Defining ‘bad’

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

From the same person who brought us an exclusive invitation-only weblogger’s conference comes the following:

When Blogger and MT reinvented RSS, and had the audacity to call it RSS (man that is nasty), you gotta wonder why they did it. I don’t know. The only reason that makes sense to me is that they want to keep data interchange a dark art, understood only by a few, and widely considered impossible. That’s probably not the reason. As some wise man once said, never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence. Either way, it’s bad.

In this context, what’s the bad? From what we can deduce from the chaotic ramblings it’s the fact that MT generates RSS 1.0 as the default RSS, though it provides equal support for RSS 2.0. That’s ‘bad’.

Au contraire! Yet more suppressive ownership of what should be open interoperability specifications, as well as cookie-cutter parties masquerading as conferences, sponsored by elitists for elitists, weblogged online so the rest of us hoi polloi can see what we’re missing is not ‘bad’.

What is bad is losing too many good webloggers lately. People who don’t get invited to the conferences, who quietly write on so many wonderful things, who don’t thump their own damn chest with talk of “I!”, “I!”, “I!”

People who write on Intercultural issues and writingPolitics and personal libertyPolitics, photography, and life in other countries, and Life, Love, and on occasion technology (since returned). Losing these voices, that’s what’s bad. With so much emphasis on certain types of weblogging, and certain types of webloggers, we’re making this all into the same type of homogenous boring ego massaging bullshit, as we’ve made of other community and group interactions. Bring on the tiara and the Miss Weblogger contest, the society pages, the ‘in’ list, and might as well call it ’society as usual’.

I am not a regular reader of George Partington and he is not a regular reader of me, but we share many friends in our neighborhoods. When I read in Mike Golby’s post that George is taking a break, I felt saddened – not because I read him daily, but because all I know of him is how much he’s respected, how important others view his input. And I understand, too well, what he’s saying when he writes:

I haven’t been very funny lately. Have I ever? Seems like I started out this blogging thing laughing at myself and my willingness to let a buncha stuff out online. I tried to be creative and it was fun. For a while there, it was like a great party where more and more people kept dropping in, drawn by some inexplicable energy. Not referring to my site specifically, just the whole blog ecosystem I found myself in. That would be the progressive one. The intelligent one, the humorous one, and most definitely the concerned one. I guess it was serious then too; it’s just the laughter that’s changed. The lack of it.

Lack of laughter, and can we have a life and a weblog, too? Good question. I’ll let you know the answer if I find it.

I can understand why a person quits weblogging: it takes too much time, money, personal investment; it risks much, such as relationships and jobs; it stops being fun or funny. Ultimately, unless there’s something I can do about it, it doesn’t matter why individuals quit or take breaks, perhaps never to return. It doesn’t matter if I read their weblogs or not.

When a person quits it means one less unique voice in the mix; and, dammit, that’s what’s bad.

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