Well, that was interesting

Last month I did a little experiment.  I posted shorter articles more frequently instead of large articles twice a week.  It was an interesting experience, and I think I’ve identified some of the changed dynamics that result from doing it this way.

First, it does make me more nimble (which I was hoping it would).  I am able to respond more quickly to comments by putting together entirely new posts.  This is definitely a good thing for discussion purposes.

Second, it has lowered the barrier to entry for commenting.  With each post having one or two points, it’s easier for people to read and comment specifically.  This is definitely a good thing since it will (hopefully) allow more people to participate in discussisons.  The downside is that I can’t really get detailed academic-style feedback on long pieces, but the truth is that I wasn’t getting that anyway, so there’s no real loss.

Third, it’s harder to reference.  Since I no longer have a single post dedicated to a single idea, it is difficult to point to a single link and say ‘read this and you’ll be on the same page’.  There might be as many as four or five (admittedly short) posts that are necessary to read if you want to get the full idea.  This would be good if I wanted to make it hard for people who don’t read me regularly to get involved, but since that sounds like a terrible idea, it’s a bad thing.

These three things leave me in a somewhat odd position.  I’m really liking one and two quite a bit, but that third one’s a big problem.  It may be that people can just drop into things mid-stream and just sort of figure out what’s going on, but I’m a bit hesitant to make in nearly impossible to easily reference old discussions.

So, I’m opening the question up to you, my readers.  If you read this blog, even if you’ve never commented on it and even if you don’t really find it interesting, I want to hear from you.  This little experiment: was it better this way?  Worse?  How would you tweak things to make them even better?  Feel free to comment here, or to toss me an email.

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5 Responses to “Well, that was interesting”

  1. I prefer less and longer articles. Sorry.

    Yehuda

  2. I like the short posts. It works well on blogs. (This from a person who often posts very long articles on his blog. ;) )

    Concerning three: you can simply write a “summary” post at the end of a block. Summarise what you said, add the links to the previous posts, and publish it as a seperate entry. There: the single link you can point people to.

  3. Ian Burton-Oakes says:

    I have been much busier of late and had less time to respond to what feel like more dynamic discussions, but really like the short-form entries.

    That said, I did like the long entries, too, especially the way they allowed you to really break into some fine-grained analysis. I think Victor’s suggestion might be very good: employ a dynamic series of small posts to get into an idea, explore some different aspects, get some feedback, then use those to spring into ‘touchstone’ long articles to which you can jump into fine-grained analysis as well as summarize and clarify. The touchstones could be free-standing but serve as pointers for those who want to see the process feeding into it.

    It also makes your blog a bit like a house with many doors–you can come in the main door, get the pomp, or circle round to the side doors, hear some of the off-th-cuff chatter which, while less impressive, often contains untapped nuggets of insight that don’t show up in the final product. From either approach, it would be easy to move to the other…

    Maybe edit all the small, feeder entries to link up to the touchstones they inspire?

  4. Why not take it on a case-by-case basis,doing what you feel serves the particular subject best?

    That aside, I did like the shorter, more frequent posts. Still, I can see cases where a single post would be preferable.

    Sorry, Thomas, but I just don’t see why you’re trying to artificially lock yourself into a single format.

  5. Rahvin says:

    I suggest you use Victor’s idea of posting a long summary article when you feel you’ve exhausted a topic. This not only allows you to summarize all of your thoughts together and provide a place that’s easy to reference, but also allows you to include and incoprorate information from the comments on the various other smaller articles.

    Of course, don’t forget to link the smaller articles at the end, so that people can see the individual discussions.

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