Kinder, gentler blogs? October 19, 2008 8:27 AM   Subscribe

While reading the paper this morning I found this article featuring MeFite #1 decrying the culture of snark. (This is not actually the newspaper I read it in, but it is the only registration-free online version I saw.)
posted by TedW to MetaFilter-Related at 8:27 AM (96 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

The author has the original article plus some updates: Is snark killing the web?
posted by ahughey at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2008


"Snark" is actually a contraction of "snide" and "remark." These days, snark is a writing style, like the worst kind of celebrity journalism, wrapped in a faux-intimate first-person style.

What? That sounds unlikely. Since it dates back to at least 1906, I doubt we can really state with any authority the origins of the word.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:44 AM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


You can have my snark when you pry it from my cold, dead bile duct. Which should be any day now, 'cause it's enlarged and suspiciously gangrenous.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:17 AM on October 19, 2008 [8 favorites]


We could blame it all on Nick Denton...

I'm cool with that.
posted by R. Mutt at 9:26 AM on October 19, 2008


that's my middle name, right between trouble and my last name
posted by infini at 9:27 AM on October 19, 2008


"I started my first blog in 1992, when Web publishing required a degree of technical skill."

I'd say that's true considering there were probably less than a hundred web servers worldwide.
posted by Mitheral at 9:44 AM on October 19, 2008


Figures like Keith Gessen, Julia Allison and Emily Gould have taken it on the chin for their unironic sincerity and come out as wry, almost heroic figures by charming their critics and refusing to shut up.

Don't know about Keith Gessen, but those two attention whores? Seriously?
posted by fixedgear at 9:47 AM on October 19, 2008


So this guy's been blogging since 1992? Why would *anyone* blog in 1992? There were like, half a dozen servers, and a couple of unwieldy clients -- mostly line based. If he wanted anyone to actually read what he'd written, he'd have been better off putting it on a Gopher server or an FTP site at that time.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2008


What? That sounds unlikely. Since it dates back to at least 1906, I doubt we can really state with any authority the origins of the word.

Well, snark doesn't date back to 1906, snarky does. And even now, only one of the two dictionaries I have at my fingertips (Mirriam-Webster's 11th) even admits that snarky is a word.

Actually, check that. From M-W: Etymology:dialect snark to annoy, perhaps alteration of nark to irritate

So I lied. They admit that snark was a dialect word, but they don't actually have snark itself in the dictionary. How stupid.
posted by Caduceus at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2008


I was blogging in 1974, when I had to do it entirely on punch cards, which I then duplicated using an expensive punch card duplicating company in New Jersey. I then passed those punch cards to my friends, and they read them by feeding them into a Univac computer.

And then they gave me the punchcards back, covered with nasty, hand-written comments. So this has always been an issue.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2008 [23 favorites]


...Mark Haughey?
posted by Lynsey at 9:53 AM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'd say that's true considering there were probably less than a hundred web servers worldwide.

"Jump back in time to a snapshot of the WWW Project Page as of 3 Nov 1992 and the WWW project web of the time, including the list of all 26 resoanably reliable servers, NCSA's having just been added, but no sign of Mosaic."

http://www.w3.org/History.html
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:57 AM on October 19, 2008


Um, no one was "blogging" in 1992. He has misspoken. Maybe he was talking about Usenet? The term "blog" wouldn't show up for another 7 years.
The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997. The short form, "blog," was coined by Peter Merholz, who jokingly broke the word weblog into the phrase we blog in the sidebar of his blog Peterme.com in April or May of 1999.^
posted by MythMaker at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


OED:

snark, v.

[Corresponds to MLG. and LG. snarken (NFris. snarke, Sw. and Norw. snarka), MHG. snarchen (G. schnarchen, {dag}schnarken), of imitative origin: cf. SNORK v.]

1. intr. To snore; to snort.
1866 N. & Q. 3rd Ser. X. 248/1, I will not quite compare it [a sound] to a certain kind of snarking or gnashing. 1907 Westm. Gaz. 9 Nov. 4/1 All of a sudden she (the mare, I suppose he meant) snarked an' begun to turn round.

2. intr. and trans. To find fault (with), to nag.
1882 Jamieson's Sc. Dict. IV. 314/2 To Snark,..to fret, grumble, or find fault with one. 1904 E. NESBIT Ph{oe}nix & Carpet x. 185 He remembered how Anthea had refrained from snarking him about tearing the carpet.

posted by cortex (staff) at 10:04 AM on October 19, 2008 [5 favorites]


The term "weblog" was coined by Jorn Barger on 17 December 1997.

So, if not blogging, what was it Dave Winer was up to here in July 1997? Whatever the author of the article might have been doing might not have had a name, but if he was posting his thoughts/links on a regular basis to a website, I'm happy for him to call it blogging if he wants. I just can't conceive of why anyone would be doing it at that time.

Also: there was no shortage of snark on Usenet back in 1992. The place was a veritable snarkacist's heaven.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:17 AM on October 19, 2008


He probably only had a hundred readers. But that's what my blog has. Back then that would have represented a significant chunk of the people who used the internet.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:19 AM on October 19, 2008


He might have had a "home page" or a "journal" or something, but he misspoke to call it a "blog." He also misspoke in his definition of "snark."
posted by MythMaker at 10:22 AM on October 19, 2008


He might have had a "home page" or a "journal" or something, but he misspoke to call it a "blog."

Are you're saying that it couldn't have been a "blog" because no one had used that word for it yet? If so, I disagree.
posted by grouse at 10:27 AM on October 19, 2008


I also disagree. After all, the world once had dinosaurs, but they didn't call themselves that. They probably called each other SCREEAHHHHRRRR.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:29 AM on October 19, 2008 [34 favorites]


what was it Dave Winer was up to here in July 1997?

Complaining, shockingly enough.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:54 AM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


Perhaps because of my age, or having begun to participate on the Internet somewhat late in the game, I put up this AskMeFi question about "snark".
posted by Tube at 11:12 AM on October 19, 2008


In the midst of the word he was trying to say,
In the midst of his laughter and glee,
He had softly and suddenly vanished away---
For the Snark *was* a Boojum, you see.
posted by Sailormom at 11:23 AM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


At the risk of sounding, I dunno, snarky, that article is terrible on every level.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:30 AM on October 19, 2008


The web (like real life) was never free of snark, meanness or any other flavor of assholery. Quit pining for a utopia that never was and never will be.
posted by jonmc at 11:35 AM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


ah yes, peterme <---- snarky observation
posted by infini at 11:40 AM on October 19, 2008


The web (like real life) was never free of snark, meanness or any other flavor of assholery. Quit pining for a utopia that never was and never will be.
posted by jonmc at 11:35 AM on October 19


true, as an old skool netizen (in India, the third world before teh Y2K boom) hanging out in.. er.. HomeArts if anyone even recalls that name anymore in late 1995, flamers, trolls adn snarky comments have been around as far as I remember
posted by infini at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2008


They probably called each other SCREEAHHHHRRRR.

Dude, did the Flintstones teach you nothing?
posted by jonmc at 11:42 AM on October 19, 2008


I remember some extreme USENET snottiness. But, as always, it was usually delivered unto those behaving as asshats, full of puffery, bloated with self-importance.

Which, well ... *waves hand* blogs. If you wonder why there's an plague of flies, just look at what they're landing on.
posted by adipocere at 11:43 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm saying it wasn't a "blog" because there was nothing called a "blog" in 1992. Perhaps a "proto-blog" or "the forebear of the blog," "the ancestor of a blog" or "ur-blog" or something like that, but, no, nothing was called a "blog" until 1999.

That's like saying that you were on the WWW in 1977 because you were on ARPANET. No, you weren't. There was no WWW in 1977. The same thing here, there was nothing called a weblog until 1997, and no "blogs" until 1999. There were the ancestors of blogs.

He had a "home page," most likely.
posted by MythMaker at 11:50 AM on October 19, 2008


This sorting of the flyshit from the pepper has been brought to you by the number 1 and the letter T.
posted by jonmc at 11:53 AM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm saying it wasn't a "blog" because there was nothing called a "blog" in 1992.

So something that fits any available definition of weblog is, according to you, not a weblog until the term was introduced? Dave Winer's Scriping News wasn't a weblog on 16 December 1997, but on 17 December it magically became a weblog because someone else used the word?

What an odd idea.

It's not the same thing as the World Wide Web at all, because the WWW is a proper noun and a single entity with a defined starting point, not a concept that can be applied to anything that fits the definition, proleptically or not.
posted by grouse at 12:03 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


You never heard of the tea clipper Cutty Snark?
posted by Cranberry at 12:23 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Launched in 1869
posted by Cranberry at 12:24 PM on October 19, 2008


Snark? Try wrestling with a Bandersnatch. That's fuckin' combat. The beast with the frumious jaws, Dude. Worthy fuckin' adversary.
posted by gubo at 12:46 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


apparently I was only named some few weeks after I was born

did I exist?
posted by infini at 1:02 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


May I please be the first to dub cedartownstd.com one of the most awkward URLs ever?
posted by Schlimmbesserung at 1:15 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm saying it wasn't a "blog" because there was nothing called a "blog" in 1992. Perhaps a "proto-blog" or "the forebear of the blog," "the ancestor of a blog" or "ur-blog" or something like that, but, no, nothing was called a "blog" until 1999.

This is surely wrong. The Sumerians were quite capable of telling their children stories, even though the words "children" and "story" were thousands of years away. We can use the language of the present to talk about the past--it happens constantly.

You're maybe being confused by the relative recentness of the term "blog", but it's just a word for a particular type of thing. Everything that is that type of thing is a "blog", no matter when it existed.

Now, it could turn out that in order to be a blog, the author has to term in a blog. I don't think this is correct, though. For example, people who post their musings every day on the web, in an entry-by-entry format, with the ten or so most recent entries visible on the front page, are blogging irrespective of whether they admit it.

That's like saying that you were on the WWW in 1977 because you were on ARPANET. No, you weren't. There was no WWW in 1977. The same thing here, there was nothing called a weblog until 1997, and no "blogs" until 1999. There were the ancestors of blogs.

No, it's completely different. "World Wide Web" is the name of a particular thing, while "blog" is the name of a type of thing. That being said, the particular thing called the "World Wide Web" may have existed before the term, but I gather it was a different thing than ARPANET.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:35 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


do you exist now?
posted by ghost of a past number at 1:41 PM on October 19, 2008


Penny Arcade FTW.
posted by neuron at 3:40 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Would you like a smack? On your bottom?
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:46 PM on October 19, 2008


you'll have to buy me a drink first.
posted by jonmc at 4:11 PM on October 19, 2008


breaking news - the pope decries the culture of catholicism
posted by pyramid termite at 4:34 PM on October 19, 2008


can I have his hat?
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on October 19, 2008


My that's a lovely lawn.
posted by pompomtom at 5:00 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


I'm saying it wasn't a "blog" because there was nothing called a "blog" in 1992.

That's a ridiculous idea. Think about it a little: the term was coined because there was something that needed a name; the name didn't magically create the phenomenon.
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on October 19, 2008 [3 favorites]


Well, Justin Hall has been blogging since 1994 at links.net. Here's an article about Justin Hall. I remember coming across it back in the mid-90's. I read through everything he had written and followed it for a year or so. It was such a strange and wonderful thing to find at the time.
posted by Kattullus at 5:43 PM on October 19, 2008


Metafilter: Every angsty teenager and every narcissistic college student on the Web
posted by lukemeister at 5:44 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


How strangely appropriate - I thought this thread would be full of feelgood discussion about online ethics & being nice to each other on the web, but instead it's full of nitpicky oneupmanship over the definitions of blogs & snarking.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:39 PM on October 19, 2008 [7 favorites]


Alright, Ubu, let's go at it then. I think the problem is that most people do think that snark as a phenomenon isn't that great but that they're rarely bothered enough by individual instances of snark to do anything about it. It's like pollution. Everyone agrees that pollution is bad, but when they haven't experienced it full on they're unlikely to get bothered by the occasional wisps of smog. It's only when snark is really destroying online communities and conversations that people get all up in arms about it. When people talk about individual instances of snark they don't seem that bad, but cumulatively it starts to affect online communities.
posted by Kattullus at 7:02 PM on October 19, 2008


You guys aren't dicks to your friends, too?

Weird.
posted by Citizen Premier at 7:13 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


The weirdest part of that article was the parentheses-enclosed URL for Conde Nast, which was a throwaway point of the article and not germane to the discussion at all.

It's like an editor decided that an article about the web had to have a URL in it somewhere, and that was the easiest to find.

Maybe Mark can tell us more.
posted by maxwelton at 7:16 PM on October 19, 2008


In next weeks episode - the owner of a pub complains about alcoholics.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:44 PM on October 19, 2008 [4 favorites]


I remember mocking people and being the target of cruel jokes back in the days when blogs were called bulletin boards and you had to dial in to them one at a time.


What? They were bulletin boards and still are. I had an apple //e with a modem. These things were nothing like 'blogs.' I feel like this article just wants to convince us that everything in the past was actually a blog.

Discovery of antibiotics were just a primitive form of blog.

Electric cars? We called those blogs back in my day!
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:05 PM on October 19, 2008


In next weeks episode - the owner of a pub complains about alcoholics
posted by sgt.serenity .


If this was AskMeFI, I would have marked this BEST ANSWER. Because it's the internet, stupid. There's way too much information out there. Expect to be filtered. If you're not going to expand/rock my world (or perhaps my empathy) at least once every 50 words, expect to be snarked.
posted by philip-random at 9:25 PM on October 19, 2008


I feel like this article just wants to convince us that everything in the past was actually a blog.

What bugs me is when people refer to a blog entry as a blog. I have no idea if that's a new or acceptable thing, but it seems stupid and wrong to me.

From my observations of this here web community, it seems to me that the folks who often do the best snarking also make the more interesting and constructive contributions.

Snark doesn't kill the web, people who are bad at snark kill the web.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:24 PM on October 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


Snark? Try wrestling with a Bandersnatch. That's fuckin' combat. The beast with the frumious jaws, Dude. Worthy fuckin' adversary.

Props to you for wrestling him down. I had to resort to my Vorpal Blade and snicker snack his ass.
posted by JimmyJames at 11:22 PM on October 19, 2008


I was blogging in the 1980s and have the journals to prove it. I tried desperately to get people to comment on them but few responded. I CAN SHOW THEM TO YOU. Please, I beg of you, look at my journals. They are full of insight and wisdom on the human condition. It will only take a few minutes, I promise! Here. Just read a little. You won't be disappointed.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:35 PM on October 19, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why don't you fucking assholes just try being nice for a change. That's the point. Do you get it? Finally?
posted by sluglicker at 12:11 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't have a problem with snark, unless it's a boojum. That's completely inappropriate.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:13 AM on October 20, 2008


Think about it a little:
posted by languagehat at 5:42 PM on October 19


I, for one, simply cannot believe that such a statement has to be made on metafilter, where we can overthink a plate of beans

and hands up everyone who has been accused of "you think too much" by a friend/lover/spouse/relative/pet/etc
posted by infini at 2:51 AM on October 20, 2008


oh and can I continue my Ubu crush here? I like Rob Brezny's writing too ;p
posted by infini at 2:52 AM on October 20, 2008


oh, thanks for the reminder! i haven't checked my freewill astrology for the week!

currently working through his new-ish book, Pronoia.

(it's the opposite of paranoia; the state in which you believe the universe is conspiring to shower you with blessings)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:02 AM on October 20, 2008


also: *raises hand*
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:02 AM on October 20, 2008


The web (like real life) was never free of snark, meanness or any other flavor of assholery. Quit pining for a utopia that never was and never will be.
posted by jonmc

And we have a winner! I think some folks are just getting a little "get off my lawn"-y in their old age....
posted by Grither at 4:46 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


@ubu: check out his pronoia ad for aries this week - very nice ;p
posted by infini at 4:59 AM on October 20, 2008


how's the book?
posted by infini at 5:00 AM on October 20, 2008


What bugs me is when people refer to a blog entry as a blog. I have no idea if that's a new or acceptable thing, but it seems stupid and wrong to me.

I hate this, yes. It makes me want to strangle. It's like a symptom of Grandmaness seeping into the vocabulary or otherwise normal-sounding adults. You can blog; you can blog something; you can put something on your blog. Your blog is the thing these occur on. You writing style can be bloggy, for all I care. All of this is dandy.

But you did not just "make a blog". You did not just "put up a blog". Stop saying that. I am Language Control, and I order you to zip that shit right the fuck up. An enthusiastic three-year-old will declare that they Made A Poop. That analogy, right there, should be enough. Every time you start to say "blog" instead of "blog entry" or "post" or whatever, just imagine a three-year-old rubbing their eyes and shouting I MAAADE A POOOOP until the urge goes away.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:38 AM on October 20, 2008 [7 favorites]


thank you cortex for saying what I would have done, in almost exactly that tone and perhaps a slight difference in choice of words
posted by infini at 6:48 AM on October 20, 2008


Why don't you fucking assholes just try being nice for a change. That's the point. Do you get it? Finally?

I look at the comment I made up above and I think, yeah, I could have been nicer. That is, if I had to communicate the same basic notion to a person sitting across the table from me in a cafe, I'd have managed to be kinder, gentler, more sensitive. But this isn't a cafe. This is the internet where information overload is the rule and as such patience will always be at a premium. Sure, snarks hurt, and some of them are pure mean-minded nastiness. But many are not, operating as instructive reminders that effectively say, "Hey, man, cut the vague, half-baked intellectualizing, stay on topic, don't waste my precious time." If all they provoke is anger, retaliation and increased snarkiness, then clearly they've failed as communication. But from my perspective at least, this is usually not the case. Getting snarked at makes me a better, more thoughtful, more precise communicator.
posted by philip-random at 6:52 AM on October 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


Does the use of blog as a verb bug the shit out of everyone else or is that just me? The Guardian do it all the time in their tech articles and it always screams of "Blogging is the future! Look at my new verb!"
posted by minifigs at 7:28 AM on October 20, 2008


philip=random inspired me to post this longish snippet {hmm wonder if i should hand out a favourite to first source guess} mind you, every generation thinks it invented sex ;p

In the early days, the Internet was used almost exclusively for government-funded projects and the sort of communication that went along with such work. Here's the new program. It needs some work. There's a bug in the frimular module. Yawn.

But you know what they say about all work and no play. People began to play. Left to themselves, they always do. And the people building the Internet were pretty much left to themselves. They were creating the gameboard. No one else knew how the hell this thing worked, so no one could tell them what they could and couldn't do. They did whatever they liked. And one of the things they liked most was arguing.

Consider that these early denizens of the Net were, for the most part, young, brash, untrained in the intricate dance of corporate politics, and highly knowledgeable of their craft. In the prized and noble older sense of the term, they were hackers, and proud of it. Many, in their own assessment if not that of others, were net.gods — high priests of an arcane art very few even knew existed. When disagreements arose over serious matters — the correct use of quotation marks, say — they would join in battle like old Norse warriors:

"Jim, you are a complete idiot. Your code is so brain-damaged it won't even compile. Read a book, moron."

Today, we tend to think of "flaming" as a handful of people vociferously insulting each other online. A certain sense of finesse has largely been lost. In the olden days, a good flame war could go on for weeks or months, with hot invective flying around like rhetorical shrapnel. It was high art, high entertainment. Though tempers flared hot and professional bridges were sometimes irreparably burned, ultimately it was a game — a participatory sport in which the audience awarded points for felicitous disparagements, particularly well-worded putdowns, inspired squelches.

It was not a game, however, for the meek of heart. These engagements could be fierce. Even trying to separate the contestants could bring down a hail of sharp-tongued derision. Theories were floated and defended with extreme energy and enthusiasm, if not always with logical rigor. Opinions tended to run high on any given topic. Say you'd posted about your dog. And, look, you got a response! "Jim, you are a complete idiot. Your dog is so brain-damaged it won't even hunt..."

If you'd happened to see the first version of the comment to Jim, you might grin at the second. If not, your mileage might vary. But the point is not to extol flame wars, as amusing as some could be. Instead, it is to suggest a particular set of values that began to emerge in what linguists might call a well-bounded speech community. On the Net, you said what you meant and had better be ready to explain your position and how you'd arrived at it. Mouthing platitudes guaranteed that you would be challenged. Nothing was accepted at face value, or taken for granted. Everything was subject to question, revision, re-implementation, parody — whether it was an algorithm, a political philosophy or, God help you, an advertisement.

posted by infini at 7:46 AM on October 20, 2008 [2 favorites]


I think the culprit, beyond the well-documented effects of anonymity and the general pettiness of human beings, is the culture of snark that has come to dominate writing on the Web...

Well, on my "blog" from 1995, I advocated (through the use of snark) hunting down rude and aggressive drivers and assaulting them with magnesium road flares, so, on balance, I'd say I'm much kinder and gentler nowadays.

I'm not sure that this guy and I were on the same internet back then, because I don't ever remember a time of rainbows and unicorns where people were exclusively "raw, emotional and real". (Though I do recall a time before l33t speak got a foothold and you could read web pages that were mostly grammatically correct. That was nice.)
posted by quin at 7:59 AM on October 20, 2008


Every time you start to say "blog" instead of "blog entry" or "post" or whatever

I already lost this fight with "an email" instead of "some email" or "an email message". So much so, you probably don't even think "I'll send you an email" or "I got 3 emails" sounds funny.
posted by ctmf at 9:44 AM on October 20, 2008


E. NESBIT Ph{oe}nix & Carpet x. 185 He remembered how Anthea had refrained from snarking him about tearing the carpet.

The Phoenix and the Carpet is some quality children's literature. I should go read it to the kids.
posted by GuyZero at 10:01 AM on October 20, 2008


Metatalk: I MAAADE A POOOOP
posted by Skot at 11:27 AM on October 20, 2008


how's the book?

Rob's tried to organise the thing into some kind of structure of chapters & recurring segments, but overall, it's more like access to his scrapbooks of thoughts, quotations, poems & aphorisms, with some exercises & meditations thrown in. Around 300 pages, in a large, roughly A4 format.

Depending on your view, this may be a good thing or a bad thing. I'm OK with it, but it's a bit like reading any collection of zen or sufi or jewish or whatever wisdom: one quote is enough for a day - or better yet, a week or a month - so when there's so much stuff in front of you at once, unless you restrict yourself, you end up with an uncomfortable bellyful, like gorging yourself at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Also, heh, that Aries ad was nice.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:39 PM on October 20, 2008


nice review and you're right, i'd not be able to stomach so much in a day, I do however like it in weekly doses or whenever, btw I sent you another guy thru my gmail that you may enjoy reading
posted by infini at 2:55 PM on October 20, 2008



Why don't you fucking assholes just try being nice for a change. That's the point. Do you get it? Finally?

this is us trying to be nice !
posted by sgt.serenity at 4:18 PM on October 20, 2008


I—

I was trying to be mice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:58 PM on October 20, 2008


I wonder if Mark is Matt's evil twin.
posted by desjardins at 5:44 PM on October 20, 2008


well, don't expect cortex to rat him out.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:01 PM on October 20, 2008


I guess if you already have facial hair, then you're the evil twin, huh?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 6:07 PM on October 20, 2008


we should be able to use our IQ skills to work this one out.

let's see...Matt is to Mark as Mefi is to - ?
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:02 PM on October 20, 2008


To those who seem to think Mr Duff is advocating a return to earlier, snark-free days, I quote the article:

I don't know the answer. I don't know if we can get back to a "simpler time." I was on the Internet at the same time Mark Haughey was and I'm not sure this golden age even exists.

I remember mocking people and being the target of cruel jokes back in the days when blogs were called bulletin boards and you had to dial in to them one at a time.


The article does seem a little rambly and unfocused, but I can totally get behind the idea that we should treat each other a little more nicely.

Also, I was blogging after the word "web log" was coined, but before the word "blog" was. I called it a "web journal", having never heard the phrase "web log". Like most people, I thought I'd made up the idea. (Well, I had a friend who was keeping his friends and family updated on big news, and it was a small leap from there to what was essentially a diary, but it was my small leap, dammit.) It was indeed raw, emotional and real as Mr Duff says, and the self-conscious hedging was only absent because I hadn't figured out yet that anyone I knew actually used the internet. And there was not a single incident of anyone snarking at me on my blog, despite my consistent use of words like "Teusday" and "golossary". The simple reason for this fact was that there was no comment feature on my website. I'm guessing that this is the reason why Mr Duff has memories both of a time of kindler, gentler blogosphere and of plenty of early-web snarkery.
posted by ErWenn at 7:56 PM on October 20, 2008


Ahhh BBS's....I remember loving that text game...what was it called Dragon Quest or something maybe? Good times..
posted by Grither at 3:51 AM on October 21, 2008


You speak, perhaps, of Legend of the Red Dragon.
posted by cortex (staff) at 6:27 AM on October 21, 2008


Why don't you fucking assholes just try being nice for a change.

That's hardly a way to encourage niceness.

/Sensitive fucking asshole*

*Insert joke here†

†Hah, "insert".

posted by Alvy Ampersand at 6:57 AM on October 21, 2008


i'm sensitively fucking your mom's asshole
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:32 AM on October 21, 2008


i'll get my coat
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:54 AM on October 21, 2008


MODS??? ARE THERE ANY MODS IN THE ROOM??? NEEDED HERE NOW

for language inappropriate in mixed usage

*po face*
posted by infini at 9:21 AM on October 21, 2008


Thanks for that link, infini. I've only seen "po-faced" a few times and I have to admit I had been assuming it was some sort of American slang out of the South, with 'po' a dialectal contraction of 'poor', as in a po' boy.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:38 AM on October 21, 2008


joining an American high school in my senior year after my O Levels from a british one taught me the pleasures of the "english" language and the holes where I'd often find myself (not to mention Mrs Lee's C's in Creative Writing from all my 'spelling' errors)

I loved Bryson's Made in America
posted by infini at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2008


I join cortex in my thanks. I knew the term was British, but had no idea it was so recent:
It’s actually quite a modern word, first recorded only in 1934 in the book Music Ho! by Constant Lambert, the British music critic and composer: “I do not wish, when faced with exoticism, to adopt an attitude which can best be described by the admirable expression ‘po-faced’. We cannot live perpetually in the rarefied atmosphere of the austerer classics”. Mr Lambert’s phrasing clearly suggests that the term was by then already well-known, though perhaps within a restricted group (it has the feel of public-school slang about it).
posted by languagehat at 11:44 AM on October 21, 2008


languagehat, it actually shows up in some of Georgette Heeyer's novels, not her Regency period ones where she's reknowned for using daily slang and keeping meticulous records and references about the period but the murder mysteries that she set in her 'contemporary' era of the 1920's and 30's. I can't recall if I've also read it in any Agatha Christie books but Enid Blyton, an author I grew up devouring as a child may have had a reference, again memory is hazy after three decades or so.
posted by infini at 10:13 PM on October 21, 2008


heyer, damn typo
posted by infini at 10:14 PM on October 21, 2008


Sensitive fucking asshole

Now that's a band name.
posted by philip-random at 1:08 AM on October 23, 2008


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