In previous post
I described the recent unpleasantness and suggested that I had the
beginnings of an answer. This article gives a little more information, and notes that many are
jumping ship to LJ clones like JournalFen and GreatestJournal. But I don't think that's the answer.
As I said before, we need to take back our content.
There are some details I haven't worked out -- I'd like to have a simple,
complete out-of-the-box package, but all I have are pieces. Here are the
basics, though, and a few tools to get you started:
You need a place on the web where you can host static web pages,
preferably in a domain that you own and without anyone else's
advertising. But your ISP will do to get started. You do not
need to be able to run scripts or a database. If you have a DSL or cable
connection you could even host it at home -- I think that's where we're
heading, but we're not there yet.
You do that, if you want to, on your computer at home. A program like Blosxom or ikiwiki will let you format and organize
your own web pages offline, and construct the RSS and HTML summary pages
you need to make a proper blog. I'm working on a more geekish solution
based on the Unix utility
make. You don't really need
either. Just make a subdirectory of your main web page called "blog", and
make entries with paths like "
In other words, every entry is either a web page or a directory (which
lets you put any images the page uses together with the text). Now all
you have to do is run a little script to generate the RSS and HTML
summaries and upload any new pages to your public website
using a program like
rsync or a web-based version-control
system like Subversion or
Now, here's the part that will require a little more hacking on my part:
there needs to be a script that parses the page for tags, builds the tag
indices, and cross-posts to LJ or some other blogging site -- or
sites -- based on the tags. That way, you can use LJ as your comment
aggregator. The other missing piece is the little script that
screen-scrapes LJ's email comment notifications and puts them back into
your working directory. (You could run your own comment CGI script, but
it seems like a lot of hassle. I stole this idea from ohiblather, by the way -- she has multiple blogs elsewhere on the
web, and posts pointers to them in her LJ, which is also where she directs
most of the comments.)
That takes care of the mechanics of blogging. I like the way Blosxom and ikiwiki let you integrate blogs and
comments seamlessly into a website that might have much more in it.
There's no reason, for example, why you can't allow comments on every
page, or make a "changeblog" out of your version-control changelog
entries to point your readers to new or revised pages.
The next thing you need is a "friends" page. Probably the easiest thing
to use for that is Planet, a
simple feed aggregator that generates a web page. Check out their list of
planet-powered sites. But you don't have to publish your friends page at
all if you don't want to; you can keep it on your own computer at home.
And you'd better not if it has private or friends-locked posts on
it, like you might acquire by reading your LJ friends page.
The thing I really don't have a good handle on is the community-building
aspect of LJ. The rest of the blogosphere does this using things like
trackbacks, pings, and blogrolls. I suspect that the FOAF project may be
a large part of the answer: you put a machine-readable profile on your
home page, and let FOAF-aware search engines do the rest.
What I'm really advocating is a move away from centralized services
controlled by faceless corporations, back to a world where everyone (oops! ETA: runs their own node in the peer-to-peer network that is the Internet. Remember that TCP/IP is a peer-to-peer protocol -- which machine is the client and which the server depends entirely on what they're doing at any given moment.)