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I, Punching Bag

Life is mysterious, blogging is just plain weird.

It's hardly a mystery that I run The Weblog Awards. That appears to piss off Laurence Simon to no end. I had not intended to address his frequent criticisms until I read his latest. It struck me as that he was not merely criticizing me, but plotting to try to get "inside" The Weblog Awards and, for lack of a better term, stick a dagger in them.

As a bit of background, earlier this year I put out a call for volunteers to help in the finalist selection process. Simon signed up, and mentioned he could help with pet blogging. This was well before decisions on which (if any) new categories would be added. One thing I've learned as very busy blogger is never to make promises to anyone, since it never seems to lead to anything but abject pain. I did not promise to add pet blogging as a category this year, just consider it. By the time I sent out messages to volunteers I'd forgotten his preference.

Come to find out the little hissyfit he threw about me throwing his offer of help back in his face by not including a pet blogging category was a complete sham.

His offer of help was not really an offer after all, but an undercover sting operation.

It wasn't really necessary to experiment by signing up for the mailing list and my ending up selected as a Videoblog nominee judge to show absurd the back-end decisionmaking is.

But, well, I did. And I was not disappointed in the ludicrous results. If Kevin had a thousand faces, I'd have thrown it back in each and every one of them.

Doubtless had I entrusted him to help out, I'd be muttering, "Et tu, Brute ?" right now.

Just remember that, though Laurence contrived a plot to infiltrate and report on the behind the scenes process at The Weblog Awards, and has (of late) taken every opportunity to trash me publicly, that - apparently - I'm the bad guy here for giving my time and money to put on The Weblog Awards.

One thing running The Weblog Awards has taught me is that in the blogosphere no good deed goes unpunished...

That off my chest, I'll go back to ignoring him.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference I, Punching Bag:

» Right Thoughts...not right wing, just right. linked with Low and inside

» Sean Gleeson linked with The Lair of Simon

Comments (26)

You still haven't explained... (Below threshold)

You still haven't explained your logic behind selecting a petblogger as a videoblog judge and Homocon as a military blog judge.

(Insert Layne Mantra Here)

How 'bout you start up your... (Below threshold)

How 'bout you start up your own blog awards and organise them whatever way you see fit, Laurence.

Just remember Kevin...... (Below threshold)

Just remember Kevin...

If the Dickhead fools you once, same on the Dickhead.

If the Dickhead fools you twice, same on you.

You still haven't explai... (Below threshold)

You still haven't explained your logic behind selecting a petblogger as a videoblog judge and Homocon as a military blog judge.

Random assignments. And I didn't remember your offer to help had conditions.

I, for one, thank you Kevin... (Below threshold)

I, for one, thank you Kevin.

I hope this makes it a less-thankless job.

I just wish the two of you ... (Below threshold)

I just wish the two of you were, like, chick bloggers.

Good blogger cat-fight: Malkin vs. SondraK
Bad blogger cat-fight: Aylward vs. Simon

Now excuse me, I have a therapist to see.

Its not a cat fight for dam... (Below threshold)

Its not a cat fight for damn sure. It reminds me of something like a chicken fight. Only its not quite chickens either.

It’s more like two fuzzy yellow peeps running around flapping their little stubby wings at each other.

Peep Peep Peep!


Peep Peep!

Flap! Flap!



I have to admit, though, it is kind of entertaining.

BIGGEST problem with bloggi... (Below threshold)

BIGGEST problem with blogging and awarding blogging is that there are two general motivations with the projects involved: economic incentivized blogs (ad revenue which is dependent upon traffic numbers and a "popularity" presence to get and keep the ads), and, versus blogs written for the fun/heckof/fascination/socialization/practice/exploration of it (fully funded by either a free webhost or the author and if not those two, then the site is fictitious, a placeholder/poser for the first category but of the stealth/spammer kind).

And, since many of us are of the latter kind, we go to a lot of time, trouble and expense just to figure it all out and keep a site going. I realize Kevin's of the first type now but he started out as the second type and what makes Wizbang so interesting to many of us is that Kevin, with Paul and Jay Tea, has remained non-comercial (not a sellout, to be blunt) in his content (despite the ad revenue).

And, it is really difficult to spend a lot of time in plain old good efforts creating something that is both time needy and expensive because of that, along with all the other expenses, and have people criticize it and worse, criticize the author for authoring a site/project.

On the other hand, once you open up a site/project to anything corporate (a group of any type), you open yourself up to the mess of democracy and all the opposing opinions imaginable.

It's difficult to remain under pressure, remain generous and creative and communicative, and take into account the suggestions of others. But, when they begin to malign and become demands, that's just bad manners, very bad.

The Weblog Awards could be more realistically arranged but I'm not the one doing the arranging, so, I made my suggestion the other day and that's the end of it. Kevin can use the suggestion or not but it's not something that I'd find rant-worty either way.

But, I do hate to see the W.A. become another aspect of tired media, the commericialized gunk that won't/can't bake up truth despite the non-popularity of the recipe -- which is what it looks like this year to my view with the W.A. being pretty much a homebrew of cloistered, advertising hungry websites dependent upon freezing into set a hierarchy (host, site, nominations, categories, judging, promotions, all by a congealed group of bloggers who appear no longer to be bloggers but mostly to be a commercial effort).

Kevin, most of us get just how much time and effort you have devoted to and continue to with the W.A. Some of us have contrary opinions from time to time but it's a shame to see people denigrate so specifically one another about something as ephemeral as blogging. This is why the two types (commercially motivated versus the private enterprise blogs) always create blowups eventually: because the motivations will eventually not be trusted by others about the former and there will always be independent opinion that is too frank for commerce among the latter.

On the good side: you've both found your pet projects and I hope things go well for you both at this point.

Kevin, I don't participate ... (Below threshold)

Kevin, I don't participate in the awards (couldn't possibly win ... at the moment) but I do promote it because I think it is fun to watch ... in a good way.

You being attacked is not fun to watch. I don't think anything, good or bad, goes unpunished in the blogosphere.

I'd encourage you to keep pressing on and don't let this siphon off any energy.

I was unaware that Laurence... (Below threshold)

I was unaware that Laurence's domain name reflected such self awareness.

Am I the only one who think... (Below threshold)

Am I the only one who thinks the random assignment of judges (selectors, more accurately) to categories is a good idea? I was randomly assigned to a subject category for which I have no special training or interest.

What that meant was that I didn't start out with favorites. Some of the things I considered when culling a sizable list were:

How many different people nominated the blog?

Did I learn something from reading the posts available on the front page? Was the writing clear, minimizing use of jargon?

Was the blog regularly updated? (if the newest post was a month old, it didn't make the first cut, no matter how many people nominated it)

How commercial was the blog? There were a few that were obviously there only to earn ad revenue, and they generally failed on the other criteria... they weren't interesting and/or regularly updated. I doubt they earn much ad revenue either.

If the category had been one I had some sort of expertise in, it would have probably been easier. Since it wasn't, I spent a lot of time reading a lot of blogs I'd never visited before. At the very least, my horizon expanded.

I don't get the hostility in something that is supposed to be fun. So what if Kevin gets a few bucks off ads on the Weblog site... that somehow negates what I learned choosing nominees? That means I can't have fun voting and endorsing my favorites? That means those nominated can't have fun and enjoy a little surge in traffic?


I am totally against these ... (Below threshold)

I am totally against these stupid weblog awards. Did you know that there isn't even a 'pro-toast' category?!?!

That is disrespectful, plain and simple.

Donnah: I don't disaparage... (Below threshold)

Donnah: I don't disaparage anyone, ANYone, earning revenue off a website, blog or otherwise.

But, a for-profit site is incentivized differently and thus, the criticisms and perspectives are different. I'm tired and already explained this in farther detail so perhaps you can go read what I already wrote for more detail if you are interested further.

But, there has been a lot of professional review by (names withheld here, but a physicist is among them who worked for NASA and who blogs under a pseudoname, who I know and have corresponded with specifically about certain aspects of certain stats involved as reference, blah, blah, blah...it's tedious, but it's accurate), review of the stats used as reference and upon which many others rely for reference to blogs in general...

There's a difference when a blog is linked and publicized via a for-profit, "hyped" stat process and those who are not involved in that process by choice or mere innocence. Thus, I was writing about the types of blogs, generally, and they do separate at the for-profit from the not-for-profit and how they are referenced and promoted and by whom (and for what reasons).

Kevin was writing about a specific complaint and I was suggesting that because the Awards process is public, he's going to receive a huge variety of perspectives when he asks and people respond with critics. And among those, you'll probably find more people in the not-for-profits with outspoken complaints because they're not inhibited by for-profit "manipulations" of information (call it marketing, call it aplomb, call it professionalism, but you'll not get as straightforward a perspective generally about an Awards process from for-profits as you will from not-for-profits, who aren't as concerned with selling themselves to advertisers).

I'm off subject, rambling a tad, sorry, but the point earlier and now is that there's nothing "wrong" or "right" about either behavior where blogging is concerned. There's just a difference; and the difference affects perspectives when and by blogging and it affects priorities where an Awards process is concerned.

That's all. Good for Kevin for making money from blogging. Good for anyone. Good for anyone who does not make money from blogging. Good for blogging. But there are different issues and different author concerns, along with different content, involved in the two very general types, that's all.

Hmmm.isn'... (Below threshold)


isn't even a 'pro-toast' category

Is that for having a professionally toasted piece of toast or being a pro at toasting?

'Cause I'd support either one after the burned out shell of a toast I had this morning.

Hmmm.Good... (Below threshold)


Good for anyone who does not make money from blogging.

Sniff! I prefer to not only not make money at blogging but rather to lose money at blogging whilst also not blogging at all.

Beat that!

Hmph! At least *MY* art is purer than yours.

Nyah! Nyah! :):)

They're Google Ads fer chri... (Below threshold)

They're Google Ads fer christ sake. Last I checked they bring in about $10 a day. Considering that the server costs 25 times that per month (not to mention the money I've already spent), and that in a week or two the ads will bring in pennies I'd hardly call that a money making operation.

Can't we all just get along... (Below threshold)

Can't we all just get along?

Fights like this make me nervous as hell.

Fights like this make me... (Below threshold)

Fights like this make me nervous as hell.

You call this a fight?

The bar scene in Serenity -- that was a fight.

Jesus Christ, this Laurence... (Below threshold)

Jesus Christ, this Laurence Simon guy sounds like a pathetic crybaby. Take something that people do voluntarily, for fun and just be a total control freak asshole about it. One of the earlier commenters had it right, Larry: If you don't like the Weblog Awards then go start your own and you can run them however you wish.

Kevin: My sympathies. I used to provide a number of free services for people on the net, but I got sick of the "I want it this way NOW NOW NOW!" attitude of people so I gave it up. Give 'em an inch and they'll take a mile.

Does Laurence lurk at your ... (Below threshold)

Does Laurence lurk at your site? He posted a reply within ten minutes of your posting. Laurence does sound a tad cranky.... maybe he's dealing with chronic constipation or something. Best to ignore those types. The truth always comes out eventually.
Keepup the good work, Kevin.

I quite enjoy the Weblog Aw... (Below threshold)

I quite enjoy the Weblog Awards, even as I'm getting creamed in my category. I can't understand why people who don't like them can't just ignore them. As fun as they are, its not like we're awarding the Pulitzer here.

And, for the record, my blog is quite profitable. I don't care what anybody thinks of that. And if Kevin makes a few bucks off the Weblog Awards (doubtful, given that he's just got Google Ads running) good on him.

I didn't know it had become a sin to make money at blogging.

As one who is in the awards... (Below threshold)

As one who is in the awards and currently in the middle of the pack in the voting, I can only say that the Awards have been fun. I'm intensely grateful to the Wizards who have orchestrated it. I can't imagine the grief involved in making it work, even if everything goes smoothly, which of course it never does.

The ingrates are like people who whined about not being picked as Prom King or Queen. They can move to Hades.

ed: you missed the keen po... (Below threshold)

ed: you missed the keen point of my comments and that was that I wished it "good" to all who do make money from blogging and also all who do not.

The point being, it's not relevant as to an evaluative process, to my view, as to a blog being "best" or worthy or valuable or whatever, but it DOES affect site content, among other things.

It's just a quality. Some people walk quickly, some people walk slowly, some people don't walk, some people run, some people even hop. But they all can (and some do) opine about what it is to move.

Neener, neener.

If I typed in all caps or a... (Below threshold)

If I typed in all caps or a very large font size, would my very basic point be comprehensible?

A for-profit site and whoever writes the content on that site ("write" and "content" apply to everything on the site, statements, visuals, link..."all" as in ALL content, the site in total) is going to be influenced in expression in a different manner than is someone who authors a not-for-profit site.

The statements involved will be different. Different in comparison with one another. Different TYPE of content due to different influences.

I never suggested one was "better" than the other, I just said that it should be expected and anticipated that a for-profit website is going to opine differently than a not-for-profit website. And they do.

Thanks for the good work wi... (Below threshold)

Thanks for the good work with the awards. 99% of bloggers appreciate the fine job you.

Personally I would really l... (Below threshold)

Personally I would really like to thank Kevin and Wizbang for conducting the WA. I came to know about this this year only and it is really fun and nice way to promote your blog. I am always into website competition and also run one but this is different. Conducting an award like this is really tedious and hence you just cant satisfy everyone. Thanks a lot Kevin for organising this.

With regards to Google Ads or just any other ad till the blogs have good content I never mind ads. Also volunteering for the categories I really came to know such a lot about so many blogs. One category that I volunteered for didnt have enough nominees so searching for blogs in that category was a real revelation. Its always a learning experience. I will really cherish these moments :)






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