I tried to post a congrats comment on Neil's (Ninglun's) personal blog but met with a system failure that stopped me posting. Still, I think that it deserves a full post in its own right.
In an earlier post I spoke of the University of Blogging, comparing the world of blogging to the type of stimulation that I got at university before the days of the mass sausage machine. One element of this were blogs of a very high standard, blogs that both challenged and provided a resource.
Blogs like this one do not just arise. They require work, thought and passion.
Not all of us want our blogs to become core reference points. The blogosphere is vast, with many niches. But for independents like Neil who want their blogs to matter, the way is long and hard.
I am not quite sure when Neil established the blog that has become English/ESL - and more. 2002? Since then there has been post after post.
Those of us who blog on a regular basis know just how hard it is to maintain regular content. It requires focus. It also requires a willingness to go on, even when you are not sure that your material is being read or is even of the right standard.
I am not sure how the blogosphere will evolve. I do believe, however, that there will be a small number of high quality blogs that will become benchmarks in particular areas. I also believe that blogs and blogging will become a central element in intellectual debate in ways that we can still perceive but dimly.
So congratulations, Neil. You set a hard benchmark for those of us who want to follow your route.