Saturday, April 02, 2005

Flamers. A blog's best friend.

hot vibes Posted by Hello

[EDIT UPDATE: I know. I should have written "The Flamer. A blog's best friend." or "Flamers. A blog's best friends." So flame me about my grammatical lapse. I meant "flamers as a group" = a blog's best (aggregate, collective) friend".]

Where would we be without people who volunteer their time, talent, and resources to state how **wrong** we are about a topic or issue about which they have better information?

These under-appreciated, unpaid critical reviewers (aka flamers) have a vital role to play in the development of the "bloatosphere" of blogs.

How often have you stated, in a rash but well-intentioned manner, an opinion that you now know to have been mis-guided or too extreme? Or, on the other hand, too "tolerant" of something that is clearly wrong or ineffective?

Check your old posts.

Are there any articles in the archives which you now no longer support in good conscience?

Any regrets about what you've written?

Any assertions you now feel were made in anger, or over-enthusiasm, or as Freud would say, over-valuation of the object choice (his definition of infatuation, i.e., "love")?

If you stand by every word you've ever written or spoken, you're either a fool or a liar. Or some superior divine genius from another dimension.

All the great thought leaders have changed their minds on various issues.

We need to engage in introspective cynicism, skeptical contemplation of our precious opinions, feelings, and belief systems.

What do you think of that sentiment? If you disagree, flame on brother!

Check out this statement about blogospheric hype, from John Dvorak, in PC Magazine:

When you go to blog-centric sites such as Blogcount, an excellent blog that keeps track of this sort of thing, you find all sorts of ridiculous notions about the relative popularity of blogging.

My favorite is an incredible post here where it is asserted that there are 11.9 million bloggers in South Korea, a country with a population of around 50 million people. This means that over 20 percent of the people in the country, including old ladies and babies, are bloggers. This is a laughable and needy assertion.

IBM cannot even muster 0.1 percent of its employee base, and Korea manages over 20 percent of its entire population?

This is how delusional the blogging-crowd members have become about their hobby. And, frankly, I don't get it.

Everyone has to conform. It's the "everyone must become a blogger because I am one" mentality. I own a Mac, so you should too. I have this camera, everyone should have this camera.

These are the conformist trends that fuel politics, TV viewing, car-paint colors (boring!), and everything in between.

Even supposed nonconformists conform to some rigid nonconformist ethos. Just look at punk-rockers or hip-hop gangsta style.

There must be something comforting in this new conformity because I see it as the real trend here. Maybe I should do a blog about it.

John Dvorak, "Conformism in the High-Tech Era", PC Magazine, March 14, 2005,1759,1775945,00.asp

Too much praise can make us soft, comfortable, egotistic, grandiose, closed-minded, self-impressed, boring, slothful, sloppy, rigid, and even make us expect, or demand, that everyone approve of everything we say and do.

We all need some harsh critique, some cautions and warnings, now and then.

For more hot info on the burning application of flaming, this side of the lake of fire itself, see FLAME WARS at:

But we cannot allow ourselves to suffer because someone disagrees with us. We cannot grovel in the mud and loathe ourselves, lose our passion (I hate that buzzword, so why do I use it?), feel like total losers or morons.

Shel Israel has revised a post at The Red Couch blog, and I mean major alterations. Its title is "Blog or Die: the Literate Version".

I and several others had given him and Robert Scoble a lot of criticism, flaming if you will, about the proposed title of the book they're working on: "Blog or Die".

As you'll see when you visit the "Blog or Die-the literate version" revised post, my second to last comment mentions how blogs are "dying", how (as Seth Godin has stated) lots of garbage [or pseudo, simulated] blogs have entered the blogosphere, thus decreasing its overall value as an information source.

I also state that in the "Post-blog world" there will be better communication vehicles. I was trying to incite discussion and burn through the hype of "blog or have your corporate feeding tube removed."

[I think that someday, blogs will be regimented or regulated to the point of disusefulness. Hopefully not, but I think there will be changes, not so good. Look at how all other media has been corrupted by the powers that domninate them. But this is an unpopular, visionary proclamation.]

I got flamed.

Those business [sic] which ignore blogging will not be around to participate in the distributed organizations and markets of the future.

The post-blog world awaited by Steven Streight may be more than he can stand. It could be a gradual mutation of the blogosphere into a universal Wiki. Be careful what you wish for... :)

Posted by: David St. Lawrence | February 8, 2005 02:54 AM

NOTE: Be anatomically correct. Always put a nose ^ on a smiley.


I guess others had also raked Shel and Robert over the coals for their bashing of reporters, their allegedly uncomplimentary comments about the MSM (main stream media) journalism, which everyone knows is doomed due to the emphasis on gloom and a lack of integrity at high levels.

So Shel re-wrote the post, while retaining the original comments, which is a bit odd, but I'm not flaming him or Robert. I support them both 100% and feel I'm on their wavelength in most matters.

So I posted a comment on that post, stating how I "love flamers with all my broken and battered heart". Not the ignorant ranters, but the smart, though a bit arrogant, flamers who reveal weak points in your arguments and errors in your opinions.

I try to be appreciative of intelligent, though abrasive, flamers in my sweet, gentle, and domineering manner. My triumphalist style shines through even when I'm admitting I was wrong or not fully informed.

I got that term "triumphalist" from a remark about Richard Baxter (1615-1691), the Puritan vicar, pastor, and author of The Reformed Pastor (Banner of Truth Trust, Edinburgh, 1656).

"Baxter was a big man, big enough to have big faults and to make big errors.

A brilliant cross-bencher, widely learned, with an astounding capacity for instant analysis, argument, and appeal, he could run rings around anyone in debate, yet he could not always use his great gifts in the best way.


...his combative, judgmental, pedagogic way of proceeding with his peers made failure a foregone conclusion every time.


Granted that his habits of total and immediate outspokenness ("plain dealing") in all matters concerning his ministry was conscientious, and not just compensation for an inferiority complex (in fact, it was probably a bit of both), his lifelong inability to see that among equals a triumphalist manner is counter-productive is a strange blind spot."

--James I. Packer, Introduction to The Reformed Pastor, by Richard Baxter.


Toby said...

Steven -

We learn thru and by and with each other -especially in this ever developing industry [yes, I do think blogs are an industry ... so fame me :-) ]* we call the "biz" blogosphere.

As long as those "flames" are based on honorable intentions to help rather than hurt, are based on research and are based on sound strategy I welcome your "help."

diva marketing blog

*I nose included!

steven edward streight said...

This was not directed toward you, Toby, this was strictly aimed at people who maliciously or helpfully flame me.

When I accidentally hurt someone's feelings, or brazenly trash someone's work (not knowing an ally, even a mentor was behind the work)...

...that's a whole different ballgame.

I'm learning how to pick my battles wisely.

I'm learning how to pick the right hat (re: the "six hats" theory, black is attack mode, white is nice mode, etc.) to wear as I swagger thoughtfully into an issue.

I don't wish to clobber my allies, or innocent persons, with my opinions or strong beliefs.

That would be uncouth, unkind, and unacceptable to me.

I'm still thinking about how to rectify our little situation. Will email you later about it.

You are one of my favorite bloggers and marketing specialists.

Lurkers: go to my right column link and click/select "Diva Marketing" to see her fine blog.

Toby said...

...and you one of mine! [Thanks for your kind words.] Steven, didn't take your post personally - honestly - just wanted to add to the conversation :-) I's an important issue that many of us will face if we're putting ourselves "out there."

People will discover you and add their 2 cents to your conversation. Guess the other lesson is to take it with a grain of salt and keep on truckin'!

diva marketing blog

steven edward streight said...

I have not yet figured out why people are sensitive to merely typed words, with no tone of voice, no body language, no imposing personal presence, no facial expression, no loudness...

...just typed words, pixels on a screen.

I've felt my heart leap, my skin crawl, my head spin, black smoke pour out of my ears...

...just by reading a comment to a post I wrote, not so much on my blog, but on a bulletin board, online forum, or email discussion list.

I have waged combat that was ferocious in web design/development forums and discussion lists.

For example:

(1.)I've had web developers plead with me to stop posting about the evil of computer virus creators and DDoS attackers who ruin innocent people's computers, overload servers to shut down sites, and wreak havoc in networks.

(2.) When I questioned the idea of "pre-sold customers" visiting ecommerce sites, when I stated that one must never assume that any web visitor needs no sales pitch or product data, I was viciously flamed and personally degraded.

(3.) On a certain discussion list, it was okay to mock and deride Jakob Nielsen and usability principles, but it was "flaming" and "insensitive" to state that user observation testing was vital, or to question the rabid, frenzied assault on my field of research (usability).

I was warned to drop my line of query, and I complied, and never posted anymore messages. Not due to being intimidated, but because I felt it was pointless, there was no open discussion, no democracy there.

One pro-usability member of the list said "better you than me" about my questions, meaning they would not make such inquiries due to the flaming that results.

steven edward streight said...


Crybaby flamers are cool.
I just went on my daily trip to visit my flaming enemies, and lo and behold, one of them, who is rather well known, or thinks he is, and posts pretty vacant posts on his blog, has suddenly stopped allowing instant comment posting.
A clear victory for me.
This little fussbudget now moderates and delays the comments posted to his blog.
All I did was post “Yawn. Sorry. Sleepy. This post is so interesting, I’m bristling with zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz”
That seems to be the event that caused him to start moderating his posts, due to “comment spam and abusive comments.”
He deleted my sleepy comment. What a laughable sissy.