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Where have all the bloggers gone?

7 replies on 1 page. Most recent reply: Feb 20, 2004 11:53 AM by Charles Bell

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Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Where have all the bloggers gone? (View in Weblogs)
Posted: Feb 14, 2004 11:59 AM
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Summary
I was wondering, "Where have all the bloggers gone?"
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I was wondering, "Where have all the bloggers gone?".

Bill Venners put his heart and soul into this wonderful website and an extensive cast of technical experts in the programming world.

Where have all the bloggers gone?
Long time since posting.
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Not many have been posting.
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Maybe we have been coasting.
Where have all the bloggers gone?
Maybe we have been boasting.

We can do better.


Elisabeth Freeman

Posts: 4
Nickname: beth
Registered: Apr, 2003

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 14, 2004 1:40 PM
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1) Out of all the blogs in the world, only a very select few have any technical (or other content) on a regular basis that is actually worth reading
2) It takes time to come up with something worth reading
3) Those associated with companies may have a hard time translating what they do at work (and probably spend most of their time thinking about, I mean on a technical level) into something they can openly discuss on a blog

I'd be interested in other's feedback on this question.

Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 14, 2004 5:50 PM
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Elisabeth,

What kinds of things to do you think would be interesting to read or hear about?

I took about ten minutes this morning and clicked all the names showing to see who and when last submitted a blog. There were quite a few who never have. About half a dozen or so in the last month or so. But most were last posted mid last year. Your mileage may vary.

I must apologize. I drifted way off into astronomy for several months. I had not checked in here in a long time.
I was really enjoying my telescope and ccd camera during the recent holidays. I almost forgot about programming! It was like I went into a time warp or something.

Bill has done one really outstanding job on this website providing a forum and a tool for quite a large number of people. I hope he has not gotten discouraged. If he has, I know I am partly to blame.

Charles

Bill Venners

Posts: 2248
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 14, 2004 7:21 PM
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> Bill has done one really outstanding job on this website
> providing a forum and a tool for quite a large number of
> people. I hope he has not gotten discouraged. If he has, I
> know I am partly to blame.
>
I'm not discouraged by any means. When I give people a blog, it is with no commitment on their part to post on any regular schedule. Posting to a blog is writing. Good writing takes time, and interesting people are busy.

I frankly have the same problem. I want to write to my own blog regularly, and yet I almost never am able to justify the time it requires. Something else is always higher priority. I even made New Year's resolution that I would blog once a week in 2004, on Thursdays, but it hasn't happened. Although I did at least start posting my blog topic ideas as drafts, so they wouldn't be lost. I have about 7 or 8 drafts posted right now. But I still hope to post once a week eventually, because a blog is a great venue for writing, and it is a great way for readers to get to know you more personally.

The other activity that has suffered in my case is the enhancements to the blogs. I have wanted to make several enhancements to the blogs, but for the past six months haven't been able to justify the time required. Other tasks -- such as dealing with the scalability problem last fall, creating the survey I ran in December, doing the Articles feature, designing and building the Pavilion -- were all rather more urgent high priority tasks. Perhaps I need to be more like a thread scheduler that gives lower priority tasks a little bit of CPU time, even when higher priority tasks are not blocked. But under intense pressure, I tend to focus exclusively on the high-priority threads. Threads for lower priorities -- such as posting the blog, making the blog enhancements, and fixing a few nagging bugs in these forums -- are starved.

All that being said, I would enjoy it if people posted more, partly because it brings in readers to Artima, and partly because I like reading the blogs myself. In the survey I ran last December, 41% of the respondents said that one of the reasons they come to Artima is to read the blogs. Many commented that they wished their favorite bloggers would post more often. The basic stats are here:

http://www.artima.com/demographics.html

On the survey, I also let people type in comments by hand. Here are some of the blog-related comments.

Why do you visit Artima.com?

Because you host blogs for people whose opinions I respect

To read the writing of people like Jim Waldo, Ken Arnold, Ward Cunningham, et al. Lately too many people blogging who are frankly not of the same caliber, and this dilutes the site's value.

What can you get at Artima.com that you can't get at other sites?

personal blogs from great coders.

Love the interviews. Weblogs are good (some of them).

The quality of people who blog at your site as well as quality of people interviewed.

Interviews with and blogs by highly respected and experienced developers

Good Interviews, some (but not all) useful blogger's opinions

Interesting interviews and blogs about renown programmers/designers. The forum discussions are also interesting most of the time and have a higher quality (and much higher S/N) than any of the other sites I know

blogs and interviews from several people I respect

A terrific set of bloggers, interviews and good objective writing

Don't know about can't get elsewhere, but I do like the weblogs of industry-leaders. Very thought provoking stuff. I'm not aware of being able to find the concentration of quality ideas anywhere else, as opposed to individual's websites.

Interviews and weblogs of leading-light developers.

The blogs and the interviews

The articles and weblogs of thought-leaders in the software industry are features that I do not see elsewhere - at least not as often and as uncluttered by other news.

Weblogs of industry personalities and unique interviews.

blogs from a top-notch community of developers

The best progammers interviewed, writing articles, and blogging

High profile interviews, high profile weblogs.

developer aggregation and great interviews, informative (but sparse) developer cult-of-personality weblogs.

What is missing at Artima.com? What could be improved? What do you want more of?

A lot of the "industry name" people who have been recruited to provided Weblogs haven't contributed anything in a long, long while. They should probably be dropped if they're not going to contribute something at least, say, once a quarter.

The blog content was been a little weak lately. Not a huge problem, just an observation.

Hassle some of your weblog authors (GuidoVR, RobertCMartin, WardCunningham) to post more :)

More frequent weblogs.

expert blogs... (can't blame the authors for not finding time)

I wish some of the bloggers would post more often. For me, ideally there would be one new blog or article a day -- not too many, not too few!

More active weblogs (though I know it can't be helped)

A "size" to blogs, so we can see how many (bytes, characters, lines, whatever) the blogger wrote. I usually don't read long blogs, unless it's from someone I respect, so I would like to see how much time the blogger wants me to spend to read his opinion/thoughts

maybe I'm missing part, and I suppose I'm not doing my share, but Artima never seems to make it all the way to being a 'community'. Rarely are there followups to the articles or blog entries... I seldom if ever see conversations develop. I realise that you can't exactly just create that kind of thing though. Keep up the great work with the site though, it's one of the best sites on the web.

I want those self-same developers to write more frequently in their weblogs... ;)

Blogs. I find that the quality of blogs in general is pretty low (so I'm not a big reader of buzz) but about 50% of the artima blogs interest me, but a lot of the time there's nothing new when I stop by in the morning.

It would be wonderful if you can make all those "I have not blogged yet" people to start bloging, Bill. :)

I like it the way it is- you guys get top notch programmers doing interviews and making weblog posts. it's goooood.

Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 17, 2004 1:05 PM
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Bill,
I learned a lot from your demographics survey.
http://www.artima.com/demographics.html

I noticed how far java was above c++.
Java 80% C++ 42%
and even more surprising:
Python 33% That's getting mainstream.

To be exposed to new ideas 85%
To improve my programming skills 65%
11 to 30 minutes 50%
Articles 94%
Developer 87%

and you really opened my eyes with your reply.

You could copy and paste it into your newsletter.
Its a good read.

I think I actually do fit in with the surveyees. That's scary.

Peter Hickman

Posts: 41
Nickname: peterhi
Registered: Mar, 2003

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 17, 2004 4:47 PM
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To be honest if the only thing on artima was a once weekly interview I would still visit this site. Indeed I only come for the interviews everything else is just a, minor, bonus.

Brilliant interviews.

Maybe such people could write little essay pieces on topics that interest / annoy them. Blogs only seem to work if either they are essays or a good dialog develops.

Bill Venners

Posts: 2248
Nickname: bv
Registered: Jan, 2002

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 17, 2004 11:07 PM
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> To be honest if the only thing on artima was a once weekly
> interview I would still visit this site. Indeed I only
> come for the interviews everything else is just a, minor,
> bonus.
>
> Brilliant interviews.
>
Thanks. By far that was the dominant message I got from the comments people typed into the survey. Almost everybody had good things to say about the interviews, and I appreciated that. Those results may be a bit skewed, though, because most of the people who responded were subscribed to the newsletter, and people subscribe to the newsletter primarily to find out about new articles, which are almost always interviews.

One thing I have discovered in my adventures here at Artima is that different people vary widely in what they want. Some people love Buzz, others hate it. Some people love the interviews, other people find them academic and uninteresting. So I do plan a few more features, which will make different people happy, but one of them is a way to help me scale the number of edited articles I publish. I want edited articles to continue to be the main focus of the site, but I'd like to eventually publish more edited articles by more authors. The highest quality content comes about with editing.

> Maybe such people could write little essay pieces on
> topics that interest / annoy them. Blogs only seem to work
> if either they are essays or a good dialog develops.

As far as the weblogs go, I really provide it as a service to the blogger. Some bloggers have their own website and don't mind installing some off-the-shelf blog software. That's not that hard, but it is easier to have a weblog at Artima, and you immediately get an audience. What I get in return is some content, which in turn helps me attract a larger audience to Artima. Blogs really are geared towards "little essays," especially in a more personal tone than you would normally expect in an edited article. Several of the people I have interviewed do have weblogs at Artima, and so do many other interesting people. We just don't in general have a lot of time to post to our weblogs, but as time goes by and I bring in more bloggers, the aggregate frequency should increase.

Charles Bell

Posts: 519
Nickname: charles
Registered: Feb, 2002

Re: Where have all the bloggers gone? Posted: Feb 20, 2004 11:53 AM
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I use a service that will email me if a web page changes:

Its at:
http://www.changedetection.com/

provide an email address and a web page address and it does it for you.

I use it to monitor http://java.sun.com
and sites where the software I use gets updated and there is no email alert service.

Pretty handy.

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