About & Contact

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(Written on 25/08/2018) ABOUT THIS BLOG
This blog is another one of those ‘personal blogs’ or in other words I haven’t figured out what to write about. As you may have noticed by the pictures I use in this blog I like Japanese anime and manga(manga and anime are Japanese comics and animation respectively for those of you from the opposite end of the internet).

I will try unsuccesfully not to blabber unnecessarily about myself.

ABOUT ME (Scroll down for contact form)
My name is Stefano Dissanayake though online I go by the name ‘Stefan Keys’ as it is easier to type and usually available to use as a username.

I have been blogging on and off since I found out about blogging in 2013. Right now I am twenty-one years old. I am studying economics at a third rate university in London although I am writing this from Sri Lanka as I am on holiday in my parents’ country.

I will spare you the need to look at my ugly mug but if you want to know how I look like you can google me. If you see the picture of a stereotypically dravindian Indian-looking guy well that is what yours truly looks like. Exclude any pictures where you see me smile because I can’t smile when am I asked to in order to take pictures so it must be some other bloke. That caveat about smiling notwithstanding I am not that different from how I look as many claim to be so in their case.

Some people write this section in third person as if they were important enough for others to write in such high terms about them. Just a thought. This is what you are here for after all, presumably.

A NOTE ABOUT NAVIGATION ON THIS BLOG
I am trying my best to keep this blog organized so try those links you find in the menu.

E(LECTRONIC)-BEGGING
If you like the content on this site click the patreon image on (on the right side bar if you are on pc and at the bottom of the page in mobile devices) to get access to the drafts of future posts on this blog and make suggestions. I am basically asking you to pay me money to be my editor. If you are gonna beg you might as well go all the way. To be fair whenever someone tells me to change the way I write I silently (or not so silently if I am by myself) think that they should go fuck themselves instead. This is a fair deal.

SHAMELESSS SELF-PROMOTION
I write some novels because I can’t draw manga. You can read them at http://www.sosbrigade.club . I can’t draw but can I write?….(*dodge*)… You decide!

LINK EXCHANGE
I have a ‘blogroll’ (i.e. a link list) titled ‘Blogs I actually read’ in my side bar (at the bottom of the page if you are on mobile) and as its title suggests I only add links to it of blogs I actually read. You can post a link to your blog directly in the comment section of this page and I will check it out and add it if I find it interesting. Too much reciprocity (‘you scratch my back I will scratch yours’)  has led many blogs to have bloated useless link lists that lead to dead links and mediocre sites.

FINAL THOUGHTS
Hopefully this blog will not turn into another exercise of blogging into the ether. If you happen to read this blog for some reason then occasionally leave a comment to let me know. It helps a lot to know that at least a couple of people read my stuff (Of course I care otherwise I would be writing in some diary rather than on a public forum). I might not reply unless I have something to say(i.e. to correct you) because I am not a social creature (even online) but I will read your comment.

‘Likes’ to my posts from wordpress.com users are appreciated too but less than comments because certain bloggers abuse that function to get more views to their own blogs (i.e. by liking every post in their reader/tag without even reading them).

Some of the information on this page may become outdated but I will not directly edit. Rather I will write new edits below this with a date infront in brackets.

The rest of this post is a little unessential extra to be savoured only by the those familiar with this blog so if you want to you can skip down to a poll about what you think of this site and the contact form in case you want to email me about something.

AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT & A LITTLE ‘LORE’ 

This blog and subdomain originally belonged to another user . As it may have happened to you if you tried to create a free blog on wordpress.com the short subdomain that you wanted may have been already taken by another blog that has being abandoned, never being updated or that has been deleted… This blog originally belonged to a german user called ‘oldspeak’ who created it back in 2006.

Last year I wanted to create a UK politics blog. Since I like George Orwell I wanted to name the blog ‘oldspeak’ which means ‘plain english’ in the made up propaganda language ‘newspeak’ which is used by the almost celestial dictatorship in Orwell’s dystopian novel ‘1984’ to make certain thoughts impossible by destroying the words for them. Unfortunately the subdomain I am using now was already taken. And there was a single post titled ‘Hello World!’ which is the post that is there by default when you create a blog as an example by wordpress of what a blog post looks like. The tagline of the blog was some latin I can’t remember about the illuminati. Evidently whoever had set up this blog had done so on a whim I was annoyed that people just took all the subdomains I wanted and then did nothing with them. I still don’t understand why wordpress.com(and for that matter blogger.com) don’t allow deleted subdomains to be used again.

The oldspeak blog had never being updated since its creation in 2006. Thinking that it would be in vain I decided in to leave a comment on the Hello World post asking whether I could have the blog if the owner didn’t need. And lo and behold eleven years after creating this blog and leaving it empty the user ‘oldspeak’ replied in German asking me how to transfer the blog. With the help of google translate we were able to transfer it from his account to mine. I was never able to contact him again as he stopped replying to comments and there was no blog linked to his gravatar(a kind of ‘profile’ page for wordpress.com users). I wonder how he found out. Either he has another blog not listed on his gravatar page (it is empty) or perhaps he may have gotten an email from his long abandoned wordpress.com blog about a new comment in English. The comments are still there under the blog post I have pinned at the top of the home page. I simply edited the ‘Hello World’ page and pinned it at the top of the home page.

By the way the ‘kubrick’ wordpress theme used on this blog cannnot be installed through the wordpress.com theme store anymore. Only slick modern designs are available. The anime reviewer Thatanimesnob’s catchphrase is ‘Retro always wins’ and although he is slightly overstating his case – I believe that wordpress themes used to look better ten years ago. Of course you can still install the ‘kubrick’ theme on a self-hosted wordpress blog or if you are on the business plan.

WHY WORDPRESS.COM?

For the community and features. There are better community/social-network sites than wordpress.com (tumblr, fb, twitter, ytube, medium, amino app) and there are free web hosts with far more features(e.g. altervista.org, blogger). However as far as longform content is concerned wordpress.com hits a sweetspot between having just enough free features to make you feel like you own the blog and providing a way for bloggers on the platform to find each other – the latter does not always work but more on that later. The reason that this works at least some of the time is that wordpress.com is primarily a web host with a few straightforward social network features (i.e. the reader) slapped on top of it. If you are in any doubt of this just look at the ads and prompts for the wordpress.com website – there is very little about ‘social networks’ and ‘communities’ and instead a lot of talk about blogging and creating beautiful websites. Most bloggers are concerned about getting views from search engines rather than just from other wordpress.com users, each website feels like a site of its own rather than part of a ‘wordpress.com community.’ However all that said there is a functional internal ‘tag’ system that through the ‘reader’ alllows for the creation of a ‘infinite scroll’ stream of content like on facebook/tumblr/twitter etc… however since the  bloggers are mainly trying to appeal to people who come through search engines this allows the flourishing of longform content. The tug and pull between these two aspects can most clearly be seen from the ‘follow by email’ widget which provides different options and even text for those who are logged into wordpress.com and those who do not have a wordpress.com acount. The option for people without wordpress accounts (i.e.people coming from search engines like google) talks about email and there is a field to enter your email to subscribe to that specific blog via email (you do not need to register to a wordpress.com account to follow a blog whereas on tumblr, twitter, ytube- you do).

On a sidenote that number of ‘followers’ in the follow via email widget is very deceptive as it implies that it is the number of email subscribers but it includes people with wordpress.com accounts who read your blog via the wordpress.com reader which sorts the blog order in a social media ‘infinite scroll’ method and as such wordpress.com ‘reader only’ subscribers are worth much less than readers who entered their email address. Basically it’s the difference between scrolling through facebook hoping to find something interesting and checking your email.

Earlier I said that the connectivity between the bloggers doesn’t quite work that well… That is because the bloggers are more interested in getting readers to their own blogs rather than spending their time reading and commenting on the blogs of other people who are in effect their competition. Imagine how youtube would be if the majority of users were video creators rather than viewers? To put it another way wordpress.com caters more to writers/bloggers than it does to readers/consumers whereas social media type bloggish sites try to generally cater more towards passive consumption. This is also the reason that social media is more popular than forums. As an online fiction writer I have noticed a similar problem in writers catering to my type like Royal Road Legends, Wattpad, Syosetu and Fictionpress. The last one among that list is a ghost town despite its features for writers being on par if not superior to the others and the reason for this is that the first three have better ranking systems that allow readers to sort the content out themselves. WordPress.com has also got a ranking system of sorts, basically the number of likes for each post but this system is unsuitable because wordpress.com hosts long form written content and not short image based (the image host limit of 3GB for free accounts probably also helps to deter image based content that you find on social media sites) content that people can easily scroll through. The number of comments may perhaps be a better way to sort out which posts to show first but I don’t really know. I am not an expert in this field.

A few mistakes that wordpress.com is making that I would like to highlight are that banner at the top of newly created sites that doesn’t even go away when the user scrolls down. The banner reads ‘create a free website or blog with wordpress’ and there is a light blue button reading ‘Get started’ with a white font. Do they really think that potential bloggers would want to use their service knowing that such a banner would be placed at the top of their  blogs? Perhaps the wordpress.com team is concentrating their efforts on getting paid customers. This is very short sighted as free content is king when it comes to getting viewers and viewers are everything including potential content creators. WordPress.com is not a website builder like squarespace which has had years to tune and brand their productto a limited and exclusive audience of paid customers (this is the reason that so many website builders put design infront of functionality).

Even more importantly their new simplified subscription plans improve things one way  by making the process of ‘upgrading’ overall cheaper and less complicated rather than just selling different feautres (e.g. domain names, css) separately but that also means that users will pay for features that they may not necessarily need. For example I would like to pay for a domain name and still remain on the free plan. I used to be able to do that but now that is impossible. When I had a domain name that meant I had some security as I could easily export my content and prevent loosing my position in the search engine rankings as well as maintain the links on my website  in case there is a problem like if I broke a wordpress.com terms of service or if wordpress.com just suddenly shut down (it could happen).

Despite all of this or perhaps because of it wordpress.com has a lot of bloggers with enough pride and arrogance to continue writing long form content despite not having much of an audience if at any and usually no money. I intend to join their ranks. How? This time I am going to do something different and actually try to regularly communicate with a few other bloggers who can actually write. The goal will be to form a small tight-knit and yet independent group of writers rather than to siphon views off of search engines, other peoples blogs or the tagging system.

Contact Form

 

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