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  • How To Read This Blog

    Posted by Jonathan on October 26th, 2014 (All posts by )

    Chicago Boyz has been around since 2001 (2003 in its current form) and has thousands of archived posts on all kinds of topics from an unusually diverse and thoughtful group of contributors. Many of these archived posts are still worth reading.

    The problem is that the blog format is poorly suited for organizing information. Once it’s off the front page it tends to disappear. Information may want to be free but first you need to be able to find it.

    What to do? Manually creating, updating and occasionally reorganizing a table of contents is more work than I want, and I don’t think there’s a good way to automate it. Some of our contributors occasionally re-post outstanding examples of their own older posts, for which many thanks (and please keep doing it). Categorization of posts helps a bit. There’s a Google search box that works pretty well as an index if you know what you are looking for. I maintain a list of links on the blog’s right sidebar to a very few of our most interesting discussions. There’s also this new post that I have permalinked on the upper right sidebar where I hope readers will see it.

    Maybe there are additional things that we can do to make the gold in archived Chicago Boyz posts more accessible. Please feel free to chime in in the comments if you have any thoughts.

     

    7 Responses to “How To Read This Blog”

    1. Dave Schuler Says:

      Curation is hard, tedious work, no doubt, and runs in a different direction than moves most bloggers to write.

      One possibility would be to ask your writers to select their own favorite/best/most popular ten posts, create a page just for them, and feature a link to that page prominently on the front page. Alternatively, you could ask your readers to nominate their favorite posts for such a page although blog posts are such creatures of the minute it’s unlikely that will be as productive.

      You could seek a volunteer to act as curator.

    2. Jonathan Says:

      Good ideas, thanks.

    3. ErisGuy Says:

      “Manually creating, updating and occasionally reorganizing a table of contents is more work than I want”

      Can more categories help? Add “author’s favorite,” “good comments,” “collectable” tags along withe usual subject tags. Run a program each month that finds the first three, sorts by the other categories, then pulls the first paragraph and automated summary. Add two ratings, one of which is the number of times the article has been read and the the ratings given by readers….

      The largest problem I see is the manual review of more than a decade of writings.

      I’d be willing to give a it try, first for three months to see how fast I’d can reorder older material. If I can’t keep up, there would be no point in continuing.

    4. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks for the kind offer, Eris. I’m not sure it’s a good use of your or anyone else’s time to go down the manual curation route, but let’s discuss it offline.

    5. pst314 Says:

      How about:
      1. As time allows, add topic tags to posts.
      2. Enhance the blog with a page that automatically lists all tags.
      3. It’s certainly easier to make these suggestions than for somebody to program them. :-)

    6. Jonathan Says:

      Thanks. The tag page is an interesting idea. Do people actually use such pages or widgets to find blog content? I don’t know.

    7. pst314 Says:

      “Do people actually use such pages or widgets to find blog content?”

      I do, sometimes, on those few blogs offer the feature.