Bit freshener

Updates updates updates all the time. You have one! Get to work! Did anything change? No! Yes! Who knows? Quick, fix it! Did you break it? Who would know?

Updates are the opposite of bitrot.

The Jargon File, a compendium of hacker lore, defines “bit rot” as a jocular explanation for the degradation of a software program over time even if “nothing has changed”; the idea being this is almost as if the bits that make up the program were subject to radioactive decay.


Wait, why quote Wikipedia quoting the Jargon File when I can just quote the Jargon File?

Hypothetical disease the existence of which has been deduced from the observation that unused programs or features will often stop working after sufficient time has passed, even if ‘nothing has changed’.

The important thing is that *bitrot does not exist.* I know that seems insanely obvious. Bits do not rot. They are purely abstract. They live forever. A bit is a bit for all time.

And yet if it is true then what are all these updates doing?

Now get to work.

Feed readers for social bloggers

A blogger’s RSS reader should be directly integrated with their tools for writing posts. Anything you read should have a “Reply” button on it that can instantly generate a properly formatted blog post. That formatting should link to the original and either show a quote or put something meaninful in the link text. The cursor should be left in an edit field ready for blog writing.

WordPress should come with a feed reader.

The feed reader should be linked to an auto-generated blogroll. Anything the blogger subscribes to should be in the blogroll by default, with the option to hide links.

Feedback mechanisms for social bloggers

When I come back to my blog it is undisturbed. Like at home when I come back from work, everything is just as I left it.

Quiet is good in a Moleskine. But what if blogs for personal-level publishers like myself want to be social? A personal-scale social blogger should have a home screen of status updates.

Every time they open their blog they should have access to reverse chronological events. These could include analytics on views, added or lost subscribers, comments, pingbacks, links from third party blogs, or stats on posting frequency.

Gamification. Feedback. The variable reward to complement investment and action.

From Hooked: How to Make Habit-Forming Products

My train of thought is about how dedicated social networking platforms like Mastodon and Facebook can be replaced by blogs. I’m mulling over small practical things to make blogs a better tool for decentralized socializing.

I wonder if the developer community gave up too easily in the face of Facebook. Could relatively light tweaks to the blog technology stack add up to a much bigger community of personal networkers?

Blog post titles should be optional

Tom 7 Radar asks Why do posts have to have a ‘title’? (31 Aug at 23:46)

My answer: because blog infrastructure assumes one exists, and without a title a post is wonky. No better reason than that.

And titles really really should be optional. Does every tweet need a title? Do Facebook comments need a title?

Needing a title is friction. Not needing one is an advantage for mersh social media.