There was a time in the distant past when I would update my website every year, stuffing new and ever more useless features into it like a Thanksgiving turkey. This update is so much different.
Firstly, it has been a while since my last style update... almost two years!
And secondly I made a conscious effort to trim as much fat as possible from the site. Gone is half the overly-wordy and oh-so-useless content - things like system requirement listings for 10-year old games and dead links to old projects. I even went through and tested every old Mojiferous Industries game on El Capitan to see what still worked and what didn't (amazingly enough everything but Zoltan still does).
I nuked some genuinely entertaining but extraneous things too, like the history of Lobster Petting and the Speculative History of Mojiferous Industries, only because they took up a lot of room for no real good reason. Nothing was removed without reason.
Well... except for the comments.
I have maintained this blog for a while now (almost 9 years) and when I started it comments were still THE feature everyone wanted and no respectable site would go without. This was dumb. We were all idiots.
Outside of a few outlier examples comment sections are the worst. The few that aren't full of spam are usually full of racists and assholes. There are companies built around making software to block spam and make comments civil, whole industries devoted to fixing the mistake we all made by opening up our content to anyone or anything to shit upon. I'll repeat myself and say this was dumb.
I am tired of deleting the ramblings of some lonely botnet because I hope that someone will say something interesting about my thoughts on trumpet noises. There is no good reason we all agreed on this either, other than someone decided that public input makes people... come back? This is provably true in the case of a troll coming back to hateshit all over your grandma's nice article about pumpkin farming with comments about how the president is a muslin and how GMOs cause Sasquatch measles. Yes, this drives up your eyeball rate and brings you and extra few 1000ths of a cent in revenue, but it also means that regular people like myself see the bullshit clogging your comments and think "THIS IS DUMB."
Every newspaper site admin is angry right now, wishing I had comments on so they could wag a finger and tell me that they get all their revenue from those asshats commenting on their site and it's not their fault that they've been taken advantage of by horrible ad networks and they have to get as many page views as possible, because that's how these things work! No one wants to talk about that elephant in the room: the fact that horrible, rant-y, argumentative comment sections bring trollish assholes back to the page to drive up ad revenue from the networks that devalued a resource that newspapers used to sell for 100s or 1000s of time the cost...
But I digress. I turned off comments. End of story.
The value of resources is a good segue into another thing I took off the site: Google Analytics. It's not because it isn't useful, as anyone who works in the industry knows - GA provides you with a great suite of tools to give you amazing insights into who is visiting your site and what they are doing. It also directly empowers an amazingly scary data-collection regime that knows not just if you have been bad or good, but also if you are sleeping or awake.
At least Santa only operates one night a year.
I didn't do this just because of crazy tinfoil-hat paranoid reasons however, but also because I honestly don't benefit much from GA. The arrangement usually works well, in that a site gets detailed analytic data from Google in exchange for giving them metadata about every visitor, and you're supposed to use that data to determine if your sale on leopard-print lederhosen is successful. Unfortunately (for Google at least) Mojiferous Industries is a pretty simple site, and other than reiterating to me that most people arrive here from the strangest searches (who the hell is searching for crumhorns?) I don't have enough pages or products to make this data exchange worthwhile. Why should I shovel my visitor's data into Google's metadata tubes when I get no benefit that I can't get by reading through my logs? This seems like an open and shut case of exploitation to me: I give you something for free and you turn around and sell it. Count me out.
Also, to circle back to crazy town, they are watching us all. I don't consider myself paranoid but... the amount of data collected is amazing. And while big G may state that evil is right out, things like Google Flu Trends shows that the company is not above using data for social engineering, as long as it appears altruistic - something that should give pause to anyone who has read anything about events in the 20th century. Sure, all that data makes for a good platform for ad delivery, but it also would make an excellent social weapon. Count me out.
So in summation, I restyled the site, removed some things, turned off comments and Google Analytics, and then proceeded to rant, rave, and spew crazy shit all over this blog post. I swear that I'm not a crazy old coot yelling from my porch about the people listening to my thoughts.
p.s. Carla Duty is essentially done! And will be available on Itch.io soon. That should probably have been the lead on this story instead of an insane rant about data and ads and lederhosen. Oh well.