The Cost of Free Speech

The recent dustup over the increased prices for Movable Type from Typepad has led me to some interesting thoughts recently.

First, in my exploration of whether I should stick with Typepad or switch to another medium, I went back and discovered that my original blog is still present on Google, although I quit posting there in November of 2001 because of problems with Excite and AT&T.

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This is probablly one of those "senior moments, but it's amazing to me when I look back and see how much simpler those early days of blogging were, when I only had eight links, many, except those two who have since disappeared, who are still at the top of my links.

Practically speaking, though, Blogger was a "free" tool, and it still remains a viable blogging option, particularly now that it has added comments and permalinks.

In that sense, at least, I guess blogging was originally free if you ignored the $40.00 per month I spent for a high-speed connection and an ISP, not to mention the software, and updates, that enabled me to create a blog that offered more than plain text.

After being forced to leave Blogger by my ISP, I used Adobe GoLive to post In a Dark Time to my free AT&T site, but after numerous complaints about the lack of comments and permalinks, and prodded by Jonathon's offers of help, I moved to a more expensive ISP that provided the PHP, Perl, etc. necessary for Movable Type. Add another hundred and forty dollars a year to the cost of contributing to the "free exchange" of ideas.

After trying to install MT by myself, I paid Ben Trott to install it for me, and, with Jonathon Delacour's help, redesigned the MT template to construct something I could live with. I've made a number of changes since to construct the kind of page I want and would be continuing to do so if I weren't waiting to decide whether to stick with MT or not.

I would have quit MT several months ago when In a Dark Time apparently became popular enough to attract spammers if it hadn't been for Jay Allen's MT Blacklist and the help of Shelley Powers and her friends in stemming the tide of spammers that nearly made me go back to posting a site without comments. It's that kind of extended support that has made using Movable Type such an enjoyable experience for me.

Now that most of the people who helped me with the technical side of MT are going to new products, though, I really question whether I will stay with it or not. Frankly, I'm leaning away from it, and money is only a small part of the equation.

2 thoughts on “The Cost of Free Speech

  1. I find myself in the same boat, Loren. Not quite sure if I should switch or not — worrying about staying and worrying just as much about having to get used to a whole new set of ‘tools’ … all of it which takes time away from writing … which is why I have the blog in the first place!

What do you think?