Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pharyngula's Blogroll Open Enrollment Day

via skippy, who points out that Pharyngula is getting it right about blogroll amnesty
Today is Blogroll Open Enrollment day! What that means is that this is your opportunity to get onto the Pharyngula blogroll, after you jump through some hoops.

There are a few absolute requirements.

* For technical reasons, your weblog must have some kind of syndication. I browse other blogs through a newsreader, and my blogroll is compiled from my newsreader's OPML file, so that's the only way I can put you there.
* You should check the current complete blogroll first—it's so embarrassing to ask to be put on a blogroll when you're already there.
* It should be an active weblog. I do purge sites that haven't been updated in 30 days.

Click here for more.

Happy to recognize when a blogger gets it rignt. Will go ahead and add a link to Pharyngula here and at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance blog.

Monday, February 26, 2007

About that "Borg" reference

The one I made in response to Buckeye State Blog joining BlogPAC. Running late this morning, but it's only fair that I link to the follow-up. Enjoy.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cat herding

Crossposted at the Independent Bloggers' Alliance

"Cat herding" video

Booman posts "What are we trying to do?"
As I see it, Daily Kos and Jerome Armstrong have not articulated a goal that has any synergy with my goals. We still have a huge amount of common interests. But I am primarily interested in shifting the debate to the left, while they seem to be interested in boxing in the netroots into traditionally acceptable parameters of debate.

I don't think that will do. It might bring us a result that they don't want (a Hillary presidency), but it won't fundamentally alter the assumptions and myths that made both Bushism and the invasion of Iraq possible. Are we going to gain something from Iraq or are we just going to end it so we fight another war on another day?

To summarize: goal one was to elect a Democratic congress. Goal two is to turn the Democratic Party into a progressive party. That means primaries. That means changing what is considered as the political fringe...which means changing the political center. The fight against Republicans required a lot of Democratic unity. But those days are over now. Now the battle is for the soul of the Democratic Party. And that means that it is the furthest thing from a waste of time to take on Ellen Tauscher and oppose Hillary Clinton.

Anyone that doesn't get that does seem to be missing the point, or selling out.
I don't think we're ever going to speak with one voice. To get that to happen would require a lot more cat herding than many of us are comfortable with. And when someone decides that one goal is all-important, sometimes they feel inclined to attack people they see as being "in their way". But those people are often working toward what *they* consider to be the most important goal right now.

There is no one goal that unites most of us right now. As the 2008 election gets closer, there is likely to be even more animosity. If we let that happen. We can always choose otherwise.

Me? I think it's important that everyone gets a chance to speak and be heard. The so-called netroots are not monolithic. Maybe some people would like to pretend that we are, so that we can be a powerful "special interest group" that candidates will try to cater to. But wishing doesn't make it so. I guess one way to *appear* united in pursuit of one goal would be to make sure that those who disagree don't have access to the microphone. Or find other ways to silence or marginalize them. In my mind, those are not acceptable options.

P.S. Here's a link to the post about the Independent Bloggers' Alliance that Maryscott frontpaged at My Left Wing, in case anyone would like to weigh in and contribute to the discussion there.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Friday night immaturity

Because it's been a long week, and it's just not possible to be constructive *all* the time.

Screenshot from the Sims game (like having little pet humans on your computer!)

Meet "Mark Gates".

He doesn't look happy, does he? Probably because he's got a fortune aspiration, but has crappy furniture and a cheap tv.

That, and possibly also the fact that I deleted his toilet and he just finished mopping up a puddle of his own pee.

The orange shirt? The name "Gates", as in, perhaps, "Crashing the--"? Nah. You're reading too much into this.

It's nothing personal.

More meta blogroll pondering

skippy points to yet another good analysis of the whole blogroll kerfuffle, this one by Shadow of the Hegemon:

What Kos doesn't get is that he's a member of a community, not a leader of one. He (among others) have been seduced into to thinking that since their websites are sub-communities in their own right, they don't need to worry about the broader progressive community as a whole. Why worry about some guy with some random blog named "skippy" when you're creating this great big beautiful community? When you've got people falling all over themselves to provide content for your site in the form of those "diaries"?

Yet it is precisely that kind of community-building that the right seems to understand better nowadays. The point of blogroll linking is not merely creating a portable favorites list, but creating a shared community and shared sense of identity. If you share a link with someone, on some level you state "I am like them". Even when you link to conservatives, you inherently give them some degree of respect and shared identity; you state "yes, I think you're a putz, but I also think you're a peer. You can be both."
There's more.

Speaking of community, you know, big, beautiful, diverse, interdependent, mutually supportive networking on the net, I'd still like some help with that.

If you write diaries that you crosspost at Kos and elsewhere, then how about becoming a contributor to the Independent Bloggers' Alliance. Or if you don't want to do that, maybe you can add a link to it on your own blogroll. You can even use this pretty button in your sidebar.

Independent Bloggers' Alliance

Independent Bloggers' Alliance update

I've been trying to keep moving forward with this project, but the earlier-than-expected start date for my next temp project got in the way. But before heading off to work yesterday morning, I did a quick new post. Not as polished as I would have liked, but an attempt to keep things moving. Since then, I did a couple of non-"meta" posts, so I wanted to make sure yesterday morning's post didn't get lost.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Independent Bloggers' Alliance

The Independent Bloggers' Alliance now has a logo, thanks to my husband, Demetrius. Comes in handy to have that sort of talent "in house". ;)

"How much is your blog worth?"

I first saw this graphic on My Left Wing--I'm sure many of you have seen it. It declares, "My blog is worth (dollar amount). How much is your blog worth?" Don't know how long ago it was that I first did this, but I clicked the link and entered the url for my Howard-Empowered People blog. The result was a badge declaring that my blog was worth $0, and below that the code was provided, so that I could proudly proclaim to the blogging world that my blog was worth $0. Now, why would I want to do that? (I did later discover the blog of an Episcopalian nun, who had done just that, and added the words "Says it all, doesn't it?" But she's apparently removed the badge since then--I haven't looked at that blog since the season of Advent.)

Well, I was curious about how a blog that had been around for some time could be deemed worth $0. It got a decent number of hits per day--more than any other blog I'd ever run--and a number of other blogs had linked to it. Of course, if I'd been *really* curious, I could have just clicked the link on that page to learn more. But it didn't matter that much, and I was working on other things.

Some time later, I was looking at one of those "How much is your blog worth?" banners again and noticed the "Powered by Technorati" button. Oh. I see.

I signed up for a Technorati account, and, while Howard-Empowered People is not valued anywhere in the same ballpark as the big blogs, the dollar amount is definitely no longer zero.

In the past couple weeks, there has been some discussion about the value of links, the cost of being dropped from the blogroll of one of the big blogs, and how mutual linking can be beneficial for bloggers. I've added one of those badges to this blog, mainly as a way of tracking the effect that links have on the dollar amount.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Buckeye State Blog teams up with BlogPac

Here's the post explaining Jerid's decision.

Thank You for Visiting BSB - A Proud Member of the BlogPac and Net-roots Com-mun-ity

It sounds like he put a lot of thought into it, and it was his decision to make. I did try to weigh in last night, but I'm not sure I was able to make myself incredibly clear. That it's not about thinking it's "selling out" to accept BlogPAC's offer, but that there are more complex reasons I don't like the idea.

I do still want to move forward with the Independent Bloggers' Alliance idea. Just not tonight.

Buckeye State Blog update

There's a post here. Decision forthcoming.

I've got a project wrapping up tomorrow, but after that I should have time to write up more thoughts about the Independent Bloggers' Alliance idea. Demetrius is working on some graphic ideas for me, and we'll make sure there is a version that is the right size to use in a sidebar.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Trying something

I decided to try something. It's far from finished, but sometimes it's easier to *show* what one is thinking about, rather than trying to explain it entirely in hypotheticals.

Take a peek, if you're interested...

Independent Bloggers' Alliance

When bloggers hook up

I need to go to work right now, so I don't have time to formulate a full post on this. Weekends are short, so I don't know how soon I'll be able to get back to it. But I wanted to point out a couple more posts in addition to the one I linked last night. (Please check that one out, as there's been a lot more discussion. Demetrius is my husband, BTW, for anyone who doesn't know.)

What Edwards and the bloggers might teach us

The author said this in the comments:

kingmakers like to get paid. they may not know it when they start, but learn soon enough. witness kos' support of a dlc candidate after railing against the dlc for a year. the difference -- money.

the problem, i think, is that bloggers begin to self-censor the closer they get to the party and to candidates -- and their money. in fact, it's the same ordeal that statehouse reporters face. if they write the real story, their sources dry up. if they don't, their credibility dries up.

that's why i think the kingmaker role is antithetical to the partisan audience of most blogs.

what does work, however, is the blog as executioner meme. taking out pols that stray too far from the party line.

there's an old saying that i'm gonna mangle here, but it holds -- 99% of the evil in the world is done for a paycheck.

And another post, from Writes Like She Talks: When Bloggers hookup: getting hired, getting sponsored, getting snookered, getting lost

Hope this can spur some futher discussion.

Friday, February 16, 2007

An example of the "new direction" for the Kos blogroll

I thought this might be of interest to the wider community, because it is an example of where Kos and "BlogPac" are investing their efforts. To refresh people's memories, liberalamerican wrote the following in a diary at My Left Wing:

The final piece of this may be the most interesting. Given that kos is a business, this latest move is what public relations people call repositioning. Daily Kos is repositioning itself as the central place for local blogs supporting political candidates. It is a brilliant business move with an election coming up. If the local bloggers buy into this, kos becomes in one stroke a major voice in the Democratic Party.

The $64 question is how much ideological control will kos exercise? His post gives a clue. He said, "Those are sites focused on the races that will determine whether we lose control of Congress, or whether we expand our numbers to Lieberman-proof majorities." In shorthand, kos had gone from Dean to Emanuel. Gone is the 50 state strategy. Gone are the progressive ideas. Instead he will publicize sites for candidates that can win.

Today, we find this post at Buckeye State Blog:

BlogPac and the Kos Crew Want To $ponsor the Ohio 'Sphere

Specifically, they've offered to pay the hosting costs (around $180 apiece) for the Buckeye State Blog and As Ohio Goes, and feature these two sites in their national project. I did not request a grant - BSB was offered one because of the significance we play in Ohio politics. Before we celebrate, it's important to note that this is a tricky situation.

Click here for the rest.

Ask Jim Webb to broaden his netroots outreach

Bit of trouble with the car this morning. While my husband is checking it out, I decided to do a quick post to pass this along.

Senator Jim Webb currently has a diary up at Kos. I recall a lot of discussion about his "kitchen table" appeal. I think it would be a good idea to contact him and ask, politely, that he consider crossposting his diaries at another group blog. Maybe Booman. I would say My Left Wing, but it might be easier to pursuade someone to post at the "frogpond" because it might be seen as less controversial. Baby steps, you know? With all the bannings and censorship going on at Big Orange, that's becoming a less effective way of really connecting with the netroots.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

"I hope"

Plenty to bitch about--including latest bit of blogger hubris documented by skippy. Started to get the "Not ready to make nice" song by the Dixie Chicks in my head. But I would like to refocus on the *positive* vision that is at the root of my impatience (sometimes outright disgust) with the Napoleanic tendencies of certain bloggers who have fallen into the trap of "believing their own press". So I'm sharing the lyrics fom another song from the same Chicks album:

From the Dixie Chicks album "Taking the Long Way"

Sunday morning, I heard the preacher say
Thou shall not kill
I don't wanna, hear nothin' else, about killin'
And that it's God's will
Cuz our children are watching us
They put their trust in us
They're gonna be like us
So let's learn from our history
And do it differently

I hope
For more love, more joy and laughter
I hope
We'll have more than we'll ever need
I hope
We'll have more happy ever afters
I hope
We can all live more fearlessly
And we can lose all the pain and misery
I hope, I hope

Napoleon Syndrome by Proxy

Entertaining new post by skippy today about bloggers suffering from a newly identified disorder that is known to affect only bloggers...

the first manifestation of this new strain was seen with the announcement over at eschaton of "blogroll amnesty day." without exhibiting any previous symptoms, atrios succumbed to an incomprehensible psychotic break that allowed him to see his blogroll as a tool for his own use, as opposed to the industry-wide accepted vision of blogroll as community support. since the appearance of symptoms was first officially observed at eschaton, this lead to the informal designation of the malady as the "duncan black plague."

the same outbreak went on to affect markos moulitsas and general jc christian, who also, operating under the delusion that their blogs were not beholding to the larger progressive identity, purged their rolls of the medium and smaller sites that make up the infrastructure of blogtopia, and yes, we coined that phrase.

bloggers infected with *napolean syndrome by proxy have lost the ability to empathize with their peers, and indeed believe that they no longer have peers. a general numbness of feelings with respect to democratic, egalitarian and liberal idealstowards individual people sets in. a sense of gradiose superiority overwhelms the bloggers, cutting them off from the reality of their situation: they are just guys with a web site.

a similar yet slightly different manifestation can be seen demonstrated by chris bowers at mydd. bowers recently began to exhibit bizarre behavior, claiming with a straight face that he wanted to be "an active member of the small clique, coterie or circle that identified the possibility for massive change and precipitated its manifestation." even worse than the strain of nsbp that has befallen moulitsas or black, this eruption is creating the delusion that chris is forefront of some sort of revolution, leading the rabble to throw off the "shackels of the elite" (we're not making this stuff up, folks). he no longer accepts the reality that he is, as stated above, just a guy with a web site.

(*Takeoff on Munchausen Syndrom by Proxy, for anyone who hadn't heard of that before.)


Just got home a little while ago, after working some extended hours today. Tired, and my fingers are still thawing. But I figured I'd better at least link to this, as part of the whole documenting censorship thing. This essay, Remember Where You Heard It First by One Pissed Off Liberal, appears on the front page of My Left Wing. Scroll down to the comments to see that it was apparently deemed inappropriate by the powers that be at Big Orange.

There's a list of prominent people--officeholders, candidates and others, who have posted diariea at Kos here. At some point, we need to start looking at that list to see who among those people we would like to start contacting, and, in a calm, intelligent manner, expressing our desire that they engage in some "netroots outreach" that is not filtered through Mr. Locking the Gates. (Of course, we wouldn't call him that in the letters. Like I said, I'm tired, and I'm pretty far from amused by all of this.)

Update: later comments in the post I mentioned above say that the diary deletion was some sort of "software bug".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"Gate crashing" for profit

Crossposted at Booman Tribune, My Left Wing, and Howard-Empowered People

As I note in the disclaimer/description I recently added to my Blogroll Amnesty Day blog, I never was linked by blogs that took part in "Blogroll Amnesty Day". I never asked to be. I do remember reading what Markos had on his "so you want me to link to you" page, and it was stuff about what your blog needs in order to have "the right stuff" so that it was worthy of linkage. I found that offputting, so I never asked. I don't know if that was the first thing that rubbed me the wrong way about Markos, but it's something that stands out. I'm really inclined to stroke someone's ego, especially when that person already has way more people willing to do that job than I think is merited.

But while I was not willing to suck up and ask to be blogrolled, there were a lot of other people at that site that I enjoyed reading, and the sheer volume of the place allowed for a wide audience if you wanted to draw attention to a particular issue. So, in the wake of the 2004 election where there were plenty of "irregularities", and knowing that the man responsible for many of those irregularities would be running for governor of my state in 2006, damn right I wanted those irregularities fully investigated. I wanted Ken Blackwell himself fully investigated. Imprisoned? In an ideal world, sure. But I'd have been happy with a full investigation.

And there were a lot of people at Daily Kos who shared that interest, so I was able to get diaries on the recommended list on a fairly regular basis. It felt good to be able to actually *do* something, even if it was just ensuring that a wider audience knew about what was going on--knew the extent of our then Secretary of State's treachery. It was a real effort trying to keep on top of that, since I was also teaching a few classes at the time. I'd often write a quick diary in between classes if I had found an article that no one had posted about yet. But the effort was worthwhile for the sake of a larger cause.

And speaking of effort, at the time of the 2004 election, I was working a temp job during the day and teaching a class in the evening, so I really did have to make a concerted effort to get to the polls on a Tuesday. I point out these facts about my life for a couple of reasons. First of all, I have some insight into why it can be so difficult for ordinary people to take an interest in politics--even tune in to what is going on, let alone get involved. But the great thing about the internet was that, as an ordinary person, I *could* make my voice heard.

Anyway, at some point he had his little front page pissy fit about those he called the "fraudsters". Some time after that it was the "pie wars". There were other things too, but I always managed to tell myself that I didn't have to like the man or agree with his politics to post diaries on that community blog. And there were plenty of other people there who made the blog worth visiting and posting on.

But the blogroll purge which, as I have already stated, does not affect me personally, has been the catalyst that prompted me to revisit some of these issues. Also an overarching issue that I have noticed over time: the man really tries to have it both ways. On the one hand, he's been quoted as saying that he is "not a leader" or that he's "just a guy with a blog". But on the other hand, he has often behaved like a very *autocratic* guy who just "happens" to have one of the most widely read blogs on the Democratic side of the aisle. And he has a great degree of power over what issues can see the light of day in front page posts.

This was starting to remind me of the situation with the mainstream media. *They* were controlled by interests *other* than "we the people", and they were too willing to play along with Bush during the buildup to the war in Iraq. They were also silent for far too long about the election integrity issues that many of us saw a mile away.

So, thank goodness for the internet! Here, the "unwashed masses" could speak the truth and have our voices heard. Of course, over time I realized that some voices had an easier time being heard than others. And much has been written over the past week or so about the fact that some blog voices have a much greater chance of being heard than others.

For one measure of the reach of the various blogs, you can check out this page which lists the blogs that participate in the Liberal Blog Advertising Network, how much ads on each of those blogs costs, per week, and the number of "estimated ad impressions". It costs $9000 a week to advertize on the premium spot on Daily Kos.

Back to my comment about "having it both ways", yesterday I saw the ad at www.crashingthegate.com for the first time. It is very short, so I can convey the main gist of it in a few screen captures.

Markos is strolling along, apparently listening to some tunes (young, hip guy that he is) and sees all these people pulling as hard as they can on a rope.

At the other end of the rope, there is a stubborn donkey, refusing to move.

From the look on our hero's face, we can see that he has a plan.

He walks up to the animal, and gives it a swift kick in the, er, "donkey".

Then there's some line about buying the book, and learning how to "get the Democratic party moving again".

Riiight. He's "not a leader", but he appears in an ad depicting *himself* as the only one who knows what to do, while all these other pathetic people are pulling on the rope with all their might, accomplishing *nothing*. Excuse me while I gag. And there's also the impression the ad give of him being "just this guy" bopping along, until he sees some obvious thing that needs to be done, and immediately, effortlessly, just *does* it.

Here's where I want to remind you that the "Mr. Everyman" you see above has ad space that can be bought for $9000 a week. I, obviously, don't. I don't make money from my political blogging.

So, to recap. We have this guy who runs a blog and co-wrote a book, who in the process has aquired some celebrity. He uses phrases like "people powered" and "crashing the gate" as his *branding*. In the meantime, whether he has indeed "crashed a gate", or merely procured, for himself, a seat at the table, he's made it clear that he is not so interested in helping anyone else get in.

But even beyond that, he's in our f***ing way! He's become yet *another* moneyed arbiter of what news is "fit to print", as it were, and which voices will have a harder time being heard. And I *don't* make a living by blogging, but somehow squeeze it in around work and family, in what I ironically refer to as my "spare time"--because it's *that important* to me to make a positive difference.

And given the time and energy I, along with countless others, have invested in the project of taking our country back, I simply can't stand idly by while the tools of the revolution are co-opted by would-be kings.

I don't have a plan, I don't have a big soapbox, or an army ready to charge into battle with me. But I heard somewhere that it's possible for a "small group of thoughtful people" to change the world. And I'm counting on that.

Senator Dodd at Booman Tribune

BooMan writes

Senator Christopher Dodd is going to stop by the Frog Pond tomorrow between 3:30PM (eastern time) and 4:00PM. He will be here to talk about the Restoring the Constitution Act of 2007. This act (.pdf) would help repair the damage down by the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Click here for the rest.

And actually, "tomorrow" is today (in a couple hours).

"Outta there"

Josh Langdon writes, in part

I don't like being jerked around. I don't like to see it happen to others. And like anyone with a real and shall we say very demanding life, most of all I don't like wasting my time. It's not that I'm a self absorbed. i don't have time. It's not important how important you may think yourself to be. It matters if it perceived by others as valuable; but astroturf all you want, manipulate if you will, but ultimately a clear picture emerges who is credible and who is not. Yes, there are yummy perks and money becomes less an issue in the rarefied air... But the pace is quick, the breathing labored, and most often the air is stale.
You can read the rest here. I can understand that a lot of people are probably in a "let it go" mode about the recent ugliness at the orange place. But I can also understand that not everyone can keep up with the pace of the blogosphere. Especially people with day jobs where they can't access the internet during the day. And even once one does read enough to get up to speed on a subject, it can take a while to gather one's thoughts and compose a post. So I do kind of feel for the people who are just now finding themselves able to "weigh in" on the matter, who are bound to be told, "We've talked that to death--can't we *please* move one?"


I was looking at the Wikipedia entry on Markos. For all it includes, it does seem to leave out any reference to the animosity between him and many in the blogging community, spurred by things like the "pie wars", his "fraudsters" rant, and the recent round of bannings and warnings. There is a related entry on Daily Kos, where the section on content caught my attention with these words:

This section is a stub. You can help by expanding it.

You can create a Wikipedia account here.

There doesn't seem to be a page on Blogroll Amnesty Day either.

Jon Swift interview with Bloggasm

Just found out about this via skippy:

Interview with Jon Swift

Jon Swift: I think I was actually the first blogger to question the notion of Amnesty Day. All of the other posts I could find before I wrote my post talked about what a great idea it was to pare down blogrolls to a list of the blogs that are on everyone else’s blogroll. I’m afraid that if Atrios declared Shoot Yourself in the Foot Day we might have a lot of liberal bloggers limping around right now. None dared even link to my piece until skippy took up the cause and then suddenly it was as if people had permission to say the emperor was very skimpily attired. I have had a liberal blogrolling policy — which is that I will blogroll anyone who blogrolls me — for quite a while and I was surprised that it hadn’t caught on before. Conservative bloggers have already shown they can push quite a few blogs onto the A-List. They not only have larger, more inclusive blogrolls on average, they have a number of communities that are powered by Blogrolling.com that instantly give new bloggers hundreds of links. Liberals have virtually none. They also participate in Blog Carnivals and Open Trackback parties more than liberal bloggers. So far Atrios and Kos have responded quite defensively to the rumbling voices of dissent. As I pointed out in a comment to Kos’ recent post about the issue, “With great power comes great responsibility and there is always a danger that one will become aloof and out of touch, though I can’t think of any examples of that at the moment among our present political leaders.”

I don't tend to have a problem speaking out about the "emperor", by the way.

I just tend to be a little behind the times with the news of the day. So many blogs, so little time. I sometimes have to see the same post topics come up repeatedly, over the course of a number of days, before my curiosity is piqued enough that I say "Okay, who *is* this Gannon/Guckert guy everybody seems to be talking about?" Or "What is this 'Fitzmas' of which you speak?"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A couple new posts

Jacta Alea Est: The Die Is Cast by Maryscott O'Connor

So Kos Is Wrong. It's Our Job To Be Bigger by Paul Rosenberg

On Banning, and Thanks to Maryscott by Nonpartisan

Elected officials' netroots outreach

Louise Slaughter has a diary up at Kos.

Yesterday I heard that Wesley Clark had a post.

I'd like to get a list of the various elected officials, public figures, and candidates, and contact them, politely, about extending their "netroots outreach" beyond Daily Kos.

Banned at DailyKos

By pyrrho

The funny thing is that, firstly, the privs started dissappearing before the ratings appeared, and when they appeared, they were largely in a counter-rant of mine (here) defending myself against BTD saying peeder and hrh are my heroes. The ironic thing is that there are many people there less friendly to alleged Democratic Ideals than myself, and that no one would deny that. So what else was so important?

I have criticized dkos MANY times, and praised it. This time... I said we could not have political fealty to corporations. We can rely on them as tools, but not have political allegience to them. Such allegience is wrong if given to a corporation, it makes you corporationist, not a good philosophy, at least, not for democracies.

Click here for the rest.

New "warning" at Big Orange

From 5hearts, who notes that attempting to do anything on that web site causes a message to pop up saying

Please stop rating up other users' fights in the comment threads. MLW and Booman fights should be left on MLW and Booman, not encouraged.

The warning is apparently accompanied by a little check box. One has to click to "acknowledge" that one has read and understands the warning, and posting is not enabled until the box is checked.

Monday, February 12, 2007

More on the business of blogging

By pyrrho:

DailyKos is a business. When I claim not to hate it, I'm told I really do (e.g. by cookiebear). To me there is some level of emotional dysfunction in that accusation because in my world I am not EVEN ASKED to be "loyal" to PRIVATE BUSINESSES.

My relationship with private businesses is not like my relationship with my family, my nation, my species. If I'm working for that company, I do have a great deal of loyalty, but EVEN THEN, not the sort one has to a nation or cause.

I like dailykos, I think it's still quite useful business, but it's impossible for me to have political loyalty to an organization in which I HAVE NO SAY.

Click to read the rest.

Blogging about blogrolling

From If I Ran the Zoo:

What's at stake here is the egalitarian and democratic nature of the blogosphere. If traffic and linkage are concentrated among a relatively few extremely popular blogs, then the vast majority are effectively shut out of the conversation. It is a basic liberal belief that great success carries with it the duty to extend opportunity to others; that's the duty that, as some see it, Atrios and others fail to live up to. As Jon Swift observes, the right blogosphere is actually much more liberal about linking to smaller blogs than the liberal side.

Click here for the rest.

Blogdom as high school

Good post by liberalamerican at My Left Wing. In part...

In his "shunning" post kos was being his usual disingenuous self when he said, "Despite popular misconceptions, a blogroll link isn't a major source of traffic, not even one on Daily Kos. It won't make or break a site." It may or may not be a source of traffic (more on that in a minute), BUT blogrolls can increase a Technorati rank, if you play them right. Remember, it's not how many links you have, but how many link to you.

Every blogger knows the drill: you send this letter, trying not to, as Atrios condescendingly puts it, sound like a "blog whore," saying you have posted a link to their site and will they do the same for you. Most of the time the Big Dogs will blow you off and you get nothing in return, but some people keep listing them anyway. According to Technorati, Daily Kos has 81,277 links from 1,086 blogs, ranking it 14th. Eschaton has 14,166 links from 2,616 blogs ranking it 182d.

Neither site has a blogroll even close to being in the thousands, but thousands of bloggers link TO them. I have seen many of these links from little blogs that for some reason feel compelled to put kos on their blog roll. It does them absolutely no good, but it's great for kos.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Galloping Beaver Weighs In

In "On blogs and elitism", Dave writes, in part:

I was once a member of a unit that was constantly described, in the media, as "elite". The media could get away with it. We could not. We couldn't afford to. No matter what we did, or how we did it, our egos had to be kept in check and we were constantly reminded that we were a small part of a much larger organization. We needed every part of that larger organization. In fact, there was nothing all that "elite" about us. We simply had a different job than other units and the great leveler was that anyone from that larger organization could apply to join.

Sadly, Dave also makes the all-too-easy (and common) mistake of *linking* to the offending members of the blogtocracy in a post about Blogroll Amnesty Day. Y'all really shouldn't do that, as I explained here.

I humbly suggest linking either to Jon Swift's post here or skippy's posts here and here. If people follow any of those links, they can find links to the original posts by the Big Boys of Blogging. There's no need (again, in my humble opinion as someone who was never linked by any of these folks, so really, it's no skin off my nose), to continue to contribute to their Google ranking as we discuss this issue.

Why links matter, part 2

Originally posted at Howard-Empowered People...

One thing I just discovered in my search for posts about Blogroll Amnesty Day, is that the main things that were showing up in Google were posts by the Big Boys of Blogging. And they were, of course, saying what a great idea Blogroll Amnesty Day was. It's yet another example of the power of links--the "big boys" have the power to be heard, even when it comes to someone doing a simple Google search to find out what the heck Blogroll Amnesty Day is all about.

Just sayin'...

Some thoughts from Brilliant at Breakfast

Jill of Brilliant at Breakfast has this to say about Blogroll Amnesty Day...

But with Kos and Atrios making a big show about "culling the blogroll", and Chris Bowers playing "Mine's Bigger" with the rest of the blogosphere, is this really what it's come to? Is this the Revenge of the Nerds come to fruition? Is this the guys who DIDN'T get laid on prom night finally staking their claim to coolness?

If so, are we going to sit by and take it? Are we going to just toil away while guys like Atrios and Kos and Chris Bowers define the rules and brand the rest of us as useless?

I don't know about you, but all this is making me feel just a wee tad Norma Rae here.

Fuck the big boys. They're the blogospheric equivalent of the Washington pundits who think they're better than bloggers because they get invited to the right parties and of the Democrats who hold fundraisers where they take money from corporations. We hold bake sales and support our candidates twenty-five bucks at a time. What's hilarious is that most of these guys come out of the 2004 Howard Dean campaign, only a taste of success has made them forget all about people-powered.

So all you progressive bloggers out there who are reading this and are damn sick and tired of these puffed-up assholes thinking they're somehow better than you are and that they decide who gets read and who doesn't, show yourselves in the comments. Let's hear your ideas for how we can help each other. And if you're planning to go to Yearly Kos in August, start thinking about how we can use that conference to brainstorm about where we go from here.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Shaping "the blogosphere we want"

Paul Rosenberg's response (in part) to one of Maryscott O'Connor's recent essays about the blogroll purging...

Setting everything else aside, when Kos decides to "trim" his blogroll, and does so thinking about himself and his site, rather than the political blogosphere as a whole, he is not doing anything to consciously create the blogosphere we need--even if I had no objection to the contents of the blogroll he ended up with.

And, of course if we're not really thinking about consciously shaping the blogosphere we want, how can we possibly be up for consciously shaping the world we want?

"Sweat Equity"

There's a very good post by peeder, who used to work as a contractor for Markos, about the business of blogging. I recommend reading the whole thing, but will share an excerpt from one of his comments here...

Daily Kos has gone very far on sweat equity, but harnessing quality sweat equity requires a discipline of respect, humility, and gratitude. Openly boasting of Bosendorfers and bigscreen TVs insults the volunteer force at some point.

Markos falls short in the areas of "respect, humility, and gratitude"...ya think?

Skippy's Blogroll Amnesty Offering

skippy writes, we got yer 'amnesty' right here

...ergo, we here at skippy are planning to retaliate by offering real blog amnesty. and here's how it goes:

many smaller blogs link to skippy for one or more of a few reasons: out of politeness, out of a hope that we might notice them and link back, or simply out of the imitation of what it takes to make a good blog. it's the second reason that interests us (we really should have put it as the last reason to be more clear with sentence structure (on the other hand, using less paranthetical phrases in a paragraph would go a long way towards grammatical clarity (too late now))).

to wit: any blog that has linked to skippy and has not received a reciprocal blogroll link will now be included on our roll! all you have to do is notify us in our comments section or email us, and we will happily include you! that will show those big shot elitists too good for the little guy blogs! ha!

and we hope to hell we have the longest blog roll in blogtopia!

and yes! we coined that phrase!

What the heck...

I made a t-shirt.

"My blog was dumped on "Blogroll Amnesty Day"...and I had to pay for my OWN lousy t-shirt!"

Blogroll Scrooges Must Be Punished

By Madeleine Begun Kane

Mr. Eschaton’s wholesale de-linkage
Hurts small bloggers through blogroll link shrinkage.
Kos has done the same thing.
Both are scrooges left-wing.
I’ve de-linked them and won’t give them inkage.

What is "Blogroll Amnesty Day"?

As explained by Jon Swift:

This past weekend Atrios, the proprietor of Eschaton, declared a Blogroll Amnesty Day, saying, "one of the big complaints by new bloggers is that it's impossible to get onto blogrolls because established bloggers tend not to add them." I thought that adding new lesser-known blogs to his blogroll would be a wonderful idea. Although for some inexplicable reason that I am at pains to discover, Atrios has never seen fit to link to me, I, nevertheless added Eschaton to my own blogroll and introduced myself to Atrios with a sincerely sycophantic email, since he is after all a blogging pioneer who deserves our respect.

But the more I learned about this Amnesty Day, the more I realized that it was a very strange amnesty indeed. The amnesty he granted turned out to be amnesty for himself. He wanted to assuage himself of the guilt he might feel at kicking blogs off his blogroll instead of granting amnesty to others to swarm across the border into his domain. "Everyone feels a wee bit guilty about removing blogs from their blogroll, so they're hesitant to add new ones to an ever-expanding list," he explained. So Atrios deleted his entire blogroll and disappointingly repopulated it for the most part with the usual suspects. Then others in the liberal blogosphere followed his example, including Jesus' General and PZ Myers at Pharyngula, who already takes a very Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest approach to blogrolling. Then Markos at Daily Kos joined this ruthless bloodletting. "It sucks and it feels bad," he said, daubing the tears from his eyes as he typed. So the end result of Atrios' Amnesty Day was to make some blogrolls smaller and even more exclusive than they already were.