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Don't Quit Your Day Blogs

Growing up in an urban area you quickly learn who your friends are by noticing "who has your back." Having someone's back can range from being there for moral support to putting yourself in harms way to protect your friends. One of the instances where I have trouble having someone's back is when a friend is obviously in the wrong or I don't support their position. And right now I don't like the OpenID comment feature on Blogger but I can't help defend it against other garden bloggers who don't seem to have a firm grasp on technology in general.

Today I was looking at the feed stats for my garden blogs in FeedBurner and was looking at the uncommon uses for the feed to this blog. I noticed a new feed reader pulling my feed so I went to the website to investigate how my feed was being used. I didn't come across my entries on this site but I noticed a couple of other garden blogs who were just now catching up with Blogger's implementation of OpenID.

Doug Green blogged about having trouble commenting on garden blogs hosted by Blogger because of OpenID. Reading his post and his comments I get the impression that he's a better gardener/garden writer than he is blogger.

I could sign up for some kind of “anonymous” account but what’s the point?

There is no such thing as an anonymous account on Blogger. An anonymous comment is just that- anonymous. It means that anyone who comes across a blog entry and wants to comment can do so anonymously. Unlike at his garden blog, where you have to provide your e-mail address, if a gardener chooses to allow for anonymous comments people don't have to provide any personal information to comment.

With one swoop of policy, Blogger has surgically removed all future networking/links from outside its own boundaries. Because I host my own blog, I can’t make comments on Blogger sites that will include a link to my site to include myself as part of the ongoing conversation. I can’t include myself and my blog into the conversations of Blogger sites.

On the contrary, the OpenID moves gives greater freedom to move from garden blog to garden blog and comment. If he were to take a moment and educate himself he'd see how with a couple of steps he can make his website his OpenID and provide a link to himself. If you look at the link above to the post here about OpenID from Dec 2nd and scroll down to the comments you'll see that I signed in and commented with my WordPress account. In the comments section of Younger Gardeners-Older Gardeners Bill from didn't seem to have a problem making himself and his blog part of the conversation here.

Blogger-hosted blogs are now insulated from the rest of the blogosphere. A blog-ghetto if you will.

I like how his ignorance of technology and web trends becomes our failing and makes us gardeners on Blogger part of a ghetto. I live and garden in an urban area and if Blogger is what a ghetto looks like then Blogger/Google should get into the urban planning business.

I think the real losers in this though are those that blog within Blogger. Not to put too fine a point on it but if you look at the most-read gardening blogs, the most popular, the majority of them are outside of Blogger and self-hosted. Those who blog within the Blogger network will find themselves slowly weaned off contact from these content leaders.

And now the gardeners on Blogger are "losers" because we won't have him and the rest of the "popular" garden bloggers visit Blogger blogs. That's pretty rich, though I am curious as to the criteria he's using to decide who is a popular and who isn't. I see plenty of gardeners on Blogger who get more comments than he does on a regular basis.

Those who blog seriously will move to self-hosting and those who want to play will stay within Blogger.

He should have just opened his blog entry with this sentence and saved me the trouble of reading the elitist ramblings of a Luddite. I like how gardeners on Blogger aren't "serious" because they aren't self-hosted and those of us on Blogger are just playing. I actually have more respect for gardeners that aren't self-hosted because they aren't buying the cow when they can get the milk for free. I suppose real gardeners don't have "indoor gardens" and gardeners serious about gardening have to grow all their plants from seeds too.

Maybe Doug Green will allow me to be considered a "serious" garden blogger if I show the DSLR that my Adsense earnings have afforded me. Or maybe I can be part of the "serious" garden bloggers club if I show him links to my blog being syndicated on major media publications even though it is hosted on Blogger and has tons of typos and dangling participles. Heck, the next time I get scraped maybe Doug Green can ask the scrapers not to take my words and garden photos because I'm "just playing." If you're interested you can read the post and comments on Doug's garden blog.

Not surprisingly Susan Harris of Garden Rant decided to stir the pot after reading Doug's post.

Naturally I assumed that something was amiss - until Doug Green explained that it's intentional.

Her post on the subject is shorter but just as painfully clouded- you can read her post on Garden Rant. Now, Doug and Susan Harris I'm sure are great writers and gardeners but what they aren't is TechCrunch or ProBlogger. When these "content leaders" go around posting about something they obviously don't understand nobody benefits. The only thing I can say is "Don't quit your day blogs," stick to writing about gardening and leave the technical stuff to the thousands of blogs on the subject. And when you don't know, as they say in my neighborhood, "you better axe somebody."

Doug Green has closed the comments on the entry in question preferring to wall himself off in what he would surely describe as a garden blog ghetto. Oh Well.


  1. Anonymous5:05 PM


    You're evil.

  2. Anonymous5:10 PM

    Well I never tried to leave my link so I was't aware there was a problem. Now I've got to try.

    Acme Products

    Anyways I enjoy being a temporary ghetto companion. I don't care where something is posted as long as it's worth reading

  3. Hahahahahaha! I'm laughing so hard right now for so many reasons.

    1) Blogger is easily adaptable, as many of us have proven. I don't have time nor desire to create a site from scratch. So I will subsist in this Blogger enduced ghetto.
    2) Garden Rant. Roll Eyes. Wasn't that blog about gardening at one point?

    Ghetto joke/my reality about 4 years ago x 2 years running:

    Q: What did my neighbors kids get for Christmas?
    A: MY STUFF!!!

    We're troublemakers now, us younins'

    Katie at GardenPunks

  4. hee! I'm glad I found this post. I read the Garden Rant post earlier and thought, huh?? There, they urged Blogger-users to contact Blogger and demand a change/express their displeasure. I'd love to read the response emails that people who do that are getting from Blogger.

    Thank you for making the truth abundantly clear. I hope people who are confused on the issue wind up here so they can be set straight.

  5. @wiseacre
    That's a funny site. When are you going to add a blog to your personal garden site? I still have to respond to your response to my previous email. I'll get to it soon.


    1)I'll be here 'til I run out of space and then I'll think about self-hosting.
    2) I think so, though I hardly ever go there. The last time I was there was when they were playing sycophant to Stuart ( after he called out Tricia (of green thumb sunday fame)for "whoring out" her blog with PayPerPosts.


    I wonder how many people did email to complain. What I don't get about their "complaints" is that it isn't about not having the ability to comment-but not having the ability to link back to their blog. Strange. I don't comment on blogs so people can come back to me, I comment because I have something to say. I guess commenting isn't about community or letting someone know that they've been "heard."

  6. Mr. Brown Thumb... Well put. I couldn't even figure out how to comment on Garden Rant, it just all seemed so... well you put it quite well. Everyone seemed to jump to conclusions without facts.

    If this is the ghetto, so be it! I'm enjoying myself here.

  7. Heh, I'm living in one of the idyllic swedish ghettos, so a blogger ghetto would fit me well.

  8. This whole Blogger thing has just gotten stupid. I have a self-hosted blog and website--mainly because I started In the Garden Online to be a garden website/writing portfolio. I didn't foresee getting into blogging when I started out. Making the argument that Blogger-hosted blogs are somehow for the less-serious gardenblogger is disingenuous at best, and elitist in general. Thinking back to the Mouse & Trowel winners, only two were self-hosted. The rest were Blogger blogs. So making the argument that the "quality" gardenbloggers get self-hosting is ridiculous. What I have noticed (and some people may disagree with me, and that's fine) is that some of the "professional" print garden writers who either adopted blogging as another outlet for their writing, or were forced into blogging by their publishers, seem to be a lot more focused on impressing other garden writers than on getting truly involved in the community. Not all of them...some are great, and have made a point of actually getting involved (Jodi at bloomingwriter comes to mind) but the rest kind of seem like they are barely tolerating us peons who deign to try to write about gardening. Just my impression, and I may be wrong, but there it is. And I think that POV is alot of where Doug's attitude about this Blogger vs. self-hosted thing is coming from.

  9. I like it when you get " all fired up " MBT ! I reckon ignorance is bliss . I'm one of those who doesn't have a firm gasp on technology. But then I'm not doing it for a living nor am I running a popularity contest. I just enjoy it and hope the visitors to my blog do as well.

    I like Colleen's comments and I think that the professional garden writers who can barely tolerate us "peons" should have their own exclusive group and leave us "losers" in blogger bliss. We're just playing!

  10. Anonymous8:15 AM

    I'll admit, I'm one of the people who hasn't figured out how to use the OpenID thing... And I'm generally pretty tech savvy. But, in fairness, I haven't taken the time to look it up, either. So maybe it's pretty easy.

    The whole "you can't be on blogger" tripe is just that, tripe. I had three blogs on blogger and I was very happy. Gardening and outdoor blogs are valuable because it's just the average person sharing their garden, their pictures, etc., and that's what blogger offers - a way for the average person to share. Some people prefer self-hosting, and some prefer not. Content is all that matters.

  11. Mr Brown Thumb, very well put!. I've been following this discussion about dificulties in posting comments on blogger for a few days, and to be honest I could't understand what the big fuss was about. "Maybe there is something your missing because your not american or english speaking" I thought...
    No I realise I was right the all time...There is no reason for all the fuss! Thank you for Mr Brown Thumb, very well put!. I've been following this discussion about dificulties in posting comments on blogger for a few days, and to be honest I could't understand what the big fuss was about. "Maybe there is something your missing because your not american or english speaking" I thought...
    No I realise I was right the all time...There is no reason for all the fuss! Thank you for clarifying that for me :-)

  12. Anonymous9:59 AM

    When are you going to add a blog to your personal garden site?

    I laugh because while so many bloggers think having a site is too complicated I feel the same way about blogs. After years of fooling around with my site I'm confortable doing so but then when I look at the blogger stuff my mind goes bonkers.

    Besides I'm no writer. I might get out a good one liner now and then but serious writing is over my head.

    Another thing that stops me is I'm too seasonal - A blog would be ignored far too long during the growing season. After a day's work I just end up eating and falling asleep. Something about moving boulders weighing up to a ton by hand seems to tire me out. I can go days without turning on the computer.

    My site is more of a winter "hobby" than anything else. It's turned very Looney since I started and the plant pages have suffered because of it.

    WiseAcre Gardens

    But I've gotten a new camera so maybe next year I'll get back to flower photos.

    Keep "pestering" me and I just might start a blog though :) I'm getting too old to keep my day job.

    BTW if you read Chicagoland Gardening Mag you might have seen a couple of my photos a few years ago. (Aug 2002)

  13. Anonymous11:23 AM

    Pam @ Digging says:

    I'm questioning my sanity about jumping into this hot pot of miffed feelings, but here I go. I'm one of those who was posting a couple of weeks ago about suddenly not being able to leave a link back to my own site when I commented on Blogger blogs. I was upset about this because for me, the give-and-take with comments is more than half the fun. I've discovered many new bloggers through their link-backs, and I suspect others have found Digging the same way. In fact, that's how I recently found you, Mr. Brown Thumb---via your link-back on another blog.

    Anyway, as I noted in that post, I eventually figured out that I could leave my link with HTML code, so I'm good. My issue was with Blogger, not the good folks who use it to host their blogs. In fact, I've recommended Blogger many times to people who are interested in starting a blog.

    Maybe I'm being naive, but one of the things I've enjoyed about reading the 70 or so (!) garden blogs I keep up with regularly is the community spirit they show toward each other. That cooperation and goodwill seems to have frayed over this issue, which is too bad. Can't we all just get along, Bloggers and non-Bloggers alike?

    Not that it matters, but regarding Colleen's comment about the Mousies, at least three winners are non-Bloggers: Soul of the Garden, Gardent Rant, and Digging.

  14. Not that it matters, but Soul of the Garden actually won for "Site of the Year," not one of the blogging categories. Spencer's blog is "The Daily Muse," which is part of his larger site. But since the overall site, and not the blog, was what won, I wasn't counting Spencer in that number.

    I would hope that I know the Mouse & Trowels well enough to get my own numbers right....

  15. LOL and that sounded really catty, but it wasn't meant to....I made that comment because I had to go back and doublecheck to make sure I wasn't losing it ;-) It was a "duh" moment.

  16. @Carol

    Thanks for stopping by and glad you're enjoying your stay.


    I bet your Swedish ghetto is nice than mine ;0)


    Thanks for adding to the discussion I can't agree more to what you said. Especially about Jodi because she's refreshing for someone who is a pro. In my various hobbies I've encountered a lot of pros who were pretty annoying and for a long time held some anymosity towards them but my experience with Jodi has been one that has made me reconsider how I judge some pros. See my comment to Moe as well.


    I sometimes wish I was more naive and not so aware of all this stuff. It would be easier to just keep your head down and do your thing.


    It is pretty easy for people who are blogging on a blog site like Blogger, Word Press, AOL etc. But it is also easy for you guys who have self-hosted blogs and all you'd need to do it add a couple of lines of code to delegate your ID and your link goes back to your website.

    See the explaination at for doing it with various services.

    Also if you still have your blogger account (goes for collen,wiseacre and pam) why not just add your link to the sidebar of your profile or in the about section. As an example see my profile to get an idea of how you can get links to your non blogger sites.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting and I'm glad you've found some use from this post.


    That's pretty funny. Since you signed up for an account to comment you should start one as a test and just get your footing with it. If you can send an email then you can make a blog post-it is that easy. You already have a website why not add a blogger hosted blog to it with the custom domain feature? Say something like If you use the custom domain feature it would still be hosted by blogger and you can just add to it when you feel like it. I'm surprised you haven't added one already because from a website marketing perspective a website with frequently updated content (what a blog would provide) is good SEO practices. Some blogs I read only update once a month, you could probably hack that too. Plus a blog would provide a way for your visitors to interact with you.


    Don't be scared to add your thoughts to anything. A couple of weeks back I was reading a copywriting blog I visit and as an example garden blogging was used and described as "mundane" and given the garden blog drama of the past couple of weeks I can't help but laugh.

    @Colleen again

    I'm enjoying the updating you keep doing. It didn't sound catty to me though.

  17. Anonymous2:00 PM

    This is serious stuff...way over my head!
    I left Blogger for self hosting, but only because I wanted the freedom that Wordpress offered. Most of my buddies still use Blogger and I think they are solidly middle-class..not ghetto.

    I stumbled your post.


  18. Anonymous4:19 PM

    Ok Mr. Brownthumb, you got me to thinking, so I went and signed up for an OPENID account and followed their instructions to put some code into my blog's 'head' tag and viola! name above is now linked to my website...all in one simple step.
    I have proven your point that OpenID is actually making things easier for folks like me to comment all over the place, regardless of blogging platform.


  19. If Blogger is a ghetto, I'm glad to have you all as my homies! (Or is it homeboys? Whatever.) I read Doug's post last night and felt the same way, but couldn't articulate it. I'm glad I found this post. Now I feel a little less like an low class ignorant degenerate for using Blogger.

  20. Thank you for this post ... I seem to have missed out on what the fuss was all about, except in the early stages. Too much 50th bday angst since then, I reckon. I couldn't get my wordpress blog to work in the comments- but that wasn't bloggers fault, I discovered, but mine.

    I fail to understand why people feel the need to knock something that seems to work fine - our lives have been so enriched by having an friendly and helpful online community.

    Your comrade in arms!

  21. What a warm and welcoming group! I vented my spleen on this issue already on Doug Green's blog. I'm one of those bloggers who is content in my little corner of the Blogger ghetto. Especially if it is screening out non-friendlies. I've always liked Blogger, even with its limitations. I'm not a graden writer, so I don't need a lot of bells and whistles. And Blogger is free. I'd much rather be spending my money on my garden than my blog.

  22. Anonymous11:53 AM


  23. Anonymous12:09 PM

    If anyone else wants to do what LifeandLawns did, read this post, which I spent a lot of time writing. Many people already have an OpenID and don't know it.

  24. Your posts are always informative, and often funny. But you too, revealed your bias.
    Perhaps you're not so much bothered by the substance of the Luddite post as to the dangling participles. In either case, thanks.

  25. ha! i'm glad to see you're not taking this lying down or too seriously. i was puzzled to learn that i was a ghetto blogger myself. so distressed i finished all my forties without pouring any out for the homeys that couldn't be here. it wouldn't be the internet if someone wasn't looking for a fight about nothing.

  26. I'm late joining this discussion, just as I've only been half-listening to the whole Open ID discussion. Initially I was concerned too, because I like the commenting back and forth between visitors and bloggers, and love visiting new blogs (like others, I read a LOT of blogs when I can.) But recent information here and elsewhere has alleviated that concern.

    Thank you to both MBT and Colleen for your kind words about what I do. The thing about my 'professionalism' as a writer is different from some others who are pros; some of them come from running a nursery, landscape business, etc; nothing wrong with that, except when they get condescending to others, (like calling out people for being ghettoized. Disappointing.) Some of them don't usually even deign to reply to commenters, which I find just plain rude.

    Now, I come from being a fulltime freelance writer who writes about a lot of things (like commecial fishing, cats, books, the coast guard, travel in Atlantic Canada, and fibre arts!) but am a compulsive longtime backyard gardener--and often, killer of plants--who is not afraid to poke fun at myself.

    What I want to do is to encourage other gardeners, be they beginners or far, far more seasoned than I'll ever be. And the blogs I read regularly--like this one, Carol's, Colleen's, Layanee's, and many others--are the sort of blogs I relish because they're exuberant, real, and fun. AND WELL WRITTEN! So all of you, take a bow! And thank you for the wisdom you share.

    We all get crabby about things sometimes, to be sure...but I begin to weary of a couple (including Garden Rant) that are didactic and cranky all the time. After all, don't we garden for the pleasure and the joy it brings?

  27. Maybe I'm a Blogger Brat, but I've only been half listening to all this hubbub about linking back and Bloggerism and OpenID. Being a Blogger Brat...first of all, I'm an only child so being a brat comes naturally...secondly, I blog because I have found great enjoyment in writing, which came as a huge surprise to me, because prior to this, I HATED writing (loved editing, hated writing itself)...thirdly, my purpose for blogging was initially to communicate with my kids about everyday stuff as well as maybe teaching them the little bit I know about gardening.

    It has morphed since that cold day in January at the start of this year, and I've since thought about what I now hope to accomplish with my blogging. Whatever that may be, I think I'm doing it. My kids read it and I still enjoy writing it. As a bonus, I've met some awfully nice people who have encouraged me and made me smile with their comments and I try to return the favor. Relationships are one of the great joys in life and blogging has enriched my life in this way.

    This whole mess being addressed in this very good post (Thank you, MBT!) just makes me shake my head. None of us is any better than the other. Everyone has their preferences and will read whatever they're drawn to. None of this will likely change a thing in the grand scheme of the blogging world.

    I'm quite happy being a Blogger Brat and plan to remain as such as long as I've got space (FREE space, I might add) on Blogger.

    Blog on!

  28. I'm a techy neophyte in a Blogger ghetto - thanks for informing me of my wretched plight! You know, I've always felt that I wouldn't want to be a member of a club that would let in anyone like me. :^D I'm glad you cleared up confusion so that non-Bloggers can continue to comment on the sites of us Bloggers. I hope everybody will take a doggie downer now & go back to happy commenting.

  29. Wow, I read when blogger made the open id changed it messed up the url feild. They fixed it agian.

    I also thought it was something they removed, so I installed a comment system called intense debate in my blog. To replace blogger's comment system(so novices can comment easier). Now that the url field is back I may bring back blogger's coment system back.

  30. Heh...thanks for the lively thread/debate/conversation! Funny, but it was Doug Green's blog that led me to garden blogging in the first place, but he also "sent me packing" once I began reading other blogs and enjoying them more. Kinda like the photography workshop I attended many years ago, where I met a couple women from my local camera club. One of them called me a "rank amateur", which of course ended any interest I had in joining their lame club! Who wants to hang with a bunch of old biddies who sit around congratulating each other? It's the inability to admit what you DON'T know that prevents one from learning, IMO...and nobody can accuse me of that! So here in the ghetto I will stay! I like the low life: it's easy, and there are many more friends to share it with! ;-)

  31. Wow, I never really thought that there were elitist gardeners out there. I for one love your blog, I just stumbled upon it the other day as I searched for "ghetto greenhouse" out of frustration that the starter trays cost so much! Who would have thought the term and solution actually exsisted!? I wasn't all that serious when I was conducting the search, I was doing it for the laughs. lol.

    Anywho, all I can write about this entry all the Elitist Blogardeners out there...

    teh internets = serious business.

    *evil laugh*

    Here in the ghetto, new bloggers such as myself accidentally almost leave comments intended for another entry. LOL! I almost left this as a comment on your "New Comment Feature in Blogger" entry! I feel so retarded and bloghetto!



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