The problem with Blogrolls

I took down my blogroll a while back, mostly because it’s been the source of more headaches than happy feedback, plus when Shelley published her rant on how blogrolls are hurting us, I figured it was time for it to go.

I don’t think it was all bad, though. I imagine it helped a few of you find other things to read, which is good. But I wasn’t ever really happy with it. Like Monica, I felt that a larger description was probably better, and I tried using the “hover over the link to get more text” thing for a while, but it still didn’t make me happy.

Monica’s take was:

Something that frustrates me in other’s blogs is an inordinately long, unannotated blogroll. I just trawl through and hit something at random, hoping it won’t be jaw-slackeningly dull. There must be a better way, non? So I’ve annotated mine to tell you a little about the links I love. Hover over them with your mouse to see text.

I don’t think simply yanking it is good. As Scott pointed out in an email:

Hmmm, taking down blogrolls ain’t the solution to Shelley’s problem. I found most of the blogs that I read on a regular basis by browsing the blogrolls of others. Only a few of the people I read on a regular basis link to other blogs, so, without blogrolls, my exposure to other blogs would be seriously limited. Imagine if every blog was like mine where I rarely if ever link to other blogs in my articles? How would anyone find each other?

I think the solution is something different that just a straight list of links, though. First, it’s hard to maintain, and gets out of date. Second, people seem to think it’s all-inclusive, when it isn’t. And third, there’s not enough room to say much meaningful about the various blogs I link to there. Besides, I actually do link to other blogs here, so I think I have the kind of site where a blogroll might be superfluous.

The solution I’m thinking of, is keeping a “Worth Reading” thingie over there where the blogroll used to be. It’ll showcase one website at a time, and have a long enough description that you’ll be able to get an idea of what’s on the other end of that link.

I’m hoping I can keep an archive and update it regularly. That’s probably going to mean writing some more software to make it all work, but I’ve been slack about finishing up the plans for things here, and it might not happen. But even if my implementation ends up being lame, I think it’s a good idea to highlight one other site at a time, and to give an in-depth description.

We’ll see how it works out. As ever, let me know what you think.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:08:49.