Another MetaFilter reference February 28, 2002 11:53 AM   Subscribe

Another MetaFilter reference, but this time there seems to be some kind of time travel involved:
"Another community in which I reside is the Metafilter / Blogger Developers / A-List community. The pillars of this community include Jason Kottke, Meg Hourihan, Evan Williams and Cam Barrett. These bloggers do most of their discussions on Metafilter and generally have beautiful blogs. I am not sure if any of them would list me as a member of their community, but I don't think that they would kick me out if they knew I had joined."
From Mike Saunders at Keep Trying. Am I the only person to whom this rings oddly?
posted by rodii to General Weblog-Related at 11:53 AM (64 comments total)

(The Reveal Typos function tells me I should have typed "Sanders".)
posted by rodii at 11:54 AM on February 28, 2002

"I hereby claim this A-List for the King of Spain."

This could definitely catch on.
posted by rory at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2002

It's almost like he's creating his own mythical world, loosely based on the blogging community.

I expect an animated feature and action figures soon.
posted by frykitty at 12:01 PM on February 28, 2002

Jedi: The New Kottke With Kung-Fu Grip
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:12 PM on February 28, 2002

MikeSanders member info. If I told you had a beautiful blog, would you hold it against me?
posted by thc at 12:16 PM on February 28, 2002

I admire Mike's can-do spirit, I should add; and it's true that the three communities he lists do overlap more than, say, e/n and the A-List. But you're right, rodii, I can't remember the last time I saw Cam or Ev post around these parts.
posted by rory at 12:16 PM on February 28, 2002

(The Reveal Typos function, now with extra Reveal Excessive Use of Personal Pronouns!)
posted by rory at 12:17 PM on February 28, 2002

Please stop the thread, I want to get off. The community construction was meant in a positive way. My apologies for leaving out Matt and anyone else who might be considered pillars and for any historical inaccuracies.

posted by MikeSanders at 12:18 PM on February 28, 2002

I think the sentiment he is expressing is something along the lines of: i hang out in the same places and do the same things with all these well known people and i consider them to be my peers even though they don't know who i am.

right? i think a lot of people online feel that way at times. Between Webzine99 & Webzine2000 events and 3 years of going to the party, i've seen/met/heard/been-drunk-in-front-of-while-playing-guitar most of the A-list people. It is strange to be around strangers that you know so much about. Strangers that you still consider to be peers in someway. You feel like because you know so much about them and their daily lives they should know you.

Matt and metafilter are a great example of this. How many of us here consider Matt to be a peer/friend? I'd swing a chair for him in a bar-fight, but i don't know him, i just know about him. Interaction online usually sticks to the knowing about level...we don't know each other, we stalk each other one link at a time--metafilter is a community i feel like i'm a part of because i feel like i'm a part of it. So why can't mike talk about the communites he feels like he is a part of?
posted by th3ph17 at 12:24 PM on February 28, 2002

Don't worry, Mike, we're just having an acid flashback of our 'Nam days here. Don't get too hung up on the whole 'pillars' idea. They're just folks who started blogging a bit before other folks, you know.

And you're right of course, th3ph17.
posted by rory at 12:26 PM on February 28, 2002

Jeez. there's no a-list, cabal, secret society, or whathaveyou, and there is especially no a-list "community."

Jason, Meg, Ev, and Cam hardly ever post here, and generally talk on their own sites about their own things. Anyone can be a member of metafilter (well, before I shut off signups), there's no exclusivity there. If you like Jason's site, put a link to it on your page. If you like John Doe's Blogspot blog, put a link to that. Did you just create an instant a-list community by doing that? If everyone says John Doe's site is good is he now a-list?

I have no problem with people saying they like something. With so many blogs, we need humans to say "of all the blogs I've seen, these are the best and hence, my favorites." That's a good thing, espeically if I trust that person's opinion. The things they like will probably be things I like, if I already like them, that's the basic thing behind blogdex, isn't it?

But to say the authors of frequently-pointed-to-as-good blogs are "a list" puts on an air of elitism that implies they are better than you or I, and that if you were to meet them on the street, they might be jerks, because, of course, they're better than you in every way.

Mike's a member of the blog community, as are everyone else who writes one. He's a member of the "meta blog" community because he writes solely about weblogging itself. There's no "a-list community" foremost, but it's worth mentioning that metafilter isn't a-list by any stretch, nor is being a member of metafilter mean you helped develop blogger.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:28 PM on February 28, 2002

I guess I have a totally different conception of who the pillars of this community are, is all.
posted by Hildago at 12:30 PM on February 28, 2002

Okay, but does Gary Coleman hang out in his office?
posted by briank at 12:31 PM on February 28, 2002

I think the sentiment he is expressing is something along the lines of: i hang out in the same places and do the same things with all these well known people and i consider them to be my peers even though they don't know who i am.

that says it a lot clearer, and without all the loaded words we've heard about and talked about before (my last comment was based on the a-list stuff and all the baggage it carries with it). Mike, I think phil is spot on, and you're right, though I'd say anyone participating on weblogs and metafilter is a peer among other memebers. There's no exclusivity, it just depends on whether you want to participate or not.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:31 PM on February 28, 2002

Mike, nothing personal, and I didn't mean to imply that you're "leaving people out." It's just that your list is like "Metafilter Stars of 2000", and I can't figure out where that particular perception of MeFi came from. I think most newbies would talk about, say, Miguel or MidasMulligan or UncleFes (to pick three of *many* at random) as prominent figures around here. Jason seems to exist mainly for people to throw darts at, Cam and Ev haven't posted here (it seems) in eons, and Meg very little, alas.

A more general question: does this whole "weblog communities" thing really make sense? It's rare (here, at any rate) to hear the term "A-List" used without at least a couple levels of irony. The A-Listers I know deny (vehemently) that there is such a thing. How can you hang with a group of people whose members deny it exists?
posted by rodii at 12:32 PM on February 28, 2002

I guess I have a totally different conception of who the pillars of this community are, is all.

We could argue all night about who our personal pillars are, there's no sense in arguing who should or shouldn't be on that list.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 12:33 PM on February 28, 2002

Uh, while I was writing all those smarter people chimed in, and, by the way, I don't mean Jason only *exists* to throw darts at--I just mean that people seem to throw darts at him a lot, for some reason. *gives self indian burn*
posted by rodii at 12:36 PM on February 28, 2002

If everyone says John Doe's site is good is he now a-list?

I'll have you know that before my weblog changed names and IP addresses, I was on the The Very Special First Degree List That Completely Supercedes The Ultra Elitist A-List In All Ways.

I'm just saying.
posted by iceberg273 at 12:38 PM on February 28, 2002

I'm just saying.

Jonah, the New Kottke, was on that list as well. Hmmm...

Is icy the New Cam? Discuss.
posted by J. R. Hughto at 12:41 PM on February 28, 2002

Agreed on the ironic use of the term 'A-List', rodii, but as for "weblog communities"... well, yeah, I think there are, but they're very small, there are an awful lot of them, and they overlap on the edges in a giant patchwork quilt. There are about half a dozen fellow bloggers I think of as 'my' community (my 'A-List', if you like), and I hope they all think of me as being in 'their' communities, but they wouldn't all include each other on each other's lists. It's like friends of friends of friends.
posted by rory at 12:45 PM on February 28, 2002

There is also the celebrity by association factor. Most people have a desire to achieve some sort of fame (rather than infamy) and blogging, in its myriad forms of which MetaFilter is one of them, presents a relatively simple method. One achieves their fame thru their blog and thus their personality, which is one of the more rewarding factors.

Unfortunately, a-listers exist and will continue to exist whether they want the popularity or not. Comparisons with them will always happen. Folks, examine your true desires: do you really want to be on a pedestal and in the spotlight all the time? Many bloggers are the equivalent of the National Enquirer, constantly watching to see what They are doing and saying. Do you really want to be an a-lister?

That said, you can never forget the importance of community feeling/spirit. I, too, based on what I have seen here, would enter that bar brawl to defend many people I respect in MetaFilter, celebrity status or not. Ultimately, said status means absolutely nothing.
posted by ashbury at 12:47 PM on February 28, 2002

Sorry about the a-list stuff, I should have realized the baggage it carries and the exclusivity it implies.

Although it might have been more accurate to list metafilter as a separate community, in my mind I saw a larger commonality (including meg and evan) and therefore a large virtual community. Perhaps inclusivity carries its own set of problems?

posted by MikeSanders at 12:49 PM on February 28, 2002

Also notice that he had entitled that entry as "Sim Blog". A fantasy.
posted by ashbury at 12:49 PM on February 28, 2002

Mike--I think it's important to hang out and get a feel for a long while before you start making blanket declarations about the blogging community. Just jumping into a community and then attempting to define it will certainly draw fire from the folks who have been there a while. Well, it will if it's filled with naive inaccuracies.

Your writing is solid; I hope you'll write what you know for a while, learn more about the community, and then go for the metablog.
posted by frykitty at 12:56 PM on February 28, 2002

Mike and I have exchanged email, and I've apologized for personalizing it rather than focusing on the issue, whatever it was in my mind (some muddled combination of perceptions of celebrity, community and the ever-changing nature of the population here; I think th3ph17 did a great job of shaping something useful out of it). It's probably a good idea to have a question in mind beofre I post, rather than asking MeTa to clarify it for me. But it's a good discussion in spite of my woolly-headedness; carry on.

Anecdote: I remember carrying on an email conversation with an "A-lister" once, feeling like I knew him (or her) well from her (or his) posting here, and on about the fourth exchange of quips and ideas, him or her saying "um, WHO are you again?" Ouch.
posted by rodii at 12:58 PM on February 28, 2002

Thanks for the advice.

Since most of you probably will not read the offending blog entry in context of the other entries this week, let me just leave you with this nice quote from a permission-to-publish email from Jonathon Delacour, who is a member of a different blogging community that I described this week:

I love this group. Being a member is one of best outcomes that flowed from starting my blog. I'm not sure how I became a member and I don't know who all the members are. That's very important to me. The amorphous quality of the group. It may well be that if you sat us all down in separate rooms and asked us to list the members, we would each come up with radically different lists. That makes it incredibly beautiful and special -- because it means there are no barriers to entry and no possible sense of exclusivity.

posted by MikeSanders at 1:26 PM on February 28, 2002

Can I go out on a limb and wonder if it's good that a community has A-listers of one sort or another? Oh what? Some reasons?

- By definition they tend to be looked up to because of what they do. In Metafilter, this would presumably mean they always post something worthwhile and add useful comments to threads which move the conversation onwards or make you think.
- They're a good yeardstick for new members. If someone wants to know how best to make a mark here we can point to an A-listers so that the newbie can shake their furiously with sudden understanding
- They are someone we can be irreverent about.

That's it for now. See if I was an A-lister I would have ten reasons. But I think those three are the main ones.
posted by feelinglistless at 1:45 PM on February 28, 2002

there doesn't seem like much of a weblog community, once you get into it. that's been my experience; owning a journal for over a year now, it's been mostly solitary. once a month, you get an email complimenting you or asking a question. i think i prefer it that way: the glacial pace feels much more intimate.

i don't know. there really isn't a weblog community so much as there is a city. in our city, there are lots of people, and you can't hope to meet them all; due to the size and the unfamiliarity among its inhabitants, you might know fewer than if the place were a lot smaller. maybe that's not so bad.
posted by moz at 1:46 PM on February 28, 2002

Has the increase lately in metablogging been a strict percentage growth as weblogs have grown? Or have they sprouted and grown beyond the previous amount? Or are people just more inclined to talk about blogs these days?

There's something I find weird in reading stuff like keeptrying and many of the radio blogs. I know in the early days of weblogs, it seemed insular, as many blogs pointed at other blogs, but I remember making a conscious decision on my blog to never link offsite or to other blogs for about the first year. I tried to keep it somewhat personal and journaly, and openly wanted to avoid the standard blog circles at the time. I think everyone from 1999-2000 eventually grew out of it, and they don't seem to talk about other blogs so much as their own work, their own interesting links, or their own life.

What I can't tell in many of the new bloggers that talk about blogging, and blogrolling, and blogwatching, and "blogversations" (eww) if it's just temporary enthusiasm or if it's permanent.

I think I've stated publicly that I don't find the whole warblog thing all that interesting, and what keeps me from taking them as seriously as they take themselves is that they tend to talk about themselves a good deal. If you have a warblog, why not just talk about the war? Who cares what your warblog neighbor thinks every 3 posts, why not create some original thoughts on every post or find new links?

There's something else dangerous in all this talk about "this community" and how it relates to "that community." It's tribal, and tends to keep people out, as they are not from "this" or "that" community so they don't fit in. In an attempt to show how inclusive it all is, it can discourage people from participating. I tend to think categorizing people leads to an easy way to dismiss them (much like I just dismissed all warblogs above unfairly, what I really meant is I didn't find the ones linked in an article all that impressive when they all linked to the article and each other).

Or maybe it's that I hate going to a weblog and seeing the word "blog" repeated a dozen times, I could be wrong about any/all of this.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 2:23 PM on February 28, 2002

A-Listers don't necessarily know they're A-Listers until they are told, and then they are going to tell you they are not, because no one ever told them they were, until they're told they are and that's when they deny it.

Did I lose you yet? I got my asbestos longjohns on. Just so you know.

Now I don't wanna get off on a rant here but being on the A-List is not a choice made by the people who are A-Listers. I don't know the etymology of the phrase or how it evolved into the online community lexicon, but the following appears to be how it really functions. YMMV of course.

There is an unofficial majority out there who consistently seem to believe that certain individuals write stuff that more or less is worth reading, and the teeming masses enjoy telling The Great Unwashed to go read these people's blogs and participate in their projects. A lot of people try to buddy up with these people in one way or another. Why I don't know, but it seems to make people feel better about themselves.

The "A-List" is not an elitist group of people who have placed themselves up on a pedestal. The rest of you cretins put them up there, cuz you keep talking about them, lauding their successes and criticizing their blemishes, and then some of you get upset when you realize you're not a part of their clique.

Some A-Listers happen to be friends with one another either online, offline or both. This gives the illusion that their mutual aquaintenceships and friendships are a clique that should also be termed The A-List, but it's not the same thing. The A-List is not synonymous with the relations between these people. That's largely coincidental.

I was tempted to list here what I think is the A-List. However, I just deleted it. That would be pointless. I know my list. You know yours. Making such a list would just provoke the rest of you to post your lists here, and then we'd all start arguing over who's really A-List and who's not. The ones who are, are the ones who get talked about the most here in MeFi and elsewhere. It's also subjective.

By example, to compare the A-List to mass media celebrities might be helfpful here. I personally think Tom Cruise and Britney Spears are both braindead, but there's a lot of people out there who disagree with me. Whether I like it or not, Cruise and Spears are on massmedia's A-List.

The weblog's A-List is even more confusing. A friend of mine is more into the weblog/online journal community than I am. I used to be into it. She still is. Her A-List includes people I've never heard of. Relative newcomers to the whole online community of personalized informal websites, who she insists I should go see. My personal A-List is dated. I'd include more of the oldtimers, people who have proven longevity in this chaotic maelstrom of the Net: where a year might as well be a century.

I largely left the whole online journal community thing a few years ago for reasons similar to why Willow stopped using magic. It got weird and I freaked out and then I went cold turkey to avoid completely losing my mind. Some people out there just don't know when to quit. Some can handle it better than others.

One of the many problems is that someone who idolizes A-Listers makes the mistake of believing by rubbing elbows with them it somehow naturally can make you an A-Lister, or at least a respected hanger-on. Make no mistake: Hangers-on are never respected. At best they are envied. At worst they are ignored.

The A-Listers that the majority of people out there talk about a lot also suffer the ramifications of this unrequested but often warranted attention. They are the equivalent of celebrities in the web world, but many of them get little to nothing substantial in return for their troubles. At least offline celebrities from tv or movies occasionally get paid for their public appearances.

But of course A-Listers will deny they're A-Listers. They are A-Listers but it's not something they chose for themselves. It's a blessing/curse bestowed upon them by the teeming masses because of what they do online, and because others online happened to like what they do.

It's not by choice that it happens to you. It's not by choice that it doesn't happen to you. Other people choose to make you an A-Lister. The more an A-Lister ignores their unprovoked fame, the more the masses will sling it on them. And I think deep down they know that. Personally I'm just happy to be on the Z-List. I hope that's where I stay, cuz if someone ever walks up to me in real life and goes, "ohmigawd! you're zachsmind! oh you're so cool and stuff can i have sex with ya?" I'm probably gonna scream a real high pitched girly scream and run in the opposite direction until I hit a wall like Wile E. Coyote. Fortunately for me this is something that will never happen.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.
posted by ZachsMind at 2:50 PM on February 28, 2002

Or maybe it's that I hate going to a weblog and seeing the word "blog" repeated a dozen times,

What about with an exclamation mark, as in Blog!

I do that quite a lot actually ... back on the subject of A-listers being a good thing, I thought of another one ...

- They always look cool in shades ...
posted by feelinglistless at 2:56 PM on February 28, 2002

My gut feeling is that membership in the kind of informal groups we call communities is usually more ambiguous and more contested than it seems from the outside; real communities tend not to go around making declarations about it; if you make a big deal about the your membership in a community, there's probably some doubt about whether you are a member, or it's more a gang than a community.

But as I looked through various blogs, starting from Mike's site, it seemed to me that a bunch of them were very concerned with these issues. People are forming little networks to address their feelings of exclusion from other networks, defining their in-group vocabulary for each other, talking about how their group is different from other groups, electing people to (mostly unserious, I think) positions, and it's blog this, blog that, blog blog blog.

It strikes me, frankly, as sort of bizarre. This is just an outsider's point of view, though; I'm sure the logic is very different from the inside. It reminds me of science fiction fandom, but sped up. The whole "blog" discourse seems to have changed, when I wasn't looking, from "personal publishing" to "building networks, " just as fandom stopped being so much about science fiction and more about FIAWOL (Fandom Is A Way Of Life).

(No links, because I don't want anyone to feel like they're being singled out.)
posted by rodii at 6:05 PM on February 28, 2002

My 2 Cents.

I like to call them ad-hoc networks. Now I have to use my personal site as an example so bear with me. I write on my site, then one of the people who reads it will respond either on my comments or via a post on their blog, so those two sites have connected. Then you have someone else who will add their voice to the conversation on their blog. The second person responds to the third then I throw my two cents in. So in some way there is some conversation or semi-coherent "conversation" between these three nodes. That is then affected, refined, etc. by others who comment on one of the sites involved or take it to another level by continuing the conversation on the site of their own. This pulls in their particular audience and maybe permanently or just for that specific conversation, there is a shared mini-community (whatever the hell you want to call it). So you have all these people talking and refining a position and idea in multiple places with no center to it (which brings to mind the whole p2p journalism thing).

So your more read, more established blogs will start a conversation that somewhat trickles down to the less linked sites. I tend to think there's a few identifiable groups: The (So-Called) A-Listers (Matt, Ev, Cam, Rebecca, etc.), then you have the Techies (Winer, Doc Searls, Joel Sposky...), E/N (Stile), Camgirls, and most recently the Warbloggers (Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, Ken Layne). There's a ton of other groups but these are the ones I can think of and some people belong to all/none/some. (I like to think I'm schizoid enough to belong to some, except the Camgirls :). But these groups share conversations and the community of them come and go on the fly.

Our very own wonderchicken wrote a post related to this.
posted by owillis at 7:29 PM on February 28, 2002

I largely left the whole online journal community thing a few years ago for reasons similar to why Willow stopped using magic.

A terrible decision that weakened both the character and the show immeasurably, and which was itself based on an unworkable metaphor...
posted by bingo at 9:00 PM on February 28, 2002

People are forming little networks to address their feelings of exclusion from other networks, defining their in-group vocabulary for each other, talking about how their group is different from other groups, electing people to (mostly unserious, I think) positions, and it's blog this, blog that, blog blog blog.

I'm surprised at the negative tone, there, rodii. I think it's often just the opposite of the cliquey-nes you describe. What you seem to be talking about is the whole high-school aspect of all the little webtribes all over the place (of which you belong to at least one of which I'm aware) and there is some of that infantilism, granted.

But I feel strongly that the various groups and 'little networks' I've run across at least tend to be smart, professional people who feel some sense of belonging to a variety of different ad-hoc networks (as Oliver describes them), and have an interest primarily in finding and recognizing talented and interesting people (or people who share their interests or foibles or whatever). I see very little out there of the exclusivity and cliquey-ness that you describe, except, oddly, in a certain little EFTshack that I don't tend to visit much anymore, for those very reasons.

I was a science fiction geek when I was a teenager, and at least in my experience, what's happening out there (in many corners of blogspace) is a lot different. It's not the same thing to hang out at a hotel with a bunch of people who share your deep interest (if you have one) in William Shatner's acting (for example), as it is to virtually associate yourself with various groups of people based solely on what they've written about their lives, beliefs and fascinations.

Metablogging can get excessive, certainly. It frequently does. But I find the things that AKMA says at least as valuable and fascinating as the things that wood_s_lot links to (to pick an example of a metablogger and a 'links, mostly' blogger from people that I read as often as I can), and I am excited about the web, these days, in a way that I haven't been since before the almighty buck pushed the web in its own direction years ago. Some of the stuff happening out here lately, some of the ideas that are gaining currency, are setting me to dreaming again. This is a good feeling for me.

Of course, as I note frequently, I could just be talking crap again.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:09 PM on February 28, 2002

Whoops. To answer the original question in your post, rodii (I hadn't actually realized you started the thread), yeah, I found it odd and anachronistic, too, but I figured people would take Mike to task for it soon enough, and was looking forward to the sparks flying....
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:12 PM on February 28, 2002

Not meaning to sound negative, stav, just kinda got caught up in the rhythm of the prose. And I'm definitely not talking about cliquishness (I think we understand one another on the cliquishness issue)--rather some kind of need for making implicit relationships explicit, defining everything. I find it interesting, not offputting, but, as I say, from an outsider's POV, kind of bizarre, almost like playing dress-up.

Mary Douglas, I think, and her students used to talk about social systems in terms of two variables they called "grid" and "group". A high group system was one in which there were strong barriers to joining; a low group system was very inclusive. A grid system meant that, once you were inside, things were very organized, and people had clear roles to play. In a low grid system people's roles were very indistinct. The question, I thought, was, in what sense is a low grid/low group system a system? What are the rewards? What other kinds of systems are like that? How do they maintain themselves (or do they)? It seems like you're talking about such a thing here. And what I'm feeling is that this seeming need to organize (or to "meta-tate"/metablog) is an acknowledgement that the totally ad-hoc, low-grid way is somehow unsatisfying, that for all the rhetoric about synergy and serendipity, people have some kind of need to create structure. This connects somehow to the emergence theme that's been in the air of late.

Of course, as you note frequently, I could just be talking crap again. I dunno, I'll think on it, but probably not here. MeTa's not my personal space. I appreciate the perspective.
posted by rodii at 10:20 PM on February 28, 2002

As always, my friend, I defer to your erudition, and note that you raise some fascinating questions.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:26 PM on February 28, 2002

Am I the only person to whom this rings oddly?

And I the only person to whom that question does, too?
posted by y2karl at 10:33 PM on February 28, 2002

Yeah, yeah... *pbbt*
posted by rodii at 10:34 PM on February 28, 2002

rodii: I think the whole organization thing is just a human type need to "put this in its box" because it's kind of hard to categorize, not necessarily because it doesn't work. I'm a bit biased because I think it does work. The whole nature of conversations linked by hypertext is straight out of the Ted Nelson/Tim Berners-Lee school of thought in my estimation. A past employer of mine was always worrying about linking outside of our site and the only links we ever had were paid for by partners. The proliferation of blog-like media is exposing this for the "not so smartness" of that school of thought, where "Yes Virginia, it's okay - hell, encouraged - to link offsite"
posted by owillis at 11:10 PM on February 28, 2002

Bingo: "A terrible decision that weakened both the character and the show immeasurably, and which was itself based on an unworkable metaphor..."

I wrote that whole drawn out piece of tripe and the best anybody can do is rag on me because Willow is a wimp? Geez I should start posting messages that rip on my own posts.

I would argue your point Bingo, because I happen to think the Buffy writers made a daring move which strengthened the Willow character and the show immeasurably, thus reinforcing my original metaphor. Unfortunately that would lead to topic drift which I can't get away with in here. I'd create a MetaFilter post with which to argue the point, but can't find a decent webpage to link to that calls Willow a wimp for wimping out on the magic thing.

Buffy flipping burgers though. Stupid.
posted by ZachsMind at 11:36 PM on February 28, 2002

Re: warblogs. On today's rants, 2/28, Rantburg wonders if some of the warblogs aren't really Poliblogs. " ... it's easier to pronounce than 'polblog,' but I'd always be expecting the tail to drop off as it grows into a toad or a frog or whatever polliwogs grow into." Haven't spotted much mention of Rantburg, which actually carries daily factual snippets about Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, etc., but I don't get around like the rest of you. Some of MetaFilter's political animals might enjoy matching wits with Fred's wonderfully astringent and snarky commentary ... you don't have to agree with this guy to appreciate him.

rodii: i think about a lot of the same stuff, but like the protagonist said in "a beautiful mind," -- "kid, when was the last time you've eaten?"
posted by sheauga at 11:38 PM on February 28, 2002

..the best anybody can do is rag on me because Willow is a wimp...

If you don't stop talking about puerile, pointless television programs now, ZachsMind, I'm going to crawl up your ass and chew your heart to hamburger!

Feel better now, cap'n? ;-)

But if you absolutely must do it, go here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 11:46 PM on February 28, 2002

I thought chickens were herbivores.
posted by Kafkaesque at 12:46 AM on March 1, 2002

ZachsMind: I too have tried to think of a way to rationalize a Buffy post, so that I can talk about what abysmal crap the show has become.
posted by bingo at 12:46 AM on March 1, 2002

take it to buffyfilter folks.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 1:08 AM on March 1, 2002

Well I went to Buffyfilter and all I got was the rather cryptic 'could not create the table '.

I know how he feels ...
posted by feelinglistless at 3:45 AM on March 1, 2002

For me, weblogging is fascinating more as a topic of anthropological or sociological inquiry. This discussion is interesting in a way but it's a lot like listening to a bunch of 33rd degrees discussing Masonic politics. In fact, it's more like going to a party and listening to a bunch of co-workers from the same company discuss office politics and gossip.

It reminds me of science fiction fandom, but sped up.

Just as long as it doesn't get into any of that Society For Creative Anachronism stuff. Those people are seriously weird. And they don't get out in daylight enough.

posted by y2karl at 5:50 AM on March 1, 2002

rodii: i think about a lot of the same stuff, but like the protagonist said in "a beautiful mind," -- "kid, when was the last time you've eaten?"

I'm on vacation this week!
posted by rodii at 6:24 AM on March 1, 2002

I'm on vacation this week!

Great! I need some help moving!
posted by y2karl at 7:13 AM on March 1, 2002

In case your interested, here is the first paragraph from my blog today

I got roughed up in a Metafilter thread yesterday. It was my own fault. I was looking at some out-of-date community zoning maps, I did not acknowledge the pillar of Metafilter, Matt Haughey, and my personal zoning process and terminology created some negative feelings of exclusion. I did gain some valuable insights from the thread. It is interesting that many of the same issues came up as when I first posted on Metafilter and started the "What am I, Chopped Liver Awards" in response to the Scripting News Awards. Live and learn.

PS - I know that Matt was not asking for the recognition, but it was still a big oversight on my part.
posted by MikeSanders at 7:31 AM on March 1, 2002

Great! I need some help moving!

OK, I'll be right over. Wait right there.
posted by rodii at 7:49 AM on March 1, 2002

Mike--I really don't think you were roughed up. Simply asking questions, and having what turned out to be a pretty civil discussion, is not some kind of abuse. People are sometimes fierce in defending MeFi but I thought it was clear that your blog entry wasn't an attack. There was, I think, some dissonance in your and my views of something which is, after all, kind of playing the role of elephant to our blind men, if you will. I think if you're going to discuss a place like this, you should expect, and welcome, some return discussion. As a wise man here once said, it makes things more complicated, and that's good. (BTW, I spent a few hours reading your blog and following links, and found it all pretty interesting, perplexing and stimulating.)
posted by rodii at 7:54 AM on March 1, 2002

Rodii--I meant roughed up in a positive, playful sense. (Language can be so limiting.)

I have no problem being held accountable for what I say (or omit) or having differences of opinion with others. And I enjoy the tone of discourse of this "community".
posted by MikeSanders at 8:20 AM on March 1, 2002

one last thing about perceived a-list/cabal clubs, some of that perception stems from geography. People who live near one another are obviously more likely to actually hang out and write about it. I'm a leader of the secret society of web people in my town. Woke up today to a tribute page.

Now, someone who didn't know me and the creator of that page wouldn't know that he let me sleep on his floor when i had no place else to go, and that now my wife and i live in an apartment complex with his mom as the manager. And then it would just look like online buddies patting each other on the back. some people online really are friends in real life.

mike, i don't think matt wanted credit or anything--i'd say relax and don't try to over-correct. You didn't do anything wrong. write what you want.

posted by th3ph17 at 9:05 AM on March 1, 2002

Mike: what rodii said. But you yanks are tough old birds - no sensitivity; too much sports - so I'll be the one to tell you it was sweet; not in the modern sense of being very good, but in the old sense of being nice.

Rodii's post was about the way we all feel we're linked to those we read - in a nice but illusory way, not in a stalker, "King of Comedy" way - and the blogging community.

Blogging is so democratic we all feel part of it. And we are part of it, whatever them hard-hearted bastards say. It's just not in the way we think - it doesn't cross over into real life. And thank God for that, no?

By the way, keep that rodii apology - it's as rare as a dodo's beak and just as valuable!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:18 AM on March 1, 2002

Oh hurrah - the weblog writers have made it to the point online journals got to circa 1998.

Lord, let this end - and soon.
posted by gsh at 10:23 AM on March 1, 2002

Mike, you didn't get 'roughed up' because you excluded anyone, especially Matt.

The point people people were making is that the people you pointed out - koettke, Meg, Evan and Cam (well, take out evan) aren't really part of the every day that is Metafilter or metatalk anymore. Just like alex, lance, leslie, derek, maura, and greg (among others) have become occassional or even no longer active participants.

The list you gave was from a different 'era'. It's like Moore's law around here.

Except for sjc, zach, mc, aaron and me. (smirk) Oh yeah, and Matt. See? You always end up forgetting someone.
posted by rich at 11:00 AM on March 1, 2002

i'm still working on it - sorry
posted by goneill at 3:13 PM on March 1, 2002

"Except for sjc, zach, mc, aaron and me. (smirk) Oh yeah, and Matt. See? You always end up forgetting someone."

Uhm, Rich? I don't recall ever being an A-Lister.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:46 PM on March 1, 2002

Shh. Just keep quiet and take the checks.
posted by aaron at 9:17 PM on March 1, 2002

Zach, we're the back-up team since the a-listers I mentiond (among others) don't come around as often. You know the cabal rules and regulations. Listen to aaron. Take your check, dry clean your black ninja suit, and drive the hummer over to the standard meeting spot by the pay phone by the desert.
posted by rich at 10:55 PM on March 1, 2002

No, that would be the A-Team!

"I pity da fool mess with da A-List!"
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:12 AM on March 2, 2002

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