Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

UPDATED (w/ Poll): Observations on ET and on blogging...

by papicek Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 02:17:51 PM EST

I have no idea what Ragnarok: strimmer edition means, even after reading the post. Just another of life's mysteries. I write this as Colman states:

As it is, the site is heading for closure.
and I'm sitting here missing ET already.

Not being party to the discussions behind the scenes, or present at the creation of ET, I can only speculate on what the original intent or of the success or failure of ET to meet the founders goals for the site may be. I already speculate on other matters, so my quota of wishful thinking and tactical prognostication is pretty well met already.


According to Pew Research, 7% of Americans who use the internet (just Americans, mind you) have created a blog or online diary. That translates to over 8 million people. I've no idea what the figures are worldwide, but this is sufficient to make my point: there are a lot of bloggers out there.

And blogs are a lot of things. The vast majority are personal diaries. Go to LiveJournal, Wordpress.com, blogspot for probably hundreds of thousands of personal diaries. There are some wonderful diarists out there--some of those sites, especially those by artists have been beautifully done. That's one model. At the other end of the spectrum is the completely open community site, like dkos, which though it has one stated purpose (to elect democrats to office), in fact fulfills many purposes. It does fact-checking, commentary, call-to-action and all that, but it also functions as a social networking site, with at least one diarist, plf515, who created and maintains a diary series just on meetups. Semi-journalist blogs, single issue-oriented blogs, academic blogs, bipartisan debating blogs (see Swords Crossed)...the variety accurately reflects the diversity of this crowded globe.

It's a worthwhile pursuit to put your thoughts out there and try to engage the net world in debate. But maintaining a community site can be work. Lots of work. Community sites like this and dkos admit all free of charge, and the resulting level of intellectual acuity will inevitably be...let's just call it "uneven". The solution at dkos is to let the community police itself. Ordinarily, there are no moderation, though in extremis, the dkos god will occasionally insert a well manicured hoof into the proceedings and ban a diarist. The best diarists there get to be front pagers, while the rest of us watch our diaries scroll down the new diary list into oblivion in a matter of minutes.

Many, quality, noteworthy blogs out there tend to be those with restricted access. They may be single-user blogs, sponsored by news outlets, academic blogs, or invitation-only community blogs. Pseudonyms aren't generally used in these--people want their names to be linked with their diaries, and I've found that the use of pseudonyms is almost always a negative indicator as to quality of postings and discussion. Lots of these blogs are listed in various blogrolls I find as I bounce around the net looking for new view points and material. These blogs can get a lot of attention, in spite of the seemingly relative lack of activity. In foreign relations, I find the same sites blogrolled over and over. Abu Aardvark, American Footprints, The Belgravia Dispatch, Passport, and the list goes on and on. The foreign policy community is verbose.

Be it noted that ET was blogrolled in some of these sites, and in at least one, the Passport blog, it has since been dropped. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, I've seen dkos blogrolled nowhere but in personal blogs.

We blog for a lot of different reasons, and now it's time to share with you my reasons. I started out wanting to sharpen my writing skills, and because as a result of what I felt at the time was the unmitigated disaster of the Bush administration, I felt the need to scratch a growing partisan itch. When I found dkos, I thought I'd found a home and community. I began there with one or two breaking news posts, some let-me-bring-this-to-your-attention posts about things I'd read or seen on Frontline. I've since deleted just about all of my early posts. No big deal, few read them and if I had 20 comments, that was a lot of attention. I won't say that I've grown or matured as a blogger, but I've definitely changed. I want now to be a better blogger. A serious blogger, if you will, and I may have to shed my pseudonym in the process. (As it is, I've deliberately made it easy enough to find - about two or three clicks away - to anyone here or wherever I post.) While most of the foreign policy community that blogs aims their thinking at other members of the community, I hope for a wider audience eventually. (I know, I know - I won't be this longwinded when the time comes.) I just picked up a book written by a former US ambassador to Israel entitled, Innocents Abroad, which pretty much spells out what I think is wrong about US foreign policy. My long term goal is a more enlightened, culturally sensitive approach to our foreign affairs. I operate under the assumption that there is a great deal of good that can be done in the world by the US and the UN, if we could only figure out how to do it. I'm still in training for the pundit job, though.

I had scheduled a major (for me) post to appear on April 6th. If you know what happened on that date, you can probably figure out what I plan to write about. I'd like to share it here on ET, and if the site is still around then, I plan to come here with it first. Now, I'm serious about this and plan to alert people out there whom I cite, those involved with the issue i'll be writing about, and others that the post will be appearing. These will be authors, one or two government officials, other bloggers, and maybe a journalist or two. Though I'll crosspost, I had planned to bring them here. It helps me, and if I do a good job, it helps the site. I may even submit the post for a kind of peer review first. (Heads up, Gringo!)

So. Why do we all come to ET? What do we hope to accomplish? How can we members of this community help fulfill the aims of the site owners? Is it already too late? I have the day off and await your comments.

UPDATE: Especially Jerome and the frontpagers! You who do all the work and bear all the expense...what are your goals for ET? You know, we like you guys or we wouldn't be here, it's permissible to ask for cooperation, you know.

Poll
I come to ET...
. To read and occasionally comment 30%
. To write about issues I care about 11%
. To chat in comment threads with like minded people 2%
. Because ET is a site where my voice can be heard 2%
. Because ET is a site with sophisticated readership, and is, or will be, influential 5%
. Because ET is a relaxed venue where thinking people express themselves 27%
. To find out what's going on 5%
. Because of ET's trans-Atlantic point of view 11%
. To find my soulmate (pie) 2%

Votes: 36
Results | Other Polls
Display:
It is not too late. A shot has been fired across the collective bows that got everyone's attention.

To repeat: I believe we are at the very beginning of how Peer to Peer can change society - for the better. A lot of the old 'rules' for discourse still apply, but there are a lot of useful new ones being hammered into shape. These new ones are the rules of how a flock (many equal units) can become an organization - a flexible, non-linear, fast-reacting organization.

Frank S had many insightful and innovative comments in the course of these recent crazy discussions, and I hope he won't mind if I call him an 'old rules' guy. That means he's calling upon management pragmatism  expertise.

His most insightful comment imho was that a lot more people than the FPs have an emotional investment, both as contributors and friends, in a site such as ET. For me that means one cannot fully invoke ownership rights for management. But these matters are hard to discuss, except in a respectful atmosphere such that the transition to a true distributed ownership is possible.  It is a rather unstable feedback system - but, as I said, we are at the beginning, where theory comes up against practice.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 02:59:18 PM EST
other than the fact that what I post might take a different direction than they intend (whatever that is).

I want to do the best work possible. In the past 7 or 8 months I've spent considerable effort and money in upping my game. I don't know if it has been enough to avoid making a complete fool of myself, but I'll hazard the humiliation. ET's a good place for me to do this.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 03:05:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've certainly noticed your commentary coming on a lot, in scope and assertiveness.  Keep up the good work.

PS a "best of the blogs" feature where you list some of the really good stuff you come across on your foreign policy travels could be a useful regular feature!

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 03:50:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've thought about doing, "Share your blogroll/homepage tabs/favorites" diaries before, with some commentary or reviews. I don't know why I quit on the one I had started, but sure, that's an easy idea to revisit.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:01:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As well as the links themselves, it is also useful to know why the link was/is useful to you. I find it easier to intuit a site if a known source gives a framing view.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You've only to go to my info page here, at dkos or at Congress Matters to find out where my blog is and to learn more about me. My 41 link blogroll is already there, though I haven't updated it for a few months.

The links fall into several categories: blogs, news, journals/think tanks, and miscellaneous. Every link is related to this foreign policy thing I'm engaged in (it has quite taken over my life at this point but I still feel the need to put in a big effort.)

I wouldn't think of posting such a diary without including the links anyways...I'm a sharing kinda guy, you know.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:41:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Napoleon abdicated and exiled to Elba.

Europe was Doomed™

by Magnifico on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 03:38:12 PM EST
AHA! I didn't know that. But I was thinking of something a bit more topical.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 03:43:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was looking at the Wikipedia list too.

# 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato in the battle of Thapsus.
# 1652 - Dutch sailor Jan van Riebeeck establishes a resupply camp at the Cape of Good Hope, which eventually becomes Cape Town.
# 1917 - World War I: The United States declares war on Germany (see President Woodrow Wilson's address to Congress).
# 1930 - Gandhi raises a lump of mud and salt and declares, "With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire." Thus he starts the Salt Satyagraha.
# 1994 - The Rwandan Genocide begins when the aircraft carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira is shot down.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 03:50:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well! You cheaters you!

But you've got it. On April 6, 1994, an airplane carrying the Rwandan president was shot down by (it is said) missile at the airport in Kigali, Rwanda. Events quickly, very quickly, developed in one of the worst genocides of that bloody century. While the world watched and did nothing.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:06:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you like, please tell us all why you're sacrificing real-life time and energy into posting.

I mean, you could be enjoying pancakes at the moment.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:44:10 PM EST
Just had mine.  They were yum!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:51:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
{{{{{{{{{{Sigh}}}}}}}}}

Off topic, right off the bat...but then you're blogging for pretty much the same reasons I am. Or am I wrong about that?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 04:54:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some researcher should do a calculation of the incidence of on-topic comments related to the order of the comment on the thread, so that we can get statistical data on the probability of an nth-order comment being on-topic.

If it hasn't been done already.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:06:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, if you want the job, have at it...but why do you blog in the first place?

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One of the informal rules of threads is that people never write what you want them to. Well, mostly.

This blogging business can give you a high and it's important to continue once you've gotten off that.

So, to your poll, which was a good idea, I answered to write about issues I care about, which is also why I blog in the first place.

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:32:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey hey - the diary author introduced the topic.  On what basis do you ordain it to be off topic? :-)

Perhaps we should do a statistical analysis of the location and frequency of meta comments in comment stream.  Someone is bound to flick the ball in another direction from time to time!

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:32:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was the rhetorical figure erotema, framed with an irony so ironic that it bordered on snark :)

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:02:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
your link gives as an example of erotema the question "Just why are you so stupid?"  Is that what you meant to ask?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:25:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL no. Maybe I should have read the page I linked to first.

What I don't want is another flame war breaking out.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:32:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I started blogging when I was too ill to do anything else and I had always wanted to write in any case.  Blogging is also a very good way of learning stuff because it is a way of testing half formed ideas.  Increasingly I am also getting frustrated because blogging can also become a way of avoiding doing stuff in the real world.  So things are a bit in the balance at the moment in terms of what I want to do for my next project.  The kids are getting older and my input there is required less and less.  

I see blogging as a two way process - as a talking with an on-line community - so it can't just be about self expression or writing into a vacuum. It also has to be about meeting felt needs at some end of the universe.  Right now the things which bother me are the economic and political melt-down in Ireland - so many people are losing their jobs; what I see as an ossification of the European project; and what I sense as a failure of "progressive cyberspace" in Europe to connect to the "real world" of opinion makers, political leaders, and popular culture.   I am part of that failure.  A whole generation has been let down - badly - and although I could see it coming, partly, I could do nothing effective about it.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.  Meaning well doesn't cut it for me any more, but political effectiveness when you have never felt comfortable within the political culture and don't have political skills is also not an easy task.  So for the moment I play around with ideas, write a few LTEs and work for a few voluntary organisations.  The blogging is becoming a distraction.  Like a lot of people here I think it may be time to move on.  No doubt others will join up to keep the place going if some people want to keep it going.  A bit of turnover can be healthy.  Blogging is supposed to be fun. When you stop enjoying it its a sign that you're past your sell-by date and its time to leave the fun to others.

I'll still be lurking occasionally and perhaps publishing if inspiration beckons.  But the focus must increasingly be else where.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:25:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough. Though I think you're one of the better bloggers here.

For me, it's a little different. My capacities have been grossly underused these past few years, and part of this whole project I'm into is about meeting this challenge I've set myself. Foreign policy gets my special attention because there's a real and pressing need for a rise in the level of public debate. I imagine that I'll be criticizing the America press quite a bit for the way issues are framed here.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:40:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
and what I sense as a failure of "progressive cyberspace" in Europe to connect to the "real world" of opinion makers, political leaders, and popular culture.

I tend to see it as two different trends coinciding and having interesting effects on each other. On one hand we have the real world leaders distancing themselves from their populations, shifting the window sharply rightwards. This trend has gone on since the 80'ies and has accelerated during the 00'ies. The EU project is suffering badly from this as a) EU-made-me-do-it is one of the more popular scapegoats and b) the EU structure is rather fluid and has a lack of public input.

In Sweden, one of the metrics indicating the abandonement of public consent is the number of members in the political parties and just to pull some numbers:

In 1979 there was 1 582 000 members in the political parties represented in parliament. About 19% of the population. In 1991 that number has shrunk to 625 000 or 7%. Last year with availeble data is now 2006 with 280 000 or 3%. (Members, Population)

The progressive cyberspace is the first pan-EU public space and as such is very interesting. It has little influence because there is little interest in listening, which is of course frustrating. From my experiences with the swedish pirate party I would say that blogs and other means are wonderous means of communication and discussion. You do not get a direct effect by a good argument, effects has to be forced through. Having good arguments and dispersing them are however crucial once you have activists handing out leaflets and organisers getting 10 seconds of airtime. It can also be used as means for organisation.

Again I will use Sweden as example. The FRA law was almost sneeked all the way through parliament. Through party organising (that would be pirate party - forum, irc, skype, IRL), wikis, action pages and blogs momentum was built until this was the main question in the swedish blogosphere. Then on the day of the voting 2000 gathered outside the parliament:

The interesting thing is that this happened without the old media (papers, tv, radio) catching on. Not that it was not tried, but as the narrative was not in pace the story could not break. Until there was 2000 people outside parliament that is, then the story became how this happened with blogs - blogquake was on of the terms. Law was passed tough, but the FRA law turned into the story of the year.

So my general tips for affecting change is organise, analyse the situation and find a path to what change you want to effect. Then work hard and expect to be patronised, lied about and not listened to by anyone who has power now. If people in power listened to reasonable arguments we would not be in this situation in the first place. Reformation is no tea party.

I am late to the general crisis/pity party here and not at all sure what it is about. Though I suspect it has a lot to do with the frustration of creating wonderous deconstructions, undressing the myths and prescribing good ways and not affecting clear political change. Over and over. If so I would like to point out that the stop Blair campaign worked, at least for the time being. I think more such campaigns could work if we formulate:

  • specific goals
  • means
  • narrative

And then put in heaploads of work.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 09:11:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another comment (almost a diary in itself) that I wish I could rate a 5. Thank you.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:56:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Meaning well doesn't cut it for me any more, but political effectiveness when you have never felt comfortable within the political culture and don't have political skills is also not an easy task.  So for the moment I play around with ideas, write a few LTEs and work for a few voluntary organisations.  The blogging is becoming a distraction.  Like a lot of people here I think it may be time to move on.

I suspect a lot of us (Europeans) are looking envious at the USA and the attention / influence blogs are getting there. There is nothing comparable in the EU. Maybe in some of the member states? I don´t know.

I do notice however that blogs even here in backwards Germany are starting to get mentioned in the news media sometimes. It´s a tiny step but I think US blogs have started in the same way years ago. :)

And the European Tribune is one of the few blogs trying to engage / inform Europeans from different countries. That is something precious and shouldn´t be lightly discarded.

To mention just an example.
Your diaries about Ireland. You gave me more information about Ireland than the German media did in the past years. The same with Jerome and his economic and wind energy diaries. And several other diarists / front pagers too.

The point(s) I´m trying to make:

  • The current economic crisis seems to encourage a (mental) retreat to the nation state
  • while at the same time the EU needs to act together
  • and this needed cooperation across European borders is just crying out for discussions (across borders) especially in blogs like this one
  • and especially at a time when said blogs are starting to get noticed in national media.

Speaking for myself only, I would miss this European blog and its diarists / front pagers. You could of course tell me that I should have participated more and you would be right. In my own defense I could only say that I was trying to establish my own small business here in Germany which absorbed most of my energy. So I´ve read and only occasionally commented.

In the end though, I will have to respect your decision. Although I ask you (and all the others) to think about it. As I said above, on the one hand we seem to see a return to the (comfortable) nation state for the solution to the crisis. Which - on its own -  unfortunately can´t solve the current economic problems. On the other hand I believe I see a slowly growing media awareness of blogs even in countries like Germany.

If you want to help Ireland and get the Irish point-of-view to an audience for example in Germany, I would respectfully suggest you shouldn´t stop posting diaries here. I don´t quite know where else you could publish an Irish opinion so cheap and get it read by other Europeans?

I don´t quite see how we can help Ireland, the EU or all of Europe by just disintegrating at the first time of economic troubles?

(Mind you, I´m not criticizing anyone personally. Each of you might have different reasons for thinking about leaving European Tribune. I´m just asking you to think about it.)

by Detlef (Detlef1961_at_yahoo_dot_de) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 04:33:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1.  I'm at work where there's no pancakes, so no sacrifice.

  2.  If by "blog," you mean actually writing diaries at ET, I usually do that to try to show people the sheer absurdity of the notions we accept as fact or correct and to rid my head of bothersome things that get in there via less discriminating media.  And to brainwash you about Russia as part of my FSB duties.

  3.  If by "blog," you mean reading or commenting on ET, I usually do that because I am at work, in front of a computer, in a library, so the nature of my work is antisocial, and I feel more "connected" talking to others.  And if I am going to "waste time" on-line, I want it to be with people I find intellectually stimulating/challenging and satisfactorily entertaining and from whom I will learn something new everyday so my brain does not rot and I don't go around asserting things about the world that just are not true.  Most ETers more than meet my elitist criteria.

I do lurk about and occasionally post at other blogs, like Prairie State Blue, Daily Kos and Sean's Russian Blog, but for some different reasons.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:22:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oops, I was ambiguous there wasn't I?

By "blog" I meant posting at ET, though if somebody posts at another site, the reasons they share with us here are perfectly valid for my purposes.

Thanks for making me clarify.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:46:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET is the best on-line community I've been involved with in over 30 years of being on-line.  That's why I'm here.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 07:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
which will likely be the place to come for delicious pancake recipies.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:11:09 PM EST
Because despite everything you have read over the past days, this is the most supportive, non-judgemental, intelligent, well-informed and authentic "community" in the blogosphere.  

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:24:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If this is true, then I wonder ar the discomfort of Jerome and Colman. Are they looking for traffic? The right kind of traffic? I dunno.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire
by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:49:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
then I wonder ar the discomfort of Jerome and Colman

Wel, it is true as a reflection of my personal experiences, and I suspect I've been to the same blogs others here have been to.

I can't speak for the FP team.  I have some informed opinions, but do not think it proper to share them.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:56:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose I'm just indulging in the best (and worst) of American impulses: to try to fix a problem when it is presented to me. Am I being culturally insensitive? Speaking with the authority of the under-or-mis-informed?

Quite likely some of both. If Jerome and Colman, and whichever FP person wishes to call it quits, then let me say now that it has been a priviledge being here, and thank you all for that.

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 07:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I came here because I thought ET was an excellent idea, and I still think it is...

I stayed:

  • To read and occasionally comment
  • To write about issues I care about
  • To chat in comment threads with like minded people
  • Because ET is a site where my voice can be heard
  • Because ET is a site with sophisticated readership, and is, or will be, influential
  • Because ET is a relaxed venue where thinking people express themselves
  • To find out what's going on
  • Because of ET's trans-Atlantic point of view

I don't really expect to find my soulmate, but you never know...

Also, you can find good pancake recipes...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet

by Melanchthon on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 05:55:36 PM EST
i am, therefore i blog

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:57:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I came for a few reasons, I suppose.  Like many, I got into reading Jerome's diaries at the orange place.  I was also planning to make the move to England.  And, having concentrated partly on European politics at the EU and national levels in college, I was interested in a blog that offered discussions on everything from the big issues facing Europe as well as day-to-day politics.

I think the people on this site are the best one could ask for, both in terms of knowledge and decency.  And the site offers a range of discussion unparalleled elsewhere in the blogosphere, from Jerome's right-on "Countdown" diaries to poemless's wickedly-brilliant "Odds & Ends" to DoDo's wonderful trainblogging to the many exciting adventures of Nomad to Frank's incredibly-enjoyable outside take on the 2008 election and his ongoing coverage of the economic crisis from Ireland.  And much, much more (too much to name).

Shit, who needs the Beeb or the Indie?

And I still want to do a weekly economic news roundtable.  I reckon we could do that with webcams on Skype or something along those lines.  And it would certainly beat the hell out of those idiots on CNBC.  Getting Mig and TBG to debate the merits of Frodo's "stress tests" would be worth it, alone.

I don't always -- hell, not even usually -- have something constructive to add.  But I'd be much poorer without ET.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 06:50:31 PM EST
Aw, you're too kind.

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.
by poemless on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:45:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
okay, I don't think of myself as a blogger--I read a few blogs fairly regularly, well obsessively and occasionally I post something.  
I too followed JoP from dk, and I like ET because of the "trans-atlantic" perspective and because of the intelligent comments

I may be wandering into wacko territory here, but I think also I have this fantasy that European life is so much more intelligent and sophisticated than anything you can get off the shelf here, so it's a way to (maybe) experience that a little bit

And look at how wonderful the "flame wars" are!  You can't beat this warm, tactful agonizing across several diaries, one of which doesn't even allow comments!  Where else could you find anything like this.

I did get a huge kick out of the housing bubble blog before the bubble officially burst and before that actual meltdown last fall.  Now that the mess has happened and everyone sees it, it just isn't any fun anymore.  I guess it's fun to feel like you're in the know--hanging out with everyone who is not afraid to talk about the bubble that most people are pretending doesn't exist.  

I think there is an element of that with ET--I feel like I'm hanging out, (more like observing from a perch on the rafters), at a place most people I know do not believe exists.

by jjellin on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 07:26:46 PM EST
a place most people I know do not believe exists

That is exactly how I feel about ET.

I think they should put this in quotes under the logo on the top left of the front page.

"A Place Most People I Know Do Not Believe Exists"

Come, my friends, 'Tis not too late to seek a newer world.

by poemless on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:52:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
utopia.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:54:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Most people I know don't think hell exists either...

"Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms." -Dostoevsky
by poemless on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 01:35:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please feel free to use the line.
by jjellin on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 01:27:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
jjellin:
And look at how wonderful the "flame wars" are!  You can't beat this warm, tactful agonizing across several diaries, one of which doesn't even allow comments!  Where else could you find anything like this.
Well, I'm glad somebody enjoyed it.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:55:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, you know, compared with some of the vicious fights I've witnessed at dkos . . .  this is heavenly

but I realize that things can always take a turn for the worse, so I'll knock on blogwood.  knock knock

by jjellin on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 01:33:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
...but I did find my Remora.

(ducks)

by PIGL (stevec@boreal.gmail@com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 08:26:52 PM EST
I'm currently listening to the Obama speech and I am VERRRRRRRY HAMMERED so please forgive me.

ET is far tooo valuable to this, your species, than you might realize so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop this "ET will stop ... stuff (I was going to say crap!)"

I will sober up. I will regret typing these words and posting them.  I will wake up in 6 hours and think "Oh crap, Did I post THAT at ET?  Oh NOOOOOOO!"  Screw it!  This is important crap and ET is GOOOOOOD STUFF!

Enough!

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Tue Feb 24th, 2009 at 09:55:18 PM EST
This place has needed heavier moderation for some time. I was impressed with how well it went with close to none, but the site has attracted too much active and passive anger. It sows too much chaos on a site that has been such a wonderful calm inside the storm that controls us according to its own whims.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 12:14:50 AM EST
I disagree ( wanna fight ? :-) ). As others have said, the problem seems to be being exaggerated, some not having noticed any fights, some thinking they are VERY few. It's a bit like the news - one plane crash gets all the attention - CNN is at this moment poring over every possible detail (prior to any investigation of course) of the latest crash. The zillions of non crashes never make the front page.

I can understand the FPers' frustration and annoyance, as they have to deal with sometimes difficult debaters (why are looking at me like that ? :-)), worse, with a very small minority who accuse them of bias, ganging up, etc. My impression is they lean over backwards to avoid even the appearance of doing so. And, yes, of course they should be able to take part in discussion and passionately if they feel so moved.

It's natural and very desirable that people get passionate about things and then upset when others disagree - and the heat rises. It's healthy to want to defend your views and smite the unbelievers with logic and some - er - rhetorical flourishes :-) - one ought to be able to call a spade a bloody useless shovel from time to time. "Sticks and stones can break my bones..." -  guys.

I like the rough and tumble of some British forums - there has been, just occasionally, some brilliantly scathing invective to savour  on Lenin's Tomb - along the lines of: "Your comment reveals that the sum of your knowledge of theoretical physics would still leave a large void in the brain of a gnat." E.g.:


[Jenny] "All right, all right, Rob, but how would you propose a non-military solution to helping foreign countries in need aside from a slow working class revolution?"

I would not bomb the crap out of them.

That's not a solution I know. But, let us parse this slowly, for you seem to be a bit slow. Not bombing the crap out of someone is preferable to bombing the crap out of them. It may not be a solution to their indigestion, depression, financial problems, dictatorship etc - whatever ails them. Though it is a solution to the problem of having the crap bombed out of them - which is a serious problem.

Moreover (and here you'll have to take a deep breath, because it gets a bit complex) bombing the crap out of them ACTUALLY TENDS TO MAKE THINGS WORSE.

If they're poor they'll be poorer. If they're depressed, they'll be more depressed. If they have a dictatorship the dictatorship will gain support for opposing the nasty bombers. And, finally, they'll not like the country/army/regime that is responsible for the solution because they are BOMBING THEM.

There endeth the lesson. Tomorrow we'll do fractions.

http://leninology.blogspot.com/ Feb 21st

The Tomb flourishes, despite regular doses of such bracing stuff.

CNN is STILL discussing the crash - yawn - in the meantime there must have been a million happy landings. Now they're listing other recent crashes, all two of them - obviously we need to ground all aircraft for checks and endless drivelling discussion on CNN - building fear where there is no justification - a bit like fear of occasional passionate dispute here.

We need to accept the Dionysian (puff for my diary :-)):

"It is no good casting out devils. They belong to us, we must accept them and be at peace with them"

D.H. Lawrence (British Novelist), Pheonix, 'The Reality of peace'

"Be still when you have nothing to say; when genuine passion moves you, say what you've got to say, and say it hot."  

D. H. Lawrence

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 08:24:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now the idiots at CNN look at Turkish airline's safety record and simply list 4 crashes since 1974 - with no indication of how many million flights are involved  and no hint even of how this compares with other airlines - despite all the time they've already been dragging out their "reporting" on this.

Of course if one simply listed CNN's major reporting errors, they would be the first to scream that this needs to be seen in the context of the huge volume of their reports since 1980.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 08:55:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I've said it before but it's good exercise to rehash things.

I was always discontent with the state of news, interaction on the internet and the general format of blogs. There was really no form of rectification or commentary within the immediacy of an event until SCOOP came along. (In the seventies and eighties you could subscribe to obscure periodicals such as IF Stone's weekly, the Watchdog, I think it was called, that debunked Reagan, the Center for Defense Information Bulletin sponsered by Woodward and Newman. You could get great information out of the NYRB sooner or later, as well as a slue of other mags- but you had to be a dedicated nut.)

I discovered SCOOP at Dkos because of the Calipari assassination. By chance. Jerome and gilgamesh were handling the story but I had to wait 24 hours to post. I began to post as rom wyo but I soon moved on to Booman's Tribune because I prefered the pace there. And pace meant getting reactions, feedback, comments. This is important not for the ego high but because it gives the sense of an agora- sure a surrogate, but worldwide.

So when I caught on that Jerome had something in the works I was ready. (I recall the European Tribune went on net by mistake for a few hours through a link.Then there were all those flags clueing us in.) The project seemed made for the inter-nationals like myself, people who for a variety of reasons have visited and lived in many a place, many a nation and tend to have a worldwide view rather than the Dkos States-centric vision. So I've been here since day one, off and on, as # 46.

And I'll be here to the end. I'll check the lights are out. Leave me the keys if you want. I'll drop them in the mailbox.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 07:28:01 AM EST
I must confess that I am completely mystified by what appears to me to be a hysterical response to a very little bit of bickering. ET is the most polite and sensible discussion site I know of, with pretty much universally well-reasoned arguments and calm conversation.

Is this sensitivity to inferred insults and poorly founded statements a European thing? What is it like in other European blogs? From my American viewpoint, things are almost soporifically quiet in here--even during the most "violent" of disagreements.

In comparison, think of DailyKos, which has more than its share of stupid fights. Or, let me point you to another blog that I frequent*, http://www.nasioc.com/forums. This is fundamentally a car site, sponsored by Subaru enthusiasts, but their most popular forum is the Off Topic forum (at almost the bottom of the forum front page). OT is a general discussion area, and has attracted a wide audience for some not-so-clear reason. This site experiences high volume with a claimed maximum of 9025 maximum simultaneous users a few months ago.

Here's what passes for discourse on this blog:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1575413

Now I'm not going to argue that ridiculously ill-informed, biased, over-the-top arguments between twenty-somethings should be the yardstick against which ET is measured, but it sure seems to me that there is a bit of oversensitivity here...

What exactly is the problem?

* Why would asdf frequent such a blog? Because it's important for old geezers to keep in touch with the thinking and viewpoints of youngsters. There are useful discussions embedded in the noise....

by asdf on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:18:15 AM EST
And to make a concrete suggestion, sometimes it troubles me that useful discussions seem to scroll out of sight too quickly. Perhaps the daily diary could be reduced in frequency a bit in order to allow longer discussions?
by asdf on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you mean the "recent diaries" box? You can change the number of displayed diaries from your user preferences.

Most economists teach a theoretical framework that has been shown to be fundamentally useless. -- James K. Galbraith
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:23:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I didn't really mean "scroll." An interesting discussion in Tuesday's open diary rarely continues into Wednesday because there are new discussions on Wednesday. I'm suggesting that maybe they could come every other day.

A problem with that would be that if you get a few hundred replies then it takes a long time for the page to load...

by asdf on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 09:44:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In light of our way of value discussion, maybe the it would be better to have a longer rec list, with the rec rate being influenced by time since last comment.

(Before anyone gets their hopes up, this would probably mena rewriting some SCOOP code and I doubt there is enough interest for that. Just trying out the ideas.)

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 10:40:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I value ET because it is frequented by people with an amazingly diverse and in-depth knowledge base, and I have a rough feel for each contributors area of expertise.

High signal to noise ratio, in other words.

But most importantly, I know the regular contributors here well enough that I can extend the presumption of good faith. While that does not permit one to suspend good sense entirely, it does mean that I do not have to scrutinise each post for ulterior motives, as I would if I were reading - say - the comment thread on a newspaper article. And it permits me to read ambiguous contribution in the more favourable of the possible ways.

I would argue that the mutual presumption of good faith is what defines a "community." And, without wishing to play amateur psychologist, I think that the partial breakdown of this mutual presumption of good faith between the long-time contributors is what makes the flame wars here more painful (and more personal) than what their actual content (usually reasonably polite, by internet standards) would seem to justify on its own.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 01:13:53 PM EST
Insightful comment, Jake.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Feb 25th, 2009 at 01:17:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Somebody wanna tell li'l ol' me what the HELL is going on with all this noise about imminent closure?
by rifek on Thu Feb 26th, 2009 at 12:08:40 AM EST


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