March 28, 2011

  • The Xanga Conspiracy

    One of the big surprises of working at Xanga has been the sheer number of conspiracy theories we hear on a pretty regular basis!

    Back when we hand-selected posts for Featured Weblogs, some Xangans were pretty quick to say that we were purposefully avoiding featuring their blog posts. Conspiracy!  That said, it’s pretty difficult to come up with a truly fair way to spread around featured posts.  We did our best, but the weird thing was that we usually got the most complaints from people we featured the most. I never quite figured that one out, but figured that the only way to address that would be by removing the human element.

    Anyway so we eventually switched up the frontpage to use a more automated approach that we called Top Blogs. On a pretty regular basis though, people still write in and say that we are censoring them from appearing in Top Blogs… because we disagree with their conservative thoughts. Or their liberal anti-war position. Or whatever.  But believe it or not, we don’t read every post and evaluate it for compliance with Xanga’s official political line. That’s because (drumroll please)… we don’t really have an official political line and don’t care what people’s politics are!  The issue is almost always that the person in question has used future publishing to draft their posts. We draw Top Blogs from posts created in the past 24 hours, in order to prevent timestamping.

    In any case, this is just a small sampling of the conspiracy theories we hear on a pretty regular basis. After the first few years of battling these conspiracies, I kind of gave up and let people float their theories… it is always fun to read a good conspiracy theory.  But over time, I’ve come to realize that it’s important to keep battling conspiracy theories. Otherwise people start to think they are true.

    At least Xanga wasn’t born in Kenya… or was it???

Comments (45)

  • Gimme your icecream.

  • This was an illuminating post.

  • John, why do you hate freedom?

  • So, I’m new here. How exactly does this automated thingy work?

  • Are you saying you can’t go through every single post that every user has created?!  Blasphemous! 

  • No it was born in China, wasn’t it?  I think you should fix that time stamping thing.  A scheduled post should not be discouraged – the most serious of bloggers schedule posts.  Is it possible to disqualify it only if it was previously public and then got an updated time stamp, vs never before been public?  Or maybe you just don’t like people who are organized?  Hmm?  is that it?

    I don’t know what’s possible.  But it sure seems like almost anything is possible in the world of computing.  I’m personally kind of over wanting to be featured though.  I’m over thinking that blogging is going to make me famous.  Now I’m trying to do it the other way – get famous, then blog.

    Biz Stone isn’t the only genius.

  • people are just bored, that’s why they’re here on xanga – its something to do. but when blogging and commenting just isn’t enough, that’s when the trolls and conspiracy theorists come out.

    I knew you were a kenyan prince who wanted me to wire you money!

  • Why John,

    I’m devastated. I thought you personally read every damn post on the site!

    Michael F. Nyiri, poet, philosopher, fool

  • The comments here are cracking me up big time! : )

  • I like the current system you guys have setup for the frontpage. Users with enough views, comments, recs, etc. can easily get on top blogs just as long as they aren’t sign-in/friendlocked and their post hasn’t been up for more then 24 hours, right?

  • this isn’t really a comment on the issue you discussed but kind of a distant relation to it. 

    i’ve been blogging here for 8 years (this march) and since the sign in lock was instituted, i’ve only taken it off once (last month) for a post that i dedicated to another xangan. i was pleasantly surprised to see that it had reached a spot of #7 on the front page. 

    that being said, i realized afterwards that everyone does have a chance at reaching the front page. you literally get what you give. if you participate in the community – even just a little bit – it will work with you in return if you want your blog to get featured. 

  • I would never want to be Top Blog, I can’t handle the stress of autograph hounds, screaming women chasing me trying to tear off my clothes.  And not being able to walk out my door without Paparazzi being rude taking pictures of me with may many sex slaves.  WINNING. 

  • I am so limited here! I had no idea about conspiracies or how to time stamp. I just get up in the morning open xanga read what people are up to and make comments when I feel a connection. I have been here 5 years. Tried premium once and still didn’t learn or gain anymore knowledge than I knew before preimum. Anyway, I like it here. There are some really nice folks I love reading.

  • But is Xanga’s son really its grandson?

  • careful john or you’ll get reported as spam

  • I don’t blame you Xanga team members for not reading all of the posts. Heck, I don’t even read my posts. Nor did I read this one. Mua-ha-ha.

    Don’t comment without reading. Comment responsibly.

  • Okay, so wait…you don’t read every post? There are 24 hours in a day you know! Geez!

    I’m shattered by your laziness.

  • Political blogs sucks… and why would anyone else in the world cares for American politics and policies on Top Blogs? Geez… we’re going global, so more global issues please.

  • Overall, I like Xanga.  It’s a useful   place to exchange views and to engage in free and frank discussion.  I used to think it was unlikely I would every be featured on Xanga’s “Front Page.”  But eventually that actually happened = when I least expected it.  As a boy imprisoned in an enemy internment camp during the Japanese occupation of Shandong  Province on the peninsula right across the yellow sea from Seoul, Korea, I had a wonderful experience that greatly helped me to keep a balanced attitude toward our Japanese captors.

    A guard, on his way to or from sentry duty on the wall, actually came along and insisted, in a truly  friendly way, on digging up my little garden patch next to the wall of our camp.  If you look back through my old posts, you will find my blog called, ‘AN ACT OF KINDNESS.”   I was twelve at the time and it forever made a positive impression on my young mind.  Our guards, I discovered, were very human.  This young man was probably very homesick for his own country, not so far away really. Maybe I reminded him of a younger brother back home on the farm in Japan.
    Anyway, that was the time you folks featured me on Xanga’s “Front Page” and it was great to received a lot of comments and to feel more a part of what was going on here!
    Xanga helps us to feel meaningfully included in wherever we are in the world around us – and that we can have some say in influencing the opinions and even attitudes of others!

    Thanks John! And thanks Xanga!

  • It’s not that it’s a conspiracy, their posts are just boring, that’s all. :P

    @democrab - WIN.

  • Xanga definitely has it out against cakalusa!

  • Wow. I didn’t realize people threw conspiracy theories at you. I simply thought it was judged on merit and popularity of the subject.
    *shrug* I don’t look at the front page for content. I sift through my subscriptions. flit through blogrings and jump through comments if someone says something that catches my attention. Eh. Front page is just… front page. They shouldn’t tie themselves into a knot over it.

    I think people ought to be more understanding that you have a life and cannot read every single entry posted on Xanga.
    That’s dedication on a new level… and possibly overworking.

  • Did the top bloggers have to sign with their own blood?

  • If you did read every post you’d likely blow up the building and run screaming off into the night. 

  • hahahahaha…for the first several years on Xanga I thought the “Xanga Team” was just a conspiracy theory.  :D

  • There’s only a few million members, how hard can it be? DOH!

  • @democrab - Are you in the conspiracy too!!!!!!

  • so when are you bringing back AmericanAlien?

  • For the longest time I thought Dan was your alter ego. Ha.

  • @democrab - Hahah I totally gor that.

  • My favorite xanga conspiracy is that I am Dan from the xanga team and that xanga promotes me because I am a member of the xanga team. 

    This must be true because my name is Dan and the guy from the xanga team is named Dan also.  And there can only be one person on xanga named Dan.

    Another theory is that I am in some way favored by the xanga team.  It is sort of funny what people will believe.

    I also like the theory that my site was created by the xanga team.

  • @lil_squirrel4ever - see.

    Come on, would John really flirt with you like that?

  • I always wondered how the process for top blog picks worked.

  • careful john….

    thanks 4 sharing

  • Automated to feature Thetheologianscafe every single day?  He must be a friend of your’s – I mean I know you have friends on here who get preferential treatment when they are abusive, anti-semitic shits so why not when they are just comment whores who need a daily ego massage?

  • And all this time I thought it was a conspiricy against pirates! Thanks so much for coming out of the closet on this one buddy…

    Sail on… sail on!!!

  • I’m learning so much from you John….hopefully we get to a similar challenge with content with Autisable so we’d have to move to a Xanga main page top blogs format…. (I look forward to that day)…

  • Seems we should commemorate them with an annual Xangan Tinfoil Hat Day or something. Just sayin’.

  • I think we always feel someone is picking on our posts and preventing it from becoming #1.  

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