AggreGatekeepers (Updated)

March 26, 2007 | 79 comments
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A quick question/poll, for our readers: Do you use aggregation to read blogs? If so, which aggregator(s) do you typically use? The major choices I’m aware of are Archipelago, LDSelect, and Google Reader; are there other popular options? Do you use any of these? All of them? Why (not)? And what feature(s) do you (not) use? I’m curious.

UPDATE: For the uninitiated, below are a few images of three aggregation options. Click through for larger image.

Mormon Archipelago

LDS Select

Google Reader

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79 Responses to AggreGatekeepers (Updated)

  1. meems on March 26, 2007 at 1:54 am

    I use Archipelago because it’s the easiest one for me to navigate, I like the look of the design, and it’s the very first one I came across 2 years ago when I started reading the bloggernacle. It’s bookmarked.

  2. Blain on March 26, 2007 at 3:04 am

    I use Sage under Firefox.

  3. onelowerlight on March 26, 2007 at 4:09 am

    Bloglines. I don’t know of anything better, and I like how I can use bloglines for non-LDS blogs as well as LDS blogs. Or, LDS blogs that are outside of “the bloggernacle.”

  4. Norbert on March 26, 2007 at 5:25 am

    Archipelago. It is structured the same way I look at the blogs. (Although one could argue I look at the blogs the way I do because of its structure.)

  5. Seth R. on March 26, 2007 at 8:35 am

    Bloglines. I don’t pay much mind to the LDS aggregators, except on rare occasion.

    By the way, this blog could probably use some buttons for quick subscription via the major aggregators out there, such as Bloglines, FeedDemon, etc. You should always make subscription as easy as possible and in as many formats as possible.

  6. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 8:59 am

    I think Google Reader is improving all the time but I still use Bloglines. I also sometimes go to LDSelect to see how much “comments action” is going on at different blogs. Occasionally I check out MoArch, just to see what is going on there.

    I also run what I call a non-hierarchical aggregator at Blognitive Dissonance. You can find it at http://blognitivedissonance.com/feeds/

    Any WordPress blog can turn a WordPress “page” into an aggregator using this plugin.

  7. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 9:02 am

    Kaimi, there is some kind of bug in the comments at T&S. When I hit “submit comment” it does not return me to the T&S homepage – but instead sends me to a page that is almost blank. Each time I have to manually type in the T&S url to get back to the homepage. However, I should add that the comments are being posted. I’ve experienced this a number of times on different days.

  8. Idahospud on March 26, 2007 at 9:16 am

    I use no aggregates . . . I look at them sometimes but it’s just tooooo much info at once for this ADD-er. So I stay old-skool and use my Favorites list and check sideblogs for stuff I might miss. I spend too much time in the ‘nacle as it is.

  9. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 9:41 am

    A few coders I talked to say that aggregators help to promote the Bloggernacle in Google and other search engines. Multiple aggregators may seem redundant, but the interlinking between blogs helps promote them all.

  10. DKL on March 26, 2007 at 10:15 am

    I use LDSelect, of course. If you ask me, everyone should, for the following reasons:

    1. It’s organized however you want to organize it, and contrary to a popular misconception, you don’t need to register to customize it.
    2. The new drag-and-drop blog placement makes configuration easier than ever
    3. It has mouse-over previews for both posts and comments.
    4. It allows you to filter out comment listings for threads that you’re not involved in.
    5. You can switch between your custom view and the default view. I’m considering adding an MA view, that would altogether obviate the need for the MA.

  11. Amira on March 26, 2007 at 10:25 am

    I use Google Reader and LDSelect. Google Reader to keep track of posts, whether LDS or not, and LDSelect to keep track of comments on LDS blogs. LDSelect is much easier for me to use for all the reasons DKL lists.

  12. Ronan on March 26, 2007 at 10:30 am

    DKL’s site is slick indeed. That it’s costing you a fortune to run, Dave, is pretty impressive. I’m still trying to figure out if one of the MA-ers picked on you as a child. (Insert wink-face.)

    A few months ago, the MA got out of the business of being “the gateway to the bloggernacle” and became “a gateway.” It’s too much work to be definitive.

    A few people hate it when we remove feeds (“censor”), and I think we get it wrong sometimes (there is often disagreement, but we’re too lazy to work for consensus). But the MA is unashamedly an edited portal to the bloggernacle which newcomers especially can use to get an overview of the Mormon blogs without getting burned by anti- or DAMU* stuff. Hence the occasional removal of feeds that cross the line. Yes, it’s arbitrary.

    I use the MA.

    *And it’s not that I hate the DAMU — there’s some interesting stuff out there — but even DAMU-types would probably admit that their stuff would be jarring to some people. The bloggernacle is probably jarring enough. The MA is a portal that deliberately tries to set some limits. You can hate us for that, it’s OK.

  13. Susan M on March 26, 2007 at 10:46 am

    Bloglines, MA, Commentful to track comments, and LDSelect occasionally.

  14. Rusty on March 26, 2007 at 10:46 am

    “5. You can switch between your custom view and the default view. I’m considering adding an MA view, that would altogether obviate the need for the MA.”

    Except that it’s ugly.

    DKL, you’re a true programmer, man. You’ve created a great site with a lot of nifty functions, I just have a hard time looking at it (or being able to tell what information is visually important). Maybe you should add a “create visual hierarchy” or “turn off drop shadows” button. Now that’s a configuration I could get behind! :)

    Oh, and if it’s not obvious, I prefer the MA.

  15. Keri on March 26, 2007 at 10:46 am

    I use MA to get a view of what is going on in the Bloggernacle for the day, and I’ll read any posts that look interesting. Then I will go to the homepage of the blogs I read most often (BCC, FMH, T&S) to see what new comments have shown up. Then I’ll think about updating my blog (which, although it is LDS related, is not yet on any aggregator), and eventually get lazy and postpone it until tomorrow.

  16. cchrissyy on March 26, 2007 at 10:58 am

    I used Archipelago for about a year but now I do Google Reader.
    I like google reader for putting new posts in one place, including for non-LDS and personal blogs, but I wish it could show new comments too. Instead, I have to bookmark posts I’m interested in reading future comments on.

  17. doug on March 26, 2007 at 11:17 am

    NetNewsWire by NewsGator. (http://www.newsgator.com/NGOLProduct.aspx?ProdID=NetNewsWire)

    Has a both desktop (helpful for work/home sifting) and web interface (helpful for mobile device reading).

  18. Margaret Young on March 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

    WOW! I have absolutely no idea what any of those terms refers to. I am feeling SO OLD. I just click on a little icon that looks like an “e” and I’m on the net. Is that a google reader?
    This all feels very intimidating.

  19. Brooke on March 26, 2007 at 11:27 am

    I use LDSelect.

  20. Peter on March 26, 2007 at 11:34 am

    I treat LDS blogs separately from the rest of the blogs I read. Within the Bloggernacle I have a standard set of blogs I check regularly, and then I use LDSelect to scan the rest for interesting topics.

  21. cantinflas on March 26, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I use LDSelect, and have since it’s inception. I couldn’t get into MA before that. I like that I can search for comments by one person on the comment bar at elect. I like to order the blogs by my own priority. The only reason I go to a blog homepage is if I think I missed something.

  22. Bradley Ross on March 26, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    I use MA. I find it more visually appealing than LDSelect. I’m more interested in posts than comments. I used to use a feedreader (both Google Reader and Sage) but I always felt like I had to read everything that showed up. (Silly, I know.) Now, I just scan MA like a newspaper and feel no guilt for things I skip.

  23. Tim on March 26, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    NewsFire is amazing… I thought those who knew the truth only used Macs!?!

  24. mfranti on March 26, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    ldselect.

    found it by accident and never left.

  25. Adam S. on March 26, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Sage with Firefox

  26. Steve thru NV on March 26, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    The Mormon Archipelago and LDSelect are fundamentally the same, just different colors and boxes. Otherwise, same old, boring FIFO list.

    How about something new:

    User-based voting, like on Christian Cardall\’s blog? The users can provide community feedback and others will know whats up before they go.

    How about multiple different ways of sorting the blog feeds. Time for something different: How about lists sorted on number of comments and page views? Or only new posts in past 24 or 48 hours? What else?

    How about a new way of sorting the feeds: Most active first. See what posts are getting the most play right now. Number of comments per hour and/or day. Heaviest activity=top rank. Go to where the action is now.

    FIFO lists are BORING!!! Oh, thanks, Rusty for pretty colors and DKL for variations on the theme, but its still the same old, same old. yawn.

  27. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Here’s a downloadable aggregator. I believe it involves the code used for MoArch.

  28. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    You can find downloadable code (that I believe was used to create MoArch) here:

    http://www.zeptoworld.com/category/release/

  29. DMI Dave on March 26, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I like the look and feel of LDSelect but I still MA as my aggregator of choice. I get a good share of hits from both aggregators at my own blog, so both have a good chunk of the market. Choice is good.

    I have been using Google Reader for a couple of months and really like being able to sift through 40 or 50 posts in ten minutes or less. (You get it by signing up for a Google email account; then clicking “My Account” and selecting “Reader” — it’s very easy to use.) I have several blogs in my Reader queue that aren’t on MA, a simple solution for those who see any selection bias at MA.

  30. jana on March 26, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    I use google reader for the blogs that I follow very closely, even subscribing to the comments feed at several of them. I use LDSelect to keep abreast of bloggernacle happenings–I love the way the page is organized and that it’s customizable.

    I’ve been boycotting MA for awhile now–I don’t have anything against the MA folks personally, but I don’t like their rather arbitrary censorship of FMH and X2 posts.

  31. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 2:05 pm

    Bah, one of my comments was held up so I posted again. Sorry for the double-post (comments 27 & 28).

  32. Dan on March 26, 2007 at 2:27 pm

    I use LDSelect and never use Mormon Archipelago. But this is more because the folks behind Mormon Archipelago have chosen not to link my blog, as such I will not be using their services. DKL has been kind enough to include my blog on LDSelect. As such for my LDS blogging, I use LDSelect and recommend it to all above Mormon Archipelago.

  33. John Remy on March 26, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Google Reader, all organized in folders by topic (‘Mormon’ is only one of about a dozen). I mostly scan headlines and read the most interesting posts, since I follow dozens of feeds. A handful I’m completely loyal to (like my spouse’s!) and read every word. (Did you hear that, Jana?)

  34. john f. on March 26, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    The MA has a stated purpose of trying to espouse some of the philosophy of Eugene England in its aggregation activities. Thus, it is not a straight-out aggregator but is admittedly a selection of blogs that appear on the site based on the subjective views of those behind the scenes. As noted on the MA’s About page,

    Blogs must be actively posting and generally sympathetic to the Church, both in content and tenor. As Eugene England once suggested, it is possible to “be obedient while maintaining integrity” and “to have faith while being true to reason.”

    One could almost say that “WWEED” (What would Eugene England do?) is a guiding principle behind the scenes at the MA. As such, it is unclear why one might feel an entitlement to have posts or blogs celebrating the removal of the sacred temple garment or discussing recreational sex syndicated on the MA.

    It might also be interesting for some to realize the diversity of views among those behind the MA. There is rarely consensus about decisions on who to list or delist; in practice, and as a practical matter, some decisions to list or delist are taken by individuals without any kind of discussion or debate behind the scenes. This works for us because we are small and in many cases apathetic group. Sure, the result seems arbitrary. As Ronan said, it’s okay to hate us for it — we know that many do. Still, the MA provides for relatively wide aggregation and, we believe, continues to perform a valuable service for the LDS blogging community. There are other options, so boycott away all who don’t like the MA either because it temporarily or permanently delisted your blog or because you don’t like the colors, or even if you just don’t like the people who are behind it.

  35. J. Stapley on March 26, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    No surprise that I use the Archipelago. The site doesn’t aggregate blogs that aren’t Mormon in focus. Consequently political and family blogs aren’t aggregated. Fortunately, there are alternatives, as some have mentioned. Personally, I think the MA does a great job at organizing information simply and effectively (the more bells and whistles you add, the less people will use). It also provides access to smaller blogs more than is the case in other alternatives, which I personally like. As to the the purported arbitrary censorship, well, I guess reasonable people sometimes disagree.

  36. Dan on March 26, 2007 at 3:02 pm

    john f.,

    I’m in no way mad, upset, frustrated, etc. with the powers that be behind MA. I merely state straightforward my views about MA. I think it is an elitist clique that focuses on a tiny fraction of the LDS blogs out there. On my family blog, my wife and I occasionally bring up spiritual topics. Of course not enough to be included in an aggregator like MA.

    There are a lot of good blogs out there, that are not under the guidelines of the MA. How do you get to those blogs so those blogs get more readership? My political blog is political, a liberal political blog at that. I never expected much support from Mormons anyways. But family blogs? People write some good stuff in their family blogs. You never know what they are because aggregators like MA focus on such a small target.

    The “bloggernacle” has to ask itself how it can expand with more and more Mormons blogging. Or it will continue being labeled (at least by me) as an elitist clique. Of course, who would care what I think, except that this label might just stick.

  37. Dan on March 26, 2007 at 3:06 pm

    john,

    additionally,

    Blogs must be actively posting and generally sympathetic to the Church, both in content and tenor.

    My family blog certainly fits under that category. It is an active blog and “generally sympathetic to the church, both in content and tenor.” If that’s the ONLY factor, I could think of hundreds of blogs that fit that category. So why not include them? What else must there be? If there is something else, why is it not posted on the About page as a reason? In regards to my own political blog, it also fits that category, yet it was not approved. Why not? If there really are other reasons, state them clearly. If not, then the label stays, an elitist clique.

  38. Kaimi Wenger on March 26, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    Margaret,

    The aggregators are sites that basically collect blog links. And so, instead of checking on BCC and Exponent and Times and Seasons and Feminist Mormon Housewives, you merely check one central location that tells you if there’s anything new.

    The major LDS-themed aggregators are:

    1. The Mormon Archipelago (at http://www.ldsblogs.org ), which is run by a group of people including J. Stapley, Ronan the Barbarian, John Fowles, and DMI Dave.
    2. LDS Select (at http://www.ldselect.org ), which is run by Dave Landrith (aka DKL).

    As the comments here indicate, there is some disagreement over who has the better setup. Archipelago is more of an edited portal — the operators decide which blogs to list, and occasionally delist a blog or a post. (Such as the Exponent post about members not wearing garments.)

    LDS Select has a reputation for being more hands-off in approach — Dave doesn’t de-list individual posts (that I’m aware of) and seems to be viewed as more likely to add blogs that Archipelago ignores (cf. the discussion above by Dan from the Good Democrat blog).

    Also, LDS Select is customizable — i.e., you can check off a box that will allow you to only see certain blogs that you select. You can tell it, in effect, “only show me T&S, FMH, and Exponent, and don’t show me anything from BCC” and it will do that.

    Further down the list of customizability are Google Reader and Bloglines. Both of those are general-purpose programs that will capture blog headlines from whichever blogs you wish. So, you go to http://www.google.com/reader and it will ask you what sites you want to add. You click, “add a site” and then type in the site (i.e., timesandseasons.org ). It will collect the post titles from any site that you add to your account. Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com ) works similarly.

  39. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    I got the impression that the Mormon Archipelago began as a group of bloggers who wanted to work together to improve their status in the Bloggernacle. They are currently listed as the Isles:

    * A Bird’s Eye View
    * Dave’s Mormon Inquiry
    * EMSA
    * Faith Promoting Rumor
    * Latter-day Liberation Front
    * Mormon Wasp
    * New Cool Thang
    * Nine Moons
    * Splendid Sun

    It’s not the end of the world, or surprising, that a group of bloggers would want to do this. And in general I enjoy reading these blogs.

    My main concern is that there is a desire by some to freeze in place the current bloggernacle hierarchy. I’m a little bit opposed to the Bloggernacle having “gatekeepers” so to speak. That’s why I am more in favor of aggregators that avoid a blog “hierarchy.”

  40. john f. on March 26, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    Admittedly, Dan, based on your description here, your blog falls into a more difficult category, although today is the first time I have heard of it. Based on your comments around the LDS blogs, my best guess, without having ever read your blog, is that it is more or less an anti-Bush blog that discusses little else besides the Iraq War. A great argument can be made that all LDS blogs should be anti-Bush. I know that anti-Bush people certainly believe that. But as J. has elaborated, the MA tends to syndicate fewer political blogs and more blogs dealing with (uplifting) intellectual and/or spiritual discussion of the Gospel, the Church, and/or “Mormonism”. Your blog might well be a great fit — I personally have never examined it that I can remember (surely you will now post an email that was sent to me requesting to list the blog, but again, right now I can’t remember having received such); perhaps someone else at the MA has.

    Less difficult are determinations relating to blogs by non-Mormons, ex-Mormons, and anti-Mormons. It is unclear why they want to be syndicated at the MA — apparently they think that that covenant-breaking, commitment-reversal, removal of temple garments, or other such topics are things that faithful Latter-day Saints simply must be reading about.

    Even so, you make a valid point about the syndication choices seeming arbitrary. After all, a post might get delisted if it gives voice to people ridiculing the wearing of garments and celebrating their removal and yet the MA continues to syndicate blogs like the Sunstone Blog, which currently has a post that directly contradicts doctrine in the Book of Mormon about God being a God of miracles. Although this is arguably not generally sympathetic to the Church (nor is much of the other content there) the blog remains on the feeds, likely based on a good-faith reliance in that blog’s claim to be interested in the views of believers as well as non-believers. Additionally, the blog has non-Mormons as permabloggers. So I can see why you would be confused; some of the blogs do not seem to fit into the criteria that J. mentioned in # 35.

    I doubt things will ever really change to eliminate this appearance of arbitrariness in syndication choices. Think about what the MA actually is — a handful of people who blog and read blogs for a hobby, some of whom additionally put time and effort and money into programming the MA and paying for its server space and upkeep. Sometimes we discuss the blogs that are syndicated on an email list behind the scenes; more often than not, we don’t.

  41. danithew on March 26, 2007 at 3:33 pm

    Maybe I can put it this way … I sort of see the bloggernacle as currently having three (possibly four) tiers:

    I. the big group blogs (there being some debate as to who belongs to that category),
    II. the Mormon Archipelago blogs
    III. non-affiliated solo blogs
    IV? fringe LDS blogs

  42. Kaimi Wenger on March 26, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    There are only two categories of blogger, Danithew.

    Those who think that there are only two categories of blogger; and those who don’t.

  43. john f. on March 26, 2007 at 3:36 pm

    well danithew, there’s a hierarchy for you.

  44. Dan on March 26, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    john,

    It might seem hard to try and “organize” blogs, especially when they are based on individuals who think differently from everybody else. The blogs in the MA are somewhat similar, delving into pretty much the same topics. That said, I’ve seen quite a number of political posts (here on T&S just last week called Mormons and War, and over on BCC on numerous occasions) on blogs tied to the MA that makes me wonder what there might be against a blog that tends to focus solely on the politics of our country and the world. Certainly we’ve been counseled by our prophets to get involved, to study the issues, and to know what is going on. Would political blogs not do just that?

    I’d love to see a better way of aggregating LDS blogs out there. Something that will attract the readers to the particular blogs they just might find interesting.

  45. john f. on March 26, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    Politics is great. But the MA with its limited resources has decided that it cannot syndicate all blogs. We have made choices based largely on our personal tastes, trying at the same time to be as fair as possible while working within the EE paradigm.

  46. DKL on March 26, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    Ronan’s humorous comment aside, I think that it’s worth noting that there’s no acrimony or animosity between the LDselect and MA. In fact, I’m a perma-blogger at a blog that lists an MA personality among its founders. And I consider my relationships with the various participants to range from good to great.

    That said, LDSelect waists MA.

  47. Rusty on March 26, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Yes, LDSelect waists the MA, but the MA hips you back.

  48. Kaimi Wenger on March 26, 2007 at 4:04 pm

    And since the MA can selectively bump posts, I’m awfully glad that they’ve been mentioned in comments. I wouldn’t want this post to dissappe — hey, who took away my mike? Guys? Guys? Come on, Ronan, turn the lights back on.

  49. Justin on March 26, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    I am a populist and strive to remain faithful to this worldview in my blog reading. Here is a non-comprehensive list of blogrolls and aggregators that I use (NB: the items are not necessarily in order; hierarchization is not intended):

    MA
    planet.kzion.com
    blognitivedissonance feeds
    LDSelect
    mormonblogs.org
    mormon-blogs.com

  50. Craig W. on March 26, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    I use LDSelect, simply because I can customize it. I also subscribe to RSS feeds from a few blogs that interest me more.

  51. DKL on March 26, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I can selectively hide posts and comments with LDSelect. In fact, back several months ago, when M* was getting flooded with spam comments, I would regularly bump those comments. Other than that, I figure that if you’re not going to use the layout tool to make a blog invisible, then you’re willing to take the good with the bad.

    I’m willing to list Dan’s blog for the same reason I list Head Life and the same reason I listed Akrasia before Nate stopped posting there. I consider it to be an issues oriented blog by a named, active participant in the nacle. I do, however, draw the line on personal blogs. Those of us who lack Google’s funding level cannot aggregate the entire internet. It follows immediately from this that we have to draw the line somewhere.

    It’s worth noting that the LDSelect’s detractors predicted at its inception that it would be overtaken by anti and damu blogs, which, of course, it has not.

    Lastly, I want to thank everyone here who’s had nice things to say about LDSelect. I’m very happy to hear that it’s appreciated, and I hope you continue to find it a useful tool.

  52. Guy Murray on March 26, 2007 at 5:57 pm

    I use both MA and LDSelect, with both pages open while I’m online. I frankly think they both have advantages. LDSelect has some blogs I follow that are not listed on MA, and I like to customize it. MA is sometimes easier to look at, and I’m accustomed to its format. Both are good. I appreciate the fact that the people behind both MA and LDSelect voluntarily do what they do to provide these aggregators.

    Both generate traffic to my site, for which I am grateful. Both do it in almost equal numbers. Today, MA is a bit ahead; but not always.

    I say good on you MA archipelagists and DKL for the free service you provide to lots of bloggers.

    I haven’t tried any of the readers; but may try Google based on some of these comments; however, I doubt it will replace MA and LDSelect.

  53. Clark on March 26, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    There are only two categories of blogger, Danithew. Those who think that there are only two categories of blogger; and those who don’t.

    What about those who aren’t sure?

  54. Guy Murray on March 26, 2007 at 6:17 pm

    What about those who aren’t sure?

    Those are the philosophers.

  55. Clark on March 26, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    LOL.

    Just a thought, while I tend to primarily use MA, what makes these aggregators useful as opposed to using personalized RSS readers/aggregators is that someone else is adding blogs for you. So you don’t need to waste time keeping track of new blogs.

  56. someone on March 26, 2007 at 6:36 pm

    I started with Sage in Firefox then switched to Bloglines about a year ago. Easily organize blogs by category. It just works.

  57. HP on March 26, 2007 at 6:41 pm

    I just want to second john f.’s description of the MA selection (and deselection) process. It is mostly arbitrary. We try to follow Eugene’s example, but we have amply shown amongst ourselves that we all interpret the limits of those guidelines differently. We did aggregate the Purimblog for a while (an explicitly political blog). We continue to aggregate headlife (another explicitly political blog (of course, headlife also features to MAer’s, so…). If you are looking for a law to understand your inclusion/exclusion, I don’t believe that you will find one.

    In other words, we are a bunch of schmoes (powerful, all-seeing schmoes) who focus on blogs we like or are relatively sympathetic to. We believe that people tend to trust our judgment (or, at least, the people who frequent the aggregator do). If this is problematic for you, it’s okay. Even the almighty MA cannot appeal to everyone’s taste.

  58. Ann on March 26, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    I used to use MA until they dumped VNF. I use LDSelect now. All customized to my liking, and registration is helpful in that my customization follows me among my many PCs.

  59. Jessawhy on March 26, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    My question for those who run LDSelect and MA, is how do you fund them? There was a mention of the costs of maintaining these aggregators, do you sell advertising? Mormons are cheap, so that can’t bring in much . . .
    I’ve just started using MA, but now I’m thinking about trying the others. Do all of the sites allow you to track your own comments? I hate posting then thinking, “what blog was it that was talking about _______?” Once it took me a week to find an old thread I had commented on, and by then, it was dead, of course. That seems like the most useful function to me.

  60. Beijing on March 26, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    LDSelect. It provides access to all the LDS blogs I like. I am apparently not in the MA target audience. Whenever they go out of their way not to link to a blog or post, it’s almost always one that I’m interested in reading.

  61. Kaimi Wenger on March 26, 2007 at 11:00 pm

    Jessawhy,

    Yes – LDS Select has comment tracking, which is a feature that I use quite a bit myself.

    Also, I believe they’re self-funded; DKL pays for LDS Select and someone (Geoff J.?) for MA.

  62. DKL on March 26, 2007 at 11:03 pm

    Jessawhy, LDSelect allows you to track threads that you participate in. If you enter your online name into the text box above the comment list and hit return, you’ll get only comments from threads that you’ve participated in. I believe that’s exactly the functionality that you describe.

    As far as how it’s funded, I pay for it out of pocket. No ads. No charges to sites. In fact, I make it a matter of principle not to require anything in return from the bloggernacle sites that I list — no quid pro quo, no protection racket. That is a key (perhaps the key) difference between MA and LDSelect — it was my primary motivation for creating it. Specifically, I didn’t think like the way that they sometimes used their “editorial purview” to punish sites that didn’t link to them.

    There are still several sites that do not display the LDSelect logo at all, and I have no qualms about listing such sites prominently by default and allowing users to list such sites prominently when they customize their view using the drag-and-drop layout tool.

  63. DKL on March 26, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    I should add that I do appreciate the courtesy shown by those who are willing to put up the LDSelect logo and a link. Guy Murray was among the first to put the logo up on his Messenger and Advocate, as was Unofficial Manifesto, actions for which I’ll ever be grateful.

  64. Kaimi Wenger on March 27, 2007 at 12:18 am

    However, the drawback about LDS Select is that it’s run by DKL; and we all know that DKL is a rat bastard. Everyone should keep that in mind when making aggregator decisions. . .

  65. Jessawhy on March 27, 2007 at 12:45 am

    I hope I don’t sound like a money obsessed crazy person, but how much does it cost to maintain a site like LDSelect? It seems like a big project to do out of the kindness of your heart (of course, I guess things like openoffice, firefox, etc are doing similar things, right?)
    Perhaps you see it like a hobby, similar to model trains or something, that you would invest money in anyway, it makes sense, right?

  66. Rusty on March 27, 2007 at 1:43 am

    You see what happens when we feed the DKL (ego)! It used to be content being “the most reviled person in the bloggernacle.” But then we all fed it and it grew to grander proportions with its involvement in the Banner of Heaven spawning entire threads both attacking and defending it. We couldn’t talk about the Gospel anymore, we had to keep talking about the DKL. Our lack of restraint was its source of life. And like the white god of the Bible it has come to save the citizens of this community of the evil overlords who punish and enslave its citizens. The white knight has come. Kaimi, DKL’s firstborn and most beloved, feeds it at every chance he gets. And as we continue to feed it the legend will live on.

  67. Geoff J on March 27, 2007 at 1:46 am

    DKL: That is a key (perhaps the key) difference between MA and LDSelect — it was my primary motivation for creating it.

    Actually DKL the MA never required links back either (although we very much appreciate them). The closest we came to that was giving higher placement to blogs that linked back to us than those who didn’t for a little while but we gave up on even checking on that more than a year ago too (too much effort). Are you really saying that this misconception was your primary motivation for your site? (grin) Well it turned out pretty well even if you launched under a false assumption bro. Between our suped up blogroll and your suped up blogroll we have the bases covered pretty well for most ‘nacle users (for now).

  68. Kaimi Wenger on March 27, 2007 at 1:53 am

    Cool! A comment about how all of the comments are about DKL. It’s not even a comment about DKL; it’s a comment about comments about DKL; sort of like a meta-comment about DKL, or a second order derivative.

    Hmm, and now I’m commenting about that comment. . .

  69. danithew on March 27, 2007 at 7:38 am

    I’d like to comment on Kaimi Wenger’s comment about Rusty’s comment about how all the comments are about DKL by saying that comments and meta-comments about comments referring to DKL are a real drag on the CPU. So please, cut it out.

  70. DKL on March 27, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Geoff J, you’re very funny. One question gets to the bottom of it: What was the basis for your moving Times and Seasons from the “Big Islands” category to the “Isles of the Sea” category?

    Kaimi and danithew, ROTFLMAO

  71. Ronan on March 27, 2007 at 10:29 am

    DKL,
    You shell-out 200 bucks a year because of that little incident?

  72. Frank McIntyre on March 27, 2007 at 11:44 am

    Ronan,

    For whatever reason DKL decides to run his site, and there are probably several, I think it is safe to say that the $200 bucks is a minimal cost compared to the value of time DKL puts into it, or that you put in to blogging too, I suppose. I mean, imagine DKL earns a mere 40-50 bucks an hour, well the time cost dominates after about 4 hours of work. And frankly $40-50 an hour sounds pretty low for quality computer programming, so I would guess the comparison is even more stark.

    On the other hand, the $200 is after-tax money, which is one reason I lowballed the wage estimate.

  73. Geoff J on March 27, 2007 at 11:53 am

    Hehe — well Dave, even if you were initially motivated by a mistaken notion about the MA, all’s well that ends well I’d say. Your site has all sorts of nifty functions, serves a valuable purpose in the ‘nacle, and on top of that it relieves the MA of a lot of pressure so I’m very glad you built it and are running it. (BTW — See the second sentence of my comment #67. It answers your question in #70.)

  74. Frank McIntyre on March 27, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    In other words, Geoff, you agree that there was a quid pro quo for good placement on the MA. I think this is what DKL found troubling and, unless I’m missing something, it does not appear that he was mistaken about it.

  75. Geoff J on March 27, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    Nah Frank — We just thought that we ought to do something nice for the bigger blogs that took a chance on the MA concept and linked back to the aggregator by placing them in the above-the-fold boxes at our site. (We were still a new idea and site back then after all — the site was only nine months old at the time so it was generous for sites like BCC and FHM to agree to link back to us then). We still aggregated the good blogs that ignored our project — we just didn’t give them the same top placement in our glorified blogroll as we gave the blogs that went out of their way to acknowledge our existence. Of course that attempt to give a few blogs the first class treatment as a show of thanks caused all sorts of controversy and near hysteria around the ‘nacle (as lots of little things in the ‘nacle tend to do) — thankfully that particular tempest in the teapot died down some time ago though.

  76. Frank McIntyre on March 27, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Geoff, you start your comment as if we are disagreeing but I don’t see substantive difference from what I said. Am I missing something? Rewarding with higher placement those big blogs who do you a favor and not those big blogs who don’t pretty much defines quid pro quo. I am, of course, fine with quid pro quo, but I think we can call it what it is.

  77. skl on March 27, 2007 at 1:14 pm

    I realize it is a bit silly for me to come in here and say anything, but I know DKL won’t do it. His job is one of the only things in the world he is loathe to boast about. Plus he always accuses me of not knowing what he does for a living, so here goes. DKL hasn’t actually programmed for a living in many years, I don’t think he ever did. Among other things, he oversees the people that manage teams of programmers. As for the $600/year out of pocket to host LDSelect, I am certain he never thinks about it as it presents no hardship (and I am just grateful that blogging takes time away from his favorite hobby which is book collecting–at least blogging and programming don’t result in huge piles of books stacked all over the house).

    At the end of the day he hosts LDSelect because he loves it. That’s all. By the way, did I mention how dashing he is?

  78. Geoff J on March 27, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Oh, you are right Frank. Sorry about that. I should clarify that DKL indicated (#62) he was motivated because he thought there was a reciprocal linking requirement for inclusion at the MA and that is the incorrect idea I pointed out. But as I indicated above (#75), we did show placement preference to blogs that linked to us for a while — not unlike most other blogs do with their blogrolls.

    As an aside (not directed at you, Frank) — I find it somewhat bewildering how often people attack the MA with righteous indignation over the subject of who we include in our blogroll or where we place blogs within our blogroll. Even in this thread it has been happening. Perhaps the suped-up nature of our blogroll makes people believe it is not really just a blogroll…

    I agree with Clark that a good reason to use the MA is to become aware of new and smaller blogs that one would otherwise not ever learn about. We had all sorts of motivations to build the site initially — some self serving and some altruistic — but the altruistic purpose was to give exposure to the solid new Mormon-themed blogs that are constantly being launched (usually to the sound of crickets chirping). If one is not interested in checking out the new blogs and new voices in the ‘nacle and then a reader (or even DKL’s filtering functions) would be totally sufficient or even more desirable than our approach. But I hope people who use the MA do it partially to check out the new blogs that we regularly add.

  79. ben on March 30, 2007 at 7:33 pm

    Google Reader…they are taking over everything so why fight it :)