As I already noted in an exchange here with “Ordinary Times” contributor Vikram Bath, a “blogroll” used to represent a circle or network of intercommunicating, mutually encouraging bloggers and blog-communities. Getting a spot on a popular blog’s roll was once a top goal for aspiring bloggers.
The first thing to note about OT’s blogroll is that, though it has been moved off the blog’s front page and sidebars, it still occupies a prominent link-position in the main menu. The second thing to note about it is that it isn’t: The blogroll page’s blogroll is missing. The only blogs that the “Blogroll” page rolls are OT’s nine “Internal Blogs,” which already have their own separate main menu spot, with associated dropdown links. If, however, you click on “Blogs” rather than on one of the individual dropdowns, you’ll be taken to a page that is empty except for a three-month old piece of “comment spam.” Back on the Blogroll page, where the Internal Blogs are actually listed, there also used to be or clearly was intended to be something like a normal blogroll, probably listing tens of friendly blogs, but there is now only what clearly appears to be a piece of dysfunctional WordPress “shortcode” – [collroll] – from the obsolete but rather serendipitously named plug-in “Collapsing Blogroll.”
I’m tempted to leave this discussion right here, since the failure of this shortcode is itself like a piece of shortcode that any thoughtful observer ought to be able to expand into a larger critique: That the OT blogroll has consisted of [collroll] and nothing but [collroll] for many months now, and that either no one has pointed it out or whoever is responsible does not care or does not know how to fix it may say quite a bit about OT’s progressive disconnection from the rest of the blog-world, or from what we used to call the “blogosphere.” (I always imagine the word being pronounced by Ariana Huffington.) That OT, when it was the LOOG, was a somewhat prominent or major-minor independent blog may in turn say something about the decline of blogs of its type.
The rest of the content of the Blogroll page, other than some (more) comment-spam (three years old rather than just three months), describes OT’s own sphere, as represented in that somewhat redundant list of “Internal Blogs,” which, like the non-collapsed or not yet collapsed but clearly collapsing blogrolls of many still popular or still barely hanging-on blogs, is full of zombies. “The 49th” last put up a post in October of this year, so around a month ago, before that in July: Even at that very low rate of publication, it qualifies as about average for the nine, as does “Blinded Trials.” The most recent posts at Blinded Trials are, however, by an author, Christopher Carr, who is not credited on the Blogroll page as a blog author. Of the two listed “principal authors,” Russell Saunders still offers posts from time to time, but Rose Woodhouse has not posted in months. “Dutch Courage” has not posted since June. “Healthy Commotion” has posted twice since May, while the vast majority of its content, all of it for more than a year, has been provided by Ethan Gach, another author not credited. “Journeys in Alterity” has not been updated since September, when it featured a post announcing that one of its two authors, Kyle Cupp, would be journeying elsewhere. The other named “Journeys” author, Elizabeth Stoker, has not published a post at OT in almost a year: She was welcomed into the fold in December of 2013, and has not made a contribution since January of 2014. “Mindless Diversions” and “Not a Potted Plant” (where Mr. Bath posts) qualify as unusually lifelike: They publish fairly frequently, especially Mindless Diversions. “Ordinary Tales” and “Ordinary University” fit the comatose or zombified norm.
Numerous problems like the ones on OT’s Blogroll page have been obvious at the site for several months, at least to anyone who might care to look. As I also mentioned to Bath, I have directly contacted an editor at the site with my observations, and I also have used the site’s contact form for the purpose (several weeks ago). I even volunteered to implement the mostly simple fixes myself. At this point, no one ought to be surprised to learn that I have thusfar received no reply to any of these messages.