Death by Calendar: The Irrelevance of Date-Based Blogs
Design | 11 July 2010 |
The historical fascination with “date-based” entries continues to invade all blog systems and software and many CMS platforms. Even today, every version of MT has provisioning for calendars and archives by date.
This is just stupid. Content matters, not when it was written. The traditional view of blogs as personal online diaries is outdated. It is also fundamentally wrong.
If a blog is intended for a readership beyond the author himself, then it stands to reason that listing archives of blog entries by date is wholly illogical. A visitor to a blog does not know when the author wrote something. It makes no difference whether a particular subject was addressed in 2009 or 1995, or on what date of what month. Readers are interested in the subjects or topics being addressed. Category listings make sense; so do tag clouds, keyword listing and even alphabetical listings. And, of course, the search box is essential.
Many blogs continue to list date-listings in their archives. This is utterly useless. It is unthinking, uncaring and shows no respect for the reader or the visitor. Who cares if you wrote 200 blog posts in December of 2007? What did you write about? How do I find that?
The worthies at MT say that entries are date-based and pages are not. Entries have categories, pages have folders. This is a distinction without a difference. It is the kind of thing engineers push out because they’re not expected to think about design or usability or end-user convenience.
When you create a blog with entries and categories, the categories show up as — guess what — folders on your server drive. Page folders, ditto, naturally. So what’s the difference? Only this: entries default to that mindless date-based listing, while pages do not.
Then there’s this bit of nonsense: pages are static, stuff like an About or Contact pages, material that doesn’t change. Entries don’t much change either. You post one, then you move on. You might reference back to the previous one, but you certainly don’t keep changing an earlier post.
In MT there is no longer any justification for date-based archives. It’s one thing to have it there as an option; it’s quite an another to have it as a default archive mapping.
Wordpress.com, in its free version, is a great service, but for this: it will not permit you to change the default mapping. Entries should be listed by
or whatever syntax WP uses. Instead, WP forces entries to be listed by year/month/date. Get real, people: the date, month and year are irrelevant. Entirely.
If you’re at all serious about your blog, do this first: kill all date-based archives. Nobody’s interested.