Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The state of blogging discussion (Rant Rant Ranty Rant)
I like writing. I want to talk about writing. And there are bazillions of places to do that, too.
Oh, there are plenty of places that talk about blogging. It may be the most overdiscussed meta-subject on the net. But they're not mostly talking about blogging, in the sense of talking about the process of finding an interest and talking about it with the world. Instead, they're talking about how to cash in on blogging. About seach engine optimization and pay per click and readership statistics and bounce rates and conversion rates and article spinning and backlinks and autoblogging and pagerank.
(And, no, I have no problem with people earning some money from their blogging. I just don't find the process the least bit interesting to talk about.)
And as if that weren't bad enough, many of the participants in blogging forums are only pretending to talk about these things, because all they really want is to get a link to their blog attached to their pretend-I-said-something-and-I'll-pretend-you-did forum posts. The actual discussion gets drowned in the spam and the pretend discussion.
I'm ranting this rant today because one blogging forum where I have traditionally participated seems to have finally, irrecoverably, been eaten by the backlink spammers. I hope that it can recover, and I admire the admins who are trying to beat back the tide, but I really don't think it's going to make it. And another group, one with a very promising premise, no longer seems to have a functioning forum at all--the site that this group trustingly set themselves up on apparently decided that they had better things to do than keep the forums going. So I don't know of even one place to discuss blogging. (Well, there's still #blogchat on Twitter, which while certainly not focused on nonprofit blogging does still have some good discussion. But the Twitter format has severe limitations.)
So what's the problem? Is it that there are simply not enough people who want to discuss the not-entirely-about-profit aspects of blogging? I suppose that there is a sort of weird double-layered aspect about wanting to express yourself about the way in which you express yourself. But if that were true, then surely there wouldn't be any forums about writing? And there are tons of forums about writing.
I think that blogging is a fascinating subject. Surely there's something to say about the phenomenon whereby ordinary folks can publish their thoughts and opinions and knowledge to the world. About the effects on individuals, on society. About... oh, there's got to be something to say there, if there were only places to say it. Just the recent flurry about perfume blogging, about the conflict between the "authority" bloggers and the non-authority bloggers, produced some really interesting posts, and some discussions that I'd like to see go on and on--in a forum.
I believe that there's plenty of potential discussion. So my conclusion is that any discussion of blogging attracts bloggers desperate for backlinks, and is near-instantly spammed out of existence. So is there any way to avoid this, short of setting up a discussion site that doesn't allow any backlinks whatsoever and hiring an army of hand moderators? Is there some quiet well-hidden forum that has already solved this problem? Or is there any way to make one that works? Please?
Rant rant gnashy rant.
Image: By Hannibal Poenaru. Wikimedia Commons.