10 August 2007

Where everybody knows your name….

Way back when, TWL happily chuntered away, moaning about general fuck-wittery in the tech PR industry. Over time some like minded old codgers and a few bright young sparks joined the ramblings, and we all hung out together in the lower rungs of humour such as sarcasm, irony and innuendo.

Doubtless some pedant will argue the toss, but it was more of a community than a blog and everything felt very special.

The stat counter crept steadily upwards and, suddenly, TWL hit a tipping point. In bell-end curve terms, the early adopters were joined by the early majority. Or, if you’d prefer, the clock struck 11:00pm on a Saturday night and the nice people sat chatting in a decent curry house were suddenly joined by a bunch of gobby pissheads desperate to be heard but with nothing of any value to say.



We think it started with the RSS feed. Think about RSS. Doesn’t it seem a bit Jabba the Hut? Some fat lazy bastard who simply sets up their PC to suck information into their consume-everything lifestyle. Forget a meander down to the local pub for a chat with some old friends. Give me drip-feed Slug & Lettuce, All Bar One, Rat & Parrot, O’Neill’s and carte blanche to argue. Why have 4% bitter when you can have 6% super lager? Why have a conversation when you can have automated opportunities to spout opinion? Why use subtlety when you can shout?

All too often, in a very English way, we simply find a different local. But this is our pub and we’re going to make a stand.

So don’t be surprised if the RSS feed goes. It seems to have the same effect as bouncers; repelling intelligent people while attracting sink estate vermin donning black slip-on shoes and gelled hair. We’re thinking fuck RSS, fuck Technorati and fuck all those two-bob ‘influence surveys.’ We'd lose points for not having RSS, but perhaps we’ll lose the undesirables too?

To date TWL has only rejected a handful of comments. From now on, in an effort to rid TWL of the Sovereign ring brigade, future comments will be moderated not only for anything approaching libel, but for stupidity and any clear lack of humour. TWL takes up enough time as it is, without having to point out to idiots that they just aren't getting it. It's quicker to hit the 'reject comment' button.

We may end up with a smaller audience, but, it’ll be one with which we're happy to have a conversation...

32 comments:

Andrew Smith said...

Where's the Chasm?

And who has upset you?

....the world's leading.... said...

Andrew, dear friend. While the TWL audience has broadened, it also seems to have thickened. It's a quality over quantity thing.

Anonymous said...

Yeah baby!
I'm currently having the same thoughts about Fakebook. I'm thinking of removing my profile. The people that I want to speak to (my mates, and some work folks I actually like) I talk to all the time, in the pub or on the phone. A few other "friends" I like to see, enjoy an occasional mail chat or pint now & then when we can. So why do I need Fakebook? When I first used it, I added friends, applications, slapped people with fish...but in the last month I think I've been on there twice. If I want to talk to a friend I don't go on Fakebook, I give them a call and say "mate, fancy a pint"?
RSS is great for news / work blah. Fakebook is great for ...er ...teenagers keen to show they really do have lots of friends.
Turn 'em all off brother! I'll see you down The Bull for a pint of Best & a natter.

jd said...

I'm glad you are taking a stand TWL. I'm always up for a heated debate, but some of the comments recently have neither been insightful of witty, just plain abusive.

The less time I spend reading pointless comments, the easier it will be to bill this "research" time to my clients...

Anonymous said...

and there was me about to suggest a TWL 'flash mob'.

figgis said...

I think I'm a laggard. Nurse, could you please go and prepare my handgun as I shouldn't have been here in the first place.

Best of luck all

Anonymous said...

sounds a bit like the emporor's new clothes: if you can't see them, then you must be stupid.

As far as I can tell, the quality of the original post usually dictates the quality of comments received.

....the world's leading.... said...

I'm not sure I agree with that. I mean, after all, I don't think our post contained any spelling mistakes, but your comment does. So there's already a quality gap there.

Anonymous said...

>>I'm not sure I agree with that. I mean, after all, I don't think our post contained any spelling mistakes, but your comment does. So there's already a quality gap there.<<

yeah, I realise now I spelt 'emporor' incorrectly - in mitigation, it is not a word I use regularly.

If I remember my history correctly, didn't Hitler end up surrounding himself with a group of like-minded 'yes men' shortly before his demise..?? Apparently, nobody else 'understood' him like they did....

....the world's leading.... said...

Who said anything about 'yes men'?

All we said was that we were going to moderate comments for:

'stupidity and any clear lack of humour'

We just want to make sure the quality of the discussion in our comments is a high as it should be. We're not saying that all comments need to agree with us! That would make for a very dull blog.

Indeed, this little chat is a case in point.

....the world's leading.... said...

I might need to clarify that, having just read it back.

This little chat is a good example of a discussion from opposing viewpoints...not of the blog becoming dull.

Though I do seem to be going on a bit now, don't I?

Anonymous said...

>>This little chat is a good example of a discussion from opposing viewpoints...not of the blog becoming dull.

Though I do seem to be going on a bit now, don't I?<<

Thanks for the clarification ;)

My biggest problem with this blog is that fact that it is (still) a blog. It has more comments on it than any other blog I read and in general, the comments section usually seems to contain a full-on debate in itself.

So, why not ditch the blog and move to a forum? That way, you can moderate comments, users can register and the format would better suit what most people seem to 'use' this blog for anyway...

Just a thought.

....the world's leading.... said...

Sounds a bit technical...

Anonymous said...

Hey ...TWL... it's your blog, do what you like. I just hope I'm allowed to stay.

Sarah Sherman said...

I use a Creative ZEN player, not an iPOD. So can I still be an Early Adopter, or am I being too literal, which would classify me as Early Majority? This British class structure always vexes me so. What's a Facebook?
Not Sent via BlackBerry (the devil's instrument) from T-Mobile

Stephen Davies said...

A forum is much different to a blog and a blog is much better for this kind of chat.

TWL makes a witty blog post and people comment on it. A forum is much more 'democratic' in the fact that anyone can make a 'post'.

Not to say that TWL couldn't have a forum as an extension of the blog though.

Anonymous said...

TWL - any chance you may have misunderstood some of the blog comments, in the same way as they may have misunderstood yours..??

Or is the problem definitely only with the 'commenters' - not the blogger himself..??

....the world's leading.... said...

We'll do what we can to ensure that the quality of the blog posts is up to scratch - we're quite self-critical.

If people put as much thought into their comments, then everything should be fine and dandy, yes?

artichoke said...

>>"If people put as much thought into their comments, then everything should be fine and dandy, yes?"<<

Couldn't agree more dear chap. The number of fuckwits on here seems to have leapt in recent weeks.

Anonymous said...

Isn't this just a rather long-winded way of saying: "If people don't think this blog is spectacularly witty, they must *clearly* be too stupid to understand it, so I'll delete their posts"?

I've read the blog since a month or so after it launched. In the last couple of months, the tone has changed and become quite spiteful and needlessly unpleasant in some instances. I don't think it's funny.

What's more likely? You posted a couple of shit posts or I (and a few others, by the looks of it) suddenly dropped 50 IQ points?

Duncan Chapple said...

Andrew, it seem that 'the Chasm' is somewhere around the Marianas Trench.

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all go down the pub for a beer and a friendly chat on a Friday afternoon... face-to-face is so much better than fakebook and email, and there might be some lovely ladies about as well to oggle at if the conversation does get a little stilted... mine's an alabama slammer.. meet me at the bar

Danny said...

Aww, don't do that. TWL is one of the first things I read in my RSS feed. I like it there. I'd personally rather just have the feed there, and just filter the comment noise out myself.

You could also look into Slashdot's system, which promotes good comments and hides silly ones. It's based on a voting mechanism, I think?

If TWL became an online forum without an RSS feed, rather than a straight blog, I'm not sure I'd have the time to go in and navigate the various threads, even though I'd like to. But it's a fun, quick, early morning read for me before I get into the day.

There's also the risk that eliminating the RSS feed might have a limited effect. Now World + Dog knows you're there, a large proportion of the same noise generating contingent might keep surfing in and making irrelevant comments anyway. I vote that you keep the RSS feed.

I do like your graph, though. Perhaps you've generated a new chart type. Gartner has the hype cycle, TWL has the pillock cycle.

Anyway, whatever you decide, keep up the good work...

....the world's leading.... said...

"In the last couple of months, the tone has changed and become quite spiteful and needlessly unpleasant in some instances."

You see I don't think the tone of the posts has changed very much in the last couple of months. That's not to say that we haven't been a bit spiteful...I'd suggest that we've always had an element of that (read the third and fourth posts we ever published for the evidence!)

However, the tone of some comments has changed - and that then impacts the overall tone of the blog. And that's what we're trying to address.

Frankly, though, as we've always said, the choice of whether to read TWL or not is yours. Exercise it.

Prem said...

I almost daren't post in case I get edited out... but I think I agree. And it will hopefully mean fewer amonymous posters. Even if you use a silly made up name like me at least we can build personalities from recurring names. Makes it more like that community of old.

EKE said...

That's why I've adopted a silly made up name...personalities that come across in comments are important, and help give context - so sure you may well have a bitter old vicious commenter, but at least you know it's the same old fool, rather than seeming to be a multitude of anonymous twisted posts...

(Prem - I too live in fear of being edited...I will be more cautious)

figgis said...

> I've read the blog since a month or so after it launched <

That's nothing I've read this blog since a couple of months before it started. That's the only way to be properly old school.

Anonymous said...

TWL, you've spent too much time listening to Gartner, its a common mistake in the tech press and tech PR world, believe me, I've been there.

Sherrilynne said...

Toys on floor. Dummy Spat. Feel better?

tax dodger said...

Baby and bathwater spring to mind a little...

I have to admit I was a bit surprised by this. One of the things I like most about TWL is that it DOESNT seem to be plagued by as many idiots as the other blogs out there. While there has certainly been an increase in the amount of comments due to the increasing popularity doesnt this mean that there will always be a corresponding increase in shit comments? The only logical thing to do therefore is to decrease the popularity (will removing the RSS really do this?!). Clearly the best way to do this is to start posting shit yourself but of course then you will have become exactly what you are trying to avoid.

Whilst not being privvy to all of the comments you receive I would suggest that you perhaps take some time to reflect after getting a few more comments in this thread.

I for one would not stop reading but I would be left with a starngely uncomfortable feeling that it was 'different from how it used to be'. Note I said different, not worse.

I'd suggest that you don't let a (potentially temporary) spate of idiot posts change what has become a winning formula. You might just kill the formula also!

You could always post some of the crap posts and give us all a bit of a self righteous giggle. That would also show future posters what is and is not expected here at TWL.

dooby said...

A beautiful gaussian curve you have there TWL. I remember the good ol' days when we posted about Chris Green and how shite in-house PRs were....oh nothing's changed

Anonymous said...

i'd start by getting rid of those f*cking annoying people who feel they have something to say but are too scared to actually put their name to said 'important' comment.

i'm all for pr people being the 'comment behind the throne', but not on a pr blog. if you have something to say, put your name to it, stand by it and be prepared to defend it... yeah, right on!