The mysterious disappearance of blog posts

It is now ten days since someone made a blog post here and our most prolific blogger departed with all her posted material. It is hard to imagine that the two things were not somehow related to a decision by the Admins (including me) to take current blog posts off the home page and replace the box there with one featuring posts selected by us.

We took this step because blog activity had increased sharply in recent months and the quality of posts on view was highly variable. Sometimes they were put there by spammers before we caught them, sometimes they showed lack of thought or care in presentation, sometimes the whole slot was dominated by one person and others complained about it. Some interesting threads with a lot of discussion were pushed off the home page as a result. It didn't seeem right that the most prominent place existing members and new visitors come across would be made available on a first come, first served basis.

So we introduced rationing in the name of editorial policy and the blogging stopped or went into reverse in one case (that was a pity, Miyako, we miss you). Is it just coincidence or have the bloggers gone on strike now that they can't be assured of seeing themsleves on the home page as soon as they hit the button?

We have had a prolonged discussion about what to do with the home page to make it more informative, interesting and accessible. Ryan Anderson has more than once brought up the example of the Daily Kos site, where featured bloggers are rotated as a matter of editorial policy. Perhaps we got ahead of ourselves. The number of spontaneous contributions to the OAC cannot yet be guaranteed. Look at the Groups which for a while were the main center of conversation here and are now mostly lifeless.

The arrival of Nathan Dobson with This Week at the OAC and lots of ideas for rearranging the home page has led to significant improvements. But if one consequence of our intervention is to stop blogging or, worse, transfer posts to the Forum where it can be seen more easily, then all this activity will have had the opposite effect from that intended.

I will be interested if this post gets any traffic. The anarchist in me wonders if a decision taken by a remote group of non-bloggers came across as unnecessarily authoritarian. Or is narcissism alone the answer? Then again we are in transition to the summer. We are still trying to figure out this unusual animal, the OAC, and probably never will.

I would have thought that, if the Admins are concerned about the level of activity on the home page, they might contribute to it more often. But that could be said too of many more of our members.

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Comment by ryan anderson on July 2, 2010 at 3:16am
Ok, now it seems pretty clear that the blog posts have stopped because there is really no way to see them on the main page. If nobody ever sees them, then there is really no reason to post. So maybe it would be good to have BOTH featured posts AND a way to stream all new blog posts.
Comment by ryan anderson on June 25, 2010 at 5:43pm
Hey Francine...

Maybe we can work on putting all blog post titles somewhere to keep them connected to the main site traffic, especially if they are greatly missed.

I think it might be good to find some way to have all of the posts--at least the title and the author--appear on the front page as they are posted. That way the ongoing activity is still visible. Maybe have this in a sidebar or something???

Are the "featured blogs" and other editorial additions to the site helpful and/or close to what you had in mind in your earlier suggestions?

Ya, I like the changes. I think the front page is looking a lot better.
Comment by Jacob Lee on June 25, 2010 at 3:08am
Just been really busy.
Comment by Francine Barone on June 24, 2010 at 8:58pm
Hi Ryan, I look forward to reading your upcoming posts. Maybe we can work on putting all blog post titles somewhere to keep them connected to the main site traffic, especially if they are greatly missed. Are the "featured blogs" and other editorial additions to the site helpful and/or close to what you had in mind in your earlier suggestions?
Comment by ryan anderson on June 23, 2010 at 8:43pm
Hey Keith. This is an interesting turn of events. Well, for my own part I have kind of dropped off the face of the earth mostly because I have been traveling for some prelim fieldwork here in Baja California...and I have not had a lot of internet access or time to post anything. Anyway, I should be back online in a few days. I plan on writing about some fieldwork and deveopment-related issues, among other things.

Is there any way to show at least the titles of the most recent posts on the home page? On a sidebar or something? That might help with the blog posting vacuum that´s going down. I think what happens is if a blog post isn´t connected anywhere, it just gets lost. I agree with Alice that this seems like a minor issue.
Comment by Alice C. Linsley on June 23, 2010 at 4:05pm
I'm not worried. You are a bright bunch and will find the perfect solution. I'm simply grateful for a place to share my work with intelligent readers and I've found their feedback and comments helpful. You may feel that you are muddling on, but there is purpose in the muddling. OAC will only get better!

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