Yesterday, operations failed (predictably) and an old post from 2007 about the impending loss of analog broad casting was promoted to the front page.
This spurred the following comment from penty:
Date:9/9/2010 It’s one thing to recycle column but at least exclude the ones that were time dependent AND remove “recycled columns” from showing up on the RSS feeder. There is efficiency and drive traffic then there is a lack of overall respect for your readers. Your efficiency shouldn’t result in lowering my own (or even multiply it by all subscribers who also wasted their time with dated reposted columns).
Please bear with me here. It’s not my job to write blog posts and you get what you pay for (less than <%1 have made a donation). I use a plugin that sends one post to the front page every day by randomly selecting an old post. I can prevent it from promoting individual posts by flipping a switch. This process takes about 2 minutes per post. Now, understand that there are over 800 posts in the system. Doing that for all the posts will therefore take me at least 26 hours although due to the sheer inanity of the process it will likely take at least twice as long. I therefore fix posts that should not have been sent to the front page retroactively. This means that you may see an old post which should not have been promoted for a few hours before I take it away again. Obviously I can't eliminate it from people's RSS readers when they've already downloaded it, but it's gone from the blog. Another complaint which have recently shown increased statistics is the request for proofreading. Maybe this is due to the old posts again which makes the difference in proper grammar over the past two years more apparent. Maybe it's simply due to gaining new readers. The fact is I've received about as many complaints and requests for proof reading in the past two months (3) as I have since the blog started. Again, proofreading will add a 25% overhead. Z_ has graciously offered to proofread posts for me, but he has important things to do as well. If anyone wants to proofread, just send me edited html of a post (include the url as well) to jacob @ ... and I'll fix it. Now, I don't blog with the goal of providing free journalism. This means I won't spend 3 hours a day researching consumer reports and then serve a polished up article about, say, what the IRA limits are, how to open a savings account, or how much life insurance one should carry. I much prefer to expend 100% of my energies on thinking up new ways to look at personal finance and life in general. Thinking is hard! Thinking is much harder than compiling reports or even analyzing data. I'm not the one to complain, since I write this blog for my own personal enjoyment, but coming up with an original thought and its associated essay on a daily basis is damn near impossible. I could do it for about a year, because I had a backlog of good ideas. However, now I'm all out. It's like the story of the goose laying the golden eggs. There's an optimal way to spend the goose's energy. If I had to deal with the non-creative parts of blogging, I'd expect to write fewer original posts. I can absolutely understand why people burn out blogging or/and start hiring staff writers. Unfortunately, I have not found many people that could replace me and those who can aren't interested. Forsooth, whenever I think I write a new original post, odds are 1-2 against that I will somehow have covered the topic before. This means that blogging is mostly a waste of time anyway---I could just have read the backlog; only there are 800+ posts, so it's not easy to find the corresponding post. This really is "just a blog". It's not an online magazine. I prefer to spend my energies on more permanent and cohesive writings, like books, given that there does not seem to be much more I can say about personal finance on the blog---it's already been said. Naturally, anything that goes in print will be edited. The book(s) are of a much higher quality than the blog. The goal of the blog is to attract a community of like-minded people since there are few other places for them, not so much to serve articles. Since the blog is "complete" in terms of content that I'll share for free, I find that using the old post plugin is helpful to keep it active even as I only write 1--2 new posts per week whenever inspiration strikes. This is annoying to the minority who has read everything, but still helpful to those who have not read everything; some even enjoy reading things again. Overall, it is better to use it than not to use it, despite the collateral damage. As for the community, it seems to have moved to the forums. Thus the point of the forum is to support the community. The forum has 75--80 new posts each day. They won't be proofread either, but at least they'll be timely. Hence, to explain the way things have evolved, we used to have my writing and the community on the blog. Now we have my writing (and editing) in the book projects for the most part; the community is mostly on the forums; and the blog runs mostly on autopilot with me contributing "new" content 1--2 times per week instead of the usual 5--7. It is for these reasons that I prioritize my efforts as I do: 50% of my effort goes into consolidating the material into heavily edited books; 20% of my effort goes into the largely unedited blog since putting more effort into it is likely to result in duplication of effort; and the remaining 30% goes into the forum.