31 July 2007

A note from the management

I recently switched this blog from a full-text feed to a feed which shows just the beginning of each post. The reason I did this was in order to encourage more people to come to the actual site, which I am hoping will encourage more comments and discussion. I'm open to going back to the old format, though. If you have any thoughts on this matter please let me know.

edited, 6:02 pm: I've gone back to the full-text feed.


Michael Cassidy said...

You've only been blogging two months; people will start commenting soon. You need time to build an audience.

Make some comments about global warming and that you believe human are causing it and you'll get many comments.

PLUS you haven't created a profile yet! Are you a 6th grader, high school student, senior in college, PHD???

Mark IJbema said...

I guess people will comment if they feel like it adds something worthwile. Most of your posts interest me, but i don't have a lot to say about them. I do however share the more interesting ones using the google shared items option, which pushes the articles to my friends. I think options like that are more valuable. I adopted a policy of (almost) only full-text feeds a few months ago, and I had to delete surprisingly few feeds. Amongst those are also feeds which have a large user base and lots of comments.

And yes, some people (like me) will rarely come out of the hiding of their rss readers to comment. I can understand your reaction as it might feel a bit like talking into the void, but if you want to get comments your posts should maybe provoke them more.

For instance a blogpost where i posted multiple comments recently was on Eric Lipperts blog. Why? Because it was an interesting problem. It was an open question, and i was invited to give an answer.

I tend to see your blog more in the same category as for instance Schneier on security. You update quite often and have relatively small posts. Your posts concern a certain small object, and that's it. I read it, most of the times nod or smile, and go on with a post from one of my other 100 feeds.

In contrast, I read Good Math, Bad Math for a totally different reason. Those posts are more articles, and in one series a (to me) new subject gets explained in depth. Let me make clear however i don't think one form is better than the other, they're both good in other ways. Since the articles are much longer and the frequency is less i don't mind non-full-text feeds for that kind of blogs as much (actually, it's one of the few non-full-text feeds i still read). Do note however that he already received lots of comments when the feed was still full-text.

However, of course the choice is up to you of course, while i do hope my incoherent ramblings convince you. Might you however decide to stick to summaries, please make them readable, the way Good Math, Bad math does it for instance (make it contain a summary paragraph, and an indication that the post hasn't ended yet). It currently gives the impression your rss feed is severely broken.

Anonymous said...

And for God's sake switch to Wordpress - mainly for the inbuilt LaTeX support, but also, the fact that there exist blog templates suitable for those of us over the age of 5.

Michael Cassidy said...

Since I was being a bit cute I'll back track.

I'm in publishing don't give up yet it takes time to build an audience.
I came over from 'Unapologetic Mathematician'.

I've been sending your baseball stuff to a friend, who is English BUT loves baseball and its stats [he is a world famous graphics artist].

Your stuff is fun and interesting and keeping me busy.

Isabel said...


you make a good point about my posts being the sort of self-contained objects that aren't too prone to creating discussion. At this point I'm still trying to figure out what exactly the purpose of this blog is, and I hadn't really considered the fact that different blogs might attract different amounts of comments.


I agree that switching to Wordpress might be a good idea. At the time when I started this blog I wanted to do it with as little inertia as possible; I thought about using wordpress but didn't realize that it was possible to use it without setting it up on my own server. (I don't have a server.)

Greg said...

I know, at least for my sake, that I usually read your posts in an RSS reader without visiting your page. This is mostly a product of laziness on my part, and because your posts tend to be in small enough chunks that they can be read on a whim. I suppose having full text then means that I am more likely to read the whole post, and less likely to read the comments.

Emily said...

Yeah, what Greg said. I read in an RSS reader because I would otherwise not read; my RSS reader brings everything together and I read it like my very own newspaper. Sometimes I skim, and sometimes I read for content.

But then again, a lot of what you say goes over my head. I still like to read, though.

John Armstrong said...

Oddly enough, the tactic seems to have worked. Comments are way up.

Ian Varley said...

I prefer full feeds - I rarely click through to even read a whole post outside my feed reader, whereas I often read the whole thing if it's there in my feed reader, and am then more likely to comment. IMO.

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