Thursday, May 08, 2008

Archiving content in case blog gets vaporized

Since I do not (okay, could not) make any money blogging, I've developed a sense of entitlement to being able to do it for free. After all, that is only "free" in the accounting sense of the word, not the economic one. Not only am I entitled to blogging for free, but also to the guarantee that I'll be able to continue to do it for free, irrespective of the blog's content. Take that 'right' away from me, Google, and expect me to react like Comic Book Guy:
Bart: Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain?
CBG: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me.
Bart: What? They've giving you thousands of hours of entertainment for free. What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them.
CBG: [pauses] Worst episode ever.
Mensarefugee, remarking on Blogger's removal of the blog Why South Africa Sucks for "racist content" (it has since reappeared under a new address), brought up why that might not be the wisest presumption to make:
This was a years old blog with over 3,000 posts - collaboration between at least 5 people, and hundreds of hours of work - just gone.

For others who are concerned about the same thing potentially happening to them, I've been using Facebook as an archive for years. FB imports the contents of my posts into the "notes" application, embedded links and all. I'm hesitant to connect my real name with the blog, as that can wreak serious havoc on one's career, so I've used the notes privacy setting to only allow myself to see the posts as they're fed into my FB account.

There are of course other ways to archive content externally, but I find the FB method especially nice as it is free, the content is transferred verbatim without any transcription issues, and it requires zero work on my part. It all goes automatically. Setting up an account is easy, and it has some other benefits, too.

16 comments:

John Savage said...

You are too trusting. I would never trust Facebook not to share my information. I think there have been several well-documented incidents where the government has asked Facebook and similar services for private information without any legal reason to expect it, and those services have simply complied even though they are not legally obliged to. I have no doubt that we should give Big Brother as few opportunities to watch us as possible.

I think you are right, though. We ought to all back up our blogs at least monthly, if not weekly.

So far I'm surprised not to have seen more blogs targeted with the "Flag Blog" feature. Maybe I am just too paranoid. But better safe than sorry!

Audacious Epigone said...

JS,

Well, the service might share my bio information for marketing purposes, but I'm not worried about general users having open access to the blog content I archive there. Do you think I should be?

MensaRefugee said...

"This was a years old blog with over 3,000 posts - collaboration between at least 5 people, and hundreds of hours of work - just gone."

Heh. I wrote the post in a hurry.

The really amazing thing about that blog was it was so popular - it actually had its own Web Ranking at Alexa.com

Still does!
Rank 167,489!

Anonymous said...

I dunno anything about FaceBook, does this method save comments as well?

J. said...

Why not use Wordpress? They even look a bit classier.

Somewhat off-topic, but what is Poblano doing PR-wise that you aren't? Seems to me you and he are saying the same thing but he gets the glory.

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/mp_20080507_8254.php

Audacious Epigone said...

Anon,

No, that definitely is a drawback.

J,

Inertia on my part. I'm not familiar with Wordpress, but I should become so. I know John Savage switched awhile back.

Re: Poblano, he just took the complexity of his method several steps further. If I'd included income, age, population density, and other factors, I'd probably have come up with something similar. But who cares who came up with it? That he further underscores the point that demographics matter a lot and chattering that goes on in the pundit circles and on the campaign trail is given way more attention than it deserves in terms of determining the outcome of elections is what's important.

Audacious Epigone said...

And as far as publicity is concerned, occasionally really smart guys like Steve Sailer or the pack at GNXP take notice of what's posted here. That's worth more to me than just about anything that takes places at the National Journal!

John Savage said...

Audacious Epigone, I suppose Facebook could be used to compromise your pseudonymity -- that would be the only concern. Someone might be able to figure out how to link your posts with your real name. That is the only real danger I see.

Re Wordpress, I do think it has helped my traffic a bit. I think I get not as many people stopping by via the search engines (as I think you pointed out, Google favors Blogger blogs), but people do arrive via the Wordpress tags. Also the automatic pingbacks are nice, especially for bloggers who have a "Recent Comments" section. (Which encourages me to cite other Wordpress blogs like Chris Roach's.)

I also like the way the filter catches comments from unapproved commenters, but passes through comments from commenters already known to it. That way I don't have to worry much about a hit-and-run commenter leaving a nasty ad hominem comment. If the comment violates my incivility rules, I can be sure to delete it before anyone sees it.

I also like my three-column template, although I haven't yet figured out how to put anything other than "Recent Comments" over on the left side of it. Although your layout does a good job of not wasting space on the page, as my Blogger layout used to.

When I switched, I thought Wordpress was becoming a standard. I've noticed that a larger share of new blogs these days are done with Wordpress rather than Blogger. If it becomes the standard, then of course that increases the incentive to conform to it.

Off topic: Do you have a breakdown of the primary vote in each state by race? I had made the claim that under 30% of white Dems were going for Obama in many states, but I would like to be able to link to a table showing that.

Audacious Epigone said...

John,

I may make the switch at some point, but Blogger has neat features just released that I find useful, like the ability to set postings for some specific time in the future (I tend to 'toil' on the blog primarily during a couple of specific days each week, but if I post everything during those two or three days, it's less likely that each post will get attention from the readership).

Currently, I think Blogger is still bigger. It shows up in 9th at Alexa, and Wordpress at 35th.

Re: Hillary's victory margins, I'm going to update the racial distributions and break down the demographic profile of both GOP and Democratic voters in the primary season (up to the point that the nomination in each party was set, probably). You're a little hard on Obama's white share. Here are Hillary's white percentages as Hillary vs Obama only (in early states where other candidates were competing, I just ignored non-Hillary/Obama votes) in states up to February (thus Obama's share is simply 100%-Hillary's share):

Arkansas: 83%
Alabama: 74%
Tennessee: 72%
Florida: 70%
New Jersey: 68%
Oklahoma: 66%
Nevada: 60%
South Carolina: 60%
Massachusetts: 59%
Missouri: 59%
Delaware: 58%
Georgia: 55%
California: 51%
Connecticut: 51%
Arizona: 58%
New Hampshire: 52%
Iowa: 45%
New Mexico: 44%
Utah: 42%
Illinois: 42%

John Savage said...

"Blogger has neat features just released that I find useful, like the ability to set postings for some specific time in the future."

Wordpress allows that too.

"I think Blogger is still bigger. It shows up in 9th at Alexa, and Wordpress at 35th."

I'm not positive how Alexa works, but it seems like it would only count blogs hosted at wordpress.com toward Wordpress's numbers, would it not? Whereas a significant fraction of Wordpress blogs, including most of the biggest ones, are self-hosted. For example, The American Conservative has a Wordpress blog, but it's hosted at amconmag.com rather than Wordpress.com, so I doubt it would count toward Wordpress's Alexa ranking. The only Wordpress blogs I would guess Alexa is counting are those like mine whose URLs end in wordpress.com. On the other hand, virtually all Blogger blogs are hosted at Blogger.

I will look forward to your post on the breakdown of Hillary and Obama voters. I think I recalled a number of 26% white Democrats for Obama in North Carolina, and something close to that in Pennsylvania. Maybe the same pattern wasn't reflected in the early contests, back when people could pretend Obama was actually going to give some "tough love" to the black population.

J. said...

This Canadian thinks Obama is a much more risky choice in the general than Hillary:

http://cbs2.com/local/Fight.South.LA.2.720562.html

Audacious Epigone said...

John,

Good question regarding what Alexa counts from the respective blog hosting services.

Obama took 35% of white Democrats in Pennsylvania and 37% in North Carolina. However, the percentages I gave for that list of states was for white Democratic primary voters, not just white registered Democrats voting in the primaries (although the two don't vary much, but white independents have been more likely to vote for Obama than white Democrats have been).

J,

I'd heard about that story on the news cycle yesterday, but hadn't had the time to look into it in more depth. Of course, the NPR cycle only mentioned that there was a big fight that broke out. I suspected it would be race-related, but not involving whites (if whites had been involved, NPR surely would've pointed the racial angle out).

J. said...

How funny, I gave you completely the wrong URL. (A Freudian URL slip?)

I meant to put this:

http://my.opera.com/Vorlath/blog/2008/05/09/who-is-the-safe-choice-for-the-white-house

But I cut and pasted the one about the fight. (Of course, you are right about the racial angle.)

Audacious Epigone said...

J,

Fascinating. Thanks for that. I'd thought Hillary had a much better chance than Obama of beating McCain (how does the nominee who wins Cali, Texas, Ohio, New York, and Florida not?). Now I have an empirical reference for that hunch.

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