Blogosphere: Blogger offers list of standards
Yvelle at Radical Rejection has compiled a list of standards she believes bloggers should meet in response to my entry about blogging boondoggles.
In it, I said:
Yesterday, Doug Mohney, a reporter for the Inquirer, angered some Blogcritics by briefly alluding to blogs as 'losers.'
Blogging, in combination with dead half-finished web pages, has the potential to give Google and anyone trying to find information on the increasingly cluttered web high-blood pressure. Advocates say it's a democratic way to counter the mass media so anyone can post a screed against The Man. Not that anyone would want to consider the old-fashioned values of editing and reworking text before posting. And maybe I don't care what albums or books you are reading.
. . .But an examination of data about weblogs mostly supports what he said: They are mainly web clutter. Does that mean your blog is just clogging up Google? Probably not, especially if you are on the blogroll at Mac-a-ro-nies, but most of the five million or so are. Their proprietors usually abandon them sometime between one day and four months. Even while publishing, blogs are too often sources of disinformation and misinformation.
Yvelle has expanded on the thought by describing ways bloggers can produce more reliable and credible weglogs. I heartily endorse them. Let's look at my favorites.
You will notice Mac-a-ro-nies does not comply with one of Yvelle's suggestions. There isn't a comments section. That is partly because I learned the limitations of Blogspot hosting before I created a blog of my own. For months, I watched the comments regularly crash at Blogger sites, including Atrios' Eschaton. Then there is the burdensomeness of having something else to administer in addition to the several blogs I contribute to. I do try to compensate by publishing emails to Mac-a-ro-nies and differing opinions from other blogs. I will consider adding comments, most likely when, or if, I switch to Movable Type or TypePad.
"Titles - Every entry should have a title that is descriptive and topically singular. Its the easiest way to distinguish an informative weblog from an online journal. If mulitiple topics are covered in the majority of posts, then the web log probably isn't a reliable source for information. An exception would be a "what i've been reading" entry that is identified as more of a bibliography than a commentary. But, in general, posts that cover multiple topics leave the reader prone to confusion and allow the writer to make off-the-wall connections by jumping topics. As a weblogger, its best to link to your own posts if you are trying to make analogies between topics.
Links - Every entry needs to include a link. With a very few
exceptions, you probably got the idea for what you are writing about from
another webpage. Link your sources, etc. . . . The point being, if you aren't willing to back up your claims with links, then people aren't going to respect your writing.
Comments - If you don't have comments you aren't allowing for
correction. If you aren't allowing for corrections then there is something
inherently wrong with the information you are presenting. Obviously print
books are not correctible, but they have two things web logs do not have:
Editors and Readers with Pens. Editors take care of (or should take care of)
most of the inaccuracies. And where editors fail, a polite reader will leave
a brief citation in a margin for other readers to refer to for accuracy.
(Yes, some books are still helpless - like Anne Coulter's books).
Quotes - The writer should have an effective way of delineating
quotations. Its as simple as indenting or using some CSS with a Blockquote
tag. But it really is more effective than quoting things inline. Unlike
print, which has standard page widths and font-sizes, people's browser widths and font sizes can vary based on many circumstances. The 32 word (or 42 word depending on your citation system) cutoff to distinguish inline and
blockquotes are not really effective. I say only use blockquotes. They are
easier to read and just more effective. Besides, the way websites go up and
down, chances are you want a large chunk of information. We can't rely on
links to be working in a months so you have to make sure you have enough
context to prove your point."
My current method of freshening up this now ten-month-old blog is to use pictures more often. I hope you like the change.
Be sure to go to Yvelle's site and read her entire list of blogging standards.