meta: October 2004 Archives

Stand back?

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Not a big change by any means, but it seems like I learn a little more about MT every time I sneak a peak under the hood. I was saying in the comments to the last entry how much I appreciate the "recent comments" feature on Typepad and elsewhere because it gives me as a reader some idea of where comments are taking place, and without me having to scroll through entries.

At the same time, I do like the single sidebar, even though I'll probably move to two as the right side of cgbvb fills up a little more. So my compromise between "recent comments" and a smaller sidebar? I've added the "CommentCount" tag to my Recent Entries category over yonder. It gives regular visitors some sense of where the action is comment-wise, and it does so without taking up much sidebar real estate.

The one thing that I did regret somewhat about making the move to MT3 was that all of my little code and design tweaks had to be redone, and I've been slow to do so. But this is a new one, and I think it's one of those small changes that will only affect a few readers, but add up over time into a little extra convenience...

The joy of comments

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I don't know that this qualifies as big news or anything, but Jenny turned comments back on over at Stupid Undergrounds. And she had a couple of interesting things to say in this regard:

It's funny how quickly your body--seriously, I'm talking at the level of physiology here--gets used to the network(ed) feedback and movement of blogs....Blogs are so amazing because they are sprouts of network energy....many thrive because they continue to move and circulate with comments, threads, readers.

She and I talked about this a little during my visit, about how, when someone wants to "start a blog," what they mean is that they want to achieve that "thriving" state immediately, without realizing that, in most cases, it takes a lot of time and investment (and comments, threads, and readers). In this, it's not unlike people who decide that they "need publications." In other words, a publication is the result of a similarly intensive investment of time, energy, understanding, etc., an investment that can't actually guarantee success. The investment itself has to be its own reward, and often, if it is, the other stuff will come.

The issue of comments. Jenny's post made me think about the role of comments on blogs, and if I had the time or inclination, here's a little project I might undertake. It would be interesting to look at a set of blogs, and to track the number of comments on different posts, and then look to see if they function in a feed-forward manner. That is, are certain topics likely to receive more comments, and if so, do the bloggers return to those topics with more frequency? The common sense answer is "of course," but I suspect that it also is affected by each blogger's personal ratio of "self/other" writing, a ratio that itself can be affected by comments. As convoluted as this may sound, it might be a way of articulating that self/other ratio, or describing the evolution of a particular blog, based on more than just the anecdotal or intuitive perceptions of its author.

Hmm. That'd be a big project, and I'm pretty sure that it would only work for blogs of a certain size, but it might also apply to the teaching of writing in the sense that it could supply some general guidelines for how teachers might respond to student blogs in ways that would be most productive--more formative than normative, perhaps. The more I'm writing about this, the more interesting it sounds to me. Not that I've really got the time to do something like it right now, but still.



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This page is a archive of entries in the meta category from October 2004.

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