Free Advice! Come Get Your Free Blogging Advice!

Yes, more meta. I love hate meta too, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

You folks (the head honchos hereabouts) have done a good job so far in setting the stage at this blog. I have a good feeling about this place. I note with amusement that old arguments appear to have been hyper-accelerated and in relatively no time and you are facing many of the same issues that have plagued dKos, Booman, MLW and others over the years. All in the first month. Must be some kinda record.

As someone who has observed the irony of average Joe bloggers complaining about how things are handled and then making the EXACT SAME decisions themselves when they become blog proprietors, I would like to offer three pieces of advice to the powers that be and one piece of advice for the rest of us.

And it’s all for free! Why? Because I love hearing the sound of my own voice you guys.

Free Advice the First – Banning is Way Out:

Avoid hitting that ‘ban forever’ button wherever possible. It will bite you in the ass. It may feel like the right decision at the time, but from what I’ve seen, it rarely is. I think you guys know this, but I read this morning about three banning so far. Not sure how true it is but regardless of the veracity – Don’t Ban. I say this as a former banning proponent who has seen the error of his ways.

Free Advice the Second – Ignore Your Friends and Your Enemies:

You will get tons of free advice (heh) from those who do / don’t have your best interests in mind. Ignore it all. Follow your heart and your head. As an example, you have made a decision to have Armando as a key member of this group. Of course this decision will generate a ton of emotion over the life of this blog. You will doubtless hear from many who want to you ‘teach him how to behave’ or ‘institute civility rules’ or even ‘remove him from the front page’. Don’t do it. You’ve done a good job so far in keeping away from the civility police, keep it up and you’ll be fine.

But one day you’ll be faced with a decision you haven’t had the luxury of thinking about ahead of time. And you’ll get plenty of free advice on how to handle it. Ignore it, seek your own council, and make the right decision. Do not under any circumstances allow others who blog here to make these decisions for you, either directly or indirectly though undue influence. If you do, it will doom your blog. Sounds dramatic I know, but I believe it to be true.

Free Advice the Third – Ignore the Attention Seekers:

This is a real tough one. To illustrate it, I’m going to use the example of your blog’s first GBCW diary from this morning. I won’t link, as I’m not trying to call anyone out. In this diary, the person stated this wasn’t the blog for them, there wasn’t enough talk about topic XYZ, and it’s not personal but it is time to move on. When encouraged in the comments, the diarist did make specific complaints about such-and-such an action regarding you-know-who, but really it wasn’t personal.

I call BS – in a nice non-personal way. Of course it’s personal. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with things being personal. But as blog proprietor(s), you will benefit the most in the long run if you ignore these personal pleas. I know it sounds callous, but engaging is exactly what the Attention Seeker wants. I know. I’ve done it myself.

Because once you engage, you begin the process of accommodation. And once you accommodate, you run the risk of getting into the problems discussed under Free Advice the Second. So don’t engage within the diary itself, but feel free to explain repeatedly what your goals and dreams are for the blog in your Front Page essays. Eventually, your message will get through.

Free Advice for the Rest of Us – Stop Giving Free Advice:

I’ve seen this one play out over and over again. We all want to be friends with the folks we meet online. We all think we know what’s best for our friends. So we (in genuine and honest good faith of course) have tons of ideas of what’s really best for our friend the blog proprietor. So we shoot off an email or perhaps get on the blower to give some great free advice.

We need to put a collective cork in it.

One of the most discouraging things I learned about the whole Armando saga over at the Big Orange was how much influence peddling there was going on behind the scenes. It was a major turn off to this old High School Nerd, and reflected poorly on everyone involved.

So the only free advice you should give should be the type you would happily share with the world. If you must preface your advice with ‘Don’t Tell Anyone I’m Saying This’, shaddup already.

Your friendly blog proprietor will thank you in the end.



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  1. Free Advice about ignoring / not giving Free Advice is perhaps ironic, but there you have it.

    I think this place has great potential, and I’m rooting for all y’all. I know I’m looking forward to some good debate.


  2. Thank you.

  3. Nice user ID number ya got there fellah! hahahaha. You know, I told myself this morning that I was going to boycott meta here and yet here I am, in a meta diary! Mostly I wanted to say howdy, nice to see ya. But I’d also like to thank you for your perspective on the topic.


  4. there goes the blogosphere…….  😉

  5. I also think banning is passe — the blogosphere has become a “small world” and banning just ends up turning into a game of whack-a-mole, imo.

    Having said that, I think we need to be able to think outside the box when it comes to how to deal with folks who come here to disrupt or attack.  We’ll never have unanimity about this, so we won’t be able to act in unison no matter how nice the theories may be.

    I think banning just doesn’t work any more.  But I have yet to see something that does.

    • snud on September 17, 2007 at 23:34

    ‘Cause if I’m not out in five minutes, I’m coming in after me.

    1. …to get a room already. You wrote:

      I was in the process of detaching from the online political world when I discovered it, most fortuitously I believe.

      I’m with you 100%. Although I don’t take myself too seriously as you know, I really hope the folks in charge here can learn from the mistakes made by others and keep the good vibes here going for a long time.


  6. particularly sticky.

    If you ban, the people who get banned will likely carry a grudge into another blog.

    They will then start whining and bitching and complaining and kvetching about you until, perhaps, they’ve convinced other people that you are some sort-of hideous cross between Idi Amin and Adolph Eichmann, or something.

    Look at the way some people talk about Markos, for chrissake.

    However, if you do not ban, you can find yourself in the situation that MSOC was in, wherein there were all these people running around MLW spewing all sorts of poison concerning, among other things, MSOC, herself. 

    So, there doesn’t seem to be any good solution… including not banning.

    Ultimately, tho, I guess I have to lean toward a reasonable banning policy.  It’s better to have rotten citizens be rotten citizens… elsewhere.

    So far people around here have been pretty excellent with one another and I very much hope it stays that way.

    Ya hideous bastards!  LOL.

  7. it doesn’t pay as they always disappear on ya

    That P on your stick shift stands for Pulling Away!

    Becoming emotionally involved in a campaign is silly.

    Ghiradelli chocolates are the shiznit.

    Always have at least one avenue of excape when chopping down dead trees.

    Take your date to the local pound or animal shelter, if your date is not emotionally moved, dump them.

    Security is for pussies.

    Why bother trying to match socks or fold underwear, it seems like a waste of time to me.

    • Lahdee on September 18, 2007 at 03:25

    It’s all about me!

    • vigkat on September 18, 2007 at 03:40

    You are wise indeed.

  8. Buddha’s belly?

    I usually avoid meta, but this is concisely spot on.  Thank you.

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