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 weblogs.com 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 weblogs.com 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.