Irascible tomcat Mr. Gato's companion animal, Barry Campbell of enrevanche, suggests algorithm tweaking may explain our blog's recent precipitous rise in the TTLB Ecosystem, even as his own blog status has risen from Marauding Marsupial to Large Mammal in the last few days. (Photograph of new large mammal by Oliver Gramatte)
"I think that N.Z. Bear must be tweaking the algorithms again to defeat the latest round of system-gaming and linkwhoring," writes blogpal Barry Campbell of enrevanche in comments to the previous post re our blog's sudden restoration to TTLB Ecosystemic heights not known in these parts since August 25:
Enrevanche just achieved "Large Mammal" status this past week, though about two thousand positions down the list from your regal perch. :-)
Flattery will get you everywhere. It turns out Barry's onto something we had missed in the post-Thanksgiving tryptophanic haze. Some of the newer kids on the blogospheric block have, apparently, been gaming the Ecosystem through something called "open trackback posts." Instead of linking and trackbacking others' posts that pique your interest and relate to what you're writing about, you simply invite bloggers at large to trackback to an open post without content of your own. It's a quick-and-dirty way of rising in the Ecosystem without doing the hard work, and it makes for really boring posts. New Zealand Bear explains:
It seems to me that the main motivation of such posts is simply to provide a quick and easy way for bloggers to generate links to each other, without any real regard for the substance of each other’s posts.The links, rather than symbolizing and codifying the relationship between two posts, or two blogs, have become an end in themselves.
There's all kinds of buzz about it in the blogosphere, but La Shawn Barber has the best explanation so far, although we're still unclear on some of the finer technical points. For example, we have no real idea what an "inline trackback" is. 'Will have to wait and see how it all shakes down, but meanwhile, we totally agree with La Shawn's bottom line:
Before you bloggers have a cow, hear me out. I, of all people, understand the desire to be widely-linked and widely-read. In fact, it’s human, and no one is immune from at least occasional link fishing. We’re bloggers, aren’t we?
For the past few weeks, I’ve noticed a certain amount of link manipulation among new or smaller bloggers.
You bloggers may not believe in the “build it, and they will come” idea, but it is true. The best kind of bloggers are the “pure bloggers,” those who blog for the joy of it. I am such a blogger. I appreciate my readers and most commenters, but if my traffic slacks off or readers begin to comment less, I’d still be here almost every day self-publishing my opinions and loving it. I love the mere act of blogging, and if people surf here to read my thoughts, it’s like lemon icing on my chocolate cake.
Exactly. Don't waste a single post on something that isn't, in La Shawn's words, "for the joy of it."
Update: For the sheer joy of it, hurry on over to IMAO for this week's Carnival, "Know Thy Enemy: Cats."