A question for my readers

As you may or may not know, this blog has taken off with big traffic increases as of late.

While the traffic has been an indicator of success, unfortunately, keeping that success gets to be more and more time consuming. This blog platform is hosted on Moveable Type version 3.2, which is about as close to being crippled as blog software can get. For example. it doesn’t even have a spell checker. The spam comment filter doesn’t work much anymore, and email notifications are also broken. The host has promised for months now to upgrade the platform, but so far has been unable to do so.

Working with MT in it’s current state requires a lot of extra effort compared to other software, and I find myself spending an inordinate amount of time just dealing with the limits of Moveable Type and trying to work around them. It has become quite frustrating as I want to offer better quality content and find myself unable to easily do so. I can’t even put in fully rich HTML into MT because of the way it deals with formatting. I’ve tried several add on programs to aid in blog generation, all of which have been thwarted by the MT platforms non standards compliance. Of course, some of my more snarky readers would likely suggest that standards “don’t matter” and that any problems with the content can be “adjusted” 😉

So the question is this, should I:

1) Close this blog and give up blogging altogether on this platform

2) Move someplace else and link back to this location

3) both

I welcome any input.

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20 thoughts on “A question for my readers

  1. Well, I’d recommend creating a WordPress blog and importing all the entries from this blog to the new one. It shouldn’t be very painful, although there can always be some surprises when converting content from one format to another.
    Nevertheless, this way you’d not lose any content or have to have old archives separate from your current blog. It should even be possible to preserve permalinks to your current posts and have them redirect to the new blog, although that might take some manual labour.

  2. The Gorse Fox does not wish to get into any religious wars over which blog software is best. He does, however, hope that you will continue on a new blogging platform and continue to provide a welcome balance to the catastrophist hyperbole of most of those who discuss Climate Change.
    (PS. Gorse Fox is aware of many very successful WordPress and Blogger blogs; he uses blogger and has done so without incident for 3 years and about 3500 posts)

  3. I’d hate to see you give up on a personal blog, even though you have the formal surfacestations project and posting rights at CA. Perhaps moving the bulk of your content to a new platform and deprecating this location is an answer.
    Of course, you could keep this location and use it for headlines and teasers that link to your preferred platform for the full content. Teasers shouldn’t need full formating, after all…
    Myself, I’d resist the temptation to try to segregate the non-climate stuff from the climate stuff. I like seeing glimpses that make it clear there is a real person behind it all. If it gets too sterile, then one might begin to wonder.

  4. Anthony,
    I don’t know enough about software or how blogs work to give you a technical answer. I’ve heard some good things about WordPress that Pasi mentions in the previous comment. I was one of the first readers of a new site using WordPress earlier this year, and it appeared to be quite feature rich in terms of HTML formatting, auto-linking, auto-quotes, etc.
    Mainly, I just enjoy the heck out of your blog and would miss it if you went away. That said, I can’t begin to imagine the amount of work you put in to keep it going.

  5. I would recommend similar to what Pasi says. If you want free, wordpress.com or just go with blogger. I find wordpress.com does not play that nice with photos and charts, while blogger does all things quite well.
    You can also buy a domain name and still use blogger for a few dollars a year fee. Have your own spot, with all the free hosted goodness of google. With the traffic you generate, google ads are a given.
    Either way, you should be able to import all your posts.
    Don’t quit 🙁

  6. I was going to suggest Drupal as a replacement, but haven’t been able to find any migration process.
    But I imagine someone with some MySQL experience might be able to write a transform script.
    I found out about Drupal a couple years ago and have several sites running with it now. It’s getting better and better with each release and has tons of modules, which means you’ll be able to do more than just blog.
    As far as input, you can select from filtered HTML, which is what you’d allow for users, Full HTML, and PHP. There are numerous editors available which will help with basic formatting, all the way up to TinyMCE which is a full-fledged RTF/HTML editor (though a bit overwhelming to less-savvy users).
    I’d be glad to help out if you decide to test drive Drupal.
    Some sites I’ve setup are:
    http://rpgmapshare.com
    http://oneblockatatime.net (this is being maintained by someone else, but is running on my server)
    http://infinite-realities.com/ordnance
    As for spell-checker, switch to Firefox, it’s built-in 😉

  7. I want to be counted as one that wants you to keep blogging.
    However I have no experience on blogging software so I can’t help you there.

  8. I enjoy your Blog on a daily basis. Every work day I hit Junk Science first, then I come here. The work you are doing is very important and I would hate to see any degradation in the effectiveness of your Blog. No mater what changes you make, I will remain an avid fan.

  9. I would prefer you stay with the ER but my preference is merely a parochial one. I enjoy the fact your blog has achieved a national (if not international status) and that it is a feature of life in Chico. I recall a time when I was nearly the only person posting responses here and so this blog “location” has a sort of sentimental value for me.
    Yeah, I am aware that the above sentiment is very silly. Whatever you decide to do, I will be finding and following your blog and hope it continues to grow in readership and interactive audience. I enjoy the readership response posts as much as your blog entries.
    It would be nice if you could to both. Run the blog on a different service using better software, echo it here, and forward Norcalblog post submissions to the new service (if that is possible).
    But that sounds like even more work for you and is really unnecessary. I doubt you would lose much audience by going to another service and abandoning Norcalblogs completely.
    By going over to a new service it sounds like you would have less headaches and have more time to do the science — and that, afterall, is what this is all about.
    On another note:
    I liked the varying focus of your blog before the Surface Stations launch, but I fully understand and appreciate your current full focus on GW science and the ongoing debate.
    Good luck and best regards whatever you decide to do.

  10. I believe in using strongly supported and popular if it works well. For this reason I use WordPress. WordPress offers offline editing tools besides the web based editing. I was able to move my old Blog (written from scratch) to WordPress with no major issues. Paradoxically I use a Mac that is not as popular but certainly superior. Also I get great spell checking in all forms when I type them. Keep up the great work!

  11. I do not have any useful information at all–I no longer do sys admin stuff and “blogs” happened after I started riving trucks.
    But I do know this!
    We need for somebody to find a way to get you to something that will work–we need you (probably a lot more than you need us).

  12. Anthony, if you have the time, energy, and desire…i.e. you remain PASSIONATE about the topic, keep blogging. If it is sucking energy from you, or valuable time from your family, stop. Simple as that.
    If you keep blogging, take the advice of those far more expert than me in terms of what packages to use. WordPress, Drupal, whatever.
    But priorities are priorities.

  13. I’d move it to a more robust platform and link back to here keeping only headlines and teasers. Of course disable comments here.

  14. Please continue with Blogging in some form.
    Besides blogging software you may wish to look at discussion board software.
    Many of these have options for html, editing, spell check, photos.

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