Home Forums General General Blogs or forums for project logs?

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  • #97605
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    (Mike, I won’t object if you move this thread to the “Blogs” forum.)

    I’m hoping that starting some form of online logs for my hobby projects will make me stay enthusiastic about painting and modelling for longer at a time. I’m not sure which form to do it in, though. It seems to me that there are two equally popular forms these days: Blogs and forum threads structured as long-running project logs.

    To be honest, this hobby scene is the only place on the internet where I still run into blogs. Across the internet in general, blogging seems to have receded in popularity. It strikes me as starting to become a bit of a relic, although I see the practical advantages it has for keeping hobby logs, which makes it understandable that it has survived in this niche. Then again, I think part of it is also explained by the fact that TMP, with its very old-style forum design, does not make project log threads practical, leaving blogs the only natural avenue for people rooted in that community. Even for some of the people who have now left TMP, blogs have probably become ingrained as part of a way of being.

    Forum-based project log threads, meanwhile, are very popular at other communities like LAF, and have been for a long time. They are also used by a number of people here on TWW. I think they seem to do the job just as well as blogs. A reflex reaction might be to say that they clutter up forums. That would completely overlook the fact that bloggers habitually start new forum threads to the effect of “I updated my blog, here’s a preview”, which is no less “cluttering”, if any of this is to be viewed as cluttering at all. To be clear, I don’t view any of it as clutter. On the contrary, it is the lifeblood of the online hobby community. My point is only that it would be unfair and short-sighted to say that project log threads clutter up forums.

    So, I’m leaning somewhat toward the forum project log approach, but I’m still open to the blog alternative. Any advice?

    #97608
    Angel Barracks
    Moderator

    Putting aside my vested interest in making TWW busier…

    I have a couple of bigger topics here that could have been done in blog form.
    However I find that a topic that has a definite start with 200 posts is easier to navigate than 200 separate posts spread out across a number of blog pages.
    You just start at the first post of the topic and read your way through.
    With a blog, if it has more than one theme/type of content, you may need to read a post, skip the next 3 as they are about something else, then read the next 4, then skip the next 3, then read…

    With a topic, you know that the topic is about the same thing throughout (or at least should/could be) and for example my 15mm fantasy topic won’t deviate off into something you did not come here to read.

    TWW is constantly being crawled by search engine bots, which means your content will be found by the regular spiders too.

    A blog however is of course yours, you can theme it and be pretty sure no mad overlord will suddenly take umbrage to you and delete all your hard work.
    On the flip side to that (?), TWW is backed up twice a day so content should be safe assuming the overlord is fair and just, not sure if a blog has autoback ups to safeguard content.

    My 15mm topic has well over 18,000 views which is pretty good and almost 60 different people have made contributions to it.
    That is key I think in a platform, do you want people to be able to comment on it?
    If so then people will need a TWW account if you put your content here, if on a blog then people will need a blogger/wpress account to comment there.

    My choice was to host here and tweet, and otherwise link to here from other sites, thus driving traffic to TWW.
    I am happy with this as it is.

    Lots of factors and things to consider of course, but…. GO TWW!!!

    😀

    #97610
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    Blogs do have tags/labels for filtering specific subjects, though. And I think the major blog platforms allow for commenting using accounts from affiliated social media platforms, for what that’s worth. Still, these are things I’d already taken into account when saying I’m leaning toward project-logging via forum threads instead.

    That’s not to say I can claim to be aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of either alternative, though.

    #97615
    Thomaston
    Participant

    AB pretty much said it all.  A blog is also a commitment, too long without any content and you’ll lose followers, a forum however will get traffic and gets feedback form wider audience.

    Tired is enough.
    R-rated narcissism

    #97616
    irishserb
    Participant

    Several things that I like about  having my blog.

    On my blog, I can say what I want.  I don’t have to worry about violating any rules, laws, or limitations associated with specific product lines.

    Potential coprright issues, though I have never had an issue with it, the owner of at least one forum that I used to use a lot claims ownership of everything you place there, so your ideas, photos, etc could become points of contention if something went wrong.

    On the blog, you can create pages dedicated to a single project, whether you place the subject posts there, or simply a list of posts from the home page, it is easy to follow and keep track of.

    I have had forums just go away on me.  At least six times now, forums have been destroyed as the sponsor changes rules, policies, or ownership.  Haven’t experienced it with my blog yet, though I imagine it could happen just as easily.

    All that said, I don’t think there is any thing wrong with using the forum, and There are advantages  as mentioned above.

    #97624
    Thuseld
    Participant

    I have my blog so I can easily keep track of my projects. They are just easier to find there. I tag them with the project names and give them titles that help. Following this I will then post the link here and usually put some of the photos here. Other times I don’t even post a link, but do post pictures.

    I just like being in control over there.

    #97628
    MartinR
    Participant

    On a forum, you have no control over editorial policy, or even the platform itself, which can just vanish overnight.

    A blog, Otoh, is in effect just a website under your control, and as noted above, if you wanted to spin off separate project threads, you can set up separate pages within it. I’ve largely replaced my old website with blogger and migrated the more useful content across too.

    "Mistakes in the initial deployment cannot be rectified" - Helmuth von Moltke

    #97635
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Yes, I think so, possibly even and which is what that Welsh bint who flies around on a broomstick does.

    #97636
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Yes, I think so, possibly even and which is what that Welsh bint who flies around on a broomstick does.

    Eh?

    #97638
    grizzlymc
    Participant

    Jymyma Fawr.

    #97691
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    I think either are fine.  I don’t think there is one answer.  Mike has TWW so its kinda of like his own blog so I can see his preference to post then tweet.  I have my google account and everything linked to it.  As long as they stay in business and I continue to want to use their services I’m very comfortable with them hosting the blog.  I could put it on my NAS but I’d rather not have internet traffic making requests onto my personal storage device.  If I was running my own company I’d consider hosting on my own device.  I can leave blogger at anytime I want, taking the code to host it elsewhere.

    Some advantages of a blog are you can draft your posts, you get a little bit more robust html or BBcode editing, and usually hosting the images with the blog.  It just feels like you own it more even though you may be paying for it or at least agreeing to its terms of service.  You have to do that (ToS) on forums as well so no difference there.

    Not too many people are using RSS feed readers anymore so you pretty much have to advertise your latest post on TMP, TWW, Facebook, YouTube if you want traffic.  Ever since Google killed Reader I suspect most bloggers don’t have gains in followers.  That’s really a dead metric.  Pageviews is a better one.  I use Feedly for my feeds though I liked Google Reader better.

    ___________________
    http://moveshootassault.blogspot.com
    https://sites.google.com/site/miniaturemachinations

    #97738
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    A blog is also a commitment, too long without any content and you’ll lose followers

    I never understand this argument. If you follow any number of blogs, you use a reader like Feedly or something similar, no? Even a blog that hasn’t posted for 5 years pops up again when there is a new post.

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #97745
    Mike
    Keymaster

    Maybe people do housekeeping and remove seemingly dead blogs?

    #97765
    Norm S
    Participant

    On balance, I think Blogging gives the best flexibility. It is a central hub that is yours, you can link to it from as many relevant forums as are appropriate and when people call up the blog, they are taken directly to the most recent piece of material, unless of course you link specifically takes them to a specific subject matter in a particular post, such as a specific figure review.

    I stopped blogging for a while (I was sulking) and tried to use personal paid for web space to do the same thing, but structurally, Blogger was just better for doing …….blogs!  So I re-activated the blog, even after I announced the blog closing, I only lost 3 followers, but by that time, I had built up a pretty big archive within the blog

    Just blog when you want to or have something worth saying, followers will stay with you, they are there in the first place because they like your content.

    Not many people will comment on a blog (something you must simply accept), but if you blogged a piece of work and put a post up here about it, then often it is here that people will comment, plus the other places you have left links, so you can spend a bit of time servicing those various locations that you have posted in.

    Almost certainly once you get a blog type thing under way, it will evolve and some of your posts may stray outside of original intent, a blog is more conducive with doing that and may even bring in new followers as your content diversifies.

    With a blog, use labels wisely and even within a general theme of ‘my project’, specific lines of interest will then be easy to locate and the posts will be presented in an order that is easy to follow. So if I had a blog called Napoleonic Wargaming, a visitor might want to only to sift out all the posts that deal with the battle of Raab and clicking on the Raab label will do that with 100% accuracy and speed and there is no trawling.

    I wouldn’t particulary agree that a blog is future proof compared to other methods, I am with Blogger and it is free and must be resource intensive, it continues while-ever Google are happy with supporting it.

    Tablets have problems handling managing Blogger through the normal software blogger, especially if you do long posts, but I use an App called  Blog Touch Pro and it makes mobile blogging easy and user friendly. Recently, I have used the tablet over a few days to construct my post and then e-mail it across to my Chrome Book, where I assemble the post and pull photographs in etc. Chrome is a Google Product so everything is seamless.

    There is nothing to stop you doing both, a blog and a forum thread, using the same material and just give each one 3 months an see which one suits you.

     

    #97772
    Shaun Travers
    Participant

    I agree with everything Norm said.  I did laugh out loud at the “and some of your posts may stray outside of original intent” 🙂  as that described my blog absolutely, and I am sure many others (including Norm’s!).

    #97804
    Darkest Star Games
    Participant

    From a readers point of view I actually prefer to see project posts on a forum, whether they are full projects or just declarations that a blog has been updated.  Legion are the projects and subjects that I have become engaged with after seeing them on this here forum that I would otherwise not have seen as I would not have been actively searching for those subjects.

    There is a lot to be said about blogs.  DSG has a blog for business announcements, and I had a personal one at one point (the host went belly up).  I totally get wanting to have your own personal space.  I think blogs are a good thing.

    I too have had forums I really like just vanish on me.  This happened to Fields Of Fire, a Vietnam gaming forum, 3 times.  So much great info, AARs, insights, interviews and historical pictures were lost.  It’s a real shame.  But, one of the great things about forums is that you tend to catch more “random” visitors to your subject and a lot more feedback than most blogs.  I think feedback is great when developing a project!

    Soooo… why not do both!

    "I saw this in a cartoon once, but I'm pretty sure I can do it..."

    #97836
    Rhoderic
    Participant

    I think part of the reason I’ve been (and perhaps still am) leaning toward forum threads is that I know forums. They’re my home. Blogs only enter my field of vision when I see forum posts informing me of blog updates. I’ve rarely explored a blog for more content, and I’ve never done the RSS thing. I suspect there are other people like me; blogs just aren’t in our line of sight that much. That might be partly to do with the fact that as I mentioned before, outside of this hobby and probably some other hobbies, blogging (in the traditional sense excluding microblogging and vlogging) has receded as a cultural/social phenomenon. No one talks about the “blogosphere” anymore.

    The disadvantages of forum-based project logs brought up in this thread are mostly ones I hadn’t thought of. But that also speaks to the fact that I’ve never noticed them being actual issues for people who keep such threads on LAF and TWW. It seems to work successfully enough for them, as far as I’ve seen. That said, saving all content so it can be re-posted elsewhere should a forum die off is probably a good idea in general.

    Also, just in case there was any confusion, the forum-based log-keeping I’m talking about is the sort where each separate project has its own thread. So there would be a “Rhoderic’s 15mm swords-and-sorcery” thread, a “Rhoderic’s 28mm retro 80s sci-fi” thread, and so on. They would often lie dormant for months or even years between updates. The best project log-keepers also keep editing the opening post of each thread with a directory of links to every update in the thread. It’s more DIY than a blog, but it works.

    I may see about doing a blog for one project, and a forum thread for another, just to experience first-hand the advantages and disadvantages of both. Maybe.

    #97849
    OB
    Participant

    I like a blog to keep track of my gaming activities.  I’ve just started playing Beneath the Lily Banners so I’ll be concentrating on that for a while in terms of blog posts but other stuff will appear too.  I really do appreciate some of the excellent wargaming blogs out there.  Long running threads on forum’s can work too so I guess it’s whatever suits you best.  I think it would work here or on LAF.

    I should add I lost access to my old blog (Blogger) in terms of being able to post and edit and there was not a thing I could do about it.  It took me a while to decide to start a new one.  But, having done so I’m finding it as useful and enjoyable as ever.

    OB
    http://withob.blogspot.co.uk/

    #97860
    Phil Dutré
    Participant

    I’ve almost fully retreated from forums (the only one I still check regularly is TWW :-)), and rely completely on blogs for my daily wargaming fix. There are almost 300 wargaming blogs in my Feedly setup, and I regularly add more. I communicate with other wargamers mostly through blogs. Every day, there are about 20 or 30 new blogposts to read, based on my feed alone.

    My experience w.r.t. blogs vs forums is exactly the opposite as described by Rhoderic. For me at least, forums are less and less interesting, and blogs gain in importance for good wargaming content. The reason is that blogs are less critical w.r.t. time. I can read a blog-entry 3 weeks after it has been posted, and it is still a good read. On forums, there have been many replies already and it doesn’t make sense anymore to still engage in the discussion.

    I guess it also depends whether you want to follow the “news” generated by companies. To be frank, that doesn’t interest me at all anymore. Checking in with a company once a year is frequent enough for most of my wargaming needs.

     

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 9 months ago by Phil Dutré.

    Tiny Tin Men Blog: http://snv-ttm.blogspot.com/
    Wargaming Mechanics Blog: http://wargaming-mechanics.blogspot.com/

    #97931
    Private Snafu
    Participant

    Interesting how we each can have a different experience.  I’m almost the opposite of Phil.  I find myself looking through my Feedly feeds and more or less checking as read 75% of the posts after having looked at the loading screen.  Same old boring stuff or lousy pictures I just don’t have the time or interest.  If I go through a forum and someone has taken the time to promote the post and, hold your breath Norm, embedded a decent image then I am twice or more likely to go to the site and read the post.  If I see some replies on the forum to the blog post announcement then I can surmise there is some interest and perhaps some worthiness.  I have my own personally biased measurement system for worthiness.  One mans trash is another mans treasure.

    ___________________
    http://moveshootassault.blogspot.com
    https://sites.google.com/site/miniaturemachinations

    #97934
    Mike
    Keymaster

    embedded a decent image then I am twice or more likely to go to the site and read the post.

    Me too.

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