Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Glossary: Blogs, bloggers and commenters

Sun 6 May 2007, 8:48pm

The term blog is a contraction from the original term Weblog. It developed from an originally discrete, online diary format, and uses a range of evolving connective tools to build and multiply an audience. Wikipedia lock it down as: “someone who maintains a weblog”. On Slugger, however, it is sometimes interchanged with the term commenter: ie, those “who leave remarks in the ‘comments’ section”. This is a purely local derivation, possibly because the commentariat play a larger role here than on many other blogs . But in the wider world it is a misleading and inaccurate elision (See: The tail that wags the blog).

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Comments (18)

  1. SuperSoupy says:

    Mick,

    There was another blogger who used to question if Slugger was a blog at all. Who was it? How did he describe it? A news feed with a comment facility?

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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    There were two or three who held that view. I’ve tried to search for any remnants of that discussion, but I can’t find it. Perhaps some of the participants might oblige? The point of their objection was that Slugger was not written in a personal voice, that it was more of human news feed than a ‘proper’ blog.

    There were some good and useful arguments in that discussion, but it was more about style and function than whether the site fell inside or outside the base definition above.

    This analysis from The Belmont Club is worth reading. Wretchard mentions three basic types of bloggers: finders; thinkers; and linkers. Slugger actually cross cuts all of those definitions, though I would say my Guardian blog is almost exclusively a ‘thinker’ space.

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  3. SuperSoupy says:

    It’s another purist argument of little interest to many readers but I understand the point.

    Take for example Rusty’s blog from today, there are links and quotes but no personal interpretation of the stories presented. It could be described as a human news feed but the way the story is presented clearly indicates an underlying narrative not explicitly stated. The blog starts with a link to a Sindo piece moves on to another irrelevant Sindo article then links many other stories that are critical of the main factor in the second story. All three have no direct connection but the blogger is clearly trying to create a theme.

    So while I agree Slugger is mainly a human news feed the personal always surfaces when humans are involved. The main difference is Sluggers often isn’t as open about the personal voice behind the entry as traditional blogging.

    Rusty was only the most recent example the underlying personal voice behind entries presented in a news feed style is something all Slugger bloggers engage in imho.

    Maybe this is why I and others have raised perceptions of bias? A news feed style but no openness on the personal voice or narrative.

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  4. Miss Fitz (profile) says:

    I am reading all of this with great interest, but despite the big word (which I am about to look up) and the references, I still dont think we have gotten much further.

    A blog is generally a personal account, and even when it is ‘taken over’ by the commenters, a blogger is the individual who maintains this blog, according to Wikipedia.

    In the case of Slugger, it started out as a Blog. Indeed, it started out as a letter to explain the workings of NI, and went on in that vein for some time.

    It has now evolved into a more complex, multi layered instrument, not easily defined by the existing parameters. The complexity arises because Mick Fealty is not solely maintaining or contributing ‘posts’ that can either stand alone or invite comments.

    If Mick is the Blogger, ie the owner of the site, what does that make the middle people, ie FD, Gonzo, Pete, myself and the others?

    This is not quite an ezine, not quite a forum, and I suppose the best thing would be to compare like with like. Other web sites where there is a personalised news and information feed specific to a gepgraphical entity and fuelled by commentary.

    Interesting to see if anyone can come up with similar sites that fit that definition

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  5. SuperSoupy says:

    Miss Fitz,

    imo When the site was more solely dependent on Mick it would have fitted the criteria of a blog less and a pure news feed even more. The additional bloggers have added a greater personal voice (a necessity for a ‘blog’ to me) but they often don’t spit out their personal views preferring instead application of subtle (or not so subtle) narrative to pieces, which stories they highlight, what/how they link or choices in quotation and/or emphasis at the same time presenting it in a news feed style which normally indicates unbiased material.

    So..I think Slugger goes beyond a news feed while having a presentation style in keeping with one but has the personal slant/opinion of traditional blogging hidden behind the news feed format.

    Of course this doesn’t apply to every contribution from every blogger and is only an opinion.

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  6. BP1078 says:

    The main difference is Sluggers often isn’t as open about the personal voice behind the entry as traditional blogging

    I don’t really get that.
    I read through a fair few sites everyday, a fair few of them are written anonymously and this has always been the case right from the beginning when blogs first appeared on the scene.
    Why is it important to know the real identity of who posts up what, surely it’s the content that you should be judging and making the comment on?

    And the point about Slugger’s perceived bias, which pops up occasionally on here, is also something I don’t really understand:

    1. Slugger is not a state broadcaster, like any newspaper or commercial TV or radio station it does not have to follow the mythical middle road.
    2. Those who disagree with the posts are not forbidden from making their critical comments.
    3. Er..Chris Donnelly?
    He adopts a pretty biased anti-Unionist approach to his blogging IMHO- but so what?
    Nobody’s forcing me (or anyone else) to read what he, Fair Deal, Pete or whoever posts up on here. Anyone who reads a newspaper or blog is a consumer and if the consumer doesn’t like the product being delivered up to them, then they are perfectly free to stop using that product, simple as that.

    If you’re not happy with what a site like Slugger delivers, why are you still reading it?

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  7. Dewi says:

    Hey – cut the introspection and get on with comments, blogs or whatever ! – it was much more fun. !

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  8. Cybez says:

    Wikipedia define
    An Internet forum is a facility on the World Wide Web for holding discussions and posting user generated content, or the web application software used to provide this facility. Internet forums are also commonly referred to as web forums, message boards, discussion boards, (electronic) discussion groups, discussion forums, bulletin boards

    They also define blog http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blog
    A blog (short for web log) is a website where entries are made and displayed in a reverse chronological order.

    Blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject, such as food, politics, or local news; some function as more personal online diaries. A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of most early blogs. Most blogs are primarily textual although some focus on photographs (photoblog), sketchblog, videos (vlog), or audio (podcasting), and are part of a wider network of social media.

    I’d suggest that a word count would define if Slugger could be termed as a blog or an internet forum. If there are more words posted as ‘blog posts’ it could be called a blog. If there are more words posted by commenter’s it should be called an internet forum.

    I checked on Wikipedia what the definition of Slugger http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Slugger&redirect=no was and was redirected to Slugging average which is = (1B + (2 x 2B) + (3 x 3B) + (4 x HR))/ AB
    Mick I thought you’d have that entry @ Wikipedia fixed :-)

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  9. missfitz says:

    Hey Cybez!

    Actually, I was working along the logic you have stated there, but in my mind the difference is that a blog is generally in the control of one person with little formal contributions from otheres. A forum on the other hand can have any number of contributors, where as Slugger is limited to those here at the discretion of the site owner.

    Maybe we are a Blorum, or indeed a Flog.

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  10. willis says:

    An evolving social hierarchy perhaps? Ripe for satirising. I think I am probably petit-bourgeois.

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  11. Wilde Rover says:

    “If Mick is the Blogger, ie the owner of the site, what does that make the middle people, ie FD, Gonzo, Pete, myself and the others?”
    “A forum on the other hand can have any number of contributors, where as Slugger is limited to those here at the discretion of the site owner.”

    Ah, the designation of titles.

    King Mick the Blogger,

    His legion of subbloggers, Lord Pete, Vice-President Chris, et al

    The unruly masses of the blogentariat.

    And, of course, above all is the bloggod, Slugger O’Toole (May He Be Forever Drunk).

    (and if the last comment is offensive to those of a religious persuasion, how does the amount of time you spend with Slugger compare to the amount of time you spend with your God?)

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  12. Cybez says:

    Another reason why Slugger could be defined as not being a blog is that the commenter’s here on Slugger mainly only have an e-mail link to their names. Most bloggers link their name to their blog address. Any time that I’ve visited this Flog or Blorum I’ve noticed that the commenter’s don’t seem to be bloggers. Most blogs that I visit and comment on, from what I see, have a majority of bloggers commenting on them.It’d make it a lot more interesting if all the commenter’s on Slugger had their own blogs and the conversations were held in the wider blogosphere and not just on this Blorum.

    Now we’ve a couple of new words ‘flogosphere’ and ‘blorumsphere’ :-)

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  13. Pete Baker (profile) says:

    The diminution of the blogger and the elevation of the commentariat is not a new phenomenon..

    btw, that’s a reference to an article linked and quoted on Slugger in August 2005..

    The Kit.. and the Kaboodle

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  14. Miss Fitz (profile) says:

    Cybez
    I never aspired to be a blogger, but I enjoy making the odd odd contribution here. Nonetheless, I did set up a blog on one of the occasions Slugger was down, and I was trying the system out. In fact, I think you were one of the few commenters I had on my ‘blog’. (Sole contributor site…..)

    You can visit it still at:http://sluggerette.blogspot.com/

    I dont go there very often, but I might keep it up a little better now…..

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  15. Iano says:

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Weblogs:An_Introduction

    This is wikibook’s definition.

    If the link does not work just copy in the URL up to the of org and then look for weblogs.

    PS Pay attention to the slashdot part.

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  16. Wilde Rover says:

    Sluggerotoole + sluggerette = sluggosphere?

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  17. Slugger O'Toole Admin (profile) says:

    Guys,

    People can tag Slugger with any term they wish (see ‘Folksonomy’). Just be aware there is an established difference between ‘bloggers’ and ‘commenters’, as laid out above.

    Soupy,

    I brought in the ‘purist’ argument to provide reasonable context for your initial thesis.

    Iano,

    Excellent page. I particularly like this part which includes Rebecca Blood‘s blog etiquette . BTW, back in 2003, she referred to Slugger as a portal but, in her estimation, this did not disqualify us as a blog per se.

    Mick (sorry about the admin tag below)

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  18. Cybez says:

    Miss Fitz. Imagine asking children ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ and their reply ‘I wanna be a blogger’I don’t think we’ve reached a stage where anyone aspires to be a blogger.If the general standards of content and presentation of blogs were higher it might be different.I’ll have to check out sluggerette. What inspired such a strange title for a blog? ;-)

    I’m away to edit some of these wiki sites which I find amazing how they are quoted as gospel They’re too easy to link to without thinking who’s last to edit this definition.

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