A response to Mattias

This is a response to a conversation on Twitter related to an article on Mattias' blog. It turned out bigger even though I'm currently hiding in Dartmoor.

tldr: An article which is speculative, about a topic where so many (false) information is already being spread, in a context (site) which is otherwise tech related and with an extremely high clickbait title really deserves a better context or introduction. The 'My site is already opinionated' doesn't work completely here in my opinion.

I'm not responding with my view on the Corona virus pandemic that's hitting the world at the moment. I do have an opinion, but it hardly matters, I rather wanted to express why the article hit my bad nerve.

First of all: do you have the right to have your opinion? Of course. Should you write it down on your site? Sure, why not. But context matters, and that's what bothers me in this case.

You are highly opinionated on your blog on topics in which you are an expert in, others are also tech related or professional. That's the main reason I (and I assume many others) follow your articles, because I sometimes learn something new. Or I learn about a new service you're launching which I might rely on one day.

Looking at the blog archive - and I only went to page 3, but we're back to 2015 by then - it's safe to say that about 98% is tech related, so an article which suddenly covers a completely different topic comes as a little surprise to begin with, since the context here is your site. I wouldn't have cared at all if this was a retweet on twitter from another article for instance, because, especially with this topic, I ignore a lot.

From a marketing point of view, the title is perfect. I think many people are jealous. It starts with useful information, but then ends with your personal conclusion, based on speculation, which some people might even find (highly) controversial. People who love conspiracy theories will probably love this one. While you've admitted the speculation on Twitter, nothing in the article gives a glimpse of that.

Lastly, as far as I know, I don't think you're an expert on how viruses spread/behave or how government decisions work, feel free to correct me on that of course. Even if that's (probably) an obvious fact, some people, without context won't know this.


Now, it's easy to write down critique like this, so let me offer some some suggestions for more context:

  • Change the title: it's too general while in reality you were thinking about why our government wasn't acting (fast) enough - don't forget the 301 in case the alias changes ;)
  • Add a more explicit intro something like 'I'm no expert on viruses and certainly not a economist'. Break the ice a bit with a joke, you get the picture.
  • Future optimization: separate the blog in 'tech' and 'personal' sections. Although that's tricky, I know how hard it is to create a site and maintain content.

Maybe we meet one day, when normal lives resumes and conferences start again, and talk about this some more in person, that always works better anyway :)


Mattias Geniar on Thu, 12/03/2020 - 23:14

I'll bet this make for great café-talk, which we can no longer have :-)

You make good points, I added a disclaimer at the top of my post.

I will add though, since it's a personal blog, I "should" be able to write what I want. I'm no CNN or major publication ... feels weird to have to add disclaimers like this.

I'll take it as a sign of "growth" that I should be careful about what I say/type as it may be perceived differently than how I meant to write it.

swentel on Thu, 12/03/2020 - 23:56

Oh absolutely, keep on writing! I love the context, it adds a more personal and honest touch to the article, even though I know it's on your site. I guess I'm too 'IndieWebified', which I should try and explain one day when everything is open again :)

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