The quote and my response below are from a MetaTalk thread started on 25 February 2002.


When faced with criticism weblog owners act very much like the typical high school art student—not so much impervious to criticism as not mature enough to accept it... Webloggers, for whatever reason, just can't stand a good critique. ¶ posted by raaka

That's valid up to a point, raaka, but must you be so sweeping about it? Some weblog owners act like high school art students (some are high school art students, no doubt); some can't stand a good critique. Every time I read these definitive statements saying 'webloggers are this' I end up wanting to say 'but the ones I read are that.' I've watched particular bloggers develop over two to three years now, and some of them have changed their blogging style enormously over that period. Surely others have seen this too? And not all those changes are because of changes in their daily lives; they're changes in response to criticism, direct or indirect or inferred. Every time one reads a metablogging article its particular lessons and criticisms sink in at some level; why else do they get discussed so fervently here and elsewhere?

Many of us will have seen favourite webloggers drift from links-blogging to journal-blogging, and in the other direction, in response to a perception that this is what their audience wants them to do. We've all seen blog-comments systems take off all over the place, and part of the reason for that must be that those bloggers want to encourage criticism of their work, both positive and, when it's called for, negative.

We've also seen plenty of bloggers just quit, or take a break, because they decide they're not doing anything worthwhile; that, too, can be in response to criticism, and self-criticism—or lack of criticism. How many give up because they never hear much in the way of criticism from anybody? That can feel like the harshest criticism: 'your work is so humdrum that it's not worth commenting on.'

Is this acting like a high school student? Or is this taking the form seriously; if it's not worth doing well, it's not worth doing? For some bloggers it's one, for some it's the other, or both, or neither. We all have different reasons for doing what we're doing, but there are plenty of bloggers out there who take this form seriously, take criticism of the form seriously, and do the best with it that they can. There's a bunch of them in this thread, for a start.

Yeah, sure, there are plenty of trivial, ephemeral blogs around. There are also blogs that are trivial one week and substantial the next. Sometimes we're in a thoughtful, metablogging mood and open to critique, and sometimes we feel pissed off at the world and don't wanna know. Just because weblog articles draw the occasional response in the latter vein from some (bold, underlined) webloggers doesn't mean that 'webloggers can't stand a good critique.'



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