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A BlogCritics Community

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One of the main components of a community is a sharing of ideas and opinions. This is important because it is the catalyst for the whole process of learning from each other. Coming to the table with your opinion without the desire to learn or think about what others say is counterproductive to the process. There will always be different individuals who know more about some things than other individuals in the community and this is all a part of the process of the members becoming more well-rounded as a result.

The more opinionated the members of a community are, the better chance it has of not falling into the dangerous territory of “group-think.” When members of the community come to the table to spout their own thoughts and refuse to consider the thoughts of others, it has the potential to go the other way so that nobody is gaining anything. Being a know-it-all doesn’t do anyone any good. It stifles positive relations and keeps topics from progressing. A conclusion never actually has to be reached for a topic to progress, but an understanding of where other members are coming from is of utmost importance.

I know a lot of us here at BlogCritics don’t agree on a great many things, and this is one of our strengths. BUT, without the understanding that any one member doesn’t know everything and is wrong every now and then, the communication falls into a quagmire of communication breakdown and stifled growth.

Why would you come to BlogCritics? Certainly it is another outlet for people to write and will offer greater traffic to personal sites, but it’s also so you can get feedback from a wider audience of readers and fellow BlogCritics. Contributing ideas and posts is just half the process. Without the interactions and a desire to gain from those interactions, BlogCritics becomes not as much of a community and more of a repository.

I feel like the majority of the time we have the right attitudes when going into our various topics, but lately with the issues of the war, it has become a situation where lines are drawn in the sand and the unwillingness to bend on any points is very frustrating.

The Republicans aren’t right and neither are the Democrats. It is obviously a combination of the two. I have my opinions and I love it when people agree with me, but so much of what we talk about is speculation that it is very important to read the words of others and at least understand what perspective they are coming from. For all you know, they could be right.

We are all guilty of falling into the trap of thinking we are right at least a portion of the time. I know I am guilty of it on occasion, or maybe even more frequently than I would like to admit, but I know that I have also started off comments with a question, said what my opinion was and asked “where am I going wrong?”.

Whether you realize it or not, this is a virtual community and we can grow on a personal level and as a group. Ultimately wouldn’t this be the best thing for all of us? A successful community offers its members something great and as a result it becomes desirable for other members to join. So, if your goal of joining BlogCritics was to drive traffic to your personal site, you should be helping to further the community and give visitors the incentive to want to come back and maybe even become posters themselves. This will not happen if we all draw lines in the sand and say we are right all the time. We are all jaded by different experiences and have a tendency to be blinded by our hearts on various topics.

I am not posting this because I think I exemplify what a member should be. This post was more of a reminder to myself because I fall into patterns that I don’t necessarily like. I like BlogCritics and I want it to continue to be a place that I visit far too often every single day. If we all keep some of these things in mind, we can make it a place that a lot more people will want to visit too.

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About Craig Lyndall

  • Shut up!

  • Good post, Craig, and something that has needed to be written.

    I think one thing that would really help — at least me, any way — is for some folks to try and just answer questions.

    I’ve become frustrated, and basically will/have reduce(d) interaction (reading and commenting), with some folks around these parts who won’t answer clarifying questions about their words.

    It’s like they are stuffing their opinions down our throats, but when questioned then one is called names, or the original question is deflected or dismissed. If I’m asking you a question, then that question is important to me, but it is extremely arrogant to assume that I was asking if that question was important to you.

    Instead it’s like (sometimes), oh no, some folks will avoid answering that question and complain at the injustice of even being asked a question. Or assume the question asked meant something deeper, darker and more sinister than was ever intended.

    Man, if a question bothers any one reading this, please take some time off and come back when you feel better. Questions are how people gather information and come to an understanding. They aren’t part of some conspiracy to take you off the web.

    If someone asks you yes or no to something, then just answer yes or no and then qualify it if you must, absolutely, but in all that clarification please don’t forget the all-important answer.

    If presented with a contradiction in words or behavior and asked for clarification, then what’s wrong with saying you made a mistake or were in error if you really were?

    I make lots of mistakes. I made one earlier when I misread what John Mudd had said. I apologized. Then he came back and misused my name. Mistakes are human and (hopefully) we all are.

    I don’t know any of you folks personally or professionally (haven’t done biz with any of you), so my personal and professional frame of reference is only the words that you write. Period. No agendas on my part, nobody I “hate”. I have already written about my perspective by using words to describe who is who to me here.

    So just because someone asks a question doesn’t necessarily mean they are being sarcastic or vindictive. Assume the best in people and their questions as friendly first, instead of last. Suspicion runs amok with the commentary from some folks around here and I’m confused by that. Unless there is evidence that something is suspicious, under-handed, unethical, etc, then why take that road?

    I know the internet is filled with trolls, but I like thinking that this group, if there is such a thing here, is at least a little more mature than so many other places online.

    If it wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be here, that much is for certain. If too many trolls start inhabiting these pages, then I’ll move on (quietly, no fanfare, I promise) to greener pastures.

    Good post, Craig.

  • BB

    I certainly agree with you Craig. Blogcritics falls within the definition of “community” with all of its benefits, responsibilities and blemishes thereof. I also believe that diversity is a community’s strength. As a reader I really do enjoy all of the varying opinions presented by my fellow Blogcritics and as you said we can’t possibly have all the answers.

    I must add however there are those who can sometimes be a little overbearing and obnoxious and even downright rude in expressing their views. When we disagree with each other it is important that we show respect and civility no matter how passionate or convinced we may be of our position. As a writer I try to keep that in mind and treat others as I wish to be treated accordingly. When we make our views known we are not only writing to our fellow Blogcritics, but we are also writing to the entire online world. They will be making judgments based upon what we write and we should always be mindful of that.

  • Eric Olsen

    This post makes me very happy because it reminds me that people do care and this isn’t just a relationship of convenience, of course it is that too.

    Craig has been a very active and fine contributor since he joined this summer and he is right about the war – it is a very divisive and emotional topic. He should have been around in early spring when the shit really hit the fan.

    No matter how much we may want to be conciliatory and not argue just to argue (which IS stupid and pointless) there are some issues – and it may be different issues for different people – where the nerves are very close to the surface and there is little or no room to give. When these topics come up – and they are almost always news diriven – then battle lines are drawn, sides are taken, and things can get very contentious.

    While it is can be difficult and painful and ugly, it also shows that people do have core beliefs they are willing to stand up for and this is always to be respected even if it is hard in the heat of battle.

    I get angry sometimes, I can be dogmatic, I often feel like saying “It’s this way because I say it is and fuck you” (doesn’t work with the kids either) but that isn’t terribly helpful or illuminating.

    Contention is uncomfortable but it isn’t necessarily bad – if people didn’t feel strongly about anything, this would be a boring, wishy washy place.

    We should absolutely, though, try to play by some basic rules of courtesy, respect, and try to keep matters on topics not personalities. But I know I’m not the only one with a bad temper.

  • BB

    When we read a post that contradicts our paradigms, two things can happen. Either our position will be changed or we will become more entrenched. Sometimes we become entrenched because we are too proud or embarrassed to admit we were wrong. Or it could be on a topic that shakes the very foundations our being. So we passionately argue our position, but in so doing we sometimes lose our temper and say things not befitting of world-class writers that we are (or should be). What we must remember is that we are only discussing an opinion and nothing more. And in the grand scheme of things it probably doesn’t really matter one way or the other. Whatever our view, we should always remember to express ourselves dispassionately and with respect to our counterpart.

  • duane

    “Where there is much desire to learn, there of necessity will be much arguing, much writing, many opinions; for opinion in good men is but knowledge in the making.” — Milton, Aeropagitica

  • Funny, I have never thought of this as a community — only as a place to write.

  • Of course I agree with what Craig says in general. But, my time at Blogcritics has often reminded me just how deep divisions run in our society. In addition to that, I researched reaction to the story of Strom Thurmond’s mixed-race daughter today, so I am fresh from being reminded how much many people in the blogosphere hate people of color as I write this. Yes, hate. When people blame a 15-year-old house maid in the Deep South for being impregnated by her white employer in 1924, that is hate. When they say, ‘I guarantee you there are no niggers, high yellers or Indian princesses in my family tree’ that is hate. When one of them, a Blogcritics member, says the way Essie Washington-Williams was treated was ‘good,’ that is evidrence of hate. Otherwise, he would not see dehumanizing her as just fine. Furthermore, several members of BC jumped right on to a racially motivated campaign against me, personally. Some of them are still up in arms because I refuse to follow their orders, as white men, that I not write about racial matters. More hatred — and incredible arrogance. Unless all of that hatred can be accounted for under the rubric of community, I guess I’m just a writer who contributes to Blogcritics like Natalie.

  • Sandra Smallson

    I almost want to puke:) What is this slush?:) No disrepect to your post Craig, I respect it though I disagree with it. It is one or two subsequent posts that have given rise to nausea. Not Eric’s, because I quite like his post as well, and agree with most of what is in it.

    However, this matter is very simple in my opinion. We are all adults here. If you find yourself on a topic where you feel nobody is “answering”( I find some mean, agreeing with them when they say, answer questions. A response in dispute is referred to as not answering the question)…yes, if nobody is answering your questions or nobody is sticking to the topic or there are far too many “personal attacks”( which they are quite willing to throw as well, often poorly disguised, but yours just happens to hit the nail on the head it seems, with all the pathetic outcry you may get from all corners) going on.

    You have options. You have a choice. You can either exhibit that “exemplary”( exemplary, shexemplary!:) behaviour of yours by sticking to the topic and not involving yourself in personal attacks or you can just ignore that topic as a whole if it does not suit your “priciples” or why you are a member of blogcritics.

    There is no need to tell people how to express their opinions. We can all sing songs about courtesy and respect, but the reasons that the forefathers of the English language even made words that show disrespect and lack of courtesy is precisely because some people DESERVE to be disrespected and be spoken to with a complete lack of courtesy. This may not be so in your view, but it is your view and it should not be imposed on other posters. Neither should content of post or words contained in posts and how they would be better presented in your view be imposed on writers.

  • Sandra Smallson

    I think if you find yourself excessively worried about “personal attacks” then, they might have hit this nerve we are all claiming to hit in topics, and that is why you would be angry about it.
    Theres no use saying there is such a thing as courtesy, manners , respect, and all that jazz. I can’t speak for everybody but once I refer to you with a lack of those things, its exactly because I believe you deserve neither of those things at that particular point in time. Its my belief and my feeling and no amount of passer-bys to the topic who have nothing to contribute but just to preach on how to post “respectfully” are going to change that feeling of mine.

    Its a wonderful website. I am enjoying visiting the site several times a day. It has tremendous comic value for me, like I have said before. I normally pay for this level of amusement. My opinions have not been changed on anything, I have no interest in changing any opinions. I look forward to having my opinion on something changed, or shock! Horror! changing someone’s opinion on something:) I won’t loose any sleep over it though:)

    I have learned how some people reason and why some people reason the way they reason. People have different reasons for coming here. They should not be told what the site really is for, then be told if they dont agree with that, what is the point? They have their own points. All in all, I am liking it..liking it a lot. The level of paranoia is sometimes frightening..e.g an Iraq Post, with the original poster not caring about Sadaam being found and likening Bush to Sadaam..lol..now, come on..thats gotta take the biscuit? I am no Bushite but if I join that sort of post I dont think I would be able to stop, so I am practising self rstraint. Its the first site I visit once I turn on my puter, thats how much I am enjoying it despite AND inspite of some people:)

  • Look, I like to try to be magnanimous, for this makes ME, AL BARGER look good. Still though, echoing the wise words of supporters of Barry Goldwater, in your hearts you know I’m right.

    Why do you waste time and insist on making yourselves look bad by disagreeing with ME, AL BARGER on any topic?

    Follow me, become my willing servants!

  • Eric Olsen

    The whole “community” thing can be pushed too hard, and the hyping of it was one of the downfalls of the Internet boom, but in a general sense I’m not sure how you can deny that there is some form of community here: that doesn’t mean agreement, geniality, lack of division, etc.: it means people gather voluntarily to do something on a regular basis. If you do that you are part of some form of “community” in any definition I am aware of.

    And by the way, on Blogcritics itself, I have seen nothing but condemnation for Thurmond’s treatment of his daughter from every political direction.

  • I am not expecting us to stand arm-in-arm singing songs of peace and joy. Don’t you think people argue and have different opinions at their local townhall meetings? This is a community because we interact in the comments. You are never posting on this site without opening yourself up for comments. So that makes it more than just a place to write.

    Anyway, I am really not that cheesy a guy, but I fell into an interaction yesterday that left me sour. I didn’t like the way the other person was acting and I ended up hating the things that I wrote too. I could have used this reminder so I wrote it.

  • i would but, y’know, i’m kinda busy at the moment. I’m also kinda lazy…

  • Craig, I see it as a place to write. I have the right to see it that way. You can see it however you see it.

  • With all due respect, you are commenting. This is interaction. With the addition of this how can you just say it is merely a place to write?

  • Craig, I can’t tell Natalie’s story, but I will tell mine.

    I started out thinking I was part of a community — liberal bloggers, if you will. I had done a lot of research on the neo-Confederate movement starting years ago with a stint in Virginia as a reporter. When the Trent Lott situation arose this time last year, I sent some of that material to John Marshall and Atrios. About the same time, another issue I had researched came up — gun laws and that nasty little fraud John Lott. Ditto. And, so on. The upshot was that I was invited to contribute to several well-known blogs and did so. However, without realizing it, I was apparently already inciting jealousy and resentment. About four months later, I started my own blogs. They attracted readers and became pretty popular. Soon after, a white woman with some severe emotional problems, including Asperger Syndrome, began going to usually Right Wing sites and posting attacks on Mac Diva. (My blogging ID, which is a separate thing from others, believe me.) Soon, some of her friends joined her. They posted some of the most racist drivel this side of the Aryan Nations — and ran back to their blogs and did their phony liberal shticks right after. Right Wingers with racial problems of their own were happy to join in, of course. The whole thing came to a head when I wrote about it on Mac-a-ro-nies, because, according to Bell’s Rules, I wasn’t supposed to speak up for myself — even against a crazy white woman. From that experience, I learned that white bloggers, both liberal and conservative, are a community alright — when they are bound together by racism. A Jim Cappozola is just as bad as a Dean Esmay. A Lisa English is the liberal equivalent of a Ricky West. [name removed by request] belongs with the ‘scientific’ racists at Gene Expression because she is really no different from them. Though a few minority bloggers are brown-nosing their proboscises off to be members of that warped community, I have no desire to join them.

    So, I’ve already had an experience with blogging and community. It taught me what I really needed to know.

  • I don’t think you are getting my point. Whether you like it or not. Whether you realize it or not, this is a community. You are participating in a virtual community. The definition is pretty loose and open. Contributing and interacting by a group of select members makes a community. You post, you comment, you are participating.

  • But, what about ‘in it, but not of it’? Is that possible?

  • Yup Sandra, the size of my privates was really “on topic” the other day 😉 I don’t think that’s personal though, no way, and I bet nobody else here would either. Why don’t we talk about the spot between your legs?

  • And what exactly is a “priciples”? Enquiring minds want to know.

  • Craig, some people see the word “community” and seem to expect everybody to agree. The concept of ideological diversity within the same community is just foreign to them. If you think about it, that explains quite a bit about the world in general.

    Me, I’m happy to be involved with a website in which views from all over are well-represented, even if some of them are freakin’ crazy, as demonstrated on this very post. <grin>

    I have gotten to the point where I’ll give people one or two chances, and then largely ignore them if they’re clearly insane. But I don’t base my judgment of their sanity on their political or religious views, simply on how they interact with other members of the Blogcritics community.

    Thanks for the post!

  • bhw

    *guffaw* TDavid! LOL….

  • bhw

    We can all sing songs about courtesy and respect, but the reasons that the forefathers of the English language even made words that show disrespect and lack of courtesy is precisely because some people DESERVE to be disrespected and be spoken to with a complete lack of courtesy.

    This one’s got my brain a spinnin’ ….

  • Eric Olsen

    Are we back to the poor pope?

  • I was going to make a comment about that same point, bhw, but I’ve gone ’round and ’round with Sandra many times in the short time she’s visited BC. This does, however, explain a lot, and helps me realize that when someone has a POV like that, nothing positive is going to come from any non-agreeing exchange with that person. Too bad.

  • Tom, strike the word “non-agreeing” from your last two sentences, and I’m on board! <grin>

    Ah, the wonders of “community.” Like “family,” one takes the lumps with the grains, but only because one must.

  • Phillip, you have a 1 or 2-strike rule? Not a bad idea, but I have found that a lot of times this “insanity” stuff is just a charade for some of these people. Especially when they contradict themselves repeatedly.

    I have gotten to the point where I’ll give people one or two chances, and then largely ignore them if they’re clearly insane. But I don’t base my judgment of their sanity on their political or religious views, simply on how they interact with other members of the Blogcritics community.

    What I find fascinating is that I am 99% positive I would walk up to most of these “insane” people and they wouldn’t talk the way that they post.

    In fact, they’d probably say that they were misunderstood, having a bad day, etc. I’ve heard this at conventions when I have approached people who appeared to be insane online several times before.

    The whole online experience has made some people much bolder and yet also more fragile than face to face interaction.

  • I generally only give two strikes, but my strike zone is pretty generous. Seemingly insane comments on a single post won’t do it, for example. Well, if they’re insane enough, that might count as a foul-strike. That is, I won’t strike someone out on just one post like that.

    Very, very few people have been “permanently” added to my ignore list, though one or two more are on my “generally ignore” list. <grin>

  • Speaking of the ignore function, did you read my post on that? Does MT have some sort of hack for it that adds /ignore functionality? (I haven’t checked)

    Since there is already a login function for writers at BC, I am thinking a cookie check could be done to cancel out certain poster’s comments from appearing. Would be very nice to be able to filter out a small amount of noise on this site.

    I saw your other post about emailing you on the odd ASCII character thing and when I finish up with two projects then on I’ll contact you on that. It might be after the holidays, just FYI.

  • I think the ignore function is a bad idea. If you don’t like someone just keep them in your head as someone you don’t want to read. To really ignore people you might miss the continuity of the conversations that we have here. This would be bad for everyone in my opinion.

  • Craig – this is a staple function in IRC, VBulletin, UBB, and just about every messageboard script out there. Slashdot has the ability to filter out the noise. Epinions has an ignore (block) function. The list goes on.

    It’s not affecting your reading if you want to keep the throttle wide open, but I don’t have the desire, time or energy to read troll material.

    If I don’t want to talk to you or read anything from you then that’s my perogative. I don’t, BTW, so I’d still see everything you’ve written 😉

    There’s only one person here who I’d likely add to this list, and it is only because that person seems to attack pretty much everyone that is disagreed with. I don’t need to see that to grow intellectually. I’m all for debate, and the spirit of it, but not when the debate is always predictable and one-sided.

    There might be some folks who don’t want to read my commentary and if that’s the case, more power to them. I’d notice this through the display of who they are blocking and therefore, wouldn’t bother commenting on anything they read or write, thus saving me time.

    As I pointed out in the other thread, BC could make this part of a package of functions that were offered for a “small yearly fee” — that would reduce the number of people that actually used this functionality, I guarantee it.

    Other premium features could be added. Unless, of course BC has no interest in finding additional possible revenue for the site (which I doubt).

  • I missed the post, but I’m generally not in favor of using technical means to ignore somebody. You should have to make the effort to ignore someone!

  • “they read or write” should say: they post or comment on

  • Ok, well, then I’ll write my own program to do it, Phillip 😉

  • BTW, is there an RSS feed for Blogcritics anywhere? If you want to make that available for subscription fee, then let me know. I realize this bypasses your advertisers and thus the reason I said “for a fee”


  • I posted before seeing your longer post. I’ll hunt down that other post, but I should note that Blogcritics is very different in nature than most of the sites you mention. IRC is nothing but comments, and UBB/VB/etc don’t tend to follow the same format as BC either. Slashdot is perhaps a closer analog, but even then not really. The non-comment editorial content tends to be minimal.

    Eric might have a different view, but I’ve always considered the posts to be the primary strength of BC, with a comments a very nice and powerful and wonderful second place.

    Most importantly, though, what you suggest would require a significant investment of time and code, since it isn’t part of MovableType as it is. Since I do this for free, smaller incremental improvement happen a lot more easily. 🙂

    Besides, like Craig said, it’s a community!

  • Remember, one of the businesses I have is doing coding for a living, Phillip, so “significant investment in time and coding” would mean almost an entire rewrite of the code to me. You could have a different perspective of these choice of words based upon your firsthand experience with the actual code so it’s entirely possible that from a professional standpoint we would both agree.

    I do totally understand and respect “the doing for free” part so if it is something you guys are seriously (really) interested in, then maybe the three of us can work together on it and you guys can work me in on a business arrangement (I am not available to do this for free, but I am open to other creative possibilities that might not necessarily include dollars changing hands) — we can talk about this in more detail privately, so Eric and you should give me a call. We have a toll free line that I can get you privately if you are interested.

    I don’t see this as a hugely complex task, but then I haven’t studied the existing code here either, so again I’ll reserve judgement on just how much time and code would be necessary.

    Here’s basically how it could be done though:

    A cookie could be checked for a list of ignore names when the page is output and simply not display content from those names based on the cookie dynamically.

    One problem I see with this is that the commenter “names” aren’t pass protected so anybody could use my name in a post and it would be blocked, although I haven’t seen even one legitimate occurence of name stealing (ok, well, strike that if you count the Jimi Hendrix posts). So it would require some sort of registration to be a truly effective system, but I believe we’ve been down this road before and you guys had little interest in using a membership system.

    I’ve done this type of feature many, many times for clients. Haven’t done a hack for Movable Type though but I see the generated pages are .php and PHP pages are perfect for this type of thing. I’ve done lots of programs that generate php pages with code in them to detect and display varying content based on user account settings/customizations.

    Just think, you could also allow folks to alter the colors to fit their preference 😉 I’ve learned that users like the ability to customize and control the content.

    Again, I’m not suggesting to do this as a free thing, I’m suggesting to do this for a fee for those who want additional features or advertising cancel-out similar to what Slashdot is doing. If this kind of thing didn’t work, then they wouldn’t be doing it.

  • Sandra Smallson

    Tdavid, When I referred to the size of your balls, it was not an issue of topic. I was on topic threw out until you arrived “off topic” as usual and made a snide comment. I was referring to the size of your balls which by all appearances are still the size of cherries:) Must have hit a spot because this is the 2nd time you comment on it outside the topic where it was mentioned:) Dont worry sweetie, big/small, most gals dont mind the size with THAT particular..err..organ. No need to keep hounding me all over blog critics:)

    You are what one calls a virtual stalker. You cant stay away from me it seems. This is exactly what you complain about. What has your post got to do with this topic? Everybody here is responding to a post by Craig and speaking from their experiences on the board and trust you to look for Sandra..its only laughable because I know we will never cross paths and the issue of a restraining order is therefore a moot point.

    priciples was a typo..you know quite well I meant principles..but by all means, pick at it, if it brings you pleasure. Little things please little minds. As for the spot b/w my legs, if one can judge from my interactions with you, I doubt you would know how to identify the spot b/w my legs or any other female’s legs if you fell on/in it.

  • Sandra Smallson

    BHW: You, I vaguely remember. My comment that got your head spinning? Here’s another personal attack..head spinning? Oh, head? Is that what you call that box of cotton wool you carry on your neck? Who would have known?!

    Tom: Who are you? I have forgotten about any interaction with you. Thats how much of an impact any of your comments have made on me. I dont even remember having any discussion with you at all, but if you are cut from the same cloth as this other stalker, and the other follower without a mind of his own, then your feelings are no surprise. You are fully entitled to whatever opinions you’ve formed about me as I am entitled to my opinions about you. I do not remember you so I have no opinions at the mo. Consider that a good thing, I think. Thank you though, good or bad, its always amusing to see how easy it is to infiltrate the psyche of soft targets;) so to speak:)

    Speaking of soft targets, I come to this Phillip Winn man, lol..now, YOU, are just a hot bed of amusement for me. We disagreed on scripture, before that, I dont think I have ever come across you. You run in here, like a kid who has just been told he can play Bball with the rest of the kids and start talking nonsense. You are something to be laughed at, thats for sure.

    All this talk, I think you are all grown men, Tdavid, Bhw(who claims to be female) and PWinn. Yet, you act like people with the brains God gave a four year old and with your posts and reactions so far, its a brain the 4 yr old was well glad to be rid off, I’m sure.

    You are all so childish. If you were going to ignore somebody, you JUST DO IT. It loses its effect if you are talking about when and how and who..LOL. Whats the point? If you feel so strongly about not having to read stuff from this person, you just ignore the person, theres no need to make an announcement out of it. You only make noise about it when you want to draw attention to yourselves and to what you are doing, “oh, look at me everybody I am about to ignore this person? Do you think this is kindergarten? If I was going to ignore anyone, I would feel no need to make drama out of it. I would just do it and move on. Thats how adults and REAL people behave, not pretentious, self righteous, know it all blogites.

    I will not ignore anyone because I like to read all. I will respond to whoever I choose to respond to. I have no beef with whether this is a community or not but I can safely say I am not that interested in whether I get a response or not. I come, I write my opinion, if I get a response to it, a debate ensues, if not, oh well.

    So, thats bhw, tdavid, tom, winn, is 4 enough? Enough personal attacks for you guys? Ofcourse, nevermind that you have all drawn my attention to your attention seeking selves on this topic. I’m sure I’ll get someone ranting about personal attacks. I hope I have satisfied your need for that. I aim to please. Its no wonder that people whose heads spin when a person says you get what you deserve be it respect or courtesy are treated with the utmost disrespect and total lack of courtesy from me. Treatment with disdain is not too far off at this rate.

  • Sandra Smallson

    threw..through..and please ask Tdvaid to make spelling corrections if need be, on my behalf. Thanks:)

  • I rest my case.

  • I think that was my line.

  • JR

    Craig: “Anyway, I am really not that cheesy a guy, but I fell into an interaction yesterday that left me sour. I didn’t like the way the other person was acting and I ended up hating the things that I wrote too.”

    Kinda hard on yourself, eh? I don’t think you wrote anything to be ashamed of.

  • Not ashamed necessarily of the content, but the “attack” mode I went into. That’s not normally my M.O. for engaging people in conversation around here.

  • JR

    Sometimes you have to be firm.

  • bhw

    Bhw(who claims to be female)

    Indeed. And I have the spot to prove it.

    Out, out damn spot!
    Spot on!

  • bhw

    Is it me, or are some of these comments the living definition of a rhetorical nightmare?

    Man, I haven’t laughed out loud this hard in eons.

  • BB

    My profession is mediation and I’m trained in conflict resolution, and the dysfunctional community of Blogcritics seems to me a good candidate. I have been considering posting articles along the lines of my comments above – i.e. how we become entrenched in our positions and paradigms and how to resolve conflict. But given some of the whacko comments that I’ve read I wonder if it would do any good. It seems that some people find sick humor in the misery of others. If on the perchance anybody is interested please e-mail me and let me know.

  • Mediation, schmediation. There’d be no need for any of this fighting and rancor- or any danged mediations- if you would all just close ranks behind ME, AL BARGER, your alpha male.

    Follow me, become my willing servants!

  • Ren


    And you’re all proving his point nicely… err… well some of you are. Others aren’t so nice.

    A true community of diversity. LOVELY.

    Me, I’ve got very simplistic views on the topic – ie, PLAY NICE.

    Accept people’s differences of opinion, don’t discredit them for not agreeing with you.

  • Follow me, become my willing servants!

    can i keep my Black Sabbath records?

  • Yes, Mark, you may keep your Sabbath records- so long as you are tithing to ME, AL BARGER.

  • I dunno about that. Seems to me that since Mark and I agree more often than Barger and I do, Mark should give any Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult or Metallica he has laying around to me. That would make him an excellent member of the ‘community.’

    And, oh, I want your Zappa by Christmas, so hurry up, Mark.

  • Craig wrote: “With all due respect, you are commenting. This is interaction. With the addition of this how can you just say it is merely a place to write?”

    With all due respect, I don’t look at it that way. I see each comment as a writing exercise.

  • Natalie, I am not ready to agree to disagree on this one. It is a writing exercise usually based on a reaction to someone else’s comments or the original post. If the writing exercise is based on what someone else wrote it is a form of interaction.

    On top of that, I have seen you engage certain people directly in your comments. If you want to call that a writing exercise, I will have to accept it, because that isn’t untrue, but I think you are squeezing me on the semantics here.

  • gees…lookit all the grief barger’s causing me….though he will pick up one big fan, namely my wife…who will be more than happy that the sabbath, blue oyster cult and metallica have left the building.

  • Furthermore, if it is all just an exercise in writing why not just open a document and save it to a my documents on your local hard drive? If it is just about writing wouldn’t that be a lot less overhead?

  • The Blogcritics.org RSS feed (only one for now, but more coming) is available in either 1.0 (RDF) or .91 (RSS) format. I do have a bunch of changes in mind for how RSS works, but for now that’s it.

    TDavid, I’ll email you about this, in the interest of keeping stuff most people don’t care about off of this thread. Bottom line for the general public is that I’m really against this for a lot of reasons, not including the work involved. Building a successful community is harder than most people seem to think, and I’ve watch time after time after time as site owners try to squeeze “just a little more” out of a site and kill it completely.

  • I’m opposed to the filtering function as well. If’n you don’t want to read someone’s comment, then it doesn’t take much to scan down to the next entry.

    The filtering thing seems to be mostly a way to pretend that other people simply don’t exist. Ah, but they do. The Diva exists and writes here, whether anyone likes it or not, and so do I.

    Deal with it. 🙂

  • yea, i agree will al (holy crap!) on this.

    way back in usenet land we used to “off” people by sticking them in our .kill file (anybody remember the word “PLONK!”)

    this was usually reserved for posters who were there only to make trouble.

    i don’t really see too much of that going on here.

  • I think that it is pretty obvious that this function will not be coming to this site. Phillip clearly doesn’t want it, he is the site admin and has access to the code, Eric hasn’t responded at all on this subject. It’s totally cool if I’m in the minority on this one. It was only a suggestion and a possible solution that is regularly used in other communities. If it doesn’t hold relevence here, so be it.

    So, it’s a dead issue … or at least in a flatline state anyway. If Eric and/or Phillip want to resuscitate this, then they’ll get with me privately and we’ll see where that leads. Otherwise, no biggie.

    This doesn’t mean, however, that some industrious user(s) might create this functionality for their own use as mentioned in #35.

    It is your folks time and of course you can spend it however you please. Al if that does or doesn’t include listening to Sabbath records backwards at your fan club meetings, it’s cool 😉

  • damn, sorry about all that bold stuff, I wasn’t trying to do that (must have forgotten to close a tag) … I didn’t mean that at all. If someone with power can fix that, please do it.

  • BB

    TD I will support you in this endeavor. I appreciate being challenged by commentators, but some people do cross the line. Certain people are of the mistaken notion that it is their right to stalk others and berate them at every opportunity which is a form abuse. If technology can enable a poster to have some semblance of control over their articles – i.e. an ignore button – and if it will help keep the peace around hear then I am all for it.

  • Eric Olsen

    Okay, I’m here. i wasn’t ignoring anyone or any issue, but I’m a full week behind on two big year-end stories and I have to have them in sometime today. Hence my absence.

    I’m sure if I have a strong opinion yet, but my inclination is to say that I’d rather people ignore subjects or specific threads but not everything a person has to say by technologically eliminating their existence.

    I’m around more than anyone and lots of things either don’t interest me, annoy me, or are a direct criticism of me, and I don’t find it very hard to just ignore them.

    Another thing this would do is preclude any kind of change or reconciliation: once you fix someone as a nonentity, they no longer exist and there will never be any movement.

    I think it makes much more sense to just say leave me alone if someone really annoys the shit out of you – it will be obvious if they do not, don’t you think?

    None of this is set in stone and I am always open to new ideas and ways of doing things and at any moment I can change my mind for no apparent reason.

  • BB

    Eric, even if nothing is done at this time at least this conversation has made a point – that being there is a real problem at Blogcritics that needs fixing. Hopefully some good will come from all of this and the abusers will get the message. But if not then at least we know what our options are. Speak softly but carry the big stick (and don’t be afraid to use it 😉

  • Craig, whether or not you are ready to agree to disagree doesn’t much matter to me. I am.

    TO ME, it is a writing exercise with topics/angles proposed by what I read here. Yes, a few of the people I actually enjoy, but for the most part, it’s no different than being in a classroom or newsroom and being given assignments by often nasty teachers or editors. Not a community, not an adventure — a job, an exercise.

    You see it as you will. Why are you determined to command how I should view it?

  • I am not talking about how you should view it. I am talking about the definition of the word community. I don’t understand where the divide is here.

  • That you believe the definition of community fits here and I do not.

  • Ok, I am going to approach this a different way then. I am too intrigued to stop now.

    Do you believe that there is any place on the internet that can be considered a community? If so, what are the characteristics that make it so? If not, what is it lacking that makes it not so?

  • Problem is, I am not intrigued in the slightest.

  • I am really disappointed. I have always respected you and approached you with honesty whenever there is some interaction. What is your problem with explaining yourself? I know you don’t OWE anyone anything and you reserve the right to do anything you want, but I don’t feel like I have done anything to disrespect you, yet I take this as a complete disrespect to me and my opinion. I guess that’s my problem, but I don’t get it.

  • BB

    Don’t sweat it Craig. Blogcritics fight like all dysfunctional families. Blogcritics is a virtual community every bit as real as the gay community, the black/white/asian/aboriginial or any other group that happens to share certain interests or commonalties. Blogcritics just happens to be a sinister community of superior bloggers who are a little more critical than most. 😉

  • At the risk of incurring the wrath of Ms Natalie, I suspect this “Blogcritics are not a community” theme of hers somehow connects to her general alienation from the entire community around her. She’s not a bit grateful on the 4th of July, obsessively hateful of Dubya, and only wishes to raise enough money to go live in Canada away from us mean old Americans.

    Is it surprising that someone so studiously spiteful and anti-social would be adamant about not wanting to give us the moral sanction of being worthy to be considered part of any “community” with her?

  • I don’t see Blogcritics as a community, either.

    It’s a place to post articles.

  • I see Blogcritics as a Web-based publication for which I may write articles, but has some community aspects as well, only because it’s a blog-based publication.

    If it weren’t published in blog-format, it would have about as much community as say, People Magazine.com, et al. Blog-based publications do have more communal tendencies than do your average Web-based publications, but only because of their chronic updating and commenting functions, which other publications lack. The interaction allowed by blog-based publications creates a community-like atmosphere. Bloggers do not write letters to the editor because they can post their comments directly and share information freely, thus, creating somewhat of a community atmosphere.

    When writing, though, I tend to think of it more as a publication, but it does have some community aspects, as do other blogs in the blogosphere.

  • With very few exceptions, I note that one’s stated views of Blogcritics as a community or not are often reflected in the choices one makes when posting and/or commenting. <grin>

  • According to some statements around here, it you are living in a community and you don’t like your neighbors you aren’t any longer in a community. Forget the fact that you do your grocery shopping there, you pick up your dry-cleaning and you drive through the local McDonalds… because you don’t like your neighbors is it no longer a community? Is it just a place to live? That seems like argumentative semantics to me.

  • classifying BC as a community implies a recognition of the equality and merit of people who hold diamterically opposed views. two of the most prominent and active BCs insist that this is not a community. is their refusal a function of the genuine diversity here? would they view it as a community after a purge of those holding disfavored views? i don’t know, and they’re under no obligation to amplify their views.

    frequent commenting and recall of individuals from past encounters runs contrary to insisting that this is a mere repository for articles, in my view. people who just post articles and avoid comments and personalities have a much stronger claim that this is not a community. likewise, people who visit the site to read the articles and seldom comment are much more akin to visitors and not community members.

    like i always say, craig lyndall is a menace to society.

  • Craig – since there is no registration function I would say that technically Blogcritics is more like a club of writers than a virtual community.

    I have labeled it a community above and before as a matter of convenience, but upon further reflection and after reading many of the comments here I would tend to lean towards this place not really be the same as a place where people become members by registering like at a messageboard.

    The mere fact that anybody can use my name, or the name of well known people who are dead like Jimi Hendrix, does not provide any sort of secured identification. It also doesn’t help prevent one person from carrying on the guise of being multiple people, wearing masks, a la Sybil.

    Mark my words that unless this technical aspect is changed and registration (free or otherwise) is someday required at this site, it will be become enough of a nuisance to warrant change.

    Anonymous commenting has traditionally wreaked havoc across the web. This is one of the few sites where there is at least a minimum level of anon intelligence so kudos to those who have pulled this off.

    Maybe this has something to do with the word “dysfunctional” that has been thrown around lately to describe the general atmosphere here.

  • Craig, it isn’t meant with disrespect in any way. But I am not intrigued, I have very little disposable time these days, and what time I do have is, IMO, better spent on other pursuits. It is the same thing I would say to an editor who proposes an article I have no interest in writing. And, as you say, I have no duty to “explain myself,” especially when there is no hope of you and me agreeing on this. There is no point to me expending more time on this. On another topic, perhaps. But it isn’t about you or not having respect for you as a human being. At the same time, you disrespect my desire to “agree to disagree,” which IS as far as this will go, for me, anyway. I have stated my view; you don’t like it. OK. You’re still a good person.

    Work to do…

  • BB

    Chris and Phillip hit it bang on. Very insightful guys. To those who would say this is not a community, the technical word for it is ‘denial’ and you’re missing the big picture. You can live at the same address for ten years but if you snub your neighbours you are not going to feel belonging to the community. Like everything else you only get what you put into it.

  • BB

    I should also add that I concur with Natalie insofar as we can (or should) be adult enough to agree to disagree without being disrespectful or feeling threatened. Well done everybody, this has been a healthy discussion and I congratulate you all.

  • Eric Olsen

    I actually find this thread depressing.

  • Why do you find it depressing? I could guess, but I wouldn’t want to.

  • Eric Olsen

    Unlike normally when I say too much, I will this time leave it at that.

  • BB

    Post-Partum perhaps Eric? Not to be insensitive, I agree this discussion doesn’t make for great entertainment, but then again sharing one’s feelings is never fun. Nevertheless I believe something good will come of it. A sincere Merry Christmas to all my fellow Blogcritics!!!

  • Don’t know for sure, BB (thanks for the support above, BTW), but maybe Eric is saying he is too close to this one?

    Or maybe new baby Alex is just keeping him up all night 😉 argh, I remember those days!

  • Eric Olsen

    The post itself is fine and the sentiments are noble – I guess I find the sniping over trivialities disheartening, especially when there are an infinite number of real issues to argue over.

  • How can we argue over real issues if we can’t even agree on something as clear-cut as the definition of the word community? The grass is green. 1 + 1 = 2.

  • Perhaps some aren’t interested in arguing at all.

  • Dawn

    One definition for “community” according to Encarta is:

    “people with common background: a group of people with a common background or with shared interests within society”

    That could emphatically and loosely apply to this case.

    While we don’t agree with each other’s opinions all the time, or in the case of Brian Flemming and myself – NEVER, we share the same interests and that is: voicing out opinions, knowledge interests and concerns on a forum that is encapsulated into one area: Blogcritics.

    Whether we like or not, we are part of some kind of community. Just like my neighborhood. I like my next door neighbors and we enjoy hanging out, but those rich fucks behind us, well I think they can go piss in the wind. Does that mean they aren’t my neighbors because I don’t like them? No, sadly I still share municipality with them and we are responsible for being courteous and relatively civil to one another.

    When you share space, even virtual space, and when you interact and address another, that is a conversation, and a conversation that occurs in the same space with others also communicating their ideas, well then you have a community.

    Just like we are all part of a global community; some things just are, whether we like it or not.

  • BB

    Well said Dawn. You continually amaze me how you even have the strength to keep writing let alone so well might I add. And because this is a community I believe this discussion has been cathartic in a sense and the timing is impeccable coming into the Christmas season. Peace on Earth and Goodwill towards all Blogcritics!

  • BB

    TD, I certainly know what you mean about lack of sleep. For the first 3 years after little Sam was born, every night at the stroke of midnight it was time to party on dude.

  • How can I quiet these Al Barger voices in my head?

    and only wishes to raise enough money to go live in Canada away from us mean old Americans.

    Geez you make that sound like a bad thing? Last time I checked (looking out the window right now) Canada is a fine place to live, in fact better than the USA. I don’t have to worry about being shot by some hooligan, if I get sick, it will not bankrupt me, I don’t have to worry about an oligarchy going on a global rampage, and what ever messes you make, we clean up after.

    We’re polite, we make good beer, we have several languages, we can marry whoever we want, we’ve got rightous weed, we’ve got hotties, we play hockey, we kick ass.

    I think Al Barger has nation envey and regrets not being able to wear a touque.

  • I am not going to claim to know which country is better, but I will tell you this story to let you know that not all your countrymen feel the same way. I was in Canada a couple weeks ago and I cracked my windshield and I had to have it fixed before I drove home. I took it to a place and when I gave my address to the guy working at the place, he gave me a funny look. I was North of Toronto by about 20 minutes and he said point blank, “Why the fuck would you come here? If I lived in the states I would never come up here.” I didn’t know what to say to him so I said, “Well I am here on business.” He said, “I wish I lived there. You can’t get rich here paying all the money to the government.”

    Anyway, like I said, I don’t know and all the things you mentioned are nice, but not everyone in Canada agrees with you.

  • Well, that’s the thing about community, you’ve got to deal with idiots (and when did geography start to get measured by time?) Anybody who is stuck north of Tronna at a gas station is probably too stupid to live anywhere.

    Anyway, like I said, I don’t know and all the things you mentioned are nice, but not everyone in Canada agrees with you.

    Chances are that gas station dude would be worse off in the States (and if he could get over the border, oh, wait, he’s too stupid to get out of whatever hick town he lives in).

    The point is that we are pissed off about things, and don’t think everything is fine. But that is what makes things great in Canada, unlike the USA, we don’t insist that there be groupthink. One of our national slogans is “who do you think you are?”

  • Sorry, forgot how many Kilometers it was. In all fairness, I don’t think there is groupthink going on here in the USA. I didn’t say the auto-glass shop owner was right (nor did I say he was the auto-glass store owner) but just reporting what he said. I like Canada just fine based on my visits and like I said I don’t know enough to argue Canada vs. USA.

  • BB

    Taxes, taxes? Canadians love their stinkin taxes!

  • Well, yay, it’s about community, isn’t it? All for everybody, from everybody.

    Geez you’d think you were behind some sort of slavery from the few to the few.

  • Craig, I can’t blog an item now because my computer is in the shop. However, I may pen something on the topic when it comes back. (Probably sometime after the holidays since it went in so late.) Here is something to think about in the meantime: One reason people form communities is so they can exclude other people from them. As Al Barger noted, that is the real goal of some of the people on this thread. So, I think you should be somewhat understanding of why some of us may be skeptical of some definitions of ‘community.’

    I had intended to do more links for some members of the Blogcritics community before letting my PowerBook go, but couldn’t. Brian, yours is up at Mac-a-ro-nies. So is one for Winston. Barger, Natalie, etc., I’ll hit you when my computer comes back.

  • BB

    Meanwhile back at the ranch..

    We all have a choice to be either negative or positive. Some of us even delight in cynicism but I choose the latter.

  • Why force Blogcritics into something it isn’t? As a leading contributor, I merely see this as a place to print my reviews of gigs, games and music, plus music news. Any reciprocal traffic to Dodgeblogium is merely a bonus but not my reason for contributing. I occasionally post a comment on a subject of music or something amusing.

    Blogcritics is not a community but an interactive magazine. Trying to force it to be something it isn’t is a great mistake and could backfire.

    I notice that Craig didn’t mention the large group of libertarians who frequent these pages. Wonder why?

  • Sorry for not mentioning the Libertarians. Oversight on my part.

    By the way, what exactly is an interactive magazine? Why must we argue over semantics? The interaction is precisely why I called it a community. You want to recognize the attributes but for some reason the word community offends so many people.

    It really isn’t saying any more than what you just said. It isn’t saying we get along, or have respect for each other. It just means we all post and interact in the same place with the same guidelines and rules, which we do. It so happens that there aren’t many rules, but we do have categories and Amazon links and things like that that could be considered rules. That is a community. There is no connotation past that.

  • Still all this unnecessary strife and arguing that could all be resolved so easily if you would all just resolve to follow the path of Bargertarianism.

    All these needless divisions between liberals, conservatives, libertarians, blacks and whites, straight/gay/goats- all so unnecessary.


    Then we will all be part of a true community, a community of service to ME, AL BARGER.

  • Shut up, Al LOL

  • Eric Olsen

    After going through all of these comments again, I have the impression that people are concerned that by naming something it is thereby destroyed. I can understand that and it’s fine – think of it in whatever way makes you comfortable and keeps the boat afloat. Happy Holidays.

  • BlogCritics is Al’s house. Must listen to Barger. Must be Barger’s willing servant. Must hate Pinkos. Do what Barger says.

    Whoa, what was that? Did I just type that?

  • Following Al is like following the guy with the Nike’s and special apple sauce. Just look what practicing anti-Sabbath did to him.

    The library in his area will never be the same.

  • BB

    Shall we call Al’s followers the Bargerites? Or how about the Bargertarians?

    The fact that 109 comments have already been made to this post and the interaction thereof merely validates the fact that we are a diverse community – a reflection of the global village that we all represent. And only the internet could have made it all possible.

  • that’s fine….but i’m still not readin’ The Fountainhead!

  • It’s cool, Mark- you don’t have to actually READ The Fountainhead. You can just trust my word about what it says. It’ll be like Catholics and the Bible.

  • BB

    I will follow Al. I will follow Al. I will follow Al. I will follow Al. I will follow Al. I will follow Al. I..

    (sung to the tune of Battle Hyme of the Republic).

  • I don’t know where all this Bargerism will lead to, but I know it isn’t good, look what happened last time:

    Say, don’t you remember, they called me “Al”
    It was “Al” all the time
    Why don’t you remember, I’m your pal
    Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

  • Eric Olsen

    You can democratize the movement by adopting “Call Me Al” as the theme song – it’ll belike communism, and Al will like that.

  • John Mudd

    LOL…now that’s just too funny…

    We could call it Alinism and he could have his own book, “The Alinhead” or “Al Shrugs”, or, perhaps even the “Al Manifesto” or maybe, um, “Al Kampf” or even perhaps “Mein Al”.

    He could even have a car: The “Alwagon”. And a burger: “Alburger”.
    Hmm…maybe a restaurant: “Aleats”.

    Perhaps a stock exchange: “Aldaq”.
    Or, a bank: “Al Republican National Bank”.

    A nightclub, maybe? “Shake Your Al”.

    There could be many other things in an all Al society. You just never know where it all could lead…

    Where would it lead? The world may never know. Of course, there’s probably some investor out there contemplating how to capitalize off of the new Al trend. You never know…

  • BB

    Al RULES !!! Al for President !!! ALL HAIL Al !!!

  • HW Saxton Jr.

    BB huh?Well,I suppose that it does show
    more imagination than using John Smith
    or Mr.Jones. Nice try,Al!

  • The image of Blogcritics community then would be me in the Alice Cooper cult leader role from the Sgt Pepper movie watching football and drinking beer back behind the curtain, as my hall full of mind numbed robots worship my big screen video visage.

    By the way, this is not my first crack at starting a new religion. It’s fun!

  • Its not semantics…really. Community is such an overused work. Interactivity does not make a community…sorry it just doesn’t.

  • I suggest you buy a dictionary Andrew.

  • Andrew, I understand your feelings of alienation- but they’re all so unnecessary. Follow me, and become part of the community of Bargertarians, and watch your troubles in mind melt away.


  • jenny

    i do not think u r right!!
    thanks for the info 🙂