Inspired by the latest postrank rankings of the Anarchosphere, I decided to improve upon the initial number of Anarchist blogs that I’d added in the past to the topic of Anarchism. To this end, I’ve basically scoured the internetubes and added around 60 new blogs to the topic bringing the grand (current) total to 101 tracked sites.
Now you may be wondering what’s the point of all this. We already have an aggregator after all. Well the thing is that postrank goes a bit futher than simple aggregation as it offers some extra features and capabilities that I’m certain some of you might find useful.
The Benefits of a postrank topic on Anarchism
- It allows you to not only subscribe to the RSS of the topic, but also to balance between the quality and the quantity of the content you’ll end up seeing so that you don’t get swamped with posts from more than a hundred blogs. For example this feed will only display the posts from each site which have a very high engagement for that particular blog. This does not mean that you’ll be seeing only the most popular sites as the rating of a post is judged to the relative engagement of all other posts within the same site. More info here.
It also provides you with more ways to subscribe. While you can do it the usual way of simply subscribing to the RSS of the topic, you can also simply export an OPML file with all the blogs and add them as individual feeds to your own Reader granting you even more control.
- It avoids a centralized management as is the case of a normal Aggregator like Anarchoblogs. While there’s not reason to expect that the an admin like RadGeek would decide to start arbitrarily banning and removing sites he does not like, it still puts some limitations such as is the case in every benevolent hierarchy. Practically, there’s probably going to be little difference but with postrank you ensure that the control is more distributed and moderation thus happens faster.
This means that you can go right ahead and add your own blog to the topic if you think you deserve to be there. While I tried to include as many as I felt should be there, doubtlessly I will have forgotten or not discovered them all. If you find you’re not included, just go ahead and add your anarchism-related blog as well. I will post a short guide on how to do this later on.
- It provides some interesting statistics to see how popular you are, which are your most engaging posts and how active you are on the social web compared to other sites in your topic. Eventually, at the end of the year, you will also see how well you did and how your popularity rose or dropped and you can even get a nice badge for your site
So if any of this is of interest to you, just go ahead and play around with the system and see how you like it.And no, before you ask, I’m not affiliated with Postrank in any way. I just like the way it works and the functionality it provides.
And now, some instructions.
How to add your own site to the Anarchism topic of Postrank
- Navigate to the anarchism topic
- If you haven’t used Postrank before, you’ll need to create an account. You can use your google or yahoo accounts to login as well AFAIK or simply an OpenID if you have one.
- Once you’re logged in click to manage the topic.
- Where it says “Add Feed” put the url of your blog. If “nothing found” is returned, it means that your site is not yet in the Postrank index. Don’t worry, it’s a few seconds’ work to add it.
- Put your site’s url in the search textbox on the top right and press enter.
- A new page should open from postrank, telling you that they do not know this site but will add it ASAP.
- Go back to the management page for the topic and add your url to the “Add feed” box. The name of your site should now appear below. If it doesn’t, try removing the http:// in front of your url and leave only the domain name. The site should appear then. If that still doesn’t work, try to remove any trailing backslashes from the url and try again.
- Press the little green “plus” sign on the right of your blog’s title. The whole title should now become green.
- Click “Save Changes”. Once the page reloads, you site has been added to the topic. If you were just added in postrank you really won’t have any rank or info. Wait a few hours/days and check again. Your blog should appear at some position in the topic feeds. Visit its postrank page to get more details.
Congratulations. You’re now part of Postrank’s anarchism topic
How to get only higher quality posts from the anarchism topic (or any topic for that matter)
- Go to the posts area of the topic.
- On the top, use the drop-down menu to select the quality you wish. It goes like this in regards of quality: All < Good < Great < Best. The higher the rank, the less posts you’ll get to see but all of them should have relatively high engagement for their blog’s standards.
- Once you have the quality you wish, click on the “RSS Feed” link on the right. You will notice that the URL has a number on appended on the end. That is the engagement rank or higher that a post needs to have before you’ll see it. You can change that number to 10.0 to see only the best of the best (note: this will be an extremely low quantity feed. Alternatively if you’re using google reader or bloglines, click on their relevant links instead.
- Use your browser’s controls to add the feed to your reader or do it normally via cut & paste
- There is a chance the feed will timeout if Postrank’s servers are overloaded. In that case you’ll have to copy the feed’s URL and add it to your reader manually. Once the servers recover, you’ll start seeing new posts.
Be aware that getting your feeds via postrank’s aggregation is going to be slower than going to the source due to the fact that a post needs to be first grabbed, then analyzed and once it has a high enough rank, presented in the feed. Therefore expect hours or even days of delays for each quality-filtered post. This shouldn’t be such an issue in general for non-news related sites as blogs are in general.
If you want new posts to appear ASAP on your reader on the other hand, your best option is to export to an OPML file and add all the feeds as individual sources to your reader. However, with this way you won’t have any filtering based on quality. If you use an online reader, you can use the special tools to achieve the same result instead.
So that’s about it. I hope you find it as useful as I do and feel free to contact me about any issues you find with it or to just let me know what you think about it.