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May 5, 2008

Continue reading this entry

Someone awhile back complained in a comment about my using the "continue reading" function so often with my posts instead of just writing one long entry that appears in toto on the main page, as many bloggers do. I answered him briefly under his comment, but I think it deserves more explanation. ...

The main reason is that I don't want people to read this as a linear blog.  If you don't visit several times a day (God forbid, but I suppose some of you actually have a life), I want you to be able to scroll quickly through the posts you've missed to see if something catches your eye.

I also feel strongly that comments are often as important as my original entry, or more so. Getting readers to click on "continue reading" also brings up the comments; and if the first one is lively, you may just keep going. For instance, imagine missing the discussion under the post Restaurants and the Economy. It was far more entertaining and informative than my original entry.

And while I'm talking about this not being a linear blog, I hope you'll remember the search function to the right on the main page. It can be funky, but it's also helpful if you want to read past entries on, say, my road trip adventures. The Categories are helpful as well, as long as I remember to assign the entries to categories, which is by no means a given.

Finally, don't forget the archives if you're a new visitor or if you've missed a week because of vacation. It's interesting to go back to the beginning if only to see how shy posters were at first, and how some people went nuts over the Top Ten lists because others contribute or they thought I took kickbacks.

Either they finally get it, or they've just given up and gone away.

 

Posted by Elizabeth Large at 2:56 PM | | Comments (19)
        

Comments

Oh c'mon Elizabeth, many of us have said repeatedly that we have NO life and NEED to check your blog several times a day. Nuf said? Thought so.

And...I like that I can cruise the archives when I've been away to catch up on "all the news that's fit to print." It's handy, and helps one ease gently back into the workaday world. Didn't know you had that effect, didja?

I love that. EL

Actually, it was I who complained about your use of the MORE tag--what shows up as "Continue reading."

My issue here is with those of us who are more enlightened consumers of web-based content. We use things such as aggregators--FeedDemon, Google Reader, NetVibes, etc. As such, the MORE tag--while potentially saving space on the front page of your blog--is a contrivance to increase page views. With the aforementioned tools available to me, I don't need to constantly visit your site to read your content.

If the number of posts on your main page is truly an issue, I would suggest looking at the settings for your blog that allow you to set how many posts are viewable on your main page. I don't know how locked down your corporate blogging platform of choice is, but that might be something else to look at.

Reading comments can best be done by either facilitating the use of a feed for comments on the blog or by clicking on the link labeled "Comments."

I honestly fail to see the usefulness in your use of the MORE tag. Personally, I would suggest you follow the example of what your sister publication "b" did for their website. Their actual posts on their site are not full-text, but they DO have full text in their RSS feeds. Talk to Tim Windsor, as he was kind enough to address this issue for me and others on b.

Now, if you could do that, you would be responding to the needs and desires of all consumers of your content.

That's a good idea. I'll suggest it. Thanks. As for the comments, I know people CAN click on the comments, but you'd be surprised how many readers tell me they don't. EL

Aahh...I guess I'm just one of those "unenlightened consumers". I want to continue to read, I click; I want to read comments, I click. The horrors!

I think it's fun to click, especially when your random pictures pop up. It amuses me.

This is a helpful conversation. More than once I was about to wax eloquent on a topic only to discover that it was originally raised months and months ago. So maybe I won't simply bag it because of the date.

Also I think regular readers check the Most Recent Comments section to the right, which will show your comment for awhile at least. EL

I posted a follow-up to my comment on my blog, further explaining my comment here. Phil, I made an offer there that stands: If you want help or want to learn more about this stuff, please feel free to ask. I will offer what assistance I can.

If there's anything I can do in your efforts, EL, please let me know.

Thanks, I appreciate it. I've sent an e-mail with your whole comment in it to our multimedia editor; if she can't help, she'll point me in the right direction. EL

Many people don't read the comments? They are missing half the fun!!! But I would like to see an expanded version of the most recent comments section, as I'm sure I miss some good ones.

JJT--more cowbell? Huh?

JJT - aggregators? FeedDemon? Google Reader, NetVibes, etc? No offense (since EL won't tolerate such infractions) but nothing here is meant to be "a contrivance to increase page views." And I take umbrage at the elitism inherent in your use of "enlightened consumers." You do not, nor should you presume to, speak for anyone but yourself.

Thank you for sharing your expertise.

The good thing is that JJT pointed out a way that those using both ways of reading the blog can be happy if I can just get our crack techies to fix it for us. EL

@Dahlink: You don't know about the infamous "More Cowbell" sketch? Please see this Wikipedia article.

I have the actual sketch somewhere on my webserver, but I I do not have time to find it at work. It is truly one of Christopher Walken's more classic sketches in his many guest hosting appearances on SNL.

@PianoRob: Elitism is one thing, and I will not argue that my comment was certainly elitist. I spoke for myself, but I also deigned to speak for others who use tools such as the ones I use. It's a big Internet out there; I'm just trying to do my part to help folks navigate it. And, please, if we were to get into a discussion concerning elitism, one need not look further than some of the comment threads on other posts in this same forum. Isn't our reading and use of the blog and comment system here elitist in some sense?

I digress, though. Here is a less self-centered, nay, less elitist, point in favor of the aforementioned points I made. The important part here is the content. Why make it hard/difficult/time consuming to get to good content by putting it behind a wall that forces someone to click-through? Wouldn't it make business sense to get the content generated here into the largest number of consumers? While page views are important for advertising, at the end of the day, good content begets visitors. Let's get the content out to the highest number of users by scaling it out--full-text feeds, maximizing the number of posts on the main page, etc. In other words, set the content free of its technological bounds.

I'm just trying to do my part to help folks navigate it

Jason, it's not your part to help me navigate the internet, nor do I require your help. Different people have different paradigms for dealing with these matters, and you shouldn't assume that what you personally find best must be what everyone else finds best.


I'm sorry you find it distressing to click through, but it doesn't bother me at all.

Oh, and what's with the ampersands? :-)

Yes! At last there's someone who can help me be instantly and permanently connected to the "Matrix". Now I'll never be out of touch with anything and can absorb every electron ever being generated anywhere in cyberspace. But will I be able to get a good cuppa coffee?

Hal VoR--exactly right. I enjoy picking and choosing where I will click next. Or not.

JJT--thanks for the enlightenment on the cowbell. For a minute there I thought maybe you went to Williams.

Well JTT, I just tried Google Reader, again. What I got was a list of latest postings (2 to-day and a bunch from yesterday). If I want to read any of these, when I click on the entry another tab opens and takes me back to D@L and the beginning of the topic. So, what have I gained with this versus keeping D@L open on its own tab and hitting refresh when I come back, during the day? Oh, its not so kewl as having an aggregator and braggging about it (to enhance my geek reputation) but for D@L I don't see any benefit. (BTW D@L is the blog I read, since I have other things to do, so I'm not interested in reading what every nut case says on 568 different blogs.)

The real problem that has been discussed many times before, in this blog, is how inferior and limited is the blogware the Tribune Company imposes on its papers. It would great if Most Recent Comments could be expanded beyond 5, but its my understanding it can't bo done.

@Hal, VoR: I presume that acronym stands for "Voice of Reason." To each their own. The ampersands are actually the at sign, and it's an old technique used on forums and other places to direct comments at folks.

@Dahlink: Glad I could help

@Robert (the Single One): So, you are castigating me for a problem I already stated in my comment above and that you verified still exists in Google reader? I wouldn't have commented on this thread if I didn't already know the problem exists, but I do thank you for your independent verification. I'm also glad that you pointed out that you have other things to do.

That's alright, though. I will be sure to continue to enhance my geek cred, as you so aptly put it.

Okay, guys, I have to use my librarian voice here to point out that you are not talking about ampersands. This is an ampersand: &

@ = at

Harrumph.

JJT thanks for the comment, and for the other readers out there, here's another reason to use an aggregator --my work blocks me from visiting most websites (including many on baltimoresun.com) but not my GoogleReader! So, with the help of this handydandy device I can procastinate at work with the best of you without my IT folks being on to me . . . yikes, until now!

At the risk of breaking up the IT fun or the graphic enlightenments, I'd like to return to the original issue and ask what folks think. Perhaps the date of a posting might be more prominently displayed -- maybe at the top, a little larger and in a color that is a little less of a fade into background.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.
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