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As a minor counterpoint: I've come to dread blogs and newsletters because so many of them are written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to. These days the only blogs I trust are the ones I see on the top of HN or lobsters, which is unfortunate because I have interests beyond tech and I find it very, very difficult to find good blogs I can read about those interests.

I think that shows there is a problem with blogging that goes beyond just the medium. Consider that blogging is a decentralised ecosystem, so you have no central place for discovery outside of Google specifically and search generally. Being on the top of Google is an attractive proposition because it means many eyeballs and lots of ad revenue. Therefore it is natural that many new blogs exist to game the search engine, hence the term "blogspam".

Some of the same incentives exist with large social media sites as well, but on Twitter and the like if you mute/block enough big people and follow only those you care about, your feed will eventually become clean enough to look at every day. So I think it is much more important to solve the discovery problem with blogs if you want them to get more traction.

The way to find good blogs is to start by asking technical questions in whatever subject you are interested in.

If you want to read about barbeque, you need to start with a technical question about barbeque; if you want to read about Greek history, you need a question about that.

Eventually you will find somebody knowledgeable who is writing about that subject. They will in turn link to others, or comment on others, and so forth.

Discussion groups and forums and such are useful.

Discussion groups and forums used to be useful, but now they're dying out and being replaced by undiscoverable walled garden facebook groups and discord servers...

This, pseudonymous de-centralized discussion groups and forums, is what I would pick as the one thing I would like to bring back to the internet. There used to be a forum about everything, each one it's own community, most of which didn't require ties to a real-world identity.

I'm sure they exist, but they are really hard to find.

They exist in abundance on IRC.

This was my immediate response. The number of forums available has plummeted. And as @maskros says, they are all in private Facebook groups now. Private because no-one wants their personal life trickling into their Facebook feed in case someone from work sees it.

On Facebook, you don't need to use a private group for privacy. You set up a different audience group that isn't public and change the audience to one that is non-public.

That may be true but if you moderate a group you get requests from people to make it private who either don't know this or don't know the difference.

Or don't trust Facebook to just change the way 'privacy' works

The Internet is a dark forest. As soon as there is money to be made or power to be gained by exploiting something, the barbarian hordes will burn it to the ground unless it's behind towers and walls.

Came here to say forums. Niche areas of information which no social media platform can begin to compete with.

And what's frustrating is that you can't even search those facebook groups (AFAIK).

By design I would suspect. Facebook is an informational black hole. Even the referrer links from there are useless.

Yup - it's actively hostile to anyone trying to visit anonymously: https://webapps.stackexchange.com/questions/151591/facebook-...

(Never mind the overlays which take up about a third of the viewport height and beg you to login / sign-up - Twitter have started doing this recently)

Discoverability is deliberately hampered by the lack of pagination and reliance on infinite scrolling.

i was shocked when i found there’s no way to link or share a specific comment.

Big forums can cost a lot of money to run and managing the spam can be a mess these days. Not only that the boards that have enough proper tools to deal with the spam aren't free. Sure there are plugins for some forum software that fix a few things, but often you have to install 6 plugins and that still isnt enough, plus then you have to do updates and hope it doesnt break those un-official plugins.

Even blog comment sections are overrun with spam links.

great advice, and I'd add that it doesn't even have to be a particularly intelligent question. I found bret devereaux's excellent blog by googling "game of thrones historical accuracy" and got far more than I expected.

There are specific content bloggers and life bloggers. Someone may have a great bbq post but the blog is filled with other subjects. The people who write only about bbq usually are part of a sales funnel process.

Discovery of good sources of information such as blogs is hard. And I think the biggest problem is the lack of trust. Everyone wants to grab your attention [1]. So how do you know that others won't waste your attention?

To solve this problem I am building https://linklonk.com that cultivates trust as you rate content. When you upvote a link you connect stronger to the feed that posted it (which could be a blog's feed) and to other users that upvoted this link before you. When you downvote - your connections to those who upvoted become weaker.

The strength of your connections to other feeds and users represents how useful their content recommendations have been to you in the past and they could be used as a measure of how likely their future recommendations will be worth your time (ie, trust that they won't waste your time).

The content is ranked according to the connection weights - so you get information from the sources that have shown to be content curators for you.

I did a Show HN recently for this project that has more details: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28405643

[1] - like my comment here tries to draw your attention to my hobby project.

> Discovery of good sources of information such as blogs is hard. And I think the biggest problem is the lack of trust. Everyone wants to grab your attention [1]. So how do you know that others won't waste your attention?

> To solve this problem I am building https://linklonk.com that cultivates trust as you rate content. When you upvote a link you connect stronger to the feed that posted it (which could be a blog's feed) and to other users that upvoted this link before you. When you downvote - your connections to those who upvoted become weaker.

> The strength of your connections to other feeds and users represents how useful their content recommendations have been to you in the past and they could be used as a measure of how likely their future recommendations will be worth your time (ie, trust that they won't waste your time).

> The content is ranked according to the connection weights - so you get information from the sources that have shown to be content curators for you.

> I did a Show HN recently for this project that has more details: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=28405643

> [1] - like my comment here tries to draw your attention to my hobby project.

I find this so interesting. OP complains about people constantly trying to sell him something which is why he was turned off of blogs. And what happens? Someone tries to sell him something for his problem of too much selling.

Ah. What a world. Solution to too much selling is more selling.

LinkLonk is free, and it solves the problem. I've only used it for about 15 minutes, because in that time it fed me enough interesting stuff that I overwrote (and then closed) the tab.

This isn't somebody trying to sell something. It's somebody trying to help.

What does overwrote mean in this context? thanks

HN is a place full of people working on solutions to problems shared by a lot of people on HN, so it's common and normal to to offer that thing up to someone with the same problem.

Alternative framing: Solution to someone's problem is to propose a tool one has built that helps fix it.

Pretty sure there's an xkcd for this.

I like the idea. I have a sort of feature request premised on the assumption you end up having weights attached to the index to determine the priority of output. Could you make these weights exportable?

In that way, you could have curated content. Like if I find someone that has really similar interests to me I could import their weights and see the web via their prioritisation. Similarly, (countering a problem I always have with google search bubbles) I could explain to my friend how to navigate to a site I found via search if they import my weights.

Edit: being able to manually modify my own weights would probably be helpful as well to decay sell outs.

I had an idea similar to this as well - to help people kickstart recommendations for their friends. I'm thinking of creating a personal url for each user (e.g., linklonk.com/u/lonk). If someone upvotes that url - they establish connections to the sources that user is connected to.

When you want to introduce someone to LinkLonk you could share with them your personal url.

As for decaying sellouts, wouldn't downvoting the content they upvoted do what you want?

By the way, every time someone you are connected to upvotes something, your connection to them becomes slightly weaker. So if you simply ignore recommendations from sources with a lower signal-to-noise ratio (or high volume) - their recommendations will eventually fade away from the "For you" page.

Can I dump my OPML into this, and you recommend me feeds based on what I'm already subscribed to?

This is a really nice idea. If I may make a suggestion, scrolling down takes a lot of scrolling because each link takes up so much vertical screen space on account of really big whitespace gutters, size of the thumbnail, and the general layout. I wind up being able to see only 3 on a screen compared 16 on HN! I would be much more likely to adopt this regularly if you changed the layout to pack more previews in to a vertical screen of space. HTH

Would it work if we had an option for a "compact" mode that shows items without no thumbnail and description?

Or would you change something else?

I don't know if I can get rid of the bottom part with the buttons since this is where the collection selector is - where you pick what collection the item you like should go to.

yeah a more compact mode would be good!

> The strength of your connections to other feeds and users represents how useful their content recommendations have been to you in the past and they could be used as a measure of how likely their future recommendations will be worth your time (ie, trust that they won't waste your time).

Your intention is noble, but this is still based on network effects and a positive feedback loop. I doubt you can beat the social medias in their own game.

True, the network effects of the traditional social media are strong. LinkLonk needs a critical mass of users for network effects to kick in.

To make it worthwhile for the users before the project reaches that point, I am trying to make LinkLonk a better tool that helps you keep track of the content you liked (kind of a bookmarking service) and helps you follow RSS feeds in (kind of a feed reader).

If you have other ideas of how to make it more useful before we have enough users - let me know.

> If you have other ideas of how to make it more useful before we have enough users - let me know.

I have an idea; maybe you can enable people to publish a list of links that are curated by themselves, in the form of a RSS feed. This way your user can have a sense of ownership.

Thanks for the idea! LinkLonk already has a concept of a "list of links" - collections. When you upvote a link you put it into one (or more) of your collections.

What you are suggesting is similar to another idea I had (https://linklonk.com/item/9146000221282140160): "An option to generate a publicly visible url for any of your collections. This could help you share your collection of liked items with other people. And it could help LinkLonk get new users."

Adding an RSS feed for these publicly accessible collections would be a natural extension.

Thanks for considering it. my email address is derek _at_ 3qin.us. Shoot me an email if you want; I may have more ideas.

The initial version of sharing collections by link is done: https://linklonk.com/collection/programming-yUlhkwDXFb

RSS would be the next step.

RSS for everything would be epic!!

You are still going get splash damage from people who trust people who fall for plausibly non-clickbait clickbait, as is the top item for me right now [1]. As this system gets larger and more overlapping you are going to have to work more diligently to undo bad follows to get tinier amounts of content referrals.

The discovery problem should be solved on page and spread that way, to remain decentralised and free from the all the centralised incentives that lead to clickbait. You almost have to punish hosts that appear anywhere centralized lest they get a taste for clickblood.

[1] https://linklonk.com/item/2226616383778586624

If you see content that is not worth your time recommended to you then you can downvote it to stop trusting those who found it useful. It is all in your control as a user.

I didn't quite get what are the centralized incentives that lead to clickbait. Is it a comment about LinkLonk or centralized systems in general?

Centralization and decentralization have trade-offs. Right now the downvotes on LinkLonk are private. The upvotes are semi-public, but not available in raw form. If you wanted to implement the LinkLonk's algorithm in a decentralized manner then you would need all hosts to make the upvote and downvote data available to all other participants. Maybe homomorphic encryption can solve this problem.

My goal is to build a proof of concept in my spare time and the centralized approach seems to be the right option in my situation.

I don't think trust can be reliably built with elements of gamification like this. The deal with gamification is that people learn to game it out, which erodes the kinds of sincere or honest interactions you're trying to cultivate.

In the olden times blogs earned trust by cultivating a reputation. The reputation was earned by having an audience that trusted them and recommended them. Cross-linking content to other blogs, guest blogging, being included on a blogger's 'blogroll,' etc. were all ways they expanded their audience.

It was slower and had much less reach, but it also focused more on "building an audience" rather than "driving traffic." We, fundamentally, don't trust content, so mechanisms that operate on validating atomized bits of content are going to fall flat. We trust people and institutions. If you want to build trust it has to work on the agents producing the content rather than the content itself. Segmenting content up into atomized bits is what creates the erosion of trust in the first place. It's something timeline driven social media feeds do specifically because it makes it difficult to parse genuine buzz from advertising, which makes the ads more effective. But that's the opposite of trustworthiness.

This is sort of a perfectionist perspective. Search engines use the same “gamification” and suffer the same problems you’re “predicting” but that doesn’t mean you don’t use search. It does mean it’s an arms race between the engine and the abusers. Weighting the agents instead of the content is no different than a popularity contest and is essentially an “appeal to authority” (or a lot like cancel culture). Just because someone has weird opinions about X doesn’t mean they can’t be brilliant about Y. If you ranked the content then their X content can sink and their Y content can rise. The problem with Twitter, etc. is that their incentives are not as aligned with their users’ goals as we would like. Probably the best part about blogging was that it wasn’t centralized and so wasn’t subject to one person’s definition of what those trade-offs should be. But, of course, now we’re trying to discuss fixing one of its weaknesses without losing too many of its strengths.

> If you want to build trust it has to work on the agents producing the content...

LinkLonk's algorithm works that way. It builds trust in sources of information (including users who rate content). And it does not and will not try to understand the individual pieces of content.

Unlike the social media feeds that are powered by black box neural networks, LinkLonk's algorithm is transparent. You know how your interactions with it will be interpreted. I hope that this transparency will help build trust in the system and in the sources of information you are connecting to.

Yes, bad actors will try to game any system to gain the attention that they don't deserve. I'm not claiming that LinkLonk is game-proof, but I think it has better feedback loops and incentives than other systems such as popularity based ranking (please don't take it as a challenge).

I used to hate canned tuna in the past but I love it now!! Your mechanism doesn't account for this!

Your connections to feeds and other users on LinkLonk evolve over time as you rate content. If you start upvoting tuna-related content then LinkLonk will connect you to other tuna lovers and your connections will gradually "forget" your past hate for it.

Canned tuna is just about the only food I can't bring myself to like. What changed for you?

Neat project, thanks for sharing.

We need a standard API to subscribe to blogs on other sites, that will appear on our blog feed as news feed -- like how facebook or tweeter feeds work. RSS is too personal, too much outside the flow.

RSS is a standard API to subscribe to blogs. Maybe what you're suggesting is that more tools are needed to make RSS more accessible to lay people?

RSS is too personal, too much outside the flow.

I have no idea about "too personal" mean, but the only reason you would consider RSS "outside of the flow" is due to the concerted effort by Google, Twitter, Facebook and Apple to reduce support. Even Mozilla(!) has been involved in removing support.

RSS is a perfectly good, tested and usable mechanism. Coming up with yet another syndication mechanism would be a huge waste of time and effort, most likely resulting in insignificance.

I don't understand how RSS is too personal. An RSS feed of a blog is usually the same for all readers of the blog.

I didn't get that comment either. I've doubled-down on RSS for this purpose in my side-project Haven[1]. Write your own private blog, share it with people who can then subscribe with personal http-basic-auth RSS links (or view it on the web), and I've recently built in (still a WIP) a feed reader so you can create your own facebook-style news feed of anything on the web or things your friends write privately on their own Haven.

[1]: https://havenweb.org

Maybe they mean that since there are many different feed readers a person could use, a blog can't have a "Click here to subscribe via RSS" link? Most feed readers will have a bookmarklet for 1-click subscribing, but the blog owner doesn't have the ability to make a prominent "call to action"-style button.

Sure they can, well they can have a link that brings up the feed anyway. What the browser does with it is a different story, and that depends on whether RSS preview extensions are installed. Copying and pasting that URL wherever it needs to go isn't all that complicated.

Like OPML? http://opml.org/

OPML could be part of a solution for authoring blogs that then can publish using RSS. It is an interchange format for outline with attributed text.

Back in the old Web 2.0 days we used OPML files to publish and exchange blog rolls, Dave Winer even had a site you could log into and share, in a sort of social-networking way, your blog/RSS subscriptions via OPML.

Dave has been working on Drummer [1], a browser-hosted outliner. I haven't used it, but I am glad he is still at it.

[1] http://drummer.scripting.com/

The lack of central discovery is one of the main appeals of blogs imho. I don't want to discover blogs via a directory. I want to discover them through links from blogs I already read or recommendations from friends.

I think blogs started dieing when they optimized for maximizing their audience instead of being locations where people write about stuff that interests them without an expectation of "making it".

Handmade directories, like blogrolls, are a sweet spot IME: I keep mine at https://maya.land/blogroll.opml (human or machine-readable) and I've found a huge portion of what's on it via other people's recommendations.

And now I'm perusing your recommendations, cheers!

My whole site was inspired by https://marijn.uk/linkroll/ and https://href.cool/ , so while not everything they link to has an associated feed, I gotta shout them out as worth a look. :)

I actually think I would like a directory, because I fear the link-only propagation method would lead to echo chambers. But then how do you have a trustworthy directory, and how does it not also become an echo chamber. Reddit could almost be that, but clearly they don't have a handle on being not-an-echo-chamber yet.

> I've come to dread blogs and newsletters because so many of them are written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to.

My way around that is to pay. I find paid newsletters/blogs tend to evade SEO crap, for good reason: no one actually likes writing or reading that shit. Also, usually by forgoing the SEO crap they can focus on niche topics and content because they focus on retaining subscriptions.

The subscription also allows the writers to be more human for lack of a better description. They actually use their voice when writing instead of the generic SEO salesman pep, and they feel more comfortable with offering their real opinions and views.

I’ve found the opposite: Switching to a paid/subscription model has ruined some of the writers I previously enjoyed.

When they wrote for fun, not profit, the writings came out whenever they had something interesting enough to share. Now that it’s for-profit, the content is forced to come out faster and more frequently with posts that feel unnecessarily long to justify the cost. One author I previously enjoyed for well-researched topics that debunked popular opinions has been firing off un-researched posts with claims that can be debunked in 30 seconds of Googling.

The topics feel like they’re being chosen to produce the most interesting teaser (to convince non-subscribers to subscribe) or SEO juice. It feels like the clickbait factor went way up overnight.

Much of the magic of the past blogging era was that people were writing because they wanted to, not because they were fishing for clicks or subscriptions or pandering to future employers with every word. The move to paid takes some of that away.

SEO destroyed the cooking/recipe blogs.

What was once a "Ingredients:" .... "Instructions:" ... "Tip: goes well with sour cream", is now a whole story, how the author woke up one day, when the were 7, and noticed they peed their bed, and then their mother came to check on them, and started cleaning the pee, and the dog was barking, and the dog also pooped that day, and there was wheel of fortune on tv, and a friend came over for a lunch, but they ordered pizza for lunch, and then there was a rerun of mission impossible on tv, and then daddy had a beer or five, and mommy made sandwiches, and those sanwiches remind the author of this chicken tikka masala recipe, that was converted to a non-spicy vegan variant.

I'm working on a hypothesis that there is something I call the "AM radio effect," which, roughly speaking, is "As communication technologies progress in comfort and convenience, the older generation will become dominated by hucksters who try to take advantage of those who cannot or will not switch." It's my explanation for

- what happened to AM radio as FM, satellite, and podcasting came to dominate the American driving experience

- what happened to landline telephone as point-to-point communication became dominated by cellphones, smartphones, and increasingly non-phone-voice-network audio and videoconferencing technologies

I wouldn't be surprised if blogs suffer the same problem in the era of microblogging and centralized microblogging services.

What happened to landlines?

What I witness was that innovation stopped. For instance landlines could have been upgraded to support text messaging (just as they use a modem to send caller ID they could use a modem to send and receive texts.) Cordless phones, answering machines and such could have all gotten better but they didn't.

Most irksome, landlines don't support deliverability features such as STIR/SHAKEN so if you live in a place where cell phones don't work you might have trouble getting people to pick up when you ring them.

That's different from AM radio which, driving across upstate NY, I came to the impression that the only program you could expect to get reliably was the Rush Limbaugh show. If you were lucky around sunset you might catch a black power show from Philadelphia...

> What happened to landlines

The majority of incoming calls on landlines now are people trying to scam the callee. [https://www.inc.com/bill-murphy-jr/almost-half-your-phone-ca...]. And the majority of AM radio content now is low-audience long-tail content (or mass-commodified syndicated content, like Rush Limbaugh) that is a medium for pushing low-quality bulk advertising for questionable products.

To expand upon the hypothesis (and this is half-baked and incomplete, so take it with several grains of salt): as technology evolves, people move to more comfortable / more convenient technology. AM is not comfortable or convenient; it's interfered with by too many EM flux sources in the modern world. Landline is not comfortable or convenient for the reasons you noted relative to modern alternatives.

The people who do not move off these technologies are various flavors of captive audiences: people who can't buy FM radios or don't want to adopt new stations / find content in new locations, people who can't use a cellphone, etc. As mainstream content creation leaves these channels, the vacuum is taken over by hucksters trying to take advantage of these captive audiences. The incentives to do so are lack of alternative content and a "softer" target audience (easier to fool, especially since these technologies were once mainstream and trusted so many of their users still believe they are, even after the hucksters have taken them over). I have relatives who still believe "They wouldn't call me if they didn't have business with me; how would they know my number?" And I still have relatives who believe AM news radio is news.

I thought people got spam calls on cell phones too.

They do. I believe it's less common than landline spam right now, but more importantly: people see it less because modern smartphone (really, modern smartphone phone apps) have features to do aggregate spam-signal detection and sharing. A phone number that originates a lot of calls that people flag as "spam" eventually gets picked up in Google or Apple's top-level filter and preemptively flagged as "Probably spam" when they call other people.

I have installed a Chrome extension to remove certain "data science" blogs from my search results because they just dominate, but allow posts from practically anyone. I'm not interested in the teachings of a data virgin on machine learning.

I have muted and blocked accounts on Twitter as well because of that: people clearly never having touched real data talking about ML projects, recommending libraries to manage lifecycle, etc. All that "audiencing" doesn't suit me, especially when it's clearly BS with no value, not even an entertainment value.

The UX/UI area is just as bad. It's nearly impossible to find authoritative discussions outside of conference slide decks, which aren't ideal for reading as standalone documents, as they only have bullet points.

However there is no shortage of useless "app redesign" case studies from complete amateurs. And it's always the same ones too: Starbucks, Netflix, Snapchat, Instagram and Spotify.

How about a public health website? Or a university application system? Or something "boring" that's much more realistic for a case study than a billion dollar corp's app?

It's one point I make whenever I get the chance to talk with students who ask me on how to work on portfolio to demonstrate skills. I tell them to try and solve a problem for real and make a product. They'll learn so much more than playing house. Databsases, the language, front-end, sales, getting users, killing hypotheses, product design, product management, prioritization, making tradeoffs, etc.

> faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to

This cracked me up good lol. Btw, another big problem is people writing "blogs" as if they were experts without having expertise e.g. machine learning medium articles making wild unsubstantiated. It's so misleading, especially because ML is already not particularly rigorous due to black box models.

The problem with social media sites is their algorithms are focused on profitability. If you follow a local restaurant and then move to another city they will push ads and show content tied to your geolocation (which makes sense—not saying that’s bad per se). But they dictate what you should see and when.

With blogs it used to be about the RSS feed, which had one job: to nudge users when new content is available. But ultimately users (or news aggregators) had control over what the algorithm does.

The problem with blogs as pointed out is content discovery. How can content be discoverable without commercial interests? Social media platforms make content discovery simple and effective. On top of that, the barrier to entry is low—a two or three step on boarding process which is free (as in beer) to-boot.

Anyone know of good content-discovery platforms?

Podcasts are interesting because multiple platforms support them so they exist somewhat in the borderland. Might be an interesting case study being podcast discover ability vs blogs vs social media.

All that being said, I think we simply have to go beyond the first page of search engine results to find the good stuff. Not finding stuff is a form of laziness when we are used to getting a quick info-fix on Wikipedia. But standardized P2P protocols might be nice too—good incentive for a crypto currency?

You misunderstand blogs: you can find the good ones only by personal referral or by actively trying. If you have to search Google, then you'll, by definition, find only the ones that are optimizing for search engines. There is no way to solve this problem, and I think the same is true for other forms of social interaction.

Can you recommend a good blog then?

“Most books should have been an article, most articles should’ve been a tweet.”

Blogging just for the sake of blogging is what caused their decline in the first place. If the blogpost can’t be easily understood within first few lines, it’s a wasted opportunity. The a reason Morgan House, Derek Sivers are still relevant.

That's putting too much in Twitter. What if it disappears one day?

I feel like web rings really resolved this issue.

I wish web rings were more of a thing. I mean sure they exist, but they aren't universally used like they were 20 years ago.

I wish there was some way to "undo" my contribution to a site's advertising revenue when I start reading and discover the page is just SEO garbage (e.g. when I see a sentence that starts with "many reviewers noted that ...").

This is a “feature”. There’s so much content out there whose sole purpose is to drive advertising revenue, either with complicity of the brand being advertised or incidentally (as targeting is never 100% reliable, there’s always a bit of “leakage” where an ad would be displayed next to irrelevant or content that the advertiser would normally object to - at scale that leakage is money someone can capitalise on).

A lot of people rightfully mention that we lack a proper micropayments system for the web and while that’s true, I don’t think it’s the only problem. A lot of people’s careers and companies are built on this parasitic model where they don’t actually provide any tangible value and only profit off leftover scraps, which wouldn’t be sustainable in a completely paid-for model because the end-user doesn’t actually get any value out of it and thus would never willingly pay money for this “service”.

Some of these comments seem to support that LBRY thing that was on HN again recently if using it for blog docs instead of videos

Install an ad blocker and use direct payment to fund ethical business models.

I get the Thinking About Things newsletter [1], which focuses on sending out articles by lesser known blogs. I don't know how they do it but they seem to know about all the fascinating blogs before they make it big. It's been a great way to discover interesting but not sponsored, SEO'd-to-death content.

[1] http://thinking-about-things.com/

I'm experimenting with a once every other month newsletter using Revue + the Twitter integration.[0] Tweeting is about the only way I've found to get views on stuff I write nowadays, and Twitter's analytics say I get tens to hundreds of profile views a month. Now there's a big signup button on there that pre-fills the email address.

I have a theory that 99% of blog posts could fit in a tweet's worth of text or a short thread. Most things that need more length probably don't need SEO-friendly length (500+ words) and are better bundled up in a traditional newsletter. And the stuff that does need that length can just be the main part of the newsletter.

[0] https://twitter.com/ViewfinderFox / https://newsletter.viewfinderfox.com/

I really enjoy The Browser[0] newsletter for this reason. They find very very good articles that often also end up on the front page of HN. I’ve found a lot of great new blogs / magazines this way. —- 0: https://thebrowser.com/

I've always wanted to blog because I love to write. However, I've been very hesitant to do so because of exactly what you described: the grind culture. I've felt immense pressure to make every post academic, but I realized that the blog should be for me first and foremost. In fact, my first blog post ever is describing the purpose behind my blog and _why_ I started it. It will help keep me accountable.

However — I do wonder about this hypothetical: my blog (for whatever reason) blows up. Would I start to feel pressure to deliver content that starts trending towards "grind culture"? Or would I still be able to blog _for me_? I'm sure this is what some other content creators have faced before, especially in the YouTube community. If anybody has had this experience, I'd be curious to hear what you did.

If you'd like to blog and write, maybe just write for yourself, don't put any trackers on it, don't put any ads on it.

The grind culture thing comes from people trying to make money off of their blogs. So, don't do it for the money :)

If you get to a point where your hosting provider comes knocking because you're generating too much traffic, you'll have a good inflection point to determine if there's some way to get the blog to pay for its own hosting without you having to change your approach (tip services are cool for this).

Unfortunately, if you are quietly producing quality text content on a topic and not monetising it, someone else will steal it.

I've seen this a few times in very non-technical domains, eg Fishing hardware and ceramic glazing. https://www.alanhawk.com/reviews/reviews.html has frequently had content stolen and republished on seo gamed listicle sites or used verbatim in youtube videos.

This is some serious premature optimization you are doing.

The fact is nobody is going to read your blog post about why you are starting a blog, so you are basically just writing it for yourself. Which is fine - but you need to be aware that if you are writing for yourself there is basically a 0% chance your blog will ever get any amount of traffic.

So keep writing for yourself and leave it at that but don't stress about problems you aren't going to have and calling yourself a content creator

I understand, which is why I mentioned it being a hypothetical. Maybe I shouldn't have used myself as an example. It's not something I'm worried about. I've only shared the blog with close friends. That's my intention moving forward.

From experience, no, but your 5th-least-favorite post may somehow make it to the front page of HN over many more interesting ones, where it will be nitpicked to death by some guy who thinks the solution to the world's problems is XSLT. That can be a tad demotivating.

The content marketing / grind thing - as far as I can tell, those people are born (decanted?) that way. It's a whole other value system.

only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil to.

I really wonder, is the money from ads good enough that publishing content like this profitable, even with all the blogspam competition?

Given how many sites there are that do it I would say 'yes'.

I was disappointed that the author never mentioned ownership. A lot of the problems discussed there are caused by not owning your own content. It's still super easy to register a domain and roll your own content using Ghost, Hugo, or 11ty.

I don't even think a good chunk of what's at the top of HN is anything other than "SEO'd content". The quality is definitely diminishing in recent months.

> Being on the top of Google is an attractive proposition because it means many eyeballs and lots of ad revenue

Hence the proliferation of 'splogs' or Spam-Blogs. Also in terms of social media, most people who experience a viral blogpost that spreads like wildfire throughout the net, invariably try to recreate that past success. It's the sole motivation of clickbait and sensationalist articles. More eyeballs, more AD revenue and also fake Internet Points in general to be had.

The number of blogs that try and stretch out a simple “how much <X> is <good/bad/enough>“ into a few hundred words by defining every <explicative deleted> term is infuriating. Just tell me the number already! I know what all the terms mean, I just forgot what the right number is!

SEO content farming is really destroying the web.

I've been personal blogging since 2003, and I still do so, although a lot shorter form these days. Not everyone blogs just for SEO purposes, I couldn't care any less about SEO. In fact, I don't even pay attention to analytics.

Or, with a slight rewording:

> I've come to dread the internet and social media because so many of is written by grind culture freaks who only write faux-insightful SEO'd content as a way to build an audience to sell snake oil.

It's the nature of the attention economy and ubiquitous ad tech.

Your comment shows you didn’t read the page fully. I miss when people had time to read a whole page.

The author already wrote about blogs that are trying to get views with various tactics vs old proper blogs that were just people rambling about their quirky interests or bad day.

What are your interests? I know a shitload of good blocks.

Isn't this the whole people of blogs today? "Write something Google bot will like reading"

You're taking a tool -- a chef's knife -- and telling us that the point of it is to open packages from Amazon.

Sure, you can do that. It will even work for that. But the tool has many, many more uses than that.

This isn’t it at all.

The blogs are in a race to the bottom in terms of quality because there is huge incentive to write for long-tail SEO rather than humans.

This is a lot closer to tragedy of the commons.

The tragedy of the commons would be people chewing up a limited resource in a way that prevents other people from doing better things with it.

What is the common resource that you think is being used up?

If it's the brainpower of the people writing SEO blogs, it doesn't prevent other people using their own brains.

If you think they are polluting the infosphere with crap, I can't really argue with that, but I can point out that it's generally ignorable and self-curing: when you don't make money at it, you stop.

So if anything, it resembles a late-stage ponzi where people aren't paying in much but are getting nothing back.

Metafilter and some hand-selected sub-reddits may fill that need for non-tech fields.

btw does anyone have invite to lobste.rs? i have technical blog (not great but i try to improve it) and i'd like to share content on lobsters to have feedback.

I'm new to this, but looks like you need to start in their irc chat and get to know people to receive an invite. #lobsters libera

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