In case anyone\’s wondering why I don\’t run an open forum anymore…

I think David Pogue sums up what’s wrong with online etiquette pretty well.I know I got sick and tired of ducking rocks from anonymous know-it-alls. That irritated me as much as spam. My blog is a hobby. It brings in a little bit of money, but I’m not sure that the money covers the increase in my electric bill. I run my blog because I enjoy writing and because I’ve found a shortage of some types of useful information, so I tried to remedy that shortage when and where I could.

So I started requiring registration. In the process I pretty much ruined the blog, because I ditched b2 in favor of the software I’m using now. Of course, a few months after I made that change, b2 evolved into the lovely and wonderful WordPress, which now everyone and his brother is using.

Then Southwestern Bell started blocking SMTP traffic, preventing my software from sending out registration notices. There’s a workaround out there for that, but I still haven’t convinced myself, two years after I became aware of the problem, that it’s worth fixing. I’m sure I’m losing readership because people who want to be able to sign in and comment can’t, but I find I rather enjoy not having to deal with idiots. The dozen or so people who are left are nice people who say intelligent things.

Don’t get me wrong, I deal with some rude and poor-intentioned people at work. The rudest and most difficult, not coincidentally, are the people I’ve never seen but only spoken with over the phone and e-mail. But even they control what they say a little bit. There’s always the danger that we’ll run into each other someday, after all.

I remember about seven years ago when I wrote something that made the front page of Linux Today. It was a thrill. I even ended up exchanging e-mail with the president of Mandrake, and some suggestions I made for features found their way into later versions of that Linux distribution. Those were fun times.

What goes through my head when I realize that I’ll never make the front page of Digg?

One word: Good.

I still love to write, and I may have even figured out how to make enough money writing to make it worth my while to write regularly again. To be honest, right now I don’t have time to write regularly, but when it’s worthwhile, I can always find ways to make time.

Blogging fits into that equation, so I guess sometime between now and then, I’ll have to figure out some way to deal with the trolls.

5 thoughts on “In case anyone\’s wondering why I don\’t run an open forum anymore…

  • December 14, 2006 at 10:22 pm
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    I have read your posts for years and have thoroughly enjoyed them.
    I haven’t read any of the hilarious remarks from R. Collins Farquhar IV or Jacques Pierre Cousteau Vermouth Bouillabaisse le Raunche de la Stenche in quite some time. Have they been banned by the new medication?

    "Life does not consist mainly, or even largely, of facts and happenings. It consists mainly of the storm of thought that is forever flowing through one’s head."
    Mark Twain

    • December 15, 2006 at 9:28 am
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      Joseph,

      I miss them, too. Perhaps some occurrence during family get-togethers over the holidays will inspire them to write again.

      David’s mom

      • December 15, 2006 at 3:45 pm
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        David’s Mom,
        I had forgotten you were also a fan. Hopefully our favorite members of the aristocracy will favor us with some guidance at Christmas.
        joseph

        • December 15, 2006 at 9:02 pm
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          They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. This is true–even of those two. And I happen to know the two treats they love most. If I see to it that they get their fill over the Christmas holidays, perhaps that will inspire them to write a piece or two.

    • December 15, 2006 at 7:05 pm
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      Honestly? Lack of inspiration and lack of time. I used to work in a building that had a lot of pompous, stuffy people in it. Now it’s mostly good ol’ boys. That, in addition to driving an hour to and from work.

      I agree that R. Collins needs a comeback tour. When the idea hits…. And when R. Collins shows up, the stinky Frenchman is never far behind.

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