Friday, March 15, 2013

State of the Blog 2013

The last time I missed making a daily blog post was March 14, 2011. Every single day since the 15th I've managed to put a new post up here, on my SNES blog, or on my Star Trek blog. 731 straight days. Woo! The initial plan when I split off to those two other blogs was to run them on the weekends. One of them is dealing with 22 year old video games, the other with a 46 year old television show so neither were dealing with particularly time sensitive posts. As such, it should have been easy to build up a nice backlog of posts in order to free up my weekends from needing to worry about putting a post together. Reality worked a little differently. I've almost never had any done in advance, though I have been able to do the posts on Friday if I already had weekend plans. The SNES posts are still coming through but I fell off the Star Trek wagon. I went away for most of the weekend and just didn't feel like spending 2 hours watching Star Trek when I got back. I really wanted to just play League of Legends and Blood Bowl. Since then I've restarted playing Diablo III and the StarCraft II expansion on top of those and have had lots of things I wanted to post about so I haven't really felt the need to go back to Star Trek.

That said, I do still like the idea of building up a backlog of posts. Maybe that will mean Star Trek again, but I actually think I want to start a new Jack bridge series going. In preparation for this post I started way back at the beginning and have been reading all the old posts here. I've only made it up to 2010, but that's partway through the last bridge series. I feel like it took up too much space at the time because I was leaning heavily on it as a source of content but I really liked the discussions that came out of those posts from the people that were interested in them. Most of my posts are either anecdotal or authoritative in nature and neither of those lends themselves very well to an ongoing discussion. But posting about how I played a bridge hand seemed to solicit lots of input on different ways to play the hand, or different conventions, or just ranting about how hard Jack seemed to be trying to screw me. I think a once a week type of schedule would work just fine, so my intention is to start playing a matchpoints series on Jack Bridge and see how it pans out.

The SNES adventure has been a lot of fun, even if I find myself disliking many of the old games. I really like that they're fairly short to put together (though I think I need to block off like a week soon what with A Link to the Past coming up). I'll definitely keep it going for now.

The Final Fantasy marathon is slogging along. Being able to play the last few games on the bus was nice, and I suspect I'm falling behind now because I can't play Ehrgeiz on the bus and really would rather play the new StarCraft II campaign when I'm home instead of completing a mediocre 16 year old game. I'm sure I'll get around to it eventually. I am very tempted to skip ahead to the next PSP friendly game, though, and come back to the console one when I get a chance. I really want to play Final Fantasy VIII! But I also know that I'll never actually come back to Ehrgeiz if I skip it.

One change I've recently made to the blog layout is splitting all the post labels down into a few buckets. I have the generic post categories by themselves up at the top of the sidebar. Then I broke out all the board games into a cloud further down, and all the video games into a separate one, and then everything else into a third cloud. On top of that I relabeled all of my old posts (I don't know if labels didn't exist way back then or if I just didn't use them) which bumped up the World of Warcraft numbers a fair bit.

My blog stats have become pretty worthless in the last year. For the longest time my blog was mostly viewed from Canada, then the US, then a little bit all over the place. Lately the most people have come from Sweden. I use the term people there pretty loosely since I'm pretty sure it's just a spam bot. I'm now getting dozens of spam comments every day. They pretty much all get caught by the spam filter but the bots don't seem to care. I tried turning on comment moderation for posts older than 14 days and immediately dinged a couple of legitimate comments on older posts. I've tried going back and turning comments off entirely for the most frequently spammed posts, but it just seems to shift which of the older popular posts get hit. And I'm not even sure those posts are popular. It could just be the same bots hitting them again and again and again. My post about City of Villains going free to play back in June of 2011 was my 4th most popular post last month with 266 hits. I can't fathom that any of those are legit. Especially since my 'top 10' search keywords list actually only has 9 entries with more than 1 hit, and none of them are related to CoV.

I'm not sure what to do about it. Should I turn off anonymous comments? Many of my legitimate comments come from anonymous sources and doing anything to make things harder on people seems like a terrible idea. If there was some way to block Sweden entirely at this point I think I just might. I can't imagine anyone who is running these bots is profiting in any way from their activity here since it all just gets caught in the spam filter. Maybe I need to research SEO optimization more to see if I am actually helping these bots out in some way so I can change it. I just want accurate stats for my own curiosity!

Here's to another 731 days of gaming!


Matt said...

Don't block anonymous posts - I hate having to register or link to an existing account.
That being said, I blocked all posts on LJ because of the spam, so I understand.

Andrew said...

I agree about keeping the anonymous comments. I think you gain more with a few comments than you lose by not having any worthwhile stats. But then I'm not writing the blog, so maybe the stats are really important.

Still sad about Star Trek going away, but I understand the time suck on that one. And until STTNG season 2, it's just cataloging bad episodes and making fun of them.