Giving Content a Kind

Posts, Posts, Posts

One thing I have been putting some thought into are the “kinds” of content I create and want to create. I have some really short posts that are just brief updates or such. I have medium posts that are a few paragraphs long with a little nugget of value in them. I have long posts that take a while to read and are filled with information. I have other posts still that are not available on the new Astro-based site because I just haven’t gotten there yet.

I need more than post or “blog” to describe the content. One of my design goals was to provide distinct formats for various kinds of content. I’d rather not make it some sort of required yaml frontmatter, I generally just let that stuff auto-generate and don’t give it a second thought (except for the title because for some reason Obsidian’s Templater plugin isn’t setting that). I also don’t want to use folders, I already am sort of chaffing that I have folders at all!

I had the thought that I could analyze content as it’s being processed and determine it’s kind somehow. Length or heading count perhaps? Maybe if it’s under 300 words and it only has a single heading than it’s a “short kind” of post. But I am not sure if that is adequate enough, so maybe we use this analytical process unless I take the effort to specify the kind in the frontmatter — probably default to kind: auto so that I can enforce the k/v in my post definition.

Kinds of Posts

So then what sort of kinds do I want?

  • short/micro posts — I’m struggling with a name for these but I hate anything to do with the word “micro”, it’s too reminiscent of Mastodon and Twitter for my taste, but I think I’m going to go with “entry” as this type of content is similar to a short journal entry. Based upon a review of my existing blog posts, an “entry” is generally a single heading and under 200 words
  • medium posts — I think these are “posts” in the traditional blogging sense, it’s content of indeterminate length and generally reflects new things or thoughts but has little structure. As I look through my existing content a “post” seems to generally be between 200 and 500 words with either a single heading or at most two subheadings
  • long form posts — These are like “articles”, there is a purpose to them, they have a structure with various subheadings and the content has a distinct order to it. It seems that from my current content, an “article” is over 500 words and closer to a minimum of 800 words, plus a number of subheadings, including the pattern of h1 h2
  • short/micro kb posts — Think “slip” in the Zettelkasten world. With the kb/digital-garden content, length doesn’t seem to be at play so much and I’m content with a “slip” being the generic kind for all content, unless otherwise stated
  • kb articles — I’m not sure if I’m okay with the use of “article” here but at work this was definitely what we called these types of content. This kind of content is very intentional and will likely conform to a similar pattern as the “articles” above, however with the distinction that it’s “living” and it’ll be updated and probably is in a perpetual state of “work-in-progress”. This sort of reminds me of an “essay”, you write a draft, then over the course of time you update and refine it
  • links — Just links, with maybe some words about it, probably not
  • images — Like links, but with… images
  • interactive pieces — Things like games, or JS toys, or demos, just anything fun that requires canvas or embedded content to like Codepen

I’m also interested in experimenting with other kinds of content and methods of displaying content. I think a robust system should be able to easily facilitate add-ons or removals. For example in the “Design Goals” post I’d have loved it I had a way to make a collage with annotation/figures describing the images. This would be a very neat way to display image-heavy content. But then I have to wonder, is that a kind of content or is that an intermediate component within an article?

Moving Forward

My path forward is to create a few “kinds” for the content I already have on hand. First I think I’ll figure out how to decipher if a generic post is small, medium, or long. I’ll update y’all once I figure out the magic formula for that. From there I’m going to work on getting the unpublished content I already have on hand up, so that means the knowledge-base/digital-garden stuff. I’ll need two kinds for that, since I have some very long articles on the Westminster Confession and I also have short snippets (I like the term “slip” to describe these) that have value but little length.

I’m also thinking that there needs to be some generally style-guidelines for the content itself. For example a long-form post should be an h1 followed by any metadata (likely none) and then an h2. I like this pattern and I am using section to break posts down into sub-sections and this just helps with styling if I know all my content is accessible via section section. But shorter posts won’t need to conform to this likely — an h1 followed by an h2 followed by three terse sentences just seems a bit overdone.

These updates will likely come amidst more styling updates, I’m unhappy with the changes I had to make to conform to mobile-sized screens. I am trying to make a unique website that harkens back to the sites of yesteryear, but without compromising the decades of knowledge and tooling that have developed since then. I also hate break-points and am trying to avoid them, but think it’ll be an inevitability since CSS3 just isn’t enough.