Metblogs and Me

by Steve, March 4th, 2008

As if I didn’t have enough on my plate already, last November I started writing for Portland Metblogs, part of an international network of city-based community blogs.

When I joined the local team, there was much talk of a new, improved Metblogs site in the works. The existing site was based on Typepad, and was slow and non-intuitive. Suddenly, this past weekend, the site was down, and e-mail was sent to authors about the new site launch.

When it finally came back up on Monday, there were (ahem) just a few complaints.

  • The fixed width layout is 1215 pixels wide. Good design standards dictate 1000 pixels max.
  • The font is small and gray (and increasing the font size on your browser breaks the layout in ugly ways).
  • The URL to the RSS feed changed.
  • The new RSS feed was broken.
  • The RSS URL listed on the page was wrong.
  • URLs to archived post were changed, meaning all links to previous entries from other sites are broken.
  • Some authors (like me) were unable to get new passwords, and have been unable to login since the changeover.

And, worst of all:

  • The site now requires registration to leave comments.

Metroblogs is now what is known to Web aficionados as a “walled garden,” in the same class with MySpace. Before I was an author for Metblogs, I criticized the tone of metblogs as being the MySpace of the Portland blogosphere. I was only joking then, but now the joke’s on me.

I’m taking a sabbatical from Metblogs, at least until they work out their technical issues. Whether or not I want to continue bringing Metblogs readers (and ad revenue) as a contributor is an open question.