Thinking of changes with regards to SEB.

I’ve been kicking around the possibility of renaming my blog. Stupid Evil Bastard isn’t its first name, originally it was called Wandering Randomly Amongst The Blogs which, in retrospect, is kinda stupid. It became SEB on April 14, 2002 and has served us well ever since. There are two reasons I’ve been debating a name change:

First, and this could just be me, but I think I’ve mellowed out a bit since I first started blogging and my rants aren’t quite as ranty as they once were. The words “Stupid Evil Bastard” tend to put a certain angry-blogger expectation into people’s heads when they arrive for the first time and I’m not sure I’m living up to that image anymore. I’m really not all that stupid or evil for that matter, though I suppose some would say the bastard label fits fairly well.

Second, it could actually impact the reputation of an old friend of mine. I’ve only mentioned his name a couple of times over the years, and I won’t repeat it here because it’d bring SEB up in hits on Google for his name, but you can see them in the links I provided. One is in the main entry itself and the second one is in the comments where I posted pics in an attempt to prove how geeky I looked as a young man. That old friend of mine has gone on to work for a number of big charitable organizations over the years and is now one of the VPs for the Knight Foundation. Needless to say, reputation is everything when you hold the sort of job he holds so when you do a Google search for his name and one of the links that comes up contains the words “Stupid Evil Bastard” in it, well, you can imagine how there are some folks out there that could misconstrue things. At the moment SEB is link number 52 in a Google search which makes it high enough that a lot of folks will still see it. I’ve known this guy since Kindergarten and while we had a bit of a falling out shortly after he got out of college, we’ve recently been getting caught up with each other. I still consider him a very dear friend and it’s certainly the oldest of the friendships I still have. I’d love to talk about him more, but I don’t because I know it would show up in Google eventually.

When it was just my own reputation that might take a hit from the name it wasn’t a big deal, though I’m sure it’s probably played a part in how long it took me to land jobs after being laid off. Still the only person I thought I was harming with it was myself and that was the price I pay for being me. Now I find myself wondering if there’s any other friends I’ve written about over the years who have been inconvenienced by having SEB show up in search results for their name on Google. I know there’s plenty of people I’ve ranted about that weren’t happy to have SEB show up in Google searches for them.

The whole situation is somewhat reminiscent of my realization that I probably should have used a pseudonym from the beginning had it occurred to me that it would become so popular so as to protect my own rep on Google searches when I was laid off. So I’m left feeling a little torn about a name that I have a bit of a fondness for, but which may not be the best choice out of the ones I was considering. Though I have to admit that the other name I was considering—Young Militant Santas For A Better Tomorrow—arguably wasn’t much better. If I stick with SEB I’ll probably go through the couple of old entries and edit out my friend’s name (and pic in one case) in hopes that Google will eventually drop SEB from his Google searches and I’ll be a lot more self-conscious about names of friends and family members I use in blog entries. If I change the name it’ll still take awhile for some of the old entries to drop from Google searches, but the problem should work itself out over time, but there’s the problem of what the hell do I switch the name to? Nothing I’ve come up with so far has tickled my fancy all that much so that’s a problem in its own right. Of course the third option would be to scrap the whole thing as it currently stands and start over from a new beginning with an empty archive and a new name. A fourth option would be to pack it in and drop blogging altogether, but I’m not sure I’m at that point yet. While I think I’m not blogging up to past standards I still think I have enough to say to keep going at this for awhile.

I figured I’d air these thoughts and see what you guys think. I’ve known several people who have changed their blog’s name and even started over from scratch and are as popular today as they ever were. Have any of you other bloggers entertained similar thoughts? What did you decide to do and why? And if I were to change the name, what do you think would be a fitting one?

28 thoughts on “Thinking of changes with regards to SEB.

  1. Another consideration:  I’ve run across a couple of web content filters that block your site because of the use of the word “bastard” in the name.

  2. I don’t know, Les.  I think SEB is the best blog name on the face of the Earth.  Really.  I’d be sad to see you retire it.

  3. Maybe the better option would be to start a new blog designed solely to highlight discussions that you don’t want associated with SEB, but keep SEB because it’s kind of got a distinct branding and charm that would be pretty hard to regain with a name change.

  4. Edit the entries (looks like you may have already) but keep the site and name. It is important to not connect others to this website if it could possibly impugn their reputation.

    But, SEB is a tongue-in-cheek title for a blog. If people can’t understand that, I don’t think they are worth catering to in the first place.

    Although maybe you should lose the tagline 😀

  5. Les, I’m pondering the same thing for different reasons: .us domains don’t allow private registrations and I’ve gotten angrier over the years. On the up side, I least I have a good domain name to start over with. I’m increasingly leaning towards mothballing and starting over with one or more of the other domains I’m only using half-heartedly at best.

    By the way, Deadscot has recently wiped SIMU and started over, so he’s ahead of the curve.

    Based on my own experience, I disagree with MM above. It’s not a problem running multiple blogs if there is absolutely no overlap—say between a family blog, a professional blog, and a personal/topical one—but as soon as there is overlap, it’s better to stick to one and leave it at that.

    For starters, you can edit your old posts and since you already have a Google Analytics account, you might as well register for the Google webmaster tools and tell them to drop unwanted pages from their cache. You can probably do the same for the other major search engines—or wait until they re-index on their own.

    With regards to changing the name or starting over, it’s your call. If using a pseudonym is important, then you’d be better off starting over, although that doesn’t remove your history on the web and it is painful to walk away from a few years worth of posts.

    Good names are excruciatingly hard to come by, what with domain squatters and the search engine fucks and all. Your best bet is probably to sound out anything remotely appealing and just register one or more domains that aren’t taken already.

  6. No advice to offer but I certainly have had similar thoughts.  After all, Decrepit Old Fool is something I thought up while in the early stages of recovering from a head injury.

  7. I visit SEB every day, sometimes 3-4 times.  I can understand your concern about how employers see you (or your freind), but from a selfish point of view I wouldn’t want it to change in personality. 

    Its a bit like finding a good ‘local’ (pub to you).  Imagine SEB is like ‘Cheers’, or a version local to you- for me that would be the ‘Thatched House’ when I lived with my parents (the pub at the bottom of their garden).  You like the beer, you can tolerate the company, you have a laugh with blokes you really only see there.

    I might have the swift half at pharyngula, but I’m always at SEB come last orders.

    If you are going to change the name (the ‘Thatch’ is now ‘The Cricketers, but much the same people), then maybe you could steal possibly the best episode title from a TV series from ‘Band of Brothers’.  Given the ‘Liberal Athiest American’ slant how about “We stand alone, together”?

  8. What Last Hussar said, only for me the local pub was “Amber Falls.” Please keep us informed if you start a new blog. By the way, should we keep our SEB username at the new blog, or would that defeat the purpose of cutting old ties?

  9. Leguru, this topic is hypothetical and there’s no need to panic just yet grin As far as user names go, I would assume that Les would simply tack on a site to the existing install and the question is moot.

  10. Ahh, SEB.  It’s been almost like sitting around a warm campfire with friends over the years. I’ve learned more, forgotten more and been in more debates here than I probably would have in a lifetime.

    As a matter of fact, you’re the one who picked out the name for my blog.  Like you and Elwed, I went through some soul searching this past year and decided to overhaul Shit I made Up.

    The long and short of it is that we all metamorphize from time to time and it’s good that you realize that.  I’d love to see SEB stick around and if someone can’t bother to read a post or two before passing judgement, well…

    Editing some of the entries to protect the innocent or stupid seems like the best choice and then pick out a good pseudonym.  Yes, peole think we’re stupid, we’re all a little evil and you’ve spawned countless little bastards over the years. [fig.] wink

  11. My first thought, preferences aside, is that if you decide to change the name, it would be amusing to keep the layout and color scheme and the initials, but change the meaning of SEB to something random and silly.

    Like Second Entry Back or Sounds Eerie, Bob

  12. As a history guy, I *hate* to see web sites and/or domains go dark.  If nothing else, it’s a massive reminder of the transience of the web, which is about as close to mortality as I care to be reminded.

    That said, I understand your concerns.  Your site is blocked from my office (unclear if it’s the name or the Stupid Evil content).  I’ve been reluctant in the past to have the full site name in a blog roll because of the sensitivity of certain of my (parents) readers.

    One option that might help some would be replacing the site “name” (page title, etc.) with “SEB”, and just leave the translation of the acronym in the blog itself (and the domain).  That’s likely to raise fewer eyebrows, if that’s your concern.

  13. Or keep the site and blog name as it is, but since you’re feeling kindly and mellow in your old age (was it the 3 spirits on Christmas Eve?) change the tagline to something less confrontational.

  14. I think you can have your cake and eat it too so to speak. Change the name but keep stupid evil bastard in the subheading.

    An example NOT a suggestion:

    Random Thoughts (the name)
    Ramblings of a Stupid Evil Bastard (sub heading)

    or something similar.

  15. I like both KPG’s and QueenMillefiori’s suggestions.

    If you do decide to change, it would be nice if there was some kind of continuity in the names.

  16. I like ***Dave’s idea of keeping the initials if you change the name ^_^

  17. I don’t care what name Les might pick, but if he’d chose to rename rather than restart, then there’s merit in keeping the initials—SEB is plastered all over the entries and comments, after all. If he choses to start over, bad idea.

  18. I decided not to respond yesterday on this until I’d thought about it.  I am with Barry, Last Hussar and most especialy Deadscot.  I’ll be around whatever you decide.  I may not add to the discussion on any given day but I am usually lurking at least twice a day.

  19. Well it turns out that every permutation of the domain “seb” (.com, .net, .org) is already owned by someone else. For example redirects to a French website for “Le Groupe SEB” which apparently makes or sells appliances based on what the site looks like. So that rules out one possible route.

    After sleeping on it I think I’ll just stick with Stupid Evil Bastard for the time being and just edit out the name of my old friend from the few entries he’s in. That’s the simplest course of action at the moment and any damage to my own rep is done already. I may eventually rename the site to something else using the letters SEB if I ever manage to come up with something that’s clever and appealing to me. Perhaps someday I’ll scrap it and start over, but not today. I’ve still got a fair bit o’bastard left to work with.

    Thanks for hashing it out with me. Always good to get some feedback.

  20. Oh, and I’ll probably change the tagline under the logo as that one’s been around a long time. Any suggestions you guys might have are welcomed as my first thought is to go with the tagline in the header of the main index: Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger.

  21. “Sacred cows make the tastiest hamburger. “
    Is one of the best tag lines in the internets and it fits through the internts tubes well too.

  22. I lurk more than post, but I would hate to see the blog’s name changed.  A good blog name is priceless, and you have a great one.  Personally, I think the domain name is part of the allure of this blog, so I’m glad you ultimately decided to keep it.  grin

  23. HOORAY! And, yes, the tagline you’ve suggested is a good one, especially if it may offend vegans.  cheese

  24. I like the SEB name, but if you don’t then by all means change it to what you like.

    This blog is blocked at work under the “Vulgar and tasteless” category.

  25. Great to hear you decided to keep the name. I missed this whole discussion until it was too late, but just wanted to throw in my insignificant opinion as well – I do love the name you chose, and my own rep goes down with yours (to some extent, that is) as I’m one of the many that comment with my real name here, too smile

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