The new A list

Damn, I wish I hadn’t read blogs today. I took yesterday off. I might take the rest of the week off. Blogging for me is at an inflection point. Blogging for me had the opportunity to become something magical: where the reader gets smarter and more informed. It seems that lately it’s become the worst of the Usenet — just straight up street fighting. My guy vs. your guy. My cause vs. your cause.

So, why do I wish I hadn’t read blogs today? Cause I saw a lynch mob beating up my friend, Dave Winer. As I read their posts (and the even more vile comments on those posts) I realize that this isn’t the blogosphere I signed up for.

Although it’s one I helped create.

No one kept their head — the knives and guns just came out in this street fight. No one called both sides and did some real reporting. No one added any value. Built anyone up. No, all I read was “Dave’s an a++hole” kind of comments. Update: Nick Bradbury kept his head.

Worse, some bloggers are asking me to join the mob! Um, no.

First, throwing out the fact that Dave’s a friend of mine and has done more for me and my family than the entire lynch mob put together, there’s the little thing of my philosophy.

My philosophy? I want better software. More software. More geek toys. More things that improve my life.

So, what does my philosophy tell me to do? Protect the inventor. Protect the guy who brought us SOAP, XML-RPC, RSS, OPML, podcasting, and a few other things here and there. Against the angry mob.

Why? Cause if I don’t, then maybe some new inventor will say “this space sucks, I’m gonna go somewhere that they appreciate inventors.” And if that happens I’ll lose. We’ll all lose.

Now, read very carefully. I have no idea who has a good legal case here. I have no idea who is in the right, or who is in the wrong. I know it’s fun to pick sides, but when there are two sides to the story we MUST stop and put on our thinking caps and MUST stop behaving like a mob. Even a guy accused of crime deserves a fair trial (and I’m not trying to tie either Dave or Roger to that).

Why?

Cause I know how this game is played. Once Dave is outta the way, they are coming after me. Or you. Or your friends.

One thing on this case: one guy called in the mob, the other guy didn’t. That says volumes to me.

I wish I had never looked at the blogs this morning. I’m sorry for any part I played in helping create this new “A list.”

Ever notice that the new A list only tears down people and ideas but never puts new ideas, new products, new tools, out there to attack?

This is why I’m trying to get away from Memeorandum and other memetrackers. I am getting pulled into this new “A list” world. Why? Cause the new A list is getting huge audiences. They are getting more comments on their blogs. More inbound links. Moving up the Technorati popularity list.

I almost bought into it myself and thought I needed to join the “attack mob” too.

If that’s how the game is gonna be played, I want off the Technorati list now.

I wish I had never looked at the blogs today.

Oh, and the “A” in the “New A List” stands for Attack or, maybe, “Ad Hominem.” 

164 thoughts on “The new A list

  1. Orangeguru (no. 74) has a point, but I felt I expressed it better. Just kidding. My real message: the sad thing is that it has taken a shorter amount of time for the nutters to begin blogging. I wonder if that means society is getting worse, or whether that’s merely a consequence of technology being available to more people. Maybe both. But if it’s the former, it would be awfully nice to think we could do something about it.

  2. Orangeguru (no. 74) has a point, but I felt I expressed it better. Just kidding. My real message: the sad thing is that it has taken a shorter amount of time for the nutters to begin blogging. I wonder if that means society is getting worse, or whether that’s merely a consequence of technology being available to more people. Maybe both. But if it’s the former, it would be awfully nice to think we could do something about it.

  3. @JJ: People are people .. everywhere. Dave W. has left a long streak of angry, disappointed or bemused people behind him …

    Maybe so. But was anyone ever forced to read his blog? And is anyone forced to read this new A-List Assault Teams? No. Most of this stuff is just opinions … so we can choose to get excited or aggravated about them.

  4. @JJ: People are people .. everywhere. Dave W. has left a long streak of angry, disappointed or bemused people behind him …

    Maybe so. But was anyone ever forced to read his blog? And is anyone forced to read this new A-List Assault Teams? No. Most of this stuff is just opinions … so we can choose to get excited or aggravated about them.

  5. People are people .. everywhere. Dave W. has left a long streak of angry, disappointed or bemused people behind him .. and if you read his posts over time and watch how he uses language .. he baits, he provokes, he says snide and catty things about other people often, using passive / aggressive syntax and sentence construction.

    If there were only one or two *documented* instances of a**holishness, that would be one thing .. but there are more than one or two, and over a reasonably impressive time period …

    He must have been deeply hurt by having been ignored or not heard at an early stage in his life .. that’s all I can imagine …

  6. People are people .. everywhere. Dave W. has left a long streak of angry, disappointed or bemused people behind him .. and if you read his posts over time and watch how he uses language .. he baits, he provokes, he says snide and catty things about other people often, using passive / aggressive syntax and sentence construction.

    If there were only one or two *documented* instances of a**holishness, that would be one thing .. but there are more than one or two, and over a reasonably impressive time period …

    He must have been deeply hurt by having been ignored or not heard at an early stage in his life .. that’s all I can imagine …

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  8. Buhuhu. Bad people are taking over the world. The revolution eats one of it’s inventors. Maybe the first homo bloggies are simply burned out and have to move aside?

    Of course there is a lot of crap out there and people attacking people. But that’s fairly human – isn’t it. Maybe the founding geek bloggers have finally to realize that NORMAL people and social behaviour has caught up with them?

    This is developing into a trauma – very similar to old internet farts talking about the beginnings of usenet or compuserve … the days before mainstream happened.

    The ‘golden age’ of blabla a purely ‘educated’ geek flame wars. Yeah, sure! Dream on …

  9. Buhuhu. Bad people are taking over the world. The revolution eats one of it’s inventors. Maybe the first homo bloggies are simply burned out and have to move aside?

    Of course there is a lot of crap out there and people attacking people. But that’s fairly human – isn’t it. Maybe the founding geek bloggers have finally to realize that NORMAL people and social behaviour has caught up with them?

    This is developing into a trauma – very similar to old internet farts talking about the beginnings of usenet or compuserve … the days before mainstream happened.

    The ‘golden age’ of blabla a purely ‘educated’ geek flame wars. Yeah, sure! Dream on …

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  11. Robert, stick with your principles. I applaud you. I’m surprised that the blogosphere, still relatively new given that I am still asked what a blog is, has bred so much cat-fighting. Particularly as many bloggers are educated people. Maybe it’s the fatigue talking, but I remember the World Wide Web being more civilized at the same point in its history.

  12. Robert, stick with your principles. I applaud you. I’m surprised that the blogosphere, still relatively new given that I am still asked what a blog is, has bred so much cat-fighting. Particularly as many bloggers are educated people. Maybe it’s the fatigue talking, but I remember the World Wide Web being more civilized at the same point in its history.

  13. Just to present one point – not in Dave’s favor – in an argument that seems fated for a public smackdown.

    Scoble: “No one added any value.”

    mcdmcblog (comment #15: “I do think you for allowing comments on the situation. I do not have the ability to comment at Dave’s site.”.

    Scripting.Com post today, obviously referring to things: “People who doubt that thoughtful discourse is possible in the blogosphere, need only look….”

    My main beef with Scripting.Com is just that. “thoughtful discourse”. “citizen journalism”. “allowing comments”.

    Until Dave can act like a proper “citizen” journalist….meaning allowing conversation and also not posting vindictively and then pulling said posts… he’ll fail to win my vote on credability. He’ll always cause me to wonder why (a) he is being maligned and (b) what his agenda is about with the words he’ll allow to stay public on Scripting.Com.

    Robert, this is not said as “mob mentality” or “ad hominem” in Dave’s direction in any way. Rather, it’s a judgement long in making since 2000, and it’s a judgement based on understanding how things work in this world.

  14. Just to present one point – not in Dave’s favor – in an argument that seems fated for a public smackdown.

    Scoble: “No one added any value.”

    mcdmcblog (comment #15: “I do think you for allowing comments on the situation. I do not have the ability to comment at Dave’s site.”.

    Scripting.Com post today, obviously referring to things: “People who doubt that thoughtful discourse is possible in the blogosphere, need only look….”

    My main beef with Scripting.Com is just that. “thoughtful discourse”. “citizen journalism”. “allowing comments”.

    Until Dave can act like a proper “citizen” journalist….meaning allowing conversation and also not posting vindictively and then pulling said posts… he’ll fail to win my vote on credability. He’ll always cause me to wonder why (a) he is being maligned and (b) what his agenda is about with the words he’ll allow to stay public on Scripting.Com.

    Robert, this is not said as “mob mentality” or “ad hominem” in Dave’s direction in any way. Rather, it’s a judgement long in making since 2000, and it’s a judgement based on understanding how things work in this world.

  15. It’s the same for TV, press and blogs – if it sells people will write it.

    As much as we may dislike it, the mob loves a hunt, and all of us find it irresistible sometimes.

    The worst thing you can do is give it more attention and that’s what you’ve just done.

  16. It’s the same for TV, press and blogs – if it sells people will write it.

    As much as we may dislike it, the mob loves a hunt, and all of us find it irresistible sometimes.

    The worst thing you can do is give it more attention and that’s what you’ve just done.

  17. Scott — you’re right, it looks like Winer might be referring to Cadenhead as wanting to start a flamewar. I think it’s a little ambiguous, as I thought the subject was *Scoble’s* lament, but it makes more sense that Winer would think *Cadenhead* was trying to start a flamewar.

    If, in fact, THAT makes any sense. The replies to Cadenhead’s post look like about 500 people all going “YEAH!!! WINER’S AN ASS!!!” in *unison*. Which isn’t pretty, but still, I thought for a flamewar there had to be some *disagreement.*

    Just goes to show you how these things can get easily misunderstood…?

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  18. Scott — you’re right, it looks like Winer might be referring to Cadenhead as wanting to start a flamewar. I think it’s a little ambiguous, as I thought the subject was *Scoble’s* lament, but it makes more sense that Winer would think *Cadenhead* was trying to start a flamewar.

    If, in fact, THAT makes any sense. The replies to Cadenhead’s post look like about 500 people all going “YEAH!!! WINER’S AN ASS!!!” in *unison*. Which isn’t pretty, but still, I thought for a flamewar there had to be some *disagreement.*

    Just goes to show you how these things can get easily misunderstood…?

    Thanks for pointing that out.

  19. Karim, it looks to me that when Dave says “his post” in that context he is referring to Roger Cadenhead, not Scoble, as wanting “to get a flamewar going.”

  20. Karim, it looks to me that when Dave says “his post” in that context he is referring to Roger Cadenhead, not Scoble, as wanting “to get a flamewar going.”

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  22. Although we embrace the social software scene, collaborative sites, email, im, and the like, none of these tools replaces face-to-face communciation.

    Sure, it brings our world closer together. I get to connect with like-minded people who I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. However, how often are the people you “met” online identically the same as when you finally get to meet them in person.

    We have a long way to go because although electronic tools for communciation becomes more sophisticated, it still complicates the simplicity of face-to-face communication.

    Sure, in Geekdom, I’m sure some of us communicate more effectively via a keyboard and computer monitor rather than meeting face-to-face, but that’s a poor excuse.

    In the case with Winer and Cadenhead, I really cannot comment because I was not privy to the details. What I can say, however, is that if they are, indeed, friends, then they would have found a way to bridge the miscommunication. Winer has a habit of coming across in a negative fashion. Not everyone has a stellar personality, and for others, it comes across even worse in this environment if we are not good communicators to begin with.

    These ‘A’-listers ar no different than the old school folks, except that now there’s many more people participating in this digital-social-communication medium.

    Perhaps we should heed our mother’s advice (“if you cannot say anything nice…”) by following the following social rule:

    Blogger Rule #1: Only write what you would tell your audience (whether it be one or many) in a face-to-face encounter

    And for Pete’s sake, leave the adolescent bitchfest out of the blogosphere.

  23. Although we embrace the social software scene, collaborative sites, email, im, and the like, none of these tools replaces face-to-face communciation.

    Sure, it brings our world closer together. I get to connect with like-minded people who I wouldn’t be able to meet otherwise. However, how often are the people you “met” online identically the same as when you finally get to meet them in person.

    We have a long way to go because although electronic tools for communciation becomes more sophisticated, it still complicates the simplicity of face-to-face communication.

    Sure, in Geekdom, I’m sure some of us communicate more effectively via a keyboard and computer monitor rather than meeting face-to-face, but that’s a poor excuse.

    In the case with Winer and Cadenhead, I really cannot comment because I was not privy to the details. What I can say, however, is that if they are, indeed, friends, then they would have found a way to bridge the miscommunication. Winer has a habit of coming across in a negative fashion. Not everyone has a stellar personality, and for others, it comes across even worse in this environment if we are not good communicators to begin with.

    These ‘A’-listers ar no different than the old school folks, except that now there’s many more people participating in this digital-social-communication medium.

    Perhaps we should heed our mother’s advice (“if you cannot say anything nice…”) by following the following social rule:

    Blogger Rule #1: Only write what you would tell your audience (whether it be one or many) in a face-to-face encounter

    And for Pete’s sake, leave the adolescent bitchfest out of the blogosphere.

  24. You can only take the “protect the inventor” thing so far. If Thomas Alva Edison had gone on a killing spree and had been caught red-handed, OF COURSE he’d say, “I’m *Edison,* I invented the *lightbulb,* you can’t touch meeee!!!”

    And he would have gone to the gas chamber anyway.

    (And ironically, the gas chamber would have been lit with electric light bulbs.)

    I understand you want to stick up for your friend, too. That’s natural.

    But look at the pingback Dave Winer gave you on this post (comment 40). “Scoble laments all the flamers in the thread on Rogers Cadenhead’s site, but isn’t it obvious that the purpose of his post was to get a flamewar going?”

    Dude.

    You’re apparently one of his few allies and supporters, and when you write a post *supporting* him, calling him a great inventor and personal friend, he accuses you of WANTING TO START A FLAMEWAR. He accuses you of *betraying* him.

    Maybe that should tell you something?

    “No one called both sides and did some real reporting?” You’re friends with Winer, and can probably get a hold of Cadenhead. Talk to both of them for 10 minutes and do some real reporting on your blog. Stop cursing the darkness and light a candle.

  25. You can only take the “protect the inventor” thing so far. If Thomas Alva Edison had gone on a killing spree and had been caught red-handed, OF COURSE he’d say, “I’m *Edison,* I invented the *lightbulb,* you can’t touch meeee!!!”

    And he would have gone to the gas chamber anyway.

    (And ironically, the gas chamber would have been lit with electric light bulbs.)

    I understand you want to stick up for your friend, too. That’s natural.

    But look at the pingback Dave Winer gave you on this post (comment 40). “Scoble laments all the flamers in the thread on Rogers Cadenhead’s site, but isn’t it obvious that the purpose of his post was to get a flamewar going?”

    Dude.

    You’re apparently one of his few allies and supporters, and when you write a post *supporting* him, calling him a great inventor and personal friend, he accuses you of WANTING TO START A FLAMEWAR. He accuses you of *betraying* him.

    Maybe that should tell you something?

    “No one called both sides and did some real reporting?” You’re friends with Winer, and can probably get a hold of Cadenhead. Talk to both of them for 10 minutes and do some real reporting on your blog. Stop cursing the darkness and light a candle.

  26. It’s just Dave. You should have heard the stream of hate when Apple didn’t make Frontier the language for Apple Events.

    It’s like this…Dave can say whatever Dave wants because Dave is always right.

    If you’re not Dave, then shut up, and live with that inferior state, quietly, so you don’t disturb Dave and the greatness that is Dave.

    He may be MUCH different in person, but on line? That’s Dave. ANd if he IS much different in person, that’s actually worse, because then it’s just Internet Balls

  27. It’s just Dave. You should have heard the stream of hate when Apple didn’t make Frontier the language for Apple Events.

    It’s like this…Dave can say whatever Dave wants because Dave is always right.

    If you’re not Dave, then shut up, and live with that inferior state, quietly, so you don’t disturb Dave and the greatness that is Dave.

    He may be MUCH different in person, but on line? That’s Dave. ANd if he IS much different in person, that’s actually worse, because then it’s just Internet Balls

  28. “Winer responded by pointing to a childhood picture of Cadenhead on the author’s site and writing, “See the little boy? Want to have sex with him?””

    WTF?!?! What the hell did he hope to achieve by doing that? Robert, if you are truly his friend, and I suspect you are – take him to get therapy.

  29. “Winer responded by pointing to a childhood picture of Cadenhead on the author’s site and writing, “See the little boy? Want to have sex with him?””

    WTF?!?! What the hell did he hope to achieve by doing that? Robert, if you are truly his friend, and I suspect you are – take him to get therapy.

  30. It seems rather presumptuous to assume any responsibility for the blogosphere at large. If not for you some other schmuck would have arisen in your stead, and after you leave a thousand more will jockey for your place on the list.

    Given the sheer number of people who Mr. Winer has wounded and enraged, I can’t help wondering if all of them can really be in the wrong or if the blame more likely rests on the one person whom they have in common.

  31. It seems rather presumptuous to assume any responsibility for the blogosphere at large. If not for you some other schmuck would have arisen in your stead, and after you leave a thousand more will jockey for your place on the list.

    Given the sheer number of people who Mr. Winer has wounded and enraged, I can’t help wondering if all of them can really be in the wrong or if the blame more likely rests on the one person whom they have in common.

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  33. Scoble, I read your blog for the tech. Your purpose as you stated is to show new, cool stuff that makes your life better. Please keep that up.

    People will always get into pissing matches. What’s the best thing to do? Stay on the sidelines. Don’t get involved. If you keep showing off the cool stuff and are honest about it, it works itself out.

    Really appeciate the tech that you have shown off. Most of my friends are amazed at what I pass along to them from this blog.

  34. Scoble, I read your blog for the tech. Your purpose as you stated is to show new, cool stuff that makes your life better. Please keep that up.

    People will always get into pissing matches. What’s the best thing to do? Stay on the sidelines. Don’t get involved. If you keep showing off the cool stuff and are honest about it, it works itself out.

    Really appeciate the tech that you have shown off. Most of my friends are amazed at what I pass along to them from this blog.

  35. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.05/winer_pr.html

    “He can’t apply the same standards to himself that he applies to others,” says humorist and programmer Greg Knauss, who last year created the WinerLog parody site (since taken over by a much angrier and less funny group of contributors who write under the collective name Zaphod). “He’ll launch into people really hard, doing over-the-top, needless stuff, like posting sexual slurs about Rogers Cadenhead when they disagreed, but then he says there is to be no flaming on his own site.” Cadenhead, the author of best-selling books on Java programming and other software topics, disagreed with Winer over the propriety of the Third Voice site-editing technology; Winer responded by pointing to a childhood picture of Cadenhead on the author’s site and writing, “See the little boy? Want to have sex with him?”

    Did Dave ever apologize publicly for this? I think not.

  36. http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/9.05/winer_pr.html

    “He can’t apply the same standards to himself that he applies to others,” says humorist and programmer Greg Knauss, who last year created the WinerLog parody site (since taken over by a much angrier and less funny group of contributors who write under the collective name Zaphod). “He’ll launch into people really hard, doing over-the-top, needless stuff, like posting sexual slurs about Rogers Cadenhead when they disagreed, but then he says there is to be no flaming on his own site.” Cadenhead, the author of best-selling books on Java programming and other software topics, disagreed with Winer over the propriety of the Third Voice site-editing technology; Winer responded by pointing to a childhood picture of Cadenhead on the author’s site and writing, “See the little boy? Want to have sex with him?”

    Did Dave ever apologize publicly for this? I think not.

  37. Robert, please. Half, if not three-quarters of your value to Microsoft comes from this blog.

    Otherwise, you’re just a division evangelist doing happy little internal videos for internal marketing.

    Like it or hate it, this blog is what makes your value.

  38. Robert, please. Half, if not three-quarters of your value to Microsoft comes from this blog.

    Otherwise, you’re just a division evangelist doing happy little internal videos for internal marketing.

    Like it or hate it, this blog is what makes your value.

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