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.

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

121 replies on “Customer Service Question”

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.

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.

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.

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?

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).

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.


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.

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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. =)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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)

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.

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.)

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.

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.

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.

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.)

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.

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?

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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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