Re: Dare We Hope?


It will take a few weeks for us to be sure of a shift in the long-term trend. But never fear! Updated heh'd counts will be forthcoming!

Posted by: Matthew Battles | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 8:15 PM
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I think it would also be an improvement to reduce the use of lines like this:

"Indeed. Read the whole thing."

To me this seems pushy and grating.

I don't know what would be better. I think the goal of this commentary is to offer Glenn's endorsement of the linked material. In other media this could be handled with just a "recommended article" logo, or maybe a text marker. That would avoid the need to invent an off-handed endorsement every time.

Are we engaged in irritating & pointless harping? Of course not! It's funny, which alone is sufficient justification. Plus it's the natural extension of the blog model. A con of blogging is the lack of editing (yes, I know, it's also one of the biggest pro's). So think of this as the distributed, market-based editing model creating pressure to improve the quality of blogging. We alone do not have all the answers, but as part of the distributed read-o-blogosphere we will do our part in eventually turning up the right answer.

Posted by: Matthew Battles | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 8:51 PM
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As "heh indeed" Glenn put it in his CNN interview, the "hive-mind."

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 9:09 PM
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Posted by: Matthew Battles | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 9:13 PM
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Anyone Ready for an InstaPundit Backlash?

Kevin Drum posts about Glenn's "transformation into the Rush Limbaugh of the blogosphere" (link by way of the new blog by Larry Maggitti).

Kevin asserts that "Instapundit has turned into an orgy of innuendo and name calling", and "Instapundit has turned into nothing more than a clearinghouse for bile, with post after endless post explaining that anyone who disagrees with him is really motivated by a seething hatred of America and a desire to see everything that is good and true torn limb from corrupt limb."

Strong stuff! And as a frequent InstaPundit visitor, I certainly see why he might think this.

However, I do not agree with his closing line: "The level of rage and contempt that it takes to continue extracting pleasure from banging out this kind of stuff on a daily basis baffles me."

I have a theory about why InstaPundit has become increasingly strident in his posting. Bloggers are susceptible to distortions of perception due to their strange communications channels with the outside world. A well-known blogger puts up a post and is then greeted by a wave of remote and often anonymous criticism on other blogs and by e-mail. Many of those criticisms are very hostile. However, what's operating here is selection bias -- the most hateful critics are the ones most likely to bother e-mailing or posting. Compound that with the known propensity of e-mail and discussion board disagreements to slide quickly into name-calling, and it's easy to imagine how a blogger can feel very hostile to those who disagree with him or her. A related phenomena influence posts and e-mails agreeing with a blogger, creating the impression that the world is made up entirely of two classes of people: highly loyal supporters and hateful, mindless critics.

My hunch is that the blogger's strange experience of the outside world, combined with the lack of an editor and the rush to post, leads to this increasing shrillness or stridency of tone. This is also how I explain Andrew Sullivan's similar ramp-up of self-righteousness.

Another possibility is that perhaps bloggers are just figuring out that, in the media biz, outrage sells...

Posted by: Matthew Battles | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 10:49 PM
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That's an interesting theory and may account for some of what's going on, but is a blogger's reality really limited to people who email his blog? I can see that the theory accounts for the urge to be shrill, but the shrillness itself is Instapundit's problem.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 10:55 PM
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Fair point, Ogged. I agree that the character of the blogger is a huge determining factor. In fact maybe blogging just liberates long-repressed tendencies?


"is a blogger's reality really limited to people who email his blog?"

Have you noticed how much time the InstaPundit spends posting? Would it be unreasonable to guess that more than half of his communications stream is e-mail and other people's blogs?

I don't think this would apply to all bloggers -- but for the high-traffic bloggers, a definite maybe!

Posted by: Matthew Battles | Link to this comment | 04-14-03 11:22 PM
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