19 comments in one weekend!

[15 January 2008]

This morning I was a bit surprised to see nineteen comments on various blog posts waiting for moderation here. I hadn’t realized that such a queue had been built up since Friday, or that so many new people had discovered this blog and wanted to comment.

My slight flush of self-congratulation at the success of the blog lasted only a few moments, as long as it took to notice that of the nineteen comments eighteen were clearly spam, and the nineteenth is almost certainly spam (I’m going to sleep on that one).

Dealing with persistent spam attacks could take a lot of the pleasure out of maintaining a blog, just as dealing with spam made email an unbearable drain on my time before I started my white list. Time to spend some time investigating the blog-spam control tools available to me.

What’s a klog?

Why does the subtitle of this blog say “MSM’s klog” — don’t you mean “blog”?

Well, maybe.

But when I was thinking about this material, I thought of it mostly as a series of meditations on issues that arise in my work, with only the occasional piece unrelated to W3C or my working groups. So my own notes for Messages in a bottle call it a work log, or worklog, or (yes) klog.

Hence the term in the subtitle. If it comes to seem too precious or weird, I suppose I can always change it. (Cool URIs don’t change, it’s true, but maybe subtitles don’t have to be cool.)

Why “Messages in a bottle”?

People on the W3C staff have been talking about blogs and how they can improve communication within a group, for some time. The discussions we had as a Team in Montréal (in November 2006) primed me to think about blogging as something it might be interesting to do. So did Jonathan Robie’s telling me that Jon Udell had urged him to start a blog, and Jonathan’s urging me to do so. (When was that? A long time ago, XML 2005 maybe.)

But the immediate impetus was finding some long-neglected pages on the W3C site (it really doesn’t matter which they were, or who wrote them) in which a Team member set down, years ago, some musings on a topic it turns out we both (and, as far as I can tell, virtually no others in the Team) are interested in.

It felt like finding a message in a bottle.

Putting such musings in a blog won’t help make them easier or harder to find, of course. But somehow the pages in question — and the pages I felt like writing in response — seem to fit more neatly into the genre of the journal, or the ongoing work log, the lab notebook, than into any other.

So I’m going to start a six-month experiment in keeping a work log. Think of it, dear reader, as my lab notebook. (I was going to do it starting a year ago, but, well, I didn’t. So I’m going to start now.)

My original plan was to make it accessible only to the W3C Team, so that I could talk about things that probably shouldn’t be discussed in public or in member space. Norm Walsh has blown a hole in that idea by
pointing to this log
[Hi, Norm!]. So public it is. (Ideally, I’d have a blog in which each item could be marked with an ACL, like resources in W3C date space: Team-only, Member-only, World-readable. Maybe later.)

Next year about June, if I remember, I will evaluate the experiment and decide whether it’s been useful for me or not.