Old wounds

Boy, you jump on one bandwagon that starts to creak and rattle and fall apart and take a wrong turn down an ugly path, and no one lets you forget it. The Republic of T resurrects the ugly corpse of “Blogroll Amnesty Day”, I’m mentioned as one of the cruel participants, and
Lauren and Chris get in on the act. In case you don’t remember it, “Blogroll Amnesty Day”, or BAD as Chris puts it, was a brief moment when a couple of the A-listers announced that they ought to clean up their blogrolls and make them more representative of their current interests, open up opportunities for new blogs to get linked, etc. The net effect, though, seems to have been that the Big Dogs of the Blogosphere tossed a lot of people off their list of links and ended up rather clubbily talking to just themselves.

I thought BAD was a good idea, in principle — we ought to encourage some regular adjustment of blogrolls, be open to fresh blood — but it turned out to be a spectacularly bad idea in practice. Personally I tried to counter the tendency to narrow my interests with a Blogroll Open Enrollment Day (and I’ll be having another sometime in the future), but still, I’m always getting tarred with my association with the great blogroll purge of 2007.

You can find my complete blogroll listing here: it’s got something like 560 entries. The way I handle the extravagant length here on the main page is to display only a random subset of ten entries at a time, over on the left sidebar; which ten changes each time the page is loaded. I also use my blogroll — it’s not just a link dump on a page. I’ve got the RSS for each blog in my newsreader, and if I see a new blog I like I add it to the list of feeds (I also go the other way, and if the newsreader tells me a site hasn’t been updated in a month, I delete it). I periodically run a script on my newsreader’s OPML file that converts it to html, and I upload that to my blogroll page. Seriously, if you’re on my blogroll, I guarantee that I at least scan the titles of your posts each day, read a little bit of your articles regularly, and dip in and read the whole thing now and then.

So please, can everyone try not to cite me as one of those high-falutin’ wicked elitists who won’t condescend to link to the little people? Besides, I’m not an A-lister. I’ve been campaigning to be referred to as a ζ-lister, but everyone ignores that request, too.


  1. Steve LaBonne says

    I thought BAD was a good idea

    [quotemine] See- an atheist admits that evil is his good! Isn’t this what we Christians have been saying all along? [/quotemine]

  2. jimmiraybob says

    The prodigiousness and quality substance of your writing and blogging, the fact that you apparently have a job and a family, the fact that you skim the headlines of 560 blogs a day, the fact that you read and comment on blog articles and books, and then still have time to drink liberally on occasion leads me to think that PZ Myers is really some crazy acronym for a small army of deranged, wild-eyed, lab coat-wearin’, slide rule-slidin’ Darwinistic evolutionists hell-bent on establishing and maintaining through force of reason a radical doctrine of rational consideration of natural empirical evidence – the PZ Machine (insert smiley face here).

    If that’s not the case then what the heck kind of vitamins do you use?

  3. Steve LaBonne says

    I would believe the same thing, except I have an acquaintance, who runs a small police dept. lab about 100 miles south of where I am, who has a similarly ridiculous amount of energy. I’m not sure the guy sleeps at all. I keep telling him I want some of whatever meds he’s on… but he won’t share. :( ;)

  4. says

    For what it’s worth, I quoted another blog that cited you, and someone immediately spoke up in the comments on my post to distinguish your actions from the “purgers.”

  5. MikeJ says

    Blogroll Amnesty day worked wonders for my RSS feed. There were a bunch of the little guys who I used to read. The ones that started non-stop whining about not getting links from the big bad baby blue soon disappeared from my reader.

    The single most boring thing anybody can blog about is, “wah! they owe me a link!” I can’t believe people are still whining about it, but fortunately, the whiners are out of my feed.

  6. says

    Sob, sob, sob. People can add or delete any damn blog they want from their blog roll. The only odd thing is that they even had to apologize for it with this stupid “amnesty” thing. I have no blogroll. Never have. Might someday.

    I don’t expect anyone to link to me. Certainly they have no duty to and I’m not gonna cry if I’m there one day and gone the next.

    Yes, I agree, the “A-list” has power to help the little guy and I hope they do help the little guys. I’ve seen no evidence that “A-list” bloggers are any smarter or have more valid insights than us “Z-list” folks.

  7. says

    It wasn’t a bad idea.

    All the fuss is because a few people think they are entitled to free advertising on large sites. Some of these people do everything they can to insult the sites they had links from, and still got upset when they were removed. (See DKos and MSOC)

    My blogroll is pretty insignificant as far as blogs go, but no one is getting on it that I don’t read. Thats what it’s there for.

  8. says

    I am proud to announce a mechanism for saving the planet from Blogroll omissions: linkage offsets. A plan for all us to be link-neutral.

    For example, as my blog is listed on PZ Myers’ blogroll, for the right price, I would be be willing to negotiate an exchange, so that your blog would be represented there instead of mine.

  9. says

    I think half the problem with BAD was the tone and attitude with which it was undertaken- Duncan, Kos et al had to have known that they would be ticking off people that they had had fairly good relationships with for a long time by tossing their links overboard, and should have approached it with some tact.

    (I personally would have advocated a scheme where they have a “current links” on the frontpage and “older links” on an sub-page, and I know that’s what you do, so I think the means by which it was done was a bad idea too.)

    This whole controversy really just taps into something broader, though- the sense that the “A-listers” are consciously trying to break away from their roots as humble bloggers and become big political players and pundits. There’s nothing wrong with being a player, of course, but things like Bowers spouting off about how individual bloggers should (essentially) go crawl into a hole and die isn’t going to make many friends.

    The whole thing smacks of “I’ve got mine, Jack.”

  10. says

    I’m always getting tarred with my association with the great blogroll purge of 2007.

    Don’t worry about it, PZ. We don’t think you’re evil.

    Okay, I admit that I did call you evil in one of my recent posts, but I’m sure you’d appreciate the context. :)

  11. wrg says

    I can’t say I understand those complaints, but then I’m not a “blogger”. I read under ten that interest me and still find it impinges on my schedule a bit, even though I don’t do any regular writing of my own. I don’t see why anyone thinks you don’t get to read and to link as you choose, especially when you’re writing enough that I sometimes don’t find time to read it all.

    So this so-called A-list is getting to be a bit of a clique? Doesn’t affect me, since in what I read I hardly even hear of Atrios or any of the others who are so famous I don’t know of them.

  12. says

    The list takes the data the author of the blog puts in his or her rss feed. I think the (null) means the ‘description’ field of the feed has been left blank.

  13. says

    I doubt you spend much time analyzing your hit counter logs to see how much traffic my blog throws your way. Virtually all of the hits from Pharyngula trace to links I leave in the comments. I use my blogroll. I can get you the stats but only one or two visits are straigt from your blogroll.

    I do get a thrill out of the egalitarian gesture and the collgiality of it but I wonder who has time to ever check such a long list of blogs, even with feeds in use. I do peek in to your roll now and then but I’d have to quit my job to do ’em justice.

  14. says

    True, it’s a lot of work maintaining a blogroll and keeping everybody happy. I’m trying to collect up every single blog in my chosen category (post-Mormons) plus follow some other interesting blogs as well, and my sidebar is getting completely out of control. I figure I’ll have to move some of them to another page like you’ve done…

    BTW, we have a lot of blog friends in common — so maybe you could add me to your long list as well? Of your categories, the ones my blog fits are the following: Lefties, People of Reason, Feminists, a little bit of everything, International, and Minnesotans.