Roll Call

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I’ve managed to come up with a new page design for all my web site resources except one: this weblog. However, in the last few days this design has crystallized in my mind. I know how I want it to look. Better, I know what I want it to say.

One major change to the design will be the elimination of the blogroll. What started out as a way of introducing favorite webloggers to our readers has somehow become a weapon used in a war of hypertext popularity.

If you search in Google on the words weblog delinking you’ll see weblog entry after another focusing on the use of ‘delinking’ to make some kind of point about an individual. The world is falling quickly into wars fought with bullets and bombs, and we, in the comfort of our safe homes, wield weblog links as if they’re swords.

I loved what Photo Dude wrote on this:


We also now have public delinking ceremonies, for those times when someone with whom you’ve become belinked strays from your personal political sphere, and therefore must be publicly shamed and flayed bloody with the stripped strand of HTML that once formed a connection. Personally, I find a One Flavor link list to be boring, but then I thought the point of weblogs was to experience the diversity of people, thoughts, and philosophies around the world, not delink them when you disagree. If I only link people like me, or who think like me, that’s going to be one short list. What’s the point?

There’s a high level of inflated self importance in such a delinking. Myself, I’m certain that my little link to anyone is but a snowflake in a blizzard, of no impact at all, added or removed. It’s a shame others think their links are such precious pearls.


Precious pearls. Instead of writing ourselves into existence, we’re delinking others out of existence. And we watch the rise and fall of our weblogs and others in popularity sheets such as Blogging Ecosphere and Technorati and congratulate ourselves on our positions in comparison to others. Phaw! I’d rather resort to outlining.

Hypertext links were meant to bring us together, not become Teflon-coated projectiles. What is is about people that whatever we touch becomes a weapon? That’s not what this is all about. Or at least, I don’t think this is what this is all about. So I’m getting rid of my blogroll.

In it’s place I’m creating a set of files containing lists of my favorite essays/postings written by other webloggers, sorted into my own categories based on my interpretation of the posting subject. I started this as a test case with my Comfort Food posts. And the process of adding new links continues as I dig through archives (Blogger sucks at this), and read what you write today and tomorrow.

Technically, the link, author, and excerpt for these postings will go into a subject-related RDF/RSS file. I’ll then link to PHP pages that display these postings when you click on the subject (displayed in random order). Since the pages are valid RSS 1.0, you can even subscribe to these pages if you want.

Additionally, PHP code in my main weblog page will randomly select entries from one or more of the categories and print the link, author, and excerpt on my front page (in addition to the comments and trackback links and excerpts).

The posts I select are ones that have made an impact on me. The weblogger may not consider the post their best writing; others may prefer different posts. However, by linking to the writing that I connect with, the reader learns more about the other weblogger, and more about me. Something a dry, featureless, blogroll link can never provide.

More importantly, once listed in the pages, a link to a post will never be pulled. As time goes on and we drift apart, these moments of connection will remain. I may not read a weblogger now because they’ve taken a direction I won’t follow. But I did at one time and one moment, and that moment will be captured and persisted. Eventually these pages will form a more accurate history of my personal weblogging adventure than my own posts.

So what am I saying with all this? I guess this is my way of saying you’re all going to be delinked. Go away with your bad selves.




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