Thursday, October 20, 2005

A sunrise postponed

(CLARIFICATION, 10/24/2005: I am neither stating nor implying that Chloe's opinions on this matter are the same as Chris Pirillo's. Go here to see Chloe's entry on this matter. It was only because of a link on Chloe's site that I even became aware of Chris Pirillo's anti-Blogspot diatribe. I am not responsible for how people choose to interpret things I didn't say.)

I was visiting Chloe's Watermelon Punch this morning, checking on the status of a comment I had posted last night regarding Chris Pirillo's call for Google to get rid of Blogspot and all the blogs that are on it - 99% of which, he maintains, are fake blogs, or "splogs".

Now, I've never heard of Chris Pirillo, but that may put me in some sort of minority. I am not a propellerhead, someone deeply and passionately enamored with the technical aspects of computers, the internet, and the online experience. I'm just this guy, just another monkey with a blog. A Google search for "anothermonkey.blogspot" will yield 281 results. A search for "pirillo" will yield 1,670,000 results, for "chris pirillo" will give 1,420,000 hits, and for his website "lockergnome", 1,930,000. (He claims he had no idea these sites were so popular. Perhaps he should try Googling himself once in a while?) So this guy's out there, but I've never heard of him.

His call for Blogspot eradication - which he later tries to pass off as a "Modest Proposal", though it sounds more like a bit of technobullying than a piece of Swiftean satire - focuses on a problem I've discussed before: the preponderance of fake blogs. His first approximation solution is to simply eliminate all Blogspot blogs. He maintains that only 1% of all Blogspot blogs are "legitimate". I'm not sure what his criteria for "legitimacy" are; I count blogs written in Portuguese and Farsi and Chinese and whatever the hell language 12-year-olds speak these days* to be "legitimate", even if I have no idea what they're about. By my observations made during recent "Next Blog" walks, the proportion of "legitimate" to "fake" Blogspot blogs is closer to 80/20 - perhaps even 90/10, which is a hell of a lot better than it was just a few months ago.

I don't want to get into this just now. It's a lengthy debate, and it gets into the concept of blog-snobbery. I'm finding out that Blogspot is considered the blogging ghetto. Well, welcome to the jungle, baby.

Anyway. I was on Chloe's site this morning, and I saw that my comment had finally been posted (it had been quarantined after I submitted it last night, possibly because my URL had a ".blogspot" extension), and Chloe had posted a response to it, when I noticed an orange-pink glow behind me and over my left shoulder. I jumped up, grabbed my camera, ran outside, and took some pictures of the sunrise.

Unfortunately, Chloe's website (which is not a Blogspot blog) is a little feature-heavy - which means that not only does it take up to five minutes to load onto my poor little computer over my dialup connection, but also that each of its features leaves little pieces of itself behind after I leave, eating up a little bit of my resources. The upshot of which is that after visiting her site, and Chris Pirillo's site, and a few others this morning, it was not possible for me to post my pictures of this beautiful sunrise before I had to start getting ready for work.

So you'll have to wait until I get back home tonight. Sorry!

*Update 10/20/05 9:51 PM: I've just spent about an hour walking through Blogspot blogs using the "Next Blog" button. I've been through about 100 blogs, and I've found about seven in Portuguese, one in Chinese (from Taiwan), none in Farsi (though I have seen at least one in the past) and none by twelve-year-olds speaking their own incoherent language (the closest I came was a semi-coherent one from a sixteen-year-old.) And I've found and flagged only three fake blogs. So Mr. Pirillo's estimate of "1% legitimate" is full of crap. He can use either the hyperbole defense - "Hey, you're not supposed to take this seriously!" - in which case the validity of any of his other statements on his site (and he makes quite a few of them, and apparently considers his statements to be Very Important and Quite Authoritative) is called into question. Or he can simply argue that his definition of "legitimate" doesn't include people writing about their pet iguanas, their theories of comparing politics to Yu-Gi-Oh playing styles, their experiences during basic training, their churches, their kids, their problems paying the rent, the books they read, the movies they watch, the jobs they do. 'Cause those are all things I came across during my walk through the Blogspot ghetto. You know what? I think I'll stick around.


Betz said...

I have a big smile on my face whilst reading your blog this morning Harold. I could actually hear you saying all you wrote about Chloe and her friend.

I shall avoid thier blogs.....

D.B. Echo said...

Betz, I'm not saying that anybody should avoid Chloe's blog. I go there every day. But if you have a weak and tired computer like mine, you might want to make it your last stop before you log off and reboot.

And I don't think Chris Pirillo is necessarily s "friend" of Chloe. She's a lot more attuned to the world of blogging than I am, so she probably just knows his site from past encounters. And it's not like I said that this guy is a dick. But I will now. After careful consideration and several re-readings, I think Chris Pirillo is a propellerhead technosnob dick.

Lockergnome said...

You're right. I'm a dick. I'm a really big dick. That's why Google did what they did on the 18th.

D.B. Echo said...

Maybe "Dick" is a little strong. And I suppose I could have simply checked the Wikipedia to answer the question "Who the hell is Chris Pirillo anyway?" It was interesting to see the Pirillo Effect in action. (Candyman, Candyman, Candyman...)

I would like to extend my congratulations, however. Yes, thanks to Chris Pirillo's call to "Kill Blogspot Already!", Google has decided to take countermeasures against fake blogs. Clearly they hadn't been working on this up until now. Obviously Chris gets the credit for this.

But I think I'll stand by my conclusion that Chris Pirillo is a dick. I'll let his own words explain why:

"Kill Blogspot Already!!! "
OK, when you've got as much exposure as this guy does - and he has a lot - any call to action is going to be echoed by a lot of folks. In later posts Chris will claim that he was trying to encourage Google to address the problem of what he calls "spam blogs". But that's not what this title says.

"Blogspot has become nothing but a crapfarm."
If nothing else had been said, this alone would have earned him the title of Dick. I blog on Blogspot. So do a lot of other people, including many of the people I link to. "Nothing but a crapfarm"? There's not much wiggle room there, boy. You've declared all of our blogs crap. Screw you.

"(T)he 1% "legitimate" minority."
OK, someone as plugged in as Chris Pirillo must have some data to back this claim up. 99% of the blogs on Blogspot (which, remember, is "nothing but a crapfarm") are illegitimate. And how do you define legitimacy? Show us your data, show us your judgement criteria.

Or is this just hyperbole, just spouting off, shooting from the hip? If so - if this is, as he later tries to cast it, a biting satire in the manner of Swift's "Modest Proposal" - well, it falls flat. It comes across as a call to "Kill Blogspot Already!" That's the way I read it, and I'm sure that's the way many of Chris Pirillo's propellerhead minions read it. And maybe everything that he has written should be taken with a grain of salt - it might also be hyperbole.

Chris, you owe us an apology. Me. Lauren. Rima. Anne. Siobhan. Katie. SuperG. Lisa. Puppetdude. Dee. Teigra. All the others whose blogs are hosted by a service you've declared to be "nothing but a crapfarm". There can't be that many of us - "1% legitimate" can't amount to that many blogs.

Now, I don't expect an apology to me. Frankly, I don't care. But you owe the others an apology, many of whom don't even know that you insulted them. I check their blogs ever day. Post it in the comments of their latest entry. If I see you doing this, you'll be a little bit along the way to not being a dick.

Then use the "Next Blog" button for an hour. If you find fake blogs, flag them. If you find real ones, apologize to them, too.

And post the apology on your site. You reach a lot of people. You've insulted a lot of people. You need to let them know that you're not really a dick.