2010-04-28 How Many Authors Can A Blog Have

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Summary: I think the only thing that's obvious is that one person can write a blog. The difference between multi-user blogs and aggregators is just a question of implementation details.

Changed:

< You think Boing Boing has no original content? But isn't it just an aggregation of
< [http://dynamic.boingboing.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=1&id=2 Xeni Jardin's posts and comments], [http://dynamic.boingboing.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=1&id=1 Cory Doctorow's posts and comments], etc?
< Perhaps you want to argue that all the Boing Boing authors are writing their posts on the same Boing Boing site. But how do you know? If you look at Cory's [http://craphound.com/ Craphound] site, you'll see him repost articles he wrote for his Publishers Weekly column.
< I think the line between group blogs and aggregators is blurred enough to be useless.
< Only a blog written by a single author is a well defined blog.

to

> Does Boing Boing have original content? I could look at it as an aggregation of
> [http://dynamic.boingboing.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=1&id=2 Xeni Jardin's posts and comments], [http://dynamic.boingboing.net/cgi-bin/mt/mt-cp.cgi?__mode=view&blog_id=1&id=1 Cory Doctorow's posts and comments], etc.
> Perhaps I need to consider that a blog usually corresponds to a website. All the Boing Boing authors are writing their posts on the same Boing Boing site, right? But how do I know? Perhaps they might just as well be writing their posts in another system (private or public) that gets aggregated.
> I guess I'm just refusing the definition of "site" based on all the relevant pages (front page, article pages, comments, user profiles, user interface for authors) residing on the same machine. What about cloud computing? I don't think that the details of the Internet
's architecture should define the difference between a group blog and an aggregator.
> In fact, I think there's no property to distinguish a group blog from an aggregator that doesn use words like "hostname" or "software". Maybe that's the reason why my brain just locks down. I think the line between group blogs and aggregators is blurred enough to be useless.
> Only a blog written by a single author is a well defined blog. ;)


No, really. This one goes out to Stargazer who argued this point with me on the #rpmn channel (irc.sorcery.net server).

That leads me to the question: Is RPG Bloggers or the Old School RPG Planet a blog or a blog aggregator?

What do you think?

As for myself, I think the only thing that’s obvious is that one person can write a blog. The difference between multi-user blogs and aggregators is just a question of implementation details.

Usually, multi-user blogs and aggregators offer subsets of their pages grouped by author. Those are, if I take my own definition, real blogs.

In other words, if a multi-user blog allows me to see the contributions of a single author, then that page is a blog of said author. And if there’s a contest for “best blog”, then only that subset should be allowed to enter. Or each author gets to enter on an individual basis.

I guess one could argue that editors make all the difference. But really, how much traditional editing happens on a group blog like Boing Boing? Author write as they please. The really important decision for this group blog was the mix of authors to feature.

The same is true for an aggregator. The really important decision is the mix of blogs to aggregate.

One could say “original content” is the difference between an aggregator and a blog. Does Boing Boing have original content? I could look at it as an aggregation of Xeni Jardin's posts and comments, Cory Doctorow's posts and comments, etc.

Perhaps I need to consider that a blog usually corresponds to a website. All the Boing Boing authors are writing their posts on the same Boing Boing site, right? But how do I know? Perhaps they might just as well be writing their posts in another system (private or public) that gets aggregated.

I guess I’m just refusing the definition of “site” based on all the relevant pages (front page, article pages, comments, user profiles, user interface for authors) residing on the same machine. What about cloud computing? I don’t think that the details of the Internet’s architecture should define the difference between a group blog and an aggregator.

In fact, I think there’s no property to distinguish a group blog from an aggregator that doesn use words like “hostname” or “software”. Maybe that’s the reason why my brain just locks down. I think the line between group blogs and aggregators is blurred enough to be useless.

Only a blog written by a single author is a well defined blog. ;)

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Difference between revision 11 and current revision

Summary: Rollback to 2011-01-23 19:28 UTC

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I think you’re worrying too much about the technology behind the medium rather than the content and authors themselves. A group blog is one in which the authors share the same mission, objectives, and purpose. This is true regardless of whether on author uses Google Docs to write an article, Live Writer, or the platform’s built-in post editor.

Multi-author blogs also focus on brand in some form or another. That brand could be for publishing game content, advice, or just simple recognition of the source.

A multi-author blog’s focus is usually more narrow than that of an aggregator, too. It is certainly possible for an aggregator to pull together feeds from multiple blogs that share similar topics, but the initiatives of those blogs are independently driven. There is not necessarily a shared cohesive mission, objective, purpose or brand. While the RPGBN might be for RPGs in general, a blog might have a focus on GMing advice for a specific game system, or feature only reviews of a particular product type. The blog could also serve a hybrid purpose of blogging, vlogging and podcasting.

Kristian 2010-04-28 14:59 UTC


This discussion reminds me how 10 years ago most people would have never allowed their content to be copied like this on the Web. Their minds had been colonized by the ideas of reactionary and tradiational paper copyright law. Now, people independently collaborate (contradiction in terms?) to make these blog compilations, aggregations, “multi-person blogs”. The technology has made sharing possible, desirable and second-nature. The passing of time and technology has changed people’s mores. For the better I think!

Of course, blog aggregators are not a permanent compilation and are more ephemeral than the traditional daily newspaper.

AaronHawley 2010-04-28 16:19 UTC


What is blog? :)

RadomirDopieralski 2010-04-28 17:00 UTC


@Radomir: Hahaha! :D Well said.

@Aaron: Yeah, it’s true, and amazing.

@Kristian: I think you’re on to something. I guess it’s a question of self-definition. If all the contributing authors feel that all their articles contribute to the site’s mission – and if the mission is sufficiently narrow – it’s a multi-author blog about a certain topic because the members want it to be. Good point, thanks.

– AlexSchroeder 2010-04-28 17:11 UTC

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