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May 06, 2014

Explanation: Why the Opinion Soup is not coming back

Multiple people have been asking about the Opinion Soup, so here is a more detailed explanation why the Opinion Soup is not coming back. As mentioned in the Big Blog Changes blog-post, we are now out of the newscycle. This means we no longer track posts published at hundreds of photography feeds/websites/blog on a regular basis.

The Opinion Soup was the most time-consuming and labor-intensive of the regular features at this blog. To the casual reader, the Opinion Soup may look like "just a bunch of links on a page. How hard can that be?" If you haven't tried doing something like this, perhaps you don't realize how much work goes into it.

The Opinion Soup Recipe
So to help you understand how much work went into it and why it's not coming back, here is how each Opinion Soup episode was created:

1) on a regular basis, without missing a beat, keep up with everything posted at hundreds of photography feeds/blogs/websites. If you can't estimate the volume this entails, try a little experiment: fill up an RSS reader with hundreds of active websites/blogs, wait 48 hours for it to fill up, and try to triage/skim/scan/read every post made. Bonus experiment points: repeat this for five years!

2) for each post, try to figure out whether there is something that might be of interest to the Opinion Soup. Triage headline, skim, scan, read, evaluate, cross-reference, etc, etc, etc, as necessary. Bookmark the potentially interesting ones.

3) every 1-4 weeks, go through the list of all the bookmarked posts, decide which ones would be interesting enough to post, then start assembling the giant Opinion Soup round-up, organize it by sub-categories to make it easier to read. Also pay attention to the intangibles, trying to balance content of gear vs photography, opinion vs educational, advanced photographer topics vs intermediate vs beginner, balance reader dispositions (happy go lucky, feel good, controversial, problem solving, thought provoking, practical vs esoteric, photographic soul searching, etc, etc, etc).

Time Takes Its Crazy Toll
Steps #1 and #2 depend on relentlessly following the News-Cycle. The Opinion Soup triage is an additional layer of time-consuming work that goes on top of following the Newscycle. As outlined in the Big Blog Changes blog-post, we are out of the News-Cycle after five years of non-stop coverage.

Step #3 typically takes 2-4 intense hours to complete per Opinion Soup episode, depending on what's available (volume, nature of the content). Actually this requires more "brain CPU" than the actual 2-4 hours, because this type of a task requires a few hours to recover after.

I understand that you may be upset, disappointed, angry, etc, etc, etc. However, none of the thousands of posts you saw here wrote themselves. Mayhaps it is my fault for creating unsustainable and unrealistic expectations. Keep in mind, I'm not a robot, I can't keep spending hundreds of hours per month doing something I no longer find fun+exciting. Once something stops being fun+exciting, it becomes worse than an actual job. At least actual jobs pay you to suffer through them.

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