Monday, June 11, 2007

Carnival Monday - A Conundrum

First, the links:
The Carnival of Personal Finance is at Getting Green. It's a big, impersonal list of about 80 posts. It's categorized (sorta), but not usefully.
We're in it, but I'm not sure that's such an accomplishment.
And the Carnival of the Capitalists is up at Scatterbox (cool name. BTW). We're not in that one, but our good friend Joe Kristan (Roth & Co) is, and his post warning about dubious emails is a must-read.
Now the conundrum:
I like carnivals. I think they help expose readers to new (to them) blogs, they increase traffic for blogs that may not be so well-known, and gosh-darn-it, they're fun.
Having instigated a carnival, and having hosted several editions of both it and another, I know that putting one together can be tedious. Most of us have "real jobs," so we can't spend too many hours on reading, digesting, and summarizing a ton of links.
And so, a host's dilemna:
Include every post that's submitted (as long as it's in some way relevant), or play editor, and post only a select few?
The former has the benefit of being easy, and it avoids hurting folks' feelings (if everyone's in, then no one got left out). The latter has the benefit of relevance, and easier compilation for the host, and readability for the visitor.
This week's Carnival of Personal Finance is an example of the "just throw it all in the pot" model. There's obviously no attempt to cull out good (relevant) posts from bad (irrelevant) ones. This is evident from the fact that no summaries are included. The result is a huge "link dump," which I daresay few people are going to slog through. Much as I like that we're included (as we were not for the Capitalists), it's really to damn with faint praise.
In the past few months, we've only made it into the Carnival of the Capitalists once or twice. Sure I'm disappointed, but the posts that were included seemed relevant, and the host provided helpful context. The problem is that we'll never know what other posts, that didn't make the cut, were also worth reading.
I don't have any really good answers. Perhaps something "down the middle:" give the host some editorial discretion and specific guidelines, and tell them to pick the best (most relevant?) 15 or 20 for the actual Carnival, but provide a listing of all the other entries (with any summaries their contributors included) in either a separate post, or as an addendum to the Carnival.
Just some (carnie) food for thought.
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