Well alrighty then--time for some blog gossip!
Addicted to the blogosphere to an unhealthy degree? Arguably. Having the time of my life? Absolutely. Having blog dreams? All the time.
But this latest development does seem really sick, doesn't it? Though I'll admit to enjoying a deep, consuming, and meaningful relationship with Herman, I just didn't think it was going to get quite this hot and heavy. Last night, the cat joined us, which was even kinkier.
What happened is this: I have been keeping weird hours. I may nap in the evening and then wake up at 2 or 3 am, turn on Herman, and do some blogging or commenting til I get tired again. So I"m on and off the computer at various times all day and night.
Thing is, that when I'm at BG's I blog on the far end of his small futon/couch in the living room. When I'm done for awhile or want to nap on the couch or watch TV, I typically turn Herman off and move him down to the floor to the left of the couch so he's out of the way. But this repeated moving of Herman has resulted in my computer wires fraying, and it's a pain in the butt to have to reboot every time I have an urge to get back on.
So two nights ago, I just kept Herman on at the foot of the couch, laid down for a nap, woke up, and started playing again. Then when I tired, I repeated the above. I'll leave it to anyone who cares to comment to decide just how far gone I really have become.
Anyway, blogging here was addictive enough, but as I've repeated ad nauseum, I've recently also joined BlogCritics, and love it as well. The site gets a huge amount of traffic, and is designed to be both writer and commenter friendly. When a member posts a story, there is a large space at the end of the piece and before the comments which links the interested reader to the writer's other BlogCritics posts, as well as a providing a link to their personal website. Comments are considered an essential part of the "conversation," and there are plenty of them. Personal attacks are not allowed, and a comment moderator is on the lookout for epithet hurling, which is later edited or removed if necessary. But this is done judiciously if at all, and always taking into account the context of the conversational flow and overalll intent.
Now the next bit may seem like I'm bragging, and I cringe at the thought that I might appear to be doing so. But I present the following simply as a lead up to a kvetch I have about the BlogCritics site--or rather, regarding one long-standing member who I think may actually be a bit jealous of my "overnight success." That's probably too extreme, as I think this fellow specializes in being contenious and cantankerous, which I can deal with and have already done with aplomb. But I think with this particular fellow BlogCritic, there may at the very least be some sort of initiation ceremony going on as far as trying to burst the upstart newbie's little pink bubble of bliss.
OK, deep breath--
I've published 14 posts to BlogCritics since I began on January 3rd--some of them new; some adapted from old Shithouse tales. Right now, I have three posts on the BlogCritics Hot Topics board. Hot Topics are posts which have had the most comments in the past 72 hours, and they stay there as long as applicable. A fourth post was up there also til a day or two ago. Being on the Hot Topics board is also beneficial because your story remains on the front page longer. A story routinely only stays on the main page for four days before it's archived, and with each passing day it goes lower down the front page line, thus making it less visible to the average reader.
My piece Pro-Life or Anti-Sex, posted on January 14, has garnered 378 comments thus far and was cited twice under this weeks Editor's picks page. My old Shithouse post Those Army Ads are BROILING my BUTT!, which I posted to BC on January 17, has amassed 128 comments. I'm also enjoying and commenting to other posts, since the variety and quality of articles at what is essentially more an online magazine than a blog is mostly top notch.
For the Editor's picks of the week, the Politics editor chose the "Anti-sex" post, as did a fellow blogger who'd had a piece picked out last week. (Writers who've been picked have the option of doing a pick of their own the following week). Here's an excerpt of what Blogcritics.org Writer alpha said:
"Pro-Life or Anti-Sex? by Elvira Black:....I really chose this post as a performance: both the writing and the moderation of comments. She answered critics, thanked commenters, found good things to say whenever possible and attempted to keep the thread on a fair and thoughtful rather than personal track. A Blogcritics strength is the comments make each article interactive. Elvira used and guided that firestorm to make her article, the Bambanek post and the comments one long conversation. Kudos."
OK, so here's my point. This post brought up a lot of emotions in many people, and represents a subtopic of a very controversial pro-life/pro-choice debate. Although I do my best to respond to every comment on Shitrat if at all possible, on a piece with so many comments over at BC I simply let people "talk amongst themselves" where appropriate, and chiimed in from time to time after commenting more frequently when the first comments came trickling in. As I said there, I love a post that makes its own gravy even when you're not attending to it!
I was having a similarly positive experience on the comments to "Those Army Ads are Broiling my Butt!" Though the comment count is not as impressive as the even more "sexy" topic mentioned above, the discussions remained well-tempered yet lively for the most part. The first hint of real trouble came when "ArmyGirl" logged on, demanding that I click on a link she provided to a partisan Conservative think tank on army recruitment stats, and called me an Idiotarian to boot.
This was all well and good, as I am quite capable of fighting my own comment battles. But at some point a BC regular writer and commenter, who had written very supportive comments to the "Anti-Sex" post, suddenly came on board and without making clear his political stance on the issue (pro-war all the way) began to pick at me for supposedly being mean to ArmyGirl.
With every response I made to him, his retorts became more and more absurd and off the main topic, finally devolving to a dismissal of the quality of my post (this despite the number of comments from him and many others). So I finally dismissed him as a troll and stated that I was posting a "please don't feed the trolls" sign in my comment. His last statement was:
"You don't know trolls until you've met X and Y. And they can't read signs.
And blowing off legitimate critics as trolls is going to leave you all alone with your fan club of one."
Let me hasten to add that though I don't know X, Y was an early and "loyal" ally of mine in my comments sections----though I take it he's not a fan of this guy--who by the way, doesn't agree with the "no personal attacks/moderated comment" policy. Gee, wonder why?
All this after adroitly handling 300 plus comments on one post and 100 plus on another. As I say, the blogger in question had a problem with my point of view, even though I tempered my anti-army commercial stance with the fact that I do support our brave troops--just not necessarily what they are being asked to fight for, and how they have arguably been deceived in the process.
So although I literally laughed this off, it did indeed take the bloom off my BC euphoria. Here was a fellow BC writer who had decided to lay into me by claiming I hurt a critical commenter's feelings, while not revealing his political affilation which was the real reason for the off-point commentary that followed. Then he siimply started attacking my post and my commenting savvy and skills in the face of all evidence to the contrary.
Finally, I felt so low that earlier this evening I actually turned Herman off and stashed him on the floor by the side of the couch, just like the "old days" and fell into a troubled sleep.
But here I am again, this time venting on my own personal space. What a relief to always have my little Shithouse "home" to run to when the big bad bloggie world gets to be too much...