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Thoughts on Blogging

Luke Breuer
2008-12-22 11:27 UTC

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Steve Yegge wrote a very convincing article about why you should write blogs. I was convinced. I am interested in two results: a) that I might help others and b) that I might draw people to me who make me think and help me develop ideas. Economics 101: trade is a Good Thing (tm).

Here are a few things I might blog about:
  • good software development practices
  • good patterns for particular languages.
  • information representation, processing, etc.
    • how to display non-hierarchical data (like data connected by tags or TIME-style)
    • how to aggregate information in a useful manner
  • online reputations and using trust networks to fight spam and help people find good information more quickly
  • theory as it pertains to practical ideas, like requirements for forums, how to store tags, etc.
  • cool software ideas

I vowed I would not start a blog unless it was on software I wrote. This isn't just not-invented-here syndrome; I am unsatisfied with all blog software I have encountered. Steve Yegge mentions some things he doesn't like about blog software; the following is a combination of what he thinks and what I think:
  • I want a better commenting system; Steve mentions inline comments. Jack Slocum was one of the first to implement them in his blog. I want something even more powerful: one should be able to comment on more than just a single block-level element. In fact, I want full-blown forums.
  • I want to tie together different blog entries in a very tight fashion so that one can explore my posting landscape. TIME itself is , or will be, quite suitable for classifying posts. I want [almost] every blog entry I make contribute to the web of knowledge in TIME.
  • Steve mentions that he wants readers to be able to quickly determine which of his posts are most popular, a little like Reddit and Digg. Hopefully TIME and a good forum system for comments will make this feature possible.
  • Versioning is an absolute requirement. I don't want my blog entries to be static pieces of information which atrophy and die. If someone makes an insightful comment two months down the line, I want to respond to it and perhaps change the blog entry to reflect this newly assimilated information. Steve gets into interesting details which will need addressing, like versioning of comments.

My current thoughts on the subject are that my blog will just be a view on TIME, where I select mature entries at some frequency and "publish" them. Remember, "publish" is not a great word, as I intend to continually reshape and reform the information in TIME to reflect what I learn. One term for this would be a bliki, although I don't think that quite describes it. I intend the commenting system to be a central way to discuss and enhance TIME entries.