Saturday, December 09, 2006

[weblog awards] the unfairness of it all

Let’s get the hard sell out of the way first. You know the 2006 Weblog Award Poll? We’re voting for best blogs and the two categories which affect us are the UK Blog and the Humour Blog. Here is the 2006 Weblog Award Poll Navigation Page. Don’t forget to “vote early and vote often”. Actually, you may vote once a day until December 15th.

Now, having said that, let me say this: the whole thing is a total w—k. Worthy candidates like Norm, Samizdata, Jon Swift and one or two others aside, this poll is flawed for these reasons:

1] top blogs are left off both in terms of content and in terms of traffic;
2] it’s completely swamped by the Americans, who have five times the population. And what about tiny New Zealand or Australia?

I mean, seriously, who’s going to compete with Malkin, a most overrated blogger or with Instapundit? As I say, it’s a w—k.

Which brings me to miniscule traffic. It annoys the hell out of me to see some big names promoting themselves shamelessly [not those on my blogroll], getting major traffic and they’re truly neither quality nor well laid out. Of course, they say people visit for the expertise, to read the pearls of wisdom but this seems a very MSM thing to say. Why are they emulating the MSM? Is that what they’re trying to get into?

Then you get some fine blogs where the guys [and gals] think out what they say, they’re also clearly knowledgeable in their field, they present well and more importantly, they invite debate rather than say: “Hey look, I’m the expert – here’s your daily dose.” What happens to them? Either they get invited onto Doughty and they’re never the same again or they’re invited onto Doughty and they stay the same unaffected scribes they always were or else they gradually die away.

I call for us to set up some sort of cooperative for the smaller blogs, some sort of struggling blogger solidarity group and we can draft a few rules. We need to:

1] adopt the motto: ‘do unto other blogs as you would have them do unto you’;
2] be broadminded and accept that others in the scheme are going to have views opposed to ours. So what?;
3] include at least ten posts in a week, no matter how small;
4] actively try to get round to each blogger on our own roll at least once in two days and comment at least three times in the week;
5] promote our blogfriends with either banners, buttons or the occasional link;
6] join in their little promo things e.g. normpoll, tomlist, voluntary-code-free-zone, chicken yoghurt’s book and so on;
7] comment on other’s comments on your own blog whenever you can;
8] link – if it’s in your power to blogroll someone who’s blogrolled you, try to do it. If you can link to a member in a post, do it.

If we, the little people, all do this, with even 100 participants we guarantee ourselves at least basic traffic, we can share ideas and improve our blogs. To this end, I’ve prepared an initial 150x95 banner above, which needs to be cut, pasted then uploaded on your sidebar. It links to an administrative blog where we’ll keep the data, manifesto and ideas sharing. If we want to change the location or go to wordpress or whatever, we just change the banner embedding.

On this blog, we can throw around ideas on how to run this thing better. For now, a start would be just to upload the banner to our sites and show that we've got a solidarity thing going here.


Jon Swift said...

Thank you very much for mentioning my modest blog in an otherwise serious and toughtful post. You may be interested in what I have done to help spread virtual world peace. Although I have a conservative blog, I have a liberal blogroll policy. I link to anyone who links to me regardless of political ideology or number of visitors, with certain exceptions such as porn or spam blogs. One of the things I discovered in just starting out (my blog is a little less than a year old, which makes me gangly teenager in blog years) was how difficult it was to get people to blogroll me and rise in the all-important Technorati ratings. Not being too proud to beg was helpful but not always enough. With an open blog policy anyone has a chance to get a link even if they are just starting out and regardless of political ideology, and all I ask is the same consideration in return. I think my readers also benefit because they are exposed to blogs they might not be familiar with or those from different political viewpoints. Many liberal blogrolls and conservative blogrolls each have the same sites with little overlap between them. If someone thinks of their blogroll as a sort of honor roll, then they could always have two categories as many do. But my philosophy, to paraphrase Chiang Kai-shek, I believe, is to let 100 blogs bloom.

Gracchi said...

I like this idea James- I'll put the icon on- though if it doesn't go up it'll be because of my incompetence with HTML instead of lack of enthusiasm. Good idea.

Colin Campbell said...

This is the way the Yanks see the world. Gridiron has the Super Bowl, Baseball has the World Series. The points you raise are very valid and worthwhile. Everybody else is out there. It definitely should be the Yanqui Weblog Awards. Happy to include the link, but not sure how to do it. Which part of the html code do I need to pick up?

The Tin Drummer said...

I agree with everything you've written, James: a quick check of your list shows that I do many of those things but I don't support blogs I don't agree with enough. I spend a lot, a totally disproportionate amount of time reading the debates at Harry's Place but I still kind of feel that having spent three years on Ship of Fools and hardly ever seeing a view I agreed with (this was before I knew there was any kind of conservative blogosphere at all) I want to soak up as much as I can that develops the intellectual, moral, and swearing case for conservatism. I do read and enjoy Paul Linford of course, who couldn't?

james higham said...

Gentlemen, the comments are most appreciated. On the question of the banner, I see two ways:

1] go to the View menu and select view html, scroll down about halfway and you'll see a pic type piece of html with defend the blog in it. Select and copy.

2] cut and paste the pic to your blog and embed this

Blognor Regis said...

It annoys the hell out of me to see some big names promoting themselves shamelessly.

Quite. There are some shameless grovellers and scheme makers out there. One of whom you mentioned in this piece but I'm keeping schtum. Get some dignity fellas.

Anonymous said...

Please change the font on your blog. I can't read it, its just a bit too fancy and difficult to read!

Andy said...

Very good points you raise, James. I came here via NotSaussure. I'm glad I found your site. Always nice to see some sense being written down!