2019-07-14 Blogging Spirit

@wilfredh recently said:

… blogs are too time focused. There’s a pressure for novel ideas, ideas must be polished, and they assume you don’t want to edit old ideas.

Perhaps a bliki is a better model?

(Sadly the Bliki page on Wikipedia was deleted. 😞)

I’m not so sure about the wiki benefits. I love wikis. I’ve been using this wiki of mine since 2003 but honestly it mostly degenerated into a simple blog running atop a wiki engine.

The expectations of others is a pressure you will feel when writing on a bliki.

I use my site mostly like a blog. I like the ability to edit past pages and restructure stuff but mostly when I “restructure” something I just rename tags or I end up writing new category pages which contain a sentence or two and then they list the ten most recent tagged day pages on the subject.

When I write regular pages, I write them like blog posts. I sometimes revise them for a day or two, but soon I’ll add new information as comments on my own post. One way I feel pressured to this is my model of my readers: I think they aren’t glued to RecentChanges like I am but use a feed reader (or a Blogspot blogroll more likely) and so new pages are the signal that actually gets out and that’s what they expect. They don’t care to be notified of later edits have made to an existing page.

Another issue is that after a while you are happy that your thoughts are time stamped. Once you have blogged for a few years, your opinions change. I had some pretty strong opinions on the US invasion of Iraq, for example. When I comment on timeless things, pages can live in the WikiNow. But when commenting on events either in the news or in my life, I can’t go back and look at thousands of pages, editing them to reflect new insight. Newer pages must overrule older ones.

This wiki has currently over 7700 pages, comment pages and uploaded images.

Editing a wiki as a community establishes a territory, pages you care about, pages of compromise, of synthesis. Writing a wiki is a conversation. But if you’re basically the only author and readers just leave comments, then all of that doesn’t work. Thus, the Wiki Way is lost and the Blogging Spirit takes over.



Absolutely agree with you on the benefits of blog posts being timestamped; a post represents one’s thoughts on the subject at the time it was posted but there’s no implied promise that it’ll be updated as thoughts evolve. This is liberating.

Further, it’s somehow cheating to go back and make a change without clearly marking that change (other than typo fixes and the like which don’t change the sense of the post and for which markup would just be clutter).

Ed Davies 2019-07-14 22:08 UTC

I haven’t spent much time contemplating the subject, but I have recently been thinking that what you have here is really a sweetspot between blog and wiki. As you will have noticed I really like the ability to quickly correct small typos/grammos that slipped through (something I never bother with if it involves emailing the author or pointing them out in a comment) and am thinking that if I would get into blogging I would want to do it on a wiki too.

I also think you get the best of both worlds in having the choice of putting the date in the title or not. When you do that it is clear that the ideas expressed are possibly fleeting. And when you want a “timeless” page for some topic I think omitting the date in the title but having most of the content be a living list of links to dated posts is a good model (living in the sense that you would update the list as your thoughts evolve, adding new dated posts and removing links to dated posts that have “expired”).

(Sidenote: You should let me know if my edits annoy you. I think what I like about it is that it feels like I am contributing back in a small way as thanks for the content you provide. I hope you take it as an acknowledgement that someone reads and enjoys it enough to care!)

– Björn Buckwalter 2019-07-15 08:33 UTC

And this is why I decided to decommission the old PmWiki on my personal website after nearly 12 years, while the OddMuse on No Time To Play is only proving more useful by the day. Can you guess which of them is being used for what it was built to do best? 😝

Felix 2019-07-15 12:20 UTC

Björn, I love your edits. Thank you very much! 🙂

Felix, I hadn’t seen the No Time to Play Wiki before. I like this not on your Recent Changes intro:

27 January 2019: one year after the big migration, it seems to be decided: long-form articles will go straight to the wiki, with suitable announcements posted to the new blog, and all the usual places. The blog will still be used for the more time-dependent write-ups in addition to the newsletters.

Heh! 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-16 16:38 UTC

Oh dear, could’ve sworn you knew about it already. And yeah, that wasn’t planned, it just turned out to be the way I ended up using it after a while. By the way: no other wiki engine I’m familiar with treats Recent Changes as an ordinary page that can have manually edited content at the top, and that enables uniquely interesting uses.

Felix 2019-07-17 08:38 UTC

Thanks! If you have any ideas or things you’d like to try, let me know. 🙂

– Alex Schroeder 2019-07-17 20:16 UTC

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