Thursday, March 01, 2007

Off-Topic: Trending Up, but Barely

Did you know that we have yet to be linked to by (a legitimate) someone outside of our neighborhood? This is a commentary on us: we suck/see trend ↓. I would suggest we have a little race--first person to write a post that someone outside our neighborhood finds interesting wins squat--but that would be lame. Ready. Set. Go.


switters said...

I thought that I've been doing my part, holding up my end of the bargain, pulling my own weight, earning my keep, paying my dues.

Have I not?

Well, I'm trying to branch out, but some things just need to be said the way that I say them. So blame me.

I'm working on "Malcolm X Had It Coming", which replaces my "Martin Luther King Jr. Had It Coming" that I did for chango, but it was for his birthday (not chango's) and I didn't finish it on time. You'll all have to wait till next year.

"Malcolm" was for black history month, which was last month, but I figure if I change the open to, "Now that Black History Month is finally over, can we just get back to our regularly scheduled programming now?", I can get away with posting it in March.

Off Topic: The entire state of Alabama is currently under a tornado watch. They're calling for weather so severe that nearly all of Birmingham's schools are closing this afternoon, I think. It has something to do with moist air on the ground versus cold air up in space, or a northern cold front. Apparently this time of year is dicey down here because one day it's 74 degrees and sunny and the next day it's freezing and rainy. Back in 1993 they had 2 feet of snow in April and the power was out for like 10 days. But that was before my time here.

Hmm… I guess that's it for now.

august said...

I've been trying to keep an eye out for blogs to "target" -- ones writing about issues of interest to me so I could link to them in more than one post and hope that they are keeping an eye on their sitemeters.

Head Butler is a good blog, but Jesse Kornbluth just seems to have a different reading list from me. Others might find something of interest.

JohnMcG said...

I guess we should probably target medium-sized blogs -- big enough to enlarge our audience; small enough to be open to unknown outsiders.

The thing about us, is that we're general interest, not a niche. It would probably be easier to break through the crowd if we were more narrowly focussed; say, we only reviewed Richard Powers novels.

That's a bit extreme -- I'm just throwing thoughts out there.

topazz said...

So it's nose to the grindstone time, eh? Well, beings that I only just recently came on board here again - I take complete exception to Ender's chastisement. Obviously, this "lack of links" is the fault of all of the rest of you lazy bastards.

Come on, people get moving! It's Pulitzer Time!

august said...


I've been thinking along the same lines. One way to handle it might be for our individual blogs to focus on individual interests, and as individual blogs go, so goes wikifray.

Another (and by no means mutually exclusive) thought would be to find blogs just as eclectic as we are. I haven't found many. I think the "recommended" feed is a good way to make people aware of interesting things. I'll try to do a better job of including other blogs in links. My previous efforts in this regard were not terribly successful, but I think now that wikifray's architecture is more established and its community a little larger, it will be easier. I could also do a better job of finding folks likely to be interested in what we're up to.

TenaciousK said...

John: I disagree. As a group, collectively, we're a general interest group. Individually, however, there is ample specialty interest/expertise that could be exploited, or capitalized on.

Hard to know how to do that, unless the editorial board wants to take a more active hand in shaping the face of the place. If you want to emulate an online magazine, for example, you could set up specific areas of discussion, with various people posting within them - provide an multiple access points for someone who has a specific interest to find what they're looking for, without wading through a front page that is decidedly eclectic. You'd probably be changing the look of the front page.

Not saying this is necessarily a good idea, or a desirable way to go - I'm sort of resistant to it, actually, because I like our diverse look/feel.

But that is one possible avenue for maximizing our appeal to people who have more specific interests. I also think this is a way to get more broadly linked. Political blogs will want to link to other blogs who have a consistent political presence, etc.

TenaciousK said...

August, this is what happens when you start a comment and then get interrupted. You and I are saying roughly the same thing, though if that's what we want, I think the interface to the various categories might need revamping - make it a little more explicit.

bEnder said...

Well, I’m all for creative approaches. That’s why I’m hesitant to suggest one particular strategy. That said, here is what I’m going to do: 1. Time management: Spend less of it reading BotF and more time reading other blogs; 2. What Other Blogs?: Blogs like IOZ’s (enjoying some success (but not too much yet)) and that have hit counters so they’ll see the traffic a post in WikiFray, in response to them, is sending their way; and 3. How To Find Them?: This seems to me the tricky part. Some strategies that have worked in the past: (a) Start by following IOZ’s blogroll; (b) You don’t find any that you have a response to, but some of interest, peruse who links to them; (c) As a general rule, focus on other blogspots; and (d) For the Slate/Fray focused, after you’ve written your response to a Slate article, but before you post it, use tools like Sphere and
Technorati to see what other blogs are responding to the same article, and consider responding to one of those blogs as well as/instead of just posting in the fray.

Schadenfreude said...

Have you tried asking?

It's not called blogrolling for nothing.

There are some good things about the site stats. Raw number of visitors isn't everything.

Long-term, the layout doesn't really lend itself to large volumes of posters and responders. If you get more than a handful of posts in a day, it will quickly become unnavigable.

Anonymous said...

You are a group of self-absorbed, garrulous mediocrities who managed to form a community while trading endless one-liners at the same website (and seldom venturing beyond). Many of you are apparently too lazy to edit and proofread your posts, which at any rate are not quite ready for prime time. The "satirists" among you are an embarrassment, derivative and stuck in adolescence.

Why would your observations be of interest to outsiders? They're thoroughly unexceptional.

catnapping said...

oooooo! cool tool! great for the ego, thanks!

rundeep said...

Hi Rita!

topazz said...

Hi Zeus Boy!

TenaciousK said...

”… a group of self-absorbed, garrulous mediocrities…”

Welcome to the internet, anon!

Nice to see your cravenly presence is still lurking about. I’m sure the motive behind your effluvial critique compliments your comportment.

Nothing says I love you like spewing insults on someone's blog. Glad to see you still care.

topazz said...

ps: I think the editors here at wikifray should consider deleting that anonymous troll poster from dailykos, as well as Mysterioso.

Fair is fair, right?

I hereby trollrate both of them. Anyone want to second it?

catnapping said...

topazz: ah, but leaving their silliness for others to witness...good entertainment, no?

TK: i enjoyed saying 'effluvial.' i hope it was good for you too.

Anonymous said...

Lol, Do you feel bitter tonight
Mr Anonymous ?.....( Ender have you rejected any "joining application lately ?).

My personal "two cents" ( or what is similarly worth......). Many of the posters contributing and affiliated to WickiFray, have real literary skills & creative writing talents, but the issue is more about what is being discussed, rather than how it is being discussed, and the majority of "inner sanctum" chit-chat wouldn't be much of interest to individuals outside your community, and stranger to the Slate-culture. Why mot using your skills for a greater purpose ?.

( At least no one can accuses me of "hiting" behind an anonymous nick.....). And topazz i believe Zeus Boy doesn't need to hide behind an anonymous to express his opinion.

Who is Rita by the way ?.....

Heliogabalus said...

Why does my post above comes out as anonymous ?.....

topazz said...

No helio, I was just taking an opportunity to say hi to ZB, that's all. I know he reads this blog, faithfully if there's any hint of a controversy - and I for one really do miss him.

Dawn Coyote said...

Hey—Slate writers know about the Fray!!. Who knew?

Helio: what inner-sanctum chit chat would you be referring to? I'm honestly curious.

topazz: delete them, and those naughty people who pose under other people's nics, too?

WikiFray t-shirt slogan: The thoroughly unexceptional observations of self-absorbed, garrulous mediocrities. I like it.

I like the organic growth. Regular features seem to be emerging. In a blog search for The Echo Maker, Keifus' post turns up, but not mine. I don't really understand how things end up in wider circulation, or not, but I'll endeavor to learn.

Heliogabalus said...

topazz, thanks for the clarification.
I guess we must give to Caesar what Caesar deserves...., and Mr anonymous post is far from being Zeus Boy's quality standard.

august said...

I'm so tired of Timothy Noah's wikipedia kick.

Dawn- T-shirt, that or "switters sock puppet"

It's really hard to write a good top post -- here or anywhere else. Some slate frays make it easier by giving you an article to sound off of -- and one or two of the articles actually include interesting content. IOZ does link to other blogs with some frequency, but mainly he just writes really good posts with consistency over time. I think our discussions are a lot more interesting than they are on other blogs, but I think helio's right that such discussions are harder to get into if you don't already know the people involved. Swit, I'd say you're posts are among the most thoughtful.

I think the book club was a great idea -- it gives us a way of having a sustained discussion over multiple posts, so a random Echo Maker fan might come through and get to know us a little.

Anyway, speaking just for myself, a big part of my motivation for being in this project is the possibility of reaching a wider community than the Fray, and of giving people reason to push themselves to try harder. In other words, I think there's what Bill Simmons calls TUP -- tremendous upside potential.

Heliogabalus said...

august, that's exactly what i meant. There is definitively a quality of both literary skill & creative writing behind WickiFray's posters, but as you mentioned, issues being discussed here may be "obscur" to outsiders.
Never was my intention to question the writing quality of my former brethren from the Fray....., I'll be the last person to criticize the style & quality of WickiFray's posters ( content issue is another deal....). being someone who personally has no pretension whatsoever about the quality of his writing (if any...), i am just satisfied with my nefarious iconoclastic wit.

JohnMcG said...

I take the point -- a lot of the material here is not stuff that would make a first time visitor to stop by again.

We are still somewhat derivative of the Fray and Slate; we have a shared history and enjoy discussing it.

Whether this is good, bad, or indifferent depends on what our goals are.

Heliogabalus said...

John, i completely agree with the "Whether this is good, bad, or indifferent depends on what our goals are", whatever makes us go through the night.....I for one keep checking up WickiFray ( and no one ever invited me.....).and i wouldn't take any shit from DailyKos readers either. I believe they have the same level of tolerance to critics, as Free Republic....and just as Free Rep, they are a bunch of self-righteous idealistic hypocriticals ( but only younger....).
And i am not saying that because i know that Ender cannot stand me!.

bEnder said...

Clarifications: There’s a learning curve to blogging. I certainly spent a substantial amount of time tackling it. I think one leap “fraysters” in particular have trouble making is seeing their blog posts as the equivalent of a reply post. Instead, we see our blog posts as the equivalent of fray “top posts”. And considering it’s generally regarded as bad form to top post your fray replies, it’s no wonder we’re slow to appreciate that in the blogosphere it’s bad form not to. A fray with trackbacks would enable you to have a conversation with a frayster in a different fray, top posting your replies back and forth. The hierarchical structure is gone, but the connections are still there.

This seems like a good place to satisfy my desire to share. As you may or may not know, I burned through dozens of blogs before I finally hit on a model that worked for me (i.e. wagtheslate, and now wikifray). Excerpted here is a post I wrote for one of those long ago (probably about a year ago now), now defunct/deleted blogs. No real point, but it seems somehow germane.

Hello Blogville.

As best I can tell the trick to this racket is: (a) Set up a reasonably clean blog; (b) Put up a good couple of posts, a face; and (c) get busy talking about what other blogs are saying via comments and backlinks. After that, it all depends on whether or not you can encourage and inspire others to return the favor. Seriously, I feel like I could say something earth shattering, but if I don’t take care of (c), if I’m not relentlessly devoting time to (c), there is little point—as no one is going to read it. I’m feeling put out.

It’s not that I’m not interested in what others have to say. I’ve spent a good part of the last few weeks getting my first real taste of blogs by simply following what’s interesting and jumping from one to the next. I’m intrigued, and perhaps I’ll get into the habit of running back here and linking to someone else’s interesting post every time I find one. But still, it’s too calculated, not to mention the sense that I’m behind the curve, a day late in everything I read. It’s a race, and I simply can’t compete even if I wanted to. Life gets in the way.

Of course, these thoughts are all in lieu of simply being brilliant and patient. I wouldn’t describe myself as either of those. Nor am I content to put energy into this if I’m the only one who reads it. I could just pick a few already popular blogs. Call them my “(c)’s”, read them religiously and link, link, link. But again, I’m put out. I want to spend what time I have ranging far and wide. Free of routine, and unburdened with ulterior motives. Wow, I managed to make that sounds lame.

This is all leading up to what? The kind of blog this is going to be? I’m not a reporter. I’m not a sycophant, even if that means I’ll be playing first fiddle in front of an empty room. I’m political, but not in a way that I imagine anyone will find useful. Although I’m relatively new to blogging, I’m not new. I’ve spent the last 5 plus years doing on a bulletin board what bloggers, I now see, have been doing on the wider web. Different in scale, no doubt, and meeting with greater success, but it seems I already know you people very, very well.

With that said, with all of that said, I’m going to change the game. That’s what kind of blog this is going to be. Me against all the innovators, all the trend setters, all the success stories that have made blogging what it is. Me vs. the lemmings. I’ll likely fail, and miserably at that. I don’t even have and idea yet, much less a plan. Strike that, but I’ll say no more.

I dislike the rules enough that I’ll do one better than not play by them. Really, knowing myself, what could be more fun than to change them. Hello Blogville.

Anonymous said...

Behold the Ego King, absolutely! On and on he goes with his arid fulminations, heedless of the presence of an audience yet paying lip service to acquiring one. What a huge surprise that no one except the 12 of you gives a fig.

Anonymous said...

TenaciousK said, "I’m sure the motive behind your effluvial critique compliments your comportment."

MOTIVE: Nice comportment you've got there! But stand up a little straighter and go with the flow.

Geez, man, do more reading and consult a dictionary! When you try to use language that you haven't mastered, you only sound foolish.

A Nonny Moose said...

He's not the Ego King. I am.

bEnder said...

Under certain views titles are helpful. As for labels, I’m not opposed to the idea of temporarily labeling posts according to subject matter, with the caveat that after say 72 hours those labels are removed? Not a policy I’m looking to push, but if anyone’s been really itching to label outside of the nickname restrictions, I think it’s something we can try.

Tangentially, I anticipated the day might come when we outgrew the label cloud in the header. Not sure that we’re there yet, but I’d like to know if anyone thinks it’s an eyesore.

Schadenfreude said...

Gotcha. Fixed.

august said...


Does it work to add html for technorati tags in body of the post (rather than in the tags line)?

I like the list of contributers. I know that sooner or later we'll have enough people that it will be unwieldy, but for now I say keep.

bEnder said...

august: Never tried it, but I see no reason why it shouldn’t work.

august said...

Worked. Now that I think about it, I think Dawn did this once before.

That post was a lot of work. Now I see why we don't do this more often.

TenaciousK said...

Anon: Egad! My phrasing awkward? My language inept? Ack! If I’d only devised some cravenly manner of leaving offensive comments without being identified myself!

I think I’ll run off and create a half dozen or so blogger profiles, which I can use to make obscure or insulting comments I wouldn’t want attributed to me. Or I could just follow your example...

Do you find it at all ironic that you're capitalizing on our continued openness to anonymous criticism? I'd mention comportment again, but I can't tolerate the thought of opening myself up to criticism in this currently identifiable state.

Hmmm - those moments of simpatico kind've sneak up on you sometimes, don't they?

Heliogabalus said...

Tenacious, quite an eloquent & elegant way to flush away those suspicious left over & "odeurs nauseabonde" trails from an anonymous poster with an intellect & ethic, which my dear Cat would not deem appropriate to use a his litter....