Saturday, 10 November 2007

On The Defensive

A recent post on the newly set up lefty 'superblog' Liberal Conspiracy reintroduces a bone of contention that has occupied some of the UK's most prominent bloggers for some time - Are tactics used by certain right-wing bloggers unacceptable?

For the uninitiated, the practices decried by the likes of Justin McKeating (of Chicken Yoghurt) and Tim Ireland (of Bloggerheads) include 'sock puppetry'1 (the use by a single individual of more than one online identity in the same context), 'astroturfing'2 (the deliberate and false creation of an impression of public opinion) and the selective deletion of comments3. These are seen as being damaging to this new and growing medium.

"But the credibility of all weblogs is undermined when the self-proclaimed 'leading' political bloggers cannot conduct themselves with integrity...We can and we must do better than this, or every scrap of potential is going to be pissed away." - Tim Ireland3

However, in attempting to hold their fellow bloggers to standards that no-one has agreed to, the likes of McKeating and Ireland risk being seen as high-handed and self-righteous - descriptors that vocal leftists in general struggle to shake off at the best of times4. Tim Ireland is a blogger whose tenaciousness in his attempt at 'raising blogging standards' have extended to the construction of a venomous spoof of one opponent's blog5 and frequently involves himself in other bloggers' battles6,7 in his effort to clean up political blogging.

Right or wrong on the specifics he talks about, it should hardly come as a surprise to McKeating that a blogger who writes about little else but other bloggers' faults and failings finds himself described as "obsessive"8, an "E-stalker"9 and "an insufferably pompous blowhard"10.

From the point of view of this sidelines observer, Liberal Conspiracy would be much better off concentrating on advocating the ideas and issues of the liberal left, rather than becoming involved in this sort of tabloid tawdriness.

More: Dizzy Thinks

1. http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/08/more_tory_sockp.asp
2. http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/01/briefing_astro-turfers.asp
3. http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/11/ellee_seymour_little_miss_conduct.asp
4. http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2007/11/06/we-need-our-own-space/#comment-85
5. http://www.bloggerheads.com/guido_fawkes/
6. http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/11/nadine_dorries_iain_dale.asp
7. http://www.bloggerheads.com/archives/2007/10/little_boys_in.asp
8. http://www.liberalconspiracy.org/2007/11/09/a-good-clean-fight/#comment-498
9. http://www.order-order.com/2007/01/no-comment.html#c116903209074436899
10. http://timworstall.typepad.com/timworstall/2007/01/bloggerheads_an.html#comments
(17/01/07, 16:44)

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