I Want RSS Feeds Back

Where did the RSS feeds go? It is harder to find them on any site, even if they do give an RSS link. Too many don’t have RSS at all. Why?

Newsletters are the replacement for RSS feeds. Newsletters which seldom have any news, just more marking.
Subscribe used to be an RSS feed link. Now they want your email address. They don’t want to give you something when they can take something from you instead. No doubt this is about getting email addresses. No matter what they say, sites do collect and sell email addresses. They may not call it selling (that wouldn’t be nice or popular), but it is the same thing. All in the name of marketing and making a buck.

So much is based on marketing. It’s more important than readers, or shoppers. People are exploited by marketing, especially on the Internet. If people really mattered would they be treated like lemmings this way?

Why are RSS feeds disappearing – because they want to drag you back to their site where all those plump, juicy ads await you. Those videos that you can’t stop, those pop-up ads which have become popular again (mostly spamming newsletters ironically enough).

Fixing The Open Directory Project?

People who think they know how to fix something should make sure they have the experience to understand how it worked before they judge it. I was annoyed to read a post about how to fix the problems with dmoz, The Open Directory Project on DirPopulus today. Here is what I wrote:

I read your Problems & Solutions. Some of what you have written about dmoz is incorrect and based on the viewpoint of someone who did not see how the directory worked in reality. Although I understand your biased point of view, it is annoying to read someone making incorrect assumptions and judging the directory I spent over ten years working on.

Looks like you are using the dmoz software, or something based on it. So, that won’t help me really. I don’t want to deal with that. We had volunteer editors trying to fix that, not staff. AOL decided to dump dmoz because no one there was interested in supporting it. For the last few years dmoz was run entirely by volunteers while the AOL staff forgot the directory existed. In the end they did not find any value in keeping it on their servers but they did feel the domain and the dmoz/ Open Directory name were worth holding onto.

The main directory, with some active editors, is being set up on Curlie. Other projects were started and discussed but that is the one which has the best chance of becoming active again. Most of the volunteers who worked on the old dmoz software went to Curlie and have been working on the updating the software.

As volunteers we did not send out notifications every time we reviewed, edited, or added a site to the directory. We were already running with few active editors so trying to send out notices for every submission would have meant the end of getting any reviews done. Waiting for three editors to approve (while good in some ways) would also mean submitted sites would take ages to be listed.

We did have bots checking links and moving them into unreviewed for volunteers to check the links. Some bots were able to check for things like the new http:// versus https:// so an editor just needed to verify the change and re-list the site. We also had bots which checked for general link rot and expired domains. These doubled the amount of links to be reviewed leaving editors which huge amounts of links waiting for attention. Also, dmoz had a feature giving people a chance to leave a note about their link, letting us know if a correction was needed. This was a very seldom used feature and yet the first thing I would check when I began reviewing links in a category. Often this was abused and suggested changes were about spam, deleting another site’s listing, or some other junk.

Also, we were able to check links with the Wayback Machine and Google’s archived version of the domain/ link. This was a good help in tracking down an old submission/ broken link. I often found broken links, one way or another. It was one of my favourite things to do.

Reviewing submitted links took hours, especially in categories involving businesses and, of those, anything involving marketing became so flooded with junk submissions it was too much for a volunteer editor to want to deal with. When I tried to work on these categories my computer slowed down to a crawl just trying to load the page with all the sites to be reviewed. It was aggravating to work there when most of the submissions were junk – the link was already listed and descriptions were full of keywords, CAPITAL LETTERS and so on. Of course, these are the very people who complained about dmoz and dmoz editors the most. They did not understand we were running as a directory for the public to search, not for businesses to be listed. The priority was not listing every business or service but to have resources for people searching for a business, service or information (with the Regional listings to help people find local resources).

There are duplicate listings for some sites because they fit into more than one place. Also, sites could be double listed in Regional and the topic or business. Once you get into organizing and deciding where sites (you call them resources) should go you will see it is a much more complicated project than it seems from the outside looking in. We had a forum just for ontology issues. Due to many opinions from active and inactive volunteers, making category changes was time consuming and tended to get lost along the way.

I wish you best of luck with your directory. But, you have a lot of years to go before you should judge how another directory was run.

Why is WordPress Still Free?

WordPress is the Cadillac of CMS for web developers making cookie cutter sites for clients paying thousands of dollars (sometimes). For end users, it is deliberately chopped up and dumbed down. Web developers don’t want clients tinkering, maintaining, changing, or even updating their sites. There are cases where the web developer actually owns the site, the client just has rights to the contents. Clients pay for the site, choose the content, but otherwise get in the way. But, they do pay.

So why is WordPress still free? Why not claim their share of the money being made? Or, will they? It happened with Movable Type.

For those dwindling few who can’t afford/ don’t want a web developer… why are you still using WordPress?

When Gutenberg replaces the current post editor it will take away more functions than it adds, for the end user, the people writing their own sites. WordPress will say it streamlines the editing functions. But, have you taken a look at it? I did. The editor is gone.

Posting to WordPress will become cut and paste with content blocks. This makes it much easier for web developers to configure plugins, themes and other services they can sell to clients who don’t really want to deal with any part of putting up a site themselves. Clients just supply the content, remember. Any editing of the content has already been done before it gets pasted into WordPress.

The new WordPress will be a lot like the old GeoCities. A lot of people won’t know much about GeoCities. It was an online web host, but your sites were on their domain. Sort of like Blogger which gives you the site.blogspot.com domain. I don’t remember if GeoCities let people add their own domain, Blogger does. Anyway, GeoCities made it easy to put up a site. The structure was there, all you really had to do was add your own content. GeoCities was free to use, but they did run a few ads on your site. If GeoCities had not shut down, would they be competing with WordPress now?

Online site building software: Wix, Weebly, SquareSpace, and others, are just competition for WordPress.com because WordPress.org people still make their own sites, right? Yes, if people were making their own sites, but too often sites are made by web developers and people just cut and paste their content into cookie cutter sites built by web developers using WordPress software and assorted plugins the client doesn’t need to know about. How is this really different from an online web site builder? The online website builder is a lot cheaper but does require some hands on work beyond just dumping content into it.

Why not just write for sites like HubPages and at least get paid for your content instead of paying to put it online?

Maybe the only reason WordPress is still free is WordPress.com. If you haven’t taken a look at WordPress.com for awhile, go login and take a look at the features there. Long ago the .com and the self hosted WordPress were not so different. But, that was long ago. WordPress.com is free to sign up for but then it becomes a Facebook game. Features are offered like pretty treats, shiny extras, and premium goodies virtually yours when you pay with real credit cards.

At the end of the day you are paying to use WordPress.

The Editors’ Association of Earth

I noticed the Editors’ Association of Earth on Facebook today. I thought it was science fiction looking, maybe a futuristic niche. But, I don’t think so.

The Editors’ Association of Earth is intended to provide a space for (text/content) editors from anywhere to meet, have fun together, and talk about the issues and challenges that all editors share.

Find an Alter Ego

I wrote about this idea before. I still think it’s a clever way to trick yourself into getting things done. I didn’t go as far as creating a character for my alter ego. But, it does help to distract yourself from believing you can’t do it.

If you break it down, what does the task really require, at it’s most basic. You can do it if you think of it as just talking (for instance) and don’t get caught up in expecting things to be harder than they are.

“Fake it until you make it”.

From CopyBlogger:

This month’s creativity prompt is to invent an alter ego who’s great at the thing you’re not good at.

You’re going to imagine this person as a character in a novel or a film. Know what they look like, how they talk, what they wear, where they live.

Then, when you’re doing the challenging activity, you’re going to write as that character.

You don’t have to be a fiction writer to pull this off. It’s much easier to do in writing than it is to try face to face or on the phone, although those are also options if you feel ready for Expert Mode.

Are you too timid when you discuss your services with a client? Write a pitch using the voice of an ultra confident alter ego.

Are you too blunt when you email colleagues? Write an email using the voice of a nurturing, benevolent earth mama.

You don’t have to share what you write — but you may well find that you want to. When it’s time to be tough, or patient, or steely, or suave, it’s handy to have a well-developed alter ego who can handle those states effortlessly.

I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog

Pranks are all fun and games until something goes horribly wrong. But occasionally, the fun lies in not knowing which way things will go. We are working with GSN’s terrifying new game show Hellevator, to bring you a story about what can go wrong when a mean-spirited game goes too far. Catch the series premiere of Hellevator Wednesday October 21 at 8/7c.

30dagarmedanalhus / CC BY http://2.0 / flickr.com/photos/-dear-diary/5034427856/30dagarmedanalhus / CC BY http://2.0 / flickr.com/photos/-dear-diary/5034427856/

Before you say anything, yes, I’ll be going to the police. But I wanted to share this with you first.

So my local grocery store, it has this cool thing, see? Right as you walk out with your groceries, there’s this bookshelf. It’s not tidy or orderly but it’s cool, it’s a used book service. You can bring your own for others to read or you can grab one to take home, just stick a dollar in the jar for charity. Honor system.

I’ve snagged a few good ones, nothing super popular or anything but some good true crime stuff. Couple of old mysteries. Then… this.

I first noticed its worn, rosy pink leather with the word “SECRETS” debossed in faded silver. A lock hung uselessly off the side of the book, broken.

I’ll be honest, I thought it was a gimmick. “Secrets” was the title and it was clever marketing shit to get me to pick it up. I thumbed through it–handwritten pages, a pale pink ribbon to mark your spot–and decided to bring the thing home.

I already told you, I’m going to the police. But this is what I found inside, starting on page one.

March 11, 1991

Brad is gone and it’s all my fault. It’s been three days.

I know I flew off the handle. I said things I can’t take back but goddamn it he’s just such a jerk sometimes. We’re supposed to do that big-brother little-sister shit but that got old after we graduated high school.
Mom’s inconsolable. She keeps saying it’s just one of his pranks. “He’ll be back, Jennifer. He’s just playing one of his ‘games’.”

I know all about Brad’s “games”. He was famous for them as a kid and you’d think he’d grow out of it, a guy in his 20s with a job and car insurance, but no—Brad still found time to pour icewater in my shower or trap my deodorant in a jello mold. I don’t know why I moved in with him in the first place.

Yes I do. Because I don’t have the money for my own place.

But Brad was nice about it, at first. He said it’d be fun to live together. Even offered to take me out for my birthday. I should’ve known better.

Mom gave me this journal when I was a little kid. I found it when I moved, thought it was lame and didn’t really give it a second thought. Now that Brad’s gone, though, I feel awful and I thought maybe writing about it would help. Anything’s better than listening to the police talking to Mom in the kitchen, telling her that they’re still looking, but more than 48 hours has passed and those are the most important when a person goes missing.

March 12, 1991

Brad is still gone. He’s still not home. The police told Mom he’s probably just blowing off some steam, he’s a youngish guy and he might just be slumming it somewhere, getting drunk or hooking up.
They don’t know that we were already drunk when it happened. I should’ve told them that in the beginning, I guess.

I thought I heard stuff moving around in my kitchen last night but when I got up, no one was out there. The cabinet doors were open but maybe I forgot to shut them.
I haven’t been sleeping much.

March 15, 1991

Mom just sits in her bedroom and cries. She won’t come out and talk to me so I go back to my empty apartment. It’s a lot quieter without Brad.

Brad’s been gone for a whole week now. They’ve been putting up pictures of his face all over town. He’ll probably be on the news soon.

I’m trying to make myself write about what happened but it’s hard.

We’d been drinking, like I said. Wandering back from downtown because we were celebrating my birthday and we were both too smashed to drive. Got to this sketchy part of town and I knew it was Brad, he’d lead us there on purpose.

I told him it was shitty, he was a guy and he might think it was funny—one of his “games”—but us girls know the bad part of town at night and drunk is just a recipe for disaster.

He didn’t care. He said, “C’mon, let’s check out this building, I hear it’s haunted!”

That’s Brad for you. I’m drunk and hungry on my birthday, thinking we might just have a good time as brother and sister for once, and he leads me to an abandoned building at midnight.

I begged him not to go in but he went ahead anyway and I didn’t have a choice — if I didn’t follow him, I’d be alone, so I went in with him.

He shouldn’t have gone there. He shouldn’t have made me go.

I don’t feel like writing anymore.

March 17, 1991

I keep waking up in the middle of the night. Weird enough it’s the same time every night: 2:36 am. It’s probably just nerves but I feel like someone’s watching me.

Brad’s still gone.

March 18, 1991

Why did Brad insist on going in that building? Why couldn’t we have just had a nice time for my birthday?

I followed him into that building, this hulking monstrosity that was probably an old apartment complex or something, a place that no doubt wasn’t haunted at all but just an excuse for Brad to play one of his “games”. I mean, I should’ve known that, I guess.

He started running up the stairs. Taking them two at a time. I had to take off my heels to catch up to him and was scared the whole time like I might step on a hypodermic needle or something. This place was a real dump.

I almost fell down the stairs and that made me mad, I almost dropped my shoes and when I rounded the corner to tell him so Brad jumped out from behind a big hunk of concrete and yelled “BOO!” Like a stupid little kid.

Except it worked, I screamed and dropped my shoes AND my purse and they went tumbling down the broken concrete steps and Brad just laughed and laughed and laughed.

I got so mad. I started hitting him. I don’t think I would’ve been as mad if I hadn’t been drunk but I was.

He was laughing still, backing away and shielding himself with his arms while I slapped and shrieked that he was an asshole, he was the worst brother ever, he was a shitty person and a horrible roommate and the only reason I was even living with him was because I was too broke for my own place and if I had the money I wouldn’t bother to see him ever again.

Yeah, it was mean. But I meant it.

What I didn’t mean was for Brad to keep backing up while I swatted at him. I wanted him to stand there and take it but he kept laughing and backing up and all of a sudden he was gone.

He was there, right there in front of me, and then gone, down the open elevator shaft neither of us saw. Down all five floors. If I had to guess, it was probably 2:36 am.

I’m only writing this because my apartment isn’t so quiet anymore. Brad’s still gone but… he’s not.
I think he followed me home.

March 20, 1991

Okay, Brad, see? I’m doing it. I’m writing. Stop screaming at me. I can’t take the screaming.

When he fell down the elevator shaft I should’ve gone for help but I didn’t. I was scared, okay? I was worried someone would think I pushed him and I don’t know, maybe I sort of did, so I didn’t go for help. I covered him with rubble and debris and I left him there because I thought they’d find him and maybe think he got murdered for his wallet or something but they haven’t found him and at this point it’s too late to tell the cops or I’ll be implicated.

I can’t tell them, Brad, please stop screaming!

March 26, 1991

Brad wants me to go to the police but I can’t. I don’t want to go to prison. He keeps playing these pranks, stacking all my chairs on top of each other, turning all the pictures on the wall backwards, making the faucets run blood instead of water. It’s his stupid games but now they’re worse because he’s angry and now he has more power.

I hoped just writing it out would help but he’s not happy. He wants me to pay but I did, I paid just by being his sister. Something like this was bound to happen, you know? Him and his “games”.

I’m starting to get pretty scared but I don’t know what to do.

March 30, 1991

This is Jennifer I did it I pushed Brad

Brad is never coming back so I did what I had to do

Consider this my suicide note

Brad is gone and it’s all my fault TC mark

This post is brought to you by Hellevator – the terrifying new game show premiering Wed Oct 21 8/7 C on GSN.

I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog.Source: I Found A Diary In A Pile Of Used Books And I’m Terrified That The Story Of This Missing Person Is True | Thought Catalog

Five Types of Content Curation

In a nutshell, content curation is about gathering information, formatting it and adding your own editorial, comments, or something to it. The point is, you add something to the collection of information. This is what makes it curation instead of just a collection. It is a planned collection, with a purpose and information to (at least) explain why the information was collected, a point to it all.

Five types of content curation:

Aggregation – Aggregation can be a top ten list. Often information collected this way uses software of one kind of another. Too many people pull together information this way and dump it in a pile, without adding anything to it. Don’t do it this way. Add something of value to the collection of information. You could just explain why or how you collected the information.

Distillation – Planning a collection involves deciding what is and is not important or relevant enough. Taking a collection of information and filtering through it for the best resources helps build a better resource. Likely your readers could search Google themselves, so planning and condensing information, with your own added thoughts, saves readers time and gives them better insights.

Elevation – Adding something to a collection of information to make sense of it all. This could be in how you present the information, the formatting, or information you add to make the collection of information a resource for readers.

Mashups – A combination of anything and everything with a less organized format/ presentation. The real point to a mashup is the information you bring to it yourself. The resources are quoted but the real point of the curated collection are your own thoughts, opinions, discoveries, reviews and etc.

Chronology – Information presented in order of timelines, presented by date from start to finish or from the end result going back to how it all began. This requires research and filtering and planning the format. Keep it tidy, easy to read and navigate.

Can you think of other styles or types of content curation?