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October 1st, 2003


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05:16 am - Multiblogs
I'm very idly kicking around the idea of starting another journal, weblog or miscellaneous Thynge, inspired by some thoughts on the place of LiveJournal within the blogosphere at large.

Perception is the only valid judge, but I tend to perceive that the blogs regarded as coolest by the blogging world at large at the moment are those run using Movable Type, doubtless with a page design all of your own and two or three dozen graphical icons down the side. By contrast, I perceive LiveJournal to have a little less street-cred than the average blog on the street. I know that LJ is tremendously powerful and versatile; I sometimes see other blog owners crow about comment boards, blogrolling, online RSS aggregators, bloglines, Friendster and so on and think to myself "Er... we've had those already, for ever such a long time".

I get the impression that LJ is almost seen as a walled garden; LiveJournalists talk to each other and play with each other, but not with the outside world at large. Perhaps it's the way that the LiveJournal system does everything for you automatically that makes the functionality less impressive; so many LiveJournals look so similar to each other (including this one, which is as generic as they come!) that they are instantly recognisable and almost negligible as such, whereas someone who gets as much functionality in place starting from scratch is clearly a master artist and craftsman already. Incidentally, I do note there are many very fine LJs with custom layouts indeed. It's domain prejudice of the type that goes back to AOL users, but I see a great many weblogs whose maintainers tend to look down ever so slightly on LiveJournals, no matter how fine the content.

Some people have more than one weblog. Sometimes these are split by technological grounds; for instance, daweaver has a LiveJournal and a non-LiveJournal-code hand-coded blog. Sometimes these are split by subject matter; for instance, leiabelle begat healthy_erin for exercise, dr4b begat janthina for games and ericklendl begat nick_at_esc for his holiday. I know there are tons of other examples as well - for instance, people who maintain accounts on JournalFen or GreatestJournal as well as a LJ. As ever, you only have my word for it that I don't currently run other weblogs or journals myself.

One particularly interesting example is that of mssv.net, which operates three parallel weblogs, massive itself, middling and tiny. As the names suggest, the categorisation is principally on length-and-depth grounds: massive contains extended essays, tiny is your classic weblog with just a couple of sentences per link and middling is for intermediate pieces. It's an example which works well. The only downside is that the three separate RSS feeds each take up a full syndication point. (They're all great! Go and read them so I can add more syndie feeds! Plug, plug!)

Sometimes I feel that my habitual LiveJournal style has led me into some unfortunate tendencies. I am only really comfortable with these semi-extended 1500-word essays, normally with fairly extensive background reading largely hidden behind lj-cuts. (Either those, or the good old-fashioned malachan-style ten-pointers.) It works for me, broadly enough, but it doesn't half take time to write. Sometimes I feel I'd like to make a single quick point and go - a splash-and-dash drive-by posting, if you will - but I don't feel quite comfortable doing so, somehow. There's a really cool-looking Mozilla plug-in, LJPost, which would be a lot of fun to use.

This is definitely a case of my LiveJournal driving me rather than me driving my LiveJournal, which is a worrying tendency. It's the old performance art consideration again: would you still love me if I changed to four 100-word posts per day? Of course, I could start a second LiveJournal just for these quickie links - I've always liked the sound of jiggery_quickups, which I fear is one character too long for legality - but I have a gut feeling that having two LiveJournals for essentially the same job is somehow inefficient - or, at least, inelegant. All the cases in which I follow two LJs from the same person come when the split is by subject, rather than anything else.

There are many other interesting things you can do with a multiblog, a term I have just coined largely on the grounds that it sounds a bit like multiball and anything that reminds me of pinball is inherently good. Another really cool example is the twin blog Beyond Brilliance, Beyond Stupidity. Two RSS feeds, closely related. One for "positive developments in transportation, urban planning, design, the environment, the internet and many other vaguely related areas" - the other for, you guessed it, negative ones. Theoretically avowed optimists might choose to browse only one and avowed pessimists the other. Yes, it's powered by Movable Type.

The neatest part, though, is the categorisation feature: each post is associated with one or more categories and it's very easy to look through the archives to find only articles on particular topics. Going back to "LiveJournal can do that!" in paragraph three, I do realise that it's possible to emulate this sort of system using the memories, but it's a kludgy sort of solution at best and you know it. I'm sure that brad has said that such categorisation is something he definitely wants to add in the future; I look forward to the feature's eventual introduction.

Getting to the point, I've booted about the concept of a crossover games weblog in the past; interesting and unusual developments from as many different media and styles of game as possible. Thinking more, that's only part of what I want. I enjoy discussing games a great deal; frankly, while I enjoy the conversations I do currently have on LiveJournal already very much, I haven't really found the weird-game community that I'm looking for on LiveJournal yet. (For instance, I've got a pretty good idea which parts of this post are going to generate discussion, and they're not necessarily the ones I most want discussing.)

I don't have a dialogue with the Gameblogs and the nimrods of this world yet. Now, to be fair, this is because I haven't publicised jiggery_pokery among the board game community yet. This is even a definite decision. Peter Sarrett has a very good model with his Game Report / Static Zombie dichotomy. I'm not sure how interested the gamers would be in reading about the Harry Potter fandom, my moods and the like. Then again, you never know, particularly with the gamer slant I put upon things.

Accordingly, here's what I'm currently thinking. I'm going to wait for categorisation to come in, be that weeks, months or years, then go back and categorise all the gamer entries. I'm then thinking of getting a URL which will point to a view of just the game-themed entries, then setting up a style and a view which looks more like a generic weblog and less like a LiveJournal. This means that the wider gamer world can enjoy Chris' games weblog on its own without having to worry about getting to know me personally and that people who see the jiggerosity warts-and-all on LiveJournal can continue to do so in the same way as ever. It would also eliminate the need for duplication on both your part and mine, and that turns me on. (Didn't that come from The Mary Whitehouse Experience?)

That's the current thinking, though. Of course it'll change thirty times more before the technology to actually enable this actually arrives...

Three rounds down, four to go, in the European Clubs Cup. At the top, NAO Paris and Ladya-Kazan-1000 handily disposed of their opponents. The big Russian derby between Tomsk and Norilsky Nikel (who I think are, sadly, a company team rather than a place) ended up as a one-win-each-four-draws match tie. Interestingly, both decisive games came where the two teams had fiddled a weaker player up in the board order for gamesmanship purposes, which strikes me as excessively fair and appropriate. Asker Shackklubb lost to Werder Bremen, but kept it very respectable by holding them on the top four boards. (Luke McShane is now at a winless 1/3, which is really not what he'd have hoped for.) Barbican will be pleased to have seen off their Danish rivals 4-2.

Swiss format tournaments are lovely in that they're (technically only nearly) effectively indistinguishable from massive multiple-elimination knockouts, just with the number of permissible defeats being sufficient that nobody ever gets knocked out of the tournament for good. Three or four rounds in, teams are finally just about being matched with people on their level. Given that match result draws are so rare, it's probably not surprising that only 4 of the 45 starters have won all three of their matches; these effectively give us semi-finals and - barring match draws - we can expect to see the winners face each other in a big effective-final tomorrow. Of course, there's still room for a leader to slip on the last two days, which in some ways is almost an indication that the Swiss is too long for the number of teams, but that's dominance for you.

The top match sees Polonia Plus GSM Warsaw take on NAO Paris. My fundamental principle of chess fandom is that chess grandmasters are inherently unreliable with very few exceptions indeed (see Vladimir Krmanik's 82-game unbeaten streak). The underperformer among the NAO line-up has been, horrors, Michael Adams, who has failed to put away two in a row that he really should've dispatched. By contrast, Polonia Plus Warsaw have been flying except in their all-Polish derby. The top three boards are all too close to call, but NAO Paris ought to be able to make the difference tell somewhere on the lower three. Can't see there being more than a point or two in it, though.

Match two sees St. Petersburg Lentransgaz have odd-numbered whites against the +16/=1/-1 Ladya-Kazan-1000. This should be a really old-fashioned clash with eleven Russians and a twelfth man called Viktor. This one is easier to call; Kasparov will win his match. Kazan's board two Moldovan Viktor Bologan was on a long streak of being a relatively big name who you could expect to disappoint, but he managed to see off world numbers two (Kramnik), three (Anand) and then-four (Leko) at Dortmund, making no sense whatsoever. Especially with Kasparov overseeing as top board, I think we can declare Blowgun to be in a dangerous mood. Kazan have a decent mid-section with Rublevsky and Smirin, but their tail end is relatively modest. Kazan manhandled St. P in the Russian team championship and we can expect to see it again here.

Matches three and four pair teams on two wins and a draw apiece; Norilsky Nikel have had unconvincing wins, but they ought to hammer Alkaloid Skopje of Macedonia no matter how they line themselves up. Tomsk outweigh the wonderfully-named A.V. Momot Chess Club Energomashspetstal of Ukraine by a good hundred points per board, which is something you always hope to see.

Lower down, Barbican Chess Club take on Werder Bremen (expect Bremen to return to form) and Asker Schakklubb face Liege of Belgium in a real 12Xer. If the law of transitivity of beatdown applies, Liege managed to sneak one win against Corpora Martin whereas Asker only grabbed a single draw, so this would weakly favour the Belgians, but that's based on a fallacious principle. I hate to put the pressure on, but Asker's best hope looks to be my old mate Jon Tisdall on board three.

Games club: our treasurer has resigned after the slightly rancourous meeting last week. Club business isn't the world's business, so no more details, but the unneeded and unexpected drama is something I could've done without, particularly as I still like all the people involved, the treasury control was excellent and the success of the club remains somewhere between remarkable and unparalleled. Accordingly, the unfortunate developments get an editorial growl from here as a needless stressor.

Finally, with more and more happy news in vogue, I have decided that I don't need a "secret crush" graph box to tell you that I have a vague romantic fascination with about twenty or so of you; in each and every case I can think of sound reasons why things must remain a vague crush rather than anything more. Besides, "you're one of twenty" is hardly "you're one in a million", is it?
Current Mood: couldn't get to sleep
Current Music: so I thought I'd get some thoughts out of my head instead

(23 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:bateleur
Date:October 1st, 2003 01:55 am (UTC)

Which Blog Engine ?

(Link)
My 2P would be that it doesn't much matter which blog you use since it's all about what you write. I prefer everyone I read to use LJ so that I can use <lj user="whoever"> to link to them... but that's a minor detail.

Oh - and if you do split yours into multiple blogs, be sure to let me know where the others are !
[User Picture]
From:ericklendl
Date:October 1st, 2003 04:38 am (UTC)
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The main reason I split off nick_at_esc was so I'd feel comfortable with the wider audience I expected it to have, and correspondingly feel able to publicise it... well, at all really.

I've not gone out of my way to tell people about ericklendl, in fact I can only think of three or four that know about it as a result of me explicitly telling them, and none who I'm in day-to-day contact with. I imagine I'd probably be writing a very different journal if I thought my audience included people from my everyday life. On the other hand, I did want some of those people to know about nick_at_esc, and you'll note that I was careful not to put anything in the latter that might provide an obvious path to the former.

I've no idea whether that's sensible thinking or not, and I suspect it isn't! But that's why I created the split journal, anyway.
[User Picture]
From:fruufoo
Date:October 1st, 2003 04:41 am (UTC)
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Besides, "you're one of twenty" is hardly "you're one in a million", is it?

*giggles* I feel like saying things like that sometimes. People don't seem to understand it if you like them but you aren't ridiculously obsessed with them. Have been categorising my types of crushes. Currently have: normal, slashy and head-over-heels-in-love, though will most likely be adding more soon. It helps if people know what you're talking about, in an odd way. :)
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 04:26 pm (UTC)
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People don't seem to understand it if you like them but you aren't ridiculously obsessed with them.

Mmm, especially when the gender preferences - noting two of my Friends' recent happy but unexpected demonstations of fluidity therein - are mutually aligned.

Nobody else seems to have anything to say to that part. Hmm. ;-)
[User Picture]
From:fruufoo
Date:October 1st, 2003 05:26 pm (UTC)
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gender preferences - noting two of my Friends' recent happy but unexpected demonstations of fluidity therein

I guess I ended up with the bad example. *sigh* Why do I end up with the broken toy?

I almost always have something to say to relationship stuff, especially when I've been rambling about it myself!
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 05:37 pm (UTC)
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Incidentally, I popped my head into the chill-out room behind Club One at about 3 o'clock today, looking for role-players. Didn't find any. Must've been looking in the wrong place; where is the right place to look, please?

I was specifically thinking of petulans and starcrossedgirl (see here and here) but can see what you're getting at. Me and my big mouth... :-(
[User Picture]
From:fruufoo
Date:October 2nd, 2003 01:31 am (UTC)
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Oh dear. :/ We didn't manage to get the chill out room this week because it was already booked, so we were in the library. There's a society noticeboard if you go to the back of the first floor of the SU, opposite the cash machine. That has updated details of where our meetings are if they're not in the chill out room. Also, I'll give your email address to our secretary so you get the emails!

I realised who you were talking about - I followed the links. *g* That's okay, it amused me. :)
[User Picture]
From:verlaine
Date:October 1st, 2003 05:51 am (UTC)
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Er... the third person plural is "pundunt", surely?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 02:48 pm (UTC)
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The conjugation troll strikes again!
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 1st, 2003 05:56 am (UTC)
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Goodness, you have made redundant many of the thoughts about LiveJournal vs. 'real' blogs, and categorisation of posts, that I planned to post today.

For subject-specific LiveJournals, why not a community? I know I wouldn't have either the time or the material to run such a weblog on my own, but I've been toying with the idea of starting a maps-and-mapping community (probably called 'cartographica'). What are the disadvantages?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 02:53 pm (UTC)
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A team is only as strong as its weakest link, people may want to take your vision in a different direction to you and, well, if you want a job doing properly, you've got to do it yourself.

Of course, there's always the alternative of finding someone who's doing something a little bit similar to what you want to do and see if you can hop on board, adding to what they do already and turning it slightly in your direction. (If they're willing.)

Hello, Seattle!
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 3rd, 2003 12:05 am (UTC)

My ears are burning.

(Link)
Hello, Middlesbrough!

What direction did you have in mind?

Incidentally, as a non-LJ user I can tell you that the whole "friends" business makes LJ feel very cliquish and insular to me, with all the cross-linking to other LJ users. The system is not designed to be friendly to non-LJ-users. Example: I'm forced to post anonymously. Non-LJ blogs feel more inclusive, or perhaps just less exclusive.

But then, the only LJ I read is yours, so my perception is based on an extremely small sample. =)

- Peter




[User Picture]
From:heinous_bitca
Date:October 1st, 2003 06:35 am (UTC)
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I find your perception of LJ to be extremely accurate. I have a blog (well, a few, actually) outside of LJ. I used to look down on LJ-land, from up on on my MT blog. I got a friend to abandon her LJ and start an MT blog.

And now we've both wound up (back) here, and we use it pretty much for very localized reasons. Her, for her rennie folk, me for my fandom stuff.

That said, MT is *totally* the way to go for categorization of posts. If you ever need any help installing it or setting it up, let me know. I helped ivyblossom set hers up, and have my own MT installation for my fic. Complete with categories, sometimes multiple, on entries.

Oh, and MT has the Extended Entry field. Think of it like an LJ cut, but that you can't close it and write more in an easily viewable way after the cut.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 03:59 pm (UTC)
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Moving from one blog system to another seems to me to be such an awful backstep, such a large admission that you were wrong in your choice of community - lifestyle, even - that it seems almost inconceivable to me. Mind you, I've been using this e-mail address for about eight years now and haven't changed it for exactly the same reason, despite the fact that it attracts very large quantities of spam indeed. I still plan to get my own domain one of these days and never change from that, but the chances of me being able to get a cool domain decrease as time goes by. (Actually, I know the domain I want, but I'll need the help of someone with considerable tech skills in Iceland to get it. Seriously.)

In an ideal world, RSS/RDF/XML/TLA feeds would not only transfer the information in the posts but also pointers to the discussion. If you're following a feed from a Movable Type blog then your "6 comments?" link would actually link to the site's discussion and so forth. If, say, www.wilwheaton.com is issuing a feed, it would be nice if there were only one big discussion going on, not one discussion for people who are following it from the original site, one discussion for people who are following the feed on LiveJournal and so forth. I am not sure whether the Atom / Echo project has this as one of its goals or not. I'd hope it would, but suspect/fear it doesn't.

<voice style="silly" imitate="mortal-kombat-announcer">Extended Entry loses. lj-cut wins.</voice>
From:themightyuser
Date:October 1st, 2003 07:01 am (UTC)
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Chris, go on AIM sometime, seriously =D
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 03:40 pm (UTC)
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Might get chance this weekend, no promises, but no real prospect of it before then. Sorry!
[User Picture]
From:hedwig_snowy
Date:October 1st, 2003 08:14 am (UTC)
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Don't know how the community system works. Couldn't you set up a jiggery_games community and then post your comments there? Maybe a second one for other interests??? And post personal items and day-to-day info in your pockery LJ? Those friends who are interested in a specific interest of yours would join that specific community. Can it be used this way or do you need to setup several separate journals to do the same thing?

As I was reading the top of your post, I realized how much you are involved in this. I recently did here_be_dragons's quiz on LJ use (found I'm not an attention whore at all :grins:....should I work on this? :D ).

I know I'm fairly new at this and will probably drawn over to the dark side at some point :-) , but it works for me as a place just to jot down quick thoughts or keep track of news I thought I might want to look at later. (Keeps it from filling up MY hard drive). Seems there are alot of reasons to write here....just alot of them don't apply to me. So, I'll just keep updating my uniquely boring LJ and replying to posts of people I've met.

Am I asking if a LJ should be this important? Yes. Is it really that important to you? I have no problem scanning your comments on gaming or fruufoo's posts about boys :-) or heidi8's posts about Neil Gaiman (even though I've never seen any of his stuff) because it is interesting to them and they took the time to post it. It doesn't mean everything everyone writes in an LJ has to be profound to everyone of those who might read it. It's more about what you find interesting. That way, those who read an LJ get to know the author a little better. Would we really know you if you didn't write about a large segment of what interests you? A reader might run into you one day and be amazed that they never knew you had an interest in gaming. What else are LJ's for?
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 03:40 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Couldn't you set up a jiggery_games community and then post your comments there?

Sure, I could, but this strikes me as somehow slightly needlessly inelegant. (With no disrespect intended to those who have implemented this solution already and those who have found it works.) Taking this a step further, I could have (say) jiggery_gamery, jiggery_pottery, jiggery_geekery (or sodomquake... mmm, damn, that one's gone already), then produce a special RSS feed which aggregates all the jiggery_family together and get people to subscribe to that instead of to the single traditional journal. It'd never work, of course.

That way, those who read an LJ get to know the author a little better. Would we really know you if you didn't write about a large segment of what interests you?

The point is that this doesn't really seem to be the tradition among the gaming community, who I would like to get to know better. Gaming blogs seem to be about games and relatively little else. Accordingly, I would feel a lot happier about pushing mention of an all-games blog to the gaming community at large than I would my current all-purpose LiveJournal.

Actually, there are a few other things that I want to have happen first before I tell the gaming world about any blog of mine. (Specifically, I want to reuse some of my old entries here for one final edition of a printed games fanzine that I used to write about 5-6 years ago as a way to get people up to speed.) It's all needlessly complicated, but it makes sense to me, at least.
[User Picture]
From:addedentry
Date:October 2nd, 2003 02:51 am (UTC)
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I noticed that The Map Room included a link to my LJ in its blogroll, which was one incentive to set up cartographica - map lovers shouldn't have to stumble into my witterings about music and libraries.
[User Picture]
From:missingdonut
Date:October 1st, 2003 08:26 am (UTC)
(Link)
I'm going to put in my 2p, partially because it's worth more than two cents...

While I agree about your perception about LJ's place in the blog universe, all in all it's just a blog. It doesn't matter that we didn't put a lot of work into the appearance of our journals; content is first and foremost why you're on my LJ-friends list. I happen to enjoy your 1500-word mini-essays, and I don't think anyone would mind if there were a series of Jiggery Quickie posts. We might start minding if there were 1500 one-word posts, but that would just be evil in the first place.

As far as RSS feeds go, I'm only using 0.347 of my 10.000 points. That's kinda sad, I think.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 03:22 pm (UTC)
(Link)
You could always start randomly subscribing to RSS feeds (like, say, mssv_tiny, mssv_middling, mssv_massive, groovymother, gameblog_rss and static_zombie, all of which happen to be excellent) just to lower the cost for other users, then set a Friends list filter so that you never actually read any of the feeds to which you have subscribed. This might theoretically get someone down from 9.902 units (was something like 9.93 at one point...) to about 8.096 units.

Not saying that's a good idea, just that it's a technical possibility. *cough*

Oh, and thank you! :-)
From:daweaver
Date:October 1st, 2003 10:44 am (UTC)
(Link)
I tend to perceive that the blogs regarded as coolest by the blogging world at large at the moment are those run using Movable Type, doubtless with a page design all of your own and two or three dozen graphical icons down the side.

That's curious: I'd hope the blogging world is coming round to the concept of content, content, content. It doesn't matter how good is the technology behind your blog, or how flashy the appearance is, if the writing is fragmented or a list of comment-free links or just plain dull, it's not a Cool Blog. We all fall into this trap from time to time, some more than others.

It's domain prejudice of the type that goes back to AOL users

Ah, this will be something that AOL (back when it was simply AOL) brought upon itself. Way back in the dim and distant past, when the Stone Roses second album was a source of great excitement, and The Crystal Maze was still in production, AOL was an entity to itself. A proprietary, private network, it kept itself to itself, and did very well out of its private sandpit status. Then, in late 1994, AOL hooked itself up to the wider internet, and the rest is history. The internet, which had been the natural home for intelligent, lucid, if slightly geeky conversation, suddenly became filled with the hoi polloi.

They didn't know how to spell, or punctuate, confused Usenet and Majordomo and Listserv, and generally didn't take the time to learn the byzantine etiquette of the internet. Even worse, the new people from AOL treated the internet as an extension of their own private sandpit. They shouted, they flamed, they generally made a complete nuisance of themselves. No one liked them, but the genie was out of the bottle. The internet was no longer the preserve of academia, the masses had arrived, and lowest common denominator content was going to win.

There are intelligent and witty contributors from AOL accounts, just as there are spectacularly moronic contributors from Russell Group universities. However, in my experience, the single most common domain for "UNSUBSCRIBE ME NOW" posts is AOL.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:October 1st, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Mmmm-m-m-m. I perceive (and do believe this is an issue of perception, rather than of substance) that the LJ-code family is generally seen as meme-ridden and quiz-ridden. (And not in the way that you, I and radinden might like.) There's definitely a LJ-code-family user stereotype. The implication is that if you have to rely on someone else to put the tech in place for you then you're not as likely to have something worthwhile to say than someone with the technical skills to implement their own solution from scratch. Now you know and I know that this is largely untrue, but we also both know that there is at least a grain of truth in it somewhere. Perhaps it's a bad sign that LJ has been so successful; the excellent community that LJ has built up leads to an appearance of blog-incestuousness.

Frankly a large part of it might just be URL snobbery. Admittedly paid users can use (eg) http://jiggery_pokery.livejournal.com/ which can be no worse-looking than http://jiggery_pokery.blogspot.com/ - and we have no banner ads, either. (Ooh, all the jiggerypokeries, however you choose to punctuate it, are still up for grabs on blogspot, by the way...)

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