Monday, January 5, 2009

The rules... For Bloggers

A lengthy browse of the verbal expectorations know as Internet Blogs reveals that the multiverse of computer-savvy (or at least keyboard-capable) humans, is simply replete with…Nothing.

The world of blogs – if random clickage on ‘Blogger’ is any evidence – is populated with the most mindless, self-centered, boring yutzes since God decided that it was his/her universe and we were just visitors in it.

So, comes the time for a set of commandments. The Seven (so far) Commandments for Bloggers. Unfortunately, as I do not have the alleged powers of the alleged almighty, this list will have to be accepted as an advisory, and my recommended response to infractions against this list (drawing and quartering, followed by incineration and use of the ashes as fertilizer) will go, sadly, unenforced…

1) The word ‘My’ SHALL NOT appear in blog titles and/or subtitles.
We know it’s yours, genius. There has never been a immaculately conceived blog. They are writ by humans (or guys like Ann Coulter) and if this is the extent of your ability to present yourself, you might want to go back to composing grocery lists and greeting cards.

2) The word ‘Blog’ SHALL NOT appear in the title unless said blog is a parody.
Think parody movie titles… ‘Scary Movie’ or ‘Kentucky Fried Movie’… As with the first commandment, we already know it’s a blog. Sheesh.

3) We will NOT be having this whine with dinner.
The litany of misery and suffering you have experienced is yours to carry for the duration. Deal. There are bartenders and friends who will gladly share said suffering, and therapists who will gladly decrease the size of your wallet while responding pretty much like those bartenders and/or friends. Thus, unless you are paying me, I do not give a tinker’s damn who took your candy when you were a child.

4) Pictures of babies or pets are a sure cure for being read.
Whoever made the leap from blogging as a way to communicate to blogging as a replacement for vacation-picture-torture or child/grandchild gloat-overing was a terrorist of a magnitude that leaves groups like Al Queida, Hamas or Jehovah’s Witnesses green with envy. The internet, that bastion of freedom and truth, is mired in prattle about how cutesy wiw bay-bees look on the way to Wal-Mart with mommy… or the nanny… or funny Uncle Mervyn. New ways to toilet train are things to discuss in an goddamn email, please.

5) Just say no to exotic background art and zero contrast type.
The definition of communication is simple: Message sent… same message received. If your page looks like Ralph Steadman designed it may get a “first in show’ from the local Art forum, but ain’t nobody going to hurt theyself trying to decipher your brand of hieroglyphics… same-same for silver-type-on-gray-backgrounds… If your page isn’t easy to read it won’t get read at all. Why would a total stranger work that hard for your thoughts when thoughts on the web are retailing for .0000000000000000001 cents a pound.

6) If you allow comments, some perfectly reasonable people will disagree with you. Unless those disagreements are provably dishonest, obscene, or exceedingly uncivil, you don’t delete their account.

Blogs are opinions and everybody has one – the marketplace of ideas is NOT consistent with “if you wanna talk, get yer own blog.” Allowing for comments is a tacit acceptance of the possibility that you’ll learn something from others. If you cancel every though that isn’t yours, you may revel in the gloriously unanimous accolades of those who agree, but you won’t be engaged in educating yourself, nor will you be the one who collects enough divergent viewpoints to synthesize an informed, original opinion. Any parrot can repeat what they heard, just listen to the Political Sci Fi Channel (Fox).

7) On the other hand…

Dogma, jingoism and irrational nonsense, as well as circular logic (“I believe in the Bible because the Bible tells me to.”) is just cause for redirecting your energies toward some useful form of therapy. Or an increase in the quality and quantity of your meds. It is not a reason for your comments to be tolerated by fully functional industrial hominids. Write in your journal and leave bandwidth for those who are not wearing tin-foil hats, looking under the bed for aliens, or exclusively acquiring their “ knowledge” on the Political Sci Fi Channel (Fox).

8) Give everybody a bit of time.

It took a little while for this rule to make sense (ironic, no?). Some folks will arrive, full to bursting with wind and flail, yelling from (or at) the yardarm and saying ill-conceived things. Speak to them is if they were humans. In some cases, a couple, three posts into the dialogue an amazing thing will happen – They’ll calm down and start actually talking to you. The blogosphere is so full of rick-rolling-ranters that many folks start with the volume cranked up to eleven and it takes a calm response to get them back to ground - but back to ground they will go. Not all, not even many, but enough to be worth the few incidental wasted words.

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