June 16, 2004

On Dave Winer and the changes to weblogs.com

I want to make a few comments about the weblogs.com "controversy"

This whole thing is pretty unfortunate. Both in the the way people have reacted to the changes Dave has made, and the way Dave has implemented them.

I like Dave. I admire the work he's done, in popularizing blogs, and before that. I believe that, after all is said and done, he's a good guy. For example, his support for the weblogs.com free hosting all these years has been more generous than we have a right to expect from any company or individual.

But I'm not unaware of Dave's shortcomings.

He is, after all, a geek programmer. He's proud of that, and rightly so. But one of the attributes that often comes with those gifts -- in my experience anyway -- is an oversimplified sense of: what's "right", how to support what's "right", and how people will respond to that support.

He has always had strong opinions on many subjects, and he's not reluctant to state them. This occasionally causes misunderstandings and/or rubs people the wrong way.

It also appears that Dave is going through some personal difficulties right now, both mundane and serious.

What I'm getting at here is that, for various, non-sinister reasons, Dave has inadvertently caused a big fuss over his decision/need to end the weblogs.com free ride. Maybe he could have done it differently. But he doesn't deserve to be flamed over it.

Cut the guy some slack. He's just a guy, who's passionate about the same things that many of us are passionate about. He's shown the way in this new medium. He's given many of us free stuff. Now he's trying to untangle a situation that his generosity has gotten him into. Let's let this play out.

One aspect of this that DOES concern me is permalinks.

Dave has indicated that, at least in some cases, when these bloggers find new hosting, they will be able to continue to be addressable as a subdomain of weblogs.com. That is important. To the extent that this transition means that some of the blogs' permalinks will be broken, well, that is unfortunate.

The only part of this whole thing where I will urge Dave to act, is in allowing any blog that desires it, to stay under the weblogs.com domain, so the links don't rot.

Posted by jackhodgson at June 16, 2004 02:52 PM