Why your technical blog sucks (IMHO)

Okay not yours personally, at least I hope not. In fact I read a lot of excellent blogs from very smart people and I appreciate their willingness to share. But, as I do research or just read blogs for personal self-improvement, I’ve noticed a few principles that help make a better blog. So in my humble, slightly sarcastic way, I’d like to share my thoughts on what I’ve noticed. And by all means, feel free to leave a comment to critique or just to share your thoughts on what would make a better blog.

CAUTION: Just for fun, I’m going to get a little snarky – I’m the type I enjoy http://www.despair.com/, it makes me laugh. If you’re overly sensitive and don’t enjoy a little sarcasm, feel free to skip this blog.

Provide date written, versions of software, background and technology assumptions.

Yeah, it’s always fun to read halfway through a blog to figure out it’s not even relevant. You’d think an author would have the common courtesy to let you know up front that they’re assuming a particular piece of technology. Or maybe when a blogger tells you about some issue in Eclipse and how to fix it – that they’d at least tell you what version of Eclipse? Or maybe that the issue is really with some plugin they’re using. At a minimum, how about providing the date you wrote the blog so I at least know it is prehistoric!

Do a little spell- and grammar-checking

Ok, I’m not really a grammar Nazi, but occasionally the grammar and spelling is so bad it’s hard to even read a blog let alone understand it. Sometimes a few too many obvious blunders can kill the read. With so many grammar and spelling checkers, please, I implore you, use them.

Pull the Politics

I read a blog or attend a talk at a JUG or conference because I’m interested in the technical topic, not your politics. I may respect your technical expertise, but frankly I don’t care to listen to your politics.

Regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on, you lose ½ of your audience and that’s if you don’t include the national audience. What about an international audience? You probably lost all of them when you start boring them with your politics.

I respect your right to your political opinion, but when you blather about politics in a technical blog, my estimation of your intelligence shrinks. Seriously, didn’t your mother teach you anything? Politics and code don’t mix.

Code doesn’t work

Yeah, if you’re going to share your code, make sure it works. No I don’t expect you to write my code for me, but if you’re sharing yours with the world, it would be nice if it actually worked. Again if it needs some library and you don’t tell me… your code sucks.

Quit Plagiarizing

About a year ago I had a coworker complain about the bloggers who just steal a blog, put their name on it and post it as their own. Yeah, it happens. Try this little experiment, next time you find a piece of code on the internet, Google it and see how many other people ‘wrote’ that identical piece of code. Plagiarism isn’t legal and it certainly shows your lack of ethics.

Summary

Thanks for your time and consideration. I am interested in your thoughts and experiences with blogging – tell me about them!

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