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Saturday, February 26, 2005

Blogging For Chickens

As a result of past posts in which I've taken swipes at Canadian political and media types over their ambivilance/ignorance of the blogosphere and internet communication in general, I've been working behind the scenes with a couple of individuals who've expressed an interest in venturing into it themselves.

The learning curve is proving to be steep. For example, when explaining the pros and cons of opening comments, I've found myself explaining what a "troll" is. ("Now that over there, to the left, sir, would be your brake pedal", said the driving instructor). What I wouldn't give for a Usenet Wayback Machine.

I've discovered that explaining the blogosphere to an internet neophyte is rather like teaching a chicken to swim. All the time you're carefully describing paddling technique, the intricacy of the currents, warning about the whirlpools and submerged rocks .... you secretly wonder if you shouldn't just toss the round eyed, blinking thing into the water and offer encouragement from a safe distance.

The same way the rest of us learned.

That said, political types aren't known for their risk taking behavior, so perhaps it's more humane to direct them to this piece by Patrick Ruffini. He provides excellent advice in this post written specifically for politicians;

Blogging by political leaders has the potential to revolutionize campaign communications in this respect: it takes the press out of press releases. Blogs mean that politicians can communicate with constituents directly, without the media filter.

Yet powerful institutional obstacles remain, as evidenced by the fact that only 4 Congressional offices have started blogs. If you're a communications director, chief of staff, or even a Member, and you're looking to overcome internal opposition to a blog, consider this post your guide.

Oh. Who's Patrick Ruffini?
  • Webmaster, Bush-Cheney '04, Inc
  • Deputy Director of Online Communications, Republican National Committee

    Paying attention now?

    Posted by Kate McMillan on February 26, 2005 in Weblogs | Permalink


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    Good topic, Kate. It would seem that someone capable of getting themselves nominated or even elected would have the wherewithal to figure out something as simple as a blog. There are literally tens of thousands of 13 year-olds who have managed to navigate the waters that seem so murky to the politicos. I suspect, like you've suggested, that it's not so much an inability to learn the ropes as it is a possibly well-founded fear of the new media.

    I imagine that there is a great deal of trepidation on the part of the handlers regarding off-the-cuff statements that might come back to haunt a candidate or incumbent in the future. A well-written and considered initial post can sometimes deteriorate into a regrettable exchange of flame-throwing in the comments. And, IMHO, without an open commenting system, a blog is of little use. One way conversations are better suited to TV.

    There's also the idea that a blog needs fresh material added almost daily if it is to maintain an active readership. Many - probably most - politicians don't have that sort of "spare" time for what they are judging, so far, to be of unproven value.

    I see a place for blogs in political campaigns but I don't think the politician is necessarily the best person to do the blogging. I think a savvy campaign should include an official campaign blogger who is well inside the candidate's inner circle. The candidate or siiting politician should make periodic "appearances" by way of the occasional post and some involvement in the comments section discussions.

    Posted by: Jim Elve | 2005-02-27 12:23:54 PM

    Who is Kate? She has extreme power. Kate can freeze missiles in mid-flight over Hull/Ottawa; Kate is from Krypton. It's all your fault, Kate.

    In other news, Putin said that Bush, you know to whom we are referring - Dubya - fired the CBS reporters.

    Bloogers in Russia, any? Nyet, nyet, da.

    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-27 12:30:37 PM

    Paul Martin blogged during the last campaign--did it change him, make him more decisive, more principled or anything else? I doubt it. Moreover, his blog was likely written by someone elso, part of making him appear modern--a friend of Bono, and all that.

    Monte Solberg is now blogging--one of his first postings was an ingratiating suck-up to Warren Kinsella.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-27 2:09:49 PM

    It is not the blog that is the problem it is the content. Just because the Weekly World News and The Chicago Sun Times are both tabloids does not make them the same. [edited by Moderator--Ken, make your point without the pointless slurs]

    Posted by: ken the ex-canuck | 2005-02-27 2:29:10 PM

    Robert McLelland - how do you know why politicians won't blog?
    By the way, for the most overblown capacity to take remarks out of context - there's nothing better than the MSM.

    Blogs are very different from the MSM. The important point about blogs is that they are CAS, or complex adaptive systems. Their knowledge base is self-generating and self-correcting. The information on blogs is open; either the blog is linked to other blogs or it has a comments section. In this way, errors, out of context statements, and inadequate research is rapidly corrected by Many Authors. A blog is not the analysis of only one Author but of many authors, for these authors include all posters and all links. Therefore, a blog provides in depth informational veracity, while the MSM provides propaganda and bias.

    Politicians won't blog, particularly in Canada, for their 'modus operandus' is propaganda, obfuscation, non-answers and...a refusal to be held accountable. Blogs hold all posters accountable. If you say something, you must support it, or someone else will support/not support it.

    I think that it's the non-politicians who should blog; who should demand accountability, and should talk, talk, amongst themselves, to make public the hidden realities of our political governance - i.e., - that there is a serious democractic deficit in this country...and something must be done about it.

    Norman - Paul Martin blogged? Are you kidding us? Blogging isn't just putting up a list of 'hot topics'; it's putting up an ANALYSIS, which is based on solid factual evidence and logic...and then, opening that topic for discussion. Martin can't even do that in daily life.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-27 2:38:39 PM

    Yes - there is a fundamental lack of understanding in the old media about what blogging is. It is not just a personal webpage that is updated from time to time or an online "diary".

    Blogging is multifaceted, interactive conversation that carries with it few risks of being taken out of context, because the post remains for the world to see for themselves. Those who try to manipulate a quote to undermine the writer will soon find themselves the subject of scorn - it's an incredibly stupid thing to do, and as a result, it really is quite rare that it happens.

    I suspect a couple of the commenters here didn't bother to actually read the link to Ruffini, because if you had, you'd discover he's already addressed many of the issues raised.

    From my experience, those who are not blogging are not "afraid" of it. They just don't know a whole lot about it, other than what they pick up in the MSM. At least, that is what I've discovered in the conversations I'm having behind the scenes. Time, as was mentioned, is a big factor. To really pull together a useful blog requires a pretty fair commitment to reading a wide variety of other bloggers, especially the central information clearing houses like Instapundit.

    Reading the MSM is insufficient. They are simply too far behind the news cycle.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-27 3:46:15 PM

    Totally agree ET. Politicians are so often about cute photo-ops and public image. They want a carefully controlled environment to portray themselves. By the way, I must be a neophyte. Excuse my "wide and blinking eyes". What's MSM stand for? Duh!

    Posted by: Jack | 2005-02-27 3:59:56 PM

    "Paul Martin blogged during the last campaign"

    Where can this be found? Is there a blog address for this?

    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-27 4:08:14 PM

    MSM= mainstream media. The major newspapers, the big news stations such as CBC, CNN, BBC, etc.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-27 4:19:44 PM

    By the way, a nice example of the nature of, and power of blogs is a post by Kate on her site: Small Dead Animals.
    She posted a picture of a by-the-sea/lake road that was completely covered in ice; the cars were ice-sculptures, the trees..etc.
    8:16 pm. She wondered where it was; possibly Newfoundland.
    8.59 pm - a post came in that it might be Geneva (Switzerland?)
    10.23 am. It's LAKE Geneva.
    2:11 pm. Lake Geneva in Sweden, with a link showing many more pictures.

    That's the blog. The focus is not on the individual author, as it is in the MSM. In the MSM, you get Authors as Wise Men, who write columns that are supposed to be elevated fonts of supreme wisdom. You really can't argue with these Wise Men because...first, they are columnists which means they are wise, and second, there's no means of openly discussing their column.

    The blog is disinterested in authors. That's why it's best to use an on-line rather than your own name. The focus should never, ever, be on you as The Author, but on the Information. You may supply only a portion of the information; it may be incomplete, not fully analyzed..but..the Blog, as that CAS (complex adaptive system) moves in, and other people rapidly fill in the blanks...In a few hours, clarification, empirical evidence, links - it's all there. The MSM doesn't operate this way; therefore, it can't function as a knowledge-generating system. it functions as a knowledge-moulding system. MSM moulds the way you Ought To Think. A blog can't do that; it's too open to other analyses.

    That's why I think that a politician should NOT have a blog. You elect a politician as an Author; as a particular individual. Individuals, in my view, don't belong on blogs because a blog should not 'tilt' towards any individual but should focus only on - the information.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-27 4:53:01 PM

    "Blogging Vs Terror (Part 1)" :


    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-27 5:49:54 PM

    Be it MSM or blog, one fact of life will continue to reign: all men and women, not all opinions, are created equal.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 1:48:25 AM

    Norman - what's your point with your cryptic and irrelevant comment that:

    "Be it MSM or blog, one fact of life will continue to reign: all men and women, not all opinions, are created equal."

    This statement is, in itself, an opinion and in my view, is a MSM statement and therefore unequal to the functional requirements of a blog. A MSM statement can be obtuse, ambiguous and so general as to be meaningless (but heck, that way it sounds wise), but a Blog interaction is dynamic and always moving towards greater clarity, specificity and validity. That's the difference between MSMs and Blogs.

    The MSM is set up for authorial comments which are not open to rebuttal or clarification because they operate in a linear Author-to-You manner. A Blog doesn't have this authorial linearity; it functions by means of multiple authors who are focused on, as I said, greater specificity and accuracy of information/knowledge.

    Your 'Norman's Spectator', by the way is not a Blog but a Web Page, which simply lists news items from the MSM.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 7:19:05 AM

    ET, I'm not sure what you'd call David Frum online, or Andrew Sullivan online or Paul Wells online but, in view of their quality, I'll settle for whatever it is they call themselves.

    As I've observed, not all opinions are created equal, and I'm sure you have in mind superior writers/thinkers than these gentlemen. However, you'd better hurry off and explain your categorization--which I'm sure will come as news--to the National Post, which two weeks ago reported on its editorial page:

    "The ongoing Gomery inquiry into Adscam is months from completion. But it has already produced what may be the most memorable battle in the history of the Canadian blogosphere " [which ended on] Feb. 14: Kinsella proposes a truce. "I am declaring an armistice with Coyne/Spector/Wells," he writes. "Hell, if the Israelis and the Palestinians can do it, so can Your Humble Narrator." A fitting sentiment for Valentine's Day, Warren. You're a blogger, not a fighter."

    While you're at it, you'd better contact the Editors of the Hill-Times, a staple amongst the political/bureaucratic class in Ottawa, which today runs a long piece entitled, "Raging Bulls: Kinsella-vs.- Spector blog-battle breaks, folds," which begins: "Anyone hoping to really see sparks fly
    during the Gomery Inquiry’s recent
    hearings in Ottawa had to look to the web
    to see two of the commission’s keenest
    observers battle it out and to two of the
    hottest websites in national politics," which concludes: "And in the end, the
    scrappy Mr. Kinsella declared a truce on Feb. 14
    with Mr. Spector, on Valentine’s Day, the day of love."

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 8:45:24 AM

    I would call that yet another example of the self-absorbed, incestuous nature of the little media fishbowl we have here in Canada, in which an online hairpulling contest is considered worthy of editorial comment.

    That an editorial writer in the National Post doesn't understand the difference between a blog and a website is not relevant, other than to provide further evidence that there exists a huge degree of general ignorance about the internet in the mainstream media.

    See my original comments re: explaining the definition of a "troll".

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 9:00:12 AM


    I guess you'll have to correct Andrew Sullivan, who calls his site a blog. You can email him directly from his site. Personally, I find Sullivan to be a very intelligent writer on social and political issues, as do the editors of the Times of London and several other mainstream publications. Closer to home, you should get in touch with the folks who determined that "inkless wells" was one of the best blogs in Canada.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 9:09:24 AM

    ET said, in a previous post, and this is a short paraphrase: One should use a pseudonym when posting comments.

    Why is this valid? What is wrong with using real names when posting? John Milton spoke out in defence of freedom of speech centuries ago in a most eloquent manner.Did John Milton use his name?

    Have we moved beyond print/tv, etc. Does blogging require a new modus operandi? Why?

    Are bloggers just fact-checkers? Or is blogging a new world of human interaction? Is speaking from authority no longer valid? Does one have as much authority as the next one?

    When blogging is done what is the quest? Is there a search: Does Diogenes have a lantern in this era?
    This is too long, but....

    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-28 9:09:53 AM

    "The Breaking News Source of the Blogosphere"

    Claim made at:


    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-28 9:21:07 AM

    Norm, I'll guess you'll have to read more closely.

    I didn't mention Sullivan, Frum or Wells. Why you chose to is anyon'es guess. Neither did "ET" when he/she wrote:

    "Your 'Norman's Spectator', by the way is not a Blog but a Web Page, which simply lists news items from the MSM."

    The statement is completely accurate. The Spectator is not a blog by even the most generous of definitions.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 10:09:47 AM

    Norman - you still haven't explained the meaning of your cryptic post about 'equality'. I don't have anyone in mind; you are the one who posted it, therefore, the content is in your, not my, mind. So- again - what's your point? Or do you prefer the MSM style of cryptic comments which are unaccountable, closed and immune to interaction?

    Again - what's your point? And again, you didn't answer the queries about 'Paul Martin blogging'. So, just like your web page, which is not a blog but a web page, you are behaving in an authorial manner, not as a blogger. Blogging, as both Kate and I have pointed out, is interactive. The agenda of a blog is the INCREASE of information, not the imposition of an authorial ego.

    Also- you are committing the common fallacy of faulty analogies. Just because you call your web site a blog, doesn't make it one. Ditto for David Frum, Andrew Sullivan etc. And ditto for the editorial writers of the National Post. And why should I hurry up and tell them? Why are you positing that they are Fonts of Final Wisdom?

    As a response to the poster who asked why I suggest that bloggers need not use their real names - first - of course I'm not adamantly opposed to the use of the real name, but, my point is that in many instances, this diverts attention from the REAL FUNCTION of blogs, which is everything to do with the dev't of knowledge.

    Knowledge isn't owned by any one individual; it belongs to everyone. That's the power of the blog; it accepts information from all sources; then, it self-organizes the weeding out of the scruff from this input, and 'outputs' a legitimate and accurate knowledge. It's a triadic function. Input from many many sources, which are mediated within those sources, and the output is genuine knowledge. As I said - I think that the example of the 'ice-car' on Kate's BlogSite is relevant and shows how the process works.

    So- by using cryptic names in one's blog postings, I am suggesting that the focus turns from the individual as author, to the informational content. This informational content, or knowledge base, must be open and accepting of new data.

    That doesn't make authored sites irrelevant or useless. The best one I can think of is Mark Steyn's web site and his columns.

    There are some great blogs - particularly in the US - such as Diplomad (now gone unfortunately); Dr. Demarche, New Sisyphus etc, etc..and the home bloggers are anonymous. The focus has to be on the information, never the authors. Authorship belongs to the becoming defunct MSM realm.

    No, bloggers aren't just fact checkers, though that is an important empirical function. Blogging is a new method of developing knowledge. And, references to authority become less relevant in this new mode. As I've said, the new mode is a networked, multifaceted, multiple linked, multiple participants method of gathering and developing knowledge. It is enabled by the internet which is disinterested in spatial and temporal variables - and in individual hierarchies. Anyone can post, from the expert to the non-expert. The system as a CAS (complex adaptive system) self-corrects, weeds out the chaff, ignores the irrelevant trolls and emotive screeches, and generates a vibrant knowledge formation.

    It's new, it's important - and there aren't enough of them in Canada. In Canada, we still have web sites whose owners think they are blogs, and we have a hesitation to analyze, to comment and to act. We tend to leave it up to the Authorities (politicians and MSM writers0 to do those two actions. We are in a democratic mess - and will remain so, unless we take back the power of thought, comment, analysis and action, from that level.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 10:31:44 AM


    You and ET seem to disagree on whether Sullivan and Frum are producing a blog or not.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 11:06:42 AM

    I'l repeat for those who missed it:

    "I didn't mention Sullivan, Frum or Wells."

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 11:34:09 AM

    ET writes, "Blogging, as both Kate and I have pointed out, is interactive." I deduce from this that you and ET agree on whether Sullivan, Frum and Wells are blogging. Perhaps you don't; perhaps you don't want to declare yourself one way or another on Sullivan, Frum and Wells.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 11:47:15 AM

    I won't address it because I'm not going to indulge in your attempt to deflect the discussion from the questions that were asked of you.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 12:06:43 PM

    Norman - I don't think that you, since you are not AllSeeing and AllWise, are able to define Kate's conclusions about whether/not Frum, Sullivan etc are 'blogs'. Nor are you able to define mine. That is - what is the data base you are using to conclude that Kate and ET disagree? Again - you've provided a cryptic post, which seems to be grounded not in facticity but in an authorial position of ultimate Wisdom. Why?

    And again - you still haven't answered any questions. You were queried by someone about Paul Martin 'blogging'. No reply. You were queried by me about equal opinions etc. No reply except a further ungrounded authorial innuendo.

    The noun 'blog' (web log) and the verb 'blogging' are not closed and definite terms but multilayered, with merging multiple meanings as this new mode of discourse emerges and is clarified. I myself, do not consider your page, which is focused on yourself, your book(s), and a list of hypertext newspaper links to be a blog; I consider it to be a personal website. Same with David Frum, Andrew Sullivan and etc. Its focus is not on the generation of knowledge but on the presentation of YOUR views.

    Personal websites are very common and have been around for many years, far longer than the emerging knowledge-generative blogs. Faculty in most universities have them; they include their research papers, conferences, courses etc. They do NOT, as do you, ask for financial donations or chat about the books you are currently reading. In that sense, academic web sites are less personal than the ones you mention (yours, Frum, Sullivan).

    There are good and bad and middling web pages. Some tend to be focused primarily on the individual; others on the content of their articles and books.
    There are some very good web pages. I'm thinking of Mark Steyn, Michelle Malkin - which are focused around insightful and comprehensive analysis.
    I'm sure you aren't interested in my view of your web page - but ....

    Blogs and blogging are emerging realities and are moving away from the individual webpage agenda of personal promotion, and are geared instead to knowledge generation. Knowledge generation requires extensive data collection, and this is best done by a group rather than one individual. This develops a network of interactors who together, work to generate knowledge. This network is 'alive'; it consists of open, flexible contact sites or 'nodes' (individual participants), some reasonably stable, others peripheral and transient. Together, this 'organic network' functions to generate knowledge.

    This is, to me, the genuine Blog, which is emerging in the last few years as a worldwide phenomenon of a global CAS (complex adaptive system)dealing in information and knowledge. To enable this knowledge generation - the blog must be open to comments, for knowledge is not a product, ever, of a single individual but of a 'community of individuals'. There are some tremendous blogs. I can think of The Diplomad, The Daily Demarche, Chrenkoff, Belmont Club, New Sisyphus etc.

    The agenda is not to present individual points of view - which are to be found in personal Web Pages - but to generate knowledge, understanding knowledge as an evolving process of clarification and specification.

    So- be careful of lumping all web-based pages under the same Term. Your personal web-page remains yours, personal, and focused on you as Author and Authority. A genuine blog, emerging particularly in the last few years, is not interested in individuals-as-Authors/Authorities, but transfers that interest to the knowledge itself. That's what a good blog should focus on - the generation of knowledge, and that requires a 'community' of interactors.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 12:07:14 PM

    ET, I understand your definition of blogging would not include Sullivan, Wells and Frum. I'm just looking for a simple answer from Kate to a simple question. Are Sullivan, Frum and Wells blogging or not?

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 12:14:20 PM


    Obviously, you have the right not to answer my question, for whatever reason.

    I'd simply observe that you won't be serving the ostensible reason for starting this thread--that is, sharing your experience of "explaining the blogosphere" in the face of a "learning curve [that] is proving to be steep" to an "internet neophyte."

    However, it's entirely your decision whether you help us understand what blogs are and what they are not, by giving your view on whether Wells, Sullivan and Frum are blogging or not.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 12:30:26 PM

    Norman - I'm puzzled. You are repeatedly asking Kate whether she thinks Frum, Sullivan, Wells are 'blogging' or not. Why are you insisting that she answer this question? I've given you my answer; why do you also need hers? How will that response definitively enable you to understand the nature of blogging? Frankly, I suspect your repeated request to her is a power-play on your part, not a genuine desire for information.

    You yourself refuse to answer questions that are put to you. Why? You've been asked repeatedly about Paul Martin's 'blog'; you've been asked for the URL; and repeatedly asked about your meaning of 'equal opinions'. You simply ignore the questions and yet - you insist on others answering your questions! Don't you realize that you are behaving in an Authorial manner, where you alone have the right to ask questions??!

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 1:09:10 PM

    Actually, for those who haven't picked it up on their own: Norm is doing a fine job of illustrating the classic "troll" behavior I mentioned in the original post.

    This exchange was intended for educational purposes only, and I thank Norm for his kind assistance (and convincing performance!) in this demonstration.

    It is a difficult concept to put into words concisely - more easily grasped when you see the phenomenon unfold for itself.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 1:45:19 PM


    You're right--your statement that Andrew Sullivan, for example, is not a blogger is sufficient.

    Martin's blog was written about during the election campaign by Susan Delacourt of the Toronto Star, amontg others--you can search it out.

    I'll be expanding on my comment re not all opinions being equal in a forthcoming column.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 2:49:14 PM

    ET. Thank you for your explication. The Belmont Club has brought the process home, for this poster, (literally, also). The trolls were handled with acute care by Wretchardthecat and posters.

    Brevity is the ..... way to run; leave the ego out; give one's self an "agonizing reappraisal", as John Foster Dulles was fond of saying; be open to criticism, positive & negative. The facts , just the facts. Opinion, also, can become a fact?

    Kudos to Western Standard for providing this forum for Canadian conservatives and all others of a contrary viewpoint. Without dissent, we conform.

    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-28 3:33:39 PM

    here's the link to Paul Martin's campaign blog


    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:06:34 PM

    A quote from "Paul Martin's campaign blog"

    "Paul Martin is Amazing"

    Certainly, he'll say anything. His latest mantras, repeated faithfully by a press that has given up entirely on saying anything substantially critical about the Liberal party (other than screaming "MINORITY!!! MINORITY!!!" on a regular basis), are as follows:

    "politicians should keep their promises"
    "health care, not tax cuts are our first priority"

    For anyone who has minimal knowledge of Paul Martin's record, this is pure orwellian insanity! To the press, apparently, it's just another claim that can be repeated as if the source is pure of mind and heart, and history doesn't exist."

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-02-28 4:17:23 PM

    Here's a link to a couple of segments on The Current on his blog


    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:29:40 PM

    Here's a link to a blogger who found his blog


    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:31:35 PM

    Finally, here's a reference to Paul Martin's blog from the BlogsCanada site.


    I predict we'll see many more politicians go this route--for as long as blogs remain the flavour of the month. Andrew Sullivan, on the other hand, will continue to make substantive contributions to social and political debate for many years to come

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:37:05 PM

    Here's a great article on Paul Martin's blog, Belinda's blog and Ed Broadbent's blog. Ed is also a rapper, as you recall.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:39:09 PM

    sorry, here's the link to belinda, ed et al


    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-02-28 4:39:48 PM

    Norman - Are you serious? You've provided a URL which you say is Paul Martin's campaign blog. That's not Paul Martin's web site (i.e., Paul Martin, the PM); that's a critical parody! It's a continuous criticism of Martin!!! It's not Paul Martin, the PM!!!! Are you putting us on?

    The Current? That's just a web site and just provides a few vapid comments on CBC's vapid discourse. I didn't see any comment about Paul Martin's blog- and remember, you are supposedly referring to Prime Minister Martin's blog. No such thing.

    Then, you provided a link to the person who 'found his blog'. But, once you go to that link, the next link- to Paul Martin's blog - doesn't work.

    And, the Canada Blogs link ALSO doesn't work. It doesn't take you to Paul Martin's blog.

    Then, you provides a 'great article' on Paul Martin's blog, Belinda Stronach's blog, and Ed Broadbent's blog. If that is what you think a great article is, well...as they say...I've got a bridge to sell you real cheap.
    Oh- the article said that Martin can't blog; that he thought blogging was something coming out of a swamp; that Stonach DID have a blog but that it wasn't updated and disappeared...Same with Broadbent.

    Oh- and I tried ALL three links in that 'great article' - links to the blogs that you say exist for Martin, Stonach, and Broadbent. None of them work. There ARE NO BLOGS for these people. OK?

    So- here you've been telling us all about these blogs - and they don't exist. And, the one that you said was Paul Martin's (and by god, it's also listed on that 'great article site')..well, it's NOT Martin's blog!!! It's a spoof! Haven't you bothered to even read a few words of it??

    Norman. First, learn a bit, just a bit about the internet. Then, learn the difference between a blog and a web page (and that 'great article' does mention a few differences'). And finally, before you provide us with data and information and pontificate on such - check out that same data and information.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-02-28 5:26:38 PM

    The 'sphere is a "self-repairing network."



    Are such mechanisms rare? Where?

    (Also has stuff on PM PM's masterfulhandlingof the BMD file.) (Wow: i've got it: bureaucratesy; File is the buzz word).

    Posted by: maz2 | 2005-02-28 7:07:36 PM

    Troll though he may be, Norman is not making Paul Martin's blog up -- I remember it and its dorkitude well.
    PM's blog, which was started when he was running for the Liberal leadership, was on his website at www.paulmartintimes.ca, which was discontinued shortly after he seized www.pm.gc.ca. (That other site -- www.paulmartintime.ca -- was started up as a parody.)
    Here's an archived version of Martin's first post: http://web.archive.org/web/20030605154230/www.paulmartintimes.ca/personal-paul/why_blog_e.asp

    Posted by: JKelly | 2005-03-01 12:17:27 AM


    That's precisely what I wrote and precisely my point--Martin blogged during the last campaign. The site is dead. Monte Solberg is now blogging.

    I think you'll find a lot more politicians doing likewise, now that rap is less novel and blogging is the flavour of the month and the MSM are writing about it.

    I'll bet that none of these blogs ever approaches the quality of Andrew Sullivan or David Frum. Let's face it: both these gentlemen are very highly educated and few bloggers could qualify even to carry their schoolbags.

    You and Kate have your work cut out, if the the National Post's editorial page article on "the most memorable battle in the history of the Canadian blogosphere" is any indication.

    The confusion seems to have spread widely, as you'll note in "Blogging: The new soapbox," a long spread published a couple of Saturdays ago in the Vancouver Sun that includes in BC's top 10, "political columnist Norman Spector, the former policy adviser to premier Bill Bennett and prime minister Brian Mulroney, operates Norman's Spectator....Norman Spector's columns combined with great political links...Besides having a photo of the scenic view from his Victoria-based office, Spector provides links to a wide-range of news articles and an archive of his columns."

    Frankly, I'm not sure the effort or the distinction is worth much but, hey, it's a free country. Personally, I'm quite satisfied with the Hill-Times' including me as one of the "two of the hottest websites in national politics."

    As I said, not all opinions are created equal, as is quickly evident in the blogoshphere.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-03-01 12:21:03 AM

    Norman - you are diverting attention from your misinforming this list and you are not accepting responsibility for those actions.

    First - the URL you provided was to the parody of Martin's website. Take responsibility for that. The REAL website URL, which was short-lived, was not provided by you but by JKelly. Note the different address. The parody has no 's' in 'times'. How about a brief apology? Your reference to Solberg did not link him to this parody site and you can't claim that it did. So, take responsibility. Martin's website was not a blog; merely a personal page. End of story.

    Websites are a dime a dozen. Nike Shoes has a website. So does the NY Times. So does Holt Renfrew. So do house builders. So do banks. So??? They are not blogs. Learn the differences; differences matter.

    You provided a set of URLs that were empty. Take responsibility. A courteous individual would apologize for stating that those URLs were to valid websites.

    You then move further into your defensive mode (where one is never, ever, wrong)..by praise of David Frum and Andrew Sullivan..as 'highly educated'. So what? What do these two guys have to do with your list of URLs? What do their webpages have to do with blogs? You should understand that a lot of us are highly educated. Gosh, possibly even a lot more so than those two guys. So? And do you know what - high education doesn't prevent one from being an idiot! The two variables (education, intelligence) are NOT necessarily linked! The relation is probable, not necessary.

    So- what's your point that "few bloggers could qualify even to carry their schoolbags". You must provide evidence for this statement, otherwise, it is merely a vapid sentence. So- what's your point? What are you trying to say - other than a petty and weak attempt to insult bloggers/blogging. OK - your ego has been scratched by your providing the list with fallacious URLs, and because you are mixing up personal webpages with blogs -- and you obviously have a pretty fragile ego. But, that isn't a good enough reason for informing the list that 'few bloggers could qualify to carry their schoolbags'. That's a schoolboy taunt.

    I do think that it's great that your website provides a photo of the scenic view from your Victoria office. Not all of us are so valued or valuable, that we have scenic views.

    You inform us all of the fact that the Hill-Times (a parochial newsletter, rather akin to the XX-Village News of Recent Events in our Village)- considers yours as 'one of the two hottest websites in National Politics'. You are assuredly blessed with such esteem.

    And, you are back to your cryptic meaningless conclusion that 'not all opinions are created equal'. How true, how true. What a wise statement. Not all apples are created equal, and I'm sure I could say the same about snowflakes.

    First, an opinion is, in itself, irrelevant, for it is without evidence or logic. A conclusion (not an opinion) that is derived from factual and logical premises - well, that may, just may, be valid. Or, it may be invalid. So?


    Posted by: ET | 2005-03-01 7:38:15 AM

    What "work"?

    Again, you display deep ignorance of the blogosphere. You cite the Vancouver Sun? Say what?

    Tell me - how many Instalanches has your site recieved in the past year?

    Technorati indicates that the Spectator has only 14 incoming links, from 12 sources. What does that mean? Virtually no one is linking to you. The highest ranking one who does is Colby Cosh.

    In contrast, Technorati shows Colby (who is a blogger) has 650 incoming links from 521 sources. Damian Penny - 659 links. The Shotgun 131 incoming, Smalldead has 344 links. I also write for another group blog - Outsidethebeltway. With OTB's 1,907 incoming links, where do you think my time is best spent???

    The beauty of indicators like Technorati is that they function outside that little "incestuous fishbowl" of that mutual admiration society that I mentioned earlier.
    It tells you what people really think.

    Your site is not so much a blog as it is a news aggregator. And not very useful a one, since it only updates once a day. Good aggregators will be updating hourly, as news breaks.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-01 7:58:22 AM


    Your last posting provides all the evidence I need of the absence of a self-correcting mechanism in the blogosphere.

    I wrote that Paul Martin blogged during the last campaign. You made baseless charges and, when proven wrong by JKelly, you compounded them. All under the guise of anonymity.

    Most of the content on blogs is junk, and I greatly appreciate the confirmaton. MSM make lots of mistakes, but no one writing in the Western Standard, for example, could get away with the standards that you've exemplified here.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-03-01 8:01:03 AM

    Put down the shovel, Norm. You can't dig your way out of a hole.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-01 8:15:22 AM

    Norman - again - all you do is rant. Stick to empirical and factual evidence and to logic. Don't use the fallacious tactics of argumentation - ad hominem, ambiguity, false analogies....You tend to fall into them in defense.

    You state that there is an 'absence of a self-correcting mechanism in the blogosphere'. Provide empricial proof for this assertion. Otherwise, your statement is empty posturing and such posts are irrelevant.

    I'd say the fact that two posts on this blog, regarding your errors in informing us that Paul Martin has a 'blogsite', are evidence of self-correction. Again - you are not acknowledging your errors. You don't know the difference between a website and a blog. And YOU told us that Martin has a blog. When asked for the URL, you did not answer; it took repeated requests for you to do so - and...you provided a false site!

    Then, you accuse me of 'baseless charges'. What exactly were those charges I made? Come on. State them. I asked for clarification of 'blog' And I asked for the URL. Is that a charge? Then, I told you that what you had provided was not Martin's website. Was that baseless? Be very specific in your answer.

    And - it was JKelly, not you, who cleared up your error. Don't take credit for him. Remember -He's part of the 'self-correcting' action on the blogosphere which you deny exists.

    How were my charges compounded? First - what were my charges????

    Anonymity is irrelevant. Big deal; don't try to divert the issue - which remains - that you made baseless claims that Martin was 'blogging' and then, when asked to provide proof, you provided us with both a link to a parody of his site, and then, to empty links. Take responsibility for your actions and don't move into a defensive mode by red herring tactics.

    You then state that 'most of the content on blogs is junk'. Hmmm. How about some proof, rather than this smug, condescending attitude of inviolate superiority, which refuses to be critiqued, which refuses to take responsibility for failures...and just harumphs about his own elitism. Provide some proof that 'most' is 'junk'. Emprical proof please.

    And 'no-one writing in the Western Standard could get away with that standards you've exemplified here'. What's your point? Why are you bringing in this journal? Trying to hide behind it? Why? Again - you're trying to win an argument, not with facts and logic, but with fallacious tactics of red herrings, ad hominem, snide insults, denigration and blah..

    Don't insult the Western Standard. You see, the standards I've exemplified are an adherence to validity, to factuality, to precise meanings. You've refused to adhere to these basic standards.

    You were asked to validate your claims about Martin's 'blogging'. First, you've clearly shown that you don't know the difference between a personal webpage and a blog. Then, you didn't provide any evidence for your claim. Is that how you work? No evidence? Then, you provided both false and empty links. When chided on this, you have refused to acknowledge your responsibility. Is that how you work? Then, you took credit for JKelly supplying the valid link. Is that how you work - taking credit for someone else's action?
    Then, you have inserted ad hominem allegations. Is that how you work? And, inserted comments of others that praise you. So what? Those are, in part and in total, hardly admirable standards.

    Posted by: ET | 2005-03-01 8:28:05 AM


    In the absence of links, I guess I'll just have to console myself with a column in the Globe and Mail, Le Devoir, the Vancouver Sun and the Times-Colonist, tv/radio work and the odd mention in the mainstream media of my "hot" website and "the most memorable battle in the history of the blogosphere" which ended in Warren Kinsella's truce declaration.

    Face it Kate--with a few exceptions, the blogosphere is a miasma of ignorance, paranoia self-indulgence and prejudice.

    Many bloggers haven't the foggiest idea of what they're writing about. Many blog readers haven't the intellectual capacity to differentiate between high quality and the absurdities that pass for so much of the content.

    Many of the quality bloggers--such as Sullivan and Frum in the US, or Wells and Coyne in Canada--are also present in the mainstream media. Many of those who are not in the mainstream media are waiting for their chance to get a real job. In the meantime, many would have very little to write about if it were not for the content of the mainstream media.

    Granted, there are a lot of errors in the mainstream media that provide considerable fuel for bloggers. However, the errors in the mainstream media are infinitesimal compared to the large amount of junk that fills cyberspace. As a quick experiment, one need only compare the average quality of the material in the Western Standard to the average quality on this site.

    Kate, it hasn't been easy to draft this note within the rules against personal attacks that have been conveyed to you and me by Ezra Levant. I hope I've succeeded; if not, I apologize to him.

    Posted by: Norman Spector | 2005-03-01 8:36:06 AM

    I don't know why you'd feel compelled to issue personal insults. I've provided nothing more than verifiable fact and an opinion that is demonstrably more informed about the blogosphere than yours.

    In contrast, I can understand why you'd be "consoling yourself" for the a**-whupping ET has been giving you. Empty links, Norm? A parody site?

    One of the things that most "intellectually incapable bloggers" do manage is to actually eh.. read their sources.

    Posted by: Kate | 2005-03-01 8:49:02 AM

    My dad can beat up your dads.

    Posted by: Don | 2005-03-01 9:22:56 AM

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