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.

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