Sunday Night Journal, December 24, 2017
52 Albums, Week 52: The Weavers At Carnegie Hall

A Quick Question

I'm supposing that this will only be seen by people who read the blog fairly regularly: do you ever use the sidebar links to other blogs, the bit labelled "Elsewhere"?

I never do, and it hasn't been updated in I don't know how long, so that I don't even know if the sites referred to are active or for that matter extant. So I'm thinking about getting rid of it and wondering if anyone would miss it.


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I used to use in the old days when I surfed more. I used to look around the other blogs. I don't even look at Arts and Letters any more. That's the problem with Twitter links - it gives some great links, but it eliminates the older kind of blog surfing

I don't.

Yes, Grumpy, traditional blog surfing has fallen by the wayside.

Two reasons why blog surfing has gone by the wayside: 1) There aren't as many amateur blogs left, 2) and, related to the first, almost everyone went to Patheos and Aleteia, neither of which is as enjoyable because of ads and because the "atmosphere" is so monolithic. And, besides, who wants to listen to a bitter person's latest rant about the evils of the pro life movement?

Ah! I remember the good old days of 2002!

No, I don't use it.

Some amateur bloggers are just lazy. ;-)


Indeed, this one is, Janet!

So there is no misunderstanding, I had a specific, very prominent blogger in mind in my 2:10 comment.

I very rarely read blogs at all, professional or amateur. I read this one, Craig's, and Gladsome Lights. I am about to be unemployed for a time and I have been thinking about writing my blog again, but then I wonder why. I think it's because I just want to write.


I keep wanting to start mine up again, but can't seem to find the focus. I have lots to say.

I have lots to say, too. Early on in my establishment of this blog my wife made sport of "people who think the world needs to know what they think about everything." I was not deterred. It really does take some will power to keep posting fairly regularly, and I think her diagnosis is actually not too far off from the reason I keep doing it.

And yet, like the rest of you, I don't wander among blogs anymore. I guess Craig's and Neo-neocon are the only ones I'm at all consistent about now. Neo posts at least once a day Monday through Saturday, usually more than once, and it's almost always something of substance. I think she treats it more or less as a job, and doesn't have an actual go-to-work job to keep her from it.

Other sites that I visit regularly may be called blogs but are associated with magazines. They're not just obscure-regular-person-at-home blogs of the sort which flourished for a while.

I actively avoid Patheos blogs. It doesn't matter who's writing or what's being said, reading anything there is just an unpleasant and difficult experience. For a long time it would hang up the old and under-configured laptop I was using, which taught me to look at links before clicking on them and not follow those to Patheos. It's not as bad as it used to be but I still avoid it. Only if the article looks *really* interesting will I follow a link to it, and I certainly don't go there otherwise. Aleteia I don't really know.

I probably know who you're talking about at 2:10. Irritating case. I quit reading him a good many years ago for several reasons, but that was one of the most galling things.

Like others, I used to use it occasionally but now no longer do. I think Facebook is as much to blame as anything: my friends provide me with lots of links to randomly interesting stuff, without me going looking for them when I have time to spare.

Y'all should really read my blog. It only takes zero minutes a day.


I like Aleteia very much aside from a woman named Hernandez

"I actively avoid Patheos blogs. It doesn't matter who's writing or what's being said, reading anything there is just an unpleasant and difficult experience."

I never worked out why that's the case. Any ideas? I rarely go over there.

Aleteia is definitely the better of the two.

Louise, I was referring entirely to the behavior and look of Patheos. Extremely slow and extremely badly laid out--tons of jumbled advertisements so that it's sometimes a challenge even to follow the text. Or at least it used to be that way. I think it's at least somewhat better now but I still avoid it. There are some good people who blog there, or at least used to be--nothing against them.

Nothing against Aleteia either, I've just never looked at it very much.

Paul, it's true that Facebook has made a big, big difference. It has an addictive effect, even more than the web as a whole does. I recently deleted the app from my phone, and it was a good move.

Patheos pays their writers (= why so many writers go there), and they make that money back by being an advertising cesspool.

I never use the sidebar links; I typically read (skim if I’m honest) in my RSS reader, so I never see them.

But Google uses incoming links as part of its method for determining a page’s search rank. So if you get rid of the sidebar you might negatively affect those blogs’ visibility in some small way.

You have my permission to negatively affect my visibility.


I occasionally use it as a shortcut to one of the other sites if I'm on here already, but it's rare.

It will be done. Since nobody apparently uses them, no need to keep them and now and then wonder if I should make sure they're still valid, etc. One less thing for me to be distracted by.

Joel, after having remarked on the appeal of your site a while back, I soon forgot about it. It is really nice--but at a glance I don't see any recent updates.

As for the visibility of the sites I link to, I doubt most of them even care. All Manner of Thing may be the only one that gets updated very regularly at all.

Yeah, I know Patheos pays, and I probably spent 10 or 12 seconds considering trying to get on with them. But happily I don't especially need the money, and though presumably there'd be more visibility, but at what a cost.

Cross-posted with Rob--my first sentence was in reply to Janet.

But happily I don't especially need the money, and though presumably there'd be more visibility, but at what a cost.

Yes, I would hate to have to quit reading what you wrote.


I do a fortnightly blog on the web edition of a magazine and the pay is miniscule.

Yes, buy you are famous. ;-)


The current one is great.

Im not complaining Janet. I was just saying that no one would write on the internet for money. Because there is no money in it.

It was a joke.


I dont think they underpay the web authors. I’m guessing that’s a reasonable representation of how much web traffic anyone article generate

Thanks for the compliment. I have stopped writing on my blog because a) I have small children now, and b) I’m in the middle of a several years-long project to redesign it and power it with code that can periodically spit out printed books as well (more info at this hidden article: (no that’s not what the redesign will look like)). I don’t mean to shill my stuff here, but in case you would find it convenient (and only because you seem interested) I have an email newsletter signup at the main site, which will be the first place I announce whenever I finally do get things revved up again.

Anyway, all that to say, I like blogrolls and am considering how to try and incorporate them in a fresh way. If blogs ever do claw their way back to relevance (or people rediscover them after Facebook and Twitter go the way of CompuServe and MySpace), having those brambly old paths preserved somewhere might prove to have been a good idea. Maybe it doesn’t need to live in the main sidebar, just paste it into its own post or put it somewhere else for safekeeping.

I'll be surprised, but it could happen. I considered abandoning this blog a few years ago, partly because of Facebook, but I kept finding that there were things I wanted to say that I didn't really want to shove in people's faces on Facebook, since a fair number of my Fb-friends are not of my mind on many questions. I don't feel that way about the blog because people choose to come here.

Sounds like an interesting project. I'll sign up for your newsletter. And yeah, having young children will definitely blow some things right out of the water.

Regarding Grumpy's pay for the magazine blog: I don't know how they calculate things like that. With a print magazine that people pay for, you have at least some kind of orientation or framework for putting a dollar figure on a writer's work. But with the whole everything-is-free mentality on the web, you either get income from advertising, or if you're a non-profit that doesn't want to plaster its site with junky advertising, you put stuff out there because it's your mission, and/or because you hope people will subscribe to your magazine, or something. So I guess web-only "content," as they call it, would be something you just want to spend as little as possible on.

I think it may have been someone from Huffington Post, or some similar site, who told a would-be writer that "paying for content is not part of our business model."

I used to write for a high-profile Catholic magazine. They paid me $250 an article. They went to all online. I submitted my next article. I eventually got tired of waiting for my pay, so I emailed the editor to ask when it would come. He said they didn't pay for articles any more.

Pretty shabby way of letting you know.

"Louise, I was referring entirely to the behavior and look of Patheos. Extremely slow and extremely badly laid out--tons of jumbled advertisements so that it's sometimes a challenge even to follow the text. Or at least it used to be that way. I think it's at least somewhat better now but I still avoid it. There are some good people who blog there, or at least used to be--nothing against them."

There could be great blogs there, for all I know, but the ones I've read I really dislike, because of the content. Maybe the fact that they're paid for it somehow makes a difference. I don't know. But yes, the layout is the worst thing about it (for me) and is probably the main reason I dislike it, but I just hadn't clicked that this was the main source of irritation. I was aware of that just recently with Aleteia, I think. I clicked on a link on my iphone and could hardly get to the article for all of the advertising popping up.

At one time Patheos Catholic blogs were all over the place theologically. I don't really have any idea whether that's still true or not. But there does seem to be a contingent of people who are annoying in ways similar to the one Robert and I referred to earlier. I know that because I've "overheard" conversations with them on Facebook.

Janet used to say that she was followed around the internet by her entire wardrobe. I have just got used to endlessly being chased by every dress and pair of shoes I look at. I simply ignore them and read what I want to read.

Most of the advertizing is so mis-targetted it is not a real distraction for me. I bought a long tee-shirt dress from American Giant, to take on the camino and use as a night dress in the youth hostels. I thought it would be lighter than carrying tee-shirts and shorts, which is what I've slept in on the camino for years. I thought for weeks about how to make my pack lighter, because of the accident with my knee in February and treating a tee-shirt dress as a nightshirt worked. But now of course I am constantly chased by other images from American Giant - hoodies, running trousers - endless images of people in athletic clothes. The thing is, I don't wear athletic clothes like hoodies. I look hideous in them. Its just an example, but I feel as if I'm chased round the web, not so much by my wardrobe as by the wardrobe someone else mistakenly thinks I would like. And that's good, in a sense, because its not a real distraction. I don't want a hoody.

That's annoying, and for a long time seemed spooky, though I've gotten used to it now. It's funny how they rise and fade, too. I was shadowed by guitar stuff for a long time after looking at amplifiers on a few site, then that was slowly replaced by other things.

But the content of the ads is irrelevant to my experience at Patheos. I can ignore that easily enough for the most part. But the pages were (are?) such a visual mess that it was sometimes difficult even to find the next paragraph. Not seriously difficult, but there was enough of an obstacle that it was irritating, like a 5-second pause in music.

I just tried looking at it again, the main Catholic page, for the first time in a long while, and never mind the advertising, the actual site material is a mess. When I scroll it jumps around, snatches things away while I'm reading them, displays things on top of each other, etc. Could be my browser--Opera, not one that all sites test with. But whatever...I don't need the bother.

Well, Bill and I share the same Kindle account and he really would get annoyed when bras showed up on the side of his Facebook page.


a shocking experience in my web surfing happened a few years ago, when I'd been web shopping for bras and it offered me pornography. I had heard that everyone is three clicks away from porn, but that made it real to me. I suppose guys who want to look at women go to bra advertizements!

Surely that tactic went out with the Sears catalog. They can see more now at Sports Illustrated, to say nothing of actual pornography.

For some reason Facebook decided for a while that I needed new underwear and kept showing me ads that to a non-gay male were a bit distasteful. I finally discovered the "stop showing me stuff like this" capability.

I have an ad blocker that has gotten rid of the worst ads on Facebook and a few other sites.


I feel ever so slightly guilty about that. I mean, some reasonable amount of advertising is acceptable, and a big-time web site is a very expensive thing that has to be paid for somehow. And it feels a bit like cheating to stop the ads from being displayed at all. But the ones that richly deserve being suppressed are the ones that snatch away what you're in the middle of reading and replace it with an ad. I don't put up with that. When a site does that I close the tab and go on to something else.

I don't because I'm impervious to those ads anyway. Having them there is not going to make me buy things. And a lot of what was showing up there was gross.


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