Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Glengarry Leads, blogging and the dreaded comments 0

There are some blogs that I read daily, and others that I read occasionally. The Glengarry Leads is one of my daily reads. I was saddened to read his post yesterday,
, threatening to stop blogging.

Glengarry cannot understand why lots of people read his blog, and yet, noone talks back compared to those who read.The ratio is sick.

I have only been blogging for over two months now, and I can see what Glengarry is saying. I think it goes with the territory. I know how many people come in to read, but few people comment. I am happy that some people read, and that there are a loyal group who return regularly. I appreciate the comments that readers leave, but I guess I do not feel it would get me down if noone commented. There are some blogs that I come across, that I do not feel I have anything to comment on, ever.

I take what Glengarry says about feeling that he does not have that much to say any longer. I suppose that happens to all bloggers at some point.

Glengarry if you are reading this, please do not stop blogging. I find your blog, entertaining, thought provoking and informative. I feel you have a lot to say.

Here is James's B's view on Glengarry's post yesterday, and his view on why readers do not leave comments.

I came across this article in the Guardian, on how Blogs can be a place for great debate.

In Nobody's Perfect, his brilliant collection of reviews and essays, the New Yorker's film critic, Anthony Lane, writes: "I am merely starting an argument, as everyone does over dinner, or in a crowded bar, after going to see a film, and [the reader's] freedom to disagree is part of the fun." What an urbane, civilised vision of reader-critic interaction that is. I'd love to see his reaction to the Guardian arts blog, where the dynamic often suggests that the argument has spilled out of the crowded bar and escalated into a brawl in the car park.

I'd like to think this was a good thing. Certainly, it is an education. Like backroom comedy writers dragooned into performing late-night stand-up in a club full of tetchy drunks, this paper's critics have had to learn to deal with hecklers very quickly. The first time I experienced it, my offering was described as "stereotypically self-indulgent Guardian wank bordering on self-parody". I sulked for a bit, then got over it. All but the kindest critics have written unpleasant things about artists in their field, so we should learn to take a few knocks.

I'm not convinced, though, that what might politely be described as "robust" debate on the blog generates light as well as heat. The internet has always licensed people to be far ruder than they would be in a face-to-face encounter. In 1990, US attorney Mike Godwin formulated Godwin's Law: "As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one." Similarly, as an arts blog discussion grows longer, the probability of the writer being branded "smug", "pointless", "arrogant" or "London-obsessed" approaches one.
There is an appetite for genuine debate on the web, but it is often drowned out by the howling of people who seem to regard the very existence of professional critics as an outrageous affront. The subtext is this: anyone can be a critic, so anyone who has the temerity to be paid for the privilege deserves to be put in the stocks.

Many of the people who post on blogs appear to be annoyed not by what the writers say so much as the fact that they're in a position to say it. You can spot this type because they write things like: "You've only written this to provoke a reaction." Or: "Why did you even write this? What a waste of time." As if writing to complain about a waste of time were not, in fact, a bigger waste of time. Or, my favourite: "Typical Guardian." Perhaps they also post on the website of Practical Caravan magazine, complaining: "Typical Practical Caravan. So caravancentric."

The most belligerent voices on the blogs speak with either a weary, condescending sneer or a florid pomposity redolent of Ignatius J Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces. If, as they imply, their taste is flawless and their intellect mighty, then perhaps they could find a better use for these prodigious gifts than taking potshots on websites. Just a thought.

These are relatively early days. With time and luck, the good will out and the bad will lose the chips from their shoulders; or, failing that, find something better to do with those slow periods at work. Until then, at least, every critic knows that it is always better to be read than ignored. No amount of abuse at the foot of a blog is quite as disheartening as the dread phrase: "Comments (0)".

Here is the full article by Dorian Lynskey of the Guardian newspaper.

Calling all my hecklers. Blogs will be a great place for debate-once all that anger dies down.

What is your view on leaving comments?

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For me it's not that dreaded. We all have some idea what's popular and what's not. It's not something I can or want to write, so be it.

Either I stay off reading and writing for a while, or I have black logs on my mind to write about. It's seldom in sync. Comments have to be. If I read something that made me tick, often I gave up commenting half way through and hopefully someday I'll write a full entry in my own territory without pressure.

I'm not sure if I want to comment on the blogs of some escorts charging $1000 per hour.

Thank you for your comments.

Why are you not sure about commenting on the blogs of some escorts who charge $1000 per hour?
OK, I'll keep blogging.

James has some good points on expertise. I have to admit, I know nothing of cell phones and tech gadgets, so I should probably stop blogging about those kinds of things.

But I'm also really no expert on the current state of paying for sex. Just a guy who has done it. More of it than he can remember.

Thank you for your comments. Good to hear that you are going to continue blogging :).

Do you think you have to be an expert to write?
la player: there are many girls (with blogs) who CHARGE $1000 per hour, but they do not get $1000 per hour all that often. Why do I believe this? Because with the advent of the internet, there are far more "exclusive courtesans" than the market currently bears.

If the mid-range of the market has been stalled by flat hourly rate growth, how can the upper end possibly be flourishing?
They are expected to maintain some sort of image, while I don't have to.
ggl seems very knowledgeable to me about cell phones and things. I think it is fine to blog about anything as long as you indicate what your source of knowledge is. You could be saying that you are a orange grower or a taxidermist, and that the Apple iPhone will transform the way you do business, and it could be very interesting. or maybe not.

Do you have to be an expert to write, asks Nia? Well, maybe an occasional glance at Panda Eats, Shoots, and Leaves would not go amiss for those bloggers who are uncertain what commas are for, but know that every blog must have some, so put a couple on each line.

But surely writing is like being an escort. Do you have to go to technical college to get certified as an escort, or are there any mentoring programs to help you learn on the job.

A friend of mine used to have a nightclub in the Dominican Rep. where they had a high turnover of hostesses. One girl was new on the job and had only had sex about four times in her life prior to starting this employment. So when her first guy took her out another girl went along with her to give moral support and show her some moves. The client reported a satisfactory experience and she soon got into the swing of things.

Writing is a bit like that, but there is a really easy way to cheat, which is to read the works of (other) famous authors and copy their style.

I too would be reluctant to post on the blogs of those hookers who charge $1000 a go, because I know that my comments would not pass the exclusive, high class editorial board of reviewers that such paragons surely employ.
James B,

Thank you for your comments.

I enjoy reading about the experiences of others.

I guess the point I was trying to make to GGL, was that he does not need to be part of the scene to write.

BTW, I have read Eats,Shoots,Leaves, just in case you were making a dig(never sure with JBL).

I am not sure what difference it has made though :)
I am not sure what difference it has made though :)

Not a lot by the look of it!

* ducks for cover once again *

B x
Comments seem to have become almost synonymous with blogs. I'm not sure though why that should be. Maybe some bloggers want their own messageboards where they control the agenda and acolytes come along and discuss.

A blog though can be just a journal. It can be a selfish place where one puts down one's own thoughts and feelings with no regard to what others might think.

I have had two such blogs where I did not enable comments.

I often enjoy reading blogs but have no desire to comment. Why should I feel a duty to do so?

I do not think you should feel a duty to do so. You comment if and when you want to.

I tend to HATE the blogs of the "exclusive courtesans"...not becuase they are exclusive, but because most of them seem to write with a style that I can only call "Aloof". The ONLY exclusive courtesan blog that I like is that of FallenGirl Falling (but she does not tie the blog to her actual business).

Many of the other "exclusive" girls seem to link to their courtesan personas, and I begin to question if the blog was designed to entice men into hiring them. For example (and I hate to single anyone out), I have a distrust of Blonde Bohemian's blog. She talks often about her "Pearl Elite" Friends, and writes very little about her feelings. Just about shopping, dining in Beverly Hills, etc. And of course, she links to her "Alice Anywhere" blog. I tend to think the whole thing is a recruiting tool for Pearl Elite.
I do not think you should feel a duty to do so. You comment if and when you want to.

It's just Nia that I have come across three bloggers very recently bemoaning the lack of comments - two of them saying they were thinking of giving up as a result. It is as if they do believe their readers have some sort of obligation to respond.

If someone takes the time to respond to my blog I am delighted. If nobody does for a number of days I wonder that I'm not publishing interesting or stimulating enough posts.

The trouble also is that it is perhaps easier to attract comments through controversial posts rather than thoughtful ones.

I worry sometimes on comments I add to blogs that, partly because of time, I tend to write rather glib remarks designed to get a reaction. Maybe I'm becoming a blog troll! Perhaps I need a new New Year's resolution to try to stick to writing more thoughtful comments!

B xx
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