It’s just data

Some Obligation Required

Ken Coar: So why aren't there any links or adverts?  I can't speak for others.  Would I be offended by tasteful adverts on other pages?  Heck no. Would I consider putting such a link on my page?  Not yet.

I've had people offer to "exchange links".  I've had people offer to send me stuff if I would mention it on my weblog.  I've even had people send me stuff "with no obligation".

Quite frankly, I have enough obligations.  Wife.  Kids.  Work.  Associations of various sorts.

Now look at the simple blogroll.  Mine is generated automatically.  It isn't even particularly representative - if people post too often, I take them out and visit their site directly.  If they don't post at all, they stay on.  Others, I visit frequently anyway and it doesn't occur to me to add them

Now, what happens when you remove someone from your blogroll? [links compliments of BbAlways give attribution].  I've had a similar experience when I was overloaded at work and removed a bunch of people from my blogroll and somebody got their feelings hurt.

Now, would I willingly incur such an obligation in exchange for a few bucks?  Perhaps if it was enough bucks to retire on.  Otherwise, I have enough people who don't pay me a dime telling me what I have to do.

No thanks. 

there are bloggers who have advertising. oliver willis is one. there's at least one ad network geared towards bloggers. and there's a number of people with amazon or b&n affiliate links to books they're reading or recommend.

(to be complete, i've actually dabbled with sponsorship, but it was more of a lark than a serious undertaking.)

but i think the obligation is key. looking at technorati's paid services, i've wondered if i shouldn't wall off new features i add to (like the recently-soft-launched feature) and start charging. but i don't want customers and the obligation that entails. (sometimes, it's bad enough that i have users. :)

Posted by jim winstead at

Jim: A big +1 to the last sentiment.

Perhaps we need a banner "I ping". Oh, that's right, I don't do banners. Will a link do? Added.

P.S. Don't piss me off, or I'll remove it. Are we clear on this? Good! ;-)

Posted by Sam Ruby at

So where did the 'always give attribution' thing come from?

Just curious.

Posted by Burningbird at

Can I ask a really stupid question? What is a blog roll other than the links on the right side and why should anyone care if they are linked from there exactly? (I'm honestly asking, I honestly do not know)

Posted by Andy at

Andy, the more blogrolls you're on, the higher your 'score' at technorati, blogging eco system, within the Google page rank system, and so on.

It's all about popularity and buzz.

However, many people have blogrolls just cuz it's a convenient way to visit favorite sites.

Still, I've been removed from blogrolls, and it's not particularly pleasant -- not because of the 'buzz', but because it sent me a message that the people no longer found my weblog interesting enough to read on a regular basis. I suppose one shouldn't care.

And I've been removed from blogrolls, including one recently, because the people were 'pissed' at me, and once because someone accussed me of being a terrorist sympathizer.

Their choice.

So I don't care for blogrolls and am working on eliminating mine. More power to people who want to keep the damn things.

Posted by Burningbird at is actually graphics-free, because i lack the patience to create graphics for it, so a text link is just fine.

the navel-gazing among some webloggers is pretty monumental, and systems like technorati, blogdex, and popdex reflect that. mark may be the poster boy.

i guess the most watched list contributes to that, but i did actively choose not to show rankings for every blog listed, or include counts in the most-watched listing.

just as a sidenote, someone (phil?) pointed out somewhere not too long ago that one of the ironies of the javascript-based blogrolls that are popular in the so-called warblogging crowd is that they don't actually do anything for increasing the interconnected-ness of those sites, as far as the googlebot is concerned.

Posted by jim winstead at

Shelley, just another blogging convention that can hurt people's feelings when it is not followed consistently.

Posted by Sam Ruby at


Posted by Mark at

i'm just lashing out in my jealousy. i've been too unmotivated to get my own stats going again since moving it all on to my own server.

but it's funny when i imagine the more stats-obsessed webloggers with actual real-life posters of you on their walls.

(and you aren't insane, or at least the non-response of to your pings isn't a sign of it. the ping interface on was totally broken over the holidays.)

Posted by jim winstead at

Ahh "popularity"... I was fascinated by it (while claiming the other) when I was about 14. I mainly write my blog to jerk myself off (excuse the term), for the most part I don't care that much if no one reads it despite the evidence to the contrary. I enjoy when someone expands a thought I expouse, but If not I got my reflective thinking in. A long time ago I tried to keep a diary for this purpose, but the technology was inconvienent and the one thing that I really WANT people to read it for, is to nag me to write in it again (which I don't lately have a problem of doing)...Historically I'd do 1-4 a month (if that). But Dave Johnson was the only person who would nag me then... (While stalking me). I had people nagging me when the power was out for 6 days durring the ice storm.

Caring whether more than 1-10 people read it for that purpose causes restraints on your use of it as an outlet. I suggest basing one's self esteem on what good you do in the world, not whether its particularly well noticed (unless that is required for success) or people like you. Though its cool when someone who hasn't read your blog starts quoting you having no idea they are doing so. Thats when you know you're a good propegandist ;-)

I have too much ADD to have a blog roll myself. I'd rather just read the blogs with cleaverest titles. Sam (and maybe Mr. Roller) is the only blog I read with regularity because he cites me all the time and comes up with cleaver titles like "Mr. Subtlety" which make me laugh and I don't think I've ever been on his blog roll. This is probably just as well.

I still don't know why so many other people read my blog, I don't put that much that I would find interesting in it if I weren't me. Maybe its the snappy titles... Dave Johnson reads it for the firehose...but he's a scary stalker. ;-) I wonder if I had another blog where I only wrote things that I put a lot of thought into in whether it would be more interesting and if it was would I care if people din't put it on their blog roll... No...probably not.

Insomnia sucks... g'night.

Posted by Andy at

Andy, you've been on my blogroll. It was just that every time you posted, Radio's aggregator was convinced that every post you ever had made before had changed. I never tracked down the root cause for this, but after a few occasions of this, I dropped your feed.

I still visit frequently.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

I know you do (the "mr subtlety" thing was like an hour after I posted it). I didn't realize I was on your blogroll (cause I didn't know what one was). Oh I'm depressed. ;-) Sam hates me, I'm not on his blog roll... sniff.

Are you sure that every post I've ever made isn't made afresh and anew and given new context whenever I post? Maybe Radio knows this ;-)

So based on this, how is a blogroll related to an aggregator? And why would I want a blogroll other than to b*tchslap people who write boring blogs?

Posted by Andy at

How is a blogroll related to an aggregator?

They need not be. In my case, I've been using radio's aggregator. It produces an OPML file. Which I convert to my blogroll.

Now that I no longer upstream to that site, I will need to reimplement this function.

Posted by Sam Ruby at

Tying Communication Threads Together

A discussion broke out at Sam Ruby's talks about weblog popularity. In particular, Jim Winstead wrote: The navel-gazing among some webloggers is pretty monumental, and systems like technorati, blogdex, and popdex reflect that. I agree with Jim. As I mentioned in my own post, Third Generation of Weblogging, following an analogy of human growth to weblogging generations, this last blog generation is similar to our teen years with our fixation on popularity. S/he with the most links, wins. The hypertext link is still our most direct tool for connectivity, but we need to make links 'mean' something other than bland acceptance and hence popularity. We need to start tying communication together and the link is the tool of choice, but we need to start using links effectively. Of course, this leads me back to my own personal bugaboo: blogrolls. My blogroll replacement functionality is complete except for one thing -- the blogroll links themselves. If I pull these links from the main page, delink them all, this action results in one less 'class president vote' so to speak for all my blogroll members. This impacts on each weblog's ranking in technorati and most watched and the blogging ecosystem, not... [more]

Trackback from Burningbird


My own solution to having the usefulness of the blogroll (as a way to make sure I visit the sites that I like) while avoiding some of the Jr High School popularity clique consequences is simple: I keep it on an unlinked, private page. So only obsessive referrer log readers even know it's there.

But don't mind me. I'm just a bitter and burned out first-generation weblogger from before the time when it was some Big Trend That Would Change The World.

Posted by Mike Gunderloy at

Reply from way back, talking about giving attribution -- I agree with you Sam. However, I tend not to do this with people who won't, themselves, give attribution. I figure it's a two-way street.

Posted by Burningbird at

Oh, goodie. Looks like I hit a nerve. ;-)

I've found that rebelling against foolish social norms is not conducive to my inner peace. On the other hand, lampooning them is a blast. ;-)

Posted by Sam Ruby at

If, like on this site, a lot of people comment, and those people post links to their sites, doesn't this act sort of blog-rollish? What I'm getting at is that there are more ways than blogrolls to be linked from some pages. For instance, mention something Mark said and link to him. You then show up in his Future Reading section linked from his main page. This isn't a blogroll, but it'll sure get you some traffic and will affect your google ranking (I think). It probably won't change your technorati status. Depending on what happens with comments at a given site, if you post your link in a comment you make, the same effect can be had. Welcome to the land of parasites.

As for navel-gazing, I watch my stats closely too (although somedays there's not a lot to watch), but it's not because I want to say "Ooh baby, I am the most powerful blogger today. I rule." I watch them because I like to see how what I'm saying is being read, digested, and used in other places. Most of the time I don't have anything near as important to say as most of you, but it's neat to watch who's reading, and what they're saying in response to what has been said.

Posted by jfournier at

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Sam, I fixed some last-update-time problems in the FreeRoller RSS Servlet a month or so ago.

You might want to try Andy's RSS feed again. I'd be interested to know if it is still broken in the way you described. What aggregator do you use?

Posted by Dave Johnson at

Radio. I've resubscribed to Andy's and your feeds.

The problem I was seeing was that whenever he posted *anything*, Radio presumed that *everything* in his RSS feed was new.

Since I've subscribed, Andy has posted an item, and I saw exactly *one* copy. Looking good!

Posted by Sam Ruby at

jfournier: No, showing up in my "further reading" will not change your Google or Technorati ranking in the long term, because the link is not permanent. All my auto-generated "further reading" links disappear after 5 days.

Embrace the impermanence of all things.

Posted by Mark at

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