Blogosphere: October 2005 Archives

Over 20 tabs open in Mozilla, and I'm feeling guilty about not sharing all this bloggy goodness with you. No commentary, just links to stuff worth reading. Here goes:

Eric Siegmund takes apart a silly National Newspaper Week ad which calls letters to the editor "the original Web Blog". Saving me the trouble of commenting, Charles G. Hill has exactly what I would have written -- something I actually did write in a similar context last year -- and compares the count of "letters to the editor" (aka comments) published on Dustbury to those published by the Daily Oklahoman. (By the way, the Whirled's letter lag is now closer to three weeks. Last Sunday there was an op-ed by an editorial writer in response to letters in that same edition, letters which were written prior to the gas tax vote.)

Mister Snitch! links to Jay Rosen, who says that the New York Times has abdicated its place as the Paper of Record. Snitch disagrees with Rosen's conclusion that the Washington Post has taken its place and has an interesting metaphor for the position that the MSM is in.

Blogging counselor/pastor Bowden McElroy has some challenging observations on what it takes to make a marriage work, along with some of his recent web finds of interest.

Lots of good stuff on JollyBlogger -- I don't even know where to begin. Are Calvinists saved? John Calvin on beauty. An intro to theonomy. An intro to postmillenialism. (Did you know that many Bible-believing Christians don't believe in the Left Behind / Scofield Bible / "Thief in the Night" concept of the end times?) And an appreciation of one small piece of M. Scott Peck's writing. And the one that really got my attention, "We don't always have to ask questions of conscience," which deals with the issue of how a Christian should spend money and time and calls to mind the notion of "terminal thinking" and "relational thinking" that was drilled into me in Campus Crusade.

(I said no commentary, didn't I? Sorry.)

If you're testing to see how your site deals with different user agents or copes with referral spam, wannaBrowser is a very cool tool.

Some other useful links on referrer spam and using Apache's .htaccess file to deal with it: fighting referrer spam by restricting IP addresses, a comprehensive guide to .htaccess, how referrer spam works and how to fight back, a sample .htaccess file, and why using .htaccess to fight referrer spam is futile.

Ronnie Barker, a British comedian who specialized in sketch comedy and was star of a couple of classic sitcoms, has died. The BBC has a collection of Ronnie Barker's best lines, including these fake news items:

The man who invented the zip fastener was today honoured with a lifetime peerage. He will now be known as the Lord of the Flies.

The toilets at a local police station have been stolen. Police say they have nothing to go on.

(That last one reminds me of a certain award-winning headline.)

And that's goodnight from him me.

The Technorati tags for this entry are going to be a mighty strange collection indeed.

Here's another good reason to clean out your blogroll from time to time:

Last year sometime I blogrolled a blogspot blog called The New York Minute, which was at After a few months the blog went away completely -- 404 -- but I neglected to remove it from the blogroll. I noticed there was a "recently updated" star next to its name, and went there to find it had been restarted by someone called "Mask Man". The entries are random paragraphs out of an encyclopedia. Mask Man's blogger profile shows he has eight Blogger blogs, and each one has the same sort of content. The most recent entry on each has a comment with links to a Halloween costumes website.

What's the strategy? Find abandoned blogs that are still linked by other blogs, claim them, add enough content to avoid easy detection as a spam blog, then put the spam links in the comments, so the search engine bots will find them.

How to fight this?

If you have a blogroll or a list of links on your site, clean out the dead wood from time to time.

Regular maintenance is especially important for those who manage alliance blogrolls, where one person controls a blogroll that is displayed by each member blog. For example, there are the three on my sidebar -- Wictory Wednesdays, League of Reformed Bloggers, and Blogs for Terri. The blog I mentioned above is on the Blogs for Terri blogroll, which means it's linked from hundreds of blogs. According to Technorati, it has 334 links from 209 sites.

If you're deleting your Blogger blog for some reason, I suggest you then recreate it, with zero entries, so that no one else can claim the name for nefarious purposes. (If you are deleting your Blogger blog, you should back it up as it appears on the web, and export the entries, too. I think you can also export comments, and I believe that paying Haloscan customers can export their comment data as well.)

(UPDATED with a bit more info on 10/5/2005.)

Wish I could've been there. It was a big New York City blogger party Friday night, organized by Karol Sheinin of Alarming News, and there were a lot of smart, witty bloggers there that I met during last summer's Republican National Convention.

One of those smart, witty bloggers who was there is blogger and radio talk show host Kevin McCullough, and he had a conversation with fellow smart, witty blogger Scott Sala of Slant Point about how the blog world has changed since the frenzy leading up to last year's elections and what it means for the future of blogs:

I could feel Scott's pain when he said it, "It's like people are now reading the four or five big blogs and since the bigs aren't linking to us anymore - it's made me try to redefine my niche."

So what did he do - he started something brand new, more focused, more directed. (Urban Elephants) It's a complete start-over in Scott's case... but it has a specificity to it that makes it a great product for a more defined audience.

And in the end - I believe this is what will happen in a way that is not dissimilar to what happened to broadcast media. More channels brought more opportunities to target viewers. The more specific a channel is the more its audience relates to it in a strongly personal way. (This is why - all talent elements being equal - a talk radio station - will do better with a local talent as opposed to someone syndicated.)

I think Scott's observation about finding a niche is exactly right. My traffic is actually up over last year, thanks in part to the Tulsa Whirled's short-sighted decision to threaten me over linking to their website. I think most of it, though, is because there's a lot of room for growth in the niche I occupy. I mainly write about Tulsa, and there are a lot of Internet users in Tulsa that are just starting to discover blogs. My blogging and my political involvement gave me enough local visibility and credibility to give me opportunities on the radio and now as a columnist in an alternative weekly, which raises my visibility further and brings more people to the blog.

It's funny: I don't regularly read most of the big blog dogs that Kevin mentions in his entry. I used to, but it seems that ever since I created a special sidebar section for "News Blogs, Frequently Updated" I stopped checking them as often as before. Instead I find what they're saying via the lower-ranked bloggers that I read more often. I find myself more often exploring the sites of other bloggers who have linked to me, or who have written on some of the same topics, or bloggers that I've met in real-life, like Kevin and Scott and Karol.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Blogosphere category from October 2005.

Blogosphere: September 2005 is the previous archive.

Blogosphere: November 2005 is the next archive.

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