Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Blogging Etiquette

etiquette lessonsWhile adding another link to my blogroll the other day, I was reminded of the fact that I’ve divided it into two categories, ‘Places I like to visit’ and ‘Places I’ve started visiting’, a division that seemed quite sensible at the time of giving life to this blog. In the first month or so, I actually used the division as it was intended. New blogs that I liked but was unfamiliar with would land up in ‘Places I’ve started visiting’. After a while, they’d ‘graduate’ to ‘Places I like to visit’. Now, on finding a new blog I like, I’ve dispensed with the division and will put it straight into ‘Places I like to visit’ if I think I'm going to read it regularly. Not only is the division irrelevant, it could be viewed as slightly insulting and discriminatory. Surely a good enough reason in itself to remove it? But if I’m going to remove it, should I replace it with another form of categorisation that is both relevant and not insultingly discriminatory?

I think that dividing a blogroll into categories is only appropriate if it’s informative and can’t be interpreted as a mild insult to blogs relegated ‘second-class’ status. Several of the blogs that I read have what I’d consider appropriate divisions that are informative in a largely neutral way.

Anchored Nomad divides her blogroll into ‘Chicago Blogs’, ‘Blogs all over the Place’, ‘Portuguese Photo Blogs and Blogs in English’ and ‘Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor Area Blogs’. These categories reveal her interests and say something about her. In a similar vein, Joe divides his reads into ‘Cool New Yorkers’ and ‘Cool Elsewhere’. Piece by Piece divides hers into ‘Saffas’, ie South Africans, and ‘Blogroll’, ie non South Africans.

They all use an element of geography in distinguishing blogs but there are other ways of categorising your blogroll without applying a degree of status to the different categories.

Rob divides his into ‘The St8s’ and ‘The Gays’. Mike takes a different approach: ‘we mingle’, ‘we’ve met’, and ‘we read’. Although Caroline and Andrea don't categorise their blogrolls, being art-related blogs, they could choose to distinguish 'art blogs' from the rest as an informative yet neutral way of linking.

The way you categorise your blogroll is a minor part of blogroll etiquette. A more obvious aspect concerns adding links to and deleting them from your blogroll..

At what stage do you or should you link to a regular read? And if someone has linked to you, should you feel obliged to link to them? Personally, I’m not too fussed if someone doesn’t link to me even if I’m linked to them. Obviously it’s appreciated, but I’m not going to need a visit to a therapist should there be no reciprocal linking. Now that I’ve dispensed with a trial period in ‘Places I’ve started to visit’ before shunting blogs into ‘first class’, there’s no need to retain the category. At the moment, however, I still have a few blogs that remain there but I’ll change that soon. If any of them is a regular read, they should simply be classified with the rest. If there are any I don’t read, I should simply de-link them.

That takes me on to the thornier subject of when/if you should de-link blogs. So far, I’ve never felt the need to as I read and enjoy all the blogs I’m linked to. But were I to be linked to a site I no longer enjoy or, even more importantly, actually dislike, it would make perfect sense to remove the link. Herein lies a potential minefield if you land up de-linking someone who appreciates the link. The blog-owner will be offended, especially if they’re unaware of the reason for de-linking.

Is there a polite way of going about this or is the very nature of the act an impolite one?

keeping quietIn real life, our connections with friends and acquaintances wax and wane in a natural ‘evolutionary’ way (barring the occasional dramatic falling out with a friend) so links between people are less obvious. In the cyber-world, especially in the realm of hypertext links, connections are much more obvious, as are the absence of links that once existed. The simplest way to circumvent the offence caused by de-linking is not to create the link in the fist place – some blogs dispense with blogrolls and achieve just that. Since most of us resort to blogrolling, that method isn’t applicable.

There are probably three ways of approaching this thorny issue:
  • Not consider it a thorny issue at all and take the thick-skinned approach where you de-link and ignore any communication that may arise from it. You don’t actually know the person so why give a fuck?
  • Where you know that the de-linking will be noticed and possibly regarded as an insult, let the blog-owner know your reason.
  • Where you think that de-linking won’t be noticed, simply de-link. Should you be contacted about it, explain your reason.
While we bloggers may be a self-centred lot who voluntarily make our lives public to a far wider audience than non-bloggers, I think that most of us are pretty good-mannered when it comes to our interactions. Arguments over issues sometimes develop but, largely, they’re handled with maturity and respect (maybe I don’t read the more inflammatory blogs?!) so most of us probably approach de-linking thoughtfully and not wish to cause offence.

Another area of blogging etiquette that I’ve not gone into is the whole subject of what you can and can't blog about. That aspect of etiquette is the one most blogged about as it’s the one that tends to cause most offence when breached. I’m not going to get into that now except to give you a comment made by Marie (someone whose blog is new to me - I must get to know it better!) on Clare's blog: "I chose to compromise my privacy by blogging, they didn't."

This long ramble arose from my realising that I want to get rid of ‘Places I’ve started to visit’. Perhaps I have too much time on my hand or not enough important stuff to think about? Or perhaps I’ve initiated an important debate on a very pertinent subject? I seriously doubt it as blogs have been around long enough for these issues to have been debated many times over. Well, whatever the merits of rambling on about this, you can be sure that ‘Places I’ve started to visit’ will be going soon.

I’ve yet to decide whether to dispense with categorisation altogether or whether to create some that are appropriate to this blog.


Blogger Tammy said...

I think time is a valuable commodity and how we spend it is important. Cutting down your blog list is like cleaning out your closet, passing on things that no longer fit, or ones that no longer look good or are bell bottoms from the 70's(who the hell thought those would ever come back in fashion:). Tastes change and I think our blog list is like a referral. I like to visit peoples lists if I like their blogs. I may be just more fickle then you, but I did enjoy visiting sites off your list.

12:57 pm  
Blogger kyknoord said...

This can be a tough knot to unravel. I only have one hard-and-fast 'link rule' - if the site goes dormant for any length of time, it gets the chop.

1:29 pm  
Blogger rhino75 said...

I just keep my regular reads near the top and try and change the others on a regular basis. Most of the people on my roll don't link to me anyway, but that doesn't bother me either. I don't like the list getting too long though.

2:00 pm  
Blogger whatalotoffun said...

Hi me again. I dont even have a list on my blog cause I am still new in this whole thing still trying to do mine. I tried everyting. Cant even upload photos I tried but no luck. Maybe you can give me blog classes how much? JOKES.Hope you add me to your list.

2:07 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

Hmmm... I'd never really thought about it as an etiquette issue... but then I do get into a terrible tangle as I have a public blogroll on my blog and an entirely different one on bloglines - which is where I find out about most new postings from - I keep the blogroll one for the few blogs that don't have feeds... but I forget to update it... have I been offending lots of people? Maybe... perhaps I should stop showing one at all...

Hmm... you are right this is one of those thorny issues that one could debate over and over and never come up with a right answer....

Oh and I don't think I deserve the credit for distibguinsihing (!!) art blogs from others... thats just something I ought to do...

2:20 pm  
Blogger Caroline said...

And no I don't mean you mispelt anything... its just my utter inability to type today...

2:21 pm  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

My blogroll's only function is to make my life easier. I use my blog as a central depository for information. I often use my "comments" section to leave small notes to myself, or links to items I want to check out later, since the comments are emailed to my inbox throughout the day.

No other reason, just convienience for me. So the blogroll is important because all the blogs I read on a daily basis are only a mouse click away. If a blog no longer serves it's function (to entertain, provoke, enlighten, or stimulate me) then the link is removed when I do regular maintenance.

I only add and subtract items on my template once a month, or less, so I do all my changes at the same time. For the most part. I may read a blog for a month before I link to it, cause I'm a lazy bastard.

I've never asked anyone to "link-me" from their blog, it's always a shock to me when I find someone who has. It was never a prerequiste for me to link to them, and never will be.

I often do feel obliged to return the favor though, if someone had linked me and I'm not exactly wild about their site, I'll still link them.

But I agree w/Kyknoord, not blogging is a mortal sin! And if one doesn't update after a few months or so, I'll delist and move on. It's the cardinal sin of the blogosphere, to not update! And I don't mean if one went on vacation, just disapeared out of the blue, no advance notice.

Then again, my linking to a site is no big reward in and of itself! So, whippee if I link anyone or not, it won't change their stat counters significantly, that's for sure.

To modify an old saying... I wouldn't want to link to anyone who would link to me anyway! HA!

Joking, just joking!

2:23 pm  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

You forgot the 3rd catagory in my blogroll! The "I'm not sures"!

2:24 pm  
Blogger Queer Factor said...

My list is in a way a reflection of me an what I like. If the particular blog no longer interest me I remove it.

3:05 pm  
Blogger justin said...

Yes, I’ve been thinking along similar lines – yesterday I gave my blog list a light pruning for the reasons already mentioned by everyone. However I’ve left the prunings on my computer’s favourites list to have a look at occasionally.
Like Whatalotoffun, I’ve very new to blogging, and I get a great feeling when someone like yourself, RN, takes the time to add a comment to my blog or helps me out when I’m stuck ... and it’s great when my blogsite gets a recommendation from others.
I feel a sense of friendship with people who contact me, and also feel more motivated to carry on writing.

3:39 pm  
Blogger PJ said...

If I read it and want other people to know I read it, I blogroll it. If I don't read it anymore (cos they don't right anymore, or they turn out to be right wing born again christians, or I just get bored of it all), I take it off. If I read it but like to pretend I don't (mainly the filthy ones... ;-) ), I don't blogroll it.

But then maybe I'm just rude... :o)

6:15 pm  
Anonymous xmichra said...

I forgot to update mine, and that is poor etiquette if you really think on it.

Anyways, what I was going to say here... hehe. The way I see it, I have this column on the right to serve as a point and click resourse when I am away from my firefox friendly home computer. It is for when I am elsewhere, using internet exporere and don't have my links. I click on my people and my daily dose of sanity comes hither.

I have de-listed people. Mostly i will write a post as to 'why', but in the event that there is no real reason, i just drop it and fire the person off an e-mail. I have only done the later once (and it was because I just stoped reading. no real reason). The former though... I have dropped people for being asses. I think If you can't be bothered to care just a little about those who read you then screw it. I know this is the world of the blogger, adn I know that you can choose whatever you want to write about... but my feelings aren't going to hurt any if you de-link me for something i believe (or disbelieve). That's up to you.

or if you change completely in your style and have nothing but ads everywhere... that's a turn off too.

At any rate, I don't think the 'blog roll' should be under a tight noose. It is used for a reference for yourself, and if others go there because of your reference then that should be looked upon as a bonus.. not something that should be assumed. If you want promotion, that's what commenting with your web page is for ;)

6:41 pm  
Anonymous Jeff said...

I haven't put nearly this much thought into my blog favorites. If I like a blog and like what the person has to say - I add them. The only thing that usually makes me remove a link is if someone stops posting regularly. Then it becomes boring and I take them off.


7:01 pm  
Anonymous patita said...

I use it in two ways: my daily visits (such as our gracious host here), and places that I absolutely want to access immediately if I'm in the mood. Some of these are no longer active, but I'm attached to what was once there and hope that they'll become active again. my categories are loosely by topic. the links to what I'm reading now is partly to shame myself into reading more :)

7:48 pm  
Blogger Dawn said...

I have chosen not to list links on my blog. I don't have a huge readership and I am neither motivated nor demotivated by the results of my blog counter. If I like a blog, I make a point of listing it in a blog entry and linking to it that way. The only etiquette I concern myself with is that I always leave a comment when I visit a blog - whether I intend visiting again or not. I think everyone who makes the effort to keep a blog deserves some acknowledgement. Visiting a blog and not leaving a note to say 'hi - I've been here, thanks for sharing your life' is much the same as calling someone and then hanging up when they answer. Even if you get a wrong number, takes a moment to say, 'sorry - wrong number.' We are after all attempting to connect with each other through our blogging - why not let the person know you were there?

9:38 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Tammy: All my links are there because I enjoy them, often for very different reasons. Sometimes I visit some less than others and, now and again, I won’t visit any of them for a few days but I eventually go back to catch up on what I’ve missed. At some stage, however, my tastes may change or a particular blog may change in a way I don’t like, leading me to move on. When that happens, I’ll remove the link(s) that are no longer of interest. It remains to be seen how I’ll go about it.

Kyknoord: seems like an eminently sensible rule to follow. As yet, I’ve not had any go dormant on me.
Rhino: you are a true product of the soundbite age: not enough attention span for a longer list? :-)

Whatalotoffun: It’s really not difficult to create links or upload pics. I’ll give you a lesson one of these days should you still need it. And, next time I get to updating my links, I’ll link you.

Caroline: I’m notified of a few of my reads by an RSS reader but not all of them so I tend to use my blogroll as the entry point for all my links. Actually, I thought that you had grouped all your art blogs together but realised that you hadn’t when I checked. Do you think there would be any advantage to doing that?

Rob: I use my blogroll much like you do but have never thought of using my comments like that – good idea, that! I must admit to also feeling the need to return the ‘favour’ of a link and mostly do so even though I don’t expect links from those I link to. Oh yes, I see I forgot your third category of ‘not sure’. Are you still not sure about which side of the fence that blog should be? Nice twist on that old Groucho saying! :-)

Queerfactored: I see you take the ruthless approach – probably a good honest way of going about things even if it would make me feel a bit awkward.

Justin: I’m glad you appreciate my ‘attention’ and I’m glad that it motivates you to continue writing. Don’t stop now!

PJ: Did you know that I’m a right-wing born-again Christian? No? Oh well, you learn something every day! Although I use my blogroll as an entry point for my regular reads, like you, I don’t use it to link to any of the dirty places I frequent. Perhaps I would if I could implement a 9pm watershed thing on my blog.

Xmichra: I just de-linked you – I hope you don’t mind? :-)

Jeff: It’s good to see you making an appearance here – welcome! It does appear that I’ve put a lot of thought into all this – I don’t think I have but once I started writing about it, my mind went all over the place and I landed up producing a long rambling ramble.

Patita: Gracious host? Mois? You are too nice, madam! What is your category for your link to me? I see ‘blaah groll’ – sounds a bit troglodyte to me!

9:52 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Dawn: Thanks for popping by and making a comment :-)

I like the way you think and I think it's a good policy to follow even though I contravened it earlier when I passed through your blog without leaving a comment. That's actually unsual for me as I read quite a bit of it but I was pressed for time - not really a good enough excuse, I know.

9:56 pm  
Blogger PJ said...

ask, and thou shalt receive. not only am I responding to your 'write something on your blog or die' request, but I'm also appealing to your born-again biblical sensibilities! How good am I... ;-)

Now where's my interview, mister?? No wonder it's only the ladies who've been quized so far: the gay boys don't got that much patience!

10:05 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

PJ: If you're not careful, I'll turn the other cheek for you! ;-)

Patience is a virtue, didn't you know? Oh, I forget, gay and virtuous are mutually exclusive terms.

It will come (the interview!) one of these days, I promise!

10:12 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

Delinking seems a horrible idea to me, but I can see why it makes sense.

Still, I don't think I'll ever do it. There may (or may not - I don't want anyone getting paranoid... er... maybe too late) be people in my blogroll that I no longer read or perhaps rate, but I'll probably leave them there cos I don't want to upset anyone.

Luckily I've managed to resist the urge to blogroll every single person who blogrolls me - even though it feels polite, it doesn't really make any sense.

Of course, when you're busy and not very web-savvy, the other thing that happens is you acquire new reads but it's take you forever to add them to your blogroll. This is just incompetence, on my part at any rate. Which is a very longwinded way of saying that one of the things on my current mammoth to-do list is to add this blog to my blogroll.

P.S. Please can I have your recipe for chicken soup? Pleeeeease?

10:19 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

P.P.S. How did you find my blog? I've been wondering that. Was it via Troubled Diva?

P.P.P.S. Although Mike (TD) does categorise his blogroll, I don't think it's in the way you suggest. The "we mingle" and "we've met" sections are just evidence for his love of lists. They really are simply lists of people he's met and mingled with (although not sure what his definition of mingle is here). You'll see that many of the names are then repeated in the "we read" section, which is his actual blogroll.

But then you'll see that if you click on is RSS and non-RSS links, the blogrolls contained therein are much larger than the one on the main page - which is in effect (I think, although maybe this is just wishful thinking) a kind of 'favourites' list. If you follow the RSS / non-RSS links, you'll see he uses sub-categorisations based on how often they post and whether he considers them a 'must read' or not (at which point my smugness fades and dies).

10:25 pm  
Blogger PJ said...

eeww... religious cheeks. not a pleasant thought just before bed...

10:37 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

clare: now if you read what i said about blogging etiquette VERY carefully, you'll know that I do NOT expect to be linked simply because I linked to you!! :-)

Chicken soup recipe can be found here:

Since posting the recipe, I've tended to add a lot of carrot to it, have dispensed with the onion and add more spring onions. Obviously, it's not a recipe to be followed slavishly - its deliciousness will be maintained as long as you stick to the general principles of the recipe.

Yes, I did discover you via TD although I've 'seen' you elsewhere, can't remember where now. Read about my introduction to blogging here:

I've not checked any duplication in his categories but this is how I understand them: 'we mingle' = people he socialises with; all of us barring Chig (Birmingham), live in Nottingham. 'we've met' = bloggers that he's met in real life. 'we read' = the rest of his regular reads that don't fit in the previous categories.

I've not read his RSS feed before - seems like it may make good reading! :-)

pj: it's way past your bedtime! Sweet dreams!

10:44 pm  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

Quite an interesting topic here! I have very few people on my link list. I've just put my daily reads there. That's all.
I read many more blogs but probably not everyday. I've noticed that most people I've linked to, have linked to me directly after. Was it a favor or was it a mutual interest happening at the same time? I guess I'll never know. The only thing I find interesting and stimulating is who comes and visits me regularly and who "talks" to me . Whether I'm linked or I link to them, I simply get honored to have a few people who've taken the time to leave me a comment.

The quality of the blog I link to is not always important to me. I decide to link to a person with whom I have started to build up some kind of communication or friendship.
The comments left are very important to me, as talking to each other is important in non-virtual-life.
I don't blog just for the fun of being read only, so if somebody stops sending me occasional comments, I would consider the relationship over and de-link.

10:53 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

clare: one more thing about the recipe. Since I've tended to want it more often than I eat roast chicken, I've taken to buying freshly roast chicken from the supermarket instead of roasting it myself. By freshly roasted, I mean the chickens that are still hot rather than the cold roast chicken found in the fridges. That's obvious, I know, but I sometimes over-explain myself

10:53 pm  
Blogger Babsbitchin said...

Nomad, I feel it is an honor for a blog of your caliber to link me. I personally have an ecclectic blog at best and an arrogant and vulgar one at worst but that is me. I've rolled down the hill long enough to recognize the stones, the crystals, the diamonds and the cubic zirconia's that I tumbled across and over and was cut by. You are a polished diamond, I feel this in my heart, glistening in the light. It is an honor as I said to be linked to you as well as many in this circle of precious diamonds. I am the one in the rough.Good Point!

12:04 am  
Blogger Frog with a Blog said...

YES! I'm visitor #10,000!

12:45 am  
Blogger Rob7534 said...

Damn you Nomad! 10,000 hits so far! I'm jealous.

1:46 am  
Blogger andrea said...

I see I've really been out of touch when I finally visit and there are 28 *?&*^&! comments already. I feel like I'm late for school!

Blogroll categories: I originally had three categories: art blogs, photo blogs and "worth reading" (word blogs?) but my sidebar was getting so crowded that I simplified it a couple of months ago. That said, I haven't updated since then. Bad form!

De-blogging: I choose to unlink those whose blogs I read but who never interact. I still read some of them occasionally, though, as I use Bloglines, like Caroline.

Weighty issues indeed! :)

2:43 am  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

Babs: You say the nicest things even though I think you exagerrate somewhat - you do realise, don't you, that I'm not one of those delicious Seals who may do you a favour if you lavish so much praise on me? Thanks for the compliments.

frog: I shall have to think of a prize for you. 10000 is a great number to have reached. I'm reminded of that group from quite a while back, 10000 connection to you, is there?

rob: don't be jealous, just offer me something nice.

andrea: this post has generated a lot of comment, hasn't it? De-linking those that don't interact sounds like a good policy on how to approach it. Talking of sidebars, you can't get a much more crowded one than mine what with all the cloud, map and flag thingies.

7:11 am  
Blogger BUDDESS said...

I also have a "new" reads on my link list. I mainly started that to get someone who recently started blogging some exposure - was that naughty? See, I like being naughty and I like helping out my friends. But then I found 2 other amazing blogs and listed them there for me to remember where they are. I can be blond at times and hate it when I find a good blog and then can't get back to it. Sometimes deleting someone off your listing is the only way to get interaction with said person. I feel that it is your own choice whether you keep a link or not. After all, if you don't make your blog interesting enough for others to return to, how can you expect anyone to link to you just purely as a loyalty thing. I am still relatively new to this so maybe I haven't earned the right to an opinion yet.

7:42 am  
Blogger Caroline said...

Yes I think it is an excellent idea. Will I do it? Maybe...

or maobpye as word veri prefers...

12:24 pm  
Anonymous xmichra said...

aw.. my comment didn't work! Blogger is really having some issues.

anyways... I should clarify a little. It would hurt me if someone i liked and talked to on a fairly consistant basis de-linked me. LIKE YOU.... hehe. But I would more be interested in 'why', and i think that shooting off an e-mail or something that can give the other person the chance to say something back would be good. After all, there had to be a reason you linked them in the first place right?

2:12 pm  
Blogger portuguesa nova said...

I have not touched my blogroll in a long, long time and I don't think other peoples' blog rolls are particularly useful to people who have had this addiction long enough to build up their own reading list to the point where it is too long to add any more new people to the list (I currently have almost 200 blogs on my bloglines feed manager, and I am unemployed and there isn't enough time in the day to add anymore).

At this point, if I discover a new blogger--and I always try to follow the blogs of people who are regular visitors to mine--I have to delete someone else from bloglines.

I do think that blogrolls are useful for people new to blogging...When I first started, I visited sites linked on the blogs of people I liked quite regularly to find new ones.

I also think that blogrolls do almost nothing to bring traffic to someone else's site. I was linked on a new defunct blog that got over 10,000 visitors a day and perhaps once a week a visitor would come to me through that site.

What I do think is useful, and can be very motiviting especially for new bloggers, is when you link someone's blogpost in your own blogpost. That seems to generate quite a bit of traffic and can really kick a slowly developing blogger into high gear.

I'm thinking about doing away with my blogroll all together.

The last time I "cleaned house", I removed a few people who had, for the past three months or so, done nothing but post results to online personality tests or copied and pasted the text of magazine articles...I immediately got angry "what did I do wrong?" e-mails. So, I don't remove anyone from my blogroll anymore...which kind of defeats the purpose. But I know that when I first started blogging I checked incessantly to see where I was linked, and when I noticed that my site had dropped off someone's blogroll I always wondered why.

3:32 pm  
Blogger CTG said...

Hi Nomad. I have to agree with you that this is a sensiteive issue - the de-linking or linking. I have readers who have linked me, but I just don't feel I want to link them right now. I may never link them at all. As for de-linking - if the blog is dead for a long time, then I may consider de-linking it. For now, I just read and enjoy. Have a super weekend, CTG

2:17 pm  
Blogger Reluctant Nomad said...

caroline: I suspect I may be waiting for a long time!

xmichra: no need to worry about me de-linking you just yet! :-)

portuguesa: you are right about blogrolls not generating traffic and that they are good ways to encourage a new blogger. Dispensing with it altogether does seem one way of getting rid of any 'etiquette' issues but you'd have to replace it by some other method if you use it as a portal to blogs that you read as I do. But, there are lots of ways that can be accomplished.

ctg: I know what you mean about someone having linked to you and not being so sure about wanting to link them. Usually, I feel obliged to do so. Having said that, there are a few links that need to be added to my site but I'll get round to that in the next few days

4:05 pm  
Blogger Clare said...

I didn't realise you were another Nottinghamian - indeed, I only just worked out you don't live in Africa (I know, I'm a bit stupid). What a lot of you there are in Nottingham!

I bought a cold roast chicken. They don't do fresh ones in my local Asda. It did the job though. Not only did I do a big (rather lemony - and yes, I know, I should have added the lemon bit by bit instead of just chucking the lot in) pot of your chicken soup, I also had enough chicken to do the bog-standard chicken-and-leftover-veg version, and the freezer is now straining at its chicken-soup-filled seams.

11:23 am  

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