Xanga Furor

As you have no doubt read, Xanga is facing an existential crisis with the need to raise about $60,000 in order to transition to a new platform. Based on the comments on the announcement about this situation, there is a lot of gnashing of teeth and many people who are ready to abandon ship. I’ll just share my own thoughts:

First, I’ve been with Xanga eight years and have made many wonderful friends (including ones whom I now know in real life) through Xanga. The community remains an important reason I continue blogging here. 

I would like to see the Xanga community continue and made my own financial pledge on the crowd-sourcing fundraising site. Yes, there are plenty of other blogging and website services out there but I think the best option is if we could continue this community en masse.

Beyond that, though, I think this is part of the very natural evolution of social media. Most of the Xangans I now know in real life are really “former Xangans” as their blogs have been dormant for years. Even in the past few months, I’ve drifted away from blogging as frequently because as I moved to a Mac, I found the Xanga editing interface more cumbersome. 

Over the next six weeks, I will continue to post on Xanga. I will also be making contingency plans, downloading previous posts and preparing a transition to another platform. Stay tuned for information.

Regardless of what happens with Xanga, though, I’d invite regular readers to connect with me on Instagram (username Christao408) or on Facebook (username Christao408). When you do, please let me know your Xanga username to spare me any confusion.

In the meantime, as the posters in World War II Britain said, “Keep calm and carry on.”


A Proposal to Reduce Xanga Spam

My blog receives an ever-increasing quantity of spam comments. The comments are usually incoherent, sometimes just text copied from my entry, and always include a link to whatever site the commenter is trying to promote. These comments take a lot of time to delete and are annoying. This seems like a problem that Xanga should be able to help us solve or, at least, manage.

What current options exist to help me deal with this spam? I could enable the sign-in lock feature, but many of the commenters set up a Xanga profile before commenting. I could enable friends lock, but that restricts people who want to view my blog without signing up for Xanga and sending me a friend request. My grandparents, for example. 

I’ve thought of two potential solutions that Xanga could implement:

  • Introduce a feature, similar to YouTube’s and other blogging sites’, where comments must first be approved before being posted. This moderation would make it easier to quickly delete spam comments.
  • Alternatively, any comments that contain a link in them (or, alternatively, comments that contain a link and are from someone without a Xanga username or with a relatively new Xanga username) are flagged as potential spam and are sent to a spam folder, much in the same way that email providers flag potential spam.

What do you think? Have you had a problem with spam comments on your site? How do you think it should be dealt with?

Two New Blogrings

How useful do you find blogrings?  Over the past four-plus years, I’ve met a lot of people with similar interests that way.  From Foreign Film Buffs to I’m Addicted to NPR to Confessions of a Foodie, I’ve found blogrings to be a fun way to meet other Xangans.

Search Blogrings

One Xangan whom I recently met, Amanda, is new to Xanga.  After years of blogging on other services and being frustrated with the attitudes and manners of people she met there, she decided to come to Xanga.  Commenting on one of her first posts, I shared the names of several fellow Xangans whose writing I really enjoy.  I also told her that one of my favorite things about Xanga is the sense of connection and community that I’ve found here.

In order to connect with more people, Amanda decided to start two blogrings.  The first one is called AAA Blogring for Newcomers.  While designed as a place for new Xangans to meet other new Xangans, you certainly don’t have to be new to Xanga to join.  (Heck, I’m a member of Thai People and I’m not Thai!) 

Her second blogring is called UK 50+.  Targeting bloggers of a certain age who live in the United Kingdom, of course everyone is welcome.  If you are wise beyond your years, a speaker of the Queen’s English, or simply think that cookies should be called biscuits (sorry, stereotypes…) you will fit in at the UK 50+ blogring very nicely!

I’ve joined both blogrings and invite you to join them, too.


They’re Coming to America

In the past few weeks, traffic on my blog has surged.  Ever since writing about the murder of family friends in Cole Camp, Missouri last month, my daily traffic has increased from an average of about 95 to about 140 unique visitors.  Lots of new people are leaving comments and I feel bad that I haven’t had the opportunity to get to know everyone, or for them to get to know me, very well.

In the four years since I started blogging (well, very close – the uninspiring first entry was August 4, 2005), I’ve slowly built a community of readers, coming to know people and to consider them important in my life.  Since that process was slow, I felt like it worked both ways.  As people started reading, subscribing to and commenting on my blog, it was easy to find time to visit their blog and do the same.  I feel like it is harder to do that as regularly as I would like to with all the new readers.

So to all of you who have recently arrived, welcome.  I’ll get around to visiting your blogs and building those connections in the weeks and months to come.  Meanwhile, I’ll also try to share a bit more about me.  I realize that when we read others’ blogs, we slowly build up a history, an understanding of who they are based on what they share with us.  As Matt wrote recently, it is interesting to go back and read the blogs in people’s archives, to see the path they’ve traveled.


In relation to this entry’s title, I’m less than two weeks away from my next trip back to the U.S.  This will be my longest trip back since moving here to Krungthep – something like 26 days including travel time. 

It will start out in Los Angeles, both for work and pleasure.  Hoping to meet with some Xanga friends there.  I’ll continue to Kansas City to visit family.  Tawn will join me in KC about ten days after I arrive in the US.  It looks like there will be a mini Xanga meet in Quincy, IL with Zakiah.  After corresponding with her for so long, it will be nice to finally meet in person.  (Meg, Judi, Matt, et al – ready to join me?)

Our trip to the US will conclude with several days in New York City, a chance to visit family and friends and, for Tawn, to stroll the streets of Carrie Bradshaw.

The real reason for the trip, though, is that we’re getting married.  We’ll bring a few carloads of family and a few friends up to Iowa and finally make this nearly ten-year realtionship legal.  I’ll write more about that as the date gets closer.

So much to do beforehand…


My First Blog Entry

It is just after midnight and I’m waiting for a dish of Chicken Mafé to cool down before I put it into the refrigerator.  Mafé is a dish with origins in Senegal (or so I’m told) and it is originally made with lamb or beef and the sauce is made with peanute butter and tomato paste.  It also has onions and carrots in it and is flavoured with thyme and bay leaves.  Whether or not people in Senegal actually make stews with peanut butter is another matter altogether.


The recipe was provided to me by one of my employees, Marty.  He and his partner are foodies, too.  It seems many people on my team are.  Perhaps as a manager I just surround myself with like-minded people.  In this case, though, that like-mindedness has nothing to do with work.  Just food and books and music.


This is my first entry into Xanga.  My friend Aaron has been blogging for a year now and I’ve been following his entries and find it a cool way to stay in touch with what’s going on in his life.  I’d like to keep a blog just so friends and family can stay in touch as I move to Bangkok to join my husband in November.  Long story – I’ll share more over time.


Anyhow, we’ll see how blogging plays out.  Perhaps more work than I’m interested in.  Peraps not.  We’ll see…