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The King Is Dead, Long Live the King!


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Yay, (possible) infighting and politics! Who's up for another scandal!

I, for one, am fascinated by group dynamics: how things shift and change, how power is gained and lost, bought and sold, how influences are traded and passed on, how the leaders govern and the followers follow, how dissent is coddled or squashed, by the overt actions and the secret moves...

Utterly fascinating. (One of the reasons I like reading about the Church.)

But really, w/r/t the above link, I'm suprised it took so long. During the bannergate fall-out, Geoff J and Adam Greenwood had an "exchange" about this very topic. Alas, I cannot find the post (it might be this one, but I don't see it--if you know what I'm talking about, leave comment with the link, please). It was one of the only times I've complete disagreed with Geoff J. Good political stuff, involving questions of "social responsibility" and things like that. At the time I was going to post on it, but I was (am) lazy.

And again, about a month ago, when the MA switched around the boxes and some blogs got "promoted" and some got "demoted" and yadda yadda yadda...the social responsibility/group dynamics are interesting. I mean: as bloggers, what is our social responsibility to culture at large, and the bloggernacle in specific? Is there any? The MA seems to think there is.

The reason I'm posting this here is so I can add my comment, which would have to be edited to be posted elsewhere:

The Mormon Archipelago founding committee has come to the decision, over a period of months, that to have top-box status at ldsblogs.org a blog ought to display the MA logo above the fold. This seemed to us to be a fair reciprocation of the exposure that ldsblogs.org provides to the Bloggernacle. We understand that Times and Seasons are currently unwilling to do that.


Personally, I think this is a lame excuse (or "bullshit" in the Elwood Blues sense). I mean, if the MA truly believed the above, right or wrong, they should have the balls to complete remove T&S from the MA, instead of being demoted. It's like leaving a 10% tip. (And it's a pretty weak attempt at blackmail, as Jim F. pointed out.) It makes the "MA committee" look kinda foolish. Just sayin'.


18 Responses to “The King Is Dead, Long Live the King!”

  1. Anonymous Pris 

    For those that crave a point:

    Even in social situations without a rigid heirarchy, natural organization develops with some becoming powerful and some becoming followers. Often, the dissenters will leave completely, which IMO, is generally bad the organization.

    Even if our overlords are kind and benevolent, we must be wary of their actions. In a case without rigid class organizations, we must be especially mindful of increasing centeralized power. We can, and should, live in harmony with each other. Unfortunatley, power corrupts by privledging one will over another.

    As they say: All animals are created equal, but some are more equal than others.

  2. Anonymous D-Train 

    Pris,

    I somewhat agree, but think that what MA did was a reasonable compromise given the following:

    1) You can't claim to be an aggregator of Mormon blogs if you don't do T&S. Even if you don't like them, they're the biggest Mormon blog, probably the most important, and will likely be so for the future.

    2) Given the size of T&S, being linked by them is probably a decent idea. They want their logo displayed and that seems reasonable to me. This is an action short of dropping the bomb that might make sure that others that want to be promoted there will similarly promote. (Or that T&S will cave.)

    One issue is that I can't see why they won't put the logo up. I mean, what's the harm? Why wouldn't they do this? T&S already links tons of people, so why not put a little logo up? I can't think of a good reason, other than maybe their desire to remain the center of the discussion. But even then, what does it hurt them?

    Ultimately, if MA's mission is to promote more exposure in the bloggernacle and aggregate posts so that people don't miss stuff, completely eliminating the biggest cat in the jungle would seem to be missing the point. But it just seems weird that T&S won't do this.

  3. Anonymous Last Lemming 

    Instead of demoting T&S to a generic "Isle of the Sea," they should relegate it to a new category called "Taiwan" (as in, you obviously exist and are doing quite well, but, for our own reasons, we still refuse to officially recognize you).

  4. Anonymous RoastedTomatoes 

    I can't speak for the MA committee as a whole or in any official sense, but I can offer a few thoughts as a committee member. I like T&S a lot. Some of their posts are in my personal all-time top ten, and I consider the members of the T&S who I've interacted with to be friendly and intelligent. All in all, a good place!

    But I voted in favor of the ldsblogs.org listing change. My intention isn't to punish T&S, but rather to help establish a consistent incentive system that will encourage people to use the MA logo. I get a reasonable amount of traffic on my site from the ldsblogs.org site, although it's actually less than 20% of my overall traffic. So my motives for wanting people to show the MA logo may be partly to drive traffic to my site, but I think that's not the major reason. Instead, I'm more interested in helping connect readers with the emerging sites that are still trying to develop a meaningful community of readers. Those are, in my opinion, the kinds of sites that are most significantly affected by changes in the user base of ldsblogs.org and I'm interested in helping them succeed. Encouraging established blogs to display the MA logo and thus share their readers with emerging blogs clearly helps meet that goal.

    But we're not interested in establishing strict criteria for inclusion in the ldsblogs.org listing. We want to provide an aggregator that's useful to readers, and being able to find T&S content without having to scroll past the first screen obviously helps serve that purpose.

    Perhaps I'm foolish for thinking that this makes sense, but nonetheless I do. I really hope this doesn't become excessively dramatic, since it's really just about establishing a consistent set of expectations for everybody in the listing.

  5. Anonymous NFlanders 

    While I'm not thrilled about now having to compete for "box-time" with Times & Seasons, I think the reasons cited make sense.

    Let's be clear about one thing: T&S doesn't have to put up the logo if they don't want to, and MA doesn't have to link to T&S either. It's just a courtesy thing: MA is saying, if we are going to give your blog the second-most prominent listing on our site, please have a prominent link back to us. If not, we'll simply move you down to a slightly less-prominent spot, next to Flanders, who also doesn't have an Archipelago logo. Seems fair to me.

    Times & Seasons has always been the 800-pound gorilla, which is why (I think) they are so adverse to putting up the MA logo. They have been the alpha blog for so long, they don't want to cave in to MA.

    Finally, T&S's blogroll is a complete mess (and I'm not just saying that because they have never listed me). Half the blogs listed there are dead. They have "Approaching Zion" (last post: August 22nd) listed above the Archipelago. That's no way to build a Mormon blog community. Why not just link to the Archipelago who is constantly finding new blogs and excising dead ones?

  6. Anonymous D-Train 

    RT, I agree that the policy makes sense and that it is a correct decision. What's so confusing to me is why T&S wouldn't give in as a matter of courtesy. MA isn't going to take away their role as the 800 pound gorilla; in fact, MA produces exactly zero original material. It's just an aggregator. I'm with Flanders that both links are legitimate choices, but the choice simply doesn't make sense from the T&S view. I can't see it being anything other than arrogance, which is why it's kind of weird and incomprehensible, given that MA can't really alter their status as the alpha-blog in any significant way.

    All that I can think of is that they see discourse in other places as taking away from their own, but even that doesn't make sense given that T&S people are seen at other places, although not as often as others.

  7. Anonymous RoastedTomatoes 

    D-Train, T&S actually does a fair amount of work in terms of linking to other blogs' posts on their sidebar. And, as you note, they also show up at other people's sites. So I don't want to interpret any of this as paranoia or selfishness on their part. I think it's really just been institutional inertia.

  8. Anonymous Kim Siever 

    Just for the record, getting linked on T&S is virtually insignificant. We get 1-3 visitors per week from T&S (except every three months or so when danithew links to one of our posts; then we get 10 or twelve visotrs that week). Their sidebar is too huge and the text is too small. You can't find anything. Traffic from MA to Our Thoughts is much more significant.

    I have to agree with D-Train. I cannot understand why anyone at T&S would reasonable NOT want to have the MA logo on their sidebar.

    Oh and not to give anyone the wrong idea, we didn't place the MA logo on Our Thoughts in order to place higher up (although anyone can probably see that).

  9. Anonymous Dave 

    T&S is like the phone company: Everyone complains, but everyone has one. Or maybe cell phone companies. Hate the service, hate the bill, think they deserve massive regulation to humble the industry ... but I have three cell phones on the family plan. Real life is a succession of compromises.

    I'll give T&S a break. They are the first and biggest group blog. They are generally pretty good neighbors. They share the love with "Notes From All Over," which gets me about 50+ hits when I make the list (don't know what it does for other folks). They're all nice folks. So if they need a sign from heaven before they post the MA logo, fine, we can wait for them. We'll all know The End is near when T&S posts the logo. Grab your 72-hour packs and head for the mountains.

    It should be noted that the MA boxes are not ranked, it's just easier to run five or six discrete boxes than one big smushed-together list. Box 1 was the seven solo blogs of the MA organizers and Box 2 was for major group blogs (messed up by the T&S move), but everything else was just grouping blogs in convenient clumps. No ranking. No ideological grouping. Just a convenient and useful service provided free for all Bloggernaclers. And (I must add) unlike anything I have seen anywhere else on the Web.

  10. Anonymous D-Train 

    I'll agree with RT and Dave on this one. I certainly don't want this thread or any others here to descend into T&S hating. They do what they do well and, despite my frequent disagreement with their content, we'd all do well to provide content that's consistently interesting and have a community as large as theirs. My only point here was that I find this particular decision incomprehensible.

    And, just to emphasize again, many T&S contributors go above and beyond in visiting other people's blogs and looking into the discussion elsewhere.

  11. Anonymous Adam Greenwood 

    Arrogance is the wrong answer. Most of the cobloggers are the sort of people who're embarassed by any kind of superior achievement. (Notice I said 'most,' not 'all.' I'm not claiming that *I*'m a particularly self-effacing guy).

    I won't reveal the reasons other cobloggers have been reluctant to put up an MA logo, but for me its a disconnect I see between what MA purports to be and what it is, and between its aims and its actions.

    As to the whole thing about being demoted to a lower box, it doesn't bother me too much. The MA can define their community however they want, and if they want to call the result the 'Bloggernacle' that's up to them. Our being in a lower box might even attract some attention to the other blogs that have been relegated to it. We can hope.

  12. Anonymous Watt Mahoun 

    Ahhh, the joys of a hierarchal world, where a few grab the high ground, a greater few occupy the middle as a fence, and the vast majority live in the mire...

    Like "Che" Guevara said: "So much injustice".

    We could try to make this community a little less like the physical world we know and love. This is a place to experiment with alternate realities...like David Weinberg's Unified Theory of the Web:

    Small Pieces Loosley Joined: The Web, a world of pure connection, free of the arbitrary constraints of matter, distance and time, is showing us who we are - and is undoing some of our deepest misunderstandings about what it means to be human in the real world.

    We could make this community of voices something that could change the world rather than modeling it.

  13. Anonymous D-Train 

    Adam,

    I'm certainly willing to take you at your word. The point I've made in my comments is simply that it doesn't make sense to me. I can say, "well, they probably have reasons", but that doesn't make it make sense. Does any of this matter to me? Not really. But perhaps telling people what your reasons are would make it more palatable to others or at least give them some understanding. I haven't known of anyone in the few places where the discussion is taking place that has said "yes, this is sensible". Not that it's relevant. It's your blog and everybody will still read it whatever happens. I'm just sayin', is all.

  14. Anonymous D-Train 

    And, lest we forget, it's a link. On a blog. To a page that lists other blogs. Not the Second Coming or a stoppage thereof either way.

  15. Anonymous Adam Greenwood 

    D-Train,

    we already link. To MA. On our blog.

    And notice that the 'its not a big deal' argument cuts both ways.

  16. Anonymous Adam Greenwood 

    There is already a link. To MA. On our blog.

    And the 'its no big deal' argument cuts both ways.

  17. Anonymous D-Train 

    Adam,

    That's why I put "either way" in my comment. Look, man, I don't care one way or the other. I don't get why you won't do the logo, but it's of no consequence to me. The point that I'm making is that you don't HAVE to justify yourselves, but that doing so might please others more. If that's not a priority, that's fine. But then when you say stuff like "disconnect between what MA purports to be and what it is" and don't elaborate further, you can expect that people will form opinions that might not be correct. So it would probably have been better to not say anything as opposed to dropping a hint and letting it roll from there.

  18. Anonymous Adam Greenwood 

    Sorry about the double comment there. Didn't realize y'all moderated 'em.

    Anyway, I appreciate you thinking through how we're coming across to some of the other blogs and trying to give advice. It's large-souled of you. But I have no real interest in clarifying what I mean. I think what I've said will be enough for those who've shared some of the same perceptions to know what I'm talking about; I think that if I made my objections more detailed, any benefit I'd get from greater public understanding would be outweighed by the hurt feelings of the MA people who would feel criticized and attacked. They personally know what I object to so there's no need for me to make it public.

    Anyway, that's how it looks from where I sit. What do you think?

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