I’ll stop picking at it,

I’ll stop picking at it, I promise.
Just one more time, though:

> Wow. Ignorant slut. Thanks.
Uh… not much on pop culture references, are you? You know, Kerouac wrote Saturday Night Live sketches for *years* and yet nobody labelled him as a comedy writer. Speaking of which, did you not understand the Kerouac quote? It was in reference to what something was *called* – not the quality of it’s material. Hence the “weblog schmeblog” and “Other people argued (and still do) over what it should be called.” Pulling an quote from the “what is a weblog” argument and trying to stuff it into the “if it’s easy to write, people will write crap” argument is the sort of thing I was referring to when I said that your article was inflammatory.
> There is a wide difference between a technological
> tool such as blogger and a pen and a dimestore
> notebook. I am not forwarding some elitist mantra
> (calling me an elitist is funny in itself for wholly other
> reasons, but..).

Yes, there is. There’s also a wide difference between a technological tool like a fountain pen and a quill and ink. My point was that eliminating a technological barrier made it possible for people who had other skills (like writing) to put their message out. I’ll admit (and once again, take all the fun out of it for myself) that the elitist comment was hyperbole, but declaring that one of the big problems facing the web is that there is no barrier to prevent just anyone from climbing up on The Big Soap Box™ is, IMO, elitist. Not everyone is out there to push the technological envelope. The “name brands” that you mentioned did (and do) push the envelope. They have done things with existing technology that are amazing. They also have amazing content to go with it. (Leslie Harpold would be brilliant if her medium was cocktail napkins and lipstick.) Arguing that they would be buried in the dross or that they were only able to achieve their notoriety because there was less competition at the time is to completely undermine their accomplishments. Comparing them to the average teen weblog is unfair to both sides. The teen weblog is obviously going to come up short in the social commentary department, and the name brand writer is going to completely fail to deliver the appropriate level of boy band trivia.
Does making something easy mean that people will use it at it’s lowest level? Sure. Does it mean that people will *ONLY* use it at its lowest level. I’m pretty sure there are some logic flaws there. I am having a little trouble seeing how your dilbertesque example about statistical reports illustrates this – or is it just another case of you taking an unrelated analogy to try and prove your point?

  • My boss acts on reports without understanding them.
  • The reports are generated from aggregate data, compiled from a number of departments.
  • The reports do not reflect an accurate picture of reality.
  • The reports are generated by computer.
  • Computers are a product of technology.
  • My boss is an idiot.
  • Technology has ruined my boss.
  • Technology is bad.

If that’s the case, why would you suggest that the technology of 1996 represents the last instance of “valid” technology? Getting back to your “name brands” analogy, Leslie did a lot of work to create her online magazine SMUG. She created something exciting and interesting. She broke ground. She also had authors who did nothing other than submit text articles to her. Are you suggesting that their work is an example of the LCD, because she made it easy for them to publish? They didn’t have to know any HTML – not even enough to set up a Blogger template. At most, they needed to be able to use their email. Is it different because they were facilitated by a person who handled the technology, or is it different because they had a brilliant editor controlling the quality? If you feel that it’s the former, Please discontinue reading here.
You have made the argument that the “Personal” in Personal Site somehow means private, and I disagree. Personal, IMO, means that the subject matter is very personal to the author, and that his intended audience is not The World. Personal sites are generally written for friends, family, people with specific interests, or just simply as a means of expression. My initial website (11/1995ish) was mostly the latter. Yes, I had links to friends and friend related resources – but mostly it was just me goofing off. My current website is pretty much the same, with the exception of the fact that Blogger allows me the opportunity to update it almost daily. Is it crap? Compared to Carl Steadman? Absolutely. Compared to Kitty Karryall’s Kitty Kat Korner? That’s probably subjective. The point is that Carl, Kitty, and I all have different audiences in mind. Carl is a Capital ‘W’ Writer, and is writing to a larger group of people. He has writing skills (vs. typing skills, which he probably has as well) and something to say. Kitty is a Kat Lover, she has a kat, a kamera, and the desire to share kute kitty kommentary with her friends and with other kitty komrades. I’m a frustrated performer – I’m putting out 100s of jokes, hoping that 1 or 2 will strike someone as funny. I’ve chosen a particular audience (the “weblog community”), a particular topic (the “weblog community”), and a particular venue (the “weblog community”). I don’t pretend to be Lance Arthur (well, I did once – but nobody bought it and they threw me out of the club), but I don’t think that completely negates my work. I am, FWIW, trying to present who I am, what I’m made of, and what drives me.
I am all about The Funny.

Just because what drives *me* (or Kitty Karryall, or the linky-love crowd) doesn’t turn you on, doesn’t invalidate it (any more than not designing the page for viewing in Opera or Mozilla would). This may be hard for you to hear, but not everything is about you. The “weblog community” that exists around Metafilter is the community *about* web logging. There are other blogs doing all sorts of informational things – from HMO stuff to Breast Cancer to gossip about Harry Potter books. Those people are part of the medical community, or the breast cancer recovery community or the community of people who read for entertainment – and none of them are trying to break any new ground, they’re just trying to deliver their content. Would it be fair to say that daily updates research in gene therapy is worthless, just because they don’t have to spend more time publishing it? Would Lance’s work be better if he had to use punch cards? Uh…yeah, probably. Bad example.
> I, of course, disagree with your assertion that the
> article was poorly thought out and blanantly
> offensive. And I tried to shy away from the old hat
> topics that have been run over the coals a million
> times and address a different point, which Zeldman
> saw, and some of you didn’t.

You’re right, I didn’t. Unless of course, your point was that Carl and Leslie and Lance have somehow been ruined by weblogs, as you would seem to indicate when you say “It’s me looking at people who I know could do so much better, could contribute so much more, but would rather sit back, collect rent for aging past accomplishments, and simply add to the pile of ever more useless crap instead of pushing the envelope further.” If that’s your point, I’ll concede that it’s a new angle, but I’ll still argue that it was blatantly offensive.

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