Aardvark Alley

Lutheran Aardvark

Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

24 October 2007
  Categorizing the BBOV
Restoring Order to the Big Blogroll O' Vark®™©

BBOVAt one of the BBOV listed blogs, a recent post and subsequent comment by another BBOVer reminded me of a round tuit I've been avoiding; i.e., because of current size (you can count 'em, I keep getting a different number) and potential growth, there exists the need to categorize the BBOV beyond Confessional Lutheran and Other blogs. I could follow several different directions, so I welcome the input of both those listed and those non-bloggers who use the BBOV to find quality Lutheran blogging before making a final decision.

The simplest divisions would be either clergy and lay or church workers and other vocations, but I'd rather do more without either getting too complicated or else placing some blogs into what might be a "ghetto" where only a few people interested in a narrow topic might venture. After all, the idea of the BBOV is both to increase rankings in the search engines and also to directly lead readers to listed blogs.

Please weigh in for a day or two. I'll consider all serious comments, arrive at a decision, complete the categorizing, and do any needed updating. Once I finalize my decision, I'll block further comments to this post. That will be your cue to move on to the task of complaining that I didn't follow your advice.

Also (quoth the Aardvark in a tone of voice bespeaking gentle nagging), if you're listed here, I don't require reciprocal linkage and/or an acknowledging post at your blog. However, such actions are greatly appreciated. If you do add a link, I suggest it be to either the main URL or else to the What Is the BBOV? post. If you are listed and would care to get graphical on us, remember the selection of BBOV Listed and BBOV Approved blog buttons.

Thanks in advance for any thoughtful suggestions you send my way.

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With so many blogs, the more categories, the better. The most efficient approach may be to start with the existing categorizations provided by the Lutheran Blog Directory. I have found the lay-pastor distinction helpful in the much smaller blogroll of the Augsburg Aggregator.
I've thought about making the clergy/lay distinction in the Lutheran Blog Directory somehow too. I think it would be easy enough to do, but would surely be easier if Aardie did most of the work.

Other than by denominational affiliation, I can't think of any categorization that would be terribly useful yet easy to maintain.

Others, though, might include:
Anonymous/Psuedonymous/Real Name
Personal/Professional/Theological/Humor (Difficult to categorize most blogs neatly here)
Number of Daily Hits (or TTLB Eco-ranking)
Software used to blog

Or you could get fancy and devise some kind of ranking system. "The Truth Laid 'Vark"?
Pastor Aardvark, thanks for the link.

There are many different ways to categorize. In my Bloglines I have separate categories for Lutheran feeds and their comment feeds. Some could be grouped by content, such as sermons vs. commentary. One could also group by average post frequency, though you do this to a limited effect by dropping people off the BBOV after a certain time or when their blog URL gets hijacked by a spammer. Then of course you have the classic pastor-layman or rostered-nonrostered.

Unless you were able to employ tags for your list and get some sort of multiple-tag filter for your links, it's hard to cover the needs of your audience.

The purpose of categories is to reduce the amount of information a reader processes. Categories pull eyes away from data, giving the reader a clue as to which blogs they want to read first.

I may actually declassify my lists, because taken as a whole Rostered blogs are not any more or any less interesting to read than Non-rostered. I may re-sort them according to who are the people who have said something that have really derailed my train of thoughts for the better. WordPress also lets me rate links; maybe I'll use that.

Maybe tagging Golden Aardvark winners is the way to go, and I'm not just saying this because I'm a recipient. This is the Big Blogroll O'Vark, after all. I would be careful about using more than two or three categories because you get blogs that will cross barriers.

Does this help or merely muddy the situation? :)
I personally have had fun just randomly going through blogs by denomination. Other than that, say just keep it easy.
The purpose of categorization is to help the reader to process information so that he might 1) find the blogs and information he needs and 2) not waste his time with blogs that don't interest him. So the most helpful categorization would be one of quality, i.e., these are the "good" blogs, etc. The problem with that is that such a scheme, while useful, would be highly offensive and blogs vary in quality from day to day and season to season. So I suggest that any categorization you do be objective.

I don't think it would be that helpful to divide blogs by content because almost all the blogs engage in a wide variety and bloggers being what they are most of them will be annoyed if you peg them as belonging to a single category such as "humor" or "devotional" when they do not limit themselves in that way.

Thus I think you will have to categorize the writers themselves somehow.

The lay clergy and synodical divide are fairly obvious. They could be expanded to further divide them by other associations or even by regions or background. For instance, you could group all those associated with Higher Things or Gottesdienst together. You could separate parish pastors from those working for institutions. You could also divide the clergy and sem students by the seminaries. Part of the problem here will be trying to figure out which association is strongest or if they should be listed multiple times. But I really think your biggest problem will be in trying to determine if such classifications assist the reader or if they're merely arbitrary. If you don't rank them by value/quality then I don't think it will be that useful, but I don't think you should rank them that way.

I would like nothing better than to see the BBOV be divided into categories like clergy and laity.

But dividing on based on content as Pastor Peterson point, out is more than problematic. In the case of my blog I do a lot of highly sarcastic and goofy stuff but always return to the serious in order to teach my anti-Trinitarian everyone but my church is going to hell family members. Often, even I have trouble classifying my own site.

Thanks a bunch for doing such a good job of keeping the BBOV updated. I don’t know how you find the time but the effort is greatly appreciated!
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