New media’s form and future?

I was asked recently by the editors of Online Opinion to write a short op-ed piece on what I saw as the future of new media, such as blogs. I thought Troppo readers might be interested in the piece, which has just been published on the Online Opinion site

My own piece, if you want to go straight to it, is here

Trevor Cook’s also written a piece. I think other pieces may also be pending.

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Kim
Kim
2022 years ago

I wonder why you blog at all, Sophie, if your experience of the medium is as negative as you present it in your article. You write as if every comments thread were a shitfight. Most aren’t.

I don’t know about the gender dimension you identify either – there are lots of women bloggers and commenters who express their point strongly and vigorously.

I think your article could have been much more balanced if you’d extrapolated less from your own experience and tried to look at blogging more dispassionately.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

I think it was a balanced piece myself. Blogging does have its negatives as well as positives. From the point of view of a reader that may be considering starting a blog of their own, I thought it made some very good points.

Mark
2022 years ago

Sophie, I mostly agree with Kim though I do note that you talked about what comments threads were meant to achieve, though perhaps it’s fair to say that you suggested this was honoured more in the breach. I disagree and have found that a lot of comments threads – where people aren’t rude to each other – are enormously stimulating and I learn from them.

I’ve asked LP readers to collaborate with me in accentuating the positive in discussing blog debates, and I’d be happy for Troppo readers to join in:

http://larvatusprodeo.redrag.net/2005/04/04/sophie-masson-on-blogging/

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Kim

It’s hardly suprising that Sophie’s article is less than euphoric about her blogging experiences, given recent comment box events. And your comment can hardly have improved her state of mind. You make some valid points, but why did you feel compelled to make the comment “I wonder why you blog at all”? It’s just gratuitously nasty and destructive of productive discussion. You could easily have made all your substantive points without the gratuitous personal swipe. Its inclusion is a textbook example of the sort of uncivil comments that serve to derail productive discussion and create an unnecessarily unpleasant atmosphere.

Kim
Kim
2022 years ago

I meant no offence to Sophie, Ken, and I’m sorry if you read it that way. I don’t think I was being uncivil. You yourself said the other day you were pretty cheesed off with a lot of what goes on in moderating shitfights on blogs. It would be reasonable to ask you why you kept going (and you said you asked yrself), but I know you’ve written a lot about what you see as the positives. Sophie seems to have had a negative experience and I think it’s a fair question. I didn’t mean to offend, and if I offended her, I apologise and trust she’ll accept that wasn’t the spirit in which I made the comment.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Kim

Thanks for that. It’s one thing musing about chucking it in yourself, but quite another when someone else wonders why you bother!

Mark
2022 years ago

Update: Graham Young has accepted my offer of a piece on blogging at Online Opinion, so if you’d like to give me any suggestions, please feel free – I’d welcome them.

Kim
Kim
2022 years ago

Oops, yeah I see what you mean, Ken – I’m quick to type and slow to think – didn’t realise that expression I used might be taken that way!

I enjoy reading Sophie’s writing generally, particularly on literature.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

I’m reluctant to comment here in case I get caught up in an outbreak of intense deep civility meta discourse. However, as they say in that other place, having said that, let me say this – blogs in general seem very very civil compared to other forms of online exchange.

I’ve been involved online since a bit after 1990. Firstly BBSs, then on USENET Newsgroups, Internet Relay Chat and email lists. Compared to any of these blogs seem as unruly and impolite as a Methodist funeral.

On IRC I have been a channel owner/ manager and seen marriages between members, affairs, marriage breakups, stalking, verbal violence and insults of the worst kind, intervention orders and threatened legal action. We also had thrills, a well known national psephologist (sp?) would join near elections for a few hours here and there, we had an israeli chatting on irc whilst ducking down to basement when rockets came over a few wars back, people from the Balkans using it during the /a war, talking to New Yorkers 10 minutes after during 9/11 and so on.

On USENET it was even wilder. Some years ago I was an active member of alt.religion.scientology (don’t search: I had shades plus hat pulled down plus an interesting IP). Various participants on that group ended up in court, been raided by police, stalked by scientologists and private dicks, and ISPs targetted by Scientology legal people plus more private dirt from decades back both true, half true and false sent to employers, friends and others.

Newsgroups and IRC have lost a lot of potency IMO these days because of blogs. If you want to check out “civility” just pop over to aus.hi-fi newsgroup now. What could be less emotion provoking than hi-fi discussion? – Nope – threats of legal action, insults, abuse, stalking right now over speakers and amps etc etc. [ a word of advice – don’t try to argue about valves or vinyl – I don’t want to see a murder]

Blogs – bah – its all tame – these days you don’t know what it was like in the good old bad old days.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

sophie is entitled to extrapolate from her experiences. what i’d take issue with is this:
‘the way in which some people seem to only respect “free speech”

Brian Bahnisch
Brian Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Sophie, I’d query your comment about radio being adversely affected. I listen about 10 hours a day on 4 ABC stations I have preprogrammed on a digital pocket radio with superior button earphones. While is growing awareness of the sphere on the part of presenters I couldn’t say ABC radio has been impacted much, certainly not adversely, IMHO.

The beauty about radio is that you can listen while you are doing things and moving about. We have about 9 in the house between the three of us!

Re commercial radio, I have shares in APN News & Media, who have a joint venture with the US broadcaster Clear Channel. Together they own 12 FM stations in Oz and 111 in NZ. In Oz they target the 25 to 54 age group. Last year (2004) they increased earnings by 20% “before new product initiatives.”

That’s not bad going, don’t you think, although they did take listeners away from other stations.

Gerry
2022 years ago

As one who has posted some “stinker” comments in the past, I am sobered and chastened by your piece, Sophie. I know I need to lift my game and you reminded be beautifully. Thanks.

Andrew Frazer
Andrew Frazer
2022 years ago

Sophie, in your piece you briefly mentioned wikis as a sort of poor man’s blog. Although a wiki can be used in a similar way to a blog as a forum for conversation, their true strength is that they allow a group of people to collaborate on a set of documents. At my work, for example, we maintain some technical document in a wiki. When changes to the documentation are required they can be done by anyone, and the changes are immediately available to anyone who needs them. A lot of support documentation for OSS is written this way.

This is certainly a style that is suited for small groups, but there are massive projects being done using wikis, the one I refer to most frequently being the wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page). They have a much more thorough discussion of wikis on their page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki.

harry
harry
2022 years ago

Radio is the front line.
Only rarely is a blog the front line.
Blogs are the best crucibles around, sure, but one of the chief raw ingredients is Radio.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

It surprises me that the piece discusses a particular subclass of news and politics focussed blogs as if that were blogging. Although that might be a subtlety of calling them “new media”, I read it again and didn’t really see such a distinction being made; you do talk about having read a wide range of blogs.

I was also surprised to read that most of the bloggers you’d spoken to for your Quadrant piece thought that the ability to immediately engage readers was a “big disadvantage”. It has some irritations, obviously, but it seems odd to me that most of them would characterise it as a big disadvantage.

And as for radio, I listen to the ABC while I’m at the computer, and have given up telly and read far less of the paper.

Zoe
Zoe
2022 years ago

To clarify: the description of the nature of the kind of comments threads described in the article only really fits the type of newsy/politics/pundity blogs IMO.

“intellectual bullying”, etc

Vee
Vee
2022 years ago

I’ve only really been interested in blogs since the election but I’ve read nearly every post here and elsewhere since and I’m yet to witness a “fight”.

Maybe they’re moderated before I see them.

Sure you get the left vs. right scenario where neither side concedes anything even if the other side has a point but thats to be expected. I don’t believe in the left and right – they’re just terms to vilify the opposition.

On Ms/Miss/Mrs Masson piece, I thought it was fine, I have no criticism of it.

(yet)

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

I think Sophie’s pretty well on the money here.

I must say, I wonder about the survival of the blogosphere. I mean, it’s a lot of fun, but……. Frankly, I go over to Tim Blair’s to be amused at the end of a long day, not to be informed. I expect to disagree with almost everything I read, but I still expect to be get a bundle of laughs out of it. But it’s meaningless; it’s like being down the pub.

Pace Sophie, I think if the mainstream media were doing their job properly, the politically inclined blogs at least would have a lot less appeal. When they realise that and make the necessary adjustments we may see some changes – possibly a return to thoughtful, informed journalism that genuinely illuminates instead of opinionises (on both sides of the political divide). Personally, I find Phillip Adams as boring and predictable as Miranda Devine, even if both have the occasional flash of insight – probably more by accident than design. But somehow I still take both of them more seriously than I do the majority of bloggers (and certainly commenters like me). I don’t know why, but there it is.

You have to take blogs pretty much as you find them. Some are great, some are rotten. That’s not new. Newsgroups were seen as the great hope of the Internet in the early days (as FXH points out). Now aus.politics is just a cyber-sewer. Who wants to get down there among the rats but other rats?

Maybe it will be like the great video revolution of the 1970’s and 80’s, where cheerful anarchy and small time entrepreneurship eventually gave way to the inexorable centralising economies of the market.

I can see more of an enduring future for the more communal, less political, more social kind of blogs that Zoe seems to be pointing towards in her last comment (if I understand her right).

I think we may be surprised at what the blogosphere looks like in five or even three years.

Gloomy thoughts, I daresay, to post on a blog. Obviously it’s been too long a day in my case.

Mark
2022 years ago

Rob, that’s interesting but isn’t the big difference that you couldn’t talk back to good op/ed columnists ? (and there are some – I’m a fan of Julia Baird).

After all, you seem rather to enjoy commenting on blogs! :)

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

Well, yes, but I like going down the pub as well.

Mark
2022 years ago

As do I.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

I always liked the pub analogy for blogs -each with its own ambience, decor, jukebox, regulars, traditions, in-jokes and codes of conducts that sorta evolve as a critical mass builds up.

Beyond that, I think it’s fairly pointless trying to classify and predict how people will develop and use new media.

When Vannevar Bush penned the ur-proposal for the web 50 years ago “As We May Think”, I’m pretty sure he didn’t see Photoshop tennis, Ukrainian bestiality sites, RSS feeds, Star Trek slashfic, MMRPG sweatshops, eBay and Fafblog coming.

Even all the cyberpundits five years ago didn’t see blogs and wikis coming and I’m pretty damn any predictions or classifications we make now will prove equally accurate in the next few years.

On the other hand though as Zoe and Rob sorta pointed at, I think the human urge to flock together, drink, talk, argue, flirt and fight will always find a way to express itself with whatever technology best lends itself to such. And I’m confident a certain human messiness will always disrupt the shiner visions of the turbo-charged posthumanists who think a scenario like Ballard’s “The Intensive Care Unit” is something to aim for.

Wait till a real photonics ultra-broadband network gets properly rolled out (Recently saw a demo of what it can do at COLT in Ballarat. Gigabytes a second pumped down the pipes.) Then things will really move into high-wired weirdness.

Mine’s a whiskey and soda thanks. Cheers!

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

I haven’t been around as long as FXH has, but I did take part in BBSes, IRC and Usenet. He’s right that the hand-wringing about incivility is hardly unique or original to blogging.

The only thing new under the digital sun is that blogging is simply a slightly easier way to do what was already going on. In many respects Usenet still remains the most advanced many-to-many discussion system in wide use, though relatively few people have ever grasped the very basic concepts of client, server, newsgroup and post.

In truth, the web is the worst way to do anything online, except look at hyperlinked documents. In every other case there is a mature protocol and software which is properly designed for the job. Chatting? IRC is still the best system for it. Group discussion? Mailing lists and Usenet. File downloads? FTP, and now BitTorrent. Document Revision? CVS, now Subversion and others.

Rob
Rob
2022 years ago

I really like Nabakov’s ‘pub analogy for blogs -each with its own ambience, decor, jukebox, regulars, traditions, in-jokes and codes of conducts that sorta evolve as a critical mass builds up.’

That’s how I got to Troppo, God help me – had a beer in few places; liked some, hated others, felt kind of comfortable here, stuck around, annoying the hell out of the regulars.

And: ‘I think the human urge to flock together, drink, talk, argue, flirt and fight will always find a way to express itself with whatever technology best lends itself to such.’

May it ever remain so. Let’s not fall into the trap of thinking it’s really serious. It’s a game; even if it’s serious, it’s not REALLY, REALLY serious. Nothing we say over here is going to bring down a government. You want to do that, go out and vote. Just don’t come back to the pub.

boynton
2022 years ago

“…The other element is found in the laptop, that somewhat disconcerting device encountered usually at public meetings. A girl strokes its keys languidly and looks about the room and sometimes at the speaker with a disquieting gaze. From it emerges a typed blog which records in a phonetically simplified language a record of what the speaker is supposed to have said. Later this is retyped into ordinary language, for in its nascent form it is intelligible only to the initiated”…

“One can now picture a future blogger in his laboratory. His hands are free, and he is not anchored. As he moves about and observes, he photographs and comments. … As he ponders over his notes in the evening, he again talks his comments into the record. His typed record, as well as his photographs, may both be in miniature, so that he projects them for examination.”

“Such machines will have enormous appetites. One of them will take instructions and data from a roomful of girls armed with simple keyboard punches, and will deliver sheets of computed results every few minutes. There will always be plenty of things to compute in the detailed affairs of millions of people doing complicated things.”

As We May Drink?

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

As the piece was for Online Opinion, whose featured articles turn to be on political, social, policy and cultural topics in Australia, that is how I angled my piece–very much on the kind of ‘new media’ that focusses on those things, and how ‘old’ media does it, too. I took it as ‘news and opinion media’, really, given the outlet in which it appeared.
Note I did say it was my own personal experience that I’ve stopped listening to radio,and extrapolating from that to muse on what it might mean. Everyone’s entitled to do that, and so I’m perfectly prepared to agree that other people may reach completely different conclusions based on their experience.
I think other people have pointed out that I did look at both positives and negatives, so I won’t go on about that. But thank you, Kim, for your apology.
Andrew, I do understand and appreciate that ‘wikis’ can be excellent in the way you describe. I was merely commenting on them as an alternative to blogs as news/opinion media, which some commentators appear to be touting.

Bob Dey
2022 years ago

Sophie mentions in her piece “…but I think that the medium itself has an atmosphere which makes people confrontational” and some of the comments above have confrontation, or rapid fire before thought, in them.
I run a bunch of websites – news, a small amount of comment, and almost entirely written by me, so in a sense it’s like a blog, but more structured.
I’m curious about 2 things here:
1, What it is in the medium that creates a confrontational atmosphere and
2, Whether you might see in the near future more mingling of different media, so blogs, websites and print might be used jointly, or whether they’re likely to carry on their mostly separate ways.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Bob, I think the medium makes people confrontational because many commenters tend to respond immediately to posts rather than think things out. I think that’s because one tends to read things on the Internet in a different way than with print–it’s more, flick, flick, click, click, channel-surfing constantly, as it were. You tend to be more leisurely about print, I think. You can take it outside, read it, ponder it, etc. On the Net, it tends to be ah, look, there’s so and so posting again on this or that blog, let’s zoom over see what they have to say, then bang, just counter straight away.
I’m not sure if there will be more convergence of blogs, websites and print–I’m tempted to thin there may be some convergence. Online Opinion does that, in a way, using the print media opinion, blog media opinion, and transforming it into a clearing-house-of-opinion website.
I think group blogs like Troppo may also become quite popular; they have a more ‘magazine’ feel and offer a greater range of opinion. Plus you don’t feel quite as burdened as you might do in an individual blog, with providing constant comment. Just as I could never write a regular opinion column, I could never write an individual blog, it takes up too much time and requires too much commitment.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

I think also the anonymity of blogs and comments makes it easier to be confrontational. I agree with Sophie that a lot of comments get posted quickly without thinking.

Sophie: I find it quite interesting that as a writer you feel that you wouldn’t have the commitment (and time) to write a regular blog. The lack of time I can understand, but doesn’t it take a lot of commitment to write a novel? I’m interested to know what the difference is, in your opinion.

harry
harry
2022 years ago

Hmmm… I reckon comments get more thought than what happens in a conversation. The problem is that text is emotionally uninformative. It reads harder than is intended.
Kim wondering why Sophie blogs “at all” is a case in point. In conversation it would have been, by inflection and whatnot, abundantly clear that it was a genuine question rather than a dig in any way.
We can only go so far by using emoticons and *word* _word_ and WORD. Discussions are going to trend away from the nuances of spoken word to avoid being misinterpretted. Much posting is dedicated to clarification. We think in spoken words and mentally include the body language. That is nigh on impossible to transcribe into text.
The words chosen and sentence structure therefore become more ‘clinical’ (for want of a better word. Polite people having a natter don’t speak clinically – it is an unfriendly way of talking.
(OT – That would also go some way to explaining why bloggers assume personalities eg Nabakov.
Just by reading posts you can guess who wrote them.)
I maintain that blogs are, by their nature, confrontational. Compare them with livejournals. Mechanistically they are the same but the general convention is that livejournals are personal friendly diary type places whereas blogs are idea testers.

Also, blogs will tend to be dominated by a bunch of people. As time goes by they will be able to be harder on each other and more comfortable with slinging the odd insult across – as all friends do. As has been pointed out with Ghianna’s blog she is hard on her family, but you can get away with taking the piss mercilessly from your sister.
Evil Pundit would be another example. Much of the time he acts very similarly to a troll, but because he has been around for a long time and is a personality he gets much more free reign than a troll ie people engage with him. Anyone who has seen an exchange between Evil Pundit and Chris Sheil will know what I mean.

sophie
sophie
2022 years ago

Mindy, you’re quite right, novels need a great deal of commitment–which is exactly why I don’t have the commitment to write an individual blog or opinion column, my time and commitment are actually taken up with writing and planning novels. (Clumsy phrasing, but you see what I mean, I hope.) I write a lot of books–at present for instance I’ve got eight novels contracted, enough banked up to keep me busy till 2007-8(I usually have 2-3 novels out a year as I have two principal publishers, one in Australia, one in the UK, and they publish books independently of each other).I’ve just finished one, am researching another, and am about to begin on yet another. So as you can see I’m at pretty full stretch as it is.
Also, I like writing novels a whole lot more than writing non-fiction pieces generally. Reason is, I love the fact that in fiction I can explore other lives, other worlds, other feelings; I don’t like being trapped in my own head all the time. However, I do like blogging and op-eding sometimes, for a change, because I’m fully involved in the world and am curious and intrigued by it and the things we humans do. And because it’s also quite natural to me, coming from a large and very lively and argumentative family where everyone was expected to have an opinion; and from a culture(France) that sees little disjunction between imaginative creativity and analytical intelligence, something I think that is not quite so prevalent in Anglo cultures, perhaps!

Glenn Condell
Glenn Condell
2022 years ago

Brian

‘Re commercial radio, I have shares in APN News & Media, who have a joint venture with the US broadcaster Clear Channel.’

Is your conscience clear with the Clear Channel investment? Mine wouldn’t be. They’re happily helping to turn the US into a one party state; these are the ‘ban the Dixie Chicks’ mob and they have greased Michael Powell’s FCC disgracefully to increase an already dominant position on American airwaves. I’d be concerned about any of my hard earned heading into an adjunct arm of the VRWC.

Just sayin’ (as everyone seems to say)

GC

Glenn Condell
Glenn Condell
2022 years ago

Read that too fast – your APN shares might precede the Clear Channel deal. Sorry if so.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

Thanks Sophie I do understand what you mean. I think the lines are more solidly drawn between the ‘artistic’ and ‘analytic’ in Australian culture. It probably has a lot to do with people liking things to go under specific labels (as Ken has found).

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

jacques – I think some sorts of blogs, not all, have combined the strengths of IRC, mail lists and usenet and avoided a lot of the downside. IRC is too immediate and biased toward fast and accurate typing, mailing lists can be a bit hard to wade through the threads and me toos, usenet had too many net kooks and DOS/spam type attacks. I fond blogs have replaced IRC a lot for me as they combine content, with an almost immediacy and a greater sense of permanency and one can catch different aspects of “life” on different blogs. I am now on bugger all email lists as – (down from about 400 emails /lists a day to say 20 emails from lists a day)- for much the same reason blogs can give me the same info in many cases. USENET I hardly ever visit now – except for aus.hi-fi and rec.audio.high-end.

I notice that people often cite the (relative) anonymity of “the net” as a reason for abuse and impoliteness however I’m not so convinced. When I look at IRC, USENET I see that the main abusers and nasty people are usually using their own names or take little if any effort to hide their identity.

I have another theory. Some people have years of experience dealing with other people in meetings, political situations, neighbourhood groups, activism, school councils, boards, public forums,interest groups and even debating clubs and having to work with others in positions of leadership. These people learn how to work with people and conflict, they know meeting procedures, they know how change ocurrs or doesn’t, they understand processes and can often speak well in public.

The net attracted and still does, a lot of people who had ever been involved in public life much, many had rarely been outside their bedroom to discuss Linux, let alone, say, removal of life support. These people didn’t (don’t?) know the rules of public discourse and were priveliged by typing accuracy and speed and time available to pursue arcane arguments and they had superior access to technology.

In general I’d hold that the people who stuffed up IRC and USENET were NOT anonymous, were (are) asocial, lacking in human interactive skills, not involved in “real life” forums, couldn’t (can’t)contribute offline, and are good at typing and have “too much time on their hands”.

David Tiley
2022 years ago

Disinhibition.

Human contact creates a lot of codes to structure our behaviour – to create a genuine “conversation”. As Harry says, we are trying to use words to construct a parallel system and they don’t work well.

Commenting on blogs is a dialogue with an imaginary person or group.

There are a lot of people out there who want to have nasty conversations with people in their heads. Beyond the fact that the blogosphere is intrinsically enticing to them, they are also looking for the best nest they can find for their evil ways.

So the blogosphere doesn’t have to be very attractive – just the most attractive option around. Fortunately, because nastiness flows towards congenial places, it actually settles in to special sites on the net and only minimally bothers other people.

Tim Blair, Little Green Footballs etc. Much as we do have some intrinsic problem of exasperation and occasional sputtering being amplified by the medium, it is nothing to the venom in those places.

With a few exceptions, those mongrels don’t engage with our bit of the blogosphere. They prefer to tell each other how evil we are.

Generally speaking, our mob has two solutions to the snark problem. We either get ultra logical (which I adore cos I learn a lot) or we get funny.

This is all about genuine or perceived nastiness. There is a parallel track of funfilled swordplay, which is pretty close to debating competitions in the real world. The trick is also to create a space for this – the problem is only that it sometimes gets in the way of real discussion.

I am intrigued by the way the blogosphere tends to adhere to national and cultural boundaries even though the net is apparently sans borders. A lot of this is caused by topic – who else cares about John Howard? But it is very hard to get the codes of other culture’s humour, and probably even harder to understand teasing or sendups.

And guess what we do a lot of?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

David

Those are all really good points. As others have observed, Troppo debate is in fact very civilised by most standards, even at its worst. I try to be light-handed with my editorial/moderating interventions, jumping on people only when it’s clear that tempers are getting badly frayed (frequently because contributors are emailing me behind the scenes to that effect). They’re judgment calls, and one inevitably occasionally intervenes too early or too late.

The lack of significant international crossover on most Australian political blogs is also interesting, as you observe. Apart from humour not crossing national boundaries, it’s mostly a matter of subject matter (as you also observe). The two Tims manage to maintain a large American audience because they frequently write about US topics, whereas none of the Troppo authors have a significant US focus. I’m not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing. Maybe I should think about recruiting an American contributor. On the one hand, I’d like to get the perspectives of readers from other countries and cultures, but on the other it probably multiplies the potential for misunderstandings and consequent nastiness.

BTW I think Francis also has a good point in highlighting the potentially disruptive effect of people with inadequate to non-existent social/intepersonal skills, who feel free to lash out with relative impunity in the partial anonymity of the Internet.

Finally, having thought about it, I’ve decided that a set of codified debating/civility rules is unnecessary. As I said above, I try to keep my interventions as light-handed as possible. Prescriptive rules might simply force interventions where masterly inactivity would be a better long-term strategy. Of course, it runs the risk that occasionally someone like Mark B gets irritated at what they see as inconsistency of approach. And they may be right, but I’d prefer to see it as ad hoc and desirable flexibility.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

Ken – Perhaps you were cranky about something else then when you jumped on Kim? I thought your comments to Kim were pretty tough, given that I’d read the question as a ‘Why do it…’ rather than as the put down that you seemed to think it was. I thought something along the lines of “Don’t you think you’re being a bit harsh” from you would have gotten the point across just as well without being attacking. I appreciate that Sophie has copped a lot of flak recently, in not very pleasant language, but she seems to have bounced back and is still with us and as this thread shows is giving us lots to talk about. Kim has apologised and explained that she (?) didn’t mean to be nasty. Perhaps a ‘sorry Kim I misread your post too’ might be appropriate?

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Mindy

Kim acknowledged that her comment was open to misinterpretation. Others also read it as I did. The retraction/apology/clarification was warranted, as was my request/suggestion that it be made. I’m pleased that Kim responded so positively and promptly. However unintended, it was precisely the sort of comment that experience has shown can send discussion spiralling off into orbit unless nipped in the bud.

Nicholas Gruen
2022 years ago

Ken, your policy is the right one.

Scott Wickstein
2022 years ago

If you want more content of an international nature, Ken, I’m happy to write on that. I tend to read more international stuff then Australian these days. Generally when I’m writing about global stuff it gets put on Samizdata.net. Oddly, as Australian correspondent for that blog, I’ve not written a thing about Australian politics all year (which is a reflection of how dull things are now.)

But having said all that, I think keeping Troppo aimed at an Australian readership is the way to go. If I post something about AFL here, I don’t want to have to explain the ‘holding the ball’ rule.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Scott

I agree we should maintain a predominantly Australian flavour and focus, but the occasional article dealing with events from an international/offshore perspective wouldn’t hurt, and might broaden the interest and audience. So if you want to cross-post the occasional Samizdata contribution that would be very welcome.

Mindy
Mindy
2022 years ago

Ken – I wasn’t saying that your comment was unwarranted, just that I felt you were heavy handed with your response, rather than the light handed approach you say you like to take. I was somewhat irked that you felt your approach that time was light handed. As I suggested, a comment along the lines of it being a bit harsh would have done the same thing.

wbb
wbb
2022 years ago

Haven’t we been thru this?

Enjoy the rudeness. That’s why I come here.

My blog is a barren wasteland of enthusiastic agreement. I realise that’s because I write such thoughtful and correct stuff, but it’s no fun. Not like here. Sometimes I wish I could be wrong occasionally just to generate some discord.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Yes, I couldn’t agree more wbb. Perfection is a heavy cross to bear, I’m sure. I think we’ve pretty much beaten this topic to death. I’m going to close the thread now.