Get rid of blogroll angst

Denise has blogroll angst:

This isn't some new angst that has snuck up on me. It's the same old angst, very similar to the angst related to "favorite links" pages in the good old days of "personal home pages". Who do you link? Where do you link them? Why do you link them? What happens if you decide not to link them? And, geez, why even bother with this madness?

Thanks to Nancy White for pointing me here. 

Conceptually, blogrolls  provide a way for people who land at my website to find related websites or websites that I deem interesting in some fashion.  They also allow visitors to get a sense of the range of interests I'm reading, assuming a clear description or categorization scheme.  It's also a great way to trade "link love" with friends and other organizations that seem worthy of the notice.  From a community perspective, they provide one view into who-knows-whom. 

I've tried a number of options from hard coding my blogroll as a list, to using an OPML file generated from my aggregator (and edited to remove the "wrong" stuff), to using Bloglines to automatically publish my feeds.  None of these were ever completely satisfactory and created angst if I wasn't keeping the list up-to-date.  I gave up sometime last year and haven't been upset about it in the least.  I believe there are possibly better tools out there for doing this, but it would still require regular maintenance, if I were to continue adding to and removing from my blogroll.

The reason I gave up is that I generally don't use them myself anymore, and I assume many of my readers are just like me (a bad assumption, I am sure).  I read everything in my aggregator, and I read many blogs.  I don't make the time to visit them directly.  I trust those authors to point me to other interesting people that I can explore directly.  On top of that, I have several search feeds that find interesting new stuff from time to time.  I also think that if you really want to analyze a community, you need to look at the active linking behavior in the blog, rather than at the static links described in the blogroll.

I have made a small concession to providing some form of blogroll in a Recent Links listing.  I have a little script that runs through my recent posts to grab URL's I've referenced recently.  At least this gives a sense of what I've found interesting enough to write about lately.

2 Comment(s)

tom sherman Author Profile Page said:

I took off my "favorite blogs" section a few months ago and haven't missed it.

I don't think blogrolls are particularly useful. Here's why:

1. An unadorned link doesn't describe WHY it's in your blogroll
2. Links in blog posts have much more context and make it more likely that I click on them
3. People link the same crap, over and over and over again
4. Blogrolls clutter the page. Long sidebars must die.

Lumpy Author Profile Page said:

When I first did a website it was an ugly little thing on geocities. I had an annoying background, lots of animated GIF's and broke just about every rule of design I didn't knwo about. Once I switched over to a blog, I still kept things prety noisy. Over the past three years I have been cleaning things up little by little.

Now here is what I have noticed, every time I make an improvement I have X number of people say "I like it" and X number of people say "why did you get rid of that?". Honestly, I don't really care much for my long side bars but, they are there, have been there and, if you wish, grab the RSS feed and avoid them completley. In my opinion, clutter vs. clean is seeming to be a matter of surfer taste.

Granted that there are good designs and bad designe, I just don't think we can please everyone. I like my blog roll and I don't mind the clutter. When I read material on the web it usually comes out of my bloglines account, when I click there I usually end up at and idivdual post page. At my site, I try to keep that page pretty clean and content oriented.

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