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.