On the Subject of a Blog Reset, as a Series of Questions

Q: I thought you abandoned your blog in 2013 for twitter.

I did! And I’ve felt insanely guilty about it ever since.

Recently, however, I’ve been having more conversations on twitter where the 140-character limit is, well, limiting. I’ve found it frustrating to make any kind of a complex argument across a tweet thread, even with linked conversations. Some thoughts need more room.

I’ve also wanted for some time now to get back into the habit of writing for fun. The full-time day job I had until recently was sucking up a lot of my writing energy, and I’ve done very little writing in the last bunch of years that wasn’t job-related, or 140 characters or less.

But I recently left that day job, now is as good a time as any for a full-on blog reset.

Q: What happened to blog.lauralemay.com?

Ages ago I set up my blog on a separate subdomain from my “main” site, and I can’t remember why. It seemed like a good idea at the time, maybe?

Having two different sites ended up being more annoying than I had intended. For one thing, I was trying to maintain two entirely different wordpress installs, with separate themes and plugins. (Yes, I know about WP multisite, and at the time I could not get it to work. LS;B (Long story, boring)).

With the reset I have merged everything back into www.lauralemay.com and a single wordpress install. The blog.lauralemay.com site still exists but I’m planning to put in a redirect once things here have settled down.

Q: I can’t believe you’re still using WordPress when you got so badly hacked, repeatedly, in the past. What’s wrong with you?

This is really a case of “better the devil you know.”

My original plan for a new blog had been to set up something simpler, easier to understand, and less prone to hacking problems than WordPress.

I spent a couple months earlier this year down a rabbit hole of learning all about static site generators (like Jekyll and Pelican and Hyde) for just this reason.

But the deeper into that rabbit hole I got, the more I realized how much work it was going to be to modify any static site software to output the design and structure and functionality I wanted. The time investment was going to be way more than I was willing to spend given that the actual goal was to write more, not spend more time working on software, or being my own sys admin.

WordPress has its issues, and I’ve seen a lot of them, but I understand it fairly well at this point. Also the community around themes and plugins is so rich that using WordPress gives you a huge step up in building a blog-like site versus starting everything from scratch.

Q: Yes, OK, but the hacking thing?

I figured out the hacking thing. If you put wp-login.php and the entire wp-admin directory behind access control (I use .htaccess) then the hacking stops. My old blog (and my old site) have been locked down like this for three years and I have had no further issues at all. (This is not a challenge.)

Q: You don’t have comments enabled. When are you going to turn comments back on?

I’m not. I did leave the old comments in place on my old blog posts because it felt weird to just delete them. New posts do not have comments, and won’rt.

Even on a blog as little-read as this one just managing spam in the comments was a pointless time sink. Replying to and managing actual real-life comments was also a lot less fun than I had thought it would be. At best I feel like I’m not keeping up, and guilty for not engaging better. At worst there are seemingly endless numbers of blowhards who use my comments to lecture or “well-actually” me, or to argue at length about things only semi-related to my actual posts. There are plenty of places to have an opinion on the Internet. This is mine. Get your own blog.

I am easily found on twitter or email if you really want to talk to me about something I’ve written.

Q: Are you going to talk endlessly about octopus and chickens all the time like you did before?

Yes! Also food, and cooking, and gardening. No links (those go on twitter). More personal stuff. And (I hope) much shorter posts rather than the 20-page essays and the immense multipart sagas I was doing before. (This post so far is not a good start.)

You will also occasionally see a post about technical writing, which is what I do for a living and a subject I feel strongly about (Yes, I know, I am strange). I am still figuring out the right way to categorize different subjects in the same blog, so we’ll see.

Titles will be properly uppercased this time around as well.

Q: Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

My new RSS feed is at http://www.lauralemay.com/feed. A blog-only feed (no pictures, links, tweets or other stuff sucked in from elsewhere) is http://www.lauralemay.com/blog/feed. You can also follow me on twitter for new post alerts.