My method for organizing content grew out of my frustration with various aspects of normal blogs as writing outlets.
Categories vs Series
Typical blogs are not very good at presenting content that may vary a lot in length and style. The kind of writing I want to experiment with may change a lot from day to day, season to season, decade to decade. I wanted a single system that could organize and present it all, in a thoughtful, coherent way, rather than starting a new blog every time I wanted to try writing a different kind of thing.
→ My solution to this was to enrich the idea of “categories”. Rather than being simply labels that you slap on blog posts, they could be pages with their own unique content and design customizations — in effect, little blogs in their own right. In addition, they could pass down certain properties to the posts they contain, that can be used to give signals to the reader about what they are looking at. I call these beefed-up categories “Series”.
|Typical Blog Categories||Local Yarn Series|
|Buckets into which all or most posts are slotted||Curations of particular posts|
|Name is a single noun||Name is a descriptive title|
|Has no content or properties of its own||Has its own content and properties|
|Broad in scope, few in number||Narrow in scope, many in number|
|Selected to be relevant for use across the entire lifetime of the site||Selected without reference to future creative direction (may be closed after only a few articles)|
Comments vs Notes
Typical blogs are not very good at letting you “resurface” old writings. A comment or update added to an old post feels useless since it will never be read.
→ To solve this problem, I took the blogging idea of the “comment” and gave it a hefty promotion. In the “blog” view (i.e., the stream-of-everything in reverse chronological order), this new kind of comment appears alongside, and is given equal visual weight as, actual posts/articles. If I publish a comment on an article that is ten years old, that comment appears right at the top of the blog (and RSS feed). The flip side of this promotion is that comments are no longer allowed to function as a kind of “per-article chat”. I call these beefed-up comments “Notes”.
|Typical Blog Comments||Local Yarn Notes|
|Rarely used after a post has aged||Commonly used on posts many years old|
|Visible only at the end of the individual post||Included in the main stream of posts and in the RSS feed alongside actual posts|
|Invites any and all feedback, from small compliments to lengthy rebuttals||Strictly for high-value emendations and timeless marginalia|
|Usually used by readers||Usually used by the original author|
|Don’t affect the original post||Has properties (e.g. disposition) that change the status and presentation of the original post)|
|Moderation (if done) is on a binary basis (approved or not)||Moderation may take the form of edits and in-note responses.|