Monday, February 20, 2012

State of the Blog

For those who are eager to read about spanking, you might want to skip this post. For anyone still here, I would like to talk a bit about blogging and this blog in particular. I have no big announcements, but there are some milestones worthy of note:
  • We now have over 500 links (Thanks to all spanko bloggers!)
  • We now have 500 followers (Thanks to all of you as well)
  • We now have over 1000 RSS feed readers (Glad you're out there)
Pretty cool, huh?

Blogroll Presentation

I mentioned the 500 links, but all is not well over in the linkage department. First the good news. The alphabetic blogroll, labeled Kindred Spirits, works great and is completely up to date. The color codes allow readers to get a sense of a blog's content before they visit.

Unfortunately, the chronological blogroll (Good and Hot) is ailing. About a month ago, some clever programmer at Google touched the code that updates gadget contents and broke it. Since then, I have been unable to add, update, or delete links. Since the listing is chronological, old or dead links automatically sink to the bottom (where they will cause no trouble). However, not adding new blogs is a more serious problem. If Google is fixing these bugs, or even developing a work-around, they haven't told us. For now, there seems to be a new effective maximum blogroll size of around 170 links.

I'm surprised that no one has complained about missing links. That means either it isn't as big as problem as I think or people aren't paying close attention.

In any case, I needed a stopgap. The solution I came up with was to create second chronological blogroll to maintain links for more recently added blogs. It is named Newest of the New and it's currently located at the very bottom of the right column (yes, all the way down there). In the past month, I've added over sixty new links. I've decided the idea of having a separate blogroll to highlight new blogs actually has some merit independent of Blogger's problems. I think it should probably be displayed in a more prominent place, but that involves moving around everything else.

This is where I need to solicit your thoughts. I know the blogrolls are very important to many readers. Today, the items in the right column are organized like this:
  • Profile
  • Good and Hot (G&H) - Somewhat broken chronological blogroll
  • Twiddlies - Drop down links, followers, and miscellaneous gadgets
  • Kindred Spirits (KS) - Clean and complete color-coded alphabetic blogroll
  • Newest of the New (NotN) - Growing chronological blogroll for blogs added since the gadget bug appeared
Let's assume for now that the profile stays on top.

How should I organize the right column?

G&H, Twiddlies, KS, NotN
G&H, Twiddlies, NotN, KS
G&H, KS, Twiddlies, NotN
G&H, KS, NotN, Twiddlies
G&H, NotN, Twiddlies, KS
G&H, NotN, KS, Twiddlies
Twiddlies, G&H, KS, NotN
Twiddlies, G&H, NotN, KS
Twiddlies, KS, G&H, NotN
Twiddlies, KS, NotN, G&H
Twiddlies, NotN, G&H, KS
Twiddlies, NotN, KS, G&H
KS, G&H, Twiddlies, NotN
KS, G&H, NotN, Twiddlies
KS, Twiddlies, G&H, NotN
KS, Twiddlies, NotN, G&H
KS, NotN, G&H, Twiddlies
KS, NotN, Twiddlies, G&H
NotN, G&H, Twiddlies, KS
NotN, G&H, KS, Twiddlies
NotN, Twiddlies, G&H, KS
NotN, Twiddlies, KS, G&H
NotN, KS, G&H, Twiddlies
NotN, KS, Twiddlies, G&H

I've also pondered a more permanent solution that involves several smaller chronological blogrolls organized by blog type (like the color codes). But that seems like a lot of work to create and maintain, and I'm not sure it would be helpful to the reader.

Link Guidelines

Speaking of the blogrolls, I've fielded some questions lately about what I do and do not link. The criteria haven't changed in a couple of years, but they're perhaps worth mentioning again. I link every spanking-oriented blog I find, with the following exceptions:
  1. Sites that are not organized as a blog with dated posts
  2. Blogs that have not been updated in two months or more
  3. Blogs that are private or require a registration/subscription
  4. Blogs that lack significant spanking content
  5. Blogs whose primary purpose is advertising
  6. Blogs that contain little or no original content
  7. Blogs that depict children or non-consenting adults as spankees
  8. Blogs that feature extremely graphic or offensive content
  9. Blogs with considerable text in a language other than English
  10. Blogs authored or frequented by minors
  11. Blogs that advocate abuse or exploitation of women
Please note that there is no prohibition against M/M spanking blogs. I have simply yet to encounter one that fits within these parameters.

I have no issue with anyone blogging as they choose. I attempt to link blogs that will be of interest of MBS readers. You've told me what you like and these guidelines largely reflect that. If you think it's time to revise these standards, I'd like to hear your ideas.

Comment Verification

So what do you think of Blogger's new CAPTCHA techniques? Those are the fuzzy words that must be deciphered and retyped when you want to leave a comment. I've used this tool for years to keep out robo-spam comments. It's always been a lesser evil for me, but the new version is difficult even for humans.

There are alternatives, but until now, I've considered them to be worse. I could turn on comment moderation, but comments would appear only after I approve them. When I'm away, it could be hours or even days before they appear. I use this technique today for posts over one week old, but the volume of comments is very low. I could disallow all anonymous comments, but I think that might destroy the feeling of openness. I also question how effective it would be.

I could simply turn off the verification and allow Blogger's spam detection to filter out the bad stuff. I'm not very impressed by what I've seen of this technology so far. A couple of weeks ago, they quarantined Hermione's brunch response, and there are some readers who seem to be systematically filtered for some reason. On the flip side, some very spammy comments still get through. If I choose this option, there will be a lot of housekeeping. Again, I value your opinions.

What do you think about comment verification?

CAPTCHA is a necessary evil
Don't allow anonymous comments
Let Blogger filter the spam
Try comment moderation
None of the above / Something else


Today is President's Day here in the US. I don't talk about politics on this blog, primarily because I want all readers to feel welcome. But in honor of the holiday and the ongoing election process, I will make a brief exception. Is anyone else troubled by the fact that the three leading Republican candidates have all signed a pledge to work toward eliminating pornography?

People disagree about what constitutes pornography and therein lies the problem. I think this blog is pretty tame, but I have no doubt that it is offensive to someone. If we allow our government to eradicate any speech that offends anyone, none of us will be able to say anything. As problematic as corporate censorship is, government censorship is far worse because they have the ability to lock people away for their views. What has happened to the party of small government and individual liberties?

Wrapping Up

I guess that's about it, except to remind you that I like to hear what you think. This is your blog as much as it is mine. Please tell me how we can make it better. I'm listening...


sixofthebest said...

Dear Bonnie, in my humble opinion, the only pornography that I hear and see these days, is when these 'so called Republican candidates' debate. What they call 'debates', is what I call 'pornographic garbage'.

Spanky said...

I think the new Google captcha thing is so annoying that I've chosen to turn it off on my blog. It takes me several tries sometimes to comment on other blogs now, and I have to admit that it prevents me from commenting sometimes when I don't feel like dealing with it. I don't receive enough comments on my blog that moderating them is a problem.

kiwigirliegirl said...

Bonnie, im such a Tech-No i absolutely have no idea really and pretty much what you said was waaayyyy above my head LOL, so whatever you need to do is fine with me :)
love and hugs kiwi xxx

Lisa (Tantra Flower) said...

Hi there. I hardly ever comment on blogs because I'm kind of shy, but I wanted to tell you how much I've been enjoying your posts. Thanks. :)

CAPTCHA is a royal pain, but so is moderation. When I had a blog that I kept current, I used neither and very seldom had a problem. When I did get spam, it was usually on older posts so I enabled moderation on anything older than two weeks and that worked fine for me. I had way fewer readers than you though.

I'm also pretty disappointed in the Republican candidates. What really pisses me off is they continue to tout themselves as the party of small government, all the while trying to control what we do in our bedrooms, fighting against our privacy rights and the rights of gay citizens and women. The whole party's been hijacked by religious extremists. Such a pity.

Good luck with the blogroll reorganization. It's a lot of work.

PK said...

I took off my word verification because some of my readers (including me) just couldn't read them. For the moment I would rather deal with spam than stop anyone from commenting.

As for the government I think they should back off. I am afraid of many of the things the Republicans are saying. I've voted both ways in the past, but this election, these guys are scaring me.


Riley said...

I agree with everyone else, CAPTCHA makes me crazy! Sometimes it takes 3+ tries for me to get it and I have 20/20! I have turned it off on my blog because I don't want the hassle of deciphering CAPTCHA to deter readers from commenting. However you case may be slightly different because you have 500 (congrats!!) readers.

Lea said...

The new Captcha is awful. Just yesterday, I turned it off in my own settings for my blog. Within hours of that, I'd gotten one spam comment but I just logged on and deleted it. I still leave comments on many blogs that use Captcha but it's quite frustrating having to refresh 3 or 4 times to get readable words.

Rich Person said...

Yes, I'm disturbed about their attitudes about sex in general. I'm promoting a positive view of sexuality, and they are determined to get in the way.

I'm always disturbed by what Republican presidential candidates say. Fortunately, none of these guys will be President.

Hermione said...

I think Captcha is a necessary evil. The current form is new to Blogger, but it has been around for a long time, so I'm used to dealing with it.

As for the Republicans, all the candidates are scary, and their views on several other topics besides pornography leave me frightened for the fate of the most powerful country in the world. If I were an American, I'd have to vote Democrat.


A'marie said...

Very thoughtful post. :)
Yesterday I wore one of my favorite shirts. It proudly proclaims, "Republicans for Voldemort" - if that gives you any indication of my political leanings. I share your concerns.

CAPTCHA is soul-sucking. I cannot abide by it. The other day I went to post on someone's blog, and after 4 go-rounds with CAPTCHA gave up. What I had to say wasn't that important anyway, I suppose. ;)

Considering how huge the blogroll is, have you considered having NO blogroll on the main page, and hosting it on a separate, static page? Perhaps keeping just the "Good And Hot" on the main page?

BB said...

Hey Bonnie :)
I think I am back to blogging! Was away for a few years but I am back. Thanks for keeping yours going all this time.

ronnie said...

I initially thought Captcha was a real pain and thought about turning it off but that was before I realised you only had to type one of the words not both:) So in my opinion, not too bad.


Our Bottoms Burn said...

If I could figure out how to turn off CAPTCHA I would.

I am not much interested in ANY president or candidate for President expressing their personal values and saying they will try to make me follow them. The President has one principal duty: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." That's it folks.

I trust quoting the Constitution is OK.

Hermione said...

OBB - First, go back to the old interface if you are using the new one. (To do this, click on the grey gear in the upper right corner and choose "Old Blogger Interface".)
Then go to Settings, Comments, Show Word Verification? and click "no".


Zelle said...

I think your blog is excellent the way you have it. I must say, that damned CAPTCHA and the blurry text has had me "refreshing" several times to get something I feel remotely comfortable typing out. LOL - Alas, it's a necessary evil.

As far as the republican candidates go, .. there's nothing worse than feeling like you have to vote for "the lesser of a few evils". Hence the reason, I certainly don't vote a straight party ticket. I vote for whomever I feel can do the best job... sometimes, that means a write in candidate - just so I HAVE A VOICE. Politics annoys the hell out of me, though I feel it's very important to keep up with what the politicians have in store for MY LIFE. Until they institute campaign finance reform - we're all screwed.. cause the wealthy once again will prevail, and decide the course of the USofA.. and that doesn't necessarily mean "the best man wins". (sighs)

YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL BLOG, that does a fantastic service to us all.. I applaud all your efforts, and would follow you anywhere. (grins)


Cara Bristol said...

First of all, I want to say THANK YOU for the link I have on your blog. I really appreciate it. MBS is the go-to blog for all things spanking.

I voted in the poll as to the order of the items and the captcha situation.

I find captcha to be very annoying mainly because it slows down the process of commenting. I don't use it on my blog, but I have Wordpress and not Blogger. I think WP's spam filter might be better than Blogger's.

wordsmith said...

I just use Wordpress spam detection - it has only made a mistake once. CAPTCHA often stops me commenting, too difficult to get past.

Erica said...

I don't really have a problem with CAPTCHA, but it seems many detest it, so I just turned mine off.

And don't get me started on the Republicans and their moralizing and telling us what to do with our bodies and our blogs and so forth -- it won't be pretty.

Sorry about the aggravation with the links! Always something with these danged Interwebs, no?

CurtisG said...

I hate the captcha process, but unless you figure out a way of speedy moderation, it's probably the best of a number of not very good choices. Since what I do around election time is strictly non-partisan, I won't comment on the views expressed here except to say I sympathize with many of them.

Anonymous said...

I can only imagine how much time and effort it takes to keep up such a wonderful blog. As an anonymous reader and lurker, I would be excluded from most of the blogs I enjoy should anonymous comments be disallowed. Love our Lurkers was started here and encourages and invites everyone, regardless of blogging or account status, to feel welcome to comment if they so desire. I do hope you keep anonymous!
(many of us don't have accounts nor would know how to set one up}


Anonymous said...

As to the political situation. I don't know at this point we even have the lesser of two evils. I am not sure any of the candidates have the interest of the American people as their priority they are only concerned with their party and there political future. The presidency isn't really the problem it is Congress and the Senate, that is where change needs to happen. And quickly!!! It is sad that before a vote even occurs we all know the outcome. All the Democrats will vote one way and All the Republicans the other. This is not how our government should work!


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