Blog overhaul

It’s been a gradual process that started out last year, but I think I’m pretty much ‘there’ by now – at least I’ve come a long way. So what has happened?

Well, I’ve removed a lot of posts from the site. I’ve posted 1450 posts by now (this post is number 1450), and I’ve pulled 372 from the site altogether. I didn’t do all of that today or yesterday, this was a gradual process. Even though I’ve taken down a lot of stuff, there are still 1071 posts in the archives available for everyone to read. Most of the stuff I deleted was quite bad and a lot of the posts were posts I wrote during the first year (the blogging learning curve isn’t all that steep). That being said, I should be clear about the fact that ‘low quality’ was but one of three choice parameters under consideration. The other two parameters of interest were ‘political content’ and ‘personal content’. The last couple of days I dealt with the last one in a systematic way, as I also noted on the twitter.

Political stuff doesn’t much interest me anymore, and I used to have strong opinions about that stuff. If I hadn’t blogged in the past and I were about to start up a blog at this point in time, I’m quite certain I’d see no major need to, say, upload tape recordings of political discussions I had with other people 4-5 years ago to the archives of the blog for everybody to listen to at their leisure. The old low-quality political posts have only been in my archives for the last couple of years because I never came around to removing them; now I have. The selection mechanism hasn’t been all that fine-grained, so I’m sure there’s plenty of bad stuff still around and the fact that I’ve not pulled a political post should not be interpreted as ‘current me’ supporting the views expressed in the post – maybe I just never got around to removing it, maybe I overlooked it because I hadn’t categorized it properly, maybe it contained some data that alleviated the problem that the views expressed in the post were stupid, or perhaps I thought it would be weird if there was a gap of several months in the archives even though I’ve posted relatively regularly for most of the period I’ve been blogging, or…

Incidentally, I should probably take the time to note that ‘low quality’ and ‘political content’ were very much correlated post traits – far most of the posts I’ve taken down were political posts. Politics is the Mind-Killer and just because you think of yourself as an independent and reasonable person doesn’t mean that you don’t commit a lot of the same mistakes that all those other unreasonable people make all the time, in part because just like everyone else, you have a strong need to validate and justify the political views you subscribe to. See also this.

As for the last parameter, the personal stuff, there’s no arguing that I’ve written a lot of stuff here over time that I’d not want some random guy on the street to know about me. Maybe not a lot of posts, but if you include parameters like ‘post length’ and ‘size of comment section’ (comment sections which not rarely remained active for perhaps a week after the post was written) in the analysis, it actually turned out to be quite a bit of material. Much of the stuff I’ve taken down was the kind of stuff you’d not want somebody you don’t know very well but might want to get to know better in the future, like a potential future close friend or girlfriend, to have access to all at once right from the get-go – to have that person read stuff like that could easily end up colouring that person’s perception of me, perhaps irrevocably, causing him or her to get the wrong idea and think that I’m someone I’m actually not. “You have to dole out your crazy in little pieces, you can’t do it all at once.”

I’ve had this problem with the blog for some time now; there’d be this person or that (in Real Life) which I’d like to tell about it, but I’ve always felt that given what was currently there to be found in the archives, I really would not feel comfortable telling them about it. Now I’ve changed the equation by removing some of the most personal stuff here. As I also tweeted(?) earlier, if you’ve left a comment that you really liked or you’d like to review a discussion we had here that is no longer available, give me a heads-up and I’ll mail you (/or something like that). Again – I’ve deleted nothing, all of it is still ‘in here’. The obvious alternative to this solution model was a two-tier posting system, where some posts would be password protected and others (most) would be available for all to read. I didn’t like that model, but maybe I’ll change my mind about that later on.

Given that people like to comment on the personal posts, the fact that I’ve taken down quite a few of those also means that the number of comments has probably dropped significantly, and that the blog looks less active than it used to do. A week ago the blog had approximately 2000 comments in the archives – now that number has been reduced significantly. That’s a shame, but I hope you guys will still comment here in the future despite the fact that some of the stuff you’ve written in the past has now been taken down. Anyway – comment sections are discussion fora, not history books.

One last change I’ve made is to drastically reduce the number of categories. There are currently 342 categories in the sidebar to your right which is arguably still way too much, but when I started this process there were more than 700. I hope this will make the blog a little easier to navigate.


January 29, 2012 - Posted by | meta, Personal

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