An Important Phone Call…

Yet another really long rambling post, but … I needed content to fill the page!

I have read sites by Faith for years now. She was one of my first inspirations to get a site online – not a blog, mind you, but a classic 1997 GeoCities site. It took me another two years to own a domain name. In 2000, I started this blog. Here we are today, and how things have changed…

Faith rocks. We may not see eye to eye all the time, but I don’t need that in a friend. I want someone to challenge my way of thinking. It’s good for me, it shakes me up. Thinking is good. It was so, so wonderful to get to talk to her on the phone.

So she made a comment that made me look at the whole Blogshares thing from a completely different angle. Here it goes (she’ll correct me if I get this all wrong, I hope):

Blogshares is not a search engine or an index. It is a game where people buy and sell shares of your blog. For some people, this can be a very personal issue. Someone buys up 2501 shares out of 5000 in your site, they are the controlling shareholder. I joked on my site when I first started playing the game that I should get to say what they post on their site then. I mean, I own it, right? Hmmm. For some people, this is very disturbing. They don’t want someone “owning” their site, whether it’s just a game or not. And the only way to be delisted right now is to post publically in a forum that you want your site taken out of the game.

I agree with her on many of these points. It’s not right that you should have to ask publically to be delisted. It is wrong on many levels for trolls to come out and attack people for asking to be delisted. Also, Seyed’s post yesterday was harshly written – telling people that “BlogShares provides an opt-out mechanism because I want to be nice not because I have to” isn’t a wise thing, and I feel an opt-out mechanism is something you have to offer.

However, I snapped earlier because I felt like I could see a posse forming again on every blog I visited. That is not an attack on anyone when I say that, but rather a frustration with the phenomena itself. It is something I’ve observed so many times in the past year and it simply puts me on edge when I see it happening again. I know I’m not alone in my sentiments. From where I stood, it looked like a lynch mob was going after Seyed. On many sites, not just one. Right, wrong, doesn’t matter. He was being attacked for something that trolls did. No one deserves to be put in that position, in my opinion.

That said, hopefully this post will be a little more constructive. I said earlier today, “you can either be a part of the problem or a part of the solution.” I mean it.

:: Your ping to can be used by anyone for anything. The site has no restrictions on who can parse and use the XML. It’s your choice to ping, but once it’s pinged anyone can take that. If you don’t like people using your data like that, you can ping Blogrolling directly and your data will be used only there.

:: Blogshares has corrected the issue with delisted blogs getting relisted when you pinged again. Time was needed to fix the bug, and it’s fixed now.

:: Blogshares needs a different mechanism for allowing people to opt out. Something NOT public. I suggest using something like Perldesk. It’s a great software package, there is a free version out there, and you can categorize support requests. I would continue to use the forum for support though because the same question is often asked over & over again – people can search the forums for answers.

:: One of the hardest things to do when you run a project like Blogshares (I’ve gone through more than once) is to separate yourself from the project. This project is much bigger than Seyed already, and it’s just a month or two old. People will attack the project, and you have to shrug your shoulders and ignore it. People will attack you, and you can’t take it personally. It will break you if you do.

:: Just because a few trolls suck, and even Seyed has been less than professional a few times, that does not mean that everyone in the game or on the forums is bad.

Which brings me full circle to my final point. People have told me for quite some time that they would be curious as to who my “A-List” is. Most of them are old-timers, some of them aren’t. Many had blogs already when I first started mine. Most of them ignore the drama that travels from point to point in the Blogosphere. I admire that, and I aspire to do so myself.

I hope to see Blogshares continue, and I hope to do my part to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. If you have ideas for making things better, speak up and share them. As Seyed said himself, we all have a lot of passion. If we use it correctly, we can change the world.

Some other interesting posts to note:
Stupid Evil Bastard. (Hey, his name, not mine!)

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

13 replies on “An Important Phone Call…”

BRAVA. I agree with you on all of your points. I won’t play the next round of blogshares, but if someone wants to think they “own” my blog, then fine. Bottom line, it’s a FANTASY GAME. It’s not real, so there’s no reason to for anyone to get their panties in a wad. You ROCK!

Hehe, I’ve pretty much ignored the Blogshares phenomenon after initially checking it out a few weeks ago. It’s not that I dislike it, but stock market kinda things have never really interested me. I could see that some people might get upset, but I think your ideas and thoughts definitely provide a way of improving the service for everyone – including those that don’t want to be listed. As for me, I’ll probably just keep on ignoring the game and leave my site listed. And yes, it’s definitely a good thing for people to remember that it’s just a game and doesn’t have any *real* bearing on blog ownership. 🙂

I’d like to take a moment and point out that I’ve not called on anyone to quit participating in Blogshares over what has happened. I even mention in my posting that I think it would be a shame if Seyed felt the need to shut down Blogshares.

My reasons for asking to be de-listed are directly related to the idea that Seyed thinks my participation in is an automatic opt-in to any other project that comes along, including his. That he believes he has a right to use the data in any way he sees fit simply because I participate in a different, unrelated service. I don’t think he’s a bad guy, I just disagree with his views on what my participation in gives him the right to do. Ask me nicely and I probably won’t have a problem sharing, but start demanding that you have a right and I’ll ask to be removed from the project. I also think Seyed should have realized before he started that just about everyone who runs a blog is going to have at least some sort of emotional attachment to their creations and that making a game out of that without considering the possibility that some folks wouldn’t want to be involved is short-sighted at best and inconsiderate at worst.

You’ve already mentioned here the “posse mentality” that forms around some blogs and I agree that’s a very real thing and many people treat who they link to and who links to them as a form of popularity contest. The very nature of how BlogShares computes a blog’s worth only emphasizes that “popularity contest” aspect to who’s linking who. Already there are folks on the BlogShares message forums offering free shares and other perks to folks who link to their sites in order to raise the value of their blogs in the game. From where I’m standing, BlogShares does more to encourage the sort of mentality you bemoan here than it does to counter it.

That said, I think BlogShares itself is a pretty cool idea and it could be a big boon to the blogging community in a multitude of ways. Those who want to participate definitely should, but those who don’t shouldn’t have to go through a lot of trouble or harassment if they want to be removed from the game.

In the future I may reconsider my decision to de-list my site from the game, but for now I’m uncomfortable with the attitude that Seyed takes toward the people who don’t want to participate. There are enough willing participants that the handful of us who are opting out shouldn’t be reason enough for BlogShares not to continue on.

Les, my apologies to you (and again, to everyone else) if I sounded like I was lumping you into a category. I thought your post was well written and very thought provoking, and I never had the sense that you were calling people out to quit participating. I felt it was a good thing for people to see all sides of the issue, and your post did it well.

After thinking about this whole fiasco for a while I decided to have Seyed relist my blog. The only reason I delisted in the first place was because of the ‘attacks’ not because of opting in/out. Since the attacks were really one attack and not as wide spread as I was led to beleive initally i felt I jumped the gun on delisting. And besides if someone tried to attack my site I would make their online experience a living hell.

Anyway, here is my position on opting in/out. Whats the big deal? I feel that if you claim your blog you have just opted in and want to play the game. If you do not claim your blog, your blog is just being listed on another web site much like google, yahoo and any other site that uses spiders. Sure there is a price tag attached to it, but how is that effecting you if you dont decided to play? The worst that can happen is your blog is being listed on some site which might generate you more exposure.

Oh well everyone has their own reasons and i can see everyones point. I just wish we could all get along.

Parallel universes and more Blogshares pondering
Blogshares pingorama, and owning a piece of Davezilla’s ass. Secretly it’s all Faith’s fault. (Anyway, it’s more fun to say that it is.)

Parallel universes and more Blogshares pondering
Blogshares pingorama, and owning a piece of Davezilla’s ass. Secretly it’s all Faith’s fault. (Anyway, it’s more fun to say that it is.)

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