Friday , April 19 2024

Welcome to the NEW Blogcritics

As you might have noticed, Blogcritics has taken on a rather new look. Yes, the logo hasn’t changed, the colors are still (more or less) the same, but much is different. So please take the time to peruse the site and its new features, and then we’d appreciate it if you took the time to leave a comment, and share the site (and your thoughts) with the social media world.

What’s new?


Site navigation is at the top of the page. We now have six sections: TV, Books, Culture and Society, Music, Gaming, and Film. Science and Technology, Sports, Politics, and Tastes are now part of the Culture and Society section. Under each section, you can bring up reviews, interviews, and more.

In the “slider” (the changing image banner at the top) is also known as “Top Stories.” Each morning the executive editors will select the five best stories of the past 24 hours and designate them top stories.

Editors’ Picks: Selected by each section editor, they represent the best of the current content on the site for each section. They are updated at least daily.

Article posts

Gone are the days of paging through four, five, six, or more pages to read an article on BC. Every article is self-contained on one page. To the left of the article are social media buttons. We invite you to share our content with your friends, family, and everyone else on the planet. The comments functionality is entirely re-designed as well. Using DISQUS, you can now respond directly to another person’s comment (no cutting and pasting!). You can share your comments across social media and also vote up or down on any comment (no trolling, please!). Old comments may not appear yet from the old site, but rest assured, they will be migrated over very soon.


Click on any of the six section titles (Books, Music, etc.) and you’ll be brought to the home page of that section, where you’ll see all its latest articles, reviews, and interviews.

What’s Hot

Scroll down and you’ll see along the right side Hot Articles (the most-read articles), our Writer of the Week, Hot Topics (the most commented-on articles), and more.


About Barbara Barnett

A Jewish mother and (young 🙃) grandmother, Barbara Barnett is an author and professional Hazzan (Cantor). A member of the Conservative Movement's Cantors Assembly and the Jewish Renewal movement's clergy association OHALAH, the clergy association of the Jewish Renewal movement. In her other life, she is a critically acclaimed fantasy/science fiction author as well as the author of a non-fiction exploration of the TV series House, M.D. and contributor to the book Spiritual Pregnancy. She Publisher/Executive Editor of Blogcritics, (

Check Also

‘Blogcritics’ – An Appreciation

Thinking about my many years here at 'Blogcritics.'


  1. A few things I’m noticing right away…
    1. Articles all on one page are good. Let me say that again. This is good. I repeat myself in case anyone might be wistfully wondering whether splitting them up again might be a bright idea. I beg leave to remind that it was universally agreed back when it first happened that it was not.
    2. The search tool doesn’t work, so unless this is because we’re waiting for the search engines to finish indexing the site on the new platform, this means any content not currently advertised on the main pages is effectively non-retrievable.
    3. No comment preview function.
    4. No Fresh Comments page (the “Most Recent Comments” sidebar won’t cut it). This was how many regular BCers monitored ongoing conversations on the old site.
    5. No Author Index page, which is a shame for people who want to find out if their favourite BC writer has published anything recently.
    6. No ability to use an alias if you sign in using social media to comment.
    7. Page load time is excruciatingly slow.

    • roger nowosielski

      And what about loss of all the comments, Dreadful. Some of them were better than the articles themselves. Shame.

      I should have anticipated a fuck-up job and made necessary arrangements. Now it’s all gone.

      • I agree. That’s tragic, Roger. The comments were the greatest strength BC had and the BC of today does not have the community strength to generate comments that good again.

        • roger nowosielski

          I may have overreacted, Tex. Barbara assures us comments will be migrated at some point to the new format, so let’s wait & see. But I could imagine the wrath of the Unnecessary Pap Smear interlocutors if all their postings were to come to naught.

          • Yes, comments are slated to be ported into the new system. There are over 800,000 of them, and it was just too much data to handle for launch (without pushing back the launch date further).

          • roger nowosielski

            Barbara, what’s with the “mod ‘s” status I see appended next to your name? How does it work?

          • The comments are not moderated any differently than before (except there should be far less spam). I did not write the above comment 🙂 Must’ve been Chris or Ron.

            We should have a “hot topics” on the sidebar, which is the old “most comments.” I will look into why it’s not there.

          • roger nowosielski

            I was hoping that the idea of “independent censor” was being phased out and the function relegated for the most part to OPs, which is to say, the writers.

            This is an enlightened way of administering a comments policy, and it’s being employed by many sites, CT (Crooked Timber) for example.

            Oh well!

          • on the other hand, there is an awful lot of unspam-like spam out there…

          • I don’t really understand how that would work, Roger, nor is it true that Crooked Timber operates solely in that way. From their Comments Policy “We welcome comments from readers on posts, but you do so as guests in
            our private space. Concepts of ‘censorship’ are not applicable. If your
            comments are blatantly racist, sexist or homophobic we will delete them
            and ban you from the site. The same goes for comments which are
            personally defamatory or insulting or which seek to derail a thread
            through provocation of one kind or another. If your comments strike us
            as stupid or irrelevant we may also delete them in the interests of
            keeping the conversation at a reasonable level.

            Commenters who who routinely seek to make marginally relevant debating
            points may be barred to make room for those with a substantive
            contribution to the discussion. It is up to us. Individual members of CT
            may ban particular readers from commenting on their posts, based on
            their own criteria for constructive discussion, or we may reach a group
            decision on a ban from the site as a whole.”

            So in fact, they practice a LOT of censorship, despite claiming not to, and are far more intrusive than we are by a huge margin. I wouldn’t call that enlightened…

          • roger nowosielski

            I didn’t say “solely,” Chris, but from what I have seen, it is mostly by the OPs. Further, irrelevancies are as bad as trolling, so I don’t see any problem there.

            Why wouldn’t entering one’s email address just once be good for all future postings? Can anyone tell?

          • bad…almost as bad as folks who take themselves so seriously that trolling and irrelevances look bad to them

          • I quite like the way conversations can go where they want to.

          • Agreed. (And nesting, or whatever you call it, has the makings for wonderfully convoluted threads.)

          • Roger Nowosielski

            So you’re not tired as yet of having these wonderful bouts with the Contrarian?

            I would have thought that you and troll were quite exasperated at times, ready to call it quits. And you have for a stretch at times.

            Again, what I must do not having to keep on re-entering the email address every time I post. I already registered with Disquis and the World Press.

          • I prefer having the choice about arguing pointlessly with Glenn to having an OP in a position to decide that such an argument will not take place on his thread. And what with collapsible nests, irrelevant side tracks should pose no threat to the OP’s idea of moving the conversation forward, anyway.

          • roger nowosielski

            Perhaps I’m being biased here. I’d rather have one Marthe Raymond than ten Glenns. And if it were up to me, I’d have her on my threads in a NY minute, even if she were to rub people off in a wrong way, but as things stand, I can’t, so don’t imagine now we’re not being controlled.

            As to your having a choice, of course I wouldn’t cut you off, because it’s you. Value judgment, I guess. But ten Glenns on the anarchistic thread?

            Be serious!

          • If you would like to petition the powers that be to reinstate Marthe’s ability to participate, I’d certainly support you, although I don’t know that she’d care to return.

          • roger nowosielski

            She’d be willing to, I’ve been trying to negotiate on her behalf with Chris; but the verdict is: she’d have to petition for reinstatement, and only then approved. And you know she’s not going to eat the humble pie.

          • Chris and Marthe are intelligent enough to figure a way forward. Either one could view our request to be sufficient cause to take the next step without loss of face.

            Marthe’s voice should not be censored; Chris’ need for civility should be acknowledged (if not always respected.)

          • Roger is being less than accurate, troll.

            As I have explained to him in several emails, as Marthe was only banned after a prolonged period of wilful and persistent abuse towards other commenters, I am willing to have her back with the simple proviso that she accepts that we can’t accept such behaviour, which she seems unwilling to do.

            Her voice isn’t being censored at all, and I don’t have a need for civility, but the site does… Even then, we are incredibly tolerant compared to many other sites; Marthe simply went too far and ignored repeated opportunities to desist, so we were left with no choice unfortunately.

          • Looks to be a pretty simple proviso to me…

            I was referring to her voice were she to return and I was referring to you in your position as comments editor

          • roger nowosielski

            I believe I implied this between the lines, Chris. And think all of us know, including Marthe, that her reinstatement would be subject to those very conditions. I just don’t think that inviting her to join in would be reneging on those condition, and perhaps the kind of gesture that might settle this thing, if only temporarily.

            You’re fair enough to know that most everyone deserves a second shot, but we don’t have to rub their noses in shit as a precondition for granting it.

            Magnanimity is what’s needed here., and I always took you for a magnanimous person. Let’s exercise some noblesse oblige, especially since we’re in the position of control. How could it hurt?

          • Roger, now you are being exasperating. Nothing I have said on the topic of Marthe has come anywhere close to rubbing “their noses in shit”, all I have done is say that she needs to accept the reality of our situation and so far that is not the case.

          • Perhaps a simple note offering to try again without stipulations assuming that everyone knows what the ‘requirements’ are…..?

          • Troll, my view is that if Marthe wants to come back, as opposed to Roger wanting her to come back, she needs to take the initiative, which doesn’t seem like much to expect.

          • roger nowosielski

            She accepts that reality, Chris. There was nothing in our correspondence to suggest she does not. So the question still revolves about who is going to make the first move, you or her.

          • As it is she that apparently wants to come back, it will have to be her, Roger, which I would have thought was more than obvious…

          • Since the act for which she was banned was an egregious insult to my dying wife, I, for one, am unconditionally opposed to her return.

          • She’d have some interpersonal hurdles to overcome, I guess.

          • roger nowosielski

            Kinda cold, Clavos.

            Are you certain now she was aware of your wife’s condition?

          • Oh yeah, Roger. It was evident in the language of the insult.

          • roger nowosielski

            In any case, the reformatting of BC to its present look, with “Culture and Society” having become an all-inclusive matrix for all kinds of thought, including the political, may well represent a larger, more comprehensive theme at work, a theme which becomes all-pervasive, and its object is to sanitize the all aspects of culture to the point of rendering them bland and harmless vis-a-vis the Empire: the theme of the New Age, one might say.

            One has to wonder about the extent to which Barbara Barnett was the chief architect of the idea, since for Barbara, almost everything has the makings of a TV reality show.

          • roger nowosielski

            Lets forget about it, Ch’ris. It ain’t gonna happen. Her position is:

            “Since I was officially banned by Blogcritics, I would have to receive a similarly official invitation to rejoin.>>>>
            >>>>Keep in mind that my energizing of threads usually includes personal attacks against me for posting while red–in both senses–and tantrums from the dinosaurs.”

          • Thus my earlier question about her wanting to participate. I don’t see how blogcritics would be an improvement in her eyes over CrookedTimber where she was treated as a troll recently and chose to opt out.

          • roger nowosielski

            Most of the commenters on TC are academics, and we both know how academics respond to being challenged, especially if you’re not part of the inner sanctum.

            Her participation on

          • roger nowosielski

            BC would be limited, say to my kind of articles. And since we’ve been engaging in extensive correspondence on those topics, I just thought it would be less cumbersome if she were able to post there directly — if only to energize the discussion.

          • Her response is typical of her, Roger, and exactly in keeping with the attitude that got her banned in the first place.

            As to her “energising of threads”, perhaps that too was more in her own estimation than anybody else’s. To my mind her political arguments were far too 20th Century and retrospective to have much contemporary relevance and her theatrical rage as much prompted by a need to feel relevant as any valid political perspective, although maybe I am mistaken.

          • Marthe re presents the political thinking of a significant portion of the American indigenous movement in support of Bolivarian socialism – very much a 21st century phenomenon. One might legitimately question the accuracy or style of her presentation, but not the relevance of its object.

          • (I see that the new platform hasn’t cleaned up my sloppy habits…replace ‘object’ with ‘subject’ above)

          • Don’t you have an “Edit” option below your own comments?

          • Nope. Not in Chrome or Firefox – that I can identify.

            (Copy does work with the mouse in Chrome.)

          • roger nowosielski

            Troll. you might want to look at this CT thread, concerning James Scott’s latest book, Two Cheers for Anarchism. I made references to his work on other threads, there being no response thus far, but this one is definitely a keeper.

            For some reason, the link doesn’t register. The name of the CT piece is “Memorial Day.”

          • The motif of Turning Away is in the breeze.

            …and the academics joust over just war.

          • Perhaps my commenting as ‘guest’ makes a difference, or that function might be for mods.

          • Don’t know if you’d want to, but perhaps having a Disqus account would give you that functionality?

          • It would be worth it; maybe another account holder who isn’t a mod could tell us if that function comes with the account.

          • roger nowosielski

            Here’s what Anarcissie has to say about Disqus:

            “It’s hard to tell with Disqus.
            The only reader interface I’ve seen that enabled people to move around the commentary tree handily was trn, a reader for Usenet ‘news’, which is now in sad decline. Well, if I don’t like it, I could program my own, I suppose. So I shouldn’t complain.

            One thing that is sort of peculiar about Disqus is that it reports all the writer’s comments across whatever sites it’s used on. So now people will get taxed not only for what they wrote five years ago, but what they wrote (in maybe quite a different context and culture) on Gawker, or Gothamist, or the New York Daily News, or….

            I disapprove of privately-owned monocultures on principle, but in the Internet world, that’s just spitting in the wind.”

          • If this thread is an indication, simply following conversations will be difficult with disqus.

          • roger nowosielski

            Well, you got trees, just follow the branches.

            But it’s certainly not linear.

          • I must say I’m finding it very odd, to say the least….

          • roger nowosielski

            The “edit” function does seem to work, “troll,” at least with Chrome, if you’re an account holder. So one may as well because one, because the platform’s intrusiveness appears equally prevailing, even if you’re a guess, I suppose, via your email.. The only thing is, you must post it first, and then use the edit function. Just done it!

          • Well, I suspect she reflects the petite/haute bourgeoisie “intelligentsia” exploiting the actual indigenous movement for their own ends, but again, I may well be mistaken!

          • Her defense against this charge would be an *energetic* read.

          • roger nowosielski

            Which is precisely why she gets in trouble as often as she does, Chris, for opposing right thinking and well-meaning persons such as you, Which is also why I sort of took upon myself to spread the message to the best of my ability, because I find her voice not only refreshing but also badly missing in most of the blogosphere.

            I also notice that Kurtz’s rather astute comment on this thread, concerning Marthe’s ubiquitous presence in this space, via the efforts of yours truly, along with my response, have been surgically removed, so as to make no doubt in anyone’s mind as to who’s the boss.

          • You’re confusing yourself again, Roger.

            The only reason Marthe is currently banned is for persistently and wilfully abusing people; it has precisely zero to do with “opposing right thinking and well-meaning persons” whatever you mean by that.

            Mr Kurtz is banned for exactly the same reason, which again has nothing to do with “who’s the boss”, which is not something that ever crosses my mind, in this context or any other.

          • roger nowosielski

            There is no confusion whatever in my mind, Christopher, as to why Marthe and Mr. Kurtz were banned. If you’d care to re-read the comment you’re responding to, all I said was “why she gets in trouble as often as she does . . .” There was no reference whatever to the official reasons for having her banned, such as use of abusive language, “willfully abusing people,” and a great host of other unmentionable sins; so in this respect you’re projecting here, for I did not say what you’re trying to saddle me with.

            Again, the point of my comment was: her views don’t sit well with right-thinking and well-meaning blokes such as you. And when you take her up on that, yes, she may be prone to loose her cool and retaliate in a mean way. I’m not here to offer any excuses for her online behavior. I wasn’t there at the time so I don’t have an opinion as to whether her banishment was justifiable or not. Suffice it to say, were the blokes such as you were to agree with her talking points, all would be swell, and that’s all I was saying.

            As to “showing who’s the boss,” I don’t question the fact that it never crosses your mind. The point still remains that in light of the BC official policy of employing a comments editor, such as you or Dreadful, there is no option available other than to expunge anything that Kurtz (or anyone who had been banned) may post “on the fly,” simply because the authority of the office has got to be maintained. And that’s rather unfortunate, in my view, especially if the expunged comments throw some light on what’s being discussed.

            Say saying . . .

          • For someone who likes to present as some kind of anarchist and/or post-anarchist, you sure are obsessed with hierarchies!

            The reason I removed Mr Kurtz’ comment was simply because he is banned for abusive behaviour, it has nothing at all to do with maintaining the authority of the office, nor do I see the work we do in that kind of way.

            As to his comment, it didn’t shed any light at all on what is being discussed, so you actually ARE confused, whether you recognise it or not! lol

          • roger nowosielski

            You must have forgotten the gist of Kurtz’s remark: had to do with Marthe’s ubiquitous presence of these threads nonetheless, because of my efforts. And that was an apt comment, even if you do not think so.

            Secondly, I did’t suggest that Kurtz’s or anyone else’s banishment from here had anything to do with maintaining the authority of the office, only that once the decision to banish was made, there was no option to allow any of the subsequent comments by these people to stand — because the authority of the office had to be maintained. Not quite the same thing, Chris, and re-read my comment if you must, if you’re not certain that that’s what I said.

            Lastly, I would avoid the term “confusion” if I were you; for two times in the row now, It would appear that you’ve misread what I said. Besides, it’s a snotty kind of thing to be saying about anyone, especially when you speak of people “confusing themselves.” I’m certain your command of English is good enough to put things in a more civil way (especially since civility is the underlying leitmotif on this thread).

            How about, “you’re wrong/mistaken in that …”

            Now, doesn’t that sound much better?

          • Roger, I’ve run out of things to say on this topic and don’t see anything to be gained by repeating myself. I think you’re indulging in the philosopher’s habit of arguing over largely imaginary nuances and trying to find distinctions where there aren’t any, so I’m going to leave you to it.

          • roger nowosielski

            So have I, Christopher. Fare well.

          • Glenn Contrarian

            The above discussion concerning Martha is a wonderful example of how everyone involved is honestly trying to do what they fell is the right thing, but those ‘right things’ don’t mesh well together, and so there is conflict.

            Having moderated a (frankly much more energetic) forum than BC Politics, I can well understand Chris’ position (and yes, I know his responsibilities towards BC are much more extensive than simply moderating this section). But my opinion on the matter is well-known. In my time as moderator, I expelled only one person – and that was because he was making personal threats and posting peoples’ personal information online.

            In other words, silencing voices that stray off the reservation doesn’t mean those voices should be silenced; all too often, it means that the reservation needs to grow. Witness the comparative dearth of regular commenters now as compared to years ago.

          • Glenn, your comment would be helpful if it was the case that anybody had ever been expelled for “straying off the reservation” but they haven’t.

            Given that the number of people who have been expelled is still in single figures, I don’t see how that could be a factor in the comment volume decline over recent years.

            I think it has to do with other things, some related to the site but mostly not.

          • Glenn Contrarian

            Okay, then what do you think are some of the reasons why the number of BC Politics residents has fallen? That’s an honest question with no snarkiness intended, and I figure that you can’t tell us everything you think on the matter, but I’d be interested to hear your opinion anyway…

            …and I’m particularly curious as to why we’ve so few actual conservatives now. I mean, there’s Clavos and Baronius, but most of the rest who aren’t liberals or moderates are either libertarian or anarchist.

          • Glenn Contrarian

            And I must therefore choose whether to be insecure about your opinions of me, or to be gratified that I am indeed so annoying to you. I’ll choose the latter, and in the future, instead of purposefully (but not always successfully) refraining from commenting on your articles (since I do try to avoid places where the residents look down their noses on the Great Unwashed such as myself), I’ll try to make it a point to do just that (esp. since this is not a case of Br’ers Rabbit and Wolf discussing a particular briar patch). Just be glad I’m not so vindictive as to comment ten times as often on your articles.

          • roger nowosielski

            My bad, Glenn. That was bad form.

          • I need to write something controversial.
            That “Great Unwashed” always kill me!
            Images in comments. Great idea!

          • I get exasperated by lots of things and people, but that doesn’t mean I want to do away with them.

            Repeating the earlier question, are you actually logged in to Disqus? No idea what the World Press is.

          • roger nowosielski

            Hey, it’s my intellectual work and it is I who sets up the context. Which isn’t to say I mind sharing it, but I should be as good a judge as anyone, if not better, as to what moves the discussion forward and what does not. And that seems fair to me, even if I choose not to exercise that right.

            Even for a self-styled post-anarchist such as yours truly, there are limits even to communism. I’d say.

          • It’s your intellectual work but it is a public space. If you want complete control, you’ll have to set up your own site.

          • Roger, comment editing requires restraint above all and I seriously doubt that is a quality we would immediately think of here. CT has a much narrower crowd than we get here and I think our more laissez faire approach is better.

            As to the email thing, as you are a BC writer, try logging into the site itself and then comment. So far Disqus hasn’t asked me to enter an email address or anything.

            Not really a big Disqus fan myself but the decision to use it was taken much higher up the food chain than my place within the Blognorati universe.

          • Roger Nowosielski

            let’s see if it works, the email thing.

            No, it doesn’t. What am I doing wrong?

          • Are you actually logged into Disqus?

          • roger nowosielski

            Now I have, but the trick is — one must update their profile.

            So let’s see if it works this time.


        • That IS you, right, Dave?

      • Comments are being ported over as we speak. More than 800,000, Roger. Couldn’t be done until the site went live.

    • As an article writer, I note the fact that newly published bits only remain on the page for a day, or day and a half; this limits reads.

      • They are on longer on the FP than before, and with much more prominence. And the section pages feature many more articles to display and again with much more prominence than before.

    • 8. While it is still possible to insert a clickable link in a comment using HTML, it seems that the link is no longer distinguished by being a different colour, or by underlining, or indeed anything at all. The only way you’d know there was a link there is by happening to move your mouse over it, because then it changes into a hand.

      Seems like it would be a simple fix…

  2. You’ve buried the politics section, begun requiring email addresses to comment (no doubt for good anti-spam reasons but a ‘deal breaker’ none the less), eliminated the fresh-comments page…….three thumbs down.

    The return to a single-page format is an improvement, and the little “upload images” button shows promise.

    BTW – What times of the year do comments migrate?

    • late spring apparently, Mark. The reorganization of sections was done to streamline the site. Politics is appropriately in Culture and Society. We’ve added an “op-ed” category as well. Fresh comments is still there. There is a glitch with the “most comments” aka “hot topics” on the sidebar. Hopefully rectified in the next day or two!

      • returns a 404…where is the page located?

        As everything is political, culture and society should be sub-categories. ;>Q

    • I’ll give it a try, but if it requires Social Networking I’ll probably bailout since I disapprove of their intrusiveness.

      • I don’t think the comments space requires that, Bliffle. I hope not too!

      • I miss the “Fresh comments” feature, which may be enough to sink my interest.

        Most of the new features are uninteresting. They appear to have been thrown in, not because they were neded, but because they were interesting to implement: Programmer Baroque.

      • It’s a mess. There’s no natural order and simple chronological view
        is impossible. I saw an enticing tidbit about ‘Clavos’ being fired but
        couldn’t (easily) uncover the context.

        I don’t want to spend my
        blog-time maze running because a naive programmer sought a use for some
        HTML (or whatever) gizmo that he thought was ‘neat’ (it wasn’t neat, but
        just lead to more confusion).

        • roger nowosielski

          Bliffle, check the comments up the thread (but you got to click on the “Newest” or “Oldest” button (rather than leave it at “Best”) in order to get the chronological view.

  3. There are always teething problems with such massive changes to infrastructure as this.

    Hopefully the tech bods will iron out all the wrinkles over the next day or two.

  4. A disqus positive!

    We can now look up all of a commentor’s comments.

    • You used to be able to do that with the old site.
      Then, Major Improvements were made and that facility, along with several others, went away. Good to see it back.

  5. Copying from within a comment doesn’t seem to work with disqus. Nor are the comments numbered. Makes it a bit difficult to disqus things.

  6. The ‘most recent comments’ gadget requires a page reload to refresh.

  7. Glad to see BC up and running. I am sure you still have your hands full, so maybe someone else can advise me. It seems my inbox has been totally taken over with BC comments and responses. The only choice WordPress is giving me is to “unsubscribe,” which I have done out of self-defense. However, I really would like to be in the loop, or at least somewhere close to the loop. Suggestions? Thanks, Ron

    • Hi Ron,

      I referred your issue to the tech team and they responded with this: “It could be that he is inundated because we are bulk importing months
      and months of comments. However, I might advise to unsubscribe from the
      WordPress notifications and use a DISQUS account to manage my commenting
      life. With a DISQUS account, the commenting experience will be more
      robust and manageable. That’s a main reason why we selected it.”

      Hope that helps – and please let me know either way.


      Christopher Rose
      Blogcritics Comments Editor

  8. Having been gone for a few years, I decided to give BC a try again. I noted that “politics” looks like the bastard stepchild under culture being last on the drop down list…which took me a while to find being the tech-savvy luddite that I am. All the comments about disqus and other things have, of course, left me totally confused. But I’m wondering how the other political writers feel about the loss of our once exalted status?

    • roger nowosielski

      Here’s my take on it, Mark:

      “In any case, the reformatting of BC to its present look, with “Culture and Society” having become an all-inclusive matrix for all kinds of thought, including the political, may well represent a larger, more comprehensive theme at work, a theme which becomes all-pervasive, and its object is to sanitize the all aspects of culture to the point of rendering them bland and harmless vis-a-vis the Empire: the theme of the New Age, one might say.

      One has to wonder about the extent to which Barbara Barnett was the chief architect of the idea, since for Barbara, almost everything has the makings of a TV reality show.”

      I would have been able to refer to to this, already posted, comment had it been numbered, as under the old system. As things stands, however, I had to copy & paste.

      • Roger, that doesn’t sound very encouraging. BC, for all its weirdness, had never been bland and harmless, and I can’t imagine that it’s popularity will increase if that’s the goal. Ironically, it describes how the major TV networks are trying to compete against the much more risk-taking cable channels. I can’t help but wonder if it’s worth the effort, or should I look for alternate sites, although I have no idea how to find them, LOL. Oh well, it’s worth playing around for a while, I suppose.


        • roger nowosielski

          Everything in our culture is rapidly assuming entertainment quality. I find it rather ironic that the new BC billing speaks of “the critical lens on today’s culture and entertainment” (see the logo). We’ve already reached a consensus of sorts that politics doesn’t matter, not when it’s offset by corporate interests and voice as per “Citizens United.” So surely, subsuming politics under the rubric of the entertainment industry (and culture) is not only the next logical step; it makes it fait accompli.

      • Despite their titles as co-Executive Editors, I don’t think Barbara and Jon had much significant input into the process of the makeover. It was essentially a Technorati decision (and plan), and judging from the result, they were seeking to aim at the lowest common denominator of the online audience, because that’s where the numbers (and therefore the bucks) lie.

        And thank you Mark Schannon and zingzing for your kind comments.

        • roger nowosielski

          Check my response up the thread (use the chronological order, the “Newest” being the default position. I will be bypassing the “reply” function altogether from now as, as per reasons stated earlier.

          Yes, I re-posted your comment there, as well as offered a response.

  9. The politics section was put into a ghetto, fresh comments is gone (everyone who frequents the place navigates by fresh comments), clavos, a good, fair editor and someone interested in politics, is let go in favor of people who never comment in the politics section.

    Good sites listen to the people that frequent their site. There has to be a way for this site to grow without alienating its base.

    In what way does anyone think this improves the site? Is it cheaper? That’s all I can come up with.

    • Clavos was let go? Why? As I recall, he was a good editor. I was one of the politics editors for a couple of years, and while it was a lot of work, as a group, we editors had a strong, diverse group of people writing, arguing, fighting, coming to some consensus…all the things you’d want from a site. Plus, there were tons of comments, often from the same group of people but fun & informative nonetheless. Have any of the powers-that-be explained the changes?

      • Clavos was an excellent and fair editor. It had nothing to do with his quality as an editor. It was the consolidation of sections, which was due to numbers (science/technology and several other sections were also consolidated).

  10. The disqus tree structure is essentially flawed I will try ignoring the reply function and entering all comments through the new comment box. This might reduce the scattered comments on page load and the need to restack all the time. I can’t see sticking with a system that forces me to scroll through an entire thread looking for a new comment.

    Might be that Clavos and Dave were freed not fired.

  11. Would one of The Powers please let us readers know when the process of porting the old comments will be completed?

    • Troll, I asked about this earlier this past week and was told this: “We can only import old comments into DISQUS in six-month chunks… it will be completed by our 16th
      import. I think engineering is trying to do one a day.”

  12. BTW – I picked up a rather elegant wakizashi at a thrift store recently and would be happy to loan it out.

  13. Barbara, have you figured out what people are referring to as the fresh comments page, and are you looking to incorporate one into the new platform?

  14. roger nowosielski

    I’m gonna take the lead from troll and keep on posting in the new comment box, even if it’s related to or a response to an earlier comment down (or is it up) the thread.

    Mark S: I’ll have to look this up but unfortunately, there aren’t many choices.

    On the other hand, there are a good many public forum platforms in which you can participate as a discussant. Try, for example,Crooked Timber or Truthdig (you can google it). Each has their strengths and weaknesses.

  15. roger nowosielski

    Another question now, Why a comment I just made (3 minutes ago) doesn’t appear at the head of the comments, but follows rather a comment by “anonymous,” which was made three days ago?

  16. roger nowosielski

    Perhaps the reason is — it’s a positive comment about Disqus, so the editors of this comments thread had decided to keep that comment as the header, a permanent fixture.

    One just has to wonder.

  17. roger nowosielski

    Here’s the trick. Rather than staying with “best” category (the first left button, and who the hell determines which comments are “best”?) use the Newest, or the Oldest category as your default position.

    Problem solved!

  18. Been there, done that, Roger. Still not a stable structure.

  19. roger nowosielski

    Well, it’s no different than the previous format, in that respect, if you completely bypass the “reply” function, except that the comments are not numbered for easy reference.

  20. roger nowosielski

    And I’d rather have the option of choosing “newest” as the default position rather than having to scroll all the way down the comments thread like we used to.

  21. So far, so good.

  22. I am using the newest setting and seeing primary comments in chronological order. Not really liking the way responses to comments are presented though.

    • IMO: skip reply, run them in order recvd, as before. Clavos won’t have to work for pennies; now he can know the joy of pro-bono!

  23. roger nowosielski

    This comment by the “Fired Editor,” buried somewhere down the thread, bears re-posting:

    “Despite their titles as co-Executive Editors, I don’t think Barbara and Jon had much significant input into the process of the makeover. It was essentially a Technorati decision (and plan), and judging from the result, they were seeking to aim at the lowest common denominator of the online audience, because that’s where the numbers (and therefore the bucks) lie.”

    Nailed it on the head, Clavos. All one’s got to do is take a quick peek at the Technorati’s home page to become convinced that it is indeed the lowest common denominator which figures in as the major factor in their decision.

    Which still doesn’t justify Barbara’s rather dogmatic pronouncement that “Politics is appropriately in Culture and Society.” Who says?

    And if it’s indeed true that she and Jon had very little do to with that decision, I believe that’s the case, then it is certainly not incumbent upon her to keep on defending it. Keeping silent on the matter, especially under these circumstances, would carry a far greater weight and would not impact on the person’s credibility.

    And btw, Clavos, count me among zingzing and Mark in so far as expressing support and saying a simple thank you for the job you’ve done.

  24. roger nowosielski

    Were the comments numbered, there wouldn’t be any problem keeping track. In the absence of this device, one must rely and copying & pasting to make certain a direct response to any given comment will not escape the addressee.

  25. and judging from the result, they were seeking to aim at the lowest common denominator of the online audience


  26. Were you really fired, FE? You were “playing real good for free”, so no comprendo.

    • I lost the job, troll. I suppose the official take on it was that, with the absorption of the Politics section into Culture, my job simply disappeared, but, since there obviously still exists a Politics presence on the site, just as obviously I could have continued to function as I had for years. Instead, I was let go (as I assume, was Dave) and Politics is being handled among the editors remaining; none of whom ever handled it before — at least not since I was there.

      As some of you have been kind enough to point out, I performed my editing tasks impartially and fairly, and I actually edited (as opposed to rubber stamping) what was submitted; resulting, in my opinion, in improved published material for the most part.

      I will also be the first to admit that in the comment threads I was partisan and aggressively so, and I wonder how much that figured in the decision-making process.

      But I was fired, yes.

  27. Clavos (and Dave if reading) I won’t bother responding to the foolish decision but will focus instead on the *really good* job you guys have done here.


    …sure hope this setback doesn’t mean you’re going to have to move your families back into the projects

    food stamps…unemployment handouts…

    macaroni ‘n cheese

    • roger nowosielski

      Judging by the fact that the contributing writers, the heart & soul of BC (if there be any left to speak of) were getting zilch, zero, nada, I wouldn’t think the Technorati management were overly generous with the editorial staff.

      In any case, whatever compensation there are or were getting wouldn’t be sufficient to keep one above or below the poverty line.

      But that’s just my opinion, to borrow the line from the ex-plagiarizer.

  28. Chris, thanks for the updates on progress.

  29. We have “comments” and “reply” and now I’ve found “leave a message”. I suppose each has its use.

  30. roger nowosielski

    “Leave a message” allows you to post a comment up the thread without having to scroll it down and locate the exact comment you want to respond to (i.e, reply).

    If I were you, I’d just use that and forget ’bout the “reply” function.

  31. After trying several approaches to commenting I conclude that it’s hopeless, a nightmare.

  32. It appears that a determined effort has been made to get rid of ‘politics’ and it’s regulars, and the effort is succeeding. But I suspect that ‘politics’ was responsible for most of the traffic that made BC the modest success that it was.

    • To be honest, Bliffle, although the politics section has always been among the most vocal, it has also been one of the least read on the site with relatively fewer hits than many other sections.

      • To be frank, Barbara, one of the things that makes (or made) Blogcritics and its culture unique and vibrant was the direct feedback and the back-and-forth that was possible between the author of an article and his or her readers.

        With the notable and solitary exception of “Unnecessary Pap Smears”, nowhere near the same degree of interaction and debate was to be found in any other section but Politics.

        And on the rare occasions when the thread of a non-Politics article did take off and run into the hundreds of comments, guess who the perpetrators almost always were? That’s right – the Politics regulars.

        • That’s actually untrue.

          • Which bit?

          • That politics politics regulars have accounted for all the lively discussions at BC. And that it’s “rare” for a non-politics article to garner a healthy comments thread.

          • I’ve been a comments editor for more than five years now and my experience is as described. If I’m wrong, I’d like to see some examples. Yes, other articles get comments, but they’re usually drive-bys and they seldom generate the extended discussions that Politics articles and commenters do.

          • I’m not one of those who dislikes change simply because it’s different, only when change makes it crap.
            Seriously, I’m getting a headache just looking at this.
            There’s always some genius who wants to fix sh*t that ain’t broke. And now they really have broken the bloody thing.

        • What’s going on? Who rooted up blogcritics??

      • While politics may have been less read than some sections, it remains that the readership (commenters particularly) were of the highest caliber.

        If I may repeat something I said on one of my articles yesterday, Some may be surprised to learn of the wide spread global interest in the politics articles here at BC. AdSense supplies a great deal of information if we know where to look.

        In the last seven day (today discounted) (and they were difficult days what with the turn-over) I had reads from:

        Canada, Hong Kong, India, Philippines, the United States, Australia, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Iceland, Italy, Jamaica, South Korea, Mexico, Romania, Slovakia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates.

        The Internet can continue to be a powerful tool. Those who think no one is reading beyond the regulars are mis-advised.

      • I find that hard to believe, especially as time goes by.

  33. roger nowosielski

    I suppose the point Barbara is making is that the longevity of a thread has got nothing to do with which articles are most read, which is to say, get most of the hits. And that in the final analysis, that’s all that matters to the bean-counters — dollars and cents.

    • Sadly true, Roger, but the culture of a website should also matter: its unique features that make it stand out from every other review/blog site on the block.

  34. It will be easy to carve out a political space within this new platform/comment space. What is important is how the new editors treat the writers who provide the impetus for discussion.

    • Indeed it should. We will post articles into politics as we have in the past. Same ground rules apply. Keep it civil, not personal attack (goes for comments as well as articles).

  35. If it wasn’t one of the last three made, how is anyone supposed to know they received a comment? Not a great way to encourage discussion between readers and writers. Also, just because an article gets hits, doesn’t mean it’s been read.

    • It is easy to subscribe to the comment threads at the bottom of the thread: by email or feed. your choice. And unlike comments on the old site, the email actually quotes the comment.

      • When you have nearly 1,400 articles on the site, not sure I would call subscribing to each one “easy”.

        • not suggesting you subscribe to all 1400 threads. I’ve got 700, with many of my articles having comment threads hundreds of postings long. You subscribe to individual threads when they’re active.

  36. Seems pretty sad here..sounds like Barbara is giving us the old F U, just in other words. Nice place you got here, good luck with it. Maybe some mindless sitcom watchers will wander by to liven up the place. You should get a shopping section. I can understand why politics was least read. Mots people in this society are brainless soap opera watchers.

  37. The devs might like to know that if one is scrolling through the comments on an iPad (at least mine), the “related articles” section reloads, making reading the comments impossible. I suppose this may be due to a lot of things temporary, but I’ve gotten to the point where there were hundreds of “related articles” showing on the page, when I started with a line or two.

    Comments need to be numbered. Hyperlinks in comments would be nice. Listen to the people.

  38. …subscribe to email…rss

    That’s probably not a bad idea. As Barbara pointed out, these emails include entire comments and links directly to them. One could then follow conversations without ever opening the site except to look for/read articles or to drop the occasional remark.

    I’m sure The Powers would appreciate political regulars not eating up any more bandwidth.than is necessary.

  39. roger nowosielski

    Cindy, zing,

    Just ignore the “Reply” function and keep on posting comments in the “Leave a Message” box. And if you’re turn the furthest left button on “Newest,” the new comment will always post on top.

    As regards being advised by email as to new comments, once you register with Disqus as a regular (rather than just a guest), the notifications will come automatically. In many respects, the new site is more functional than the old one (hyperlinks and numbering of comments excepting), other than the fact that the Politics section got a royal shaft.

    E.g., when you press on the “C&E” menu to get to the Politics section, the subcategories are not even listed alphabetically, there being no rhyme or reason to the order. And guess what, “Politics” is dead last — a secret wish of the powers that be. Now, don’t tell me it’s accidental rather than intentional!

    (Another nice feature: the edit function. The comment will post as originally written, and it’ll still be amenable for/to editing. Good for people like me who, more often than not, think on their feet and worry about grammar or misspellings later. But to each his own, I guess.)

    • Guarantee you Roger, it was coincidence. I love politics. I love writing about it (in fact, besides television, it’s probably the one section in which I’ve got the most posts). I was weaned on politics. I even have graduate degree in political science. I value our politics section and would never want it to vanish from these pages.

      I prefer to post here (rather than, say Daily Kos, despite the fact the audience there is friendlier to my POV) because I’ve always enjoyed the debate (well, almost always). Why would I want to see it go?

  40. roger nowosielski

    Wasn’t referring to you, Barbara, by the term “powers that be.” Just so you know!

  41. Roger, you don’t need a disqus account to subscribe to the rss or email notifications for the threads you are interested in following. You can get all comments (not just responses to your comments) on a thread neatly separated out in chronological order – significantly easier than following the conversation on bc.

  42. roger nowosielski

    Didn’t know that. How ’bout posting, though, without having to enter your email address every time you do? Can Disqus be circumvented in this instance as well?

  43. Commenting as guest requires that repeated email address entry – pain-in-ass – and in either case, with or without an account, entries are made from the bc page so

    if logged in you just comment as usual.

  44. roger nowosielski

    Just as I thought.

  45. .You can, of course, set your browser to remember that info.

  46. roger nowosielski

    No matter. I’m certain that Disqus or no Disqus, our privacy has already been invaded many times over.

  47. roger nowosielski

    I believe I already have, Barbara, on Hulu Plus. Perhaps they have it on Netflix as well.

  48. roger nowosielski

    Is it necessary to have the entire page pre-emptied by “related” posts? One has to scroll down for a minute or two in order to post a comment.

  49. Carole Di Tosti

    Like the look of the new Blogcritics. Whoo Hoo. Happy to be here.

  50. Food Not Bombs activist cited by health officials in Taos

    Troll, what say you? Do you know about this?

  51. FNB doesn’t do permits. Food prep is vegan and clean. Local governments around the country have been using health codes to stop the give-away recently.

    The street theater of illegality adds a bit don’cha think?.

  52. Perhaps the site should be renamed BB-C …. Barbara Barnett Critics.

  53. Loving the new site! Would love to start submitting reviews again however, having a little trouble logging in and/or finding a place to log in.

  54. Chris, Dreadful, Barbara – how goes the old comments transfer and work on a fresh-comments page?

  55. roger nowosielski

    It looks as though the new platform hasn’t produced the kind of results that were hoped for — if the number of generated comments is any indication,

    In addition, the site needs updating — e.g., the “Hot Topics” column which remains virtually unchanged for the past three days.