thinkBuddha.org - the next phase

Monday December 20, 2010

Buddha Head

Thanks for all of your kind comments about the blog, and my decision to cease blogging over here. Now that there’s time for the dust to settle, I’ve had a chance to think about what to do with thinkBuddha.org. Because a blog that has just, well, stopped is a sad thing.

So the plan is this: in the New Year, I hope to give thinkBuddha.org a thorough redesign, so that it is less a blog, and more a repository of articles. This frees me from the obligation to post regularly, and will allow me to exhume some old content that’s probably worth reading but that is currently buried. So, if all goes to plan, thinkBuddha will metamorphose into a bunch of essays, and exploratory pieces that explore all things Buddhish.

This has several advantages. It means that I no longer feel obliged to blog regularly. But it also means that if I have something new to say, I can add it to the site as a new article. And it also means that some of the older content here on thinkBuddha.org is a little more easy to access.

A blog no more, then; but thinkBuddha will continue to exist online, and – although neither in the same kind of bloggy fashion nor quite as busily as at some times in the past – it will continue to develop.

 
# · Robert Ellis

This sounds like a great idea, Will. The trouble with blogs (and the reason I don’t have one myself) is that they are narrowly chronological and thus ephemeral: last month’s discussion is effectively buried. A thematic organisation of your material (perhaps with facilities for further discussion?)would be one way of helping to undermine the tendency towards superficiality that the web tends to produce.

# · Peter CLOTHIER

Good solution! I’m familiar with the struggle with the blog, and honor your choice to take it in a different direction. I’ll keep you on my blogroll, even if you’re not one! Blessings for the season….

# · Will

Thanks, both. This seems to me like a happy solution.
All the best,
Will

# · David Chapman

I have meant to go systematically through your early writing, but never quite got around to it. So I think this is a great idea.

I’ve organized my sites as “books” rather than blogs, with a table of contents, and an attempt at book-like flow from one section to the next. There are costs to that. For the site to be semi-coherent during the writing process, I can’t publish ideas in the order I come to understand them. I have a lot of material in nearly-finished form that is waiting for other bits to get finished. A great thing about the blog format is that you can write up an idea spontaneously as you think it. Relatedly, I need to work out how an idea fits into the overall structure, which is not always obvious, and put in transition bits so the work flows logically. And, a “book” seems more formal than a blog, so I wind up polishing the language more than perhaps the content deserves.

Of course, this extra effort may pay off in a better experience for readers; I am uncertain. It certainly slows me down a lot.

Since you have a completed body of work, several of these problems would not apply. I gather you recently started using Drupal, which I’ve used for my sites. It’s great for books, and possibly not ideal for blogs. Anyway, I use the Drupal “Book” module for structure, “Taxonomy” for tagging, and the “Advanced Book Block” module provides a nifty dynamic table of contents widget. If you go down a similar path, let me know if I can give any technical help/advice with regards to the sorts of features I’ve used.

To address the time costs of the “book” format, I’ve added “metablogs” to the “Meaningness” and “Buddhism for Vampires” sites. My theory was that these would enable me to write more quickly, as the informal bloggy format would free me from over-thinking and over-polishing. It has only helped a little, I’m afraid!

# · Will

Thanks for the tips. I like Drupal a lot (Drupal 7 is particularly fine!); and I’ll have to think about how to deal with the rearranging the content. Tags. I need tags!
Anyway, that’s for the new year. All the best,

Will

# · Louise

Will,
I’m very pleased that thinkbuddha.org has morphed rather than ceased :)

Best wishes,
Louise

# · Will

Thanks, Louise! All the best,
Will

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