I’ve been wondering how to go about recycling some of my articles. This isn’t a question of reducing my work load. It’s just that I look back and see some stuff that I’ve written that I think is rather good. That’s especially true when I’m in contemplative moods. I was especially struck by an article I wrote a couple of years back, The Beauty of Abandonment and Decay. Back two years ago, I probably had a tenth of the traffic that I have today. But unfortunately, a blog is not really like an art museum. Or rather it is like an art museum where everything more than three days old is stored in the basement.
Elizabeth has done a great service by going through old articles and commenting on them. I’m not sure how many people are aware of the list on the right of the 20 most recent comments. That used to be a great tool for me, until I figured out that I could read and respond to comments within the WordPress admin area. But it still works as a nice feature for Frankly Curious readers. Or it mostly does. Now there is enough commenting that 20 entries really isn’t enough. I think I’m going to create a comment page for this. There will be a link to it at the link bar at the top of each page.
Still, it would be nice to bring back old articles in a convenient way. There is one thing that I can do that is easy. I can “pin” an old article to the top of the front page. The problem is that it isn’t in the flow of the articles. It just stays there for as long as it is pinned. So I thought I might do that for random posts for the nighttime hours. But this would require that I manually un-pin the post for the start of the next day. And I’m a hard working guy, but I am not up at 5:05 am when the first article is published.
There is another approach to this, which is to simply change the time stamp of an old article. But that screws up the whole idea of a blog. I want to highlight an old article, not pretend that it is a new article. You see, these are the kinds of things that I worry about. I am very much a formalist — but a liberal one. If you read my writing about grammar, you will see that I want to create the simplest rules possible and then stick with them. A good example is my article, The Case Against Apostrophe S. Yes, it may make more sense to write, “Thomas’s train.” But it is easier if we all just decide to write it, “Thomas’ train.” That way we never have to think about whether we need to add another “s” after an apostrophe.
So I want to get this right. And I think I’ve figured out how to do it. I can write a special post that will always be pinned to the top of the front page. And it will provide a link to an old article that I think is worth checking out. I just have to figure out how to make it look appealing. The main thing is that I can leave up a particular article for a few days. But it should take up a small enough space so that it doesn’t get in the way of people seeing what new gem I’ve written.
We’ll see how it goes. If you all hate it, let me know in the comments for it.