The Rectification of Posts is Complete

So, as I mentioned in “So Long, WordPress!”, when I first migrated this site from WordPress to the Hugo framework I initially carried over only some of the posts, I’d say perhaps 1/4 of them. I planned to bring over most of the rest, but it was urgent enough to get off of WP’s sinking ship that I decided it was worth migrating even if not everything was ready. As of April 14, though, everything has been edited and republished.

Well, everything that I determined to be worth saving, anyway.

There are a few things left to do, but none terribly urgent. I’ll run a script I have to check for broken links, internal and external. Internal links I can fix easily, external I can usually link to an archived version. If no archive is available, I may just leave it dead or add a parenthetical note. I’ll also look for a way to see which images aren’t being used anywhere so I can delete them and remove some clutter and wasted storage space.

Speaking of images, in a lot of posts they could be formatted better, but they’re serviceable and I don’t think perfectionism is worthwhile for most of them. Finally, I’ll revisit some of the other themes I like but that require more finagling than I was willing to do at the outset of the migration. For now, though, everything is functional and the Mainroad theme is perfectly fine.

Oh, I guess I was also going to look through post comments and repost some of those, but, well, I don’t feel like doing that.

Anyway, now that the process is over, I thought I’d talk a bit about the experience, if only to get some closure on this project. I’m optimistic that this will be the last time I need to write such a “meta” post, and that we can now return to regular programming about books and movies and such.

One thing I found, and that I appreciate my past self for, is that my taxonomy has been fairly reasonable and consistent for a long time. I’d say I changed the tags and categories for no more than 20% of posts, and most of those were relatively early ones. I did notice that parts of the index are getting a bit crowded, so I’ll likely make a couple edits: separating the Literature section into prose and poetry (and possibly drama?), and splitting the Confucianism-related articles from the rest of the Non-fiction section. I’m hardly a Confucian expert, but it’s also the only large and coherent category I could disaggregate from the rest of the section.

There was a notable increase in article quality over time. Most posts before 2011 were remarkably insubstantial; not bad, it was just clear that I hadn’t yet learned how to review a book or film. From 2011 to 2015, things gradually improved, though still rather hit-and-miss. From 2016 onward, though, quality has been fairly consistent.

With that in mind, I’d encourage anyone considering starting a blog of their own to remember that writing of any kind is very much a learned skill, so don’t get frustrated and give up if your first attempts and writing reviews or anything else are sub-par.

I mostly worked through the index page systematically, from top to bottom. I think the top “highlights” section is still reasonably representative of my best work and my range of topics, though a few could probably be swapped out. I dropped a couple posts from the Essays and Editorials; these have historically been my best and worst posts, and in general I tended away from them when I really began focusing on the “bibliophile’s journal” theme around 2016 or so. Incidentally, this section also has by far my most-viewed post, “Which Translation of the Analects Should I read?

I haven’t done many special series; the last I completed was lain20th, an episode-by-episode commentary I did for serial experiments lain’s twentieth anniversary, and that was 2018, though I plan to revive “Hundred Friends” soon. I considered removing 2015’s 75 Book Challenge because many of those posts are too insubstantial, but it’s historically important to this blog because it really built a habit of writing that helped me improve, and there are some gems in there.

Speaking of the “Hundred Friends” series, it’s very well-represented in the Literature section, accounting for twenty-two of the sixty-eight posts indexed here. I think writing about literature is my forte, and this section is consistently strong. There’s some good variety, too, including poetry like the Book of Odes, prose like Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and even an attempt at translating Marceline Desbordes-Valmore.

Non-fiction is all over the place. I don’t think I removed any posts, but there’s less substance to a lot of these. Some did turn out quite well, though, and again with a lot of variety. For instance, Raphael Semmes’ Memoirs of a Service Afloat During the War Between the States, Fr. Fructosus Hockenmaier’s Confession Made Easy, and a mahjong art book.

I should return to the Plato and Shakespeare series; the latter suffers a bit from me being unsure what exactly to say about Shakespeare, though some turned out well, especially on Richard III, but with Plato, I made sure to engage with each dialogue and so this may actually be the strongest individual section. My article on the Republic remains my biggest effortpost. The downside is that with the reading order I used, the dialogues get harder over time, and they were getting harder as I was getting busier with my personal life and thus didn’t have the time to engage with them as thoroughly. Rather than mail in a sub-par post, I decided to put the series on hold. It’ll return someday, though.

The Graphic Novels and Animation sections are also a bit hit-and-miss, largely because so many were from 2011-2014, when I was still growing as a writer. Some, though, especially the later reviews, are quite good in my opinion. Dororo is a good example of a decent early effort, for instance, or Ito Junji’s adaptation of Frankenstein (speaking of posts with screwy images…) later on. On the animation side, I think my article on Your Name and 5 Centimetres per Second is among my best.

The Miscellaneous section had some of the most fun posts to write. I think because they are outside my normal topics, so I only write about these things if they’re especially interesting. See the articles on the Moby Dick picture book, The Wicker Man, or Mischief Makers, for example. The latter is as much a nostalgia trip as a review.

I’d almost forgotten about the Bibliophile’s Journal, which consisted of one-paragraph or so reviews. Today, I just put these kinds of short comments on my Twitter or fediverse accounts. As for the year-end retrospectives and book reports, they’re largely of historical interest. I am proud of my post titles from about 2016 on, though.

With all those done, I had to go through the non-indexed posts. These heavily skewed to the blog’s first few years, and were often comments about school life, joke posts (all of which are gone), and announcements of things like posting schedule changes or moving to a self-hosted site. I removed several of these; the rest can remain as treats for completionists browsing through my posts chronologically (and yes, a few people have told me that they’ve done this).

So, there you have it - this post turned into more of a nostalgia tour for old posts than anything else, but that’s fine. I have a couple new, more normal posts about ready to go, so please look forward to those. Thank you for reading!