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June 14, 2005

Comments

I think there's something to it. The old Tacitus site spawned a healthy crop of bloggers (and its own replacement) via some community features (and promotions to guest-blogger). It's hard to argue against the idea that empowering your community members will grow your community. That said, Atrios seems to spawn bloggers at a reasonable clip, and his isn't a community site.

I'd be hesitant about attributing it to the essential nature of conservativism or anything like that. It might line up with the much more top-down orientation of modern Republicanism, though. Plus liberals are inherently better at forming COMMUNIties, know what I'm saying?

I still hate Scoop-type blogs. I'm conservative that way. And linear.

And, as I've written many times, interested in blogs for individual voices, not for large masses of interchangeable ones. (Yes, I'm generalizing terribly, and unfairly; I'm mentioning a prejudice, not a reasoned argument.)

I think a large amount of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of the Republican party. For better or for worse, the primary vehicle for conservatism in American politics is the GOP, and the GOP in its present form is very authoritarian. Chris went a long way towards answering your question in this sentence:

However, because of the top-down nature of right-wing blogs, new conservative blogs remain almost entirely dependent upon the untouchable high traffic blogs for visitors. [emphasis mine]

There are exceptions to this, but not many. Tacitus realized some time ago that the community-driven aspects of Daily Kos were a major factor in making that site so successful, and has attempted to duplicate that feat with Redstate. The site is still young, so time will tell whether or not it will happen, but my suspicion is that it won't.

Just to be clear: I don't think that the right explanation would appeal to the essential nature of conservatism, or anything. (At the moment, I couldn't say what conservatism's essential nature was if my life depended on it.)

One possible explanation comes from a part of the MyDD story I didn't quote: "Conservative bloggers continue to act as though they are simply a supplement to the existing pundit class, without any need to converse with those operating outside of a small social bubble." Possibly, being a part of the party in power allows one to feel as though one is a sort of adjunct pundit. Who knows.

Polipundit has a different explanation:

"So why don’t most other conservative blogs allow comments? Because liberals are jerks. If a conservative blog allows comments, it is immediately overrun by juvenile, illiterate, liberal hecklers who ruin the comments section. We here at polipundit.com have been fighting this ever since I turned on comments, and only ceaseless vigilance has allowed us to keep the comments section open. If a larger conservative/libertarian blog, like InstaPundit, were to start a Comments section, then the blogger would have to spend every waking moment policing liberal trolls."

Er, kind of. Except the theory wasn't about comments (as much), it was about diaries and more inclusive community features. And there's the fact that community features let the community self-police, rather than relying on a handful of superusers to keep them clean, but then that's more of that top-downishness.

Sidereal: oddly, that's almost exactly what Chris Bowers said when he replied.

Wow, hilzoy, that polipundit comment thread is quite something. Post after post after post about how nasty and stupid liberals are and how they're always shouting down conservatives who just want to have a reasonable debate, apparently all without a hint of irony.

Just to be clear: I don't think that the right explanation would appeal to the essential nature of conservatism, or anything.

Nor do I. I /do/ think that there's a big finger to be pointed at the authoritarian nature of the current Republican Party, though. Conservatism and Republicanism are not interchangeable, and all of us could do well to remember that.

So why don’t most other conservative blogs allow comments? Because liberals are jerks. If a conservative blog allows comments, it is immediately overrun by juvenile, illiterate, liberal hecklers who ruin the comments section.

First of all, this doesn't at all address Chris's point: he's not talking about comments, he's talking about community sites.

Second, it's also the best kind of bullshit: the kind that has as its core a nugget of truth. Conservative blogs with comments do get a fair number of trolls. So do liberal sites. I think you'd be hard-pressed, though, to find a substantive difference between (for instance) the number of liberal trolls at Dan Drezner's blog, and the number of conservative trolls at Kevin Drum's. If those examples don't make you happy, pick any pair of liberal and conservative blogs that both have comments and get the same amount of traffic.

The fact is, people are jerks. Trolls come and go in waves, frequently increasing due to highly visible links, exceptionally stupid and/or vitriolic posts, or some other manner of publicity. We've had our share here at ObWi on both sides of the aisle.

Finally, speaking as a lurker at Polipundit, most of what gets called "trolling" really means that a liberal posted disagreement or shot down an egregiously stupid post, and got dogpiled by the regulars. It's why I don't post there.

- I think the top-down, tighter message control among conservatives certainly plays a role in this (generalized on the assumption that the conventional wisdom is correct and Dems are actually more likely to fight among each other).
- What more important IMO is the in-power/out-of-power aspect and the outcome of the last election. In general it seems reasonable to assume, that the party out of power will pay more attention to new ideas coming from the base, will have a greater need to discuss what can be improved, has less media access and thus a stronger desire by members to be heard, more objects of criticism and so on and so forth.
- Lastly, the news in the last months have not been that favourable to new conservative voices. There's not been that much good news.

Excuse the length of this quote. It is from Stirling Newberry of BOPNews and Dkos, and I do believe he is talking about some aspects of the left blogosphere. He recently was in a controversy, banning a poster fro BOPNews for reasons that are not quite clear to me.

The particular comment is in response to the Bowers post cited by hilzoy.

"It is certainly true that one unwise writer doesn't shake my conviction that what is happening in the blogsphere is important. In a related way the tension - between emotionalist swarms and logical cores, is going to continue perpetually. Swarms create energy, trust and flows of eyeballs, but they very often generated fear and misinformation in their lust to reduce evertying to a cartoon of the world. Similarly logical cores can grow out of touch, disdainful of the very forces that organize the soicety that they think about. Keeping the two in balance will never be easy work, nor is it without hazard for those who do it.

It is necessary work, however, despite the pure venom that is, on occasion, the only reward for ones efforts.

Freedom of speech rests on the integrity of the peopel who practice it, their willingness to act in accordance with their beliefs, and their willinges to pay the price for their actions. We've often wanted officials to resign rather than carry out some egregious policy - but how often people aren't willing to give up the smallest thing if it means honestly leaving an institution that they no longer support.

Some of the powers that be want to turn the internet into a vast cauldron of reactive people, ready to scream on comamnd, give money on command. Some people mistakenly call this "freedom" because they want to scream, and such an internet would give them permission to scream as loudly as they like, to attack who they like and call it "defense of freedom". The Republicans have been the masters of giving people social permission to do anti-social things, as the minutemen controversy shows. But there are those on the left who see the internet as exactly the same kind of medium. [Emphasis by Bob]

In essence I have always stood against mobocracy - and ahve on occasion incured the wrath of mobocracts who mistake their own egotism for the interests of the wider public. I expect it to happen again and again, since mobocracy has been with us longer than I have.

What is most difficult is the moment the wave of screaming crests, because all too often ones friends say little, while ones enemies say quite alot. "It isn't the attacks of our enemies, but the silence of our friends which hurts the most". But in the end reason wins out, even if it is slow off the mark, because in the end mobocrats end up having to lie, or eat their own to keep the fire going.

We are better at dealing with this than we were a few years ago, and will, I hope, be better at dealing with it next year, than we are this year. The growth of community sites, while it has caused a good deal of turbulence, and no small amount of conflict, represents a potential force for better social organization, and better communication.

It is a development we should follow with interest and particpate in with gusto."

My own impressions, and my only experience is with RedState and Tacitus, is that conservative commenters often assert bullshit as fact, but in a calm and reasonable manner.

Liberals do the same thing, perhaps less often, but more often in a manner less calm, polite and reasonable. I do not except myself.

I do not read comment sections on DKos and Eschaton, because I do find them reactive, emotional me-too cheering sections. Much depends on the nature of the post, and whether it leaves room for commenters to add fact and insight, or reasonable disagreement. Some people are attracted to demagogues, and simply enjoy an afternoon of "Bush Sux"===>"You betcha"

A note. Tacitus is, according to its host, a liberal blog and anyone who disagrees may be called a fool on the front page.

Be careful, people.

I have some theories. Most of the big name conservative sites without comments are also some of the older sites. If you start with the essay-only format, you continue with it.

There is also the question of what you are getting when you talk about page views in a place like dKos. If you have a million page views on AndrewSullivan.com you can pretty sure the people are reading his latest things. If you get 5 million page vies on dKos, you can't be sure what people are really looking at.

"I think you'd be hard-pressed, though, to find a substantive difference between (for instance) the number of liberal trolls at Dan Drezner's blog, and the number of conservative trolls at Kevin Drum's."

The problem with Drum's site is that it is overrun by liberal trolls. The conservative trolls at Drum's site didn't ruin the comments section, it was the left-wing crazies who did that. Which supports the rude liberals theory. But I'm not totally buying that either.

I suspect that liberals currently have more community blogs for two major reasons. 1--they have the more recently minted blogs. 2--they have views which are currently out of power which spurs more activism (if not necessarily more useful activism).

Why is this? It's a mystery to me.

It is? Never read Lakoff?

The conservative trolls at Drum's site didn't ruin the comments section, it was the left-wing crazies who did that.

OMFG. LOL.

rather than "conservative" and "liberal" blogospheres, I would like to propose "apologiasphere" (for which thanks Jim Henley) and "shrillosphere".

And, in my drunkenness I am laughing out loud in agreement with Catsy's comment that "I think a large amount of the blame for this can be laid at the feet of the Republican party."

I agree with the idea that the right wing folks are more authoritarian, top-down, or what have you.

I recall, though, well before I had much inkling about politics at all, I read Slashdot for tech news. It was a community site. I started reading Kuro5hin because there was tech stuff mixed in with some other more diverse stuff, and it was Slashdot-like in interface. A lot of Kuro5hin folks "came from" Slashdot.

Kuro5hin didn't declare itself liberal, but it seemed to lean that way a lot. It's also the original Scoop site, where the software was developed.

So, I have it in my head that there are a bunch of things that just go together here. Do techs lean liberal? If so, the fact that Slashdot was the tech site for a while, and it was a community site would explain why the set of people who set up web sites and the set of people who are liberal would intersect into a set of people who are very comfortable setting up liberal community sites.

I've heard often that liberalism is prevalent in academia. For a long time, that was whence came most Internet users, and if they were doing any discussing, it was on USENET. I remember looking at Slashdot comment threads as simplified and prettified newsgroup discussions. Are academic liberals drawn to discussion sites because they've become comfortable with discussions on USENET? Did the less academic conservatives show up to the Internet later and less comfortable with discussions? I'm just guessing, I guess.

All this rambling (and, I must appologize, for it is rambling) is probably just an overgeneralization of my own experience. Still, I have this "liberals = programmers = complex sites" idea in my head.

But it raises a further question, namely: why do liberal and conservative blogs differ in this way?

It's fairly simple. It has to do with my hobby. I am a troll.

I look out for conservative sites with comments threads. Then I post from an uncompromising liberal perspective. Although I can be biting, I am never as rude as comments addressed to me (or to "leftists" in general) and I back up my point with links and facts. If it starts to get too emotional, I post *ONLY* facts - no personal comment at all.

Usually, I'm banned in 12-48 hours. Occasionally they keep going for a week before banning me.

The simple fact is that the difference between the liberal and conservative communities that swirl around in comments threads is because the latter cannot stand consistent factual argument against their collective beliefs. Liberals thrive on intelligent argument; conservatives shun it.

Try it some time. Post facts and links and see what happens.

I thought right-wingers hated pluralism?

I was going to say I don't think the difference has to do with ideology so much as it does with personality, except that I've been banned from two conservative sites simply because I contradicted the blogowner's point of view. Snarkily, yes; but no more so (in fact, considerably less) than the conservative posters who celebrated the blogowner's point of view. I later found out that both sites habitually ban liberals.

I've never been banned from a liberal blog - and that has nothing to do with my being a liberal. I'm argumentative, and stupidity trips my trigger regardless of ideology. Daring to disagree with whatever the amen chorus is on about has gotten me roundly attacked - cursed at, called a brown-shirt fascist troll - at Table Talk and Atrios, both very liberal blogs. I don't post at either one anymore, not because I mind being called names (calling me a brown-shirt troll is hilarious, for god's sake) but because I don't have any use for cliques and amen choruses.

kos is very liberal, and tends to repel conservatives, but doesn't have the clique problem: discussions don't wander OT, and don't devolve into shouting matches or infantile "Frist!"-isms. The diaries and guest-bloggers at kos also allow for excellent up-to-the-minute news reports and commentary, grassroots organizing - and they're fantastic at providing live-blogging of Senate hearings, trials, and the like. kos has created a wonderful town square sort of place.

Drum's blog is a good place to go if you just want to screed, or if you want to go troll-baiting - but it also attracts some very intelligent people who can go on for hundreds of comments about abtruse subjects like economic indicators and microbiology. Those discussions are joys to read and participate in.

I do think the intellectual and moral failure of neo-con ideology has had a chilling effect on conservative blogs. It's gotten difficult to defend things like the Iraq war, Bush's budget priorities, the neo-medievalist Religious Right, Bolton's nomination, and on and on. Blogs seriously invested in defending the Bush Admin no matter what have a rough row to hoe, and the last thing they want are a bunch of liberals coming around to remind them of the contradictions, failures and lies.

Mind you, there are conservative sites that enjoy argumentation and don't ban liberals for being argumentative. It's just that they seem to be the exception.

I'm not keen on banning, but I've come to realize, if you want to keep a blog from turning into Troll Threadjacking Paradise, it's necessary. There's no denying ObiWi is a more pleasant place for it.

Kyle
If you could expand on what kind of academics--disciplines, even stereotypes--were using your computers when back when, it would help us untenured. A lot, really.

Did the less academic conservatives show up to the Internet later and less comfortable with discussions?

Liberals thrive on intelligent argument; conservatives shun it.

My favorite conservative blogger, Cliff Yablonski, has just returned after a long absence. He was one of the first guys around that I can remember. Why don't you ask him to post comments on his site?, or perhaps suggest that Billy Beck join a web community.

You darn kids get out of my yard right now!

Liberals thrive on intelligent argument; conservatives shun it.

Don't dislocate your shoulder, there, pard. I've seen a great deal that goes the other way. There's idiots on both sides of the fence.

even better, he mentions people who have become stars on blogs and names two (Marisacat and Theoria) from LiberalStreetfighter! yeah, i know, shameless plug....

The fact is, people are jerks.

There is a great Gary Larson (Far Side) cartoon.

God (you know, a single long eyebrow, no eyes) is in the kitchen. In the very large pot is the planet Earth. On the shelf are jars, "brown-skinned people," "men," "women," etc.

God is holding the jar labeled "jerks," and shaking them into the pot. "Just to keep it interesting" is the caption.

Don't dislocate your shoulder, there, pard. I've seen a great deal that goes the other way. There's idiots on both sides of the fence.

Possibly it's the observer effect, but I've never seen a conservative come into even the most rabid liberal blog, start posting factual and referenced arguments and get banned or deleted. Sure you can get your fair share of abuse on either side of the fence - but banning for having too good an argument?

Well, apart from Democratic Underground possibly, but they're the outlier.

Possibly it's the observer effect, but I've never seen a conservative come into even the most rabid liberal blog, start posting factual and referenced arguments and get banned or deleted.

Anecdotal, but: I used to frequent AlterNet; it was the first political community site I got into. The place is about as rabidly leftist as anywhere I've ever been, to the point where most of the regulars are to the left of /me/. And I've watched conservatives wander in there and present reasoned, non-insulting arguments and thrive. Which is not to say they get let off easy--but they get challenged on their arguments, not banned. The bannings tend to be reserved for the true trolls.

There is some confusion as to the definition of a troll. I believe that people who persistently put forward the opposing view are not trolls, unless they do it such a way as to cause the dialogue to break down. While it is possible to be a 'conservative troll' or a 'liberal troll' (in that the person would do their best to drag a conversation down that is not in accordance with their specific views), one of the worst experiences I have had with someone trolling was a person who used multiple identities on an email list several years ago. At least two of the personalities were designed to restate positions he was opposed to in such a way as to make his own position seem reasonable. Given that we don't have any idea of what the actual positions of someone who posts really are, I think it dangerous to assert that their are conservative or liberal trolls.

Fortunately, more familiarity with ip addresses and dealing with spam allows us to identify those who try to set up real 'strawmen', but I often wonder if, with some opinions, could there actually be someone who holds it. That's one reason why I'm a one blog guy, because if you can't be reasonably sure of who you are talking to (or at least know that there is some continuity between what the person argues over time), it really makes no sense to try and worry about their opinions. I suspect that this is the reason why a lack of consistency is such an invitation to a pile on.

Sorry, hilzoy. My copy-and-paste went whacko. Could you please delete that?

Apologetically,
Barry

Sorry, hilzoy. My copy-and-paste went whacko (must be Evul Trollzzz!!). Could you please delete that?

Apologetically,
Barry

I wonder how (or if) this relates to the "I don't do nuance" anti-intellectualism of one of the main streams of current conservative thought. I'm not saying that all, or most, conservatives are stupid. I am saying that there is a celebration of anti-intellectualism in one part of the coalition.

Another part of the coalition -- and I think that the idea of a bipolar world, conservatives and liberals, is just ridiculous, because the shades within each coalition are as significant, in many many cases, as the distinction between it and the other faith -- likes its top-down conclusions unexamined. Let's don't have science going around messing up what we know to be true: I can imagine that a personality type going for this wrt matters of religious faith could accept it on matters of political faith as well.

Not sure how this observation fits in either, but immaturity skews young. And rudeness skews desperate. Could it be that young liberals are feeling more desperation than young conservatives? I can think of reasons this might be the case.

Barry: done. (For those who want to know what was deleted, it was, essentially, the whole post plus comments in text form.)

CharleyCarp: I think there might be something else. Rude people are sometimes desperate, but they're sometimes also just people who feel as though they're in a position of power. So I'd imagine that rudeness would be found on both sides, and in fact observation bears this out. (Though I am still hugely relieved to find that the hydra-headed smlook and all his many identities were just one rude person, and not some sort of trend.)

But desperation in people not inclined to be rude also breeds two things: first, a real openness to anyone who might help one figure out what on earth to do, and second, a need to build a community of people who might be inclined to help do it. Both motives might lead people to construct genuine communities, as would the sense (widespread among Democrats) that our leadership has failed us, and therefore other people need to step up to the plate and offer ideas.

For my part, the more I think about it, the odder it seems to me that anyone blogs without comments. They must think of themselves as doing something completely and utterly different from what I think of myself is doing, and it suddenly strikes me as strange to think of them and me and kos as doing the same thing, "blogging".

I worry about the longterm effects of the blogsphere on our body politic. Kevin Drum had a diagram of what he called "an ecology" of blogging habits. It was a web of sites hit routinely by a group of conservatives and a group of liberals. There was only one website in common.
I can imagine that, over time, more and more people will depend on the blogshere for information. I know I do. It get much better in-depth coverage of important events by reading threads like the UZ one here than by wasting time on the five seconds of superficial bather given each topic featured on the TV news. I can see our culture being divided into the ignorant-but -don't-know-it people who watch TV and two warring factions of people who get their information from sources that reinforce their perceptions; right or left wing blogs. Can a democracy survive if there is no common understanding of basic principles and facts about the issues? That's why I think sites like this one are essential and why I hope we get more conservative posters. WE, meaning all Americans, need to talk to each other more.

The reason I came here in the first place was that I'd consistently enjoyed Moe Lane's comments picking off the low-hanging fruit over at Atrios, back when Atrios's comments were still readable. Yes, Virginia, there are conservatives who thrive on reasoned argument, but they don't get banned even from the King of the Shrill's site.

LGF has comments, sure, but you can get banned for basically suggesting that Arabs are homo sapiens.

Don't dislocate your shoulder, there, pard. I've seen a great deal that goes the other way. There's idiots on both sides of the fence.

Whether there are idiots on both sides of the fence, I think no one questions. What's discussed, however, is how many idiots each side has or perhaps in what proportions. Ultimately, I think it's a question that cannot be answered.

To me, the question this raises is less about the existence or proportions of idiots, which I agree is unknowable, but: why do liberal and conservative blogs tend to work differently? The more I think about it, the more it seems that the answer must have something to do with the fact that we are out of power, and not just a little out of power, but completely locked out of (e.g.) congressional decisions; that our leadership has largely failed us, and therefore that all sorts of people are feeling the need to chip in and do something about this themselves.

Which I think is a really good development, in terms of citizenship.

Fortunately, more familiarity with ip addresses and dealing with spam allows us to identify those who try to set up real 'strawmen'...

The technical term for this is a "sock puppet". John Lott is currently the most famous practitioner of this technique; see Tim Lambert for details.

[I'm also guessing that Kevin Drum's site has just been sock-puppeted by one of the regular, um, wacky conservative posters so you could hang out there and see what happens...]

back when Atrios's comments were still readable.

Select text, hit control-scroll-down. Then claw your eyes out.

The technical term for this is a "sock puppet".

Yeah, sock puppets abound.

What's discussed, however, is how many idiots each side has or perhaps in what proportions. Ultimately, I think it's a question that cannot be answered.

I think a safe working assumption is that the proportions on each side are pretty much equal, at least absent any objective evidence. However, it's also true that (a) the other side's idiots tend to be much more annoying than your own side's; and (b) the qualifications to be termed an "idiot" are rather easier to meet for people on the other side than for people on your own.

I've always thought that a sock puppet was someone who created a false persona who gushed about how great the person was (cf Mary Rosh). Setting up someone who you can best in unarmed debate and demonstrate how sharp you are is even more pathological than Lott, if that is possible.

I wonder how much of the difference between the left and right blogs relates to the early prevalance of conservative talk radio. Perhaps the over the top nature of much (most?) of the conservative talk radio hosts have contributed to the coarseness of the dialog on the more extreme conservative blogs.

This would also explain why most liberal blogs have a large community/comment section. It has been the only outlet for left leaning views.

Anarch -- okay this is a little obscure for me. Looking at Kevin's comments today, they seem only standard level of wacky. What in particular is grabbing your attention?

LJ, the sort of sock puppet referred to here actually does exist, and routinely. There were some on FidoNet in the early '90s, and the usage applied on Usenet back in the '80s. People really do sometimes provide their own straw men.

Hilzoy points out something that I hadn't thought about as a relevant factor: how few Democrats active in the weblog world (and how few liberal- or left-leaning non-Democrats) are happy with the party's leadership. It's possible that there will be a reduced flow of new communities and spin-offs when (if) the Democratic Party again mounts effective, coordinated challenges to the Republicans.

I have a vivid memory from growing up in small town mid-America. It was some sort of weekend function at a local campground and one group of guys had spent the night, so to speak, with a willing young female who apparently took very good care of them. She was sitting on a picnic table, with a slightly disheveled, but pleased glazed expression. One guy, apparently the lead dog sat protectively next to her, while the rest of her pack, 5-6 of the gathered near. I'll never forget it. I've lurked and jerked around this blog and a couple others for a year or so now. And sometimes, in the heat of a good old argument with Jes, or in the midst of a thread jacking, I wonder what I'm doing here. Some respect? Some belonging? Some desire to impress academia or intelligencia? It seems the liberal blogs are more communal, and the conservative ones more patriarchal. Liberals feel they are right and want affirmation. Conservatives know they are right and...well what else would there be. Why comment? Point is...no point really. There is definitely some sidewalk psychology involved. It's probably more like Catsy said, it's all Bush’s fault.

big-name conservative bloggers don't have comments. little conservatites want to be like the big boys. no comments.

big-name liberal bloggers have comments. little liberalites want to be like the big boys. comments.

--

probably too simple.

A few points:

1) there's RedState, for instance, but while it has neither sitemeter.... -- Au contraire. Look harder!

2) Bryan can't read?

3) Conservative blogs suck by comparison because conservatives are in power and have other organized outlets. Bottom line. Wait and see what happens in a period of leftist political dominance.

Ya know I feel a drift toward libertarianism on both sides. a kind of pro-techno hands off my internet, then either pro war or anti war hate bush not like bush much kinda crowd. And... I think it's easy to piss off like minded crowds.

Tacitus, re point #2, it's useful to see that you believe personal attack ASAP is a preferable approach in political discussion. It's very educational.

2) Bryan can't read?

I seem to recall you saying explicitly that you felt that tacitus.org had drifted too far to the left ("unacceptably" was the word you used, I think, although I wouldn't swear to it) during the campaign and that your renewed presence there was a deliberate attempt to rectify this wayward course. Is this in error?

Conservative blogs suck by comparison because conservatives are in power and have other organized outlets

From the article (the one you will see quoted if you scroll up, you can read, correct?):

I have been tracking the comparative audiences of the two blogosphere off and on for the past nine months, and this is the largest lead for the liberal blogosphere that I have ever found. In September, the margin in favor of Democrats was 25%. In winter, it was 33%. In the spring, it was 50%. Now, it has risen to 65%. This is particularly amazing, since less than two years ago the conservative blogosphere was at least twice the size of the liberal blogosphere

Conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets for that entire time period. Your explanation has the defect of not actually explaining anything. Other than that, it's great.

I think Bryan was referring to this, followed by this.

Anarch, you're not in error; Bryan is simply being foolish in braying about how this is the case now.

As for Gary, here you go.

Felix, as is frequently the case, I have no idea what on earth you're trying to say. However, I do find it nicely illustrative of your obsessiveness that you attempt an attack (however inept) even when I'm praising your side.

"As for Gary, here you go."

Yes, you've refuted my impression by returning to substance and facts supported by citations, stepping back from ad hominem. But you can have the last word after this.

What I am trying to say is not the least bit difficult to understand. You claimed that the reason conservative blogs "suck" as you eloquently put it, is that "conservatives are in power and have other organized outlets". But this was true 9 months ago, and as you can read above, liberal blogs are tremendously more successful than they were 9 months ago. Thus your explanation explains nothing.

As for the attack, of course it was inept, I was imitating yours.

But you can have the last word after this.

Okay!

You claimed that the reason conservative blogs "suck" as you eloquently put it, is that "conservatives are in power and have other organized outlets". But this was true 9 months ago, and as you can read above, liberal blogs are tremendously more successful than they were 9 months ago. Thus your explanation explains nothing.

Wow. You do realize this is a non sequitur, yes?

No, you don't. Eh.

You claimed that the reason conservative blogs "suck" as you eloquently put it, is that "conservatives are in power and have other organized outlets". But this was true 9 months ago, and as you can read above, liberal blogs are tremendously more successful than they were 9 months ago.

Not only does this not contradict what Tacitus said, it actually reinforces it. If the liberal blogs were more popular than the conservative ones nine months ago, when conservatives were in power, and they're even more popular now, after nine additional months of conservative power . . . where's the disconnect here? What am I not seeing?

What am I not seeing?

This, from felix's quoted paragraph:

This is particularly amazing, since less than two years ago the conservative blogosphere was at least twice the size of the liberal blogosphere.

If the liberal blogs were more popular than the conservative ones nine months ago, when conservatives were in power, and they're even more popular now, after nine additional months of conservative power . . . where's the disconnect here? What am I not seeing?

Eh. You're not seeing that conservative blogs rose to prominence during a period that conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets, and that over several years they kept that prominence even though conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets, and that recently they have lost that prominence in a period that conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets.

If one looks for an explanation in that sequence of events at the fact that conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets, one is make a silly argument. Eh.

I should hasten to add that I don't have a dog in this fight, nor do I plan to. But that seems to me to be the interesting fact here: two years ago, conservative blogs heavily dominated the blogosphere; nowadays, liberal blogs have a sizable lead. There hasn't been a demonstrative shift in the power structures over the past three years or so which suggests many interesting possibilities, none of which are going to be resolved at the present time.

Ah, OK. Didn't really make note of that portion. Thanks.

But aren't we interested in relative growth rates, not initial conditions? It's like watching bacteria multiply; the question is not how many conservative bacteria there were to begin with, but why liberal bacteria are so much more prolific.

but why liberal bacteria are so much more prolific

The answer is in the question. ;-)

Comparing trends during the period of extreme growth from blogosphere infancy would seem to be an unrelated parallel. The question is why, as blogs grew from the nothingsphere are liberal blogs growing exponentially faster. Why is it that liberals need to grouse among themselves more than conservatives? Why do liberals need more reassurance than those of other political ilk’s. What party had political power at the time of this technological development may not be that relevant.

Oh, okay. I see now: Felix thinks that relative size of grouping is the determinant of suckage.

It's a qualitative -- and hence subjective -- determination, kid, sorry.

Congratulations on the indulgence in the obsession, though. That was surpassingly odd. "Tacitus....thinks....left.....better....Hate....Tacitus....HATE!"

blogbudsman: Why is it that liberals need to grouse among themselves more than conservatives?

More to grouse about, especially these days? ;-)

Oh, okay. I see now: Felix thinks that relative size of grouping is the determinant of suckage.

It's a qualitative -- and hence subjective -- determination, kid, sorry.

Oh, so then your argument implies the conservative blogs always sucked. Well, you have a point there, kid, you just weren't making yourself clear. Still doesn't explain why only recently have people flocked to the superior lefty blogs instead of the suckier conservative ones, but at least we have the first point out of the way. Eh.

"Hate.....HATE....."

""Hate.....HATE.....""

I'm not sure how to break it to you, but you appear to have a seemingly random number of dots interspersed with your words. Perhaps it's some form of punctuation I'm unfamiliar with. (Ellipes consisting of three dots, and when appropriate, a final period; I recommend The Chicago Manual of Style if you have questions, though you may prefer another authority.)

I only mention this thinking you might want to avoid possible error in future; if five dots has some significance I'm unaware of, my apologies. (Neither this would be an example of my making a vicious personal attack, since it's entirely trivial in the scheme of things.)

"Ellipes...."

"Ellipses," of course.

Hmm. The title of the thread is "This Is Interesting." Not anymore.

I would like to present the end of this thread as exhibit A to support the existence of left-wing trolls.

:)

"Hate.....HATE....."

Non sequitur.....NON SEQUITUR.....

[Facts cited] Conservatives were in power and had other organized outlets for that entire time period. Your explanation has the defect of not actually explaining anything. Other than that, it's great.

See, now *THAT* is a perfect example of a rude liberal argument.

Sebastian: I would like to present the end of this thread as exhibit A to support the existence of left-wing trolls.

Tacitus is a left-wing troll? News to me.

"but why liberal bacteria are so much more prolific"

The answer is in the question. ;-)

That doesn't work as an analogy. If bacteria get it on, they multiply. If bloggers get it on, they stop blogging.

Tacitus is a left-wing troll? News to me.

Well he did, he claims, run a left-wing web site. But what I have seen of his postings on this blog don't quite qualify for the term troll, as far as I can tell, as a troll is a deliberately incorrect post, intended to provoke.

I would like to present the end of this thread as exhibit A to support the existence of left-wing trolls.

Since when is Tac left-wing?

See, now *THAT* is a perfect example of a rude liberal argument.

Which is funny, because it's about the same level of snark that Tac displays just about everywhere he comments--including his own site.

That doesn't work as an analogy. If bacteria get it on, they multiply. If bloggers get it on, they stop blogging.

Truer words, etc etc.

Not just rude, those damn libs are http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/15/politics/15bush.html>obstructive.

Mr. Bush was far more biting and partisan at the Republican fund-raiser on Tuesday evening in Washington, in his most combative attack since his re-election on Democrats in Congress. On a variety of issues, including Social Security, rethinking the tax code and approval of his judicial nominees, Mr. Bush said, Democrats have done nothing but say no to his ideas while offering none of their own. The Democratic leadership, he said, embodies "the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the roadblock.


I suppose the President wants Dems to propose alternative nominations for vacancies on the federal bench. Maybe he'd like to hear some alternatives to Mr. Bolton. Perhaps he'd like to urge the House leadership to allow debate of and amendments to tax legislation. If his advisors are telling him that Dems have no ideas at all on what to do with SS, he needs new advisors.

I just went off to find a link to the trial scene from High School Madness, one of the parallel movies in Don't Crush that Dwarf. Couldn't find it. In memory it's something like:

Judge: If you don't answer the question we'll have to gag you.

Mudhead: What's the question?

Judge: Gag him!

Felix, I tend to regard the Jargon Dictionary as reasonably authoritative:

2. n. An individual who chronically trolls in sense 1; regularly posts specious arguments, flames or personal attacks to a newsgroup, discussion list, or in email for no other purpose than to annoy someone or disrupt a discussion. Trolls are recognizable by the fact that they have no real interest in learning about the topic at hand - they simply want to utter flame bait. Like the ugly creatures they are named after, they exhibit no redeeming characteristics, and as such, they are recognized as a lower form of life on the net, as in, “Oh, ignore him, he's just a troll.” cite

The "deliberate" sense would be more the first definition from that link, which I thought was always where the term originated. In its original form, trolling could be something of a high art by which you tricked someone else into taking the time to make your argument for you...

"If bacteria get it on, they multiply."

Please don't apply to be my doctor.

And don't take it personally, but if you can't tell the difference between asexual fission and human reproduction, I will decline any opportunity to have sex with you, as well.

"Don't Crush that Dwarf"

Proctor and Bergman came to Minicon in Mpls., and possibly a few other sf conventions, Back In The Day, back when Firesign Theatre was popular and current in sf fandom, and earning Hugo nominations.

Yeah, I'd say the Jargon File is about as authoritative as there is on online usage, at least historically.

And don't take it personally, but if you can't tell the difference between asexual fission and human reproduction, I will decline any opportunity to have sex with you, as well.

sure, you say that now, but a few beers...

I'm not that kind of girl.

The Democratic leadership, he said, embodies "the philosophy of the stop sign, the agenda of the roadblock.

Not to get all Friedmanesque or anything, but when you've got a dry drunk driver running the ship of state into the twin ditches of debt and defeat, a few traffic controls ain't necessarily a bad thing.

An example here and here. For identical essays posted almost simultaneously, there are 8 comments at the conservative site and 24 comments at the liberal one. This is pretty common with all my cross posts. I point to this post in particular since the agreement levels are about the same at both sites. Redstate gets more traffic than ObWi but there are also more posts (more writers and there are diaries). Could it be that liberals are just really chatty people? ;)

"Could it be that liberals are just really chatty people?"

I couldn't possibly say. But let me tell you about my day. So, how 'bout them [SPORTS TEAM]? Nice day, isn't it? Think it might rain? Hot enough for you? Anything good on tv tonight? Enough about me; tell me what you think of me. Say, heard the latest news?

Wow. And here Doug was telling me that Josh Trevino wasn't really an asshole.

Howw's Booz Allen treating you, Josh? You sure seem to have a lot of free time.

Well he did, he claims, run a left-wing web site.

The struggle with reading comprehension is seemingly endless. Or maybe it's just a struggle with bothering to read in the first place.

Probably it's best not to misspell really simple words while attempting scorn, Carlos.

aww.

The struggle with reading comprehension is seemingly endless.

Someday you will win that struggle, I trust. Until then, study the following:

Atrios professes stupefaction that this study (PDF) lists tacitus.org as a "liberal blog." Of course, had he read the study in question, he'd see that its timeframe was the couple of months leading up to the November 2004 election: a period in which I was posting almost exclusively at Red State, and this site was, even to my mind, overrun with leftist commentary. Indeed, it's one reason I decided to take the place back.

I'm not going to hold my breath that Duncan Black will acknowledge his error...

Once you have won your struggle, you will note that Tacitus claims that it is an error to say that tacitus.org was not, at one point, a liberal blog.

Late to the party, and unfortunately I missed the peerless Tacitus. If it really was him...

Probably it's best not to misspell really simple words while attempting scorn, Carlos.

Nah, that's only the rule when you're flaming someone else's spelling. Typos in expressions of general scorn are A-OK.

"If bacteria get it on, they multiply."

Please don't apply to be my doctor.

Plasmid exchange. And you don't think bacteria get turned on by mitosis porn? "Oh yeah, baby, split that cytoplasm!"

I was aware that bacteria reproduced asexually. However, I follow the rule that a perfectly good quip should not be ruined by petty matters like sticking to the facts.

And, besides, asexuality is hitting too close to home at present *gloom*

"And, besides, asexuality is hitting too close to home at present *gloom*"

Cheer up! You're probably not asexual, but merely hopeless, unattractive, and not getting any!

And I'm one out of the three myself! But only one! I swear!

Okay, maybe two.

Possibly three.

"Slartibartfast", thanks for the correction. Stuck key typo that I missed.

JEK, I should have outed the other Josh before. I had the files all ready to go -- the website Trevino deleted, the embarrassing Amazon lists of what books influenced his life (Ayn Rand, no surprise), those silly faked "Josh Chamberlain" references, and so forth -- but I was convinced otherwise.

Odd, Doug used the "he's not *really* an asshole" excuse then too. And also "he's depressed, you know".

I guess the not-being-an-asshole is a privilege Trevino extends only to people who might do something for him. As far as I can tell, though, he's yet another Internet troll, and JEK, you know how I deal with them. He's just one who happened to get lucky.

Carlos: You should know by now that Doug is, shall we say, more forgiving than you are.

(BTW, whatever happened to that blog you and Ikram were talking about setting up?)

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