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Another year, another move?

December 16th, 2003

Following the great database disaster, I’m thinking about alternatives to the current setup, kindly provided for me by Robert Corr and mentalspace. The problem is that there are too many levels, and a disaster like this puts an unfair burden on Robert. So I’m thinking about moving to another hosting service.

But, if I’m going to move and make everyone to change their bookmarks, update blogrolls or just forget about me, I need to think about more radical changes. One would be to use TypePad, the easy version of MT. If anyone has tried this, I’d be very keen to hear about it.

Then, on the providential theory, the fact that my invitation to guestblog on Crooked Timber came at the same time as the database disaster must be telling me something. Maybe I should get with the Zeitgeist and join a group blog.

Anyway, here’s a nonbinding poll where you can express your views. Please leave comments also, especially if you choose “Other” (I thought about “stop altogether” as an option, but decided that would be tempting fate and spam).



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  1. December 16th, 2003 at 17:28 | #1

    Typepad doesn’t appear to give you the options for customising your blog design that running MT on your own server does. I don’t know if that’s a serious consideration for you or not, but it would be for me; your design options are somewhat limited.

    Group blogging strikes me as not a bad idea, especially if you’ve been invited to participate at Crooked Timber.

  2. Mark Upcher
    December 16th, 2003 at 17:37 | #2

    John

    While I do not have much time to post many comments, I enjoy visting your site as I know that you are giving a non-mainstream economist’s perspective, which challenges my more traditional economic thinking. It can be quite boring reading stuff you agree with all the time! So from my perspective I would prefer you to stay on an individual site. The trouble with group blogs is that, over time, their character can change quite dramatically as cobloggers come and go and some post frequently and others don’t (eg. Troppo Armadillo).

    So my vote is for any of the first three options that broadly preserve the status quo.

  3. December 16th, 2003 at 20:36 | #3

    John, I think your voice is too important to be lumped in with the others at Crooked Timber (which is no reflection on them). For that reason I think you should definitely maintain your own blog.

    As I pointed out, I’m happy to continue hosting you at Mentalspace, but the lack of access to MySQL means your database is not as secure as it could be elsewhere.

    I’m not familiar with TypePad, but it looks expensive for what you’re getting (considering you have the technical ability to set up and manage your own blog). The Pro level costs about US$150/year, whereas you can get decent hosting for a lot cheaper and with a greater degree of flexibility. So if you’re looking at moving, I’d recommend your own webhost with an MT setup.

  4. Rhys
    December 16th, 2003 at 22:42 | #4

    John, I don’t like the idea of group blogs. One of the great things about RSS is being able to customise which blogs you want to read and how. Personally I have you in a bloglines folder with other interesting bloggers, both international and Australian.

    One concrete suggestion though – move your blog to a domain name or at the very least a subdomain you can keep. That way at least in the future if you change hosts you don’t have to change URL. Domains cost barely more than AU$10/year these days.

  5. December 16th, 2003 at 23:28 | #5

    I think Rhys is right. johnquiggin.com is unlikely to have been taken!

  6. December 16th, 2003 at 23:40 | #6

    Hmmm … trade-offs everywhere in this one comrade. Crooked Timber is certainly a great group blog, but group blogs are a radically different kettle of fish to solo blogs. Crooked works better than most, I think, because it has an overall left-of-centre orientation and consistently high quality. A pretty unbeatable combination. Yet I notice that most of Crooked‘s contributors have also kept their solo blogs, which have the advantage of enabling you to set your own pace, maintain more overall coherence, and not feel any restraints or pressures out of respect to your co-bloggers. Personally, I think we risk losing you in the mix, if you don’t at least keep a solo blog running as well. I’ve been visiting Crooked for a long while, but I can’t really say that I have a reliable sense of who’s who (apart from dsquared, of course … I mean, how can you miss him?). I thought about Typepad, but it looks like a micky mouse operation to me. If you decide to go to MT, I’m sure that Social Change (the same folks behind Evatt and back Pages) guys will be happy to help you out with a reasonable deal.

  7. December 17th, 2003 at 01:55 | #7

    Queue cheesy Billy Joel track…”I like you just the way you are”

  8. Homer Paxton
    December 17th, 2003 at 09:38 | #8

    JQ please keep your site.

    I may disagree with you but your site is one of the most thoughtful and interesting around.

    I cannot comment on what system you should use as I have no expertise on the matter but just keep your site going.

  9. kez
    December 17th, 2003 at 10:17 | #9

    i hope you remain solo, john.

    i don’t particularly care what the site looks like as long as the content retains it’s quality, as i’m sure it will..

  10. Geoff Honnor
    December 17th, 2003 at 10:26 | #10

    “Queue cheesy Billy Joel track…”I like you just the way you are”

    It’s “love you” Jack and no-one would think the less of you for so declaring :)

    I think you have a very distinctive voice John and it would – with the best will in the world – inevitably lose some of it’s singular edge in a group blog situation.

  11. December 17th, 2003 at 12:54 | #11

    Stay solo, and host with someone who has backend experience (no, not Geoff!) — who can provide personal assistance when servers fall over or corrupt (known to happen)…

    MT is good, but how well these content management systems will scale over 5-10 years is anybody’s guess… make back-ups of all your data (MT can output a text file), which will be a doddle to import into a next-generation system… thus ensuring Quiggin & Sons becomes a multi-generational blog

    and yes, purchase a domain name immediately…

  12. Geoff Honnor
    December 17th, 2003 at 14:09 | #12

    “Stay solo, and host with someone who has backend experience (no, not Geoff!)”

    You’ll keep, Bernardo :)

  13. December 17th, 2003 at 16:27 | #13

    In some ways this is already a bit collective. When I read it, I know that the surrounding comments come from a group of people who return day by day, and develop their own arguments. Over time, we understand the positions the various commenters are coming from. What is more, the discussion can develop from day to day through successive Quiggite episodes.

    That would be lost to some extent in a group blog, which is more interrupted. Both Troppo and Crooked Timber benefit from the variety – but they are doing something slightly different.

    There is also something about localism. The internet may be without boundaries, but Quiggin is identifiably Australian (Queensland even..) while Crooked Timber is more diffusely international. The direct relevance of this site is really useful.

    I would like to see Quiggin stay Quiggin with its own domain name. It would be great to see a more evolved guest blog system, particularly from other significant ideas creators in the social sciences, who may tow with them an equivalent group of commentators.

    It would also be great to cross-connect more of an audience off Crooked Timber, which could come from Quiggin guest blogging (a bit) over there. Then we have an audience with experience outside the Australian economy commenting on it. Thus we mirror globalism.

    John, of course, lies idly around in his office sucking on Brisbane pina coladas with nothing else to do with his time..

    (Is Nardo trying to say he is more than a pretty face? Check his site – its piss elegant, completely with the faux Morris boundaries.. yum. Is Geoff trying to prove he is more than a fine mind with a neat turn of phrase, but can duel code to code with the back end boiler boys? Hold your breath for the next exciting episode..)

  14. Mork
    December 18th, 2003 at 07:57 | #14

    John – I’m another vote for staying solo. Maybe I just don’t like change … !

  15. Brian Bahnisch
    December 18th, 2003 at 08:55 | #15

    Me too – stay as you are. The only changes I’d like are a smaller type and the ability to click on the heading of a post to open it in full with comments.

    Crooked Timber is one of the messiest visually. I wouldn’t enjoy having to scratch around to find you there!

  16. December 18th, 2003 at 13:15 | #16

    John, stay solo. Even good group blogs suck.

  17. December 19th, 2003 at 05:46 | #17

    One thing about group blogs is that it takes the pressure off – if you’re too busy/empty/worn to blog yourself, you know that one of your co-bloggers inevitably will.

    HaHa

  18. Joerg Wenck
    December 19th, 2003 at 09:25 | #18

    Keep it as it is (although I must say that I would like to see a group blog consisting of Quiggin/DeLong/Sawicky…)

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