that idea and mold your own opinion until you can fully come to a conclusion.

Great post by Deanna. Inspiration for me to get writing and thinking a bit.

 

Writing is Thinking

Sally Kerrigan, on A List Apart:

When you write about your work, it makes all of us smarter for the effort, including you—because it forces you to go beyond the polite cocktail-party line you use to describe what you do and really think about the impact your work has.

Totally agree. I also find speaking in front of people helps too. Defending what you’ve built goes even one step further and can really begin to solidify vision or break it down completely.

Related: Writing is how I think.