Flogging a dead horse
Twelve years ago today, I hosted an issue of Mendel’s Garden blog carnival here. Looking at it again today prompted some reflections.
The original post contained 13 links, five of them submitted to the carnival. I added the extras, and all told the post linked to seven blogs.
One had vanished without trace, its URL now a link farm of some sort. A couple had been on the late, unlamented Science Blogs and I dutifully tracked down originals where possible. Five of the sites were still alive, but three of them had stopped posting a few years back. Some of the posts took a lot of digging to uncover.1 Only two sites were alive and kicking, as it were; Larry Moran’s Sandwalk, with a post just yesterday on the spike proteins of the Omicron variant, and the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, although my main contribution there these days is only to keep the lights on.
Topic-based blog carnivals are, I still believe, a great way to discover new things and new writers about those things, but hardly any remain. Carnival of Mathematics is one. Public, curated Twitter lists might be the modern equivalent, but I’ve never found them useful. If you’re interested in IndieWeb, as I am, then IndieWeb News is a handy aggregator, although it lacks curation and commentary. I recognise that this is a chicken-and-egg problem; if fewer people are blogging on their own sites, there are fewer people to host and fewer submissions to host. Maybe I am flogging a dead horse. The last time I wrote about carnivals, I asked if anyone reading knew of any examples beyond the ones I had managed to dig up. Answers came there none.
The final post at Mendel's Garden dates to just a couple of months after I had hosted. The site itself still exists, buried under far too many weeds, and I suppose that the owner might be persuaded to transfer it to anyone who wanted to revive it.
Photo of the former monastery garden in Brno, now known as Mendel Square, by Jaroslav A. Polák on Flickr. “Place of my childhood games, full of memories.”
p.s. blogcarnival.com is of course alive and well, although these days it seems to be all about online gambling. There’s a metaphor in there, struggling to escape.
Note to self: repatriate all my stuff from one of them? ↩