Like a lot of blogs on Tumblr we used Post-Theory for our tag cloud. At the time, it was a pretty nice option, and allowed you to embed a tag cloud onto your blog.
Post-Theory relied on an external server. So, while they had a .tumblr blog, the actual heavy lifting was being done off site on their server.
Unfortunately, back in late June, Post-Theory’s external server went down, and started returning a 503 error. A 503 can indicate that the server is simply down for maintenance, or that it’s been temporarily knocked offline due to extreme load. The issue may be as simple as their server exceeded its bandwidth.
Regardless, their tag cloud is down, and has been for over two months. At the time, I said I’d give them a week to sort it out, and then start looking for alternate solutions. That took a little longer than I intended.
There are a couple other setups that allowed you to host a tag cloud locally, but unfortunately, all of those either ran up against inherent limitations in the Tumblr API (which I’m still not sure how Post-Theory got around), or simply didn’t work.
Eventually, the solution I managed to come to was to backport everything over to a wordpress blog, and use their tools to generate a tag cloud.
This is why last night’s posts had that, “originally posted,” stinger. It actually links back to a unique .com address with a functional (if somewhat limited tag cloud), and not the tumblr blog.
We also have an automated system set up so that when a post goes live on HowtoFightWrite.com, it also posts to HowtoFightWrite.tumblr.com. (It was also automatically posting older posts that I was editing on the site.)
So, what does this mean? We’re still going to be operating on Tumblr. That’s not changing. I’m also going to be going through old posts and cleaning up the tags we used, so that the tag cloud is more useful than it has been. This is something I’ve had on my to-do list for a long time, but the tumblr interface makes messing with old posts, even to clean up their tags, a very daunting task.
Any answers or articles we post will still go up on Tumblr. Though, the reblogs will probably stay there.
Worst case, the site is paid for through the spring of 2019, so even if we’re killed by the beer truck, that resource will still be there.
Right now, there’s a little over 1,700 posts I need to pick through, clean up, and tweak the tags around. There’s also roughly 2,600 tags, of those only about 300 are actually used. So, that list is going to be trimmed down a bit as well.
Our goal is to have a coherent, useful, resource available to people when we’re done.
More than usual, we’re in a situation where we really do depend on Patreon to keep afloat. If you like what you’re seeing here, and are able to, please consider becoming a patron. If you are already one, sincerely, thank you.