Want to be Wayward?

We’re looking at opening the doors for the Wayward Weblogger co-op here in the next few weeks. Still having to work issues through, and still helping some of the original group make their move. The issue of permalinks and using different weblogging tools becomes more obvious all the time.

I also posted my first rough draft of the look and feel for the at the co-op weblog. Thanks to Ben from my comments, I’m getting help with Blosxom, so there’s hope for me yet.

So much technology to play with, so much to write, so little time…


Centralization? No

Since the talk this week is going to be on weblogging portability – you can see it in the air, you can smell it in the wind, this is the topic this week – might as well continue the discussion I started in the last posting. In fact, I should move my Weblogging for Poets permalink essay up and write it here rather than wait until I get the weblogs going.

For now though, John Robb comes up with the following in regards to weblogging portability:

I would start with single repository of weblogs where the owner of the weblog can change the location of their weblog and other descriptive data by signing into an account. This service would need to be tightly controlled and trusted. If you don’t own the domain, your hosting company or hosting sponsor would need to support the account creation.

John then sees this repository being used by the weblogging tools as a way of checking to see who is moved. A centralized repository of weblog domains? Not a chance.

As stated in the last posting, you should use your own domain name for your weblog, you really should. With this you can move from host to host and literally take your weblog with you. However, if you find yourself someday kicked out of your hosting service, say at or or any number of other hosted services, then the best way to advertise that you’re moved is just how John’s doing it – use the weblogs and pass the information via word of mouth…urh…blog.

Using a centralized DNS wannabe morphed weblog finder to solve the problems of moving away from a centralized host, is not the answer to this particular problem.


John Robb’s new location

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’m not what you would call one of John Robb’s biggest fans. However, when a person’s weblog is summarily yanked, as if to make this person vanish from the ether, then I’ll do everything in my power to help him resurface.

John Robb, in his new weblog locationwrote:

NEVER (under any circumstances) publish a weblog to a domain that you don’t control.

Considering that the majority of webloggers publish to domains they don’t control (i.e. blogspot, Bloghorn, Live Journal, JournURL, AOL, and even John’s new effort at Mindplex), this might be a bit difficult for most folks to follow. Difficult, but not impossible, if a few rules were agreed to by weblogging tool builders and hosts:

1. Hosted services support domain pointers.

If your service can support something like (or, it can support a unique domain name for the weblog. They might need to charge a small fee for this service, but it’s doable. If your host can’t support this effort, run for your life and find a different service.

If they do support this service, then get a domain – you’ll be happy eventually that you did. Just ask any number of people who have moved recently what a pain in the butt it is trying to deal with mega-broken linkdom.

2. Hosted services and all weblog tools support the same permalink format, or allow the person to set the permalink format.

It doesn’t help that Blogger using some kind of algorithm to set permalinks, and MT uses a unique identifier (though this can be changed) – there is no compatibility between any of the products when it comes to permalink format. Either the tools need to allow you to specify a format of your own choosing, or the builders and hosting services need to get together and agree on one.

3. Keep a backup of your weblog entries. All weblogging tools, hosted or not, should provide a backup mechanism whereby you can download your material periodically. If they do, backup your material at least weekly.

If all three of these can be met, problems involved with moving between tools and hosts are solved. If the tools can’t meet these three rules – ask the toolmaker, why not?

In the meantime, John Robb’s new weblog address is above. I would also add a corollary to Robb’s Law of posting:

No one service, no one government or organization, and especially no one person should have the power to arbitrarily make another person’s writing, weblog or otherwise, disappear.