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Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Blog Pet Peeves

I've subscribed to a bunch of blogs. I've made a list of my "blog pet peeves". If your blog is doing any of these things, your blog is headed for my "rejects" RSS folder. (If your blog is a POS, I actually keep my RSS subscription and put it in a "rejects" folder. This prevents me from accidentally re-subscribing to it if I see it again. If I see a referral to something in my rejects bin, I'll re-evaluate it.)

My #1 blog pet peeve is "Partial RSS Feeds". Google Reader is an *EXCELLENT* tool for tracking multiple blogs. If you give a partial RSS feed, that ENTIRELY DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF AN RSS FEED. That means extra clicks to read your post. Unless your blog is super-awesome, you should give me a full feed. If you're "monetizing your blog", there are ways to insert ads into an RSS feed. Do that and give me a full feed.

My #2 blog pet peeve is "Ads disguised as content". Aahz was the most guilty participant I've noticed. If you're writing an article that's really an ad, you're being dishonest to your readers. If you're being paid to write an article promoting something, you should clearly indicate it in the subject or the top of the article.

My #3 blog pet peeve is "Too many posts". I prefer few high-quality posts to a bunch of small garbage posts. In many cases, the posts could be combined. I've found 1 post per day to be plenty for someone who's not blogging as their full-time job. If blogs go substantially over 1 post per day, they tend to wind up in my rejects bin. The most noteworthy counterexample is Techdirt, which has a lot of posts and consistently high quality.

My #4 blog pet peeve is "Multiple authors on the same blog". This invariably leads to "too many posts". What happens is that there's one poster I like and several I dislike. I keep subscribed to the RSS feed just for the good stuff by one poster. Instead, the authors would be better off each having their own blog and linking to one another.

For this reason, I'm not having "guest posters" here. If you write a good post on your own blog, leave a comment or E-Mail me and I'll mention it. For most of my "frequent commenters", I'm already subscribed to their blog's RSS feed. The overhead for starting a blog is practically zero, so you may as well write your own blog instead of guest-posting.

My #5 blog pet peeve is a post that's just a link. If you're going to show me a link, at least give me a description and reason why it's worth following. Blogs that do this tend to fall into the "too many posts" pet peeve. Every time the blogger sees an interesting link somewhere, he posts it. I like the way I handle this in my "Reader Mail" posts. I make a collection of "interesting links" and publish them all at one. Also, I give a description of why the link is worth following.

My #6 blog pet peeve is a post that's just an article copied from another source. Gilliganscorner used to be guilty of this, but he's getting better now. Don't copy an entire article and make it a blog post. Post a link to the original, and then add your own commentary. That's what I do, and that's the morally correct way to handle it.

My #7 blog pet peeve is disallowing comments. What's the point of having a blog if you're not allowing readers to comment? If your blog is popular, spam becomes a problem. Comment moderation solves this. Based on my experience, people who block/ignore reader feedback tend to be lousy authors. One big advantage of a blog compared to other writing formats is that you get immediate feedback from readers. Immediate feedback from readers has helped me sharpen my thinking. I get direct feedback in the form of reader comments, and indirect feedback in the form of posts inspired on other blogs. For example, other people are talking about the Compound Interest Paradox on their blogs.

With my "Reader Mail" posts, hopefully people who write intelligent comments feel that they're being appreciated properly. I don't feel guilty when I point out that someone is pro-State trolling. Some people will give up and sulk away. Others will try and improve the thinking.

My #8 blog pet peeve is when people write a huge post in the comments section, either on my blog or another blog. For all that work, you could have just posted a full article on your own blog, and then published a link!

My #9 blog pet peeve is leaving comments on popular blogs. There tends to be a lot of garbage, and an intelligent comment will get buried. On such blogs, the author should highlight the good comments.

My #10 blog pet peeve is an auto-generated del.icio.us link list. I use del.icio.us, but automatically including everything you saved, without explanation, is lame. If you're going to give me a list of links, cull the garbage and give me a good explanation of why that link is worth following. Blogs that do this tend to fall under the "too many garbage posts" pet peeve.

1 comment:

Thomas Blair said...

Unless I'm unaware of this function, I'm finding Google Reader more and more irritating, as comment sections are not included with the body of the post. Having RSS aggregators are generally useless if you have to visit each post individually to check for comments.

This Blog Has Moved!

My blog has moved. Check out my new blog at realfreemarket.org.