archive digging and posts’ updates

Reposted for more discussion + 1 bit added

[purse lip square jaw] I’ve always found it a shame that the singular format (reverse chronological with archives) seems to homogenise these differences in passion, intimacy and play, at the same time as it privileges the new.

I have actually been thinking about something similar for a while too.
Let’s start with a few scenarii.

Q1- You discover a new blog, which has been publishing great content for months now (how could you have missed it!). Well, it’s not like you have time to go through the whole archive to dig more good content (even with the help of categories and search), so you just decide to visit it often from now on (or subscribe to its feeds) and catch the next good content…
Q2- Great discussions going on at, which brings the number of individual posts that you are tracking on different blogs to 35. Can you really track them all?
Q3- You post an update to an old post (or one of the blogs you read does), which is not even on the main page of your blog anymore. How can your readers find out about it?

NA1*- Coud we imagine a feature that would automatically re-post some old posts on a random basis; a way to bring a subject back on the table, for another look at it, new readership might have new things to add to it. I am always amazed at the amount of new infos that is uncovered when subject are reposted by mistake onto sites like slashdot, or metafilter. I know there is probably a plugin for MT that does something like show you the post 1 year ago that day but what we need is a way to streamline it in the new posts, maybe even change its post date, while still keeping track of when it was first published? Writing that, I am wondering if that doesn’t sound like some of the functionalities offered by wikis…

NA2- Well, you *could* bookmark it as well and go back and back again, or you could just forget about it! or you could push the webmaster to add a subscription script to his blog so you could be alerted by email when a new comment has been added (how many blogs sport this feature? 2% of the ones I read…). But hey, you might not want to received 100 emails per day coming from those sources… It’s hard enough to see clearly through all the spam and newsletters and you keep on messing up your filters in your email client… There is a plugin to show which old posts have been recently commented on but again this is a plugin that few people add and even fewer people check. Or luckily there could be a feed available that included all the comments, but what if you have no idea what a feed is and get all this strange code when you click on one of those RSS orange button or simply don’t want to have to install yet another software? And what if you are trying to follow 20 posts, you don’t want to have to do that forever… What if the discussion goes dead and after 2 months somebody leaves a great comment full of new infos and links after he found the post with Google… And what if you wanted to track trackbacks too, some people might add great value to the discussion on their blog and trackback the post you are tracking?

NA3- Chances are that people who subscribed to your feed will be the only ones able to see this update, forget about the (80-90%?) other? Changing the posted date on the post? Well that would mean mess up your monthly archives, as well as the way you organise your archive URLs ( and invalidate all your google referencing! argh… Again, there are plugins to show on your sidebar which posts have been recently updated but how can you be sure your readers will check your sidebar everytime they check your website?

In my case, I do not use monthly archives and do not put date codes in my URLs and am quite happy to change the posted date in the posts I update. But that might not be what most people want to do, however, that sorts number 3… at least…

Are those thoughts mostly non problems? Have they been dealt with in ways I ignore?

Have you noticed how Engadget and Gizmodo have started posting “week round-up” posts that list some of the more interesting posts of each finishing week. Isn’t that one more evidence that our weblog format could be inadequate and cumbersome? The Dead In A Week syndrome…

*NA stands for Non Answer
First published 2004-02-04

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    Based in Paris & Tokyo, Paul Baron is a senior product manager for hire. Ex-@AQworks. Co-founder of cultural platform Tokyo Art Beat.
    Service design, interaction design, startups, user research.
    Posts a few times a decade since 2003.

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