Thursday, 11 December 2008

Revamp & Revise, Don’t Regurgitate

I have just read a blog post (will keep the link to myself I think – I don’t want to offend the writer) that seems to me a real problem with a lot of what I see coming down the RSS tubes to be fed in to my brain.

People pick good topics to write about. But how often do they write something that makes us think differently, question what we do, help us to improve our skills/craft?

The article I am referring to was actually discussing dirty/smelly code. It did a great job in identifying some common code smells, but did little to actually give insight in how to rectify them.

I have approached this before (the topic of discussion in the article in fact) with a question of mine on StackOverflow*. In this question I asked “what are code smells?” and importantly “how do we fix them?”.
* This has actually turned out to be my most popular question!

Otherwise, what do we have? We have a lot of people on teh Interwebs going “this is bad! this is bad!”. Well duh! We know! Tell us how to fix it, what is good? how can we rethink things to make it better all-round?

I may not write much on this blog, but I always try to end things on a note that will hopefully make you think. It is thinking and creating that makes us evolve. Even if people get nothing from what they read here directly, if they walk away and something switches on a light bulb in their mind, I will be a happy man.

Think about what you see, write about what you think. A blog post should be a personal web log, not a themed photocopier.

I am all for inspiration based on other blog posts (that’s what made me write this one) but don’t just repeat what “that guy” said – do something with it.

Ask yourself:

  • Why do I like this blog post? For you to be wasting your precious time with it, it must have some sparked some brain activity
  • What do I not like about the post? What you don’t like is not always negative, negative thoughts can highlight positive simply by contrasting.

This can then lead to other interesting questions:

  • What does the post talk about?
  • Is it a niche subject area?
  • Is it something you are working on/have worked on?
  • Can your experience bring extra insight to the topic?
  • Do you feel any areas been missed in the discussion?
  • Would it be useful to a friend/peer group?

These sorts of questions when answered in your own article will add a real personal edge to the post. You will be offering more of what you know rather than what “the other post said”. You may be engaging more with your community/peer group. Links to other people that may also have interest helps share the love.

Can your posts make people say:

“Yeah {Your Name} talked about that too, they had some interesting thoughts about X, Y, Z. Really got me thinking.”

Hmmm? :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rob, made me think ! Thank you. I think I will revisit my last blog post and try to answer the other interesting questions. I will also keep this post as a future reminder when writing a post.

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