Sunday, August 14, 2005

Blog Fest III coverage

My only quibble with the article and photo rests in perception of civility among the blog readers and comments at "political blogs."

My impression is that the folks in the real world as well as those online have been respectful on all most all instances.
City's bloggers actually get together face-to-face: Many of the roughly 30 bloggers at Thursday's 'Blogfest' at Finnigan's Wake bar said they have steered clear of politics lately -- writing about it often provokes a burst of brutally negative responses from one side or another, which are no fun to get.

'I never write about politics -- the conflict gets a little too hot,' said Robert, who did not want his last name used. Rather, on his new blog 'Gclectic,' he writes a lot about engineering and geek culture.


Rob said...


Robert's new to blogging. His experiences so far may have made him a bit wary.

I remember what it was like during last October, November and December. Pittsburgh bloggers were pretty reasonable for the most part, but notice I said "for the most part." Nationwide, blogs tended toward vicious on all sides. I remember a number of bloggers declaring their sites "politics free" because they were sick of the personal attacks and "win at all cost" mentality.

You're used to the rough and tumble of politics, and have mental strategies to deal with the emotions. Not everyone enjoys that. For some, it's not rough and tumble, it feels like people are going for the jugular.

Out of 250 blogs in Pittsburgh, about 30 bloggers showed up. Maybe we'll get more next time, now that we've shown it was a friendly get-together and not a ballroom blitz.

Rob of UnSpace

Gclectic said...

If I had to be quoted on one thing that I said to Tim, that probably wouldn't have been the quote I chose (and, of course, it isn't precisely what I said) but I'll actually stand by it.

I will first note that I listened to and participated in a number of face-to-face political discussions at the BlogFest and everyone was unfailingly polite and fascinating to talk to. I have no objection to anyone discussing politics in person or on their blogs, and did not express any such objections to Mr. McNulty.

I have been reading blogs for several years, since well before the 2004 election, and spent most of my time reading political blogs. I still read those blogs, and am well aware of the highs which they can reach, and of the much lower "typical" level of discourse which is found on some other political blogs and in the comments of even the best "a list" blogs. This is, fundamentally, the reason that I put off starting a blog of my own. I realized that if I started talking about politics, I would end up embroiled in controversial issues; that I would attract vitriolic commenters; and that none of this would be good for my state of mind. All of these are purely personal decisions which I don't attempt to apply to anybody else, nor even to apply to my choice of reading material.

I did finally reach a compromise with myself when I determined that I could find a reaonable number of things to talk about that would not be political in nature, so that I could finally join the blogosphere and hopefully enrich the community of polite discourse. Only time will tell whether I will succeed, but I will continue to practice self-censorship for my own peace of mind.

Mark Rauterkus said...


No need to ever fuss about what was printed in the paper or blush on quotes to me. I understand how it all works. The quote is the quote -- and it may or may not have been presented as such. That is why I quibble with it -- the concept, not the messenger at all.

I agree with you that being polite has been the rule. Love it. Be civil. We are -- for the most part. Thank heavens for that. And, that's what I want to spew -- good behaviors.

Great coping behaviors for yourself too. Hats off to you. Well put. Keep up the good work.

See ya around town again, soon, I hope.