Denise has blogroll angst:
This isn't some new angst that has snuck up on me. It's the same old angst, very similar to the angst related to "favorite links" pages in the good old days of "personal home pages". Who do you link? Where do you link them? Why do you link them? What happens if you decide not to link them? And, geez, why even bother with this madness?
Thanks to Nancy White for pointing me here.
Conceptually, blogrolls provide a way for people who land at my website to find related websites or websites that I deem interesting in some fashion. They also allow visitors to get a sense of the range of interests I'm reading, assuming a clear description or categorization scheme. It's also a great way to trade "link love" with friends and other organizations that seem worthy of the notice. From a community perspective, they provide one view into who-knows-whom.
I've tried a number of options from hard coding my blogroll as a list, to using an OPML file generated from my aggregator (and edited to remove the "wrong" stuff), to using Bloglines to automatically publish my feeds. None of these were ever completely satisfactory and created angst if I wasn't keeping the list up-to-date. I gave up sometime last year and haven't been upset about it in the least. I believe there are possibly better tools out there for doing this, but it would still require regular maintenance, if I were to continue adding to and removing from my blogroll.
The reason I gave up is that I generally don't use them myself anymore, and I assume many of my readers are just like me (a bad assumption, I am sure). I read everything in my aggregator, and I read many blogs. I don't make the time to visit them directly. I trust those authors to point me to other interesting people that I can explore directly. On top of that, I have several search feeds that find interesting new stuff from time to time. I also think that if you really want to analyze a community, you need to look at the active linking behavior in the blog, rather than at the static links described in the blogroll.
I have made a small concession to providing some form of blogroll in a Recent Links listing. I have a little script that runs through my recent posts to grab URL's I've referenced recently. At least this gives a sense of what I've found interesting enough to write about lately.