Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Both my mineral collection and the items I had in my unit in San Francisco sold this last week while I was out of town. The mineral collection in particular is going to a very good home. In fact, one of the side trips this next week is to deliver the collection because I don’t want to risk damage to them through regular shipping.

Thanks to both sales, I can now take my long awaited research trip, as well as stock up on more film and more importantly, a new slide scanner. Not an expensive one – good enough to scan slides and negatives to send to editors. For publication purposes, I’ll still need to then have them professionally scanned – after they’ve sold, of course.

I have quite a few things going on, including looking at the possibility of switching to new blogging software for my sites, as well as starting two new weblogs. I’m also helping a friend with his new publication (though I haven’t done much for him yet). I’ve been trying to work through a new book deal, but I am now beginning to lose hope that it is going through, and this is disappointing.

I also thought this week of closing down Burningbird because I think that the tread on this weblog’s tires has worn too thin: too many expectations about what will, or will not be, written about here. Still, expectations are not granite and I’m not frozen into a crystalline, unchanging form. If I choose to re-invent myself and my writing, what I write has nothing to do with the URL and everything to do with me.

However, I am eliminating the publicly published blogroll entirely, even as a secondary page. I know Halley considers this a selfish act, but blogrolls neither help community, not add to the value of writing. In fact, I’ve chatted with Dave Sifrey and Kevin about eliminating persistent links such as blogroll links from the Technorati measurements, focusing instead on links that are included within writing. Kevin has already cleaned out most of the non-weblog links from the rolls, but filtering out persistent links is going to be a harder algorithm to derive though I have no doubts they are, at least, considering it.

(I’ve always admired Dave for being one of those people who continues to listen to his clients, individually and as a group, regardless of how successful his enterprises are.)

Weblogging is, in part, community, true, but I don’t need blogrolls to become part of the community, and blogrolls aren’t going to give me entree into any circles. Connecting with people deliberatly is what makes a community, not putting a link up in a sidebar and forgetting about it.

When I read something that should be commented on, or at least, pointed out, I’ll do so – just as I did with recent postings to Sheila, Yule, Loren, Doug, Liz, and even Halley. And the community can invite themselves in by commenting and I put their weblog URLs attached to their name in the Recent Comments/Trackbacks. Both serve to direct attention to sites in a, hopefully, more direct and meaningful way.

Jonathon Delacour wrote on this recently, in response to a general ‘argy-bargy’, the colloquial term he used to cover recent discussions about lack of exposure for women webloggers. He mentioned, admiringly, about Steven Den Beste’s practice of changing his blogroll to highlight new sites, and I agree, it is an effective approach. However, I would rather highlight what a person writes when they’ve written something that has amused, delighted, astonished, overwhelmed, outraged, or saddened me then to put the links in a blogroll. If, as some people think, a link is part of the semantic web, then I’d rather my links be meaningful. Or as Jonathon writes:

Perhaps bloggers would start to believe that if enough people (us) are doing the same thing (basing blogrolls and links on the quality and originality of the ideas and writing) then we must know something they don’t (that excellence rather than reputation deserves to be celebrated).

(Of course, I realize that people will most likely pull my link from their blogrolls, and if this is the way of satisfying ‘quid pro quo’, so be it. I rarely get visits from blogrolls any more: most people come here through aggregators such Bloglines, which I use, or pages such as Technorati. If my rank falls, and I am visited less, than that, too, tells me a story.)

When I choose to write and not do so as part of the community, then I want people to stop and read what I say rather than be sidetracked by changing blogrolls, or influenced because I include them, or not, in a blogroll. I don’t want to mix community and writing, because the one becomes both filter and censor on the other; at some point you can no longer tell if the silence or acclaim that greets your words is based on what you write, or who you are.

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