Running into brick walls

I’ve just run into some sort of brick wall, design-wise when doing the 2005 makeover here.
The brick wall I’m running into is regarding categories. Since Movable Type doesn’t support category hierarchies by default (I am aware of plugins that may take care of this, but I’m reluctant to install yet another plugin), I have treated the categories as a stricter cousin of keywords, and have 20 categories, as evident from “the archive index”:http://virtuelvis.com/archives/ – some almost empty, while others contain more than their fair share of entries.
So, instead of repeatedly running into this brick wall, I’m going to ask you:
* Do you use the category archives?
* If so, do you like the way I’ve categorized?
* If you don’t use the category archives: Why not?
* If you use the category archives, but don’t like them: Why not?
* Would you prefer more categories, or would you prefer fewer?

7 Comments

  1. Sometimes i prefer looking at the category archives rather than searching. Sometimes I view the archives as some kind of instant search results. (For some sites I really would like RSS for each category a well.)
    Replacing category archives with an advanced search feature would be an option, though I guess that more users find their way to the category archives.
    My problem with category archives is the size of the archive pages. My suggested solution is to break the archive pages into one year chunks. Unfortunately the good people at 6A doesnt’t even see there’s a problem and I’m stuck with creating hacks for TypePad. I’m not amused.

  2. I have used your category archives a couple of times while looking for different Movable Type tricks, and found what I needed in the Movable Type category.
    In general categories are a good thing, and I think you use good labels for the different categories as well. I don’t find that you have too many categories now, but I don’t think you can add many more either.
    An annoying thing with Movable Type is (as you say) that you cannot sort categories in a more logical fashion than alfabethically, but I guess I’ve gotten used to this in MT powered blogs. Then again I’m familiar with the CMS, which absolutely shouldn’t be necessary to find your way through information.

  3. I generally don’t browse other people’s category archives, but I have found the existence of categories very useful together with the MT Related Entries plugin, and use it frequently on my sites powered bt MT

  4. Arve, are you aware that sub categories is available in MT 3.x?
    MT features

  5. I am highly in favor of category lists, but prefer them displayed as profiles, with full posts, rather than as archives (vide you know where). Time archives I do not use, not on mine, not on others.
    I do not like the way you categorized, but that is because I can’t stand chopped pots. That has little to do with categories themselves though.
    I prefer more categories, if the content deserves the granularity. Most of mine are really subcategories of CSS, since having one parent CSS category would be useless on my logg. A dummy parent.
    You seem to be uncomfortable with the high variance of the distribution of posts amongst categories. Why so? Would you rather have a uniform distribution? if there is a heavy outlier data point, perhaps it is time to split that particular category into sibling or sub- categories.

  6. Moose: The chopped posts are because I despise long archive pages – I used to feature what is contained in the entry body in MT, but some of the archive pages became way too long, and even if I probably could’ve chopped up the archive pages into “older” and “newer”, I don’t want to do that, because I dislike having to navigate through a set of results – I am one of those who set my search result pages to display 100 results, and would set it to 1000 if only the search engines allowed it.

  7. I don’t use categories when browsing, because I read everything you write anyway. But I fancy categorized entries when reading, because it’s always nice to know in shortform what an entry is about. For search or archives it’s also very important.
    I’d say I don’t have very much use for the categories in my main daily use of this blog, but I would miss them if they were gone.