The Steam Vent

(x-posted from PFF)

Every now and then, one simply needs to vent. Here’s mine for today, feel free to add your own!

Open Letter to Blog Owners and  Committed Community Members

I don’t give a damn about what other blogs you and your people like, or do not like.

I have NO interest in who hates who, who outed who, who is getting paid by who, who is a sock puppet, who slept with who, who you’ve banned or whether or not they deserved it. I don’t care if you have a thousand rules or no rules at all.

Blog wars remind me of watching a bunch of third graders throwing sand at each other on the playground or a bunch of little boys playing “King of the Hill”.

When I do register on a blog, it means I’ve found something interesting to read and respond to, or perhaps a place I’d want to post some work on now and then.

It does NOT imply I wish to JOIN YOUR BLOGGING COMMUNITY, or that I wish to HELP YOU BUILD YOUR BLOG,  or that I have CHOSEN YOUR BLOG OVER THE COMPETITION, OR HAVE PLEDGED MY UNDYING LOYALTY TO YOUR CAUSE!  Blogging is my hobby, not my life’s work. I am an itinerant blogger by choice.

I hang out on a blog as long as I am enjoying myself. That means as long as there are enough interesting writers, topics, and commenters from ALL sides of the issues, including an ample number of “Others” (meaning people besides straight white males.) 

As soon as it becomes clear to me I’ve landed on yet another typical all white male hierarchal blog system (where I must genuflect to the king or queen and their courts)  I am outa there. I’m getting old. My time is too valuable to waste in any more of those systems.

I don’t give a damn what direction the prevailing “clique” on any blog is leaning, and will make my own decisions about where I post and when. 

Wow, that really sounds angry, doesn’t it?  Fact is, I am not currently angry at anyone, really. (OK..maybe kos and Boo a little, still 🙂 

But I have hit the wall, it seems, in terms of getting a belly full of hearing that if I post on one blog, I shouldn’t be posting on the other..(if I had a brain, or some such message.) 

I think it’s fine to feel loyal to a blog or a blog owner, if that turns your crank. Go for it. Been there, done that myself.

But if new readers feel that also have to “choose up sides”, in order to be “acceptable” here , you’re going to lose some good folks who you might not want to lose, too.

Overall, this continual focusing on blog PERSONALITIES, over blog CONTENT, continues to mystify me. Yeah, people love meta. I do too, for entertainment now and then, in measured doses. (But more 300 comment threat about Armando and/or MSOC and I will puke all over my keyboard!) 

I will not be proclaiming any website or blog my “community” ever again. Because we have not yet progressed to building online communities that do NOT require excluding a great many people. And over and over again, they are people I find incredibly interesting and valuable: people I have learned much from. 

If  “Others” are not welcome on a blog, it is not a place I care to stay for long either. If it turns out to be a blog made up primarily of straight white males ,  won’t hang around long either, because I already know all I ever wish to know about those kinds of systems and how they operate, and have long ago absorbed their overall interpretation of where my “proper place is”. Fuck that!

That’s it for now: I just needed to blow off some steam!

Your turn!


  1. I wholeheartedly agree. I said it last night with a lot more fake angst, though. Your shot is better. 😉

  2. I’m right there with you.  When blogs grow up, I’ll be grateful! ;^)

    • pico on September 19, 2007 at 18:41

    I’d only change one thing: the dichotomy between personality and content isn’t quite that clearcut, and I find it’s sometimes used to obscure other issues.

    Case in point: Jerome posted a middling diary on here earlier in the week, and that’s fine.  But it was his first here, and a lot of people popped by to greet him.  A commenter took this as ‘cult of personality’ and ripped into him for it.  But from where I stand, Jerome’s a prolific and consistently good writer who’s churned out some of the most interesting work I’ve read online (he was a large part of the Energize America project).

    If that middling diary had been on dkos, I likely wouldn’t have rec’d it, but I’d still have opened it and read it – he’s proven he’s worth my time.  I do think that consistent good work merits closer attention, and certain names start building reputations based on that.  That’s a perfectly natural process.

    Of course it can go too far, and I’m sure the big names will tell you that they’ve had middling work get a wider readership for no reason other than their big names.  But I do think it’s an oversimplification to separate personalities from content, since sometimes the cult of personality specifically develops around content. 

    On the larger point (content is more important than name alone), we’d otherwise agree completely.

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