Thursday, 19 April 2007

Why Blogger gets banned

Just returned from a very interesting Web Technologies Day, organised by RSC Eastern, at which I was, as ever, keen to get people using web logs and talking about how Blogger makes this pretty simple and how the built-in RSS feed can be used to weave a bit of magic. I was initially dismayed to find that urls were blocked by the venue (an FE institution) but they were kind enough to remove them for us on this occasion. What I hadn't appreciated before, though, was the reason for the block in the first place. That is the 'Next Blog' feature that is built in to a navigation bar that comes with all the templates. This is a bizarre and, in my view, totally useless feature, taking people to another random blog which could throw virtually anything onto the user's screen. I've written to the Blogger people to suggest that this is revised at the very least and preferably removed as I can't see how anyone finds it of any value.

Just as I don't want young or easily-offended people in my sessions to get offensive material thrust at them when they might just have thought it was my next blog or another on an associated topic that would be presented, so too, I imagine would someone with a passion for, say, Something Deep & Dark be particular happy with my e-learning ramblings popping up between Revues of Gothic Blackness and Even Darker In The Night or whatever their taste may be.

Anyway, there are ways to edit the template that I've discovered and you'll see that the whole bar has disappeared on this blog but (a) it's fiddly and (b) I've lost the useful Dashboard link so it's not ideal. I also understand that the contract entered into upon setting up a Blogger account does require that users retain specified features of the navigation bar but it does not appear to specify that one has to include the annoying links and I would relish the publicity that Blogger banning me for not showing the bar as I don't think I have much choice.

So, if you want to know how to do it I can supply some instructions but what I really hope is that Blogger see sense and, at least, make the Next Blog an optional thing. If they don't, and in anticipation that they won't, I am now on the look out for an alternative web log provider that is as simple to use and which can be simply edited, can incorporate the same types of additional content and also looks good. Suggestions much appreciated and I'll let readers know what happens.

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