Last week, Google+ rolled out its new Communities feature which allowed users to create or join communities based around topics of interest. Of course, the Savage Bloggers Network jumped at this opportunity to facilitate engagement among Savage Worlds fans who use Google+ by creating a Savage Worlds Google+ Community.
This Google+ Community is publicly available to anyone. We have 239 members, and that number is still growing! Feel free to join in the discussion, and share your blog posts, podcast episodes, photos, play session reports, reviews, or whatever you happen to come across on the Internet that might be interesting or fun.
I recently made a tweak to the SBN feed to limit the content being published to it. While I implemented this on the site via Feedburner's BuzzBoost feature, the actual feed was publishing full content. That was an oversight and never my intention, so I've made changes accordingly using Feedburner's Summary Burner which now only publishes the first 100 characters of each item. While some might find this annoying, I want to encourage traffic to the respective sites, not steal it.
With permission from the head Gnome, Martin Ralya, I've finally added Gnome Stew to the Savage Bloggers Network. I've been a long-time reader of Gnome Stew ever since Martin first announced it on Treasure Tables blog. I've wanted to add Gnome Stew to the SBN ever since I created it. Several of the gnomes are fans of Savage Worlds and frequently post articlaes related to it.
I've previously had permission from Martin to grab the feed (provided I didn't publish the full content), but I was unable to grab a feed consisting only of posts tagged with “Savage Worlds.” Recently, though, I realized that was a foolish idea. Almost all of the GMing advice on Gnome Stew is universally applicable, and thus valuable to Savages regardless of whether or not it's specifically related to Savage Worlds. So, I came to my senses and decided to pull in the whole feed anyway. (Seriously, what was I thinking?)
In any case, I hope you enjoy the tastiness of Gnome Stew as much as I have.
When I first created the Savage Bloggers Network (SBN), I used Blogger as the platform for hosting the site. Google Reader and Feedburner are the actual delivery methods. I was able to embed a snippet of the Feedburner feed in a single post that stayed permanently on the home page with any RSS links pointing to the Feedburner feed. I chose to put the feed into a post as the easiest means of displaying the most recent posts on the home page.
Back then, I was also able to use Google Reader's Notes feature for posting any updates about the SBN itself so as not to mess up the display in Blogger. It was easy to tag notes in Reader, adding them to the feed of that shared folder/tag. Unfortunately, Google decided to strip away all social aspects of Google Reader, including Notes, which weren't necessarily social, but Google felt compelled to remove that feature anyway. (Note: Google also removed the ability to share items or entire collections of tagged items via a feed. The feed still works, which is how I'm currently pushing individual feeds and items into the main SBN feed.)
Ever since the Notes feature was removed from Reader, I wanted an easy method to share announcements or updates. I finally decided to move the main feed to a page and use the posts in the blog for those announcements by tagging them as such and adding a feed for that tag to the SBN folder in Reader. This means the main feed will no longer display by default when the site first loads, but the updates will; currently Blogger doesn't give the ability to alter which page loads by default when the sites URL is loaded.
Honestly, I don't see this as a big problem for the following reasons:
- The announcements aren't drawing away from the main feed.
- Most people aren't reading the feed from the site; they're following it via Twitter or an feed aggregator.
- On some occasions, it might be relatively important for the announcements and updates to appear first.
I hope you find these changes to the site as an improvement. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to drop a comment below.