March 10, 2006

Giving the keynote address at the blog summit.

Next Saturday is the WisPolitics/WisOpinion "Blog Summit." It's open to the public, but you do have to register. It's your big chance to go to Waukesha. I'm going to be giving the keynote address, from 1 to 1:20. Here's the rest of the program:
1:25 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. The Legalities of Blogging by Jennifer L. Peterson, attorney, LaFollette Godfrey & Kahn. Short speech and question-and-answer period.

1:45 p.m. to 2:10 p.m. "Why blog? Defining the phenomenon from a citizen bloggers' perspective'' Owen Robinson of Boots & Sabers and Jay Bullock of folkbum's rambles and rants lead a discussion with other citizen bloggers.

2:15 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. Moderated panel discussion: How will history view early blogging? An academic view. Jessica McBride, journalism instructor, radio talk show host and blogger, UW-Milwaukee; John McAdams, blogger and Marquette professor of political science; and Ken Mayer, UW-Madison political scientist.

2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Moderated panel discussion: Impact of blogging on election 2006. Participants: Ed Garvey of, Charlie Sykes of WTMJ-AM, state Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and Brian Fraley, GOP strategist and blogger.
Feel free to give me some advice on what to talk about. If it's a "keynote" address, is it my responsiblity to set the key? Is there a such thing as an "off-keynote" address?


Jacques Cuze said...

There is lots and lots you might talk about. Do blogs with more tootie get more hits than blogs with less tootie? The vital roll of gadflies in keeping blogs accurate. Echo chambers, when can a blogger yell at her own echo chamber for being too dumb and too gratuitously *ss-kissing. The poor misunderstood troll, how brave he is. Blogs and reality shows, how to properly blog a reality show. The dangers of groupthink. Veneration of the blog hostess, when does too much make you want to gag? Using the troll to help the blogger think out of the box. Publius, the Federal Farmer, and the anonymous troll. The destructive in-group. Denial and blogging. Tooties. How to add more cowbell to your blog. Anonymity as a shield from the tyranny of the majority. Bloggers as pamphleteers.
How to cook a blogroll. How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else). Tor, what it is, why it's good, and how to install it. How much tootie is enough?

I hope you can find some good ideas in here.

Ann Althouse said...

You're not misunderstood. You're in bad faith. And you know it. You were discovered.

Simon said...

Accountability. That's what I'd like to hear you discussing.

I'd be interested to hear a discussion of voluntary constraints and accountability in blogging; more specifically, the role of anomynity in diminishing accountability and thus quality in blogs, and the role having open comments plays on a blog. I would think you might have views on this, since you blog under your own name, and IIRC, Althouse has been both open and closed to comments at various stages of its development).

Firstly, my view on the anomynity thing is something I've talked about before here: that anomynity fosters incivility and lack of intellectual rigor because it is essentially unaccountabliity; I can think of literally no anonymously written blog which is actually much good. I think it's because the sense of anomynity fosters unaccountability, an alienation from the societal norms that would otherwise constrain rational human beings. I have written my fair share of incendiary comments and posts, but I do so under my own name, and am therefore constrained by the awareness that I might actually have to answer in person for anything I say. If I wouldn't say it to someone's face, I don't say it, and I think that is characteristic of most bloggers who write under their own name. Thus, my comments cannot and will not ever be so vituperative, hateful and entirely useless as, for example "Armando" from Daily Kos. (Presumably, Quxxo's contributions would simililarly improve in quality were there the real possibility that his boss were reading them). It's almost a pathological thing: freed from the fear for having to answer for what they say in daily life, anonymous bloggers - blithely uninformed by societal norms to warn them they're way of the reservation - plunge the blogosphere into a bizarre version of Forbidden Planet - less monsters from the id than monsters from the ego.

And secondly, on the comments issue, my view is that open comments is healthy for blogs, not only from the perspective of one who comments, but also from the perspective of one who blogs, because having an open comments section creates a certain discipline for the blogger by leaving themselves open to being held accountable to dissenting views. I feel very much constrained on my blog by the fact that if I write something dumb, I can be challenged right there, publically about it. Of course, there are other benefits to open comments, not least the sense of interplay with one's audience, but that's certainly the most salient issue for me.

Both these points essentially boil down to a single topic: blogging and accountability.

So I think these are interesting topics that people interested in blogs would be interested in, and personally, I'm interested to hear what others (including our Hostess) think on these subjects.

I think it'd also be interesting to talk about "when is a blog not a blog" - that is, is a blog just a diary on the web, or are there other requirements? And how far does fair use go in cyberspace and so on.

Jim Gust said...

Comments, how to get them, how to keep them civil. Why many comment threads are useless but the Althouse comment threads are usually great. It is more than luck?

An anonymous blog that I find interesting is

Ricardo said...

I think that a topic that could be discussed is "How to set the tone for an interesting blog". Althouse is a very interesting blog, generating just the right amount of agreement and disagreement that keeps cocktail parties going. Your posts run the gamut from lofty ideals to earthly concerns ("Where's my NYT") and taken as a whole they fit with the wide range of interests that concern and amuse most people. There's something for everyone on Althouse. Plus there's Althouse the mother bear (pick another image if you want) letting her commenter cubs get away with a lot, but reining them in if they go too far over the line. And there's the wide variety of other roles you play for your audience (the professional lawprof, the vulnerable woman, the parent, etc etc) that also mirrors the various roles that your audience plays in life.

I'm not sure how much is "instinctive" in what you do, and how much is the result of concrete planning. But if you could package the mechanics of your "design" into a twenty minute speech, it would be very instructive for blogger-wanna-be's. How do you do what you do? Do you even understand why you are successful?

Jacques Cuze said...

Hey this keynote and thread is supposed to be about you, not me, but if you think that I have acted in bad faith in some way that you have not, here are some more topics for you to consider keynoting:

I claim I am a moderate, but I asked my readers to vote me conservative blog diva. What's up with that?

My blogroll lists 99% right wing blogs, and I really only seem to agree with or cite right wing bloggers and only right wing bloggers seem to agree with me and cite me. But I am a left wing blogger! Does this represent a failure of the blogosphere?

Over the past year, I've picked a bunch of fights. With Pajamas, with Atrios, .... Here is what has happened to my traffic each time. Picking fights and pulling eyes in the blogosphere.

Sexism in the blogosphere, my analysis of the posts of a somewhat popular blogger.

Blogging of the Collective Unconscious -- how bloggers can review movies they never intend to see.

Blogger ethics: is it time for a blogger ethics conference?

Grown men wearing shorts on campus, how the blogosphere can irradicate this menace.

AJD said...

Ann's definition of good faith: posting things that agree with her and tell he that she is smart and good looking.

Ann's definition of bad faith: anything that does not confirm to the above.

QUXXO has some good ideas and points. But it would be too much, I geuss, to expect you to see that.

Ann Althouse said...

Arnold: You are quite mistaken about what I am talking about. I'm referring to something that Quxxo did in the comments of another blog. I've been very tolerant of him here, even when others were encouraging me to delete him more. His bad faith consisted in going somewhere else and preening about getting the better of me, when in fact what he did was make a sexist insult against me, which I called him on! I allow disagreement here all the time. Quxxo knows how he got on my shit list, where he remains. I won't spend my time interacting with him now, because of this betrayal of my tolerance of him. Your remark is quite off, and you ought to take it back.

Mark Daniels said...

I loved the several references to Fighting Bob LaFollette (the law firm, the blog name). What a cool dude he was!


Palladian said...

Ann, "Arnold's" userpage is the same unavailable Blogger profile as "Jack Straw" "Joseph W" and about a gazillion other fake names used by your most unpleasant and uninteresting troll. This persons obsessive persistence and need to constantly denigrate you is more than a little creepy. Sort of funny to see it defend another of your trolls though.

AJ Lynch said...

See you and see Waukesha! Damn where do I sign up?

Ann Althouse said...

Info about registering is at the link.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Blogging as performance art.

Blogging as a way of finding a voice and readership.

Blogging as a way of living freely.

Dean said...

Waukesha, where the water used to be good.

See you there, Ann. Hopefully, it's not too crowded and we'll get an opportunity to meet anyway. But it looks like a pretty full schedule.