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You might have noticed…

I’ve changed my RSS feed settings. It used to be that you could read the first few sentences of my posts in the feed readers, but you had to click over to my blog to read the rest. I’ve changed it so that you can now read the whole post in the feed readers.

There are advantages and drawbacks to both approaches.

If I just send out a few sentences, people have to visit my blog to read the post. And it’s nice when people visit. They get counted in my blog stats, they get to know the sheep at the top of the page, and they’re more likely to leave comments, click on my links and visit my friends. It’s nice.

When they read the whole post in their feed reader, on the other hand, it’s more like a drive-by. They’re still reading my content, but they’re “out there” not “in here.” It’s like they’re not really visiting me, they’re just reading a postcard from me.

All other things being equal, I’d have stuck with my original feed settings. However, I recently learned that my blog has been blocked by the City of Ottawa. City employees can read my feed, but not my blog. So, as an act of solidarity with the employees of the City of Ottawa, I’ve opened up my feed for full content syndication.

As for the rest of you, I hope you’ll all still visit my blog from time to time, instead of just reading the feed. My stats and comments have dropped since I implemented the change. I expected it, and I accept it, but God help me, I’m still hooked on metrics and I do love comments. (Robin once told me that he read somewhere that ‘comments are the blogger’s tip jar.’ So true.)

35 comments to You might have noticed…

  • What? You’re blocked? Why? How do you know this?

  • Anne Onimos

    “I recently learned that my blog has been blocked by the City of Ottawa.”

    If this is true, it’s outrageous. Filtering of website content? Based on — I assume — political considerations? That is a real issue.

  • I’d also like to know how you know you’re blocked — specifically to find out whether it’s the result of a sweeping ban on blogs or certain servers, or something more targeted.

  • A friend who works for the City told me. I don’t know whether it’s for content or some other criteria, or for how long it’s been going on.

  • I’m not part of the wordpress or blogger networks; I have my own domain on a commercial server, and I run wordpress off that. So I don’t think it’s a result of a sweeping ban on blogs.

  • HMPH – to the city of O. Good Lord.

  • Lame, City of Ottawa. Really lame.

    I gave up on my feed reader, so I will visit you even more than I usually do. If that’s possible.

  • You are blocked within some government departments, as well.

    I am not sure how they do the selection. A few sites I read have been newly listed in the last month or so.

  • Does the City of Ottawa use WebSense?

  • I like your sheep so much I still click through to read you… :)

  • At work, you come up as:

    The Websense category “Social Networking and Personal Sites” is filtered.

  • Logan asks me to go directly to your website everyday so he can see the sheep.

    Your site shows up fine from our branch of the government. It’s a good thing or else I’d have to end my contract with them! But I can’t get to flikr at work.

  • Em

    wow, they blocked you?! That’s pretty amazing. I can understand them blocking facebook or something like that, but your blog?
    On the plus side – I think this means you’re moving up on the blogging food chain! Way to go! :)

  • future landfill

    I come by every day. I’m almost positive Mayor Larry has you on his blackberry but he only reads it when he’s parked behind a donut shop…

  • Amy

    Just dropping by to say hello. I enjoy your blog, but have never commented before. Today seemed like the perfect time, though I really don’t have anything to say. =)

  • I had no idea this kind of blocking was going on in Canadian government. It’s shameful.
    Please, those of you who are subject to this humiliation, say something. To your managers. To your HR department. You don’t have to risk your job, just voice your right to make your own choice.

    Zoom – I’ve got you on my reader but I’ll still keep coming in.

  • Please, those of you who are subject to this humiliation, say something. To your managers. To your HR department. You don’t have to risk your job, just voice your right to make your own choice.

    Managers hate the blocking. The IT people hate having to do the blocking. It all exists for liability reasons.

    Firstly, they need to be able to show that they took appropriate precautions to keep people from accessing illegal things like child pornography.

    Secondly, if they want to dismiss someone for fooling around excessively online, they need documentary evidence to support the accusations.

    It may also be the case that they are concerned about Access to Information Requests. Theoretically, these could be applied to a civil servant’s web history, and could provide ample fodder for groups that say government is extremely wasteful.

  • Judi

    I always read but seldom comment. I like that your city and your world are so different from mine.

  • Sarah

    Upon reading your reasons for switching to a full post in a blog feeder, I decided to stop being so lazy and comment. I read your blog quite often, and enjoy it very much.

  • Donna

    I read you every day. I don’t even know what a feed reader is. I found you through my daughter, who found you through knitting, and loved your cat, which I have the same cat!! and I have been reading you ever since, because I visit Ottawa and family and love your writing, sense of humor.. and I comment occasionally. I blog too, and my sister and I were just talking about this tonight, I have 40 hits a day on my blog and at the MOST 4 comments… soooo funny. Anyway, I think I don’t comment because you don’t know me… and I don’t know much about politics… but I do read everyday!! thanks for writing.

  • It’s not just the “illegal” stuff they block… if you can access child porn at work you’re not going to be blocked by the IT department, you’re going to be arrested.

    The rule is simple, in an office the computers belong to the employer. They can set whatever restrictions they want. Most private IT departments, and virtually all government IT departments, keep track of your surfing. They’ll also keep copies of any larger than usual downloads you make.

    If they do find sites in their database they feel are time wasters they’re put on the No Go List along with all the usual suspects like Flickr, FaceSpace and btJunkie. The National Research Council actually publishes their employee surfing activities weekly in a public area so everyone can see where you’re surfing. At least they did when I wrote about it six years ago.

    Because it’s Their computer and people work in an office under contract — one which should state the surfing policy — it definitely is not a freedom of speech issue. And there are ways to get around it, like Zoom! making her blog available on Feeds, or by using a proxy server.

  • I check you out everday and will continue to do so….
    And if you’re blocked you must be doing something right! Keep it up…. and keep those Duncan stories coming

  • I just found your blog, and was reading it through my reader. I’ll probably keep reading from there but will make an effort to stop in fairly regularly to help with the stats. :)

  • Censorship? By the City of Ottawa???? O. M. G. Larry should be so ashamed of Hisself.

  • Gabriel,

    You are right that the intention isn’t really to block illegal sites. Rather, it is to be able to argue – in court if necessary – that they took all appropriate steps to ensure that the computer was not being used for illegal purposes.

    In any case, it is rather annoying – especially since it frequently produces false positives.

  • I’m actually *more* likely to come to your site and leave a comment since you’re offering full feeds. When blogs tease me with just a couple of sentences, I often choose to tease them by not bothering to read the rest of their posts.

    I suppose I’m not the norm, if your site stats are an indication, but I just wanted to say that I love your blog AND your full feeds!! Huzzah!

  • I did notice the change and I love it for two reasons: One is that I no longer have to go into the internet at work which is more likely to be noticed by co-workers. Not that I will get in trouble, but it’s a thing people note. The second is that it’s summer and I have a lot of work (I sell ACs) so I can just quickly read and get on with work. Once Fall/Winter comes, I’ll be more disposed to go to people’s sites to read.

    Still reading either way.

    Need Duncan fix. :0)

  • My tip jar is full! (I’ll be back later to read them more carefully and respond.)

  • Carmen

    Well, I personnally think that if Mayor Larry read you more often, he might become a better mayor…. Life can be so strange sometimes….

  • XUP

    What Milan and Gabriel said. I can’t access a lot of stuff from work including most graphics, google blogs and any other email system except our internal one. Nothing personal — it’s just work computers that are supposed to be used for work, monitored regularly and also for safety’s sake so that people aren’t inadvertantly inviting all manner of virus activity onto the network

  • I can access everything and anything from work, so far… I am resisting reading from “readers” because I like going to people’s sites to read them… It feels like I am dropping in for a visit… “Hello? Anyone home?”

  • I don’t subscribe to you because you post so often and so I just drop by every day to see what’s new. I only subscribe to blogs that post every week or less often, to save me the “trouble” of calling up the site every day.

    As for being blocked, I agree with Carmen that the mayor might be better off if he read blogs like yours, and Randall Denley’s column. It’s not like either of you are pointlessly ranting. You write so well and always have constructive criticism. If I were mayor, I would make sure I knew what people like you were saying. I may not always agree with everything, but at least I’d be able to give an intelligent response.

  • Ri

    We’ll never stop reading Zoom!..and if it is blocked, it
    only makes it more fun to open…cause it’s like illegal eh!
    Keep on blogging Girl!!!

  • Gee, Zoom. Until this moment, I never considered whether or not this blog was a subversive social networking site. Or pornographic. Us coyotes are so naive…

  • Here I is! I will still come by (but I love a full feed…..).xo