Descriptive blogrolls

Many years ago, when we still had control over the web and giant corporation hadn’t still send it to hell, and there were no giant search engines for people to use, we had blogrolls. Blogrolls were sidebar links on our blogs with links to other blogs, usually our friends, which we recommended people to visit.

Sometimes we recommended a blog, sometimes we linked to an interesting post or project, sometimes we wanted to boost a project, but we always had something to recommend to our visitors.

These were carefully curated lists. We felt an obligation to recommend only good stuff. We felt a responsibility over the material we were recommending to other people. Blogrolls could be found on any blog you visited. We essentially built a network of blogs all linked to each other.

Then blogging platforms and programs became more advanced and we could create pages. We moved our sidebar links to special “links” pages and then blogroll ones. Blogroll pages used to contain links to other blogs and projects with small description or comment on each of them. Sometimes we collectively described them as good stuff.

I don’t know what happened to blogrolls after that. They started to fade away and disappear from blogs. Search engines became more advanced and people encouraged each other to use them more. Few remaining old-school blogs and networks kept their blogrolls but they became some kind of listed-only link pages. No description, no comment, no old-school stuff.

I, too, made these boring lists. Only listing names or projects. I even deleted my blogroll page for quite a time. Then I read Simone’s post. He was right. We should curate our blogroll pages in the old manner. We should care about what we post and publish or recommend to people.

Simone asked for context on blogroll pages. He wants to see:

  • Who is this person you’re linking?
  • Why are you following them?
  • What’s in their blog that caught your interest?

and he’s absolutely right. So I updated my blogroll page to do exactly this. I must describe what I’m recommending to people. This should be the default way of publishing blogrolls. Oh, and before that, we should have blogrolls. Old-school blogs baby, bring them back. Bring back the old blogs and the old way of blogging.

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Ali Reza Hayati

Entrepreneur, hacker, cypherpunk.