Flutterby™! : A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging

Next unread comment / Catchup all unread comments User Account Info | Logout | XML/Pilot/etc versions | Long version (with comments) | Weblog archives | Site Map | | Browse Topics

A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging

2023-02-03 01:44:47.24127+01 by Dan Lyke 7 comments

So it was some time back in February of 1998 that I made the first entry on this here blog. The exact details are lost to history because I was using a tool I called Newwwsboy, that took email with Markdown (though I don't know if we even called it that yet, we sure didn't call these things "blogs" yet) and stuffed it into HTML, and didn't maintain timestamps.

It's interesting to me to wander back through the archives. I, of course, was a very different person back then, but so was the world. I noted new Susie Bright columns in Salon, Pat Califia, Lisa Palac, and Carol Queen writing in various forums. Need To Know was the latest in tech news. The much lamented Mouth Organ was publishing.

The number of people who are now dead-named in the archives would have been surprising to me then. It's kinda surprising to me now. I'm not sure if I should go back and edit history, leave it as is, or just hide the archives (I see that I've whined about the values of archives before, back in 2012, when I rel="nofollow"ed a bunch of old links and made commenting a little harder).

A number of people just dead. Some I'd met in person, they'd been in California for a conference or whatever, some I only ever corresponded with, or admired from afar.

I started writing stuff here for two reasons: First, I had a long history of writing long emails, and wanted a place to save the better ones (whence the email interface to the initial engine), second, I saw what Dave Winer was doing with Scripting News, and wanted to build the "check it daily" site that I wanted to see on the web.

I don't know that second bit ever happened, largely because, well, it was me writing it, and I think that what I wanted to see on the web, that optimism about a new media space and new culture and building a fresh world from the wreckage of the Reagan era has largely dried up and gone away.

I have made some really cool connections and friends over the years. I'm sorry I don't keep in touch with y'all who are still here better.

I miss the newness of the web, that this was a platform we were all exploring, when the parameters, both social and technical, weren't so defined. During the Bush II Iraq invasion, TC abused some of the public Referer(sic) tracking I had in place to game a Flutterby to the second Google search result for "French military victories", resulting in me implementing some code to hide various entries from Google, because dayumn there's some stupid people out there. Of course that was back when most of the web traffic was human. These days I go look at the logs and it's obscure search engine after other thing I've never heard of spidering the shit out of the database. The humans are few and far between.

I was hoping this'd be some sort of grand epiphany, but right now I'm just gonna post it so it doesn't get lost in the morass of browser tabs. Who knows, since I've got all of Feburary, maybe I'll come up with something intelligent to say...

[ related topics: Interactive Drama Politics Games Sexual Culture Content Management Weblogs Dave Winer Invention and Design Software Engineering Space & Astronomy Sociology Writing Current Events Journalism and Media California Culture Machinery Community Conferences Databases Archival Woodworking hubris ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-03 02:16:38.050439+01 by: DaveP

Glad you’ve stuck with it, Dan.

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-03 02:21:23.015145+01 by: bofh

It's been a long time :)

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-03 03:00:02.500326+01 by: spc476 [edit history]

Markdown was first released on 2004, so you probably supported a format like Markdown but without the name.

As far as the dead naming goes, I think it depends upon your viewpoint. I tend to dislike rewriting history (because Lord knows the politicians in the world would love to do so) but I understand the issue with respect to dead names. Perhaps as you come across them, and if it's an easy thing to do, just go ahead and do it.

As it is, there are very few people who were blogging from the late 90s that are still doing so, and I would hate to see this just languish.

Keep on keeping on.

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-03 03:07:08.644483+01 by: spc476

I read your 2012 comment about the former topic system here at Flutterby---wasn't that done automagically?

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-03 18:39:23.306102+01 by: Dan Lyke

The former topic system is still in place, I just haven't actually corrected it in a long time, and didn't log enough information to be doing machine learning on it. So, yeah, it's a massive case of bitrot and neglect.

And, yeah, I'd have to open up the Newwwsboy archives, but I'm pretty sure I handled lists, blockquotes, and my underscores and URLs in parens link format from the very beginning, which probably means underscores for italics (which I later also made link to a wiki like thing that has been similarly ignored), given that the initial impetus for the formatting engine was to be able to Bcc emails I sent from other places to here.

There's still a longstanding bug where you can confuse it into not closing a tag that I need to track down, but that'd involve setting up tests and fixing a few Perl precedence operator things because I was clever, and there is no greater programming sin.

I did get an interesting note from Academia.edu mentioning The rise of blogging: Articulation as a dynamic of technological stabilization by Ignacio Siles (Universidad de Costa Rica) (doi:10.1177/1461444811425222) quoting me, that's apparently been much cited, and I remember exchanging email with Ignacio, but I don't wanna jump through the hoops to buy the paper, so I'll have to track down his current whereabouts and see if he'll email it to me.

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-04 17:59:01.007727+01 by: concept14

Congratulations on the milestone. I have been reading your site weekly or monthly for at least 20 years. I don't think there is anyone else I have been following for that long, except maybe Making Light (which is only nominally active now).

#Comment Re: A Few Thoughts on 25 years of blogging made: 2023-02-08 02:36:24.336673+01 by: Mars Saxman

I don't remember when I first found your blog, but I guess it's been more than 20 years now. Thanks for keeping it up.

Add your own comment:

(If anyone ever actually uses Webmention/indie-action to post here, please email me)

Format with:

(You should probably use "Text" mode: URLs will be mostly recognized and linked, _underscore quoted_ text is looked up in a glossary, _underscore quoted_ (http://xyz.pdq) becomes a link, without the link in the parenthesis it becomes a <cite> tag. All <cite>ed text will point to the Flutterby knowledge base. Two enters (ie: a blank line) gets you a new paragraph, special treatment for paragraphs that are manually indented or start with "#" (as in "#include" or "#!/usr/bin/perl"), "/* " or ">" (as in a quoted message) or look like lists, or within a paragraph you can use a number of HTML tags:

p, img, br, hr, a, sub, sup, tt, i, b, h1, h2, h3, h4, h5, h6, cite, em, strong, code, samp, kbd, pre, blockquote, address, ol, dl, ul, dt, dd, li, dir, menu, table, tr, td, th

Comment policy

We will not edit your comments. However, we may delete your comments, or cause them to be hidden behind another link, if we feel they detract from the conversation. Commercial plugs are fine, if they are relevant to the conversation, and if you don't try to pretend to be a consumer. Annoying endorsements will be deleted if you're lucky, if you're not a whole bunch of people smarter and more articulate than you will ridicule you, and we will leave such ridicule in place.

Flutterby™ is a trademark claimed by

Dan Lyke
for the web publications at www.flutterby.com and www.flutterby.net.