Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mormon Blogosphere: New Solo Blog Aggregator

If you are looking for a place to aggregate your solo LDS blog than the Mormon Blogosphere is the place for you. At this site, I will feature single person blogs since there isn't an aggregator devoted to people like us. That is the scope of my aggregator. I am not here to take away traffic from the four or five people already aggregating Mormon blogs. I am establishing this aggregator as an alternative and place for the single person blogs. I am going to work in the reverse -- I am going to include as many as I can. If you want to opt out go to mormon-blogs@hotmail.com and leave me a message to remove you.

And if you are a larger blog and no one will touch you because of your content I will on a case by case basis include you like I did for gay Mormons in my new section Bodiggity's. I will not discriminate on the basis of sex, orientation, nationality, or content. If you are a Latter-day Saint in any way or associated with LDS I will be glad to aggregate your blog irregardless of your doctrinal position.

Personally I am an ultraconservative Republican Mormon but I can live with ambiguity and as far as I am concerned I don't want to get in to judging others. However, I live currently in a Muslim country that filters all content. A few sites wouldn't come up that I clicked on so I couldn't add them if I wanted. The ones I have are no worse than what my feminist Mormon wife has on her site. But the standard is high for me to remove someone. In my work as a librarian, I only removed three things in twenty years. If it is offensive enough I will remove it. As I learned managing a public library in Utah what is art to one person is porn to another. It would take a lot of complaints for me to remove a person's blog let alone a book from a library. That is why you can have an invite only blog if you are morally challenged.

Being a librarian I adhere to the American Library Bill of Rights which I will apply to Mormon blogs on my aggregator:
  • Books [blogs] and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.
  • Libraries [blogs] should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries [blogs] should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.
  • Libraries [blogs] should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.
  • A person’s right to use a library [aggregator] should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries [aggregators] which make exhibit [blog] spaces and meeting rooms [blog feeds] available to the public they serve should make such facilities [aggregators] available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.
I recently came to understand that there isn't an LDS aggregator for single blog sites. Most of the major Mormon aggregators include some singles blogs but they cater mostly to the larger blogs with multiple posters which dominate. I want to be more inclusive. I cannot include hundreds of blogs on one aggregator but I will try. If I don't succeed I have picked up two other sites which can be used later. They can be quickly put in to operation with about ten or fifteen hours work.

In addition most other aggregators are ultraconservative and selective in who they allow to have a feed on their site. I was briefly thrown off of a couple recently for posting on a subject they didn't like. Another is so selective he won't include me. I have begged him for the six months I have been in the bloggernacle to include me.

The interesting thing was that I took the Mormon apologetic approach to my post and still got booted. I personally learned my lesson and was culturized to avoid Mormon sexual discussion since they considered it bad PR. Since I wanted to stay in their good graces I promised to be more circumspect on my own site. I promised the administrators I would create my own aggregator in the future to keep from being in the terrible position of having half my readership cut. Since I produce my blog as a service with a six hundred page book by Mormon general authorities it would have been a great loss for me.

I consider my blog an expression of my way to do missionary work. Since my former mission president encouraged us to help out in the new Mormon Media I do my part by blogging about missionary work. My opinions are not endorsed by the LDS Church but my topics are supported by information they write or say in addresses. The interpretation is mine and for that I am solely responsible. I actually even had a guy at the Washington Post take on something I quoted at his own newspaper which he questioned. I liked his twist on the matter and would have appreciated it if he had even commented on my original post. Blogs are about expression and counter-expression.

I was upset at the time I was booted from the aggregators since I was trying to drum up some business for couples going on a mission. If you want to be read you need to be included on as many aggregators as possible in order to drive traffic to your site because google doesn't get you much traffic until after you have been established for a while. Right now google accounts for forty percent of my readership I would be almost dead in the water without an aggregator. Since I didn't have an aggregator I was at the mercy of the owners and operators of the aggregators. This new aggregator I am launching is my way to gain some control over whether or nor I or anyone with a different opinion can be heard.

Now I have my own aggregator with me at the top of the section in one of the conservative categories. I am not faulting the aggregators because they have high ethical standards I just believe in a consistent application across the board. I was returned after one of the "big guys" posted on the same topic but using "the M word" instead of the word I used. Those who own aggregators make their own rules and can select who they want. For the most part I believe they have high standards and stand by their principles. Being new to the bloggernacle no one indoctrinated me in to the rules. It is a valuable service they provide to those they aggregate and I hope they will continue aggregating me. Even in the library world there is a discussion of selection versus censorship. Since you cannot include everyone there has to be some selection.

Even though I understand technology I am not by any means a webmaster type like some of the other aggregators. I have utilized the new features in draft Blogger that allows for multiple feeds and creatively produced an aggregator. It is not sophisticated in any way and will only list blogs with three lines of summary and how old the post is but it gets the job done. It is very unstable if you are thinking about doing the same. I created three different sites and had it crash on every one of my sites. I am now a great beta tester for blogger. I have had dozens of code errors. Aggregating is not for the weak as I have had to do this over now about five times.

There is a madness to my schemata. I have chosen Mormon place names as well as places in Salt Lake City. If necessary I will include departments and floors of Mormon places as I develop this site. I am also including fringe blogs so I have a few places like Cosmic Airplane, Grandpa's Books, and Bodiggity's. Places are attached to my intellectual categorizing which is selection versus censorship. If you have better names for places or would like to be changed to another category, feel free to share them.

Let me know if we can add or delete you. I hope my aggregator will uncover unknown blogs and drive traffic to your blog. I hope will be more inclusive of the larger world of the bloggernacle and take in all segments of the LDS population since we are after all children of our Heavenly Father no matter what our views are. I hope this aggregator meets a niche in the bloggernacle. If you ever say anything I don't like I promise I won't remove you. Bear with me as this site develops and be patient if it crashes from time to time. Happy reading.

2 comments:

HolyInheritance said...

Great idea! Thank you for starting this.

Please include my blog in:


http://dayofpraise.blogspot.com/

Kenji said...

Where are you in the Middle east? THanks for adding my site.