Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Assigning Motives

First, I should say that I've held writing this for several days, awaiting an email response. Receiving none, I'm getting this off my chest:

One thing that really bothers me is when people assign motives to other people. And I need to be careful here that I don't do the same.

Here at this little blog, we occasionally do the "Open TrackBack Parties" as so other blogs. I wrote a little about it the other day in this post.

I didn't mention the first time I realized I was writing posts about other people's posts. But here's where I discovered what I was doing.

So, I didn't intentionally start listing other people as a way of getting links back. And it never developed into a way of getting links back.

I found that people responded postively to the listings. Which surprised me.

Then I found that people responded postively to getting linked. Which surprised me. (Well, one didn't like my listing him, but he's a hate-filled left, so there.)

And when I skipped a listing, people responded with things like "Where's Breakfast?" Which surprised me.

Now, unless I'm reading something wrong, bad motives have been assigned to what I've been doing. Which has surprised me.

Here's what NZ Bear emailed to Glenn Reynolds:
the blogosphere is a community, and the more the community as a whole shuns stunts such as "open trackback parties" that exist for no reason other than to exchange link counts, the less I'll have to worry about figuring out the latest algorithmic way to filter such exploits out. I can handle the obvious out-for-profit spam blogs --- it's the "real" bloggers who like to skirt the grey areas that I need the community's help to dissuade from bad behaviour.

Perhaps I'm unclear on what he's saying. When he says "'open trackback parties' that exist for no reason other than to exchange link counts" does he mean:
  1. That's what all Open TrackBack parties are? Nothing more than to exchange links? And that's what wrong with them all?
  2. That's what some Open TrackBack parties are and those are the one that are bad? But those that serve another purpose are okay? Or all are bad because some are bad?

I think he meant the former. And that's where I need to be careful. I don't want to assign the wrong meaning to what he said.

But if he said that all Open TrackBack parties exist for "exchange link counts" then he's sadly mistaken.

I can't speak for other bloggers. But Beth (MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy) has often said that she was "too lazy" to write something and just threw an "Open TrackBacks" post together. And bloggers will do that. Frank J. (IMAO) once threw out a "make up your own headlines" kind of post and it was the genesis for the Headline News feature on this little blog. So, asking the readers to supply content isn't new. Or bad.

But I'm reading what NZ Bear wrote as assigning bad motives. And if I'm reading him right, I take exception.

You want to do some research? Go check my "Articles of Interest" posts and see how many I link to don't accept TrackBacks. I'm curious, because I haven't done the research. But I do know that there is usually one, often two, and sometimes five links to posts that don't accept TrackBacks. So, I'm not getting a link back. And I could easily skip those if that's what I was after. It's not.

So, if NZ Bear didn't mean that all Open TrackBack posts "exist for no reason other than to exchange link counts" then I think a clarification is in order.

Or, if it's clear to all but me, then I owe him an apology.

But, if he meant what he said, he needs to understand that not everyone has bad motives. And he owes several blogs an apology.


  1. I think your meals are okay, it's just the covered dish specials that count as "Open Trackbacks". The idea is that the posts you put in the meals are chosen by you as interesting, so those links are valid votes for the posts. The person who sends a trackback is not chosen by you, so the link that appears in the covered dish special is not really a vote by you for that post. Hence the distortion.

    Samantha Burns was specifically singled out as a cause of the problem, but her "bad behavior" was without malice, and Bear was willing to laugh about it, so hopefully no hard feelings are lingering around.

    Bruce is probably the poster child for bad behavior. He specifically designed our site with features that could help people work their way up the Ecosystem ladder. It made him happy to think he was helping people, and now he's very depressed about the whole thing.

  2. Wednesday

    Point Five: Parents Groups Protest Video Game F.E.A.R. GigoloKitty 1: Christmas Carol Part 1 GigoloKitty 2: Christmas Carol Part 2 Schiess Weekly: TMI Nickie Goomba: Holiday Terror Basil's Blog: Headline News Daisy Cutter: Jennifer, Paula, and Monica...

  3. By the way, Basil, you hit this one squarely
    Don't expect an apology from an idiot

  4. We often assign our own motivations to others.
    Lotta little people in the blogosphere, particularly on the right.
    Notice anyone on the left discussing this?

  5. And let's really dip into this: What about begging Glenn for links? What about carnivals? What about guest blogging and pimping your blog?
    These people are read by, at best, 0.0007% of all Internet users.
    1 billion users, 700K readers of political blogs -- and three-quarters of them are lefties
    I love that Glenn and all these "big blogs" got all upset over this crap.
    Petty people. Very MSM. A pinch of power and they go bonkers when anyone does something they perceive as "cheating"

  6. correction - cannot believe. i was in a state of disbelief.

    i need some sleep. ;-)

  7. Sesame Street analogy...because when you're a mom, the Count and Grover make a whole lotta sense. One of these things just doesn't belong here...

    Without pointing fingers at anyone in particular, I will say that a couple of those blogs indirectly involved in the "scandal" weren't "the same" as the rest of the pool. One such blog is obviously this one. This is an entirely different ballpark and quite frankly, I seriously don't believe that "basil's blog" was linked in NZ's post as one of the offending blogs.

  8. I guess I don't get it. Isn't it all about getting more traffic to your site? If I participate in open trackbacks (I would do it more often but time is always a problem) then more people are exposed to my blog, and hopefully some will return. Does is really matter if I'm a Festering Snail Trail, or whatever my ranking is? I just want the hits, baby.

  9. I agree with Mike. I write a post and if I can advertise for free with a trackback, where is the harm? Don't we both benefit?

  10. Hmmm... As a big fan of this blog and open trackbacks, I'm still in favor of NZBear's move. A few points, though I spelled this out better on my own blog (go and do a search for NZBear).

    TTLB must have been VERY hard to put together, and NZBear is doing us all a favor.

    That said, I think Open Trackbacks are very important and allow many smaller and mid-size blogs to bring traffic to their site. I know I built up my readership somewhat through exposure to Basil here and the Political Teen elsewhere. (An OpinionJournal article helps, too...) OTOH, the links that occur on this end of an open trackback do boost blogs' rank, even if they are not intending for this to happen. Put it this way: If you used the OT's to get your blog out there, then you can still accomplish the same thing. If you were doing it for links, go elsewhere.

    But it gives a more accuate picture of what a blogger's true rank is

  11. Ezzie:
    Absolutely. It is about hits

  12. Basil,

    I link here because I think your blog is good and its content valuable (and I like you). I don't care what NZ Bear thinks about what I do or what motives he might assign to my actions, and I would take my blog off the TTLB today if I thought it made a shred of difference. The whole rating system is just a big game and really has no bearing on why most of us are out here blogging. I hope bloggers realize how silly this all is - one man's opinion holding the entire blogosphere hostage - and then continue to do the things they did before for whatever reasons they see fit. I hope we can all go back to just having fun sometime soon. After all, this isn't reality, it's just cyberspace.

    Poca Dot said it best: "I love that Glenn and all these "big blogs" got all upset over this crap.
    Petty people. Very MSM. A pinch of power and they go bonkers when anyone does something they perceive as "cheating."

  13. Sie damannbasilikum. Leben lang die Mittellinienenergien!

  14. Here is a phrase that was stated above that I think needs to be emphasized:

    "... a blogger's true rank ..."

    Look, my tiny corner of the blogosphere is absolutely insignificant as compared to places like Malkin, Taranto, ... and basil. But the true rank of my blog is mostly defined by me, and how I feel about a particular post I've written, or of what general direction my blog is taking.

    The fact that anyone would take the time to post a link to their opinion on my blog, be it a Wretched Open Trackback® or not, is a warm hug to me, a compliment that they think my tiny blog might actually be read by more than me and a random Google query result from someone in Blotzylvania. Any implied popularity, value, or worth by being a Creative Cock versus a Dimwitted Dingo is only applicable to those that already believe that a Creative Cock is better than a Dimwitted Dingo, and those ranks are diminishing rapidly.

    Tempest in a teapot. If the entire TTLB Ecosystem were vaporized tomorrow by oval-headed aliens I would still blog the same as I do today, and I would use Wretched Open Trackbacks® the same as I do today.

    Yeah, some that post are blatant link whores. So what? If they, individually, become spam then I will deal with them individually. Until then I read what they post in the hopes that I will find something of interest that I wouldn't have read otherwise. Yep, I personally like the links, and I read (almost) every one of them. I hope my readers do the same - THAT'S WHY THEY'RE THERE - duh.

    "bad behavior"? - bah.

  15. The problem is not discounting open trackbacks in the ecosystem, it's the implication that they're "bad behavior", rather than a new martketing tool that's distorting the ecosystem.

    Real bad behavior is Bruce linking to Headline News and then pinging this post with a trackback instead of the real one. Rest assured he is being punished appropriately.

  16. "... a blogger's true rank ..."
    Um, which you could fake as higher if like certain top 30 bloggers in the Echosystem, you simply hide your sitemeter and post something every other day
    You got there early. You made the blogrolls. Coast

  17. So, you're trying to wreck OSM, *and* the Ecosystem?

    Why do you hate the blogosphere so dang much??


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