Re-Thinking Blogs

My site has been a blog since at least 2006. It literally uses the blog subdomain. I don't know how much I like that anymore.

End of last year, I changed the homepage from a list of posts to a more curated experience inspired by Derek Sivers, including a Now page.

Joel Hooks describes his website as a Digital Garden:

Joel Hooks #

Seriously, who cares when anything on my site got posted. For the vast majority of things I'm writing it makes absolutely no difference what-so-ever.

Using this newest-first approach makes the site impenetrable and less useful for me and especially for anybody that might be visiting to learn or research.

In 2008, I moved out to San Mateo, CA, to work for PBWiki (now PBWorks). Wiki's are a popular example of a non-blog website. There are a lot of interesting things about wikis. One, they are freeform. You can structure the content how you see fit. There are dates involved, and you can use feeds to follow changes to the site.

The big difference I see is when you publish a blog post, the idea is it's now published and final. When you update it, it's common to mark it up in a way where you call out what has changed. For instance, if someone was misquoted.

This stems from a problem Dave Winer talked about earlier this year in I'm re-thinking RSS now:

Dave Winer #

Blogging and journalism both thrived in RSS. But at a price.

The price was forcing blogs into the same format that news orgs used.

What if personal websites were more like wikis than news sites?

I know that one of the fundamental ideas of a wiki is that it's edited collaboratively. In this context, my website would not be.

A news site needs to be transparent in what they are reporting. You don't want to publish one thing, have many people link to it, and then change what you said. That would seem unethical and misleading.

However, what about my website? There are specific posts on my site that are news articles. A good example is First PHP Meetup, where I announced the first meeting of the group I started that still exists today as Full-Stack Madison.

However, the vast majority of posts on my site are evergreen. Or at least until the technology I discuss becomes obsolete. These would benefit from being more like wiki pages.

For instance, Dave links to my page Updating rssCloud Server which currently is a post. The information on this page is out of date because I mention as of February 2020:

Andrew Shell #

I'm hoping to have 2.0 released in the next couple of weeks.

Well, I'm still working on it. I had some setbacks in my personal life that delayed the project. I'd like to update the page, so it's always up to date with the latest information. It might be nice to have a revision history available like on a wiki so someone could see how the page has evolved, but that's not something supported in my blogging software.

I need to brainstorm what I'm going to do. Replacing my blog with something like a wiki could be an ideal situation, but that's a big project.

Ultimately it will need to be some sort of a hybrid. I want to keep my RSS feed, and I don't want it to turn into a feed of diffs.

I'd be interested to hear what Dave has to say on the subject.