2009/07/07

0004 Jevera 02: Divided

When I migrated from my old site to Blogger, I originally did so because I had a dream, at some far distant point in the future, of being able to monetize my stories, like some other authors have. It was a pipe dream, but it was still a valid dream to follow, so I went with it. I couldn't put ads on LiveJournal. DreamWidth didn't exist. I didn't feel like trying to host my own WordPress site. It seemed the right way to go about it.

Then I asked myself, "Well, if I'm moving my stories over to a new site, why not move my whole diary over?" It sounded like a reasonable question. I'd kept the old site up for eight or nine years, but I was getting tired of the maintenance, and I was also honestly frustrated with the lack of feedback on my diary updates. I assumed, and had a few people suggest, that the reason why nobody ever said anything to my posts was because despite the link from LiveJournal back to my diary, people didn't like having to hit the back button to comment. Having taken a class in
HCI in graduate school, I could believe this.

I should, at this point, diverge long enough to state that the idea of me taking and passing a class in human-computer interfaces ought to either titillate or frighten people. I was the Problem Child who told the teacher I ran my monitor at
132×43 and used vi out of personal preference. That was one of the few grades I didn't earn so much as negotiate.

At any rate, I jumped ship, moving everything over to Blogger. The stories went to the
Nail, and the diary came to the Ranch. I started porting over the back catalog of posts on my site so I could finally decommission it, and I started putting up my old catalog of stories.

Then I discovered something problematic.

Back when I started my original diary, I went into it with the idea that, if I wasn't comfortable talking about it with the whole world, then it wasn't worth discussing. I said to myself that I was going to just let my freak flag fly, and anybody who had a problem with it could just deal. I was tired of hiding. I was tired of sneaking around in the darkness.

Then, I actually had a couple of things happen that, for very good reason, didn't warrant wider conversation, but did need to be brought out for more than just my eyes to study.

Now, all of a sudden, I had a problem that, until this point, I had no need to solve, simply because I really didn't have any good topics of conversation that fell into that weird middle ground of "not completely private but not really public either." Having already made the leap to Blogger, I started surfing around it for options, and... I found something distressing. Namely, that while Google does support the idea of a private
blog, with restricted access, it doesn't really have any concept of a private post, with individual elements in a blog restricted to specific people.

One might think that, like any reasonable or sane person, I would simply slink back to LJ, which is, after all, where all my friends hang out and post. And, you'd be perfectly justified in thinking of this as an option. Unfortunately, past events have left me extremely skittish dealing with SixApart's administration, especially on subjects such as frank discussions of sex and sexuality. It's not that I
assume they'll ban me if I talk about it. It's that... well, they've already done it in the past, and I don't feel like courting disaster.

DreamWidth, now available, seemed like a good option. Very LJ-like, and with some new features that sold me relatively quickly... only... still no good way to put up my writing blog there. I suppose I could simply copy the posts and host them on DW, but they're very new and I have no idea how they feel about foreign ads on their sites. I suppose I could ask, but it feels a little like inviting the same kind of disaster as putting the sexy talk on LJ.

So, a conundrum, one that plagues me even now. See, the Nail, for all that I don't do what I said I was going to do with it, needs to remain on Blogger, or else go to WordPress, assuming that I'm not interested in rolling my own; it's the only place I can really host ads alongside the content, assuming I ever get enough content in place that anybody would want to put ads there; that, sadly, is its own topic. The Ranch could go to DreamWidth and consolidate with the Spiral, which would be fine, but it doesn't "solve the problem" of two separate hosts to handle my stuff. I could move DreamWidth's content to Blogger, but I'd have to have... um... three or four separate blogs, each with its
own access list... no. Not happening.

Really, it's like my requirements for blogging software really come down to two major points:
  • I want to host ads on the writing blog at some point.
  • I want to secure individual posts to an arbitrary access list.
I don't think any noncommercial blogging platform actually provides me both of these at the same time. Blogger requires a separate blog for every access list. WordPress doesn't permit ads unless you pay for a VIP account. DreamWidth doesn't permit ads. LiveJournal's administration policies make me nervous... and don't permit ads.

It's looking like what I
really want is a self-hosted WordPress site. But... what I don't want is another rassa-frassa migration from one site to another. I also want to avoid getting back into administrating my own frickin' blog software. I also want to avoid people thinking that I'm even more of a flake than I already am. However, it seems that if I really do only want to have to keep track of one site on top of LiveJournal... then this is probably going to be it.

So, to you, my theoretically loyal readers, any thoughts? Is the effort of consolidation worth the hassle of updating my own software? Does anyone actually read anything on DreamWidth? As long as I provide links as appropriate, do people care if I have a hojillion Blogger sites? Should I give up and come back to LiveJournal? Should I give up on the idea of trying to make money off my writing at some point? Does Jif really taste more like fresh-roasted peanuts?

Is there anybody out there?

7 comments:

  1. ......... brainloader not found. o.O

    No suggestions, although a privately hosted blog might solve the problems 'permanently', and thus while you'd have to repost a lot of stuff over one long weekend of work, you'd never have to do it again, so it'd be worth the effort.

    Of course, I still want a server farm in my basement, so I'm biased about 'host it yourself' solutions. n.n

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  2. To me it seems like you could make filtered posts on LJ, under the same alt, and otherwise continue doing what you're doing. Not slinking back as much as using an account you already have for a different purpose. If your posts are restricted to a small group of friends you trust, I can't imagine that the LJ Powers That Be would pick anything up on their radar.

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  3. Personally, I stick with LiveJournal out of inertia, when it comes right down to it. Nothing else has come along and made an offer I can't refuse, so to speak.

    It's at least worth noting in passing that Six Apart hasn't owned LiveJournal since December 2007; LiveJournal is run by LiveJournal, Inc., which is in turn owned by Russian company SUP. I know you really know this, but I've been sort of amused at how often 6A still gets invoked, usually as bad guys, in discussions about LJ.

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  4. @Moment: I'd be tempted to host a server farm in the closet, but even just the one is making the studio too hot. Now, having an entire server room in the apartment, that's classy. =n.n=

    @Peregrine: It's posting the dodgy content to LJ in general that's the issue, though. As Chipotle rightfully points out, it's not 6A any more, it's the Russians, but that doesn't really make me any more comfortable as far as data security goes.

    @Chipotle: You're right, it's SUP, not 6A, and I was insufficiently self-checking on that. As noted to Peregrine, though, saying that the Russians own it now doesn't really instill me with any more confidence. I hate to sound like some kind of Cold War holdover, but I'm not generally impressed with Russian ideas of privacy and advocacy.

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  5. Hi dear!

    Somehow I don't feel you can avoid hosting yourself something that is meant to make money -- nothing rational there, it's just a suspicion. When you're doing it yourself you're not accountable to anybody else.

    otherwise LJ is fine. We won't go tell anybody about your private posts, no worries. :)

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  6. Really, to us here it does sound like you want a self-hosted hosted WordPress installation. We have one, but then we also haven't quite gotten around to figuring out how to have any posts on it be limited to a specific access list. As such, it has only been used for completely public things, with LifeJournal being reserved for the things that fall in between that and completely private.

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  7. I am using Wordpress as a backend for Five Glasses Of Absinthe. Administering it is pretty damn easy compared to poking at a homebrew kludge you hacked up several years ago; everything is behind a nice simple point-and-drool interface. The only time you ever have to touch an FTP client is the initial upload; you can now grab plugins and themes from a central repository via the backend.

    Install XAMPP on one of your machines and futz around. Wordpress is stupidly easy to run now; after spending a couple days figuring out what plugins you want, you can really just focus on the big text entry box.

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