Michael Wolraich's picture

    Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Reader Blogs

    Dear TPM refugees, web surfers, and other assorted riffraff,

    I returned from vacation last night and was happy to find a surge of activity from new members and friends from TPM Cafe. Welcome all to dagblog.com.

    Like many of you, I first started blogging at TPM Cafe during the 2008 election cycle. I loved the idiosyncratic personalities of the cafe (well...most of them) and the daily intellectual scuffles, but I eventually began to crave more control over my writing platform and more information about my readership. So in the fall of 2008, I joined fellow TPMer Articleman and another friend who went by Deadman to launch dagblog.com. Dag is simply an acronym based on our three screen names. We soon recruited a few other great writers, like TPMers Orlando and DF, but despite enthusiastic suggestions to change the name to dagmodblog, we stuck with dagblog. Deadman and Articleman eventually stopped blogging for personal reasons, thereby rendering the acronym obsolete but for the G. (Rumors about an internal power struggle in which I poisoned Deadman and bit off Articleman's nose are entirely false. Deadman's death has been greatly exaggerated, and Articleman's nose fell off due to natural causes.)

    A year ago, one reader requested reader blog functionality. We thought it was a great idea and set it up. In some ways, our reader blogs are similar to those at TPM Cafe. Anyone can register and write about whatever the hell they want to, as long as the content is not spammy, racist, obscene, or mindbogglingly stupid. Obviously, we're flexible on the last one. You can see all reader posts here: http://dagblog.com/reader-blogs.

    Unlike TPM, we don't use voting to highlight great writing. Instead, we fully embraced our inner oligarchs and decided to whimsically promote articles that we like to the front page. While this might seem like a dubious honor, dagblog has a couple of hundred regular readers, so the front page placement does offer a larger audience.

    In addition to the regular readership, all dagblog posts are indexed by google news (regardless of whether they have been promoted to the front page). If you write about a recent current event, your post may get hundreds or even thousands of hits, especially if it's picked up by other blogs. For instance, a recent piece by newcomer David Seaton received over a thousand hits, and a few dag posts have received over 10,000 hits.

    We don't share our traffic data with everyone, but if you start blogging here regularly, I will give you access to the stats. You can see not only how many hits each piece receives but where the traffic comes from. If I haven't gotten around to giving you such access, don't hesitate to send me a request using the contact form.

    Please don't hesitate contact me with other problems or questions that you have. I ask you only to be patient. Unlike TPM, dagblog is a budgetless operation. Our ad revenues are paltry, and I manage the technology in my spare time.

    That said, I want to make sure that the technology works as smoothly as possible for you all. I plan to do an upgrade this week to make sure that dag can handle the new traffic. The upgrade should also solve the problem with cutting-and-pasting from Microsoft Word.

    In the near future, I have a few other ideas for upgrading dagblog and the reader blog section in particular. I would love your feedback and suggestions.

    • Richer comments - The sidebar comments worked great when we only had a few comments a day, but it's clearly insufficient to track the richer comments. I welcome suggestions, the simpler the better.
    • Multiple reader blog tabs - Currently, you can only view reader blogs chronologically. I'd like to add tabs to view by popularity and editor choice.
    • Author pages - If you figure out your user id, you can see a list of your own articles at http://dagblog.com/blog/[id]. I plan to set up a more user friendly url using your screen name.
    • New design / logo
    • More dagbloggers - In the next few months, we'll probably add more people to headline. I'm not sure when or how many, but I will keep you posted.

    By the way, if you want to follow the latest dag posts, you can do so by rss, facebook, twitter, and email. It's all on our subscribe page. (The tweets are broken for some reason. I'll fix them with the upgrade.)

    Finally, if you have a personal blog, you are of course welcome to add a link at the bottom of your posts. I'm also happy to add a link to your blog on the the left sidebar, and I ask only that you link back to us.

    Thanks again for joining us dagblog. I hope that you find our community as pleasant or perhaps even pleasanter than TPM Cafe and that all your dreams comes true and that you live happily ever after. The end.



    Hey Genghis:

    I forgot I was signed up already.  Can you explain to this luddite how, if it's possible, I can just cut and paste a reader blog from the Cafe over to here?  Many thanks.






    Welcome back Bruce. If you highlight the TPM content right on the web page and paste it into the edit box on dag, it should work for you.

    This is just bullshit, maaaaan. Like I told Yaroslav, "We should kill this f*cking Genghis guy. He's gonna be trouble." Only I said it in Russian, obviously. With an excellent Russian accent, I might add, albeit leaning slightly more toward St Petersburg than Moscow.

    Anyway, everyone knows that blogging here is easy. Orlando does it, for God's sake.

    As for information people need, you missed some stuff. Like that either they recognize that MegaShark is God (and I am the only prophet), or they can bugger off.

    And as for living happily ever after, I think I will.

    BTW G, how goes the book prep? Editors pressuring you to add in some more sex? I would. I pressure pretty much everyone about sex.

    Gotta go now. Bye.



    Bye bye!


    Has anyone ever really jumped for joy when Quinn got here?

    Yaroslav knows where you live, smartass.

    quinn without his picture doesn't kick ass much...dude...ya need the picture , ya need the picture

    Hey everybody . . .

    After being a veteran of TPM since March 2005 and having gone through more musical chair changes over there than you can think of, it's nice to come to a clean uncluttered site.

    This is not to say I dislike the Cafe, but it appears that Genghis learned quite a bit in the 2 years at the Cafe when it comes to site management.

    Now... That's enough boot-licking for this here duck. To forewarn everyone, watchout when I come paddling out from the tall reeds to send any bottom-feeders that may pop up in the pond here that may need a little squawking and honking to straighten them out. It's usually not too over the top but I can sometimes get rather caustic.

    Nothing like Quinn though.



    ...it appears that Genghis learned quite a bit in the 2 years at the Cafe when it comes to site management.

    Yes, though along with the "unverified" stuff I see comment-spam beginning to appear.  Perhaps it's time to make things verified-only?

    Alas, comment spam has long been an occasional problem. I just delete the comments and block the ip. So far, it's a little annoying but not bad enough for me to shut down anonymous comments. I'm thinking that I'll set up some kind of spam flag tool when I get a chance.

    Oh.  Well, being newer here, I just noticed it this morning.

    Hope it doesn't get too overblown with the influx of new people.

    Thanks, OGD. TPM has a lot more traffic, so their system is necessarily more complex. That said, TPM's tech budget may have been something of a curse. They tried to do too much and often did it poorly. I've had no choice but to keep it simple using standard tools.

    hi ghengis. Just floating in from tpm. registered and published my first reader blog in no time. I like how you've set things up.

    as for the suggestion box stuff, I really enjoyed the dashboard function at tpm, not to track anyone in particular but to get a feel for where the action was, who was around at the time, and what the topic of discussion was. Your 'recent comments' sidebar does that to some extent, but it would imo be nice to have a separate page with a longer list of recent comments, who is writing, and a longer extract (2 lines - à la tpm).

    Maybe you could also classify the readerblog archives by topic.

    But, hey, it's great the way it is. And thanks for taking us stranded tpm'ers in.

    Welcome, Obey. Per your suggestion, I beefed up the recent comments. You can get the full comments if you click "More" at the end of the comments block.

    I'll think about classifying reader blogs by topic. Frankly, unless people start posting on topics other than politics, I may scrap the topics altogether.

    Adding the blog-post title was also an excellent idea, Genghis, what with the increased volume and all. Isn't this fun?

    Get a hold of your enthusiasm Ac. You're going to ruin your hard-earned reputation.

    He's from Montreal. They're all about being cool and cynical and kinda Frenchy, then something happens that they like - or don't like - and suddenly they're burning cop cars and rioting. 

    Believe me Genghis, it's not easy sharing a country with those people. 

    Thanks! Wow that was fast. And efficient. I may have low-balled it, it seems

    Can I have a pony too? and/or Celine Dion tickets. Whatever works for you, I'm easy...

    I reserved the whole day for knocking dag into shape, and your request was a good one. I still need to figure out how to create better user profile pages. And maybe redesign the site. Otherwise, I think that its getting into good shape.

    PS If I had Celine Dion tickets, I would burn them.

    And the pony she rode in on.

    And since you got such a nice fire goin' and all, why not throw the songbird on direct?


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