Like Totaly wanna be a Top Bloggar!!1

I’ve, like, decided that my way is to b TOP. So I’m gunna spell things wrong and like, refer to people in my life as letters L can be Lime and like the people I work with can be H an L and S and J, and I’m gonna post like a totally long thing about stuff that’s goin on.


No, I’m not directing this at anyone in particular, but my god. It just makes me imagine what the slush piles of old looked like, before people cold get their “writing” illusions served by instantaneous self-publishing. I imagine it actually has made the work of slush-pile readers a little easier, but I might be wrong. Maybe more people who would previously have realized they cannot write, that they suck in a ridiculous way, have that (realistic, true) impression wiped from their minds by the luxury of seeing their grammatically crippled, theme-less cascades of blather “in print” with nice prefab CSS to make it look, you know, somehow more dignified than it deserves. Maybe even more crap ends up in the slush piles as a result.

So, the Net… it’s mostly crap. And we’re not going to sort that out purely by reputation systems, since The Long Tail shows us that “popular” is a relative term. But it seems to me social networking software ain’t gonna do it all for us either, but it might help. People with similar interests will tend to like the same content providers.

Been thinking about something else: the possibility that one could actively tag blog commenters — who are also content providers of a sort — for blockage. Some kind of platform-transcendent tracking system for identities. One could still be anonymous, perhaps, or change identity at some point, but others shouldn’t have to suffer a troll’s presence just because he’s decided to change usernames. There’s got to be some way where we can all have effective anonymity, while we all also have stable meta-identities online that are more stable than the “personae” we choose to present to others at any given moment.

That way, I could ban Troll #1 without having to then ban all of his subsequent identities. Likewise, all my readers could ban Troll #1, so that they wouldn’t have to read his comments. And additional, since Troll #1 is on my (imaginary) total-ban list, I wouldn’t have to read his comments anywhere. And we wouldn’t necessarily have to give up anonymity, as long as our various anonymous personae conducted themselves in a way that didn’t get their meta-identities banned. And if they did do so, they would be getting what they — and everyone — deserved, which is not to be silenced, but just to be ignored and to become a social pariah.

Maybe it could all be reset after a five year period or something, like bad credit. Bad Net Credit. Hmmm. Would that our societies would be as vigilant about the annoyances of ill-behaved, vicious people than they were about defending the right of profiteers and banks.

3 thoughts on “Like Totaly wanna be a Top Bloggar!!1

  1. I read several years ago, that as it became easier to write – from the use of typewriters to electric typewriters to word processors – manuscript length has increased greatly without any obvious increase in quality.

    By the way, a teacher of Latin told me I should be using the term ‘typoscript’ rather than ‘manuscript’ in the example above, because the ‘manu-‘ prefix specifically meant hand and handwriting. What’s your opinion?

  2. Kwandongbrian,

    It’s totally believable that manuscript length has gone up on average but very few people are outdoing books like Richardson’s these days… as TV and film and other entertainment media have become more common, novels have become necessarily shorter and simpler, I’d also argue. Right now there’s a slight trend towards shorter novels in SF, but I don’t know what the trends are in mainstream lit. Hell, I heard this summer that Wal-Mart’s so influential in the field that it’s change in book-shelving units has caused the book industry to begin to prefer novels of about 90,000 words. So I gues all kinds of factors come into play.

    Technically, your Latin teacher was correct: traditionally, “manuscript” meant something written by hand. However, your teacher missed two important points:

    1. The word also had a very strong nuance of “currently unprinted material” or “original final draft of material prior to printing”. (Which is why the word is still in use today.)

    2. Nobody else uses the word “typescript” (and while at least I’ve seen typescript before, I’ve neve seen “typoscript”) in that way anymore. The word that has become common usage is “manuscript”, and has been for decades. If you change usage and nobody else does, nobody will understand you.

    So basically, your teacher was right about etymology but ignoring usage, ie. being pedantic, or, worse, a “language maven” as Stephen Pinker discusses in The Language Instinct: someone who relies on “rulesets” and linguistic trivia and “corrections” to determine what a language is, in other words, who sees language as a set of hard-and-fast correctible rules, rather than as a living, changing thing, the bounds of which are largely determined by common usage. Of course, as a Latin instructor — the teacher of a dead language — that’s hardly surprising.

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