Sticky Posts and More

I’m experimenting with ways to make it easier for occasional readers of this blog to quickly find the weightier posts here, without compromising readability for people who read more often. That’s why I’ve been sticking selected posts to the top of the page.

However, sticky posts are confusing, as has been pointed out to me. So I am trying a new experiment, namely the aggressive use of the “More” tag (which appears as, “Read the rest of this entry”) to fit as many posts as possible into a scope that readers can take in at a glance. We’ll see how that works.

Ideally, we would implement a Slashdot-style post-rating system to allow readers to filter posts using their own criteria. But such a system is beyond my technical ability.

Alternatives that are more doable include a filter to display only posts that have received more than a specified number of comments, or to allow filtering of posts by author. (I am wary about filtering by number of comments, because some of the best posts here receive few comments, but allowing filtering by author seems like a no-brainer.)

Creation of a distinct area on the blog’s front page, or of a separate front page, where the posts that hold up best with time can be set apart, is another alternative.

Comments on this topic are appreciated, of course. In making suggestions, please keep in mind that I am trying to make the blog more attractive to people who read it occasionally or who are coming across it for the first time.

1 thought on “Sticky Posts and More”

  1. I think the use of the “more” tag is very important.

    Studies of web usability have shown that people prefer to see a quick overview of available material on the home page with the option of quickly clicking their way to more detail. People don’t like to scroll. Long postings on the main page make the blog look like one large indigestible lump. Breaking the post into a title and short introduction makes the blog look more accessible and active.

    In order to flag unusually good post, we could park a sticky post at the top of the blog with the title and a link to post we feel merit special attention. This could give some post special prominence without completely obscuring new postings.

    As for choosing such post, I say let Jonathan do it by whatever means he wishes. He certainly hasn’t let us down so far.

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