Saturday, January 31, 2009

Blogroll amnesty & blogroll bloodbath day is here!

The B.A.D. festivities commence today, January 31 and will proceed through February 3. For my part, I would like to introduce you to six blogs in which their respective bloggers toil in relative obscurity.

Let's Be Clear

Peace Writers

The Real Cost of Prisons Weblog

The World According to a Wanderer

Stories of Peace

Kick Him, Honey

A few words about B.A.D (modified slightly from my post at this time last year):

About two years ago, the Gated Community Blogs began a delinking policy that commenced under the odious name of "Blogroll Amnesty Day." Within the space of a few days, it was plainly apparent that A-listers such as Daily Kos and Atrios/Eschaton had tossed out links not only to smaller blogs, but some widely-read blogs (skippy the bush kangaroo and My Left Wing were among those affected by the alleged "amnesty"). There are plenty of historical recollections of that dark period in blogtopia (a term coined by the aforementioned skippy). Jon Swift, for instance remarked last year:
The idea that links are the capital of the blogosphere seems so obvious that you would think an economist like Atrios of Eschaton would have realized it long ago. And as he is a progressive who has accumulated quite a bit of link wealth, you might also think he would be in favor of redistributing some of that wealth instead of just letting it trickle down. So when he announced last year that he was declaring February 3 Blogroll Amnesty Day, and other bloggers followed suit, I assumed he meant that he was opening his blogroll up to the masses. I sent him a polite email pointing out that his blog was on my blogroll and I would really appreciate it if he would add my blog to his. I never heard back from him.

When February 3 rolled around, many bloggers discovered to their horror that instead of adding new blogs to his blogroll he was throwing many off, including some bloggers who were his longtime friends. Blogroll Amnesty Day, it turned out, was a very Orwellian concept. Instead of granting amnesty to others he was granting amnesty to himself not to feel bad for hurting others feelings. Though Atrios has stubbornly refused to acknowledge that he made a mistake, some bloggers who initially joined him, backtracked. Markos of the Daily Kos instituted a second blogroll that consisted of random links from diarists. PZ Myers of Pharyngula now has real Blogroll Amnesty Days where he invites anyone who has blogrolled him to join his blogroll. And in the wake of the bloodletting quite a number of smaller blogs, like my friend skippy the bush kangaroo, changed their own blogroll policies and now link more freely to others.
To make a long story short, a bunch of blogtopia's apparent rabble took that as a challenge and reclaimed amnesty by more liberally linking to other blogs than ever before. For my part, as of mid-February 2007 I made explicit my own policy regarding blogrolling:
If you have a blog that links to me and I have not reciprocated, let me know and I'll add you to the blogroll.
This weekend seems like a good idea to reiterate that policy. If you've been linking to me, I'd like to make sure to return the favor (just don't be some uncool neo-nazi blogger or some MinuteKlan asshole, that's all I ask). Just drop me a line - either in the comments or via email, and I'll add you to the blogroll posthaste. Heck, Jon Swift has offered a useful reminder that since the A-listers enacted their purge, they've been behind the curve on some huge events and issues. Some folks like skippy were kind enough to add my humble blog to their blogrolls, for which I am grateful.

I suppose if one merely wants an echo chamber, one will do what Atrios and his ilk did. Personally, I prefer to be contrapuntal: variety is the spice of life, and hopefully my blogroll reflects that. One huge benefit for me has been practically impossible to quantify: I've managed to meet (at least within the confines of the internet) some really interesting folks whom I might have missed out on otherwise, and have learned a thing or two in the process.

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