Note: This is the micro.blog version of this post. To make it work with the site, I had to remove some things that simply won’t fly, such as citations and margin notes. The original can be found on my blot.im blog.
To be clear, this isn’t me shitting on or even declaring micro.blog inferior. But, I guess, I owe an explanation and a good bye.
After a week of trying out and playing with Blot, I am convinced and will be moving to the platform. Don’t get me wrong: micro.blog is amazing and has come a long way from its early days.
I like the idea, which isn’t that inherently different from the general idea behind Blot, that of a hosted static site generator, even wrote some smaller things for it.
An abused argument
2021s catch-all excuse for pretty much anything is “because Corona.” Missing packages at the post office? Grumpy DMV or Immigration personnel? iPhones not arriving in Cyprus when they were supposed to? “Because Corona.”
SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 are a convenient argument. In this case, too.
I used to be a science blogger. Writing about science was what I did, keeping an informal electronic lab notebook of sorts on the web for everyone to read, interspersing it with other discussions of scientific relevance, and topping it off with personal things.
2021 (“because Corona”) has shown us very clearly, that the voice of science bloggers and blogging scientists was the most sorely missed in the mix. Science blogging still matters [@Brown.2018].
And this is why: if you are reading this on Blot, you’ll find a citation on the last paragraph and a reference in the footer. The citation is pulled from a
.bib file in the same folder as this blog post. On micro.blog this would mean using external means, such as a citation manager embedded in one of the clients capable of sending posts to the site. That this won’t scale should be clear. But especially for blogging scientists this is a must.
Blot has the trifecta: margin notes, citations, and easy $$\latex$$ maths thanks to server side KaTeX (which can be overridden, another plus).
I don’t begrudge micro.blog its focus on knitting, books, and pictures. In fact, I’ve seen some amazing posts on those three topics during my time on the platform, reading and quietly enjoying others’ work and thoughts, their travelogues, their mask making journeys, and the books they read. By having those (and a few others like cooking) topics categorizable, micro.blog sets the tone, and the tone is beautiful.
Not to mention, my good friend Michael aka @mpmilestogo is on micro.blog, and I love reading his stuff
But, alas, at the same time there is no science category. No 🔬 (micro.blog does something fun and uses emojis to categorize posts) for me to use. That’s not a big issue, of course, but it sets the tone.
Lighting a candle for science in 2019, when the pandemic started, would not have dimmed the candles of knitting, books, food, or photos. Not doing it, shows a certain focus which, again, is beautiful and valuable, but not mine. It plainly didn’t inspire confidence that science blogging focused enhancements would be on the horizon. If not then, when?
Blot is also very much a flat file publishing system. To me, using multiple machines (iPad, Mac, Linux Server) to manage my blog, flat files make inherent sense. Most editors can save .txt or .md files, much fewer support the specific publishing protocols used by micro.blog. I love freedom.
Sure, Blot has its limitations, as does every other hosted blogging system. For a self-hosted WordPress, your coding skill (and the shitshow that is PHP) is the limit. For micro.blog or Blot it’s the coding team’s/coder’s willingness, ideology, and time.
And, all in all, it feels (from things like margin notes, citations, and KaTeX support), that this site’s coding focus and ideology is more in line with science blogging and blogging scientist, than micro.blog.
Maybe I’ll get flamed, maybe you’ll wave goodbye and forget about me. Or, maybe, you’ll come visit every once in a while. I’d be delighted.