Required reading?

Dave Winer posted:

"I wish blogs could have the concept of required reading for the people who read the site."

He uses it in the context of something external which he feels everyone should be aware of but, I feel, it could be anything.

I've used a similar concept for years to highlight "recommended" posts to those who probably haven't visited the current version of the blog. If you try to visit the old randomelements domain you will be redirected to the /welcome page.

With each iteration of the blog I have refreshed the Welcome page but then invariably forgotten about it, leaving it stale and no longer a true reflection of what I consider should be read.

Some posts remain evergreen but blogs are (or should be) constantly moving forward with ideas and opinions growing and morphing all the time.

I wish I did a better job of keeping it up to date - the same with the /now page - or what's the point in having it?

I think the problem is that I never see it and it's not obvious that it even exists. It's almost "set it and forget it" but that's completely the wrong approach.

There are times I wonder if more regular readers would like or benefit from such a page, properly curated, but the dilemma of how to bring it to people's attention then rears its ugly head.

The old "cookie and pop-up" method is obnoxious and more likely to make people click away but the quiet menu link is a bit anonymous.

Changing the context from recommended to required makes that even tougher. Required reading becomes an obligation, perhaps a bit heavy for a blog, but I can see where Dave is going with it.

Maybe a different approach is needed, one that isn't in your face but people know or expect to be there. The About page is a web wide convention, one is just expected to be there on a site. Now pages are starting to catch on and some will automatically check if domain/now exists when visiting a new site.

What if /required became such a convention? Not forced upon you but expected to be there should you want to go looking for it?

Mentions

  • Colin Walker