Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Evolution Limited: Good or Bad?

NOTE: I realize many people may not be familiar with TTLB. What you should know and do:
1) Join it! Requires a SiteMeter counter (like the one all the way down at the bottom of this page) and signing up. Takes 5 minutes, including #2.
2) Put up what you are in your sidebar.
3) To understand what any of that does for you, check out NZBear's explanation.
On second thought, let me try: Basically, TTLB ranks people by the number of links to them or their posts on other people's home pages. Blogs are categorized with a cute evolution-style status - from insignifcant microbes to flippery fish to higher beings. The more links, the higher you've evolved. As I wouldn't mind being a Large Mammal, if you would like to link to me you are more than welcome. Thanks! :)
A number of people have commented on NZBear's decision to revamp TTLB, including to exclude Open Trackbacks from being counted as links in the TTLB EcoSystem. The issue is what this will do to open trackbacks, which are an excellent way for newer bloggers to put their material out.

Basil, who puts together excellent roundups 2-3 times daily, in addition to hosting open trackbacks, points to a very good article by Everyman Chronicles.

EC feels this will have a negative effect on blogging:
Don Surber has the scoop. Apparently links gained by open trackback parties will be filtered out of TTLB ecosystem ranking which means that any upstart blog will truly have to climb up the hard way. Frankly, I'm disappointed in this as many good blogs would go otherwise unnoticed were it not for the generosity of middle-weight heavy hitting blogs like Stop the ACLU and Don Surber who routinely open their sites for these trackback parties. I'm still puzzled as to why Bear would do this but basically without an Instalanche on a pretty consistent basis, bloggers won't be able to move up with any amount of significance in the ecosystem. In my opinion it will diminish the quality of many blogs as we will have to rely on submitting to carnivals, joining linking communities, etc. which means less and less time actually blogging. Kind of takes the fun out of the experience. We'll see what happens.
As I thought about what he wrote, I disagreed:

I actually disagree... I moved up somewhat with open trackbacks, but the TTLB portion didn't matter. The open trackbacks will still exist - Basil, Political Teen, et al are still hosting them - and people can still be "found" through those, as many readers of mine are originally trackback or carnival readers. That TTLB doesn't count them makes sense: It ensures that those who take advantage of the trackbacks only to move up in links are not able to do so.

The main point is that Open Trackbacks still exist. Those that were doing them for links will stop; those that do so to get their name and ideas out will continue. I think that's a good thing all the way around.

I do hear both sides of the argument, but I think this is more good than limiting. What do you think?

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  1. Ultimately you should be judged on the quality of your blog and nothing else.

  2. Exactly. I think links measure that to some extent: I only links to blogs I read on a consistent basis... which is why it's becoming increasingly hard to add anybody to my blogroll, but that's a different issue.

    The links are a good measure of what people think of your blog: Instapundit is #1 because he has established himself as picking excellent pieces - and he does. LGF always seems to have a couple really great pieces. Political Teen gets that great video clip - every time.

    It's why I think the OT's are a good service in getting people's blogs "out there", but shouldn't be counted as "links" - sending out a trackback doesn't mean someone linked to you, it means you linked to yourself.

  3. I agree with Jack... Aside from the fact that it's rather silly to have "I'm a purple bunny rabit" on a political blog, it's also rather meaningless in the way the system had been organized. Even with the revamp it's a bit too 'loose'.

    If you are going to rate blogs by the number of people who link to various articles in thouse blogs then, in my opinion, things like open trackbacks, all comment links, and all blog roll links should NOT be counted.

    Otherwise it's basically a game of who can spend more time promoting their blog, and not writing content other want to link to...


  4. I partially disagree. Blogroll links are usually placed because you are reading the other people. It's an overall measure, not a day-by-day measure. If only post links counted, then the rankings would completely change almost every day outside the top few.

    In general, if you want to say the readership should matter more, that's a different story: TTLB tracks that as well.

  5. Two points:

    Well readership matters, but it's impossible to measure... someone loading a page off the server may be a human who reads the page, a bot, a spider, a script on a PC that clicks pages. Not all page loads are people reading. However, a percentage of actual humans can be estimated by the randomness of their actions - i.e. reading one page, skimming another, then clicking 3 different links.

    As far as link measurements, blogrolls are definitely links to other blogs you like content from, but how many of us actually real ALL the blogs in the blogroll every day? or every week? Part of the fun is finding NEW blogs that you like and adding them to the blog roll. So if we count the links then we get a measure of how many people at some point or antoher liked the blog. That is a valuable measurement, however it is age biased. Blogs that have been up for 4 years and have a moderage readership will have a higer rating than blogs that a year old with a HUGE readership...

    What I would like to see is a system (Google are you listening) which measures the number of links from stories to my stories.

    The closest thing I found for that is - which is where I have my auto links set up to go, rather than technorati.

  6. I actually read my entire blogroll every day... which shows how much time I have to kill. It's also why I am reluctant to add more. Gotta run, interesting points!