Kurt McKee

lessons learned in production

Hey there! This article was written in 2005.

It might not have aged well for any number of reasons, so keep that in mind when reading (or clicking outgoing links!).

Sorry, Frederick

Posted 30 May 2005 in technology

Frederick got a blog.

He got an account at Xanga, unfortunately, so it only technically qualifies as a blog. Just like every other person I know, the only reason he got an account at Xanga in the first place is because he wanted to be able to comment on other people's blogs. From his first entry: "my primary motivation for joining is the comment capability".

The members-only commenting restriction is one of the non-technical problems I have with the service -- Xanga artificially manufacturers a network effect [define]. Rather than attracting users by relying on features and functionality, or just generally being better in some capacity, Xanga uses a major aspect of blogging (that is, commenting) to force others to join the service. I remember reading an insightful treatise in which the following statement was made:

"The trick you want to accomplish is that when one person is using your software, it suddenly provides value to that person and their entire circle of friends, without the friends having had to do anything at all." -- Jamie Zawinski

Xanga refuses to provide value to anyone unless they join. I have never seen any other blogging service on the internet do that. It is because of this contempt for its users and its users' friends that I refuse to link to my friends' or family members' Xanga blogs, lest there be any further temptation to fall into the Xanga Trap (TM).