What happened to Kottu

That was a question. And also a preclusion to my own opinion of what happened. It’s gonna be blunt, you might not like it, you might think i’m an elitist, you might think i am hopelessly goday for beginning a sentence with ‘and’, but here’s what i think.

Too much crap. Three words. I hop onto it this morning after what seems like aeons and i am confronted with the posts above. Bland reproductions from news sources. News stories five days old. Posts about movies my baby cousins watched last year etc. Then you have the underground scene. Blogs completely dedicated to pictures of girls from various parties around Colombo, skimpily clad models etc.

Why? Well, In part i think this is a symptom of the expansion of the blogsphere. As blogging became more popular; more and more people thought of acheiving some petty notoriety or small revenue through Google ads by hacking up their own blog.

I know a guy who once had a whole blog dedicated to pictures of female Tamil movie stars. He’d get them from various e-mails and copy them from other websites; even optimizing post titles for better search engine results. I kid you not. Pretty soon he began earning some revenue. So not bad for a business venture started out of free time at work. Its probably still going strong i don’t know.

All the crap out there came up because of the increase in internet usage and increase in demand for time wasting and drool worthy content with a corresponding increase in supply. The expansion of net users has squeezed out and diluted the small group of intelligent bloggers that seemed so prolific in 2007-2008. Take a look at these stats for Sri Lanka’s internet users taken from here courtesy ITU,

That’s a 400% increase in users over the last 3 years. Nothing to sneeze at. No wonder Kottu has become boring. Its criteria for blogs, that of being ‘about Sri Lanka’, is now too broad to leave out the crap because now there is a humongous amount of Sri Lankan crap out there. So, time for a new order? Maybe Indi should look at restricting Kottu to an initial group of bloggers who will then form a peer network that will control the admission of new blogs. The forum can be openly viewable.

Any blogs with non-original, non-value added content should be kicked out. Its time to redefine what Kottu is about. The old approach will not work because the content out there is now too varied and diverse to plausibly fit into one package without fatally clashing. To avoid this, the type of blogs allowed in should be controlled.

This is something that once used to be the go to point for non official information, the go to point to judge the emerging zeitgeist. But now Kottu is only a go to point by browser window typing accident. Tis a pity. Kottu was once great. It can be great again. Or it can give way to something entirely new.

  1. I totally agree. I don’t visit Kottu anymore cause of the content on it. Any blog that is Sri Lankan no matter what the content is, is on Kottu. Anybody who blogs is on it.

    I mean Indi does have other things to do so if he is restricted in the time department he can hand over the adminship to someone else.

    Just a thought!

  2. Chavie said:

    Very good post. I think you’ve nailed it pretty well there. The ‘original content’ criteria should be strictly enforced and I think some sort of categorisation of posts into areas like political, tech stuff, reviews, travel, personal etc. will be of help for people who use kottu to find content.

  3. John said:

    I read an interesting article on a site a couple of weeks ago, I’ve forgotten what the site was but this was the premise. As a site gets more and more popular, the reason that it got popular in the first place starts to get overshadowed. This is true only if the site works on the lobby principle where everyone is exposed to everything going on in the site. On the other hand, if you work on an alcove principle, users are only exposed to stuff that they want (e.g. facebook) and are not bothered by the increasing irrelevance of their tastes/needs.

    I think it’s time kottu was dragged into the century of the fruitbat (a bit of a Discworld reference to those in the dark) and modernised. The introduction of streams might go a long way in reducing the white noise present on kottu at the moment. That would be a first step, but who knows whether indi actually has time for that!

  4. indi said:

    I agree. When Kottu started any content was good for the site. Now it needs actually separate the good from the chaff.

    There’s quite a few improvements, but one is a good algorithm to calculate popular/good posts and display them. I’m thinking click count, plus comments, plus likes/dislikes on the site itself. This is a bit beyond my programming ken, so actually applying for funding.

    • I’m sure there are programmers on the kottu base who would be happy to do it at a better rate.

  5. Angel said:

    You goday elitist! 🙂

    I kinda enjoy the whole thripitaka posts, I never knew they were available until I saw them on kottu.

    Oh well, one man’s wheat is (*cough*) another man’s chaff.

    This is why I’m not on kottu.

  6. chathuraw said:

    Maybe what Kottu needs is blog categorization. The sinhala blog syndicator already does this and it helps readers find whichever topics they’re already interested in reading about.

  7. dee said:

    hmm i dunno. is there a deinition for blogging? :I anyhoo, i stick to my own google reader, adding on newer blogs which i find interesting. i guess i let go of kottu :S

  8. SwanLanka said:

    I bet you wouldn’t be complaining if the posts were about how “glorious” Islam was, you Muslim bigot.

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