Remaindered links format change  AUG 26 2005

As some of you may have noticed, I changed the way I do my remaindered links a few weeks ago. Instead of a "headline" with a single link accompanied by some (optional) extra text:

"Does anyone devote as much energy to avoiding simple, sensible solutions as the modern graphic designer?"
Novelty is necessary to foster innovation, but is missing the mark so frequently worth the effort?

I switched to a short paragraph of text with one or more links:

Following the elimination of tipping at Per Se, an op-ed by Steven Shaw says tipping should be abolished in restaurants. (via tmn) Considering the statistics on tipping, perhaps he's right. For a less refined take, here's why Reservoir Dog Mr. Pink doesn't tip.

I'm really happy with the switch so far. Posting each entry takes a little longer (especially if there's more than one link per entry), but the format is a lot more flexible than the headline/link/text way. It allows me to explicitly follow up on previous posts (e.g. Remember this link I posted last week? Well, here's some more info on that...), make connections between what I'm posting and what I've read/seen/heard elsewhere previously, credit where I find links, and is generally more Web-like and weblog-like in style. That and I can still do the headline/link/text thing if I want.

It's a subtle change, but in a lot of ways it's a return for me to an older style of blogging: link-dense, off-the-cuff, linking for subtext and not reference (a practice pioneered by Suck). Not having to limit myself to one link (as with the old style of remaindered link) or feel like I need to write something of substance to justify a post with a title and it's own archive page (as with my main posts...it's kind of amazing how post titles and individual archives have made blog posts seem more like magazine or newspaper articles than, well, blog posts) has been great. There was a missing intermediate baby bear sort of post that was difficult for me to do easily and on a regular basis. With this switch, it's just right.

For those of you who read the remaindered links in a newsreader, you may not have even noticed the change. Depending on how your newsreader works and how you use it, you may not be seeing the extra links. I still have the URL pointing to whatever it is I'm primarily linking to rather than the permalink for the entry. I'm doing it that way now for backward compatibility, but I'm not sure how long that will continue...it makes less sense with this new format. I may even roll the remaindered links into the main RSS file...it would make a lot of sense (although I would still offer a separate RSS file for the r-links).

The bottom line is, if you're reading the remaindered links in a newsreader, you may be missing out. The relative simplicity of RSS/Atom (and the applications that utilize them) is often a strength, but it's not ideal for some methods of content display, which can be frustrating to those of us who revel in the flexibility of HTML in formatting content.

As always, questions, comments, and concerns are appreciated.

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