After some complaints and deep soul searching, I’ve decided to back down Markov Blogger to publishing only on Fridays. This way, MB is a nice end of the week treat!


My goodness, this topic has garnered more interest than I expected (and probably far more it deserves ;-). As much as I enjoy having Zorknapp, pudge, hfb, and Mary P. arguing the case for MarkovBlogger, I suspose I ought to weigh in on this most sententious issue. After all, I’ve have gotten MB hate mail for it’s entries clogging Meerkat (although not from Rael Dornfest).

There appear to be two schools of thought on old MB: those that find MarkovBlogger a tired, worn out joke that merely wastes time and space like spam and those that find MarkovBlogger a tired, worn out joke that wastes space but isn’t like spam. Let me be clear in casting my lot in with the later group. I’ve put together this MarkovBlogger Controversy FAQ to clear the air on any misunderstandings that might be lingering on this issue.

1. Isn’t MarkovBlogger generating spam?

Spam is unsolicited email shoved into your mailbox without your consent or prompting. Blogs are entirely a pull-technology: you, or your software aggregators, have to seek out my insipid ramblings to be bothered by them.
Also note that you are not required to read blogs. On the other hand, you are not required to read blogs. And lastly, you are not required to read blogs. If you feel that MB has somehow wasted your time, please acknowledge your complicity in searching out my blog to read in the first place.

I never promised you decent content. Nor did (at least as far as journals go).

2. Doesn’t MarkovBlogger “spam” RSS aggregators like Meerkat, or use.perl’s own most recent blogs?

If you consider three entries per week excessive, then it is indeed a deleterious agent. However, spam is the eye of the beholder. Unlike real spam, Markov entries are labelled. If your aggregriator can’t filter on subject lines, you’ll need to pull my blog’s feed out of the harvest. I’m not trying to sell you anything with MB. No one pays (well, perhaps they do emotionally) for access to my blog and I have no mandate for its content.
There are several use.perl bloggers who average more than one entry per day. Are they spamming the aggregators?

3. Shouldn’t MarkovBlogger really be on another account away from the real content?

This is a popular suggestion. After all, MB is a lot like the fortune cookie program on unix that some admins have run when users log into the system. Even use.perl has the Alex Chui quotes on the front page. Although I’m happy give a cleaned-up version MarkovBlogger to slashcode should they want it, the truth is that this MB isn’t quite like fortune. It is a personal statement. It belongs under my account.

4. Personal statement? I thought MarkovBlogger was just meaningless, recycled sledge?

Indeed, the actual content of MarkovBlogger isn’t guided by consciousness.
However, MB is meaningful and its message is this: that blogging, fundamentally, is stupid. By collecting the natterings of most garrulous use.perl journals (including my own without MB), the reader is reminded of the colossal wastes of time possible in the western world in these modern times.

But, of course, we all knew that.

5. You’re a pompous dink. Just shut off the stupid bot already. It’s annoying.

MB is my statement, even if it isn’t entirely clever. If there is one guiding principal to my journal it is this: don’t talk about computers, that’s what paid articles are for. Journals ought to be a thing of love, not work. When I do apply myself, I try to create little essays that I hope will amuse and entertain. When I don’t have time for that, I just assume have a MarkovBlogger re-run in place rather than a minimal “ugh! Busy!” entry or nothing at all. This is a preference that cannot be justified rationally. Too many MB entries in a row reminds me to put something together, even if hastily. I expect that consumers of blogs would read them in the search for entertainment rather than duty. But if they don’t, that’s ok too, I guess.

Seriously, I’ve made a reasonable effort to advertise MB entries as such. Now, you can excerise your right to not read them or any other piece of writing on the Internet. Don’t let the Terrorists win! If you are too lazy to do this, then perhaps the raison d’etre of MarkovBlogger is more justified than I thought.

Ok, kids! Let’s get bloginating!

[Original post and comments.]