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Johnny Kauffman Deriding bad software so you don't have to!

From a consumption point of view, tech blogging is a great resource for one-off articles on niche subjects. If you spend any time reading tech blogs, you may find yourself running into several common, useless types of posts tech bloggers slip into. Some of these lame posts may just be natural due to common nerd psychology, and some others are probably due to lame, lemming-like laziness.

I’m sure I’ll do my fair share of fitting the mold, but I quickly get bored when I happen upon posts that hit these patterns without any real purpose or personal touches.

1. The Content Regurgitation Posts

This is a common pattern fueled by the starving pan-handlers in the web traffic economy. These are posts that are terse opinions or addendums to an existing post. I commonly see these involve huge block quotes from the linked article which almost always produces over 50% of the post itself.

I’ve accidentally gone to these posts when I’m knowingly only interested in the source material. Web links can degrade as well, so if the source link is broken, then, well, I’m pretty steamed.

I see this occur with simple opinions on technologies, Stack Overflow solutions, or various tech news like posts from Microsoft. It’s not uncommon to go to the linked article and see the author announce that he “added a blog post” as a response or summary of the topic.

This is just rude, but those who do it are probably aware of this. It’s a matter of winning that sweet, juicy web traffic. I doubt this leeching is fooling anybody these days.

I would like to rally human dignity and urge people to avoid these types of posts, and just leave a comment on the source material.

2. The “Sorry I Haven’t Posted In A While” Posts

This one is far too common. You’ll most likely see this quote somewhere in the body of the offending post:

I have been really busy.

If the poster is especially guilt-ridden, you’ll see a few volleys of excuses. Here are some common reasons I’ve seen, which I’ll list from least to most painfully awkward.

  • Out of town
  • Vague allusions to personal health problems (these typically includes phrases like “sick”, “treatment'”, and “all better now!”)
  • “Personal issues” (which I usually read as "divorce”)
  • Graphic or specific personal health problems (maximum awkwardness potential is achieved if you see links to charity fund websites)

I can’t help but to try over-analyzing why this occurs. Personally, I see this an an amalgamation of three plain factors:

  1. Life happens
  2. Us nerds are duty-driven, and driven to guilt at personal inefficiencies
  3. Tech blogs can become personal journals

I don’t think we can do much about the first two, but on the third I think we could certainly contain our urges. I’m a pretty boring guy and, whether or I like it or not, I have an unspoken duty to protect the world from hearing about my unremarkable existence. Nobody cares what kind of sandwich I’m eating. Similarly, if I disappear for a while, it’s unlikely that anybody who happens upon my blog would care why.

Rest assured, if I stop posting for a while due to a vasectomy, you will be the first to know.

3. The “At A Conference”, or “Conference Review” Posts

I don’t know if I’m like everyone else on this one, but I have never been successfully interested in these posts. It even sounds like a good idea: if I can’t make it to a particular conference (like the KCDC this year), wouldn’t I be interested in a concentrated summary of events?

Apparently, no! Within this realm, I’ve never read a post by a blogger that held my interest. What really baffles is is that, for whatever reason, I am genuinely engaged and interested when talking to someone in person regarding the same topic.

I have noticed the same phenomenon when hearing about others’ vacations. If someone sends me an email about their vacation, I gloss over it and forget about it quickly. In contrast, if I’m speaking to that individual in person about their vacation, I’m actually interested.

I’m unsure why the written medium eradicates the intrigue. I was raised by a roaming pack of friendly wild video games, so that may be a factor.

4. The “Top X Number of Y’s That Z” Posts

I’ve seen this one crop up a lot more in the past few of years. Here are some fabricated examples:

  • 5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Code
  • Top 7 Good Habits Programmers Learn From Experience
  • The 8 Things to Consider When Giving Estimates
  • Top 4 Lame Tech Blogging Posts

These are attention-grabbing headlines, and I’d assume they rack up hits. In fact, I enjoy a good number of these. But, I’ve been drawn to articles like this just to find an endless list of identically formatted posts on the blog’s archive sidebar. Often times these posts have overlapping topics, too.

These types of posts give the impression that the author has given thought to prioritize and organize the points as a result of a comprehensive consideration of a particular topic. Did the author really weigh all the possibilities when identifying the “Top 4 Lame Tech Blogging Patterns”? Unfortunately, probably not. What a tool.

To reiterate, I still enjoy the format, but I feel it is abused. Nowadays, I’m pretty skeptical when approaching posts in this format. If these trends continue, my brain will filter these blog posts out just as effectively as it ignores the encroaching “do xxx with this one trick” advertisements.

Conclusion

To active blog readers, I hope my guide has served you precious time in being able to identify lame blog posts at a glance. Save time and energy by skipping over the chaff of the internet!

And if you author a blog, perhaps my insight will help you to avoid the occasional urge to produce these needless filler posts.

Posted on Wednesday, April 4, 2012 7:34 AM | Back to top


Comments on this post: Top 4 Lame Tech Blogging Posts

# re: Top 4 Lame Tech Blogging Posts
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Being an avid blogger myself, even though a rookie, I will make sure I bear these in mind so that I dont classified as a "lame blogger" :) BTW, doesn't your post fall in the "4. The “Top X Number of Y’s That Z” Posts" category?:D (no trolling intentions) :)
Left by Storage London on Apr 04, 2012 8:54 PM

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