Time travel and permalink HOWTO, plus why the huge clusters?
I've never provided much in the way of site documentation, but that hasn't stopped others from doing this job for me. For instance, tips on obtaining the permalink for a headline and uncovering archived pages (a form of time travel, kinda) were kindly furnished yesterday in this post by Danny Sullivan (founder and editor of Search Engine Watch). Screenshots are included.
In the same post Danny brings up a couple of issues I hear from time to time. First, that huge story clusters that appear occasionally at the top of the page can crowd out other stories. And second, that the coverage of blog celebrity stories on Techmeme seems just out of wack.
So is the behavior he describes by design? Or a "bug" as one emailer put it? That's easy to answer: it's working as designed. But I'm still trying to decide if the design needs refinement to change this behavior. Because there are pros and cons to what Danny has observed.
The pros: Big news clusters serve as a useful visualization for what's hot; big clusters herald big news. Also, judging from the number of referrals to my sites, many in fact find these clusters very informative and interesting, particularly when they deal with those online celebrities. (And it's not all fluff, these same celebrities are helping to disrupt established media, something important to many of my readers.) The cons: important news is eclipsed, or at least eclipsed "above the fold".
My current opinion is that some adjustment will be best, though nothing too drastic. Any changes will need to wait a few months however given my current roadmap.
Got an opinion? Please email me or blog it.