If you’ve followed @blogsofwar on Twitter for long you know that it’s not uncommon for me to experiment with content and the way that it’s delivered. At times the feed has been fully human, at others almost fully driven by aggregation tools that I use on the backend, and lately it’s been a little bit of both.
About two years ago I got much more aggressive about mining and aggregating content. I put a fair amount of effort into pulling stories out of very broad and active feeds. I did this as much for the technical challenge and for my own use as anything else. But it is tricky work and will always result in the odd (sometimes very odd) stray entry no matter how creatively you construct queries or filters. The outcome of all this work was satisfactory – but just that. On any given day there might be a handful of stories that I would have never willingly pushed through the feed and lately I’ve found them to be increasingly annoying.
Pushing vast quantities of content, and loosening the reigns on the aggregator, had secondary effects that were equally troubling. Without trying to be nasty, I’ve noticed that low quality stories tend to attract low quality feedback and follows. These are the sort of people who usually find themselves very disappointed once they discover that Blogs of War isn’t really aligned with the harshly partisan or conspiratorial rant that attracted them in the first place. I’ve annoyed them, then they annoy me, and everyone ends up unhappy.
To make a long story short, The pendulum is swinging back in the other direction. The complex queries feeding the aggregator are gone. A lot of blogs are gone too – although some extremely solid ones remain. A handful of solid media, federal government, and think tank feeds also survived the cut. The experiment was productive but now I’m going to raise the bar and slow the pace a little. You should see the impact of these changes over the next few days.
If you like what you see, or don’t, please feel free to reach out and let me know.
Thanks for following.