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Wednesday, 02 May 2007

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» Industrious Inaction from Roughtheory.org
Scott Eric Kaufman has gone on strike, refusing to add new posts to his blog until a particular comments thread reaches 500 comments - terms and conditions apply, see blockquote for details: There will be no new posts on Acephalous until there are 500 ... [Read More]

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Rich Puchalsky

I've seen comment threads reach 300+ comments on more than one occasion. (One LCC-and-coterie-less one, also, the one (on John & Belle Have A Blog?) about who could be a continental philosopher.) But the only one I've seen reach 500 was the highly annoying "Blog" comment thread on Unqualified Offerings. That joke has been done -- into the ground -- so I don't know whether your chances of reaching 500 are that good. Of course, if I start to post each paragraph as a seperate comment, that should add up to quite a few.

Scott Eric Kaufman

That's the kind of behavior I'm talking about when I speak of violating the spirit of the contest. And I've seen plenty of posts reach 500 comments; granted, they're all on Atrios or Unfogged, but still, 500 is 500 is 500.

Rich Puchalsky

One large problem with the idea is that it's going to scroll all the previous comments off the sidebar that shows the most recent comments. Perhaps that's a feature, though. My guess for the reason for the strike action is: 1) dissertation pressure, 2) in order to finally get everyone to stop commenting on the "police the discourse" thread, and erasing its existence from the recent comments sidebar is part of that.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Plus, this puts the responsibility for my silence squarely where it belongs: on my commenters.

Rich Puchalsky

Egad, I could take up 110 comments just by posting each note I've made on half of Bloom's The Anxiety of Influence. That would be cruel and unusual punishment, however.

Rich Puchalsky

All right, here's what I'll do: I'll take up my parenthetical self-suggestion in that other thread to write a comment about why comment threads on other people's blogs are better than having your own blog. Except each paragraph will be its own comment. I don't think that's cheating; it's not like I'm posting just a couple of words with each one, and I could in theory be adding them with a duration of hours between each as I think of them rather than just typing at high speed.

dejan

I personally like this one best:

Which suggested topic could do the most damage to my academic career and why.

Rich Puchalsky

1. What is a blog? An online, indexed series of posts, each with an indication of the author and a timestamp. Therefore, comment threads are blogs in every essential sense.

Rich Puchalsky

2. (damn, typing at high speed is slowed down a lot by comment verification) With comments rather than blog posts, one is spared the annoyance of blog administration. You will never have to choose a format or set up Typepad or some other not-fun waste of time.

Rich Puchalsky

3. One also, of course, doesn't have to pay for a blog. This is an uncertain benefit, since there seem to be many free blogging platforms out there in any case.

Rich Puchalsky

4. And one is spared the many of the social-administrative costs of blogging. No one will ever Email you to ask you to add them to your blogroll. If you don't link to an article that you're talking about -- well, it's only a comment. No one ever bothers you asking why you haven't commented about X.

Rich Puchalsky

5. But by far one of the largest advantages is that you need feel no need to continually produce content. With a blog, people evidently feel guilty for writing too little. With a comment box, the converse is true: people try to make you feel guilty for writing too much. (I'm shameless in this matter, so that doesn't work on me.) It's always easier to write less than write more.

Rich Puchalsky

6. (0h drat, Scott said that anything with a numeral, er, two less than this one would be disqualified. There's one gone.) The comment box helps to discourage vanity, a venal sin. (Is it, one, actually? I don't remember.) One doesn't have one's own space that one has to keep maintaining the reputation of.

Sisyphus

Wait, wait, if this is a strike action, shouldn't it be collective? Shouldn't that mean we _all_ have to withhold our bloggy labor at our own blogs until Kaufman gets his comments? I didn't get no memo! If I post something at my own blog, would that make me a scab? What if it was a post sending everyone over here to place their bets, er, comments --- would that be scabbing? And can you call a strike and not know what you're striking over until _after_ it's underway? Or is this because time and causality are different over here on the Internets? And, most important, can a cog ever ask too many questions?

Rich Puchalsky

7. And this vanity costs the blogger more than just some possible sort of shame. I think that some people spend significant amounts of time checking there Web hits, their Technorati standing, their Truth Laid Bare ecosystem rank, and so on. With comments, you let all that go.

Rich Puchalsky

8. Of course, you do have the problem that sometimes you get caught up in looking at a feed (or refreshing the page or something) to see if anyone has replied to your comment. But bloggers must suffer from the same syndrome, so that seems like neither a comparative advantage nor disadvantage.

Rich Puchalsky

9. (Wow, comment verification really does take a lot of time.) Comments are also seen as a social boon. (Usually.) No one wants their blog to go without comments, or they would turn off comments. You could selfishly start your own blog, or you could just write everything on someone else's.

Rich Puchalsky

10. Of course, you can get banned from someone else's blog -- the space is not under your control. This can be an advantage, however; it indicates a space that is for whatever reason not amenable to the kind of writing that you want to do. You can always just start commenting on another blog.

Rich Puchalsky

11. Also, to pull in one of Scott's concerns above, by commenting on someone else's blog, you are far less likely to be tempted to write about your work. Writing about one's work is probably the topic that is most likely to get people in trouble, either because they break anonymity, or because they reveal something about their work that they were supposed to keep secret.

Rich Puchalsky

12. And commenting solves the problem of not having anything to write about. You simply write about whatever other people are writing about. If you want to write about your own topics, you can always seize on some kind of minor or imagined linkage to go off on a long digression about essentially any subject.

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