Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Open Thread: Is There Any Point in a Security Blog?

UUID: 1af6f74e-015a-4cc6-a668-181a083b1850

Earlier today, I published #101, since 2013-03-17. A bit of a milestone, I guess, though I don't pay much attention to that sort of thing; I totally missed #100.

It does bring up a bit of a question, though. Some time ago, I mentioned that I wanted the date of publication right up top, where viewers would immediately see it. Because information gets stale rapidly. Arriving on a blog post from a search engine, reading some lengthy post, and then discovering that it is five years out of date (if you can discover it at all) is FUBAR.

It is even more FUBAR if you consider how many servers may have been incorrectly configured because due to dated information, etc. This one of the several reasons that blogs, particularly security blogs, and most definitely this one, suck. They are little, if at all, better than security trade press.

Here's the thing. At 100 or so posts, I can still maintain a mental image of what I have written in the past. I can go back to previous posts and and post an update.

This will not scale. What's more, I have an idea of posting about common themes (things that the security community might do better) that might conceivably have a greater impact. If I were to become successful at that, the specific content of individual posts on a given topic (log analysis comes to mind -- I could go on about that) is going to blur together. Success at one goal seams likely to lead to failure at another.

But I can't really set aside a block of time each month month, and delete the old stuff. First off, time is scarce. Second, I will break links from more-recent posts to what has become background information.

A blog seems to not be an appropriate tool. A wiki, or a document series on GitHub, might be more useful. Or perhaps using this blog to announce revisions to either. The thing is, there is a critical mass at which a community forms, feedback is received and acted upon, etc. A rule of thumb seems to be that perhaps one in a thousand blog viewers will comment. This blog gets a few hundred visitors per month, so it seems unlikely that a critical mass will ever be reached.

Perhaps I am wrong about this, and I just needed to announce an open thread. OK. Done and dusted. I have my doubts, but the idea has to be given a chance, if only to give potential community members a voice in describing something that might better fit their needs.

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Thanks for your comment; communities are not built without you.

But note than comments on older posts usually go into a modertion queue. It keeps out a lot of blog spam. Weird links to Web sites hosting malware, marketing nonsense, etc.

I really want to be quick about approving comments in the moderation queue. When I think I won't manage that, I will turn moderation off, and sweep up the mess as soon as possible.

If you find comments that look like blog spam, they likely are. As always, be careful of what you click on. I may have had moderation off, and not yet swept up the mess.