MeFite unaware of blogworld A-list May 2, 2002 7:22 AM   Subscribe

Metafilterian demonstrates blatant ignorance of blogging A-list. He finds "someone named Meg Hourihan" to be "very condescending." I've taken my share of shots at the A-list in the past, but this post made me sad. Has the gulf between Metafilter and the weblogging community grown too wide? Are we better off with fewer inter-blog memes, or losing the center in the widening gyre?
posted by junkbox to MetaFilter-Related at 7:22 AM (80 comments total)

Id love to believe that internet based communities were somewhat resistant to the cult of celebrity, but its posts like this one that remind me they aren't.

Also reminds me of college indie rock days. Everyone was in a band, the only people at shows were in other bands. Outsiders were scoffed at for not knowing all these obscure bands. The word incestous is probably not entirely inaccurate -- and, although its a load of fun for the people involved in the special club, it doesn't make for a very diverse or interesting community.
posted by malphigian at 7:32 AM on May 2, 2002


I think the idea that someone is 'ignorant of the blogging a-list' is interesting.

Maybe it signifies something.. either a shift away from that core group (as there was a shift away from the last set of web-celebs like Alexis, Maggie, Maura, Lance, Derek and others).. or maybe it shows the web is becoming more diffuse.

Maybe because of the lack of anything truly new and innovating, or at least the growing difficulting in finding such things and proliferating them, there are less people out there to view as a-list..

Because what made a-list, away? It wasn't just loud, look at me kitsch like the whole war blogging or e/n sub-culture crap. It was talent, something different, freshness, ability, and usually first-mover on something new that was a good idea and somewhat original, without pretention.

But maybe the web is becoming more homogenized, creating more of a groupthink phenomenon against something different, out of the box, out of scope of what is expected to be the baseline today, as well.
posted by rich at 7:45 AM on May 2, 2002


"blatant ignorance of blogging A-list"

I'm forced to wonder why anyone should be required to recognize members of the so-called "A-list" and, if they do, why anyone should be required to kiss their collective asses as so many have done before? junkbox is implying that, god dammit, everyone on Metafilter should know and pay homage to the same ten weblogging celebrities.

Bullshit. Absolute bullshit.

People often travel in small circles, unencumbered of things like popularity and hit counts. I've said this before, and I'll continue repeating it ad nauseum: there are better webloggers than the A-listers. People out there deliver more interesting, more entertaining, and more frequent content than any of your coddled celebrities, yet receive little to no recognition. Just because __________ was here first doesn't mean they do it best. Those of us who realize this may find your sycophancy objectionable.
posted by Danelope at 7:48 AM on May 2, 2002


Let's be fair: the megnut post is a tad condescending.

This Index of Logical Fallacies looks like it should be required reading for anyone who wants to participate in online discussions. (Hello, Metafilterians? I'm looking in your direction...)

This pretty much says that "Metafilterians" are people "who want[] to participate in online discussions," but are somehow falling short -- presumably because they are not up-to-speed on logical fallacies.

If someone with less cred had posted something similar (SDB?), we'd all be breaking out the tar and feathers.

So, the question is, do people with old skool clout have some sort of immunity to fair criticism? I hope not.

(I'm sure Meg did not mean to sound condescending. . . just saying that it could be read that way. I, personally, have read that megnut entry before and did not find it objectionable.)
posted by Mid at 7:52 AM on May 2, 2002


There are a lot of people on the web. They aren't all going to read or know about megnut. That's not all bad. Different perspectives and opinions bring new voices to the community, and I don't think that it's too important that everybody who participates with MetaFilter understand the history of bloging.

However that thread and the MetaTalk thread about Steven's article made me sad for an entirely different reason. It seems that lately some of MetaFilter’s community members are extremely quick to leap to defend any perceived slight from outside the community. The whole thing when you go through it just feels juvenile (to me at least). Pride of ownership and participation is good, but I'd rather the community seemed to have a sense of humor about itself, and could be satisfied with the fact that we like it here even if it's not everybody's cup of tea. There are a lot of people on the web. They aren't all going to read or know about megnut. That's not all bad. Different perspectives and opinions bring new voices to the community, and I don't think that it's too important that everybody who participates with MetaFilter understand the history of bloging.

However that thread and the MetaTalk thread about Steven's article made me sad for an entirely different reason. It seems that lately some of MetaFilter’s community members are extremely quick to leap to defend any perceived slight from outside the community. The whole thing when you go through it just feels juvenile (to me at least). Pride of ownership and participation is good, but I'd rather the community seemed to have a sense of humor about itself, and could be satisfied with the fact that we like it here even if it's not everybody's cup of tea.

Besides, when somebody suggests that we could raise the level of debate, whether the suggestion comes across as smug or not, they aren't all wrong.

posted by willnot at 7:55 AM on May 2, 2002


Sorry - need to be more careful with my pastes (and my previews).
posted by willnot at 7:56 AM on May 2, 2002


It seems to me that there are two issues here: one is continuing sense of "A-list" resentement, so that the criticism of the link is read as criticism of someone who’s criticizing an “a-lister.” But the other is that to many of us (myself included), the post just seemed to look for offense where none seemed warranted. If a weblogger is a “tad condescending” in her mention of MeFi collective debating skills, it seems an overly big deal to make a front page post about it – or at least one about the condescension. Hell, if we all taxed each other for condescending remarks there’d be no weblogging community. I think a lot of the response in defense of Meg came not from reflexive ass-kissing (as many assumed) but because the whole case seemed like a nonstarter.
posted by BT at 8:00 AM on May 2, 2002


FYI: Meg is a fellow Metafilterian
posted by mkelley at 8:03 AM on May 2, 2002


My defense of Meg was based on my respect for her work. I've never met her. I don't believe in the A-list (my stocking is always empty on the morning of June 31, the A-list Holiday). But it's pretty clear from everything I've seen from her online and elsewhere that she's a solid person to take this sort of advice from. Defending Metafilter against an accurate statement? Why would I bother?

I dislike the way people act in groups numbering larger than three, and Metafilter has long since justified my distaste. I hang around here for the bright spots, not the sludge and slime.
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:07 AM on May 2, 2002


Is it ever important to be aware of the history of a community, or as the community evolves is the present the only thing that counts?
posted by iceberg273 at 8:13 AM on May 2, 2002


As any given conversation about the growing pains of a community takes place, the chance that said conversation quotes The Second Coming approaches one.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 8:21 AM on May 2, 2002


Oh come on! I've never heard of Meg either and I've heard of a lot of people. I know, from MetaFilter, she's someone a lot of people here like and respect. But she's not exactly general knowledge material - as indeed no blogger is.

But suppose we did know who she was and how important she is - why should an opinion that she had been condescending in a comment be noteworthy; let alone coming in for such vitriol? A lot of us are condescending now and again - it isn't exactly a crime.

Also I gather she's married to Jason Kottke. Well, if anyone is constantly and unfairly subjected to inane mud-slinging and outright contempt it is he. Yet I see no similar brouhaha.

I'm sorry, junkbox - I appreciate your irony - but your post here on MeTa is a perfect example of everything that is wrong about the attitude of blogger veterans. Like it's not enough the poster was piled upon just for opining someone he doesn't know - hey, does anyone know anybody round here? He also has to be dragged to MeTa for his "ignorance".

Allow me to be condescending now: I'd like to test your ignorance some day. As in general knowledge, culture, literature, the world. You know - like outside blogging. It does exist, you know...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:25 AM on May 2, 2002


Oops. I meant to finish that sentence: "for opining someone he doesn't know(...)made one possibly condescending comment in a thread."
posted by MiguelCardoso at 8:27 AM on May 2, 2002


Well, iceberg, it can keep one from looking like a doofus.

I found this amusing, more or less the same way Jack (I think) did. And there may even be more than two issues here. If Meg and Matt weren't on the A-list, but were still the founders or earliest members of Metafilter, how much of the same dynamic would remain? The A-list stuff is just a distraction to that particular question. Meg ought to have some latitude -- the same as all of us, really -- to speak her mind about a community she's been involved with for years. Jason's (her A-list boyfriend, for those keeping score at home) come in for his share of flak for (repeatedly) expressing his opinion that MeFi has gone downhill and no longer interests him. Which seems a perfectly reasonable thing to say on its face -- and by comparison makes Meg's offhand criticism seem pretty dang mild. Heck, what online community could NOT benefit from people studying that list of logical fallacies?

I don't think it's essential that, um, Metafilter remain at the center of the widening gyre. The falcon cannot see the falconer, and all that. Really -- the more people blogging, the less important any core group will ever be. You're only as good as your last link. I think it's nice that people know the history of their community and tools to an extent (somebody was just going around claiming they'd invented the word "blog" in 2001 ... sheesh), but ultimately it reflects back on them more than it does on people like Meg. She sure doesn't lose any authority to comment on Metafilter, especially on her own blog. She may lose the authority to be listened to, but she'd have to slag a lot harder and a lot longer to reach that point.
posted by dhartung at 8:29 AM on May 2, 2002


I heard Paul McCartney used to belong to another band years ago....Wings, or something...
posted by briank at 8:35 AM on May 2, 2002


meg made an off-the-cuff remark. she had an opinion, perhaps valid to herself, but which was nothing but. it's not my fault that meg feels this way or wants to take a potshot at a large group of people. she has the right to state her opinion, just as anyone has the right to say anything they like. that doesn't mean her opinion is right and true.

why should we really care if the comment is condescending, anyway? will your next date think less of you for not beating your chest with indignation?
posted by moz at 8:38 AM on May 2, 2002


Methinks we need a "For those who came in late" segment ala Lee Falk.

Btw Paul McCartney is a god! I saw him in concert last Friday, and he absolutely rocks! Best.concert.ever!
posted by riffola at 8:41 AM on May 2, 2002


I find it odd that someone could look at Meg's site and not realize it's a weblog, and consider her a MeFi outsider, and misread her tone. I guess MeFi used to be primarily a community of bloggers, and bloggers should be expected to know even a little about their history (come on, there's only three years of it to learn!). That's not the case anymore, and it's not accidental - we're encouraged to take blogging-related links out back to MeTa, and soon to blogroots instead. So as MeFi becomes less centered around webloggers and more centered around, oh, I don't know, raging about the news?, you can expect plenty more of this.
posted by D at 8:42 AM on May 2, 2002


Is Junkbox joking? If he's joking, I find his post mildly amusing. If not, I just want to cry.

I've been a member here for a while, and I've never been terribly into weblogs. I'll scan a few for cool links and such, but if I want to read the average person's opinion on stuff, I'll come here.

Except for SDB's weblog. That man is a genius, and has a 6 figure income.
posted by Doug at 8:46 AM on May 2, 2002


OK I commented on the original thread and I'm going to comment here then move on and I advise all of you not to waste any more time with this.

I apologize to anyone who thinks that I was taking a cheap shot at Ms. Hourihan or at the culture here. I'm a member here and I enjoy it, I learn a great deal from it, and I realize that Matt and the other people who came first have built, byte by byte, something that is vital and worthwhile.

Iceberg said it pretty well. As the gyre widens, it will change, and the only way to prevent this is to cut off new people coming in. I have a very low REI number but that person in line behind me joining up today is getting that sleeping bag for the exact same price as I am.

I strongly suspect that anyone who has "somebody" or "A-list" status feels this status, if at all, a lot less then those to confer this status on her/him. I wonder if the original link had been taken from Bunnyfire's weblog, would it have had the same response here?

If I have just revealed myself as an ignorant doofus, in dhartung's parlance, it's not the first time and it likely will not be the last.

I regret that I cannot craft a more elegant apology. Each time I preview this there is another comment or two.
posted by Danf at 8:51 AM on May 2, 2002


This thread is taking itself, and the whole weblogging, A-List, community, whatever.. thing way too seriously, so I'm going to interrupt this witty repartee filled with dead ends and wild goose chases by mentioning pancakes. I like pancakes. I like waffles too. Especially if they're blueberry.

I don't think Danf is to blame. I think we all are in one way or another. Rather than seek solutions in MeFi we compound the problems, and I'll tell you why.

I don't know who started the whole "A-List" thing. It's something that needs to be undone. It causes nothing but trouble both for those who are put on the list and those who wish to be. It's just silly. If it actually did some good for those on the list, or brought outside attention to the weblog community in a productive way, that would be one thing. It does not. Its original intent perhaps was to spotlight and showcase high quality talent among our ranks. It's deteriorated into oneupmanship and favoritism.

The people placed on the "A-List" either pretend they don't like it or honestly think it's silly. I don't know of anyone on the list who actually puffs out their chest prancing about like a peacock in regards to their status. Most seem embarrassed or frustrated when referred to in that manner. Or it could be an act and deep down they're appreciative. I dunno. My guess is they just find it stupid. Which it is. It's one of the reasons why I always joke about it, and thank the stars above no one ever refers to me in such an insipid manner.

If it's supposed to be a compliment, someone needs to go look up the word compliment, cuz the whole "A-List" thing is no longer complimentary. It's embarrassing.

Meg offered a suggestion. If you're gonna participate in online group discussions, it might be helpful if you study the mechanics of circular thought and delicious illogical logic. Whether you do it on accident or on purpose, it's easy to derail a thread in such a way to where nothing pertinent or useful comes of the conversation. Meg would like to see that change. It's a good, valid, sound suggestion, that cannot be logically argued.

Yet instead of taking her advice to heart, people attack the tone of her words, or rather one's opinion of her tone which is unfounded. Rather than explore the validity of the link she offered, people attempt to dismiss the point she made by questioning her use of sarcasm.

Can you not see that is precisely the point she tried to make? Rather than focus on the topic at hand, many of us here in MeFi consistently twist the thread into a debate that goes nowhere useful. Instead of coming together to look at issues rationally and seek logical conclusions or perhaps even solutions, people take sides and try to prove one another wrong. No doubt from the perspective of an individual like Meg, it's maddening.

The potential of MeFi is always here, yet we shovel so much shit on that potential. We clutter and muddy the issues, and wallow in a quagmire of our own making.

She was offering helpful advise, and we spit on it. Meg's been a MeFi participant off and on for three years. Yet in that time she's only posted three links. The last time was almost a year ago, and she was attacked for doubleposting, and the entire thread deteriorated into pancake wars.

So either be a part of the solution or go eat your pancakes. I'll bring the damn syrup.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:59 AM on May 2, 2002


: blink :

Why do we constantly cling to the notion of "A-list," to begin with? "Oh, this A-list person said this," "this A-list person said that." Blah blah blah.

I don't believe in the concept of "A-list." I, personally, respect people who go out and do things; who write good blogs or start good sites or assist in bringing good concepts to life. Megnut, for example, helped found Pyra. Derek founded the Fray. Jeffrey Zeldman, amongst his many other accomplishments, founded A List Apart. They're all three on my personal list of sites that I'll hit often, and opinions that I will pay attention to. Note that I didn't say "agree with" -- but I'll read them, and think about them, and draw my own conclusions. As Danf drew his.



posted by metrocake at 9:03 AM on May 2, 2002


Meg, Kottke, Evhead and the like are innovators of the form and deserve respect for that. But frankly, I really don't care much for this "A-list" stuff. Isn't the whole point of blogging supposed to be that anyone can make themselves heard fairly easily and cheaply?
I'm a big fan of all three people, I mentioned but just because they've been around longer or get more eyeballs dosen't mean that their opinions should automatically carry more wieght.

I think actually this is related to a change in MeFi, originally this was a place where people who had blogs hung out. Now a lot of people hang around here for a while and eventually create their own blogs. Some rookie bloggers treat these folks as gods, others as icons to be smashed. I believe we should just treat them as peers. Which, I've noticed is how they generally treat us.

posted by jonmc at 9:04 AM on May 2, 2002


"On the web, everyone will be famous to 15 people"

The reach of people's 'net-fame is very limited. As discussed or demonstrated in some recent Metatalk threads... ("Rageboy?" and Internet rock stars? , where boogah cites the same quote from Weinberger that I'm mentioning above...)
posted by andrewraff at 9:11 AM on May 2, 2002


I'd like to test your ignorance some day. As in general knowledge, culture, literature, the world. You know - like outside blogging. It does exist, you know...

Is this a challenge for me? I'd be happy to take it. I'll take Literature for $300, Miguel.

It's not ignorance to start a discussion of Metafilter's relationship to the weblogging community. I wasn't smashing anybody down for throwing an insult at Meg. "blatant ignorance" may be strong, but it wasn't innacurate. Some of the posters at this thread would pride themselves on their ignorance of A-listers, blogging memes, etc. So be it.

Metafilter is evolving. It is growing away from the community that first supported it. I think that the relationship between Metafilter and webloggers makes it unique, and that the severing of that relationship would be something to mourn.
posted by junkbox at 9:16 AM on May 2, 2002


All other blogs are irrelevant. Get over yourselves.
posted by rushmc at 9:21 AM on May 2, 2002


Metafilter is evolving. It is growing away from the community that first supported it. I think that the relationship between Metafilter and webloggers makes it unique, and that the severing of that relationship would be something to mourn.

Now that would be a good MetaTalk post, junkbox. I agree with you - but you must realize a lot of us newbies come from outside the weblogging community. We're learning. We want to learn. Of course it's lamentable that people brag about being ignorant of anything.But it would help if those of you who know didn't keep rubbing it in. Otherwise it all devolves into a sterile, pathetic "inner sanctum" thing.

I'm a trained political philosopher and so have to laugh at the very notion MetaFilter users could master logic - something trained philosophers notoriously find difficult. Much less apply it in a community weblog. Rhetoric is another discipline altogether. Even arguments(the study and construction of) pretty much have their own field nowadays. At best, non-philosophers here will have a notion that "ad hominem" attacks are weak; that "straw men" arguments are easy to dispute and(flavour of the month)that "begging the question" does not mean what it seems to mean.

So, to be frank, Meg's suggestion that we study Steven's Logical Fallacies list in order to discuss things better is ridiculous. Discussion on community weblogs is all about nothing more sophisticated than expressing personal opinions and sharing personal knowledge. That's why it's so rewarding.

To even pretend it can be regarded as something akin to proper, necessarily academic discussion is pretentious, fanciful and, yes, ignorant. This takes a lot of study, practice and, above all, time in preparation and presentation. Incompatible stuff.

When you accused Danf of "blatant ignorance" yes, you were technically correct. Insofar as I am blatantly ignorant of Madagascar's postage stamps or the platypus's mating habits in captivity. But your post, as it was initially worded, is absurd because it presupposes that to participate in MetaFilter we need to know a bit about the history and personalities of weblogging.

Actually, no. You can discuss 99,999999% of everything under the sun without knowing anything about blogging. Or logic. Which is what happens. Being educated about veteran bloggers in the process is a welcome by-product. If someone's ignorant of something, let that person know. Teach. Inform. Do not condemn. Sorry if I went on a bit...
posted by MiguelCardoso at 9:50 AM on May 2, 2002


Insofar as I am blatantly ignorant of Madagascar's postage stamps or the platypus's mating habits in captivity.

What a smoke screen!

We all know about your illegal platypus mail order business in Madagascar! You're not fooling anyone, you know.
posted by Kafkaesque at 10:04 AM on May 2, 2002


Miguel:

Discussion on community weblogs is all about nothing more sophisticated than expressing personal opinions and sharing personal knowledge. That's why it's so rewarding.

To even pretend it can be regarded as something akin to proper, necessarily academic discussion is pretentious, fanciful and, yes, ignorant.


expressing personal opinion is one thing; there is no argument in that case, for what you said was indefensible and (rightly so) you couldn't give a flying fuck. but when you disagree with another, and care to respond, or when you assert something as fact, you have to be responsible for what you write.

i think evolution is cool. i've taken lots of classes on evolution, anthropology and even a class on archaeology. i don't have enough expertise to lecture you on the effects of green, jade daggers and other jade trinkets on the success of catalhuyuk (i believe that is spelled correctly -- not even sure they had any success with jade) or other ancient, south american cities. i do believe i have enough expertise to tell you that the olmecs had lots of Big Smiley Face statues as opposed to the usual Sad, Frowny Face statues or the Angry, Pissed Off Face statues in south america. but even if you don't believe me, that's ok; i'll either try to find a source to back myself up or i'll admit to you, you know what, i think i'm right but i can't be real sure so take what i say with a grain of salt.

i think that makes metafilter cool. no one has to come up with three, sterling references for whatever they say. but if you are actually going to discuss a topic and make assertions, you have to accept the fact that not everyone may buy your words. you shouldn't get upset when someone doesn't accept your rationale of, "well, because i say."
posted by moz at 10:19 AM on May 2, 2002


jesus christ on a pogo stick. Here's the bottom line:

Meg was joking

Before anyone says anything or puts any ideas down here on the juxtapositions of post-bloggia interrelations in the MetaFilterian landscape, know that she was making a little quip. It looks to me like she saw the logical fallicies site I pointed to on my site, and saw a lot of the same tactics being used here by some, so jokingly said "I'm looking in your direction, metafilter" (which is a line from the simpsons, the "who ordered the symphony? Possibly while high? I'm looking in your direction, Cypress Hill"). It wasn't condescending because it was a little jab at MetaFilter, and the people that know her and read her site probably picked that up. I could see someone taking it out of context of being a playful joke, and maybe it's some sort of milestone, but the first comment in the original thread should be "she was making a goof on the site, don't take it seriously."
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:22 AM on May 2, 2002


ZachsMind- The A-list didn't start out as a compliment though. It was used by Joe Clark way back when in response to Rebecca Mead's article on Meg, as I recollect.

posted by rodz at 10:33 AM on May 2, 2002


I think that the relationship between Metafilter and webloggers makes it unique, and that the severing of that relationship would be something to mourn.

I disagree, although I guess it's more an emotional than factual disagreement. I think MetaFilter started out as a weblogger hangout because its creator had ties to the (small) community at the time, and the site itself is in a weblog format. Nowadays, though, the existence of a weblog community between the hundreds of thousands of weblogs currently active seems a tenuous concept, if not downright impossible. Is MetaFilter "severing" its ties to the weblog scene, or has the weblog scene gotten too large to see MetaFilter as the central hangout?

MeFi may not have such strong ties to the weblogger community at large as it did when it first started, but instead though the process of evolution it has built its own community of people with a decent vocabulary and an axe to grind an opinion. (Kidding! I kid because I love!) As someone (Miguel?) mentioned above, it seems more and more now that new MeFi members are in fact inspired to start their own weblog or non-commercial website by their experiences here -- and any site that encourages people to strike out into the world of personal publishing and find their own voice online is still pretty darn cool to me.
posted by jess at 10:43 AM on May 2, 2002


I never really had an opinion about megnut either way, but now I admire her for having the grace not to respond to either the metafilter post or to this one, which is just a continuation of the other one.
posted by iconomy at 10:49 AM on May 2, 2002


Joe Clark: "Getting blogged by Kottke, or by Meg Hourihan or one of her colleagues at Pyra, is the blog equivalent of having your book featured on Oprah."

Does that make Matt Dr. Phil?
posted by bunktone at 10:50 AM on May 2, 2002


Bullshit. Absolute bullshit.
well said. a-list my ASS.


posted by quonsar at 10:53 AM on May 2, 2002


OK.

*a-lists Quonsar's ass*

Has anyone ever witnessed anyone nominally on the A-list actually claiming to be on the A-list. As rodz said, it started out as an insult, or at least a snark, and gradually was picked up as a semi-compliment by various irony-impaired people. It's not fair to blame the "a-listers" for what other people have said about them.
posted by rodii at 11:03 AM on May 2, 2002


(sarcastic bastard)
Now, everyone with a user number over 2500 (250, 25, i dunno) go read RebeccaBlood's history of weblogs. Quiz at noon PST tomorrow
(/sarcastic bastard)

It is actually a tasty little article, for those interested.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:08 AM on May 2, 2002


No, but it's fair to challenge people when they not only assume we should know who the A-listers are(or whatever letter you choose) but also call us out for stating we've never heard of them.

The funny thing about Danf's post is that he actually took the trouble to find out who Meg was(her name, for instance)and worded his post in the politest and most gentlemanly way. I mean, if you asked someone in the real world - say the most educated person you can think of - who or what "megnut" was, I bet he or she would think of nutmeg.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:15 AM on May 2, 2002


As one of the contributors to the original thread, I didn't have a problem with either Danf's comment or Meg's post. I had previously read Meg's post and come to my own conclusions on it, as had Danf. No big deal.

No, the problem was when Mo Nickels came along and spouted his increasingly unsure claims of defense and uncaring.

The debate, such as it is, is not about Meg or Danf, but of posterity. We are inundated with history from the moment we are born, and therefore feel that every great invention and accomplishment must be acknowledged. Computers and everything computer related evolves so quickly that it's almost impossible to give the proper respect to the right people. In a generational sense, blogs are currently in their third? fourth? generation. That's old. The so-called a-listers are old. How can the new breed know who or what to give respect to? How do they even know that just a few short years ago, blogging didn't exist? Perhaps the fact that they use the tools is enough.
posted by ashbury at 11:17 AM on May 2, 2002


Not to be pedantic, but:

"Who is playing with the London Symphony Orchestra? Come on people, somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra... posssibly while high."
posted by yerfatma at 11:18 AM on May 2, 2002


I said: It's not fair to blame the "a-listers" for what other people have said about them.

And Miguel responded: No, but it's fair to challenge people when they not only assume we should know who the A-listers are(or whatever letter you choose) but also call us out for stating we've never heard of them.

Miguel, does that "but" actually mean anything there? Is there anything in what I said that can be construed as in conflict or even relevant to your point? I didn't "call anyone out." I have no argument with you; stop trying to create one.

I love Mo like a brother, but I agree, he was over the top there (especially in his inexplicable flaming of mattpfeff). Mo, breathe.
posted by rodii at 11:29 AM on May 2, 2002


Rodii - I meant junkbox for starting the thread. I agree with you entirely, dammit.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:42 AM on May 2, 2002


I bet he named her specifically to get a rise out of you guys. Look, its working.
posted by skallas at 11:48 AM on May 2, 2002


*looks*
posted by iceberg273 at 11:50 AM on May 2, 2002


I, for one, would like to know just who these a-list people are. I keep hearing about them, everybody seems to love/hate them -- for godsakes, there's a Z-list webring even -- but nobody will ever mention more than two or three of them at a time.

With all this pent-up animosity, you'd think there'd be an actual list somewhere for us all to throw eggs at.

[disclaimer/flame retardant: I'm being at least half-way facetious. No tar and feathers, please.]
posted by me3dia at 12:25 PM on May 2, 2002


With all this pent-up animosity, you'd think there'd be an actual list somewhere for us all to throw eggs at.

For six days in 2000, someone tried to tell us who was on the list, before either being killed by apathy or distracted by something shiny.
posted by iceberg273 at 12:38 PM on May 2, 2002


No, but it's fair to challenge people when they not only assume we should know who the A-listers are (or whatever letter you choose) but also call us out for stating we've never heard of them.

I don't see how I called anyone out. To deconstruct my original post

Point #1: There was a time when 95% of Metafilter users knew who Megnut was. 50% of them probably knew her personally. Point #2: That time is over, as demonstrated by the MeFi post by Danf. Point #3: This makes me sad in a nostalgic sort of way. Conclusion/Question: What are the positive and negative aspects of this change?

I found Danf's phrase "someone named Meg Hourihan" a bit specious. It has the self-righteous ring of, "Who does she think she is, talking trash about Metafilter, she's only a nobody named Meg Hourihan." Which means either A) Danf has his foot in his mouth thanks to his ignorance, since Megnut is somebody to at least a few people around here or B) He was being sarcastic. Neither is very savory.
posted by junkbox at 12:42 PM on May 2, 2002


And so we bring to a close another discussion on "juxtapositions of post-bloggia interrelations in the MetaFilterian landscape". Tune in again next week when we discuss the evolution of meme propogation from a post blogorrheaic perspective.
posted by euphorb at 12:45 PM on May 2, 2002


Bloggorheaic? Better get some Kaoblogtate....
posted by jonmc at 12:48 PM on May 2, 2002


...Danf has his foot in his mouth thanks to his ignorance...

Danf only has his foot in his mouth if you assume Meg's opinion -- regardless off what that opinion may be -- carries any more weight than anyone else's opinion around here. Point is, not everyone subscribes to your pedestal-placing.

I respect Mr. Haughey because of what he's created with MetaFilter, not because of his popularity as a weblogger. I respect Mr. Kottke because of his work with 0sil8 (which existed long before weblogging) not because he gets more hits than nearly every other weblogger. I respect Mr. Powazek because he stood at the helm of personal storytelling with the Fray back when the Web was in its infancy. Respect != fandom. I can respect these people without hanging on their every word and treating it like gospel.

(Also, if declaring a person "blatantly ignorant" isn't calling someone out, I don't know what is. You were insulting his intelligence, and you're insulting our collective intelligence now by pretending you weren't.)
posted by Danelope at 1:02 PM on May 2, 2002


Danelope: Meg was one of the founders of Pyra (creator of Blogger). You may begin respecting her at any time.
posted by rcade at 1:06 PM on May 2, 2002


I will freely admit to having a "blatant ignorance" of many subjects, among them scuba diving, fine bourban, daytime television and the mating habits of grizzly bears.

Were you to say about me, Danelope, "junkbox has demonstrated a blatant ignorance about the mating habits of grizzly bears," I would not take this to be an insult upon my entire intelligence. I am totally ignorant of this subject! I don't lose sleep about it at night.

Hence, by saying that Danf "demonstrates blatant ignorance of blogging A-list," I criticized his inadequacy in a small forum of obscure knowlege, not the wntire world. He may know a great deal about a great many things, including the mating habits of grizzly bears.
posted by junkbox at 1:14 PM on May 2, 2002


No shit, rcade, but "Respect != fandom. I can respect these people without hanging on their every word and treating it like gospel."

junkbox: I would not take this to be an insult upon my entire intelligence. I am totally ignorant of this subject!

This analogy only works if you had attempted to start a discussion in a public forum about the mating habits of grizzly bears. If I came along and dubbed you "blatantly ignorant" of the subject matter at hand, it would be an attempt to shoot down the validity of any argument concerning (and implicitly call into question your right to discuss) said subject matter.
posted by Danelope at 1:27 PM on May 2, 2002


Danf has been very gracious about the whole matter, Danelope. It looks like he has plenty to teach after all.

His thread had nothing to do with A-listers or the weblogging community. It was about the logical fallacies link and whether or not Metafilterians had been "slapped," whether the community could benefit from learning more about logical fallacies, etc. The fact that he didn't know Meg from Eve doesn't undermine the intellectual authority of his original post, and my pointing it out doesn't make me some kind of syncophant.

posted by junkbox at 1:49 PM on May 2, 2002


I mean no one hates Mefi outright ...
posted by feelinglistless at 1:51 PM on May 2, 2002


Not to be pedantic, but:

"Who is playing with the London Symphony Orchestra? Come on people, somebody ordered the London Symphony Orchestra... posssibly while high."


That's not a complete quote if you're trying to prove Matt wrong on the Simpsons reference, the next line is 'Cypruss Hill, I'm looking in your direction'. Also, I doubt that the term "I'm looking in your direction, xxxx" term originated with the Simpsons.
posted by jonah at 1:56 PM on May 2, 2002


Some people manage to eke out joy, though.
posted by gsh at 2:00 PM on May 2, 2002


Danf has nothing to apologize for. Megnut, Kottke, et.al. are very good sites but I don't read them, because what's there doesn't interest me that much. Of the A-Listers, I used to read Camworld and Zeldman because they wrote about subjects that interested me, and I used to like Lemonyellow (not A-List but written up in the New York Times) when it was around. I hate to admit it, but I haven't done a lot of weblog reading lately because the content just isn't there; I choose Metafilter, A List Apart, Evolt and other sites over single-person blogs.

I think the reality is that like any sort of celeb, the A-Lister was in the right place at right time. Yes, there's talent there, but there are a ton of interesting sites up right now that aren't as well known as the bloody A-List.

As far as MeFi going downhill, well, I've heard that for awhile. It has changed, and not all the changed have been for the better. Maybe the most irritating thing to be has been the obsession with double posts; I've seen too many threads turn into discussions of whether or not something is a double. That isn't the point if the site, is it? The Israel-Palestine discussions have also seen a new low in MeFi "debate," with more trolling and less humanism than I would expect from the people here.
posted by tranquileye at 2:02 PM on May 2, 2002


Ah, MetaFilter.

The greatest place that never was - the poor place that will never be what it could have been because it isn't now what it never was.

And it won't be what it wasn't ever again.
posted by Opus Dark at 2:18 PM on May 2, 2002


MetaFilter: Same as it ever was.

Sheesh!
posted by metrocake at 2:32 PM on May 2, 2002


Oh, and,
junkbox is blatantly ignorant of the pejorative implication of the phrase "blatant ignorance".
posted by Opus Dark at 2:38 PM on May 2, 2002


metrocake: this is not my beautiful house!

honestly, I think the A-listers (whoever, whatever) should feel kinda good that some (many?) current/new bloggers don't know who the hell they are. Something that they were on the ground floor of, and helped nuture has now grown to a size where they are not automatically associated with it. Let's face it, that accomplishment should feel better than any ass-kising would.

(my opnion, could be total crap)
posted by tj at 2:47 PM on May 2, 2002


(bangs head against desk)

(gets up, bangs head against wall)

There was web before blogs. The original "under 250" number people here at metafilter I would wager more than half didn't blog, even if they blog now, they didn't then, and had normal, pre-blogger sites.

A-lister pre-dates blogs, and probably predates even the days of Fierce vs SMUG and the web-celeb debates and rants before blogger ever even existed, technoligy-wise, regardless of being a registered domain name.

A-list shifts and changes.. people who get branded a-list usually never went out to be a-list, and just are naturally good at what people want at that point and time. People who deride a-list are usually people who were there at the beginning, as well, who didn't get the attention and are pissed, or came late and think they're better and want attention.

Meg probably did mean it as a joke, albet more of an in-one, since you'd ahve to know her voice to get the wink (which, actually, is one of the problems with blogs - being more quick entries with no supporting substance, you can only get a feel over time for something.. but that would take way more space to actually delve into and explain than I want to get into here)

But, hey, don't listen to me, because I obviously have no clue what I'm talking about.
posted by rich at 4:40 PM on May 2, 2002


stop banging your head, rich, you might hurt the wall.
posted by jonmc at 5:32 PM on May 2, 2002


I had no problem with what Meg said, and whether I disagree or not is irrelevant. What I dislike is the bullshit reverence that some people like to attribute to the so-called a-listers and talk down to newer people like they're unassailable icons who are past reproach. I've never met them, but I am quite certain at the end of the day their shit stinks like the rest of us.

Except Matt's. His smells like lilacs.
posted by owillis at 6:28 PM on May 2, 2002


Megnut was attacked. she responded. The clean-up crew is still in the lobby.

was it not robert graves who told don hall while he was teaching in Ann Arbor...

"Why dont you try to make a living using your wits"

i guess i liken this 'list' debate to that. Poetry. to me, one better be making some money at it if they want to call themselfs a poet and not get the ole plato treatment.

if not, its a hobby folks.

my hobby is poetry. i'm dam good at it. but i'm no poet.
what ever this "list" debate is, it tells more about the people who made the list then the list itself.




posted by clavdivs at 6:50 PM on May 2, 2002


"We are being pummeled by a deluge of data and unless we create time and spaces in which to reflect, we will be left with only our reactions." - rebecca blood

Yep. That's about the size of it. It's precisely what's happening here.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:56 PM on May 2, 2002


A-Listers are shameless.
posted by tranquileye at 8:13 PM on May 2, 2002


from he site: we know what is in zach's mind BUT WHAT'S IN HIS PANTS?

Trick question. Zach's not wearing any pants.
posted by mikhail at 8:48 PM on May 2, 2002


Zach's not wearing any pants because the platypus took them. They're quite modest during mating season.

Not to be simplistic, but why the heck does anyone get angry at ANY post here or elsewhere? The reason I come here is not to hear from 48-year-old oceanographers-turned-architects but to see what you peculiar people out there are up to. I'm guessing that nothing anybody posts here is going to destroy civilization, so just enjoy the glimpses into other people's worlds. If empathy and curiosity are beyond you, go sit in front of a mirror and pat yourself on the head.

Yours In Pomposity,

skyscraper


posted by skyscraper at 9:52 PM on May 2, 2002


If empathy and curiosity are beyond you, go sit in front of a mirror and pat yourself on the head.

And rub your stomach.
posted by mikhail at 10:15 PM on May 2, 2002


jesus christ on a pogo stick.

New tagline?

Or maybe just a phrase Matt can start using to describe himself?
posted by nath at 1:12 AM on May 3, 2002


Jesus Christ on a Pogo Stick.
posted by rcade at 5:40 AM on May 3, 2002


Ancient. Unholy. Neato.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:45 AM on May 3, 2002


rich: Meg probably did mean it as a joke, albet more of an in-one, since you'd ahve to know her voice to get the wink

What amazes me about this 150-comments-over-two-threads extravaganza is that if one reads Meg's words in their original context it's blindingly obvious that she was kidding around. In her very next para she makes a 'preemptive strike' against the Webbys, and the entry leads off with 'an application that auto-generates weblog press'. How much of a wink does it take?

And check the date on her entry. MetaFilter: Poke It With a Stick and It'll Bite. Eventually.
posted by rory at 5:54 AM on May 3, 2002


And check the date on her entry.

Isn't the 4/1/02 date just the date for the entire April archive? The entry that you're quoting was from later in the month.

I have no opinion on any of the rest of this discussion (except that y'all need to get lives), but I think that implying that it was an April Fools' joke is inaccurate.
posted by anapestic at 6:14 AM on May 3, 2002


I wasn't talking about April Fools; I meant it took two whole weeks (April 17 to May 1) for 'us' to notice that Meg had said what she said. That's at least five front page lifetimes. Whole raging arguments had lived and died on the 'Filter between Meg's initial entry and Danf's post.

(I guess that proves that MeFi has drifted away from the old guard. Meg, you're free! Free at last! Except for your boyfriend. We's keepin' him locked up in the cellar, heh heh heh.)
posted by rory at 6:56 AM on May 3, 2002


it always amazes me how many people use the term "a-list" seemingly without a trace of irony. gack.
posted by jnthnjng at 7:01 AM on May 3, 2002


I only judge a weblog on one criterion:

It's the links, stupid!

Truth be told, I find most of the supposed "a-listers" to be very dull indeed on that basis, past and present. It's usually the same stuff all the time and I prefer the more obscure links.

(Just my opinion and I wholeheartedly apologize for adding to the a-list wankfest!)
posted by mark13 at 12:10 PM on May 4, 2002


You know, I only visit places that have good links.

And by good links, I mean they link to places with good links.

I find the 'a-listers' and others that don't put as much effort into their links as they do into their content to be very boring and dull.

I mean, the whole point of the web is to link and surf around it, right?
posted by rich at 6:46 AM on May 6, 2002


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