Customer Service Question

So, in my neverending quest to keep Whatever interesting to all y’all, a question:

The Whateverettes (over there on the sidebar): Are you aware of them? Do you click on the links from time to time? Are they a valuable addition to your daily Whatevery?

Please let me know. And remember, this is for posterity, so be honest.

121 Comments on “Customer Service Question”

  1. I generally don’t click-through, but I think this is because I’m a fairly atypical blog reader. I tend to read a blog for the posts themselves, but more often than not don’t bother to click-through on any relevant links, preferring instead to glean meaning from the content of the post itself.

    Or, to put it another way: damn, I’m lazy.

  2. They’re the single thing on The Whatever I use the most, after the actual blog. I consider them the be the Whatever version of Particles/Sidelights.

  3. I’m aware of them, but I only very, very rarely visit them from your site. As I generally read your site via the RSS feed which doesn’t include the Whateverettes; however I see the Whateverettes are powered by your account which I have added to my network.

  4. I click on the Whateverettes links every other day at a minimum. Many are interesting or entertaining. Some invoke a “meh”. I vote for them to continue.

  5. Well, uh, no. Not really. But I have a tendency to read just the posts in blogs and sort of ignore all the stuff on the sidebars, so it’s nothing personal. Now that my attention has been drawn to them, however, I’ll probably pay more attention.

  6. I click on perhaps 80% of them and often would like a way to comment on them. But it would not ruin my day if they disappeared.

  7. I only click on the ones with truly attention-grabbing titles. They must also tell me something about what they point to in order to grab my attention, so “Insert a zombie, win a prize” will get clicked on, but “Stuff White People Like” probably won’t as it doesn’t tell enough to make a actually want to go there.

    That’s just my reaction to two random titles.

  8. Actually, I just read two of them today. Some I have already read through other references and I skip them. I’m a new blogger and I admire your blog construction: I’d love to be able to roll my widgets up and down. Can you share?

  9. I’m in the same boat as Mark up at #4. I think I’ve noticed them a couple of times in the past, but, dude … your page is overrun with sidebars and stuff. I figured they’re just there to support your widget crack habit. I tend to tune them out and focus on the high quality blog posts when I’m at the site (rather than in the feed reader).

  10. I occasionally click through on the Whateverettes. Depends on whimsy and how busy I am with other tasks. Unless they are a major time-suck for you, I’d leave them.

  11. I don’t think they exist. I read posts via RSS and this is actually the first time I’ve clicked through–to see what the heck a Whateverette is. I am, like JP, tremendously lazy. Google Reader is such a comfy environment, and as long as you’re pushing full content feeds, why would I ever leave its comfy confines? It is…inconceivable.


  12. I read them!

    ::: waves hand :::

    Of course, I also use Google Reader, but for my daily reads I tend to click straight through to the website. Cos, ya know, of Teh Pretty-ness.

  13. Yes, actually. When I click on an entry to look at the comments or comment, I look at them, and if I’m bored or one looks particularly interesting, I will click.

    You should archive them, though. I missed out on getting to read the full Muslim history one last week and I am sad about it. I wasn’t on my own computer so there was to be no bookmarking.

  14. I read them as frequently as I can remember to check here while I’m at home. .here @ work we’re pretty severely Websensed (I can’t even get into the Whateveresque because it’s a ‘social and personals site’) but when I do get a chance to look at them I really enjoy them.

  15. I absolutely love the Whateverettes. I prefer the ones that point to weird & strange web pages over the ones that point to serious news articles or “sci-fi writing topics”.

    I wonder if those copulating gorillas are bothered by morning breath?

  16. changterhune – Before you hear lies from Chang Terhune himself, we thought we’d tell you the truth: without us, his old action figures, he’d be nowhere. He loved science fiction from way back and began reading it at an early age, but it was through us that he acted it all out. That’s what led to the writing. He watched a lot of science fiction shows like Star Trek, U.F.O, and movies, too. But we were always there to do his bidding. And it’s like they say: you always forget about the little people on your way up. Oh, the 70’s and early 80’s with him were good times! He’d use these blocks and make all the crazy buildings for us to be in his stories. I gotta say the kid’s imagination was pretty damn fertile. Oh, he had friends, but they just weren’t into it like him. He was like the Lance Armstrong of action figures. And of science fiction. At first, when he began writing in the eighth grade, we didn’t mind. He still made time for us. And we knew that when he was holding us in his sweaty little hands and he got that far off look in his eye, he’d come back to burying us in the back yard or - god forbid! – blowing us up with firecrackers. But it was worth it for a part in one of those stories. We loved him for it. He kept us around even when we were minus a leg or two - or even a head. In that mind of his, he found a use for all of us. Then he discovered girls. October, 1986. It was like the end of the world. One day we’re standing in the middle of this building block creation he’d pretended was some marble city on a planet near Alpha Centauri and the next we were stuck in a box in the closet. Not even a “See ya later!” Nope, it was into the closet, then we heard some high-pitched girly-giggles then silence. We didn’t see him for years. We got word about him once in a while. Heard he took up writing, but it was crap like “The Breakfast Club” only with better music. We couldn’t believe it. Not Charlie. What happened to those aliens with heads he’d sculpted out of wax? Spaceships? Those complex plots? All gone. For what? You guessed it: Girls. Emotions. “Serious fiction.” I tell you, it was like hearing Elvis had left the building. During our two decade exile in the closet, we heard other things about him. He went to college. He wrote a lot, but not much he really liked. We knew it even then. It was like he didn’t dare write science fiction. Some of us had lost hope and just lay there. Others kept vigil, hoping for a day we didn’t dare speak about. Then we heard he’d stopped writing in 1996. Did he come to reclaim us? No. He took up music for ten years or so. He took up yoga. Once in a while, he’d visit us in the closet. But it was half-hearted. His mind was elsewhere. Then one day, he really did come back for us. One second we’re in the dark and the next thing we know we’re in a car headed for Massachusetts. Suddenly we got a whole shelf to ourselves out in broad daylight! Then he bought a bunch of others form some planet called Ebay. He’d just sit and stare at us with that old look. But why were we suddenly back in the picture? He had a wife now, who didn’t mind that he played with us. So what had happened? Turns out he’d never forgotten about those stories. He’d been thinking about all of us and the stories he’d made up and then remembered he’d been a writer once. From the shelf we could see him typing away. Before long he’s got a whole novel together! Then he’s working on another one. Word is there are two more in the planning stages! Some short stories, too! It’s good to see him using his imagination again. Its good to know he never abandoned us. He returned to his true love of science fiction. We hear the stories are pretty good. Someday we’ll get one of the cats to score us a copy of the manuscript. Man, it’s good to be out of the damn closet! --- I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me I'm smarter than you I'm harder than you I'm better than you I'm just raw I'm hotter than you More popular than you More clever than you And goshdarn it, people like me
    Chang at the gates!

    Not only do I click, I desperately want to comment on them, too!

  17. Just don’t threaten us with with The Machine.

    I have clicked on a few and liked what I’ve seen.
    But, do they speak with an English accent?

  18. Anne Sauer – I'm a leadership development professional living and cycling in San Francisco. I love science, good food and drink, riding my bike, and making the world a better place.

    I definitely read them every day. I don’t read every single one, but your titles are generally catchy and visiting links that other people are interested in adds a little variety to my daily netsurfing. (I’m aso an avid BoingBoing reader, though, so clicking through links is par for the course.)

    If they disappeared I’d probably start reading the blog through an aggregator. The Whateverettes are pretty much the only thing that keeps me coming to the actual site.

  19. I clicked on one for the first time yesterday mainly to figure out what they were–I didn’t look very closely and my first thought was, “Whateverettes–are those very short posts?”

    What can I say? We live in a world where many people think Twittering is the pinnacle of communication between humans.

  20. I only click on them when I’m in heavy procrastination mode. But as someone further up said, they’re kind of lost among your sidebars, so mostly I forget they’re there.

  21. Julia @ 18:

    They’re archived. Click on the word “Whateverettes,” and you go to a page listing the last several hundred of them.

  22. jtglover – J. T. Glover has published short fiction in Nightscript, Underground Voices, and The Children of Old Leech, among other venues. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, he lives in Richmond, Virginia with his wife and a not inconsiderable number of fur-bearing friends. By day he is an academic research librarian specializing in the humanities.
    Yet Another John

    I normally read the Whatever through an LJ-feed. If I did visit the site, I likely wouldn’t click. Sometimes I’ll go through and look at an author or Prominent Internet Personage’s links and add them to my RSS, but that’s about it. If I’m looking for random internet stuff to read, I usually check BoingBoing or Metafilter.

  23. Since I mainly track Whatever through Google Reader / RSS, and Whateverettes in the same fashion, I hardly distinguish the two apart: the Whatever posts tend to come across in full text, but I always click through the Whateverettes. I would guess that 50% of them mean nothing to me, 25% are of general interest, and 25% of them are “gems” to me, which is a pretty good hit rate in my opinion.

  24. I also read via RSS, so I didn’t even know that they were there. I don’t suppose you could add another RSS feed just for those, could you? I’d read THAT.

  25. Hope you keep them. I never read all of them, but most times I click on several. Like Nikitta@11, it’s the titles that determine which ones I read, like “Insurer to doctors: Rat on your patients so we can deny them coverage” THAT

  26. I just read the Whatever blog, which is more interesting than some people’s novels. I was not even aware that whateverettes existed. Now that I know, I will look at a few.

  27. I subscribed to the RSS feed for the Whateverettes so I get them in Google Reader and do click through when something catches my fancy.

  28. I use RSS to read the posts… but whenever I click through to comment or read comments I usually find something in there that catches my eye and click through.

  29. I look at them a couple of times a week and I’m with Chang on the whole “wish there were somewhere to comment” on them thing. Also, I’d prefer if they opened in a new window leaving a “Whatever” tab open.

    And, I see the Army of Nathans is out today. Way to represent!

  30. I rarely remember to look at them, but that’s because my resolution is set at 800 x 600 because of bad vision, and I have to scroll right to see them. I know other people have better eyesight, but the new design of Whatever is not friendly to my monitor resolution. =)

  31. lannalee – Westbrook, Maine – Lanna Lee Maheux is a speaker, podcaster, actor, geek, silly person, femme fatale, singer, lover, twit, and recovering Stand-Up Comic. Host of the podcast Lounging with LannaLee. Since 2010 she has co-hosted The Lex and Lanna Show with Alexis Lyon. In 2011 she and her husband Edmund, started their own bi-weekly podcast, The Bureau of Awesome.
    Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn

    Read them every day. The Whateverettes are FUN!

  32. I’d second the “wish to comment” post, only that the whole reason for not posting the whateverettes as regular blogposts seems to be somewhat related to the fact that we “shall not comment” on them, so…

    But on the whole I like them. There sure are other places to get your daily dose of internet trivia, but your selection always includes amazing stuff I wouldn’t ahve pciked up anywhere else.

    So DO NOT STOP adding them, John.

  33. I read you on the lj feed, but since I almost always click through for the comments, I am indeed aware of the Whateverettes. I’ll often forget they exist for several days, then go through and read all of them.

    I think they’re cool. I vote for keeping.

  34. Google has trained me out of ever examining sidebars, so no I’ve never looked at any of the stuff on the right side of the screen.

  35. I usually at least click through on them, and read any that seem interesting.

    I’m vaguely recalling talk the other day that you can comment on them over in Whateveresque, but when I went over there last I couldn’t figure out which was the right subforum for that.

    It is no doubt in plain sight, but I’ve lost many ranks in my “Spot Obvious” skill the last few years.

  36. I follow you through your RSS feed and almost never come to the blog itself. Came to answer this question, of course, and came to see the recipe for Velveeta Fudge (and I deeply regretted that almost immediately.)

    Taking a gander around, they definitely appear like something I’d be interested in if I’d not seen them elsewhere. The RSS link on that frame appears to be pointing to From my perspective, it would be great if you maybe did a daily post to the blog with your daily links. That would only take up one short spot on the page, but still push them out to us FeedReaders.

  37. I agree with those who find the Whateverettes hard to spot, as this blog has more sidebars than an entire season of “Law and Order.”

    However, I have recently started clicking a few selections, if the titles are outrageous enough. And now they might be canceled? Typical. Just like when I’m tardy in picking up a television show. (Here’s hoping that my latest discovery, a remake of “Battlestar Galactica,” makes it. I’ve got to see how they tie everything up.)

  38. I only ever see the pages when I click through from the feed to post, or about once a month. Now, if you would quote The Princess Bride a little more regularly, perhaps we could do something like that. I’m waiting!

  39. Yes, I like the Whateverettes a lot. I don’t always look at them, but when I am in a time wasting mood I do. Sometimes I even use the links on my own blog.

  40. Every once in a great, great while. Usually I’m reading through LJ, so unless I come to participate in the comment thread, I don’t even see them.

  41. I skip them most of the time, but that’s because I’m usually at work and they got blocked a lot. Other times, I just forget. I often enjoy them when I do look at them.

  42. amandageddon – She is a slacker of the highest order, a geek of not so much, went back to school to become an even bigger geek and possibly get paid for it. She loves it when a plan comes together.

    Considering about 80% of the time, I read your posts via RSS feed either in Thunderbird or on my Livejournal, I don’t see them. Then when I do come to the Whatever to read/respond to a post, I don’t usually see them. Sorry! :-/

  43. From a receiving end of things, I got many hundreds of hits when you posted my Throbbing Zombie Pony in the list.

    Arguably, however, it’s hard not to click on a TZP link..

    I vote they stay, even if I don’t get a chance to click them as much as I’d like.

  44. Since I’ve been coming here I’ve clicked on quite a few of them, actually. It’s kind of like Fark, only more streamlined…

  45. Yes.
    Meh. About half of them I’ve seen elsewhere before you post them here. Your headlines are almost always better, though.

  46. I read you on RSS. So really, I never notice what might be going on with the site. I’m not even sure I’ll know if you respond to this comment, unless you Email me directly…

  47. I look over them every day or two and probably click through on 1/3 of them. Some of them that I’ve clicked through are really interesting or funny. I vote for keeping them. I also like that you archive them for those that I might want to go back to (haven’t actually bothered to save any of the links myself)

  48. I definitely read them every day. They are a vital part of my daily web-surfing-to-avoid-work experience. I see a lot of links that I wouldn’t otherwise see by having someone else’s experience filter cull the important/interesting links.

  49. I read Whatever on the LiveJournal feed, and only click through to the original post if it’s something I want to read the comments on (or comment on myself). I almost didn’t notice the stuff at the right side of the page.

  50. I am aware of the Whateverettes, but I often don’t click.

    People generally only seem to go clicky on sidebars very, very rarely. Feed readers, and it is a sidebar and thus not very central, and all that.

    What seems to be more successful is occasionally gathering up your recent (I think even has tools to do that) and post them as a weekly (or whatever frequency results in 10 or less links) entry in the blog.

    (Warren Ellis does his on a daily basis, I think.)

  51. (P.S. – I suspect after this post the number of people who read the Whateverettes, now that they are aware of them, will increase.

    So you should probably just ignore me.)

  52. Lost in the sidebar clutter. In my view they’re one level too far to the right. I occasionally remember to look over there, but only if it is a slow news day. The ‘ettes and ‘recently’ are pretty much the only sidebar components I’m interested in. I’m trying to reduce my forum addictions^Whabit, so I’m studiously avoiding Whateveresque. The site design is nice enough I enjoy coming directly here instead of just my normal RSS feed. No eye-gouging, high-strain colors, check.

  53. Came all the way from my lj feed to say


    (and no, I don’t click the Whateverettes but I will probably put them on my lj feed)

  54. I didn’t even know they existed until I read this post. Like many others, I read your posts in Google Reader. Since I see you have an RSS feed for the Whateverettes, based on my experience with the particles at Making Light, I might click through on one once a week.

  55. I read them VIA RSS, not by clicking on them here. Is that wrong?

    I do end up reading many of them. Whateverettes had the link to “A Three-Year-Old Learns about Soap”, right? That was wonderful.

  56. Yes, am aware. Do click on them, but realise that I’ve been missing out on stuff since I read them only when I come to your site. Read your blog via RSS.

  57. No, because I read through the RSS feed. If you automagically posted your daily links to the blog (under “settings” in delicious), I might, but I prefer context to my links–I don’t follow your links through delicious’s network either because all they are is a link text.

    (I installed a bookmarklet to tell me just *how close* I was getting to the 255 character limit in delicious’s notes field, so obviously I have a much different philosophy.)

    (My delicious bookmarks; intermittent blog posts where I manually triage the links with an eye toward my audience.)

  58. I read the whateverettes more than the comments, and sometimes more than the blog posts. When a new w’ette appears, I squeal with joy.

    Dear posterity: In the first decade of the new millennium, one could squeal with joy with impunity; this was long before both squealing and joy were outlawed.

  59. Sometimes. When I’m avoiding doing something else, usually writing. I appreciate a good distraction. Would it hurt your feelings if I said I like the Particles on Making Light better?

  60. Carol Elaine – Spend my days being creative with acting stuff & cleaning up after animals for money. Spend my evenings cleaning cat puke for free. 'Tis a glamorous life.
    Carol Elaine

    Count me in as a regular Whateverettes reader who loves to check them whilst eating a nice MLT sandwich. You know, a mutton, lettuce and tomato, when the mutton is nice and lean and the lettuce is crispy…they’re so perky, I love that.

  61. I have them on my RSS reader, and if I’m actually here I make an effort to look. They somehow kept showing up when you were supposed to be writing Zoe’s Tale. That seemed a little fishy.

  62. Yes I am aware of them. Yes I click through to them. Then depending on their content I read them. They are typically interesting and or funny so I usually read them start to end. As I have noted in other post’s I enjoy them so much that they have driven me to attempted thread hijacking so I could comment on them. Mr. Scalzi’s justified rant of Feb 5 cured me of that. My face actually burned as I read it. I would like more of Mr. Scalzi’s thoughts on them and a chance to voice my own silly opinion on them.

  63. I tend to let the ‘ette’s build up for a few days and check them in chunks. This isn’t out of any particular apathy or contempt, more of a time management philosophy. More then once I’ve followed an ‘ette and it turned into a rabbithole toward wonderland – next thing I knew two hours were gone.

  64. My brain has been conditioned to interpret right sidebars as nothing more than ads, so I never even look. Besides, being at home with a 2-month-old has taken its toll on the time I have to poke around online. I would probably at least glance at them if they were elsewhere on the page.

  65. Jules Jones – I'm a writer of romance and science fiction/fantasy. My main blog is at Dreamwidth, since that's where a lot of my friends are, but some of the less inane wibble gets mirrored on WordPress.
    Jules Jones

    I look at them once in a while, when one of the captions catches my attention. They’re clicky goodness, but nowadays I exert a certain amount of self-control, after I realised how much of my writing time was being sucked up by clicky goodness.

  66. The ‘ette’s are great, I click through and spend at least an hour or two once a week. They are wonderful for weekends when blog posts slow down.

  67. I love the Whateverettes!

    However, I only read them every couple days, because I regularly manage to forget they exist. Then I remember them, and read a whole bunch of them at once. (And I always right click to open in new tab.)

  68. I clicked on them once in a while when they were at the top of the page and found them entertaining. Once I moved them down a little, I don’t notice them any more.

  69. I read via Firefox Live Bookmarks, so I see the page in its entire Holly Hobby happiness, and click on some Whateverettes once or twice a week.

  70. I didn’t really notice them…but I’m really lazy. They look interesting though! Someday I might click one

  71. I read some of ’em…I picked up the RSS feed for the Whateverettes at the same time as Whatever. I figure if you’re interested, they’re probably interesting stories. Please keep them!

  72. I read maybe 80% of them. I consider them to be a distilled fark which has already been vetted to be only interesting things. As a comparison, I usually click on maybe 5% of fark’s links, and I’m normally more interested in the whateverette links than those few fark links I find worthy of a click.

  73. Are you trying to get out of doing some work, by not updating whateverettes? ‘Cause we pay top dollar for the feature to be there even if we don’t currently use it. We suspect we may have need of a whateverette in the future and don’t want to see it added back later as a ‘new’ feature that you charge more for!

  74. I click-through to maybe half of them – depending on how much the title intrigues me. Some are gems and some not so much – but please keep posting them!

  75. I L-O-V-E love, love, love, love them.

    On occasion I post one on a board where I do most of my electronic socializing. On many occasions I have laughed my fool head off because of one of them.

    I have yet to try the RSS feed, but that just pure laziness.

  76. I check the Whateverettes out fairly regularly and click through to about half of them, I’d guess.

    I always enjoy your link titles, and often the links themselves, but I do wonder how you find the time to actually track such a variety down!

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