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Those who can, do. Those who can't become critics.

by northstar at 01:51 PM on March 14, 2002

Today I experienced an ugly side of the weblog community, and Iím none too happy about it. I suppose I should have expected that someone would rain on my parade sooner or later. I probably shouldnít be surprised that I am not universally loved and admired for my wit and intellect. Whoda thunk it?

My website was reviewed yesterday in The Weblog Review, and the reviewer, one Kiffin, was none too kind. In fact, he was a real asshole. Iíve known for some time that my site, as it currently exists, will not win any awards, but itís never been about that. I began my site last September as a way to teach myself HTML and web design, and to provide myself with a forum for my writing. I suppose I was arrogant enough to think that someone would actually read what I have to say. I donít get a lot of hits- generally between 50 and 80 per day- but there are a few people who visit my site regularly. That alone is gratifying. To have someone belittle what Iíve devoted many, many hours to, and to do it in such a condescending manner, is not an easy thing to accept.

I feel good about what I do, especially since it is all hand-coded. Iíve worked hard at it, and while it is clearly and admittedly somewhat amateurish, it is 100% mine. At some point, I will graduate to some sort of content management system, but this is very much a shoestring operation, and doing anything more elaborate takes money.

Kiffin, as far as Iím concerned, can kiss my ass. I respect his right to form his own opinion, and he did actually have a few observations worth following up on. Nevertheless, there is no reason to be condescending and insulting. Is it really necessary to build yourself up as an expert by demeaning and denigrating the work of someone else you will never meet? If you are reviewing the work of someone else, and you donít like it, say so. Back up your argument with concrete observations, not vague ill-defined generalities on what a weblog ďshouldĒ be. Above all, remember that the tables could be turned on you. Therefore, following the old Golden Rule is always a good idea.

As a writer, I do realize that I need to have a thicker skin. I will work on that. This is a free country, and everyone is free to hold his or her own opinions. What we should not have is the freedom to freely denigrate someoneís work without accountability. There will always be people out there who find it easier to criticize than to actually do. Thankfully, I have a very special place for them in my own personal Hell.

Cheers, yíallÖ.

comments (3)

Well, if it is any comfort, Bad Samaritan, when reviewed about a year ago, only received a 3, not much better than you. At the time, there was a bit of a of a flap over the rating. I know lots of other people who've been reviewed by them and not one has been satisfied with their review. Now, I'm sure everyone thinks their writing and design abilites are a 5, but that hasn't ever been the complaint. The Weblog Review reviews are consistently poorly written. They focus on the strangest things, and usually only make cursory comments on what people read weblogs for anyway, the writing (in your review, he didn't mention the writing until the fourth paragraph, and only spent that one graph on it).

by mg at March 14, 2002 3:30 PM

Ages ago, someone described my web site as "Jorn lite". And after my outrage wore off, I realized that the author was right, and I made some changes to make the site a bit more individual. These changes might have actually cost me readers, but they helped me return the site to my original vision, which was closer to what I wanted to read, not something that a mythical audience might want to read.

Unfortunately the reviewer who got you wasn't nearly as witty as "Sally Tenpenny", frankly I'm amazed you paid any attention to it at all, but if you find the elements of the criticism that bit you, that hurt, and see why they hurt, you might help yourself build a site that better accomplishes the goals you've got by publishing it in the first place.

by Dan Lyke at March 14, 2002 4:14 PM

I've never heard of the review site - I'm always suspicious of reviewers, since they tend to be either serious snobs or total morons, but rarely anything in the middle that a reasonable person could relate to (of course I'm the benchmark of "reasonable", so take that as you will). I notice that aside from badsam, none of my favorite blogs are in there, so as far as I'm concerned the site can take a flying leap. I also notice that badsam's rating is hovering somewhere around 2.8, which tells me that the intended audience of the review site is apparently a bunch of dipshits. I wouldn't take the review seriously, especially if they devoted so little space of the review to your actual content - after all, what is a blog without writing? Nothing, just a bunch of more or less colorful empty boxes. My favorite blog of the moment consists of nothing BUT grey boxes, so there.
And to end my rambling, I know that I write for myself. If someone else likes it, great. If they don't like it, also great. I make spelling errors and grammatical errors, but my writing is about me and for me - and I like it. Other people liking it is purely incidental.

by westernexposure at March 17, 2002 6:43 AM

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