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Open for everyone (blog.svbtle.com)
327 points by bradgessler on Jan 28, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 265 comments

Dustin is a little too late on this one. Medium came along and scooped up whatever chance Svbtle had of becoming accepted by the masses. It should have been open from the start, Dustin's elitist attitude got in the way and I think it's only a matter of time before Svbtle dies.

If you pick software based on your opinion of the attitude of the authors, rather than its actual qualities, you're going to make a lot of mistakes.

Do you have any opinion about Svbtle itself, incidentally? Have you tried using it? What do you feel are its advantages and disadvantages compared to Medium?

>If you pick software based on your opinion of the attitude of the authors, rather than its actual qualities, you're going to make a lot of mistakes.

Isn't this what you do for a living?

Hahahaha, wow.

I would like to clarify my comment as some people has misinterpreted what I actually meant. I think Svbtle is great, but at the same time, how is it any different to that of other blog platforms that tout themselves as having a clean interface for writing content? We have Medium, Ghost, Tumblr and even Quora. The competitive edge that Svbtle had was its exclusivity, an edge they've now lost by opening it up.

I wasn't attacking Dustin Curtis, I don't know him, I know of him and I have no problem with him whatsoever. I think people are too quick when it comes to interpreting the intent of someone else's words. But that's understandable as gauging intent of words without the voice can be very difficult and easy to misinterpret, especially on the Internet and a site like Hacker News.

What I meant by elitist was a blogging platform that only allowed people that Dustin or whoever else hand-picked and determined were good enough to be allowed to use and publish on the Svbtle platform is in my opinion quite an elitist thing to do. "I think you're good enough to use my website" it's like a tech company like Apple choosing who gets to use their products and who doesn't based on how they look or where they live.

At the same time, it's Dustin's right to choose who uses Svbtle, it was a unique take on blogging when it made its debut and its his darling. I won't judge him for it, but I standby my choice of words calling his approach an elitist attitude. That's just my opinion, don't hate on me for it.

I haven't used Svbtle long enough to form a substantial opinion as I already use Medium and am active on Quora, but what I've seen is quite nice. The interface is great, I've always been a fan of the overall aesthetic of the site from day one. I've got nothing bad to say about it. It's just another blogging platform to me, a well-built one.

However, I don't think Svbtle has any competitive edge left to compete with other established players in the competitive blogging platform niche. It's an overdone thing, even Ghost has failed to live up to its own hype as a blogging platform because people are used to the likes of Wordpress and don't want to use something new and unknown. Perhaps if Svbtle were to open source itself like Wordpress they might be able to compete in the space.

I believe my comment was mostly fair, I am sorry if I offended anyone, but honesty is the best policy. If I called Dustin Curtis a fat elitist slob then maybe all of the disdain in the comments beneath me would be warranted.

I feel the exact same way, and did when I first heard of Svbtle.

In fact, in some small way, even when I get linked to a post on an Svbtle-hosted blog, I get an off putting feeling just knowing that this was one of those people who was "better" than me, since they were allowed to have a Svbtle blog, and I was not. I often even lost interest in the author's content because of this nagging feeling.

Running a beta period to test your theories is one thing, but the entire platform was packaged and advertised as a walled garden for those whom were better than the rest of us. This is what soured it for me.

It was even more infuriating because I actually LOVED the features they were previewing.

I honestly don't understand the point of a "walled garden" blog, aside from perhaps a curation mechanic. If I were to post on there among all the great writers on the site, still nobody would have seen my work. So rather than I still a sense of inferiority into, well, everyone, why not just make it open and feature the best writers? Win-win. And if I'm not mistaken, that's Medium's approach, is it not?

Svbtle and Medium both started out as invitation-only exclusive clubs; you could submit your email address to a sign-up form on Medium, but invitations were prioritized by, essentially, how recognized your writing was to start with. There's nothing wrong with this, but I think people imagine a greater gulf existed between the two services than there actually was. The difference is mostly that Medium opened up faster.

I remain somewhat on the fence about Svbtle. I admire much of it but there's a rather unrelating sameness starting to manifest itself in the web design world--the pastels, rounded corners and dropped vowels of a few years ago have given way to monochrome color schemes, large text, and vast swaths of whitespace. While this is an improvement in readability, the biggest difference between Medium and Svbtle for readers rather than authors is serif text vs. sans serif, and that Medium appears to have better image handling.

there's a rather unrelating sameness starting to manifest itself in the web design world--the pastels, rounded corners and dropped vowels of a few years ago have given way to monochrome color schemes, large text, and vast swaths of whitespace

To their credit, they were on this trend early. But, I agree...it has lost any sort of cachet it might have had, designwise. Unfortunately, for them perhaps.

The social-cachet-to-build-buzz to then sell-out business plan. Seems to be heading into its final phase with indeterminate success on the first two.




> Dustin's elitist attitude

> I wasn't attacking Dustin Curtis, I don't know him, I know of him and I have no problem with him whatsoever

Not sure how this could be interpreted in any other way whatsoever. Your other points are very fair.

Elitism doesn't need to carry any sort of value judgment. You don't allow homeless people in your house, do you? That makes you elitist for a slightly broader definition -- you share the company of employed/housed people only. What else do you call a policy of only allowing hand-chosen authors to use a platform you've publicly touted? Selective, I suppose.

There's also the matter of Dustin Curtis' negative reaction to the creation of WP themes and other Svbtle lookalikes, which many people felt was undue/misplaced.

Not sure how this could be interpreted in any other way whatsoever.

This is unfair, and lacks imagination.

CEO X can run a company with an "elitist" strategy or not. And he can be critiqued for that strategy, or not. It is a giant leap (of bad logic) to jump to personal conclusions about CEO X based on his strategy. You are making that poor leap. The poster was trying to not due this, to his credit.

To get into the linguistic nitty-gritty, perhaps he could have said "elitist strategy". But the point was that Dustin's execution, and the decisions behind it, were based on the marketability of exclusion. The point wasn't that Dustin thinks he is better than others and therefore should be judged negatively.

Unfortunately, the word 'elitist' has pretty strong negative connotations. It's definitely enough calling someone an elitist to be considered personal invective, though I recognise that this was not your intent.

Unfortunately, the word 'elitist' has pretty strong negative connotations.

There are various flavours of elitism, and frankly the political ones are pretty remote from the run-of-the mill business strategy that inspires many, including the likes of Svbtle. You can read up all about in this look at the marketing[1] of nightlife in NYC.


[1] Elitist, by some standards. Run of the mill, by others.

The competitive edge that Svbtle had was its exclusivity

Is that true? Does it have no features that some users prefer?

Nope, it has plenty of subtle features that I prefer and the more I use it, the more I grow attached to it. I think it is a great product because it holds true to its promise of helping users focus on expressing their ideas.

If the attitude of the author is "invitation only", then you don't get the luxury of choice if you're not invited - that particular attitude trumps any quality argument.

Edit: I'm not really familiar with the particular politics here, but attitude of authors is not a trivial thing. Similarly, the wealth of GPL/BSD/MIT-licensed software that we all benefit from is strongly linked to the attitude of the authors.

>If you pick software based on your opinion of the attitude of the authors, rather than its actual qualities, you're going to make a lot of mistakes.


I don't like the way Microsoft does business, and I think Steve Ballmer is an egotistical prick, so I don't buy their products. I don't use Windows on my devices (including phone), I don't use Skype, I don't own an xbox and therefore I don't use xbox live, etc.

I'm not interested in the "actual qualities" of Windows Phone or Metro UI because I don't want to support Microsoft with my dollars.

Have I made a mistake, pg?

Do you use GNU/Linux or OSX? Good luck claim Steve Jobs or RMS isn't a dick.

I think Steve Jobs was a prick too.

I don't know much at all about RMS, but I will agree that Linus is a jerk.

The difference of course is that Linus doesn't head a company that engages in predatory business practices, ships spyware and DRM (malware) in its operating systems, etc.

So I can overlook the fact that Linus occasionally says mean things to people over the internet. I don't think Linus has ever thrown a chair across his office when someone wanted to leave Linux. Can't say the same for Ballmer, who has very real personality issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR-P6HPZgMs


Finally, I know that this comments+karma format encourages extreme pedantry so let me pre-empt you:

The fact that I choose not to use Microsoft products because I don't like Microsoft or Ballmer doesn't mean I am required to abstain from ALL products whose authors have engaged in behaviour I don't like.

More often than not it's a "lesser of $num evils" situation.

The claim was that you're prone to making mistakes if you judge software by the traits of the authors. How do you know that you haven't made a mistake?

Disregarding that, strictly speaking, the onus is on pg to show that you made a mistake (if this were a debate)

In general, statements and actions of the authors do seem to be extremely irrelevant components of software quality.

If that's the claim then the onus is on the claimant to demonstrate why or how I have made a mistake, not for me to demonstrate why or how I haven't.

I acknowledged that and asked you to put it aside for just a moment. Did you even read my comment?

>Did you even read my comment?

Uhh... no. Not really.

Having read it now, though, I don't care if I've made what someone else considers to be a mistake. My operating system choice suits me just fine.

Err, a) you clearly cared enough to respond this far, and b) the question is how do you know that you have not made a mistake not do you care if someone else thinks you've made a mistake

> how do you know that you have not made a mistake

I guess I just don't understand the purpose of asking this.

Because my operating system choice hasn't let me down or hindered me in any significant way?

I gave the "I don't care" response because I don't know how else to answer your question. "a mistake" is so nebulously defined that in this context it has nearly no meaning to me. Can you give an example of what you mean when you say "a mistake"?

RMS is not "a dick". He is misunderstood by cretins. There is a difference.

The whole RMS is only a dick for those that don't understand him doesn't work around here. You just have to accept that many people understand him and his motives and think he's a dick.

There needs to be a "free software extremist" though. That role is necessary so that when someone like myself stakes out a less-extreme position I can't help but seem reasonable in comparison.

I accept that many people, despite a longstanding superficial familiarity with RMS and his work, are nevertheless cretinous ingrates who don't understand the first thing about software freedom or RMS's role in preserving same.

"His motives"? Really? What are you thinking here? Fame? Fortune? Pull the other one.

I in many ways agree with RMS's work and motives. I still think he's a dick. Ain't nuance grand?

I agree with this in concept: your money is your economic power, and that economic power supports the people you spend it on, including their actions and attitudes. You are handing over the economic power for them to continue with whatever behaviour you dislike.

While I agree with pg in that perhaps this shouldn't be your first consideration in picking software, there clearly is significant reason to consider your opinion of the authors.

I think there are many better reasons than those to base your decision on what to use or not to use. To each their own, of course, but it would take a really strong, personal dislike of someone for that dislike to prevent me from using quality products (not saying that MS's products are or aren't quality). And not knowing any of the people involved personally, I can't really form such a strong personal judgment.

If I go to a restaurant with amazing food, and I find that the owner is an asshole, it's completely reasonable to not give them my business anymore. How is it any different with software?

I think it's reasonable, but that doesn't mean it's wise. In software (vs food), the things you choose can impact your bottom line, and if you let your dislike of the authors get in the way of your decisions you could end up hurting yourself. That's not to say you shouldn't weigh the ethical implications of your choices, just that "the creator is a dick" is pretty trivial as far as ethical implications go.

But that's not really relevant here. It's a blogging platform among a sea of blogging platforms.

What's a good example of software made by dicks, such that not using it will kill your business? I'm just interested in one example to think about this.

All of the major operating systems depending on your definition of dick is the only one that comes to mind.

They're pretty different actually. Medium posts feel like posting on Medium, Svtble feels like my blog and my voice. You can't design or monetize it, but that's not my goal when writing - it's about my words. Svtble is all about my words, Medium is all about Medium.

I always write on Svtble (because it's better and it's mine) and sometimes post on it later as a Medium post so I can submit to collections. But they are NOT one in the same, not at all.

Honestly, they're very similar. Medium feels much more polished. Svbtle has the cool kudos, color picker and brain-dump-title-post-draft maker thing going on. But that's it. Both have the idea of collections or magazines. I feel like Svbtle did wait waaaay to long to open this up. They don't offer anything starkly different from Medium. They should have been monetizing a while ago. Why the wait?

I respect the fact that you wrote this response. Maybe Curtis did things to alienate a key audience, but this thread has been full of such hubris.

Actually, I take care not to use any quality software, but quality software that isn't written by douchebag(s). This, of course, rules out many great applications, but I the metric ton of smugness I get in return is worth it.

This is naive. This is an indie side project compared to Medium (started by a billionaire tech darling).

Is Svbtle competing with Medium? I genuinely thought it was a side project created by a group of friends for their personal use.

Is this comment meant for me or the grandparent who made the comparison?

I don't know Dustin but I know about him only by reading his posts. Given that, I have no reason to believe that he is elitist.

"Invitation only" model sometime works and kudos for him for trying that. This was just a way how to make something different in very very crowded space. It did not work, so he is trying "plan B".

What is wrong with that? He is just trying to make something and we are here putting him down? Why not some encouragements?

this comment is unreal

why? i completely lost interest in svbtle when it did the whole "invitation only" thing, and i'm pretty sure i'm not the only one. for a blogging platform, mindshare is reasonably important, and they threw a lot of it away. i'm not sure if medium is relevant, but svbtle's erratic start did hurt it.

Because it stinks of haters gonna hate. The personal attack on Dustin is completely uncalled for. It makes me sad that it's the top-voted comment.

there is a little bit of that, perhaps, but consider: from the OP we have

> Until now, we’ve been an exclusive platform open only to approved users. We took this initial approach because we wanted to ensure that the software worked, first of all, and that the platform was seeded with great content by seasoned and experienced authors.

but if you remember the original svbtle announcement, that is disingenuous. dustin deliberately tried to build up some sense of exclusivity in the "cachet of belonging to a selective group" rather than in the "starting off small" sense. to me that came across as manipulative and a little sketchy (i always wonder, subconsciously, what is wrong with your product if it has to be sold on the premise that not everyone can get it). to a lot of other people, it came across as elitist (just read some of the other comments here). either way, he took a nice piece of software and gave it an unnecessarily blot, but since that blot was deliberately highlighted you can't blame people here for the conversation choosing to focus on it.

Words matter. The original commenter could have said the same thing without the hostility. Consider: "Dustin really hurt Svbtle's chances of becoming a popular platform by originally restricting access. Especially since Medium launched, success for Svbtle will be difficult." But perhaps the point was to attack Dustin, not have a civil conversation. $0.02.

I don't think that would be saying the same thing. His point wasn't just that restricted access meant it couldn't become popular, but that it left a bad taste in people's mouths so it might not take off even now. So his acerbic (not hostile) tone was kind of pertinent to what he wanted to say.

I think it is an important piece of information that it was the elitism that hurt its chances. Your wording misses that out.

This (and the sibling comment) make fair points. I still think DigitalSea could have chosen better words such as "the restricted access came across as elitist and left me not wanting to use the service."

I automatically hate people who say "haters gonna hate". Don't be sad, who cares, hn is just a peanut gallery anyway.

Maybe it's because Dustin is a wannabe elitist who thinks he knows better than everyone else.

Proof #1


Proof #2

"Until now, we’ve been an exclusive platform open only to approved users. We took this initial approach because we wanted to ensure that the software worked, first of all, and that the platform was seeded with great content by seasoned and experienced authors."

I have no horse in this race but I'm not sure which part of proof #1 is "wannabe elitist" and "knows better than everyone else"?

I used to own an iPhone 4S and switched to a Nexus 5 this christmas, because Android interested me and I wanted a change. I like Android overall much better and the N5 is a great phone, but I still agree with his points about the screen. It IS pretty frustrating trying to reach with one hand. The extra screen real-estate makes it worth it for me, though.

Apropos of nothing, I guess..

Off-topic but:

It makes me sad that it's the top-voted comment

Not necessarily. It's also less than an hour old, so that helps to make it raise.

Open for everyone

My first question is: "who is this for?"

The interface, and experience look great. But who needs this? Who is pulling out their hair looking for a new hosted publishing platform that they don't control?

Maybe this is a "hair-on-fire" (Patio11) problem for some folks - but I couldn't tell from the blog post.

I think this is a mistake a lot of us make when we're marketing, writing about our products: we go through the features, but don't identify who the product is for.

It's for the intersection of people a) who want a blog and b) who want a website with a good design.

Medium beat Svbtle to the punch, though.

I always felt Medium borrowed heavily from Svbtle, which came first. Now, Svbtle brings something different to the table: like Medium, it's simple to use and focused on writing. Unlike Medium, you get to own your identity, use your CNAME, etc...

Svbtle has been around longer than Medium although you had to apply to use it (or there is a pretty popular wordpress knockoff theme).

and Ghost which is self service and hosted.

Medium wants you to have a Twitter account.

Medium expects you have a Twitter account.

Wouldn't most modern writers have a Twitter account anyway? If you're publishing your piece online wouldn't you want everyone to see it?

If you already have an audience, maybe, but if you don't, then it's just an avoidable restriction.

>an avoidable restriction //

How does having an account restrict you, in the context of being a writer wishing to publicise your work?

It restricts Medium to people with Twitter accounts. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has one.

You can get them for free, using a throwaway email and fake identity if wanted. Why is it preferable to get a Medium account?

Because you'd have to deal with one less party (trust, security, reliability, support).

If you aren't already a Twitter user, it's simpler to have the option of making a Medium account.

If given the choice between two options, ceteris paribus, I'd choose the one without the Twitter account restriction as well.

What happens when Twitter crashes and burns, and now you can't access your blog?

I would bet a small amount of money that Twitter outlasts Medium. And if Medium outlasts Twitter, do you think Medium will just sit by and say "well that sucks that none of our users can access their blogs"?

In that case, think of a 24 hour datacenter outage then.

Unless Twitter gives Medium more information about usera on authentication than I think they do, I don't know how Medium could possible verify the owners of each blog.

If you are stuck behind the great firewall of china, no actually.

The thing about Medium though is that it requires you to have a beautiful large image for every post, otherwise it looks terrible. There are a lot of terrible looking Medium blogs with ugly pictures.

Good design is a fleeting, abstract concept that has more to do with correlation than anything else: Correlate something with good content and the design seems good by association. When it becomes common, though, it is ready for displacement.

This is true of virtually every "good design" over the years. At the beginning people almost always thought it was superior in some way.

Apple became the most valuable company in the world by focusing on good design.

"Good design" is in the eye of the beholder. For example, personally, I find Apple's designs to be a bit contrived, pretentious, and having the feel of trying too hard to be simple. However, a lot of people don't agree. In particular, people who: a) have a lot of disposable income or b) who want to attach themselves to a "sexy" technology brand probably either don't even think about Apple's designs, or else find them attractive or c) both of those.

In other words, they became the most valuable company in the world, even though they have a tiny share of the market in almost every segment they're in other than the mobile handset space, because enough people are willing to pay the "Apple Tax".

And now they're dropping skew-morphism, which demonstrates the point.

Skeuomorphic or non-skeuomorphic design doesn't make for a good design.

Good design is so much more than whether the header looks like stitched leather with embossed text. It it about how things behave, and how that aligns with what people want and need.

Good design isn't the only thing that's made them so valuable. They've also made a lot of very smart strategic decisions to do with their supply chain and finances, which enables them to execute designs that their competitors can't afford to.

Apple grew because they made products people wanted at opportune times, executing brilliantly. Indeed, though, Apple proves the point I was making: They executed well and made products people wanted, so every decision they made goes backwards into justifying itself as good design. Speaking of Dustin Curtis, that the iPhone was 3.5" was held as some holy number of smartphone size (rather than being the size that Apple cemented themselves into back when building a 3.5" LCD was actually fairly expensive). And then 4.0" became the ultimate in design. And, soon enough, larger sizes will become the pinnacle of design.

Were any other company responsible for making the new Mac Pro, it would have been met with devastating reviews. Correlation, however, and people somehow reach to find a way to make a case for why it is actually a good design.

You forget something...

Ever hear of Frog Design?

Frog Design was the main motivation behind Apple hardware design..look up its history its a great read on the true story of Industrial design at Apple

> Who is pulling out their hair looking for a new hosted publishing platform that they don't control?

I've been using Svbtle for a while now, and for me, the killer is this, in order: On my own domain, looks great, and hosted by someone else.

I care that I'm not putting content I care about into a closed platform. I'd never post to Medium.

I'm a backend kind of developer, so knowing how to design something myself is awkward. I could pay someone to do it, but I'd still have to implement it.

While I am a backend developer, the last thing I want to do is deal with ANOTHER project to yak shave and suck up more of my time. Hosting it myself is a no-go.

Apart from what you said, I miss information about pricing, at least I didn't find any.

I assume that this will be a Freemium product and I also think that the "pro" version will have some features that I would sooner or later need, at least that's my experience with other platforms I tested.

One example being Google's App engine, which turned out to be rather expensive compared to competitors and didn't justify that for me. Investing a lot of hours in a platform that you don't end up using is not that satisfying.

I think it's because they are losing popularity thus want to gain some revenue. Nothing wrong with this.

It feels to me that they did build this for a certain type of person. One who likes writing without distractions. One who likes to brainstorm. One who appreciates simplicity.

I assume that the initial product was built around the "seasoned and experienced authors" who initially populated the site. And the founder, Dustin Curtis.

It seems that this was built for a very small group of people. But like many products that start out with a small number of people who love it... this could also be appreciated and used by others.

I am not a serious writer, but I hate writing in square spaces ui because its distracting. I might not have been able to articulate this because I'm not a serious writer - But in hind sight I realize that I usually write in word and then paste into squarespace. Svbtle eliminates this process - it makes writing simpler.

So yes. Built for a specific sub set. But with features that everyone can appreciate.

To me that still feels too general: "seasoned and experienced authors" could be a 45 year-old erotica writer who sells books on Amazon, or it could be a 23 year-old tech news blogger who's been posting since age 15.

For example, imagine if the blog post / homepage looked something like this:

"Blogging built for developers"

-"Having trouble building a technical audience?"

-"Want to properly format your posts with syntax highlighting?"

-"Need support for code snippets?"

"Then this platform is for you"

I'll add that the original "selling" point of Svbtle was its "drafts first" approach (that I really appreciate).

There's also a few references in the announcement post today mentioning writers' identity (free custom domain support, full name on everything) that could appeal to some people turned off by Medium's "nice article you just read now here's something else by someone completely different" approach.

Basically, what I see today is a side project growing up. Hard to see that as a bad thing.

Yes, the identity aspect is interesting. Medium seems to be focused on pleasing readers. The whole site is designed to read one article to the next. Often from different authors. This might make reading easier, but might not be best for writers.

Svbtle does have that aspect (it calls itself "a new kind of magazine"), but seems to put a lot of energy into pleasing the writers.

Wait is there custom domain support? If so I'm in! I can't seem to find info anywhere.

I've taken to using Draft for all my writing and then just export the post or whatever to submit it to my blog that's self-hosted on Wordpress.

Using Wordpress to simply serve up my content and manage comments has been working so far. I'm in between being locked in and lazy so I haven't bothered moving to something like Ghost.

It might be for me. It may not be.

It is _definitely_ for me to try and find out.

I've been wanting a very simple, minimalistic platform to blog. I _thought_ the reason I've abandoned my wordpress blog is because I dislike how complex and advanced it is. I want the simplest thing ever.

Svbtle looked like that thing since it first came out. I'll find out soon enough.

I just tried to test out its technical aspects, here's what I found:

> I like it, but noticing a few problems so far. Can’t tab while writing markdown. No live preview for markdown (may or may not be a problem). No confirmation of saving changes if you close the tab/navigate away. Drag and drop to upload images works okay, but Cmd+V doesn’t.

> Fenced blocks don’t do syntax highlighting (for Go at least).

> Can’t see invisible whitespace.

> The rest is good.

> Also, I don't see a way to export your content, nor a way to delete your account.

Oh thank god! Before this, I had nowhere to post all my brilliant thoughts except medium, blogger, wordpress, posthaven, quora, facebook, google+, livejournal and myspace.

Don't forget Obtvse! [0]

[0] https://github.com/natew/obtvse2

And everybody's favorite new band: Chvrches (Seriously they are pretty great though, impossible not to smile for the whole album).

You've got to give them credit for their SEO strategy.

Chvrches is awesome!

So 'acvte' is still up for grabs?

Also, did you really just index your citations by zero? :)

Can't resist to add this: “Should array indices start at 0 or 1? My compromise of 0.5 was rejected without, I thought, proper consideration.” — Stan Kelly-Bootle

Also, did you really just index your citations by zero?

Doesn't everybody?

Also think of all those http://staticsitegenerators.net/

And then there's the ol' writing your own publishing platform because nothing does quite what you want...

And this time it's going to be done right!

Medium drive me nuts. Though its a good writing software, I can't follow people that I find interesting. Instead we are following vague "collections" from a group of random people I don't care about. Can someone show me how to better browse thru it? All I really want is a feed of articles from people I actually want to hear from and their recommended articles from others. Maybe that is too close to Twitter for EV.

Maybe that is something RSS is for.

In addition to that, I've found Google+ to follow some of the people that write about topics I am interested in.

Hey, I'm building techendo and you can follow people. Would it be interesting for you to follow people and have the option to have a different stream of their actions? Do you just want posts or other actions like comments, etc?

And my personal favourite:

    $ cat << EOF > blog-post-n.html
    My post here

    $ scp blog-post-n.html myserver:public_html

I did this for a long time. But the problems start right away when you want to add some navigation between pages. And then you want to have a chronological display of posts, or a master index, or tags. Then you want some consistent style, headers, menus. Then you figure you'd like comments. And search. And analytics. Then you realize you're half way to writing your own half assed blog engine and go check out Wordpress.

Nah, navigation? hyperlinks.

Master index? What for?

Chronological display of posts? Tags? You have so much content you need so much stuff to organize it?

Don't need menus, headers, consistent style. Use plain html.

Comments? God no. You'll have spam, you'll have to manage it. What you want is a contact page with your email address and your phone number. Everyone knows how to use those.

Search? This means you have too much stuff. Trim, keep the good stuff only.

Analytics? Server logs.

Then it's time to try Jekyll, Octopress, nanoc, Pelican, Hakyll, etc.

That's true. I never cared about any of that stuff.

Any half assed blog engine would be better than wordpress.

How fancy does you blog need to be? WP tosses most of the spam, lets you moderate the rest of these comments, makes it minimally painful to post text and images, and works without JavaScript. What more do you need?

In what way in particular?

Wordpress reminds me of Ron Swanson saying "Never half-ass two things, son. Whole-ass one thing."

But in general, Wordpress is rife with inconsistent UIs, plugins that cause each other problems, and attempting to be all things to all people. It's moved way, way past being just a blog engine.

Wordpress is just a shitty CMS, but it is still a decent blog publishing platform.

Unless you think that list will the same in 100 years, new services will continue to enter the space.

There is also http://techendo.co/ now. [shameless plug]

Don't be an ass.

Obviously, not to be confused with your brilliant sarcasm. [downvote away, it's worth it]

Svbtle’s dashboard is designed to work the same way your brain works. It encourages you to dump ideas, links, and thoughts into a flow of draft posts, and then makes it easy to slowly sculpt those ideas into publishable articles. It just feels natural.

This isn't the type of marketing copy that makes me want to use the product, and in-fact drives me away from it. Contrast with Medium's more neutral, objective copy: https://medium.com/p/8d615d86ac04

If the copy is off-putting, it's because my natural cynicism that such text is used to polish up an otherwise mundane and common pattern...however, this copy gets a thumbs up from me for its relative lack of adjectives...e.g., none of this: "Svbtle's beautiful dashboard"..."It gracefully encourages"..."an amazing flow of beautiful draft posts"

If you hate superfluous adjectives don't ever watch an Apple demo video (I suspect that is where the approach got widespread traction).

yes Apple invented marketing that uses positive words to describe a product

Why does the copy drive you away from it? Serious question since I didn't think one way or the other about it.

I don't feel it as strongly as minimaxir apparently does, but the copy bugged me in the way a lot of products focused on the Apple core audience do. It's impressed with itself and encourages you to be impressed with yourself as well.

Personally, I prefer a more matter-of-fact approach. The less bullshit I get in a marketing pitch, the less I worry that they need to bullshit me to cover up for issues I haven't yet discovered. But then, I'm not in Svbtle's target market; I'm very unlikely to use a hosted platform to publish.

the way a lot of products focused on the Apple core audience do. It's impressed with itself and encourages you to be impressed with yourself as well.

Huh. I've never thought of it in those words, its a great explanation for the tone of writing has been driving me batty. The first self-congratulatory superfluous adjective I see puts me directly into "I'm being lied to" mode.

...the copy bugged me in the way a lot of products focused on the Apple core audience do. It's impressed with itself...

Definitely! Having just got back from watching the X Games, the comparison that springs to mind is that this sort of thing bugs me the way any opinion column published in any Aspen CO newspaper bugs me. "When I think about how perceptive and fortunate I am to have chosen to live in such a wonderful community..."

Maybe it's a Colorado thing? It reminds me of the same coffee shop conversation I used to overhear: 'I just love living in Boulder, it's so diverse.' Said by white person to other white person on a day I went only saw white people on the way to the office with all white people before I went home to a largely white community.

I'm sure they were great people and I loved my neighborhood in the suburbs but it and Boulder were anything but diverse from an ethic or cultural point of view.

"When I think about how perceptive and fortunate I am to have chosen to live in such a wonderful community..."

I grew up in a ski town. I bet the locals fucking love him.

Because my brain doesn't necessarily work how your brain works. Saying they've figured out how the brain works is like saying they've figured out how fashion works or design works. Everyone does things differently, so their preferred method may not be the best for me.

Well, he did study neuroscience for a while, I think he's informed enough to give educated guesses to how the mind operates enough to design a platform that operates much in the same way.

I like Medium's better because it's a story. It's got some emotion behind it.

I think a lot of recent radical changes were made to medium.com in recent times to adopt this sense of "emotional design".

I'm curious too. It wasn't really compelling copy (for me), but I don't see why Medium's would be better in this case.

I also read that and thought "Oh, they know how my brain works? Seems a bit presumptuous..."

I thought the next section of copy was even more off-putting. "It cares about your identity." Because your name appears on the article and you can use your own domain and avatar. How is that differentiated from any platform that allegedly doesn't care about your identity?

Writers shouldn’t be defined by the brands of their publishers...

And yet, every svtble blog I've seen is very clearly a svtble page first, text content second, and any consideration for personal identity a distant third. I don't really have an issue with that but why feature such a ridiculous claim?

> Oh, they know how my brain works?

That seems like a rather bizarre idea to attribute to Svbtle. It seems clear to me that the "you" in their copy is someone who is likely to be interested in their product. That's an extremely common wording in marketing copy.

My biggest issue with the competition (Medium) is that it does not allow you to use your own domain.

Yes, hot-air balloons. Sign me up.

The level of dismissiveness I'm seeing in the comments here is really discouraging, and I'm disappointed to be a part of this community. In a community of startup founders fostering new ideas, I haven't seen such close-mindedness. I appreciate what dcurtis is trying to do, doesn't matter if I agree with it or not.

The kudos concept is different, the fact that people are writing him emails and tweets about decrementing their counts for a meaningless number is petty.

The "Elitism" invite-only being such an issue is silly. HN and reddit started with small groups of people that weren't connected to a larger social sphere, so they slowly grew organically with the content they wanted. Google does invite-only for their projects (Gmail, G+, etc) as a way to both fix issues early with minimal user impact and to scale properly. Medium did the same thing. To say the dcurtis should've made it open for everyone at the beginning is disingenuous. Curating a small community and taking feedback from them, along with having readers connected to a larger social sphere (HN) means it can grow slowly while focusing on its core users, especially as a side project.

Appreciate what others are doing, even if you don't agree with it. Don't follow the herd. Just because Medium opened its gates doesn't mean they're the end-all be-all of blogging. I made a svbtle account because I want to see how they evolve and capture what Medium is missing.

Humans are social creatures and the dismissiveness might be in part due to Dustin Curtis having some rather negative PR on HN in his not too distant past and, being young and brash, he didn't exactly handle it with aplomb. I tangled with him at the time. It was a pretty not nice scene. I have not really followed him/his story since, but most people do a pretty poor job of recovering from such incidents, which tend to continue to haunt them. There are ways to live such things down but many people just do not know how.

So perhaps the dismissiveness is primarily proof that HN is populated largely by humans, with all their usual tendencies, not 'bots nor aliens.

It's conscientiousness, not close-mindedness.

If you find petty that people complain about non-intended kudos, by the same logic you should also find petty to have introduced such a pointless anti-pattern in the first place.

Besides, kudos are not that different from karma points or likes. Knowingly adulterating such a crucial signaling component of an online community is short-sighted and needlessly detrimental.

I find it a welcome respite from the normal echo-chamber, personally.

PS: Reddit didn't grow organically, it was heavily content and user seeded by the admins. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-reddit-got-huge-tons-of...

That's the thing, though - I don't think that the HN "community" has been predominantly startup founders for several years. That's what used to make it so great. I think I would describe the prevailing demographic now as refugees from other tech news aggregators, who have been immersed in just enough group-think, cargo-cult science and statistics to be profoundly annoying.

I did not mean to give you a Kudo. I don't care for that button interface. Unless I can undo it, then I like it.

It's interesting how much such an utterly irrelevant thing annoys me. There's really no reason why accidentally making a number increase by one should matter, but I suppose it's the fact that the site is falsely representing it as a deliberate action by me.

There isn’t “really no reason” why it’s annoying; it’s exactly as you said: the site is falsely representing your upvote as a deliberate action. And your action changes a number, labeled “kudos”, seen by all future visitors to the page, so your action ends up implying endorsement of the page to future visitors. That’s why the kudos feature annoys me – it falsely represents the page to be popular, but rather than just completely making up a number of kudos like a normal liar, it ties the number of kudos to the actions of unwitting page visitors. That gives the author plausible deniability that it’s possible that that many people really did like the page, though in fact that is very unlikely.

It's not irrelevant. It's a design decision that punishes curiosity with unwanted and nonundoable actions. What else is the site going to do on my behalf because of something as simple as parking my mouse on the wrong part of the screen or in this case hovered over a nonintuitive button expecting some hover text to tell me what it is?

I did that once awhile back. I didn't know what the little bulls-eye was for. When I hovered over it, it said don't move. I was expecting some silly thing to happen (like when the bottom of a Kickstarter page gets cut off). There is no indication that what I was doing was "up-voting" a stupid blog post. Possibly one of the dumbest features ever.

That's an interesting UX decision since I'm pretty sure you could undo Kudos on the previous version of Svbtle years ago.

Are non-undoable likes the logical progression to the likes-only-no-dislikes method of social media validation?

I don't think they ever had an undo feature. I remember when the platform was first introduced... people complained about it then too. Plus I'm pretty sure it's only been around for ~<2 years.

I remember trying it when it was popular and after mistakenly giving a kudo I could "undo" it by clicking the same icon.

He talks about it here http://dcurt.is/unkudo

wow. he sound like a bit of a... well I'm not sure what that makes him but it feels like something I don't want my kids to be.

Wow. If it's so irrelevant, why put it there?

He is obviously intelligent enough to know that people don't think the number is meaningless. My guess is that he was just too lazy to add the undo, and also takes a small amount of pleasure in seeing people get annoyed at something he thinks they shouldn't get annoyed. Not the end of the world, and he actually does have a small point (accidentally incrementing a "kudos" count is not really something to get bothered over). But with the pretentious blog post, his underlying douchiness reveals itself.

Same here - I went looking because of your comment and then accidentally kudo'd it.

Wow, that's obnoxious. Just leaving your mouse over the "button" is enough to activate it.

Some blame goes to javascript and the DOM (mouseover should not an event IMO), but this is a truly obnoxious feature.

I forgot why I don't click links to svbtle but thanks HN for reminding me why :)

I agree, but isn't this an HN problem too, with upvotes? (If it's possible to un-up or down vote a story or comment on HN, please someone tell me how!)

HN's UI gives you a much stronger hint of what the controls do.

You cannot undo an upvote (you can unflag posts and articles though). This is particularly a problem when using HN on mobile devices where distinguishing up and down votes is all but impossible. I'll often make multiple wrong clicks trying to navigate to a link or vote on an item. It's frustrating.

Subtle's interface is doubly deceptive: it lies to the user and it misrepresents the consequences of those lies. Makes me lose a lot of trust and faith in the product, actually. As well as those who use it.

Funny how things brand you.

HN doesn’t let you un-upvote something either, but you need to un-upvote something on HN far less often than on Svbtle. On Svbtle, it is very easy to accidentally “kudos” a post, because all you have to do is move your mouse over the kudos circle, and the site doesn’t warn you that doing so will trigger a kudos. On HN, at least you have to click a button-looking thing to trigger the non-undoable action of upvoting.

"Open" for use but not for inspection / modification / sharing… It's like all sorts of SaaS: it's a lock-in, a jail, that is open for you to enter. Ok, that's a bit harsh. But still, we've got lots of good tools like this, we don't need another proprietary thing. It looks nice though, would be useful if it were fully FLOSS.

Should take a look at Ghost then, found it mentioned in another comment deep in the tree here: Open Source (MIT licensed), self hosted (or hosted for a small fee), non-profit setup and a core focus on blogging. Link: https://ghost.org/

Thanks! Ghost looks wonderful!

Don't blame svbtle. It's the monetization strategy of the Internet, and has been for 20 years.

I can and do blame them for (apparently) not having an export function.

They do offer a way of exporting, and in a standard format: an Atom feed. Any blog engine worth its salt should allow you to import them.

Not quite the same.

The atom feed will represent the compiled and rendered end content. If I have, say, source code snippets, that leaves me in a position of needing to parse out the original code so I can redo it in whatever new highlighting syntax my new blog uses. I might end up with resized images instead of originals, etc etc etc. It's not a real substitute for a proper backend export.

This is why I'm such a huge fan of Octopress and nothing has been able to pull me away from it. Everything's in a git repo. Backups are one command. All my original text is safe in Markdown format.

It might not look as cool as Medium or Svbtle, or have all the features, but it's relatively easy to use, and more importantly immune to platform lock-in.

Fair enough. I actually use a static blog generator myself (Pelican[1]), but I write so rarely that I hadn't considered those issues.

[1] http://blog.getpelican.com/

That is one thing I've been impressed with about Google Takeout, is that I can download all my blogger data into a big ol' XML file. It makes me feel a little better about using a hosted platform.

I'm hoping that this trend will be catch on and will get more hosted services supporting export functionality in the future.

Indeed, they are not the primary source of the unethical business model they are following.

What about this should compel me to give all my content to someone else? I understand the argument that they're entering in to a crowded space, and I see how they believe that they're the best.

But really, I'm just going to put all my stuff on someone else's servers and wait for them to be acquired and shut down? It is 2014 after all. How many times has this happened?

The custom domain is probably the best escape hatch, and an advantage over Medium – ultimately you keep ownership of the pointer that is your brand, and that lets you really move your content (even if there is no export yet).

Anybody else get invited a few weeks back and now feel the pang of no longer being in an exclusive club? I need a hug.

Aside: I think this is a great blogging platform that turns quite a few people away because of Dustin's bravado.

In my case, the "exclusive club" of "thought leaders" itself turned me away from Svbtle.

group hug I got the invite some two weeks ago. The acceptance of my sloppy application already lead me to believe they were opening up the site pretty soon. Just working through the backlog.

I got invited about a month ago. I think I'll try out ghost now instead.

Haha. Yes.

I hate blogs without dates. A good blog article is dated properly when it was created and revised. If you want to promote a new blog platform, better date your blogs properly.

I emailed Dustin about providing more emphasis on dates just yesterday and this was the response I got.

> We want to encourage people to write stuff that has lasting impact. I think dates can just add an extra piece of messy context for some articles. What kind of increased emphasis do you want to see?

The more I though about it, the more I realized my desire to see dates is because that is what I know. In retrospect, the best writings I've read didn't need date information to make them impactful and I admire Svbtle more for standing out this way.

I completely disagree with this point of view. I often feel that many blog articles intentionally leave out dates because they want to feel "fresh" or they pretend that they came up with some great ideas first or they want the convenience/unaccountability of fixing mistakes in previous revisions. And that is a cheating. If your ideas are fresh and timeless, they will speak for themselves.

Further, even if you constantly have amazing ideas, not all of your blogs are timeless.

Dating is not a messy context. Dates add to journalistic integrity.

Dates are must. They don't need to be big and bold, just to be there, somewhere. When I read a blog post, I need that information for context. It is especially true for technical blog posts. Was it written before version X? What was the context this was written in? Date helps.

It's not really about impact, but about context. If someone writes something that turns out to be obviously wrong, given the time-period, you could excuse them -- quite a few great physicists come to mind. Without that information, you might mistake them for an idiot. Or it can make a work even more impressive given the limited knowledge of that time-period.

Dates can also help when someone is talking about a technology which might have iterated past the point that their article is even relevant.

Language is very much context-dependent. Providing less context usually only helps misunderstandings.

Maybe they should put the date at the bottom? So you still see it, just after you've read it?

That's bordering on misleading in my opinion.

"Lasting impact" that can't stand up for itself, needs to generate a little confusion first.

Not everything has to be timeless. Sometimes I just want to blog about a quick workaround for a tricky technical issue I spent two days banging my head on. Such information may not be widely known, but it also probably won't be relevant in a few months.

FWIW, it looks like if you hover over a post's title, the date appears to the far left of it. But as a consumer, I don't really like it when software/sites make me discover on my own how to use it, particularly when they deviate from the norm.

I'd love to see blogs show a visually appealing diff when updates are made after the publishing date. Each diff linked by clicking on a timestamp.

This would be cool. I wonder if you could easily hook in the Github diff. Though that would require a static blog version controlled in Github. And it wouldn't be too visually appealing.

If svbtle isn't quite right for you, check out Silvrback: https://www.silvrback.com/

It's similar to svbtle in its simplicity.

Pretty happy Silvrback user here, but I do kind of miss the "quick idea" interface from svbtle (wp version in my case).

How well has Silvrback held up under heavy load?

Silvrback performs well under stress. It's setup to autoscale when a traffic surge is detected so the platform can easily handle articles making the front page of HN. Unicorn and memcached also really help.

Honestly, when Svbtle first came out, I thought it was really cool and I wanted to use it.

Now I use Medium and I have no interest in it — and most people I know (who blog) do the same these days.

I have been using svtble for a few months now and when asked by a friend how it is different from Medium, I created an account on Medium to see for myself. I personally prefer svbtle's dashboard as I feel it's much smoother than Medium with the flow of: idea > draft > published. Svbtle is also less focused on images and commenting. These small details are preferable to me but to each his own.

When I checked out Medium, they had no Markdown support and very limited formatting options. Not good for code examples. Also no option to use your own domain.

Also I think that the copyright is (better) protected on Svbtle. All in all it seems like a better option to me.

>Also I think that the copyright is (better) protected on Svbtle.


Instead of svbtle, they should have named it pretentiovs.

Wasn't part of svbtle's appeal being one of the few people to "have a svbtle"? When it first came out - it was beautiful & part of the cache was that only a few people got in.

It was super popular for a few months - then fell off completely. Seems strange that the one main differentiator for the network has now been removed.

"catch" or "cachet"

Sorry - caché

Funny enough, s/svbtle/medium and this is still true

Am I the only one annoyed by the spelling of the site? I can't figure out if it is a misspelled "subtle" or Silicon Valley Beetle or something... How is it pronounced?

In Latin they wrote V for what we today would pronounce U.

During the American Renaissance, architects used the old latin alphabet, which had no U. That's why you see things like PVBLIC LIBRARY in old cities. Eg: http://i.imgur.com/p4RS9My.jpg

So, "Svbtle" is "Subtle" and "Bvlgari" is "Bulgari" etc.

U and V have a long complicated history. If you'd like to learn more: http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/scripts/letters/historyuv....

Ah, that makes much more sense... especially considering the site. Thanks!

Several hundred years ago, V was both a consonant and a vowel. Over time it evolved into V being a consonant, U being the vowel, and the sound that was 'VV' became W, which is why it's pronounced 'Double U' but looks like two V's.

That might not be entirely right, but I believe I'm close. You'd have to look up the evolution of the latin alphabet I suppose.

Edit: So to answer your question, I believe it's pronounced 'subtle' :)

In Danish 'w' is called double-v.

In spanish, you can say it both ways and usually depends on region.

French as well. Suspect English is an outlier here...

It doesn't annoy me any more than the trend to remove a random vowel from the name. I believe that "v" is meant to act like a fancy "u". I've seen this in other places.

I got "invited" to svbtle a year and a half ago, and I have ever since used and quit it. I hated (and still do) the fact that somebody else had absolute control over what my blog looked like, and what changes I made.

Nothing so intriguing about it, really.

Edit: Also, the sign up page itself has a confusing user interface.

This would have been more welcome if there wasn't such jerkishness by Dustin at the launch/shortly after the launch of svbtle.

I always thought the quality of the article was more important than the quality of the blogging engine.

It is. That's why dcurtis kept it so exclusive for so long. Svbtle now has a reputation for quality and can offer you the halo effect (for the time being). Surprised he isn't charging anything for it though. Quality will surely go down and dilute the reputation of just being on Svbtle.

I just signed up, and immediately considered the quality of svbtle. My first post on other platforms is usually a very weak test post.

Considering it is svbtle, I decided to give a lot more thought to my post. If that's the effect it gives me, providing more effort and quality to my own thoughts, then it's worth it.

I figure everyone's gone over Svtble's theme before, but... it's absolutely horrible. Grey (#4d4d4d) on bright white is painful to read.

Sorry mate, don't care anymore! Cheers for thinking about us small people now.

So was the elitism just clever marketing?

Not that clever... svbtle is an anti-brand now, like Upworthy.

After reading this post I completely understand the value in svtble. The key here is a super easy interface to thought dump, and an easy way to turn the thought dump into a published blog post. I have tons of these in my notes/sms/facebook etc, but they never get shared publicly because there's no natural transition / lack of time to thoroughly research. I'd encourage you to push an iPhone app soon, and it needs to open up and get me typing instantly like iOS notes

I thought you were already open for everyone?

Oops.. I was using wp-svbtle all this time. Ah well, same thing to me :)

You take pride in stolen design? That's strange.

Over the weekend, I worked on a Chrome extension (Youtube.md: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/youtubemd/akjklake...) that lets you embed Youtube video image easily in markdown format. The allows you to generate markdown code for Youtube video image and links it to Youtube video, when Youtube video URL is given. Note that this will not actually embed the video. Instead it will display an image from the video.

I know Svbtle supports embedding Youtube videos, but I thought this would be a good thread to mention this extension in case some people use some other system.

I like the functionality, I'm ambiguous about the design, there where a few times where I had to stop and really think about the UI to figure out where I needed to go or what I wanted to get back to.

I also (and this is purely a personal thing) find that much whitespace like staring into a lamp I suspect I'd be using something like stylish in short order (might be nice to have something like a night mode, readability does this really well see here.. http://i.imgur.com/dTMrqId.png )

That it handles zooming really all the way up to an insane level is great (I'm 34 this year and my eyes are crap..) and it looks really nice on my old Nexus 7 1st gen.

Kudos :)

the core of what writing is really about–sharing ideas, naturally

This sentence might not be true. Writing is partly about sharing ideas and partly about discovering them. In an essay at least, most of the ideas reveal themselves after you start writing. And half of those you start with turn out to be wrong. So you want to keep writing until you bump onto the right ones. It's figuring out the truth you're after. Sharing something untrue isn't as valuable.

If you had a writing tool good at getting you to share and one good at getting you to write, the latter could be a better tool.

That's not to say Svbtle does a bad job at getting you to write. But the distinction is important enough for any writing tool to consider.

Knew the writing was on the wall since I got an invite a couple of weeks ago :P

One thing that's bothering me about the svbtle interface is the crazy contrast. Especially all of the white on the background, when I'm thinking I prefer lots less noise in my environment.

In svbtle, there is a lot of really bright and really dark areas, and I find this to be very distracting and annoying. Ideally for me, the whole website would be a lot darker and the text and boxes would be just bright enough to be visible, not full white but a more tame grey.

Svbtle's great for some people and Medium's better in some ways. It's like comparing Blogger with WordPress. The future is in content-centricity and interface-simplicity. Let's appreciate these guys for leading the frontier.

PS: This one is more in tune with how the brain works. Pretty radical idea for a writing interface. https://vimeo.com/66995098

The best thing I did in my life was to move out of these kind of blogging services. I preffer the freedom of my hosting machine, and the beauty of Octopress.

I was a bit shocked that I got invited to Svbtle back in September of last year after not being 'worthy' of being in the early limited exclusive access. ;-)


TLDR: If I was invited to Svbtle then it isn't a good sign.

I miss Posterous. R.I.P.

I am not much aware about posterous, how different was it as compared to posthaven ?

Well it was free, but the killer feature for me was media handeling.. it would take just about anything you threw at it and form it into a blog post. Sound file? It would upload to soundcloud and drop the player right in your page. Video etc.

You could email everything too, so a zip file full of images and a quick paragraph in email would get formatted as a nice blog post with photo gallery.

Everything (mostly) just worked and was awesome.

Honest question: How does svbtle make money?

Really kind of frustrated with this.

Svbtle used to self-identify your work as selected to some extent. Now, what's the differentiator between your work and everything else?

Don't say "content" please. That's obvious. But a link was more dependable to me if it was from Svbtle. Not anymore.

Too late. Go get a medium.com account or install your own Jekyll/Pelican/Ghost in 5 mins.

I am a little bit out of touch regarding the who's who in the web publishing business but this reminds me of Six Apart. Are the svbtle guys planning to release their Typepad code in the future for anyone wishing to install it on their own servers ?

Markdown only? That's not "getting out of the way", it's limiting the ways of expression. Getting out of the way is providing simple defaults, why not depraving those who need more tools (HTML/CSS) of richer features.

HTML is part of the "specification" of Markdown. And you really want to "spice up" your markup with CSS? I'd rather spent the time on content.

I'd say you might want to spice up HTML with CSS if you want to achieve anything like font styling, positioning and so on. Spending time on content doesn't substitute spending time on presenting it the way you want. Blogger for example allows doing all that.

A very simple and practical example where Markdown offers no help: how can you change rtl and ltr directions of the text without CSS?

Just trying this out now. So far I quite like they way they make it super easy to stub out ideas for blog posts. I just stubbed out 15 post I want to write and can now go back in and finish them when I have time.

So, what should I use as my blogging platform? I mean, right now I'm using a platform that uses Dropbox and I fear it might go away anytime soon.

There are a lot of options right now... Any ideas or suggestions?

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