Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Blog Bashing

I have to agree with Jim that this SJ-R editorial gets a little snarky towards blogs when it says:
ONE OF THE BIG lessons here is just how dangerous anonymous information can be. There's no doubt that blogs are a lot of fun to read, but if you start putting your faith in the credibility of unsigned World Wide Web entries, you're setting yourself up to feel awfully foolish.

The mainstream media has had its problems with credibility, but at least at this newspaper we strive to provide accurate information and credible sources, and we correct mistakes when we make them. Many Weblogs make no attempt at such standards. It's healthy to keep that in mind.
That last paragraph says the SJ-R tries to be accurate and corrects mistakes while “many” weblogs do not. OK, but many weblogs do and some MSM outlets do not, as well. And I think people are smart enough to discern what is credible and what isn’t. For instance, I have no trouble being highly skeptical of stories in the National Enquirer while being much more trusting of items in the Washington Post. They are both newspapers that use paper and ink and words and pictures but, somehow, I recognize they are different. I think the same can be said of blogs.

As long as the SJ-R is getting all righteous, let me nit-pick something that appears in that opinion piece that I see a lot among those not all that familiar with blogs.
We refer to the blogger as a Blagojevich supporter because it appears about all that ties the blogger to the campaign at this point is his or her use of campaign computers.

BLAGOJEVICH campaign spokesman Doug Scofield said the campaign has not identified who wrote the Weblog entries, and he stressed that "this isn't something that was organized or approved by the campaign and not the type of activity we want anybody associated with the campaign to engage in."
People who write in the comments section of blogs are not “bloggers” just because they post a comment on a blog. Bloggers, well, have a blog - their own blog or are part of a collaborative blog. Those who merely comment on a blog post are not bloggers any more than the author of a letter to the editor in a newspaper is a reporter (or columnist or editor). Just thought I’d make that clear in case anyone wants “to strive to provide accurate information and credible sources, and…correct mistakes.”


Rich Miller said...


So-Called Austin Mayor said...


The Inside Dope said...

There's a definite resentful vibe among almost any piece or comment written by newspaper folks regarding blogs. There are exceptions, but they're rare.

And thanks for mentioning one of my pet peeves... people who don't have a clue about blogs or blogging tut-tutting about the "rough" nature of comments.

They truly seem to expect blogs to be like newspapers, even the comments, and they decry anonymity for both bloggers and commenters.

As far as I know, there is no way possible to have anything BUT anonymous comments, for even if you require names and e-mail, or even registration, the identification is self-provided by the reader and therefore utterly unreliable. So it's a moot point. ALL comments are essentially anonymous.

Therefore, the choice is between anonymous comments or no comments.

And though we were all beginners once, it seems that people persist in screwing up the nomenclature of blogs so badly that I was driven to post a glossary of terms... and it did no good at all.

The most common was as you note, referring to commenters as "bloggers", and readers speaking about "when I blog" meaning when they leave a comment.

The latest is a person who has taken to referring to comment threads as "blogrolls".

I assumed that if I was familiar with blogs, there must be a large number of people who were also, at least in a large area the blog covers.

But I've been consistently amazed at just how many people are both utterly clueless about blogs, and how often these self-same people feel so free to decry blogs, generalize about them to a horrid degree, and issue a blanket condemnation of all blogs, as if they're some enormous homogenous mass of sameness.

It reflects such a poor grasp of what blogs are and how they run sucessfully.

And the truly bad part about this lack of understanding is that it often means that they also have no idea how to comment, how to participate, how to "police" the blog and run off undesirables, etc.. They have no idea of blog ettiquette or the usual unwritten rules for participating, and seriously seem to sit there as if they're looking at a strange creature in a fishbowl and only step forward to explain to us that they think blogs are a bad thing. Yet they do nothing to MAKE the blog or blogs what they'd like them to become.

There, I feel better now.

Anonymous said...

That this Inside Dope person or person's gets so mad that he has to write this rant is just what people have trouble with.
This Dope gets upset about labels. Only a person that writes a blog is a blogger. How do you know that a commentor isn't a disguised blogger. This whole thing is silly. Most bloggers are even anon.

This whole thing is a joke.

Anonymous said...

Now the Dope is letting people post anonymously again, but thepassing-parade guy has left town in an attempt to clear his head and defuse the ongpong fued.

As the Dope gains back readers I have noticed a sense of fullfilment in his otherwise shallow life. If thepassing-parade lets the Dope catch-up before long both men will boast 20 to 30 commentors a day. I pray Biederbek soon feels better. For it is a long way to the pit of depair and anguish.

Anonymous said...

This post takes the ~cake~