Home Braindump of weblog re-design thoughts

Braindump of weblog re-design thoughts

I’m thinking about re-designing my weblog. While I was busy writing my novel in November, others were exploring the boundaries of the weblog form. Dave Winerre-designed his hugely influential blog, Mark Pilgrim did a re-design (and curiously, Dave and Mark’s blogs have ended up looking pretty similar – or maybe it’s just me!). Dave is doing a lot of interesting things with categories, OPML and “distributed directories”. At first glance, it seemed to overlap what Paulo & Matt, and Phil Pearson have been doing with topics. But Dave is more interested in a hierarchic ontology, using OPML as the glue I think. Also I noticed Jason Kottke did a re-design, where he’s bunched together his writing, links, movie and book reviews, and comments he’s made on other sites. A lot of prominant bloggers made a fuss of this, but I’m not really sure why. Then today Bill Seitz posted an interesting idea – building a Wiki inside of Radio Userland, in order to take advantage of its RSS and upstreaming functionality. This is something that appeals to me.

So what do I want to achieve in my re-design. I’m still working through that in my mind. I do know that I want a topic-focused weblog…but I also still want the familiar chronological order of items on the homepage, a simple straight-up RSS feed, and the other things that make a weblog easier for people to read and subscribe to than a Wiki. Inspirations here include Bill Seitz with his WikiBlog, Erik Benson with his Nodes concept, Paul Ford with his Semantic Blog.

I want my weblog writing to be even more thoughtful and original. My novel-writing experience has taught me the value of that. I also want to include my linkblog links, but as a side extra (not lumped in with the main course, like Jason Kottke seems to be doing). Maybe I want to include music and book reviews…the jury is still out on that. I can say that I like what Keith Robinson does on his site with reviews. He includes them in his main RSS feed, but they’re a weekly feature under a distinct heading. Hmmm. I do like Kottke’s idea of including comments that I made on other sites on my own blog. Kinda like my Microcontent Wiki concept. But how to automate it?

I want to do my own CSS design. I want to make it XHTML compliant again, but this time I’ll ease up on the “no tables” stance – as Cristian Vidmar has done. Tables do have a time and a place.

Blogroll – should it stay or go? Hmmm. On one hand I approve of the concept of linking to people that inspire me or whose content I value. On the other, there are people I link to on my blogroll who haven’t returned the favour and linked to me. And likewise there are people who have me on their blogroll who I haven’t linked to. This all seems slightly unethical, or unfair. Maybe the problem is that the blogroll concept is outdated. Maybe we should be publishing our entire RSS Subscriptions list, via an outline. Or maybe we should have like a Wuffie-roll – a “wuffie” is a measure of reputation, coined by Cory Doctorow in his novel ‘Down and Out in the Magic Kingdon’ (which I’m reading right now). In a Wuffie-roll, you give fellow bloggers a reputation score out of 10 that changes daily depending on how interesting/relevant they are to you at the time. For example Andrew Chen is posting some interesting content currently, so his Wuffie score with me is quite high at the moment. Wuffie could be the new Technorati, only it’ll take over the blogroll as a concrete thing we actually publish on our sites. I’m sure this has been discussed before, it’s just that I’m only getting round to reading Cory’s novel now – so it’s on my mind currently.

Hmmm, still thinking about what I want my weblog to look like and what features and functionality it should have. To be continued…

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