My next 10 are up at my site for those interested.
Sunday, January 28, 2007
You can imagine, as an ex-Head, how I feel about bullying. To be accused of it makes one stop and think. And that makes me think of Chris Dillow and “managerialism”. I don’t think one person should be in charge or even two or three. A group, a committee, is a much better idea and the experienced manager will be listened to anyway. I want to step back from this "headmaster" thing. I'm only a fellow blogger and you're all equals or betters. A man can start to believe in his own publicity.
If Fabian had been part of the administrative committee, he could have said that one word: “bullying” and we’d have stopped and considered. This is not to say that Wayne could have got off scot free and continue what he was doing - I still think he was out of order on that and he reaped the whirlwind.
On the other hand, he's put his case well, I've been reading his blog and I can't see any problem, myself. I was looking at Wayne's photo on his blog and can't for the life of me see why he'd want to stay with a group who have been so down on him. And I admire that because I've been on the receiving end of group ire many times before and I just become bloody-minded about it each time.
Sad that Fabian had to go to bring reason back in and I take a large share of the blame for that. Let's persevere though. We'll probably lose others - this scheme was always on a hiding to nothing - and yet it's a good scheme and has helped many of us. Easy to threaten, to give ultimatums, to stand our ground. Much, much harder to make something work.
UPDATE: Central News has actually broken through and is the first Blogpowerer, [I may be wrong], included in Tim Worstall's Britblog Roundup, ahead of all of us. What a gesture on Tim's part. Well done, Wayne.
UPDATE UPDATE: Morningstar was also in there. Well done there too but see the comments as to how this works.
Posted by James Higham at 10:13 am
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
2] As for the issue itself, I can’t reprint the comment because it was a private e-mail but the comment was:
a] provocative, about paedophiles and so on and clearly designed to stir NB up;
b] backlinked to ydkm’s own site*, not directly to the BNP, [as he commented on the last post]. I’ll send copies to the other four to see what they think.
Tom made a very good point that, in politics, we have to take the rough with the smooth and ditto in the blogosphere. If we can’t stand the heat, then use comment moderation and simply delete. Or don’t use moderation and delete, as ydkm himself indicated. I do it with the spam which sometimes arrives. We’re not in this to mollycoddle any blogger’s heightened sensitivities. We’re here to blog and combine in a loose confederation. Full stop. Period.
On the other hand, NB himself commented that one of the reasons he left was not only ydkm’s actions but the way a large proportion of other Blogpower members seemed to condone his actions.
3] Not one blogger so far [other than himself] has disagreed that ydkm is taking the p—s out of Blogpower. He’s 19 and having a ball, at our expense. We all do the same: take the p—s out of someone [mine is ‘Them’] but here’s the thing – none of us take the p--s out of fellow Blogpowerers. That’s the point.
Seems to me that if one enters Blogpower, it’s a sort of haven of protection and members go easier on each other than they would on their selected targets outside. To run down the Blogpower list [from within the group] and select a victim to provoke with allegations of paedophilia is an abuse of Blogpower. It looks remarkably like boosting one’s flagging stats in a cheap way.
Chicken Yoghurt hit the nail on the head when he wrote of ‘common decency’. Could we add to the manifesto:
Membership of Blogpower goes with the tacit understanding that we act with common decency towards other Blogpowerers, toning down our usual predatory instincts and remaining either silent or calm in the face of things we clearly are opposed to. Anyone not in Blogpower though is fair game.
As we have no disciplinary mechanism, let’s put this:
If an absolute majority of the current, full blogroll e-mail me to the effect and the other administrators agree, then we post that we’ve removed someone from the roll and await member reaction. I can’t see how that constitutes a political statement, as two thirds represents differing political persuasions. In other words, the libertarians do not currently make up two thirds of the roll. Yet it is crystal clear. It requires two thirds of the roll to take any major action.
4] Finally, to ydkm himself – it’s not personal, man but if you can’t abide by the manifesto addition above, then I’ll vote with my feet and withdraw from Blogpower, on grounds of mental health and heavy commitments. I’m sorry but I can’t be doing with this sort of rubbish any longer, particularly as the full brunt of my work begins in February and it will be hard enough keeping my own blog running.
Posted by James Higham at 12:40 pm
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Posted by James Higham at 6:57 pm
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
First up is a very worthy cause which I’m hoping you’ll all support just a little. Jeremy Jacobs' tragedy led to him dedicating himself to the cause of Breast Cancer ever since. He’s about to embark on a trek which is explained below and naturally needs funds for the Breast Cancer Campaign.
I'm receiving a few e-mails and hits concerning my Trek next month. For those of you who would like to donate to Breast Cancer Campaign, you're able to do so on-line here. If you would like to send me a cheque, then please drop me an e-mail to jeremyATjeremyjacobsDOTcom or call +44(0)8453 31 31 71.
Please pause a moment and drop him a line or click on the link. It's for a very worthy cause.
So how about it, Blogpowerers? Let's support Jeremy in this.
UPDATE: I was perhaps coy in telling Jeremy's story but our newest member, A Young Conservative, has written a fine piece about the whole business. Do look.
Posted by James Higham at 8:15 pm
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Saturday, January 20, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
I am coming to the end of my reviewing exercise. The ThunderDragon review is in preparation. During the course of my labours, one of the ten blogs on my original list has left. I promised to do ten, so please let me know which of the following you would like to see reviewed.
Posted by Tom Paine at 6:32 pm
Thursday, January 18, 2007
I am now up to number 8 of 10 in my series of reviews of Blogpower blogs. This time Tony Sharp of the Waendel Journal is under discussion. Next up is the ThunderDragon, as his fortune cookie is warning him.
This is very like hard work. I am looking forward to getting back to unstructured ranting! Any suggestions as to the final blog to be reviewed?
Posted by Tom Paine at 9:24 pm
Monday, January 15, 2007
There's a level on which my co-administrators plus people like Tom Paine, Thunderdragon and others are operating. Look down the posts. It involves testimonials, schemes to improve ourselves and an idea Tin Drummer and I discussed which I'd like to put forward below.
Then there is the level of the squabbling, the girls' blouses or whatever, of ultimatums like 'if he doesn't do this then I'll do that' or 'oh yeah, well you're just ...' etc. etc. Personally speaking, this latter level leaves me cold but everyone to his or her own, I suppose.
I think the criterion for posting or even commenting here, [naturally we're not trying to enforce it], should be:
'Is it positive? Does it advance our collective interests?'
If it doesn't advance our collective interests but only our own personal interest, then best not to post it. We're never going to convince anyone through negativity but we've every chance of influencing others through positiveness. I'm no saint but it just seems to me the way to go. I try to keep my negativity for my own site.
So, we have a number of schemes currently going:
a] The various blogroll options, including the new scrollable, which I really like;
b] The ongoing testimonials which I urge you to get into please, people;
c] The Technorati wheeze which is also wonderful and the Truth Laid Bear which, sadly, my site cannot enter for technical blocking reasons;
d] A new one which Tin Drummer and I were discussing. Here's how I see this working:
1] E-mail nominations are accepted by yours truly [keep it to one administrator] in the week prior to each Sunday for a site you'd like to see promoted during the following week.
2] From these, we'll choose 5 blogs to be promoted and I'll publish these on Sunday evening, at 18:00;
3] Members will, during the next week:
[i] Hit these sites 3 to 5 times a day, even if we don't stay in there. We don't even need to leave comments unless we want. You know we have little time to spare, so it can be done quickly. It's purely for hits. This, of course, does not alter in any way what we usually do.
[ii] Link at least once in the week, in one of our posts, to these 5 sites.
That's it. By my calculations, if 25 of us hit these guys 3 times in a day, there're 75 hits for the blog, each day! For the medium bloggers, that's a drop in the ocean but for the little people, it can make a huge difference and raise his or her standing.
I really believe we should be using our combined strength to assist each other. This is why I'm so dismissive of all this negative claptrap.
Will we try these schemes?
Posted by James Higham at 5:04 pm
*Update* The revised code below works on Imagined Community. I have some hopes that it may, therefore, work elsewhere as well. Apologies for any confusion. */Update*
The full, unadulterated blogroll takes up considerable space in the sidebar. Shani suggested that we look for a scrollable option, and, by Jove, I think I've found one:
<!-- Blogpower scrollable blogrolling code begins -->
<div style="width: 150px; height: 250px; overflow: scroll; border: solid thin gray;">
<!-- Blogpower scrollable blogrolling code ends -->
Which should give you something like this:
For those of you who know CSS, you can play about with the sizes and colours of the box and its border, as well as how the code contained is displayed. The key attribute is overflow: scroll which gives you the scroll bar option. Hope this helps tidy up your sidebars. Let me know how you get on.
* Edited 19/5/2007 to reflect the new URL for the HTML blogroll code.
Posted by Ian Appleby at 1:39 pm
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Disband Blogpower ...... 0
Ask CN to depart ...... 10
Leave things as is ..... 10
Comments .............. 4
The comments were 2 for leaving things as they were and 2 just general.
Given these results, it would not be just if Central News were asked to leave. This then divides us along political lines but there IS a solution. Before angrily departing, please at least read to the end and see if the variants* don’t meet with your approval.
Firstly, Blogpowerers, the banner really should be displayed [and we’d not like to put it more strongly than that], as it is symbolic of the initiative and is virtually an advertisement for Blogpower. Not to run the banner would seem to defeat the purpose of the initiative.
There are two variants:
a] the plain banner from the Tin Drummer, linked to this site;
b] a banner, still linked to this site, with a disclaimer which you can read for yourself at the Thunderdragon and would presumably be available from him.
Secondly, there are three variants of the blogroll which members can opt for:
a] the fully automated roll as it is now, administered, as usual, by Ian. The main reason for this variant is that all our members’ names are displayed on many blogs, thus maximizing our chance of being hit, which was one of the prime raisons d’etre in the first place for Blogpower. Against this variant is the situation that it can cause the type of trouble it has, over unwanted sites plus it occupies a large amount of the sidebar;
b] the fully automated roll, as in a], which you keep on a separate page on your own blog and link to your main page sidebar, thereby cutting space requirements on your main page;
c] *an html version which I’ve put together on one of my pages, linked to the DTB sidebar [you can see the link HTML Blogroll in the sidebar now]. The roll is accurate up to Sunday, 18:00. Follow the link, copy and paste into your sidebar. With this variant come certain Blogpower conditions:
[i] You may delete up to 10% of the total roll at any one time, thereby removing the sites you find offensive;
[ii] You need to and are honour-bound to manually update the roll yourself within a week of any stated changes. [These changes will always appear at the end of the html link from the DTB sidebar.]
The variant of a categorized roll turned out to be unworkable, had virtually universal opposition to it when it came down to details and has been dropped. It’s the opinion of the administrators that this virtually solves the problem of undesirable blogs.
Thirdly, the policy for new blogs needs to be discussed. My own recommendation is that if someone indicates he/she intends to upload the banner, then the administrators take a quick look at the site and either instantly admit the blog or else, if there is some issue involved, it would immediately be put to the members via a post here. From the comments, we’d make our next move.
Hope the above streamlines the procedure and is acceptable to members.
Posted by James Higham at 5:56 pm
James recently suggested that Blogpowerers should sign up for The Truth Laid Bear (TTLB) EcoSystem. This ranks bloggers by traffic from other sites, ranking them from Higher Mortal to Insignificant Microbes. It's easy to do and amusing.
Can I make another suggestion? Why don't we all sign up for Technorati and "favorite" each others blogs there? We can then also make a point of adding a "Blogpower" Technorati tag to posts which concern Blogpower.
Just a thought.
Posted by Tom Paine at 4:46 pm
Posted by James Higham at 10:45 am
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Posted by James Higham at 2:07 pm
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Chris G said…
Hi James, I'm not a Blogpowerer, but I do read several of the sites on a regular basis and have considered signing up. The recent debate has been very interesting and does test our natural instinct to protect free expression, while condemning some of the views expressed (i.e. BNP support).
Perhaps there is a solution though. It's simple too: I suggest you don't compel members to carry the automated blogpower blogroll on their site. If you just ask members to include the banner and link to defendingtheblog, then people show their support for the collective small blog movement, without needing to have a direct link on their page they disapprove of.
That way, people retain control over the links on their own blogs and can choose to link to fellow blogpowerers they like, but not the ones they don't. I realise it will take longer to manually update a blog with links, but I should think any people unhappy with the current system would think it a small price to pay.
Of course, any member would also be able to include the full automated blogroll too and this would remain on the blogpower site as a central connecting point for all members. I really applaud the effort that you have put in to set this up as I think it is important for smaller bloggers to spread the word and support each other. It would be such a shame if it all collapsed acrimoniously.
Best of luck sorting it out, Chris G
Posted by James Higham at 5:11 pm
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
Right, this is the post that James was referring to, published a little late due to unresolved connectivity issues - I may be less present than I would like until they are resolved. As James hinted, he has seen the main body of this, but I should emphasise it's my own view, and should not be seen as anything remotely approaching an "official" blogpower opinion. It may also seem to foreshadow or repeat, uncredited, arguments from the comments to James' most recent post, my apologies for any inadvertent repetition.
Devil's Kitchen has mentioned us, and quoted our manifesto. However, I feel he’s understated the issue that is concerning so many of us in saying that certain people have been "rather snooty about some of the other people included on the Blogpower blogroll". Also, as Blogpower knows, the manifesto is not set in stone but is up for discussion. Very lively discussion, at that. I'd like to set out the tentative conclusions that I personally have reached after that discussion and other developments, and invite your response in the comments.
In that discussion, our esteemed colleague Gracchi made the point that we have been sidetracked into concentrating on freedom of speech. He points out that Blogpower was not established specifically to support that principle, but for us to help promote our fellow bloggers. It is not as though, by excluding one or more bloggers from our ranks, we are depriving them of their right to express their views: they would still be free to post to their own blogs. We, on the other hand, should have some mechanism by which we can decide whom we are happy to help promote and whom we are not. Just now, people are having to take quite radical decisions, ranging from actually leaving the collective to refusing to display the blogroll or even the banner. That is, in itself, undermining the purpose of this group.
Much has been made of point two in James' original manifesto. Let me reprint it here in full:
2] be broadminded and accept that others in the scheme are going to have views opposed to ours. So what?;
"Broadmindedness", to me, does not necessarily imply an absolute commitment to freedom of speech, and my tolerance for robust debate has been severely tried by a long thread in which, among other things, point 2 of the Blogpower manifesto was very aggressively used to dismiss a dissenting point of view. Given some of the other views in that thread that were not being challenged by the same commenter, that has made me even more uncomfortable. For me, the disclaimer above my blogroll is looking increasingly inadequate to convey the strength of my feelings... If this post seems blandly worded, it's because I am trying extremely hard to discuss the issues dispassionately. It's not easy to strike the right tone, especially in writing.
And if we are going to treat the original manifesto with such unquestioning reverence, then the vast majority of us had better pull a finger out and reach ten posts a week...
Posted by Ian Appleby at 11:58 am
Monday, January 08, 2007
2] Tom Paine is doing a sterling job getting those testimonials out and I have to admit, with my current medical woes, I haven't checked out the current crop yet but will do so after this post, before crashing.
3] The BNP thing. All right, what we have here are three separate and yet interrelated situations:
a. The libertarians will leave Blogpower the moment we go against our originally stated principle of free membership and free speech.
b. The not-so-libertarians will leave if we don't do something about vetting the membership.
c. I think there is a strong case that the BNP is enjoying all this and trying to swamp blogpower with their members. I'm not a total idiot not to see that. I don't know how much they care about Blogpower as an initiative - it seems to me they're testing our resolve.
OK. So my suggestion, [James Higham only, as the nourishing obscurity blogger], is that we categorize our blogroll into, say:
# Mainly lifestyle
etc. etc. etc. This is only a suggested list. People like Tim Almond would be difficult to categorize.
So, each category leads to a roll for that category. This has two advantages:
a. The increasingly long and ragged looking blogroll becomes neat and one size at all times.
b. Political organizations can then join up to their heart's content and would go into a category.
In the case of a political party, say, they could have hundreds of blogs in their category, whilst Travel might have only three. This effectively ends the possibility of one pressure group swamping Blogpower and destroying it.
4] I don't understand [still in my Higham hat] why you bother going to Central News and arguing and getting all upset if you dislike the guy. If he doesn't bother you, then go there. If he bothers you, then don't.
5] I'll not be able to reply to any of this because tomorrow I have a little op and don't see myself back at the keyboard until Wednesday morning. Did you see Tim Worstall's and Devil's Kitchen's posts. I'll link them Wednesday, if that's not too late.
Posted by James Higham at 5:59 pm
Over at the Last Ditch, I have now completed 60% of the Headmaster's assignment to review ten Blogpower blogs which has consumed so much of my Christmas/New Year break.
I shall be travelling back to Moscow today and returning to work tomorrow, so the remaining 40% may take a little more time.
Posted by Tom Paine at 2:34 am
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Friday, January 05, 2007
Blog power has been great for me, seeing new blogs and building traffic.
It is essentially democratic and to reiterate Voltaire’s Maxim:
I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. [S.G. Tallentyre 1759]
The Spicy Cauldron put it this way:
"The inclusion of sites on this list does not mean I endorse their opinions. Neither does it mean they endorse mine. We simply agree that something has to be done to address the domination of the blogosphere by just a few monolithic blogs."
So what’s happened? Why do some people want to pull out because a certain person is on the roll? Surely we’re losing sight of all the work, of all our visiting of each other and so on. Of what we’re really about.
Blogpower cannot be controlled by one person, it does not endorse any political view whatsoever so how could it be held accountable for representing anything? It is a tool for democracy in the blogosphere. That’s all.
There is no doubt that certain people are being e-mailed or called and it’s being suggested that Blogpower is ‘associating itself’ with an anathema organization. What tosh. Do our American, Canadian and Australian members think that? They probably wouldn’t even know what the British members are going on about.
Blogpower has become an international community of small to medium bloggers who try to get round to as many other members’ blogs as we can. There are blogs on the roll we’d never visit in a million years. Just as there are in the telephone directory.
Admittedly though, the issue is that the roll sits in our sidebar. So, rather than throwing the baby out with the bathwater, please make your views known. Then we formulate our policy on the basis of those views.
What we have here, with Blogpower, is true democracy in action. If you don’t like something, speak about it and we’ll change it. But let's not allow the fruit of our efforts to disintegrate over one man.
Posted by James Higham at 8:17 am
Thursday, January 04, 2007
An issue has arisen which we had desperately hoped would not arise – the dragging of the Blogpower initiative into politics. We in no way endorse ANY view, political or religious of any kind. We are merely a co-operative, a confederation for mutual support. At any time there are going to be blogs on that list, by its very free nature, which we violently disagree with and we have every right to do as we wish on our own sites to deal with them – block them, whatever.
Blogpower is above politics and has nothing whatever to do with that process. Ian draws our attention to Spicy Cauldron, who has an interesting formulation:
"The inclusion of sites in this list does not mean I endorse their opinions. Neither does it mean they endorse mine. We simply agree that something has to be done to address the domination of the blogosphere by just a few monolithic blogs."
To this end we have hastily drafted a Manifesto which we would like, in our recently established tradition, to open to your comment and/or amendment:
"We, the members of Blogpower, form a co-operative based on our shared goal of challenging the domination of the blogosphere by just a few monolithic blogs. We are resolutely non-monolithic, and regularly disagree strongly amongst ourselves. We accept that some readers may find some of the opinions expressed by Blogpower members objectionable, but ask that we not be judged collectively: any opinion expressed belongs solely to the poster. We uphold the principle of free speech. You are cordially invited to express your own views in the comment thread to any post. Membership of Blogpower is open to anyone, regardless of nationality, sexual orientation, political belief, party affiliation, religious outlook, or any other factors not specified here. Membership requires only that the Blogpower manifesto, including this amendment, be accepted at least in spirit."
Further to this, we’re well aware that some groups are attempting to turn us into a pro this or pro that group. Again, we are not a group. We are individuals who have decided to help each other out. Let's let cool heads prevail for now until we have made our stance clear, then make your decision, yea or nay. But give this initiative, which has taken quite some work from many people to get up, a chance first.
We invite your comments.
Posted by James Higham at 10:06 pm
84% are coming directly to the site, as distinct from coming to one specific page. Referrals were from everywhere. As you’d imagine, 96% were English speaking, the other 4% coming from Russia, Italy and France.
Firefox 2.X was 33% and the old IE6 was only 15%. IP addresses dominated with 54%, followed by a host of others. Windows XP dominated, on 81% and Mac was on 13%.
Average Per Day 41
Average Per Day 63
This Week 439
Posted by James Higham at 7:02 pm
Posted by James Higham at 6:33 pm
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
In a typically lawyerly fashion I have overdone the instructions from our leader. A paragraph each on 10 other Blogpower bloggers has turned into a rather fuller review of each of 10. This is a work in progress and may take a week or two to complete. However the first of the ten is up over at my blog. I hope you enjoy it.
Posted by Tom Paine at 8:52 pm
Monday, January 01, 2007
Posted by James Higham at 4:46 pm