Silent Voices

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

I was, and was not, surprised to see Mike Sanders hang up on weblogging today. I could see glimpses of burn out in his recent posts. In addition, he’s involved in new conflicts that would leave a sour taste in anyone’s mouth who is witness to them.

My decision to do away with a traditional blogroll started, in part, with Mike. In March this year, he removed several people from his blogroll, and posted a note that he did so because the people were “terrorist sympathizers”. After the uproar attached to this action, he put the people back on his blogroll, and issued an apology, of sorts.

In my comments attached to the Roll Call post, Jonathon asked:


In terms of the delinking debate, will you include posts with which you vehemently disagree?

To answer Jonathon, the first post I was going to link to and excerpt in the new system was Mike Sanders’ post on removing people from his blogroll. I considered that one to be pivotal within the weblogging history I hope to capture.

There are few weblog postings that have had as much of an impact on me as Mike’s. Based on this posting, between one moment and the next, weblogging had changed for me. It was no longer me writing in a vacuum; it was about me being part of a community, one in which conflict exists in addition to comradery. As difficult as the events of the time were back then, the end result is that weblogging became a much richer experience for me. For many of us. And I would be less than remiss — less than honorable — if I weren’t to acknowledge this.

Mike brought much of the battle he retreates from on to himself. He used the term moral equivalency as a stone on which to stand and look down on others. He re-interpreted viewpoints in a manner almost guaranteed to frustrate the originators of the viewpoint. He used labels as weapons. He also sent emails to people that would exacerbate an already tense situation. Mike introduced conflict.

However, Mike also started conversations. He got people to think. He helped us to understand the power of this medium and he made us all realize how much impact simple words, and simple links, and simple actions, could have.

The (negative) concept of de-linking is partially responsible for me removing my blogroll. However, in its place will be something that, I hope, will be much better than passive links. Ultimately, I think we’ll benefit greately from this change. And I owe this, in part, to Mike.

The conflict he introduced, the discordant notes he played with many of us, added to the richness of this medium. He writes today:


So I would like to dedicate this post to any people I have angered. Consider my giving up blogging as your own personal victory. And get on to the important task of developing love towards your family, friends and community.


I feel no victory. His weblog will be missed. His silence will be heard.

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