What To Do When Your Post Goes Astray

For the second time I've arrived on DayPop's top 40. Thanks to a little link love from Dave plus the magic words "Open Source" and I'm getting more linkage than I've gotten in quite a while. I just checked and I was in at number 32, which ain't too bad (though I doubt it will go higher). Very amusing such link love for a late-night, not very clearly expressed, rant stemming from my info overload.

The first time I got on DayPop was last year when I cloned Simon Fell's BlogToaster in Java and published it. Simon, Peter Drayton and I worked together briefly at one point so between them knowing me and a link from Scripting News, I found myself, just briefly, the talk of blogspace. It's quite the surprise to have so many people focused on something you've written, even just briefly, though I must admit this time I'm even more surprised than the first.

Now that I have my super Referrers page working, I can quantify a bit what a link from a top blog like Dave's can do for you. Over the past day or so I've gotten over 400 click-throughs from Scripting News. I doubt many of those are repeats, and this doesn't even count links from the aggregators, which means probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 500+ people came to my blog YESTERDAY because of Dave. That's amazing exposure. I even got a message from Miguel de Icaza of Gnome/Mono fame (who basically told me I'm idiot, but hey! That's great! He's read my blog!)

But the thing is, if I had known I was going to get all this attention, I probably would have written the rant a little more clearly. Look at the timestamp on that bad-boy. 1 a.m. on Sunday evening/Mondy morning. I was tired, sick, I was going to bed, so I ranted and left it. I didn't even post again because of my throat for a day or so. Then Dave picked it up and POW! Suddenly this somewhat long and whingy rant comes to the attention of a zillion people. Oh-oh! Now what do I do? It's not like I can take it back - not that I wanted to because it's how I felt at the time and still do feel - but I probably would have made it a bit clearer and whinged a bit less. Maybe that was one of things that captured so many links, the pure unadulterated frustration oozing from the post? Or maybe it was just the fact that the post could be taken as a criticism of the sacred cow called Open Source? Who knows...

Regardless of the reason for the post's popularity, it's out there now and it's got my name on it (as well as my face). But because I'm not particularly happy with how I expressed myself in that moment, I find myself in an awkward position. Stefan Smalla inadvertently captured my new predicament PERFECTLY on his blog in response to my post:

... While reading this, I thought about this very site and my own perceived obligations. Because I regularly post, people expect me to continue to do so. Because I voice an opinion, I am expected to defend it. Like open-source contributors, I present this site as a free "gift", but like open-source contributors, I also offer a service some people start to rely on (for whatever tiny slice of their information needs). I have never promised anything, but an obligation is nevertheless implied. Or is it?

So here I am moaning about how no one understands the true purpose of the code I write, and then suddenly no one understands the true meaning of the post I wrote it in. And now I'm in the position of defending it! Aaaahh! My mind! :-)

Since I really didn't want to go back on what I said, just how I said it, my "fix" was to put some bullet points at the top to try to salvage some sense out of the rant. Many people were just stopping half way down and commented "Hey, dummy, just don't include your email address in your code." But for the most part I ended up being stuck defending something that I didn't really feel all that strongly about in the first place. I mean, it's not THAT much of a hasle getting a few emails a month.

Oh well... I find the whole situation very amusing, if only because the subject isn't that serious. It makes you realize, however, how far your words can travel... I may have to cut back a bit on the late night ramblings. Watch for the content of this blog to be cut in half.



< Previous         Next >