Friday, August 19, 2005

Goodbye to Blogging by Web Wimp

Goodbye to Blogging by Web Wimp

Here's a blog curiosity for you.

Actually, I need to compile a composite collection of such oddities:

* business bloggers who fold and disappear

* the man whose final blog post was the name of the person who murdered him while he was blogging

* the personal bloggers who have had nervous breakdowns

* nations in which people are killed or imprisoned for blogging

* the blogger who got divorced when his wife read his posts about the "other woman"

* the allegedly homeless blogger who demanded money from me for answering a two question email survey, then called me bad names when I told him that multitudes of top tier blogging pros provided brilliant survey responses--without charging me a penny for their valuable insight

* the group blog in which I was a contributing editor, which by my frequent posting got me accused of "taking over the blog and not letting other contributors jump in", so I removed all my posts and left, and then the other contributors still refused to jump in, so the blog has one new post every 14 days or so, and the two founders have abandoned it

* the web design blog that banned me for implying that both political parties are corrupt.

Someday I'll write that book on Blog Curiosities and everyone can be enlightened.

Until then, I'll toss bits and pieces at you sporadically.

Like this one...

Read now some excerpts of a slinking and a slumping into blog-o-blivion.


"One Last Blog and Adieu"
by dietdoc
August 18, 2005

It saddens me to see America in its current state. And it takes a great deal to bring about this particular emotion and this singular decision. I have lived a lot of years and seen, firsthand, how a country can be torn apart by a divisive war.

But, this time, the division, I feel, is deeper and more fractious. America, a great people, have been cut apart in a fault line approaching a critical depth and width. I am not sure we will ever be as strong as we once were. That overwhelming feeling of something truly great, forever lost is the reason for this very personal affection.


What troubles me is not that the country simply has differing opinions but that we are beginning that freefall into the unresolvable and unreconcilable chasm we have seen but a few times before. We are being slowly, irretrievably torn apart by our differences.

[STREIGHT: I don't know about you, but I'm weary of all this worrisome drivel about how "deeply divided" America is. I like it that way. It's part of the democratic process.

One extreme counters the other extreme. One fanatic group acts as watchdog on its reversed mirror image, its polar opposite.

People, lacking imagination and independent ideology, line up on one side of the spectrum or the other, never realizing that the spectrum itself is haphazardly contrived. Ho hum. So what?]


I have been reading and occasionally participating on BlogCritics for almost a year now.

During that time, I have found myself - as if anyone else would notice or care - posting fewer and fewer articles on that site.

[STREIGHT: Nope. Nobody noticed and nobody cares.

There are millions upon millions of blogs out there. Millions of voices all self-impressed and floating in formalized fantasy worlds of bloated self-importance. There are too many voices to keep track of, and nobody will notice or care if any one, or one thousand, or one million, of these voices vanishes.

When one blogger disappears, thousands spring up to replace him. Lost in the digital swirls, individuals, including Vaspers the Grate, mean next to nothing. Big deal.]

And it is for a very simple reason: everything - save the occasional innocent movie or CD review - immediately degrades into the most mind-numbing exchange of vitriolic commentary one can imagine.

[STREIGHT: Yeah, it's called hardcore blogocombat. Big deal. "Mind-numbing"? "Vitriolic commentary"? This sounds rather wilting to me. Crybabyish.]

It has become painful, at least to me, to read.

[STREIGHT: " read"? You mean it's "painful" to read an opposing opinion aggressively stated? Poor little wet noodle, huddled in a cave of cherished conceptions.]

The cycle is completely predictable. A writer posts his or her view of some seemingly benign event and, regardless of the topic being proferred, those of the two polarized and distinct political views - for simplicity, we will fall back to the usual labels of liberal and conservative - begin their venomous exchanges.

[STREIGHT: And this bothers you, because...of what?]

Lest you think I am against the informed discourse that makes our country great, I am most certainly not.

Debate and the intelligent exchange of ideas is always enlightening and has been the very lifeblood that has been our country’s strength since its inception.

But, what I am observing, is not debate. What I see is purely disjointed, acerbic, hate-filled writing that is exchanged with deafness and blindness to dissent.

This is not debate. This is a collection of people shouting at each other, in a virtual world, without any actual exchange of information or any chance of middle ground. There is no give-and-take, there is only hate.

[STREIGHT: And he wishes it were...what? Full of love and harmony, everybody patting each other on the back? Extolling each other's wisdom? Nothing but soft cuddly puppies wagging their tails with delight? A mindless utopia of perfect agreement?]

All civility is dispensed with and the only thing that stops the name calling and caustic and, often, incoherent exchange is that a new posting occurs. The two armies break camp and move their raging hoards of hyperbole off to attack on the battleground of a new thread.


The goal, in this game, is not to sway opinion; the goal, in the new reality, is to suffocate and silence. This is not debate. This is pure, unbridled, discordant chaos. I am reminded of a famous definition of a fanatic as “one who will not change his mind nor change the subject.”

[STREIGHT: And a definition of a web wimp is "one who will not face online confrontation, nor engage in vigorous web-enabled discussion". A wuss who wishes the contradictors would shut up so he can continue to blabber about whatever.]

I no longer have the stamina to read fanaticism.

[STREIGHT: Notice how this person repeats that what is "painful" and what he lacks the "stamina" for, is simply READING these aggressive opinions.

Sounds like a weak minded person who cannot tolerate anymore dissent, disagreement, and division.

Does he want to post his thoughts, and see only praise and appreciation in the subsequent comment thread? Pathetic.]

I tire of the tedium. I see no hope for any remedy. I am too old and lack the energy to watch the gulf of savagery into which the commentary inevitably recidivates any longer. It is my weakness and I will live with it as I can.

With this tiny withdrawal, I seek no comments for they, inevitably, will produce more of what I have come to dread most.

[STREIGHT: Aha. The truth comes out. He can't handle, he in fact dreads, dissent, opposing points of view, which he relegates to the seething hell of divided ideologies. Give me deep divisions any day, rather than a heavily sedated uniformity of "correct" opinions.]

I will continue to read what and where I can on BlogCritics but, as the comments drift into mindless bedlam, I will turn away. If I want to read unrestrained malevolence, I will go to a place I hold with less respect.

It is no loss to the content of BC [Blogcritics] and it is I who will be lessened by my aged timidity and cowardice.

[STREIGHT: Well, at least he admits he's a "coward" driven by "aged timidity". I just don't see how age allows one to retreat into timidity. Elderliness is the wrong time to collapse and give into shameful fear.]

The challenge to contribute something enlightening or thought-provoking - that is to say, something that “measured up” - to a place I held in inestimable esteem is what I will miss most.

BlogCritics will continue to thrive because it allows what Americans seem to need most in our current time, namely, a forum to be heard. It’s just that, for me, the right to be heard carries with it the obligation to listen. And I feel that reciprocation is no longer de rigueur. It is a my heartfelt loss.

[STREIGHT: Bring out the violins and Kleenex. How tragic. What a pity. So I'm "obligated" to "listen"? To his opinions? And not say "you idiot" if that's what I feel like saying?]


[COMMENT--with moderated delayed posting--by Streight]

Poor little puppy, can't handle blogocombat anymore.

I have not read any of the "debates" here, but to abandon a forum due to harshing, flaming, lack of "reasoned discussion", to complain of partisan posturing and bickering...this is what made our country great.

So what if it degenerates into name-calling and irrational venom? There are clever responses to such things.

You're "tired" and "aged"? So what? You sound sobbing and hangwringingly: "I'm taking my toys to play somewhere else."

Magnanimous speeches whining about an allegedly "deeply divided America", we don't need such sissified whimpering.

All things have divisions, from amoeba splitting to psychological ambivalence.

If a blogocombat participant thinks an argument childish or insane, move on to another battle zone. Don't moan and sulk, leaving the lather of overgroan repulse.

Liberal vs. conservative.

Faith vs. disbelief.

Religious vs. secular.

Political vs. psychological.

Mediocre vs. innovative.

These categories will conflict until the end of time or humanity, whichever comes first.

No, you won't be missed. Nobody is missed in the digital realm. We are humanufactured, interchangeable cogs in a meaningless machine rushing headlong into nothingness.

Enjoy the ride.


[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


zafu said...


Sizzle! Haha! I left a reference to your commentary on doc's last blog. I am just curious to see what (if anything) he says.

Thanks for another great entry. You're in a league of your own. I have become your (dare I say it?) *fan*.


Anonymous said...

Re: cowardice -- a case of the pot calling the kettle black? Why did you repost a Blogcritics entry on YOUR site, with your comments interspersed, rather put your comments on the Blogcritics post itself where those comments would fall under the same level of scrutiny you give Dietdoc?

Zafu said...


So how come you don't provide a permalink?

Just wonderin'


Eric said...

brutal but bracing - you wouldn't be kicked out of Blogcritics for posting too much, I'll tell you whot

carrie said...

and really, is there that much division? is there really that much difference between two opposing sides?
especially in the U.S.-- there is really little that truly separates the right from the left. everyone's really middle.

it does get old when people argue just for the sake of arguing with no real interest in hearing the other point of view. it can be tiring.

i'm interested in viewpoints that differ from my own, but i don't particularly relish being attacked just because the attacker enjoys attacking.

Voix said...

Sounds like this guy is trying to convince himself that he's doing the right thing. How unfortunate that he can't brace himself against dissenting opinions without falling to pieces. I've always thought that you're only as old as you feel.

steven edward streight said...

It is normative best practice to quote from an article, or even post an entire article, originally published at another site, if you:

* give full credit to author
* provide date of article
* display the URL (web address) of article and embed active hyperlink to the exact location of article (not just the main index page of site)
* clearly indicate what is quote and what is commentary

I did post a comment at the Blogcritics site, under the post I'm excerpting large segments of.

I often expand my commentary in a post at my own blog. That is my method. My fans are more patient with my long-winded tangents than reader of Blogcritics might be.

I'd hate to inflict my endless running commentaries, tangents, asides, and gushings on poor innnocent Blogcritics readers. That would be presumptuous and underwhelming in an overbearing way.

Zaf: I do have permalinks to articles I quote, and I do have permalinks to my own posts.

I explain the permalink, permanent web address, or URL, of my posts.

See: "User Orientation" in my right sidebar column.

I feel sorry for dietdoc.

I just happened to get a Google Alert in my Gmail inbox, on "Blog Innovation" oddly enough, that linked to his post.

I read it, and reacted against the idea of "why so much division and disagreement, no serious debate".

Dietdoc seems to be whining about how the debates on Blogcritics don't manifest themselves in a manner to his liking, they don't accommodate his preferences. He sounds pampered and unmanly, whatever "manly" means culturally.

So he's just a victim of my fury against wimpiness, that's all.

His post just happened to show up in my Gmail inbox. I subscribe to Google Alerts on various topics, one of which is "Blog Innovation". I have no idea why Google thought his post was in this category, but that's what happened.

I have no, absolutely no good idea of what the debates are like on Blogcritics.

A member of Blogcritics recently invited me to join them.

I declined, stating "too much comment spam and silly, one sentence, irrelevant, non-intellectual comments" as my main reason for not joining Blogcritics.

I have no vendetta against Blogcritics or dietdoc.

It's just the luck of the draw.

BTW, I have plenty of "scrutiny" on this blog.

Not to brag, but many top tier bloggers and influential bloggers subscribe to my RSS feeds, my email updates, or blogroll me, or visit from time to time.

To cite those who email me, write posts on their blogs about me, and/or post comments on my blogs (and you can check my comment threads, maybe even do site search on their names, though I need to test this, to verify the truth of my assertion):

Evan Williams, Christopher Locke, Doc Searls, Jorn Barger, John C. Dvorak, Dave Taylor, David Weinberger, Heather Green, Amy Gahran, Jeremy C. Wright, Debbie Weil, Evelyn Rodriguez, Paul Woodhouse, Joel Spolksy, Anita Campbell, Joe Katzman, Dean Esmay, Robert Scoble, etc.

So don't tell me that what I post on Vaspers the Grate is some sort of esoteric, obscure "whisper-transmission" akin to the transmission of secret tantric wisdom by High Llamas of Tibetan Buddhism Voodoo.



Zafufilia said...

Here's a usability suggestion Steven.

On my browser, when I hover my cursor over the titles of your entries in the "recent posts" section, I do not see the URL of the entry "at the bottom" as you suggest.

What does work is clicking on said title, copying the URL and then pasting where I want.

John C. Dvorak... I remember him from ZDTV.

steven edward streight said...

Zaf: Thanks for the tip. What browser are you using, because I thought my method worked on IE and Firefox.

Sigh. Now I have to add to the complexity of my User Orientation. It's not easy writing instructions that are clear and simple and apply to every situation. It's hard work. But it must be done.

I really really appreciate your taking the time to point out a flaw in my instructions. Darn it.


steven edward streight said...

P.S. The permalink for my posts is also supposed to be embedded in the time stamp. But that is hard to describe and it requires more precision cursor hovering.

Evan Williams stated that he did not want to display "Permalink" in Blogger blogs, I cite this remark in my "Permalink Paradox" post, but can't recall at the moment why he didn't make the permalink more clear and simple.

Zafufilia said...


I use Safari. I want to move over to Firefox but I'm a slow adopter of technology and just haven't made the time to really check it out.

Yeah, hovering is not my favorite way to spend time while I'm maneuvering around blogs (or webpages in general).