On Linking and Blogrolls

I’m no longer including a link list on the blog. Having thought about the points that Shelley made about blogrolls and linking practices, I decided that not only was my blogroll becoming too lengthy to be of use on the blog (and terribly difficult to load on my dial-up connection), but that those that I link will be statistically better off with my regular roundup posts.

A link to my public bloglines account is now included in the menu bar, but I’m getting rid of the blogrolls for good. Please read Shelley’s post for greater insight into the issue.

If anyone believes that they have written or have found a post that deserves greater coverage, please do not hesitate to send it to me via email. Though I cannot guarantee that I will write on it, I almost always send these stories to someone who will.

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42 comments for “On Linking and Blogrolls

  1. May 5, 2005 at 2:03 am
  2. May 5, 2005 at 3:25 am

    Hey, read my latest blog post and tell me what you think.

  3. B
    May 5, 2005 at 3:36 am

    Interesting topic! It makes me think about how much I rely on my blogroll to point to worthwhile sites, instead of going to the effort of writing about, and linking to, the interesting posts I read. I’d also love to see these ranking systems determine their “top bloggers” by how interesting and thought-provoking they are, as measured by how often their entries are discussed and linked to by other bloggers. So I’m down with the whole no-blogroll policy.

  4. May 5, 2005 at 7:06 am

    Some shameless self promotion on the issue:


  5. La Lubu
    May 5, 2005 at 12:34 pm

    Hmm. I first started coming to this blog (something I do just about every time I get online….I have crappy ol’ dial-up too! ;-) after reading about the “whiteness” post on Prometheus 6.

    However, I discovered most of the entries on my blogroll, through reading and clicking on the blogrolls of others. Most people don’t post more than once a day, if that. And most of those posts are single-subject posts, so they only link to one or two other blogs in a post. I’m not really a “newbie” anymore, but I like to keep a “newbie mind”. Blogrolls do make it easier for newcomers to zip through the blogosphere, following their nose. Not having a blogroll would tend to keep things a little more ‘cliqueish’, strictly for the insiders.

    I have to admit, I pay no attention to who’s on top of the Ecosystem, or Technorati; I don’t even have a counter for my blog. Or an RSS feed. I barely have time to blog; I sure as hell don’t want to have to deal with moderating comments and trolls. If anyone’s reading my blog, I only know it through either the comments or occasional emails. And that’s how I like it. Most of the folks who found my blog found it through someone else’s blogroll. The only shout-outs I ever got in posts were through Ampersand and Masculiste.

    I like going through blogrolls. Every now and then, I’ll find something I probably never would have found had I not seen it on a blogroll. I first started blogging because I couldn’t find anyone else blogging that either identified as Sicilian or as a tradesperson (’till I looked in your blogroll, Lauren, and found Masculiste). Most of the folks in the building trades around here don’t get online much, let alone blog. Some of them don’t even have computers. I still try to gear my blog for that audience, because there doesn’t seem to be much patience for the newbies out here.

    I’ll miss your blogroll. It was a good one!

  6. May 5, 2005 at 12:37 pm

    Huh. I tend to use my own blogroll in a much different fashion; it’s more like a bookmarks list for myself, than like a list of sources for my readers, at least in terms of personal blogs.


  7. May 5, 2005 at 1:00 pm

    I don’t know. I get a lot of hits from fairly active sites that cut up their blogrolls into bite-size chunks. I tend to not get so many hits from sites with really long blogrolls, and I like to think that I gain a few new readers from that.

    I think that Shelley’s model could lead us quickly to only posting material that links to other material that goes into a forever loop where nothing new is really said. That’s kind of what I see from all of the so-called ‘A-List’ bloggers as it is. Very little content is actually new, and a lot of it is actually recycled.

    I like the ‘Here’s what I’m reading’ posts. These tend to actually get a lot more traffic to me than places where a couple of words are linked to me. For instance, when you post a link to one of my posts and mention what it’s about, I get about twice as many links as if someone posts something and at the end writes “that feminist chick”, and links to my site with that.

    Context is king in web UI, and when there’s not context to go by, the average reader is just going to skip by it, maybe with the thought of coming back later and seeing who ‘that feminist chick’ really is. But, when they see a link followed by an explanation of the link, they often hop right on it, as that’s the purpose.

    The context rule goes with weblogs, too. Blogs that have me under ‘feminist’ or ‘politics’ or a specific subject give me more hits than blogs that have me under a generic blogroll. This is getting long, maybe I should type it up in a real post…

  8. May 5, 2005 at 1:06 pm

    I’m sorry, I’m stuck on “(and terribly difficult to load on my dial-up connection)”

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  10. May 5, 2005 at 3:31 pm

    Maybe I’ve spent YEARS missing the point of linking, but I only ever link to folks I actually read. If that’s hurting anyone, well… welcome to too fucking bad.

  11. May 5, 2005 at 3:47 pm

    Cranky, I’m broke and the university provides the connection for free for all off-campus students. Believe me, with as much time as I spend downloading and uploading and generally surfing, it hurts. My templates and plugins have to remain simple for my sake — which is overall why I switched from MT to WordPress in the first place. The rebuilds killed me.

  12. May 5, 2005 at 3:50 pm

    I’ve been a lurker on this site for maybe 6 months or so, and I just wanted to emerge from anonymity for a sec to say I’m sad to see it go. Yours was one of the first feminist blogs I started reading, and remains one of the first things I read every day when I fire up my computer at my boring office job. I almost always check out the stuff you link to in entries, but when I find myself with additional time after all my regular reads, I frequently would come back to your site and my other top favorites and click around the blogroll. I would eventually have found the stuff in other ways, but having it all there together and categorized made it really easy to find some amazing ladies who I now read fairly often.

    At my job (secretary in a huge commercial law firm) our internet access is strictly regulated but amazingly most of the blogosphere passes under the radar screen of our internet blocking software. The ones that don’t pass through are the ones that have become mainstream enough to be classified as “news/media,” including DailyKos and Matthew Yglesias, among others. This is kind of straying from the topic, but the point I am trying to make is that my entertainment/news in this otherwise internet-free zone comes from blogs, and many if not most of the blogs I read I have found through blogrolls, particularly your woman-centric one, which I think is fairly unique for such a widely-read blog.

  13. May 5, 2005 at 8:03 pm

    Here’s my response. I respect your thinking through the question, but I beg you to reconsider.

  14. rebecca
    May 5, 2005 at 8:11 pm

    Interesting thoughts on the subject. As I commented over on bitchphd’s blog, I actually found your site off her blogroll. Actually, in the past few weeks I’ve found lots of wonderful academia/feminism/politics blogs, and most of them I found by visiting one site and checking out their blogrolls.

    I respect your decision of course, but I do disagree with the premise that smaller blogs get ‘lost’ in blogrolls.

  15. May 5, 2005 at 8:30 pm


    I hear so much about the connections my co-workers kids have at college and I guess I thought that all colleges provided fabulous access to all students (and I was jealous cause back in my we had to go to the phone jack at the county store and we had to walk uphill both ways, in the snow without any shoes. . .)

    I have to admit, I am in awe of what you are able to accomplish (especially with a young child).

  16. May 5, 2005 at 8:32 pm

    Blogs, for me, are about community.

    I disagree with Shelley’s assertion that people don’t find blogs through blogrolls. I also don’t appreciate that she deigns to speak for all bloggers when she uses the word “people” – she should have said “I” feel that… how can she claim to know the consciousness of 9 million plus bloggers?

    I’ve found almost all of the blogs I read and enjoy via other blogs blogrolls.

    But I will tell you one thing. I generally don’t read blogs that don’t have blogrolls. It infers that you feel you’re important enough for people to read you but don’t have time to bother with other bloggers. It’s a one way street. Now I realise you’ve said you’ll have your bookmarks, etc. And that you’ll highlight stuff you read as you find it. But not having a blogroll for the reasons Shelley provides is just not good enough of an answer.

    To be perfectly honest, it all sounds like a high minded excuse for being too lazy or self important to bother giving others props via your blogroll.

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  20. May 5, 2005 at 9:55 pm

    I agree with Bitch – please, please reconsider! I find 95% of my new blogs via other people’s blogrolls, and the hits my blog gets from being blogrolled on bigger sites are a mainstay of my readership. It would really sadden me to see this become a trend. I certainly appreciate the difficulties of dial-up, and you need to to what you think best for your site, but: ouch!

  21. May 5, 2005 at 10:04 pm

    It’s a shame you got rid of your blogroll, for people like me who like to browse them. I find all kinds of great new sites from others’ blogrolls.

    If you don’t like this long thing on your sidebar, check out my bloggg and see what I did (or what I had a friend do). It’s java that hides the links, you can click on the various blogrolls. Easy to categorize, too.

    BTW, I like your wallpaper, I almost used it on my new bloggg, but put it on my About Moi page instead.

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  23. May 6, 2005 at 3:43 am

    I really don’t understand the logic behind this. I (like many others) have found most of the blogs i read through other people’s blogrolls and I use mine as easy access to the ones I read regularly. People tend to link to like minded people on a vast variety of topics, so if I don’t find any right wingers on the blog rolls I look at, that;s Ok because I wouldn’y look for them anyway.

    If people (like Shelley prsumably) can’t be bothered to use this method, well, that’s their problem but I feel insulted that she says providing links on my blog is ‘hurting bloggers’. A blog roll provides constant links to others, whereas links in the text of a post will only be visible as long as the post is current (how many people really trawl through your archive regularly looking for links?).
    Surely removing a blog roll reduces the chances of people happening upon blogs by accident that they enjoy reading? I’m sorry, but I found Shelley’s post to be arrogant and inaccurate and as one of your commentors says above, I don’t read many blogs without blogrolls so I may well be deleting you from my list, which is a pity as I’ve enjoyed your writing but I don’t see the point of making your blog a dead end.

  24. Ruth
    May 6, 2005 at 6:37 am

    As a reader only, not a fellow blogger, I can’t say strongly enough how much I value blogrolls. I found THIS site through a blogroll; in fact, every blog I’ve discovered in the past six months was a random click from the blogroll of someone I already liked. I found BitchPhD that way, and RoxPopuli, and tons of others. I think these blogrolls do exactly the OPPOSITE of what you’re apparently saying; they help me find the smaller, less popular blogs so I’m not just stuck on the “big guns.”

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  26. shmrri
    May 6, 2005 at 9:47 am

    This is pretty much the same comment I’ve left at Burningbird and a few other blogs that have discussed the removing blogrolls, but it’s pretty much what I have to say on the subject, so I’ll leave it here too.

    I don’t blog, probably never will, but I like to read blogs. The main way I find new or different blogs is by blogrolls.

    I don’t bookmark blogs because I use several different computers, with several different users and the bookmarks are limited to the sites we all use. I suspect that people who use truly public computers, as for example, someone who accesses the web from a library computer would have the same problem.

    I don’t pay much attention to who is an ‘A list’ blogger or whatever. I read some blogs that interest me, some that I mostly agree with the opinions, some that I don’t. But almost all the ones I read regularly I’ve found through a blogroll, not a reference in a post. No blogroll=lost reader, at least as far as this reader.

  27. pig
    May 6, 2005 at 10:57 am

    I have frustrations on both sides of this issue, or at least of the conversations around it. I blather on about that plenty in my own space: just want to say one thing here. Lauren’s blog isn’t a dead end! Even if you’re not counting the scads of links she provides with content in her posts, her “link” button takes us to her bloglines blogs – she’s still giving us plenty of access, and has directed us to it.

  28. maggie may
    May 6, 2005 at 11:05 am

    I’ve been lurking, not commenting, but please don’t remove the blogroll! I am not a real techie type, and I’ve found most of the blogs I love through blogrolls. I found yours and Bitch PhD’s through Michael Berube’s blogroll, for example. Please reconsider! mm

  29. May 6, 2005 at 12:15 pm

    This kind of attitude just seems to increase exclusivity, not decrease it, that’s all, whether its from white males or annoyed feminists. If the only links we get from people are the ones they’ve selected (which surely will be a smaller number than if they had a blogroll) then how does that help make blogs more communal?

  30. May 6, 2005 at 12:18 pm

    I know this seems arcane, but I use my website’s blogroll *personally* when I am at work and on the road. I don’t like to store personal bookmarks on my work computer and I sometimes want to check out my friends’ blogs when I am on the road or on different computers. It’s there for my own use so that I can read the same people’s stuff that I read every day, not really for other people’s usage (although I obviously don’t care if other people use it). The majority of the people on my “blogroll” are people I am friends with in real life.

    (I am not personally offended, though, that Lauren no longer has a blogroll even though I was on it. ;))

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  32. mina
    May 6, 2005 at 2:12 pm

    oh, do reconsider. you know, i first came to your site through the blogroll of bitch phd, another feminist blogger. if it weren’t for feminist blogrolls, i wouldn’t ever have found this, and many, many, other worthy sites.

  33. pig
    May 6, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    I want to remember, through this process, something Lauren did once. She wrote a post offering *anyone* who considered herself/himself a feminist to be included in her blogroll simply by asking for the inclusion. I’ve been blogging for about nine months now and she’s the only person I’ve seen do that. Fantastic writer with substantial things to say and a huge multiple of the traffic I’ll ever see – and she just handed me this link for the asking. It remained for several months, and even though it’s gone now it was a generous and appreciated gift. The fact that she’s doing things differently now, for more than one well thought out reason (whether or not we agree with her reasons) is something I would have hoped we (ok- some of us) could receive with a little more understanding, with a little tempering via the memory of some of the kind things she’s done for us other feminist bloggers.

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  35. May 7, 2005 at 11:52 pm

    I hadn’t heard before of cutting out blogrolls entirely. However, a few days ago, independent of this idea, I wrote some about limiting my blogrolls to current favorites. I find long blogrolls quite mindnumbing. My eyes just glaze over. I’m not really ready to take the plunge you have in eliminating the blogroll entirely because I don’t regularly post about things I read on other blogs. But, hey, I applaud your action. It makes good sense to me.

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  37. May 8, 2005 at 7:04 am

    I’ve never had a blogroll because my sidebars are too crowded as it is.

    One some of my sites I have a links category and write up weblogs there. Most of the weblogs aren’t ones that I read but I think they match the tastes, interests of many of the people who visit that particular site of mine.

  38. May 10, 2005 at 1:37 am

    I often use blogrolls to find new blogs I haven’t tried before. I don’t care about the “popularity” of a particular blog as some of the best blogs I have read are “flippery fish” and some of the “large mammals” well, I’ve wondered why.
    But checking out blogrolls is fun; simply because it isn’t someone the “host” has read in awhile doesn’t mean it isn’t someone I wouldn’t want to read.
    In fact by limiting one’s connection to someone quoted, one limits one’s access to varied blogs.
    This is of course one’s personal decision; but wouldn’t it be better to simply ignore the “popularity” factor in terms of who one quotes or referrs to or blogrolls, or for that matter, the blogs one chooses to comment on?
    I don’t get to everyone on my blogroll all the time; there are people I’m more likely to read and less. Yet several times I’ve “ignored” someone’s blog for a period of time, only to return to it and find something I do quote or refer to.
    Everyone on my blogroll is there because at one point or time I’ve read something that has struck my interest, and while I may not agree with their stand on many issues, they have made me think. I hope by blogrolling them that others will find their words make them think as well, whether they agree or disagree with the poster.

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