A to Z Reflections 2017

This was my sixth year participating in the A to Z Challenge, and my fourth year doing it with two blogs. I wrote all of my main blog posts last August and September, except for X and Z, which I wrote this January. My secondary blog posts were written in March.

The final letters I decided on topics for were L, R, X, and Z. Topics I considered but discarded included Bajcsy-Zsilinszky Hospital, Újszász, Xylotymbou, Rue des Pyrénées, Rue de Rivoli, and the Louvre.

Issues encountered:

I wonder if some people bother reading the posts on the anchor blog, since they do things frequently advised against. Case in point: Comment moderation! I’m not talking about bloggers who moderate initial comments, or moderate all comments on hot-button issue blogs. I’m talking about bloggers who moderate every single comment for no reason!

I spent time writing a comment on the T day, respectfully and calmly explaining why The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is an ahistorical slap in the face, and not highly regarded by the Jewish community or historical fiction community. As of now, it’s still lost in moderation, and a lot of this blogger’s posts don’t have any other comments either.

If you’re going to do moderation, at least read and approve comments within a day! I’m highly unlikely to return to a blog where comments don’t show up until days or weeks have passed, if ever.

Lack of hyperlinking. A LOT of people just left their URLs in the daily link-up posts. While it doesn’t take hours to copy and paste it into a new tab or window, it’s still not as instantaneous as HTML coding it into a hyperlink.

The lack of a master list was a bit cumbersome. While there were certainly issues with the list, I liked how it contained all the blogs in one place. It took more time to trawl through the comments section of each daily post. The extra space taken up by each comment could’ve been used for several additional links under the old system.

I’m a big fan of time and motion study, pioneered by Frederick Winslow Taylor and Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. It conserves the amount of time and work motions used to perform tasks. Sure, it didn’t take that much longer to scroll through 26 different comment sections, open each link or C&P each URL into a new tab, and link up myself, but the time spent doing that could’ve been used towards visiting a few more blogs each day. Over 26 days, those additional minutes really add up.

I also liked having the master list so I could start going through it right after sign-ups started. I began by visiting those closest to me, and got to know a lot of new blogs in advance. Throughout April, I became familiar with who was where in the list, and knew which links I’d visited or hadn’t explored yet by their hyperlink color. It was also a helpful reference for catching up in the months after the Challenge.

If there won’t be a master list from now on, a happy medium solution would be a service like Inlinkz. Some of the weekly bloghops I’ve participated in use that or a similar linking service. All you have to do is refresh it to see newer additions.

I do feel like the lack of a master list hurt those of us who weren’t early birds. We don’t all have the same sleep, work, or school schedule, or might not be able to get on a computer until late in the day, after almost everyone has already passed through. With a master list, we could peruse it at our leisure, and other bloggers would’ve found us more easily.

Post recap:

Andrássy Út (25 views)
Basilica di Santa Croce (16 views)
Castle District, Budapest (29 views)
Dohány Utca Synagogue (18 views)
Erzsébetváros (14 views)
Flemish Giant (17 views)
Gellért Hill (12 views)
L’Hôtel de la Duchesse-Anne and Hashomer Hatzair (11 views)
Ivy Hill Park, Newark (10 views)
Jewish Newark (17 views)
Košice, Slovakia (21 views)
Lower Galilee (13 views)
Machal and Le Meurice (13 views)
Normafa and Neology (14 views)
Ospedale di Santa Maria Nuova (15 views)
Pasarét and Ponte Vecchio (14 views)
Quilting (12 views)
Rue de la Rosière-d’Artois and Rue Crébillon (12 views)
Szent János Hospital, La Samaritaine, and Sant’Ambrogio Market (13 views)
Twentieth Arrondissement and Tempio Maggiore Israelitico di Firenze (20 views)
University of Montpellier (15 views)
Vailsburg, Newark (14 views)
Wesselényi Utca and the White Paper (12 views)
Xaver Suppe and Xoriatiki Salata (19 views)
Yizkor (9 views)
Zionism and “Zog Nit Keyn Mol” (27 views)

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6 thoughts on “A to Z Reflections 2017

  1. As always your posts were detailed and well researched. I don’t guess I saw your other blog, but somehow I didn’t catch–or didn’t remember–that you had two going.

    There are always those who don’t follow the suggestions and insist doing things their ways. The diversity of blogging and commenting platforms also creates complications, but some of that is something that I don’t know if there is a way around.

    Ideally, I’d like to find a listing method where entrants can be screened and automatically removed if they aren’t keeping up in a proper way. In my mind I know what I want and I know it can be done but I have to find a way to do that.

    I stayed plenty busy throughout April so the absence of a list didn’t bother me too much.

    Great job this year and thank you for offering your thoughts in this post.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your visit. You obviously put a lot of work into your posts. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time for too much work this year. I agree on the issues you’ve pointed out.

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  3. I agree with your feedback on the challenge this year. I also missed the list for the reasons you mention. For me the hardest thing was that even though I visited many, many blogs each day throughout the challenge I still missed a lot of them and kept ending up on the same sites. I think this was because I was seeing mainly other bloggers who most closely matched my posting schedule based on how I was trying to manage the visiting with each new daily “list”. I do really love this challenge though and feel it does help connect me to other bloggers. WeekendsInMaine

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  4. Honestly, if they didn’t bother to hyperlink, I didn’t bother to visit unless their post seemed very intriguing. I actually saved time and effort with the comments because I had an idea of what a post was about before I went to a blog. So, I only went to posts that interested me. Secondly, I saves time because unlike in previous years I did not end up at a blog before they posted or that was not really participating. Yes, scrolling through the comments takes longer, but over all time saved was immense for me. It is not all about motion. In data entry, yes. On assembly lines, maybe.

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  5. Your posts were stunningly detailed – I can see that my idea of advance planning (producing my posts in March) is totally amateur in comparison to your preparation.

    I’m a list supporter as it works well for me, in the way you describe in your posts. Equally, I empathise with the amount of work that takes the hosts who, after all, are bloggers themselves and trying to take part in the Challenge too. I hope that Lee hits upon a magic solution but, until he does, I guess this is what we’re going with. Personally, Twitter ended up being the best source for me which is a shame.

    Barbara, you make a good point. Except that each year I’ve found blogs I love despite the fact that they don’t sound like my kinda thing, but turn out otherwise. So I’m an open-minded link clicker.

    Currently at Bunny and the Bloke
    but moving soon to Debs Despatches

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