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Saturday, May 21, 2005

OK, I admit to being slightly puzzled. Blaise Cronin has written a followup on his previous article about blogs at: SLIS IUB > News > Gresham’s Law and the Blogosphere, in which he complains about the way in which he is treated. While it's true that a lot of posts were critical of what he said, and were less than kind, others pointed out that he had some useful points to make. Once, of course, you could get over his references to blogs as 'Bathetically Ludicrous Online Gibberish', and described bloggers as narcissistic, banal, hapless, unremarkable, unedifying, egotistical and writing sententious drivel.

In his current piece he bemoans the response that he got, and ends by quoting Samuel Johnson 'When once the forms of civility are violated, there remains little hope of return to kindness or decency'. Which is a splendid statement, but I have to wonder (hence my puzzlement), why he didn't take that on board the first time around? It would appear that he feels that he is free to say exactly what he likes about bloggers, in as negative a manner as he chooses, but then complains when they respond in kind.

He goes on to ask 'why has the debate been dumbed down and discourse degraded to such a degree?'. Well of course it hasn't been - there are a great many interesting and useful debates going on about the value of weblogs, and in my day to day work I see just how many weblogs are useful and providing an extremely useful function. Of course, it's perfectly true that a lot of blogs are not a valuable information resource (why should they be? Not all web pages are either), but to emphasis that, over and above the value of them seems to be a little bit silly. My point however is that he's not involved in the interesting debates, he's not offered an opinion in either of these pieces on how they can be used positively, but has simply contented himself with an attack on them.

If he wants a good debate, then plenty of us are happy to have one. I would certainly be very interested to know how, and in what ways weblogs can be used effectively, and what ideas he has for making them even better. He's extremely intelligent and worth listening to (most of the time), and I would certainly value his opinion. On the other hand, if all that he wants to do is write negatively about both weblogs and the people that write them, he shouldn't expect a good debate, because he is not offering one himself.
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