whitelisting web content
The true cost of content: New Thinking: Gerry McGovern:
In an age of information overload, content management must be more concerned with what you don't publish. It is easy to put everything you have up. It is easy to take a print document and save it as a PDF. But that's not management, and those who take that approach have no future as content managers.
This is a concept we're pushing hard at work at the moment - don't publish something just because you have it. I think the problem stems from peoples' enduring misconception that websites don't cost anything. Unlike print, there's no obvious cost associated with throwing another page online; so people don't give as much thought to publishing more web content.
Publishing everything also tends to indicate that the website doesn't have a set of clear objectives (ie. business goals). Defining your goals should be Step One for a web publishing project, but frequently it's not done at all. People tend to skip straight to discussing what the page will look like; or what technology will be used; or what content they currently have online - making the assumption that it should all stay.
We need to take a whitelist approach to web content. Instead of saying 'yes' to every bit of content, we should start out by saying 'no' to everything then add specific items which fulfil some kind of need. That could be a hard-nosed business need or just 'interesting to the readers' depending on your page; but the principle works pretty much across the board.
Even personal pages can benefit from the odd reality check. Publishers often feel pressure to keep posting or you'll lose all your readers. Thankfully this isn't quite so true anymore thanks to syndication. As Jeff Veen notes,
I can maintain a healthy audience by simply turning bold in their aggregator once in a while. (The Rhythm of Blogging, by Jeffrey Veen).
I guess it's true... more is not better, more is just more.