Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Blogroll crisis

At some point during RSA (most likely during and/or after Jodie Nicotra's paper on folksonomies), I started thinking about the odd categorization within some blogrolls, especially mine own.

As you can see, I have two especially large categories--"Blogs at Large" and "Rhet/Comp"--along with several less-populated categories. I did this separation mostly to make my bloglines account a more efficient reading experience: I tend to favor reading Rhet/Comp blogs first, so I wanted those blogs in a separate category. And some of the other blogs just seemed "different"--blogs for courses that I'm teaching, or blogs that are primarily news feeds--so it seemed to make sense to have them separated out from the others. (I know I could have a blogroll apart from my bloglines account, but that's not what I'm wishing to do right now.)

But what happens when I want to add someone who fits ambiguously? For example, having attended Josh Gunn's panel at RSA, I now want to add his blog. Now, while he certainly writes about "rhetoric," his academic home is in communication studies, not that entity known as "rhet/comp," which is generally associated with English, and most certainly associated with the teaching and study of writing.

Should I change the name of the category, perhaps? To something like "Rhetoric, Writing, and Communication"? Maybe, but then what to do with Keri's blog? Keri has been in two of my classes, but her academic home is "English Education," which includes the study of literature and the study of writing. As a result of my not knowing what to do with her (just move her to "Blogs at Large," why don't you?), she's languishing in my "Course Affiliated" category, but set to private.

It makes one want to default to those seemingly random categories from Borges (cited by Foucault). Oh, yeah. Bérubé already has.

OK, so. That's the crisis. But the thing I was thinking, while thinking about folksonomies and the art of tagging, is that it would make more sense to simply list the blogs and add tags. And then make it so that the tags can be clicked on and so arrange the blogs according to a given tag.

Except that I don't know how to do that. At least not in a blogroll.

3 comments:

dhawhee said...

I see the dilemma, and I vote for a more general category, sth like "rhetoricky" or what you suggested: rhet, writing, and comm. I do think it's important, as JG's latest suggests, to get people cross-talking. Nice to see you at rsa, btw!

Zil said...

I vote for throwing them all together in a big old mess. Tags and categories and all that are my nerdly passion, but they also make brain barriers (between professional and personal, say, or between ways of understanding form and content in language). Blogs inherently don't process this way, hence the trouble, as I see it at least.

Also, I need to lodge a protest against characterizing Bérubé's use of Focault's use of Borges as even "seemingly random." Wait till my book comes out for the full version I guess, but in a nutshell, my argument is: these categories are another way of saying: "The Chinese don't think like we do, and that's pretty hilariously silly." And citing it in an ironic way, as Focualt and Bérubé do, doesn't change that. Again, IMHO.

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