# 2013-07-30 Politics

Looking back at how things have gone in the last year I’d say that all my RPG conversation has moved to Google+ and this wiki-blog has turned into a repository of things I don’t want to loose when Google+ is shut down. All my political thoughts are on Twitter: and I’m almost exclusively expressing myself via retweets. I’m also more than happy to talk about it on Twitter.

I post my pictures on Flickr at kensanata for myself and cross-post them to Facebook and a protected Twitter channel for the various family members out there.

# 2013-05-26 Popularity

For a while now, I’ve been using Google’s +1 button at the bottom of the page. They’re special because they require two clicks: the first click loads the button code from Google, which you then have to click. If you don’t click anything, no code is being loaded from Google and hopefully you’re not being tracked. I also no longer use Google Analytics to track my stats so in theory Google shouldn’t be seeing any of your reading on this site.

Usually my +1 counts are really low—mostly zero, in fact. Recently I noticed a few blog posts with more than ten +1. And now that I’ve announced the winners of a little contest I’m running every year, I see how far up the number could go… if only I blogged stuff that was more relevant to other people. Look at the last entry…

→ 62 people clicked +1

Oh well. As I’m noticing how much time I’m spending just reading the blogs and Google+ itself, I hesitate before posting on my own blog. Am I really adding much? In a way I felt better when I didn’t think of the audience and felt free to write a two sentence blog post about a movie I saw. These days I often wonder what the readers that come here for RPG posts will think.

Since I don’t know how to make my writing more relevant to my readers, perhaps I should try to make my writing more natural again. We’ll see.

Tags:

Ironically, I started following due to some technical post, though I don’t remember exactly what it was now (probably Emacs-related). The RPG posts are bonus material for me. They have reignited my desire to play, which I haven’t done (for a number of reasons) in somewhere around 14 years. Your posts reminded me how much I love it. I haven’t +1’d any of your posts because I mostly read them through my RSS feed reader, but I will make an effort to open the posts on the site and +1 them when I think they’re great. Sorry to bring you down with my lack of feedback.

– Josh 2013-05-28 14:21 UTC

No worries. The lack of popularity is not bringing me down. What I find intriguing, however, is how the imagined audience changes what I feel comfortable writing about. Perhaps the post was a replacement post for a darker collection of thoughts on self-censorship, the balance between tolerance (benevolent reading of others) and intolerance (the blocking, reverting and uncircling of others), vulnerability (linking to posts and comments I want to criticize and naming names, the fear of making enemies, attracting the attention of unwanted readers) and negativity (ranting, negative reviews, complaints)… it’s still very much muddled up.

As for RSS readers: I’m always frustrated by the lack of +1 buttons in Reeder. Google Reader has it and its closing down. Don’t feel compelled to click through and +1 posts – that’s too much work and I don’t do it when I read other blogs. Do feel free to leave a comment every now and then, however.

AlexSchroeder 2013-05-28 14:37 UTC

# 2012-08-24 On RPG Blogging

What do you prefer: content or opinion?

I prefer opinion and insight with examples from actual play or things that I will immediately adopt for my own games.

My favorite example for this is the Ode to Black Dougal blog.

A blog in the same category I recently stumbled upon is Untimately.

I will download a lot of content, but it doesn’t get read carefully unless it gets used at the table and that happens rarely. I have huge folders on my hard disk full of PDFs: bears, hats, treasure maps, Vancian spell names and short spell descriptions, alternate classes, one page dungeons, character generation shortcuts… At the gaming table, I can barely remember to use one or two of these.

What kind of stuff cheeses you off enough to stop reading someone’s blog?

I think my reasons for unsubscribing from blogs usually involve one of the following:

1. misanthropic ranting – there is enough negativity out there already; I’m also easily peeved by unpolite hosts
2. excuses for not posting – not posting is ok, unwritten posts don’t show up in my feed reader, but excuses will show up in my feed reader; I’m interested in the authors’ lives, and thus posting about health or family issues every now and then is not a problem
3. long posts – “TL;DR” aka. “too long; didn’t read” is a problem: I might skim long articles but often I don’t read them; as the unread articles accumulate, I start wondering whether I’d be happier unsubscribing since I would no longer feel bad for not reading the posts
4. not my topic – if the author keeps writing about the design of a game that I won’t be playing, I feel that I’m better of reading somebody else’s posts: there are so many out there!

Comments on 2012-08-24 On RPG Blogging

-C 2012-08-24 19:50 UTC

I’m kind of new to all this myself (being going for less than three months), so my points won’t be massively groundbreaking. I’m actually more interested in the results of this mini survey.

A lot of blogs I don’t read, or at least don’t read often, could be amazing, and well written, but they’re about games I don’t play, or styles of play that don’t suit me. As an example, I’m not really into the OSR thing, so if that’s all a blogger talks about, I get turned off. But if you’re an OSR blogger who talks about the hobby at large, and offers advice and insight, maybe even some content that doesn’t have to apply to OSR, then I’ll keep checking back.

I guess that what that means is I want something different every once in a while. Right now I’m on a horror RPG kick, so i wrote something about how to GM a horror game. Didn’t want to tread on old ground, so the next week it was a possible location for a game, that just happened to also work well in horror games. Next Monday comes a little discussion (that’s right, I’m talking about what I’m posting ;p) about role playing a child, something that is done more often in horror systems/settings than others, but can be applied to other games.

So, a general theme, but something different each time, that I hope appeals to more than a core of people, and to gamers as a whole.

shortymonster 2012-08-24 20:16 UTC

-C, that’s right, I remember reading it. I don’t agree with all your points. Do you still think the following points still are important?

“Provide some sort of resource on your blog on a regular basis (recipes, a picture, quiz, etc.) So that people will want to mark your blog as one to come back and check”

That sounds like a setup to trick authors into posting lesser quality posts because they need to follow a particular schedule.

“Schedule your posts to come out either around the morning or the evening, when people are going through their blog roll”

Maybe you are right. If you’re trying not to bias by timezone, however, this is difficult. Also it assumes that most people don’t use a feed reader. That may be true, but I have a hard time understanding such choices.

“Be consistent in your posting schedule”

This is similar to the point above regarding regular features.

“Write interesting titles that draw interest, like they teach in journalism”

I am not sure the web works the same way (see 2011-03-10 Headlines). I don’t like sensationalist and provocative news lines. Or at least I ink I don’t.

AlexSchroeder 2012-08-24 23:41 UTC

Shorty game, variety is a good goal if you want to appeal to a wide audience. If you’re trying to write a Warhammer Fantasy style game, however, I don’t think “more variety” is the answer. At least, I’m not sure. Should you try to pull in more people in the hopes of attracting and converting visitors or should you write for your target audience only? Currently I’m in the latter camp: I think it’s cool to specialize your blog—but at the same time me unsubscribing must be cool, too. Once I determined I am not in the target audience, keeping me tied to the site seems like a bad idea for all of us.

Probably both approaches can work, depending on your goals.

AlexSchroeder 2012-08-24 23:50 UTC

I disagree that blog schedule matters much. If people visit your site directly, they will always see the N most recent posts. If people read your site in a feed reader, it’s their schedule that matters, not yours, just like with TV and a DVR. The only exceptions I would give are very rarely posting (which may lead to people removing your site from blogrolls or whatever), and very frequently posting or posting in clumps (which may lead to people unsubscribing because of being flooded). I personally am more likely to subscribe to a lower-volume site that has articles of consistent quality (Swords of Minaria is a good example of this kind of site).

Brendan 2012-08-25 17:31 UTC

To be honest, when I open my feed reader, I also like to read the blogs that have one or two unread posts before tackling the blogs that have twenty or more unread posts (World War II Today, I’m looking at you…).

AlexSchroeder 2012-08-26 22:22 UTC

# 2012-05-16 Blog Napping

Ok, so I wanted a local copy of Metal Earth in order to better prepare for my game. Based on previous work I had done, this proved to be fairly easy and I improved my scripts along the way. Yay!

The Metal Earth is a blogspot blog with full page content in the Atom feed.

To identify the blog, look at the source of any page. The HTML header will contain a line like the following: <link rel="service.post" type="application/atom+xml" title="..." href="http://www.blogger.com/feeds/XXX/posts/default" /> – this is where you get the number from. In this case, the number is 2248254789731612355.

#! /bin/sh
for i in seq 40; do
start=$((($i-1)*25+1))
curl -o foo-$i.atom "http://www.blogger.com/feeds/2248254789731612355/posts/default?start-index=$start&amp;max-results=25"
done

You’ll find that you only need to keep the first four of them.

extract.sh – this file calls the Perl script for every Atom file. You can use the -f option to force it to overwrite existing files.

#! /bin/sh
for f in *.atom; do
perl extract.pl "$*" <$f
done

extract.pl – this file has several CPAN dependencies. It will parse the Atom file, look at each entry, and write it into a separate file. If the entry doesn’t have a title, it will parse the HTML content and try to guess a title (looking at the first H1 or the first SPAN element). It will warn you about duplicate names. It will also try to set the last modification time of the file to the update timestamp in the Atom file.

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use XML::LibXML;
use HTML::HTML5::Parser;
use Getopt::Std;
use DateTime::Format::W3CDTF;
use DateTime;
our $opt_f; getopts('f'); undef$/;
my $data = <STDIN>; my$parser = XML::LibXML->new();
my $doc =$parser->parse_string($data); die$@ if $@; my$encoding = $doc->actualEncoding(); my$context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($doc);$context->registerNs('atom', 'http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom');
my $html_parser; foreach my$entry ($context->findnodes('//atom:entry')) { my$content = $entry->getChildrenByTagName('content')->[0]->to_literal; my$title = $entry->getChildrenByTagName('title')->[0]->to_literal;$title =~ s!/!_!gi;
$title =~ s!&amp;!&!gi;$title =~ s!&#(\d+);!chr($1)!ge; if (not$title) {
if (not $html_parser) {$html_parser = HTML::HTML5::Parser->new;
}
my $html_doc =$html_parser->parse_string($content); # we don't know the HTML namespace for certain my$html_ns = $html_doc->documentElement->namespaceURI(); my$html_context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($html_doc);$html_context->registerNs('html', $html_ns);$title = $html_context->findnodes('//html:h1')->[0];$title = $html_context->findnodes('//html:span')->[0] unless$title;
$title =$title->to_literal if $title; warn "Guessed missing title:$title\n";
}
my $f = DateTime::Format::W3CDTF->new; my$dt = $f->parse_datetime($entry->getChildrenByTagName('updated')->[0]->to_literal)->epoch;
my $file =$title . ".html";
if (-f $file and !$opt_f) {
warn "$file exists\n"; } else { open(F, ">:encoding($encoding)", $file) or die$! . ' ' . $file; print F <<EOT; <html> <head> <meta content='text/html; charset=$encoding' http-equiv='Content-Type'/>
<body>
$content </body> </html> EOT close F; utime$dt, $dt,$file;
}
}

Tags:

# 2010-11-05 The Wiki Nature of This Blog

1. “Your ability to track, read, digest and understand blog posts cannot match the exponential volume of blogs emerging on the internet every day (even just in the subject areas that you are interested in).”
2. “[I]f your intent is to be a source of re-usable knowledge, then focusing on frequency of posting, and statistics of people looking at your web or blogsite could become difficult to sustain.”
3. “A more sustainable approach for digesting, understanding, and sharing for the 80% of people who will not be one of the widely-followed blogs, is to do it in a form that others can digest, understand, and share.”

It makes me want return to writing wiki pages on this site instead of blog pages (like this one). Start with a copy of a good blog page on a topic, copy it to a page without date prefix, and integrate other good pages instead of just appending to them (like the tag or category pages will).

On the topic of my RPG-related blogging, I have a few things that I keep returning to:

1. My current set of house-rules, somewhat collected on House Rules
2. The underpinnings of my play style, somewhat collected on How I Roll
3. There’s also a much longer German page describing what I like as a player, 2010-03-01 Spielervorlieben
4. The underpinnings of my referee style, somewhat collected on Know Your DM
5. A wide variety of pages on the abstract idea of writing short texts, currently collected on Keep It Short

Tags:

Comments on 2010-11-05 The Wiki Nature of This Blog

I personally like the wiki nature of this blog very much, and if dropping the date prefix makes you happier, more power to you! Just keep the RSS feed, please (-;

– Harald Wagener 2010-11-05 18:18 UTC

Hehe, thanks. I think what I meant was that when I started this site, it was just a wiki. Then I wrote some code to add blogging functionality (mostly comment pages, RSS feeds limited to the DatePages, that kind of stuff). And then I slowly started to write more and more blog pages instead of wiki pages.

What’s the difference, you might ask. For me personally, wiki pages – having no temporal context – basically stand in a permanent WikiNow. When a reader comes accross the wiki page, the page says “this is what I say and I’m saying it right now” instead of “this is what Alex thought years and years ago and who knows whether he cares anymore”. I guess the implicit assumption is a wiki audience that will keep rereading the existing pages, questioning them, putting them back into context… Thus, maybe what I’m saying about the Wiki Now is just a dream that won’t work on a one person wiki.

There’s also the question of DocumentsVsMessages raised by LionKimbro, and WikiIsDocumentBased in particular.

Hm, food for thought.

AlexSchroeder 2010-11-05 20:54 UTC

Yes, this is why blogs can be damaging in communities if there is no Wiki alternative. Even popular software communities suffer if they rely only on the hype of their bloggers and don’t promote a community-driven Wiki. It can be hard to find the blog entry with the example you want with Web search, and even quality entries can become poor style or useless with time or after a new release of the software. The comment section of blog entries try to make up for it with people submitting corrections, but there’s only so much you can “fit in the margins”.

AaronHawley 2010-11-09 22:23 UTC

Interesting – I’ve been thinking the exact same thing for my blog/wiki. My intent for some time now has been to write stub blog entries, and then expand them into full pages. But I almost never go back and do that… so I just end up with sort of half-thoughts that are never expanded upon.

awwaiid 2010-12-12 20:47 UTC

# 2010-08-05 Why Blog

Over on the blog Once More Unto The Breach! the author asks: why did you start your blogs? I answered:

I got myself a website when I started running a play by email game back in 1994 or 1995. That was before Firefox, Internet Explorer, or Netscape: Mosaic was the browser and Geocities was the web service provider people used. I started the site because I wanted to build trust between myself and my players. Much later I discovered wikis and started writing on Meatball Wiki. Again, the question of trusting people, real names versus weirdo nicknames, etc. came up. We derided blogs as the inferior solution to wikis. Some of us started maintaining a “diary page” on which we posted stuff that didn’t belong onto a real wiki page. I moved my own homepage from Geocities to a real wiki. And as I kept updating my diary page I started realizing that what I was in fact doing was keeping a blog. I finally decided to go all the way and do “real” blogging on my wiki. The main point has remained the same: build trust between myself and the people I want to interact with online, whether it is Free Software I am contributing to, people I game with, family I want to keep in touch with, or ideas I wanted to write down for my future self.

I guess if the point is building trust, then a mix of all sorts of topics is appropriate. It shows that I am a real person. The drawback is that people only interested in a single topic can’t just subscribe to the entire feed. They need to focus on a tag or category.

I hope it works as intended. 😊

Tags:

# 2010-07-13 To My RPG Followers

I’ve noticed that some people have added my blog to their blogroll. Thank you!

Some of you have subscribed to a feed listing all changes – including non RPG pages, German pages, Comments, etc. I’m assuming that those topics are annoying you. If not, you can stop reading now.

I figured that maybe the reason is because Blogspot and similar services are having difficulties subscribing to a feed URL containing a query string (question marks and semicolons). I don’t really know what the problem is, but I have seen that one before. Anyway, I fiddled with the site setup again. :vee:

If you don’t need the full page content because you are adding it to your sidebar, you can use the following URL:

I hope that helps?

The feed icon for the RPG tag below should now link to the correct URL as well.

Tags:

# 2010-05-31 Blognapping

For Blogger, using bash, perl, and curl. You need to replace XXX with the magic number you get when you look at the blog’s source. The HTML header will contain a line like the following: <link rel="service.post" type="application/atom+xml" title="..." href="http://www.blogger.com/feeds/XXX/posts/default" /> – this is where you get the number from.

Once you have it:

for i in seq 40; do
start=$(((10#$i-1)*25+1))
curl -o foo-$i.atom "http://www.blogger.com/feeds/XXX/posts/default?start-index=$start&max-results=25"
done

This should get you 40 files called foo-1.atom to foo.40.atom with 25 articles each in your current directory. Delete the ones that don’t contain any results or increase the number if you’re looking at a blog with more than 1000 posts that you’re interested in.

For a Wordpress blog, we try to do the same thing. First, get the atom pages:

for i in seq 100; do
curl -o foo-$i.atom "http://foo.wordpress.com/feed/atom/?paged=$i"
done✎

This should get you 100 files called foo-1.atom to foo.100.atom in your current directory. Delete the ones that don’t contain any results or increase the number if you’re looking at a blog with more posts.

Now, unless the author has disabled it somehow, the atom feeds already include the complete articles. It’s certainly possible to fetch them all again, but it’s not necessary. Save the following in a Perl script called extract.pl.

#!/usr/bin/perl
use strict;
use XML::LibXML;
undef $/; my$data = <STDIN>;
my $parser = XML::LibXML->new(); my$doc = $parser->parse_string($data);
die $@ if$@;
my $encoding =$doc->actualEncoding();
my $context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($doc);
$context->registerNs('atom', 'http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom'); foreach my$entry ($context->findnodes('//atom:entry')) { my$title = $entry->getChildrenByTagName('title')->[0]->to_literal;$title =~ s!/!_!gi;
$title =~ s!&amp;!&!gi;$title =~ s!&#(\d+);!chr($1)!ge; my$content = $entry->getChildrenByTagName('content')->[0]->to_literal; open(F, ">:raw" .$title . ".html") or die $! . ' ' .$title;
$content = utf8::decode($content);
print F <<EOT;
<html>
<meta content='text/html; charset=$encoding' http-equiv='Content-Type'/> </head> <body>$content
</body>
</html>
EOT
close F;
}✎

Run it on the Atom files:

for f in *.atom; do
perl extract.pl < $f done✎ You should end up with a ton of HTML files in your current directory. If that doesn’t work, perhaps the author only has links to the actual articles in their atom files. Here is how to extract the HTML links from these Atom feeds: save the following in a Perl script called url.pl. #!/usr/bin/perl use XML::LibXML; undef$/;
$data = <STDIN>; my$parser = XML::LibXML->new();
my $doc =$parser->parse_string($data); die$@ if $@; my$context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($doc);$context->registerNs('atom', 'http://www.w3.org/2005/Atom');
foreach ($context->findnodes('//atom:entry' . '/atom:link[@rel="alternate"][@type="text/html"]' . '/attribute::href')) { print$_->to_literal() . "\n";
}✎

Now you can extract all the URLs and fetch them:

for f in *.atom; do
for url in perl url.pl < $f; do curl -O "$url";
done;
done✎

The use of the -O option assumes that the file names given by the URL will be unique – this is not necessarily true as http://localhost/2010/05/test.html and http://localhost/2010/06/test.html will result in one overwriting the other.

You should end up with a ton of HTML files in your current directory.

This doesn’t get any required extra files like CSS or images, but it might be good enough for a blog backup.

If you want to get the images, here’s a way to extract the image URLs and download them. Save the following as img.pl.

#!/usr/bin/perl
use XML::LibXML;
undef $/;$data = <STDIN>;
# munging
$data =~ s!<colgroup>.*?</colgroup>!!gs;$data =~ s!<class western="">.*?</class>!!gs;
# parsing
my $parser = XML::LibXML->new(); my$doc = $parser->parse_html_string($data);
die $@ if$@;
# extracting
my $context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($doc);
foreach ($context->findnodes('//img/attribute::src[starts-with(.,"http")]')) { print$_->to_literal() . "\n";
}✎

Use it:

for f in *.html; do
echo "$f"; for img in$(perl img.pl < "$f"); do echo "$img"
curl -s -O "$img" done done✎ Watch out for parser errors! What you’re still lacking is a fixing of all the links in the HTML sources. How about this? Save as img-replace.pl. #!/usr/bin/perl use XML::LibXML; undef$/;
$data = <STDIN>; # munging$data =~ s!<colgroup>.*?</colgroup>!!gs;
$data =~ s!<class western="">.*?</class>!!gs; # parsing my$parser = XML::LibXML->new();
my $doc =$parser->parse_html_string($data); die$@ if $@; # extracting my$context = XML::LibXML::XPathContext->new($doc); for my$attr ($context->findnodes('//img/attribute::src[starts-with(.,"http")]')) { my$url = $attr->getValue();$url =~ s!.*/!!;
$attr->setValue($url);
}
print $doc->toString();✎ Use: for f in *.html; do echo "$f";
perl img-replace.pl < "$f" > "${f}_"
mv "${f}_" "$f"
done✎

This seems to work well enough. If you have some HTML files that cannot be parsed, however, this will result in them getting overwritten with an empty file.

Tags:

I’m surprised (and somewhat impressed) that it works for Wordpress blogs too.

Good work!

greywulf 2010-06-01 05:51 UTC

Now that the coding has been done, I need to do actual text assembly. Yikes!

AlexSchroeder 2010-06-01 17:52 UTC

If you’re wondering how to do this… Assume you want to pull a copy of A Hamsterish Hoard of Dungeons and Dragons. Examine the source code and you’ll find a link to the atom feed within blogger. This is important, because it’ll provide us with the blog Id! In this case:

<link rel="alternate" type="application/atom+xml" title="A Hamsterish Hoard of Dungeons and Dragons - Atom" href="http://hamsterhoard.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default" /> <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="A Hamsterish Hoard of Dungeons and Dragons - RSS" href="http://hamsterhoard.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss" /> <link rel="service.post" type="application/atom+xml" title="A Hamsterish Hoard of Dungeons and Dragons - Atom" href="http://www.blogger.com/feeds/5373792969086619654/posts/default" /> ← that’s the one we’re looking for!

for i in seq 4; do
start=$((($i-1)*25+1))
curl -o taichara-$i.atom "http://www.blogger.com/feeds/5373792969086619654/posts/default?start-index=$start&amp;amp;max-results=25"
done

Save it in a script such as download-atom.sh and run it using bash download-atom.sh. You’ll end up with the files taichara-1.atom taichara-2.atom taichara-3.atom taichara-4.atom.

Now take the Perl script from the main page and save it as url.pl. It will extract the page URLs from the Atom files.

for f in *.atom; do
for p in perl url.pl &lt; $f; do wget$p
done
done

Once you’ve verified it, you can fetch more Atom pages.

AlexSchroeder 2011-11-16 19:53 UTC

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

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

• If one person has a website where new pages are added in a chronological context, it’s a blog.
• If two or more do it, it’s a multi-user or group blog.
• If a site aggregates many blogs, it looks like a multi-user blog but they no longer call it a blog. Why?

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.

Tags:

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

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?

@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

# 2010-04-23 Blog, Wiki, Bliki

At the moment Wikipedia says that Oddmuse can be used as a Bliki. That’s what this site is: A wiki, used like a blog. If you look at my SiteMap, you’ll see a lot of pages that are of no use anymore. Slowly, this site has lost the wiki nature and turned into a blog.

• I feel free to make lots of minor edits to existing blog pages.
• I have access to the history of a page (and to the text of old revisions if changed within the last two weeks).
• Internal linking is easy using wiki syntax.
• Wiki markup is easier than writing HTML.
• I guess that by now I wouldn’t feel bad about using a WYSIWYG editor on the wiki as long as it still allows me to use wiki links. Except that most of them take a long time to load. That sucks.
• I still find Oddmuse to be very easy to hack.
• Comment pages still don’t work like they do on other blogs.
• But on the plus side, everybody can edit their comments and remove old stuff.
• But I have a module that does email notification. Let me know if you’ve tried it and hated it!

I think I’m still happy with things as they are.

Tags:

Comments on 2010-04-23 Blog, Wiki, Bliki

Given the choice, I’d rather use Oddmuse than a pure blogging engine like Wordpress. Using wiki markup is second nature and much easier than messing with a GUI text box or CTRL key combinations, and I really miss a wiki’s proper version control. Add in the easy interlinking of pages, and….. well, I’m preaching to the converted, I know.

On the downside, Wordpress meets a blog reader’s expectations, whereas a wiki is more intimidating to the casual user. People know what to expect from a Wordpress blog and that translates to more comments and more pageviews. Add in Akismet’s rock-solid antispam mechanism, and it’s hard to fault.

And that’s why I use Wordpress to blog, and Oddmuse for my private projects. I have the best of both worlds

greywulf 2010-04-23 11:51 UTC

I really should do some usability testing to discover what the actual expectations are.

AlexSchroeder 2010-04-23 15:33 UTC