Thanks both! 🙏
I mentioned that I wanted to make some major changes to the blog and how things operate, but what's triggered this?
Alan Jacobs wrote about architectural blogging:
"I have come to think that there is something architectural about writing a blog, or can be – but not in the sense of a typical architectural project, which is designed in advanced and built to specifications."
The idea is that building a personal site is very much like an open-ended architectural project, you add something here, redesign there and, eventually, "you get something big and with a discernible shape."
That shape cannot possibly be predetermined, this type of building and growth is totally organic, its direction unknowable in advance.
Tom Critchlow picked this up and ran with it saying "there’s something brewing here - something about building a digital homestead, building it in a way that reflects your soul."
The real lightbulb moment for me was Tom asking:
"How do you create pathways (and desire paths?) through your site? How do people start, journey, get lost and ultimately find their way through your site?"
It got me questioning how and why I do what I do here. To what end is it created and presented? Where are the pathways and journeys? Beyond going 'day-to-day' how does anyone find their way around? Do I leave a trail of breadcrumbs to follow? Why not?
There has to be more to blogging than just turning up each day and doing your thing.
I've been trying to build something like a fully functional home on the web but it is largely a piecemeal undertaking. Isolated thought worms may prepare the soil but they don't grow the garden. Speaking of which, the Garden is grossly underutilised (as I've said before) and, with the new Notes feature, often duplicitous.
So, what to do?
I've always sald I wanted to create something of meaning and thought the "It's Only Words" project was that thing. Now I realise that the larger body of work, the story of a life (or at least part of one) is what I really aspire to. But stories need narrative and flow, a sense of cohesion and coherence.
How do I go from here to there? How do I set out on a meaningful journey? How do I map out the lay of the land, rebuild and restructure?
I'm thinking about scraping the Garden completely and folding it into the blog. Not so much organising things by pages but, perhaps, utilising a version of labels as currently employed by Notes.
I want things to be a lot more fluid, less structured and more "thinking in public." Snippets that would normally live in the Garden will become posts but not in a traditional sense — it will increase the emphasis on viewing the day as a conglomerate rather than a series of individual items.
Using labels in this context will not be in the traditional vein of tags or categories, more an indication of threads, collections of thoughts or blogchains.
This is part technology change part mindset shift, something that I want to achieve with as little clutter as possible — visually and mentally. I see it as the next logical evolution of what I'm trying to build. while the day-to-day blog will be largely unaffected, the possibility for creating pathways and journeys is introduced.
It's going to be a lot of work (although some of can luckily be ported from elsewhere) and things will get broken so bear with me. But I'm hoping it will be well worth it in the long run.
The first part of the work is done, labels can now be displayed on posts and link to a page displaying all posts with that label. I'll probably add pagination at some point so it acts the same as Search.
To keep things clean and minimal, labels aren't visible until you click the icon to expand the comments area.
Label admin is also in place so I now need to add the ability to assign labels to posts. That won't take too long as I can copy most of it from Notes. Having labels on posts helps to bring the two sections together, even if one is public and the other private. This consistency is part of my goal for the site, to make it feel like a cohesive space.