Shoes full of broken glass and nails for the cobbler’s children

Have you noticed just how awful at blogging people in the blogging business are? (He asked, conveniently forgetting that although he’s a blogging business gadfly, he takes unannounced vacations of five or six months every year.)

Take the Blogger Developers Network. I’ve been subscribed to the feed for it forever, despite the paucity of posts. Of course, I’d be a little less short of posts if that index.rdf feed wasn’t an unredirected ghost, which stopped being updated sometime between the January 22, 2004 post and the October 18, 2004 post, but wasn’t ever removed or redirected to the Atom feed.

Then there’s the posts since last October, which I didn’t know about because not only is the feed I was subscribed to a ghost, so is the “current” feed, and the HTML. The whole thing has moved to, with nary a hint of redirect or even a post saying “hey, this is dead, go there instead.” And if I had gotten suspicious that they might have moved, and googled for it, it wouldn’t have done me any good, since along with the wtf? of a <meta name="MSSmartTagsPreventParsing" content="true" /> they include a <meta name="ROBOTS" content="NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW" />, because who wants their documentation to ever be found? Those ROBOTS are awful, and who would know that better than Google employees?

It’s maybe not quite as bad as when they randomly banned themselves from crawling, but moving your blog every five or six posts, and changing the URL for your feed in between, all without ever saying anything about it, and hiding from search engines, is what you do if you’re being stalked, or hiding your journal from the ‘rents, not if you are documenting trying to build a platform.


Comment by Pete Prodoehl #
2005-03-15 05:52:30

Yes, actually I had noticed. Though my notice was more along the lines of ”Gosh, Person X used to blog quite a bit until they got hired by a blogging company. Now that they work for a blogging company they don’t seem to actually, you know, blog!”

Luckily the world needs people like us who don’t work for blogging companies and can bring up these issues from time to time. (Or does it?)

Comment by Eric #
2005-03-15 15:25:10

Heh, thanks for pointing these things out, Phil! (though I think you’re being a bit harsh… ;)

The NOINDEX,NOFOLLOW tags are dynamically generated at blog publish-time, via Blogger’s <BlogMetaData> tag. While tweaking the blog for release, we had the Listing setting set to private, so it wouldn’t show up in our Profiles. I changed the setting and republished the blog, so this is fixed.

MSSmartTagsPreventParsing is obviously a legacy tag, and could probably be retired.

Regarding the redirects, that’s the result of a miscommunication (surprise, we’re human!), and they’ll be included with the next Blogger production push.

The old site remained inactive for a variety of reasons, but I’m hoping to revitalize it now that Steve and I are in charge.


Comment by Phil Ringnalda #
2005-03-15 23:50:27