Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Commenter of the year

Note: I wrote most of this last week, but ran out of time. It is now a little overdue!

I've been meaning to post about this for ages (sorry, folks, about the long hiatus, if any of you noticed) and fortuitously, or not, the competition opened yesterday. Paul in Lancashire (not Lincolnshire, as my ignorant Southern fingers once typed) has opened a competition that not even he can boycott. It's about blog commenters.

This is a subject I've written about before, but has been on my mind with some of my recentish posts getting a fair amount of comment traffic, such as this one (still going on) on left antisemitism, this one on Vietnam, this one on the Propagandist, and this one on decentism. Though Cowards Flinch has always been a blog worth visiting for the discussion, and exemplary in the tone of the debate there. I'm less optimistic than I used to be about the potential of blogs to create genuine interactivity and dialogue, but I like to think that we have a bit of it here. Certainly, I feel like I have made friends in the comment boxes, and have gone on to meet some of them in the meat world. I think of myself as existing in an unusual political space, so it is nice to find other people occupying that space.

Paul writes:
Other blogs where you get this really good, respectful but not toadying author-commenter engagement include Bob from BrockleyHarpymarx (a little intermittently), 21st Century Fix (though sparsely), Duncan’s Economic Blog (often mind-bendingly), The Third Estate and Paul Sagar’s Bad Conscience, though Paul’s exponentially increasing popularity (well-deserved) may make that difficult to maintain.
That point about Paul's popularity is crucial. There is an optimum size for good commenting: too many readers means too many trolls and oddballs.Three blogs I visit and stay for the comments are Shiraz Socialist, where the tone is not always as polite as I (being overly decent) like but is always interesting; Engage, where comments are heavily moderated, but this allows for some, er, engagement among discussants (I particularly like Brian Goldfarb's intelligent thoughts); and Dave Osler's place, which should by law be too big for healthy discussion but isn't (despite the best, and often enjoyable disruptive efforts of Jimmy Glesga).

I'm going to nominate ten commenters from this blog, although I realise most are also bloggers, which mean they don't count. Use the comment thread to vote, and then I'll submit the results to the jury in Bickerstaffe.
  1. Waterloo Sunset: a heavy commenter at Osler's place, Socialist Unity and elswhere, WS went and spoiled it by finally getting a blog of his own. I feel, given the overlap between our political pasts (AFA, levitating the houses of parliament, etc), we might recognise each other on sight.
  2. Noga, the Contentious Centrist: more or less Waterloo's polar opposite tempermentalyl and politically, Noga is a fine blogger, but a far more prolific commenter, here, at Mick Hartley's, at TNR and elsewhere.
  3. Modernity: also a blogger (or should that be a Wordpresser?), but my best ally in my harshest battles in my comment threads, with the Elfs and Games and our other common enemies. I feel a certain kinship because we were both added to the Drink-Soaked Trot blogroll on the same day, but he was ex-communicated quicker.
  4. Entdinglichung: rarely actually comments in his comments, but provides fascinating links to things I'd never know about, in a very non-sectarian way. Which is also his MO as a blogger.
  5. Renegade Eye: Stylistically almost the exact opposite of Ent as a commenter. He tends not to actually argue anything out, but simply drops assertions and opinions in and leaves. But these assertions and opinions are generally fresh and unpredictable in a nice way. Jams once told me that Renegade Eye was one of the bloggers who really encouraged him in the early days, and I too have found him a generous presence in the blogosphere, despite obvious political differences. Renegade Eyet blogs here.
  6. Jams himself: who blogs here is also a generous presence in the 'sphere, and 
  7. Snoopy the Goon: funny and to the point. Blogs here.
  8. Migreli: our residentJabotinsky-ite, who I appreciate even more having just read a John Le Carre novel set in Migrelia.
  9. Morbid Symptoms: always says very concisely things I wish I'd thought to say myself.
  10. Will Rubbish: for old time's sake.
Honourable mentions for: Les Wade, James Bloodworth, Marko Attila and the Social Republican. And in the where are they now file: Ross from Catford and Courtney from the RCP. And an un-nomination for Jogo, who I wish would comment more.

41 comments:

raincoatoptimism said...

It would be wrong not to comment on this blog entry, even if for symbolic value, and the chance that it might lead to fame

schalom libertad said...

Definitely Waterloo Sunset and Entdinglichung! I can only recall one exchange with the former, here on your blog bob, and it was worth it. thanks!

The Contentious Centrist said...

There is an occasional commenter on my blog calls himself Migreli. Would that be your Migrelian? He is very knowledgeable and indeed Jabotinstky'ite could well describe his political outlook. Unfortunately I had to do what I never do as a rule, delete one of his comments, which I think was made in a moment of great wrath, but still I could not allow to remain.

Thanks for the mention, Bob. It's been almost two years since I blogged properly and frankly I'm not so sure anymore that I can be restored to my former zeal and enthusiasm. These days I just keep a log...

Johnny Guitar said...

Ah, Will Rubbish. I do miss him.

Paul said...

Bob

Ah, thanks for reminding me about the competition I'd started. I completely forgot. Had best do a reminder post at my place.

Darren said...

"Ah, Will Rubbish. I do miss him."

Don't forget his blogging half, Hak Mao.

ModernityBlog said...

I nominate Snoopy.

He's really a closet humanitarian, deeper than you first realise.

Plus, he has what most of us occasionally lack, a fine sense of humour and the absurd.

ModernityBlog said...

PS: Jams's photos are another thing, I wish I had that aesthetic sense.

Bob said...

Thanks for all your comments. When I have time to amend the post I will change Migrelian to Migreli, and add Schalom Libertad and Darren to my honourable mentions list. The rest of you, start commenting more to make it on to next year's list.

modernity said...

Hang on, bob, you've left off the Slack bastard from down under.

I seem to remember exchanges views on Chomsky with him, whatever happened to that thread?

Michael Ezra said...

I nominate Poumista. There are some wonderful posts on that blog. Are we allowed to introduce other blogs?

jams o donnell said...

Thanks for the nomination Bob. I would join Mod in nominating Snoopy... and not just for his kind words about my photos!

Anonymous said...

aw shucks, for once i'm speechless... well, no, not really. at first, i thought of nominating will rubbish as much for his command of language as anything else--although i'm still waiting for someone to enlighten me on the difference between "wanker" and "tosser." is it just a matter of technique?

but then i thought maybe social republican, whose comments on your blog led me to discover his own, which, i think, contains some real insight into the nature of politics today, especially his remarks on fascism, conservatism, and populism. in fact, to quote from his blog it's "like marmite on croissants..." well, i'm a bit of a francophile myself, so i guess that's just my bias coming across.

unfortunately, since neither of these gents seems to be blogging or posting comments anymore, i'll go with modernity on this one and choose snoopy, because he does have a great sense of humor and strikes me as being a real mensch.

les

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Thanks Bob (and Jams) - an honor and a pleasure.

Rosie said...

Bob - I like Waterloo Sunset's comments very much, since they are well informed, not just from reading the books but from doing the activism. As well as that they are good tempered and humorous. So when you offer a link to his blog, I click - on to a post on Shiraz full of sweiry words. I'd fix that link if I were you - it gives a totally false impression of WS.

James Bloodworth said...

I'm an incredibly lazy and reluctant commentor. Unless drunk of course. Thanks for the hat-tip though Bob. I will try harder.

Graeme said...

What a useless fucking exercise.

bob said...

Graeme, you're just jealous ;)

Rosie, thanks I have made amends.

To add to the honourable mentions list: Mikey E, Slack Andy.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Thanks Bob! (And thanks to schalom libertad and Rosie for their kind words). I feel kinda bad about my recent inactivity in commenting now. I won't lie. It's not because of activism or even having too much work. I made the mistake of buying myself Tropico 3...

To add another to your list, I always find Andrew Coates interesting, whether I agree with him or not.

And point taken Darren. ;-)

@ndy said...

Slack Andy 'The Head Of The Chabad Lubavitch Melbourne Internet Task Force and Undisputed Jewish King Of Victorian Antifa' to give me my full title thank you very much. Also, Chomsky on Cambodia dates from January 2010:

http://slackbastard.anarchobase.com/?p=12441

PS. Students eh? LOL.
PPS. In the spirit of international proletarian solidarity, let's not mention the cricket, shall we?

Graeme said...

No jealousy, just an aversion to the onanism of the bloggosphere.

Anonymous said...

nominate snoopy

fleshisgrass said...

Proud to occupy the same political space as you, Bob. Hope I can live up to that, though.

Noga said...

"No jealousy, just an aversion to the onanism of the bloggosphere."

The Dictionary of Biblical Imagery defines a refuser of festivities as someone "one who, motivated by personal interests, chooses not to participate in joyful activities of the community." In literature, such a person is known as a churl.
I believe the most famous churl in English Literature is M. Jacques. In Russian literature it would be old Prince Bolkonsky.

Graeme said...

"a refuser of festivities"? "joyful activities of the community"? It's a comments box on a blog. Get a grip.

bob said...

But what's wrong with onanism?

And does the Dictionary of Biblical Imagery say anything about it?

Noga said...

"What a useless fucking exercise."

"No jealousy, just an aversion to the onanism of the bloggosphere."

"It's a comments box on a blog. Get a grip."

So it is. And no one suggested otherwise. It's just a bit of fun among bloggers.

But you graeme appear to consider it more than just a bit of fun. It is important enough to visit at least three times and post three schmucky sneers.

Why would you do that?

Darren said...

OK, Graeme, I - and others, probably - have clicked onto your blog.

Happy now?

modernity said...

I suspect Graeme and many others would like bloggers to be shouting at each other, continually critical, forever nitpicking, those valiant traditions of Last Century's Left.

I can't really see the benefits to it, I think that the trade union tradition of comradely disagreeing, but having an affinity for one's fellow human is still much better, and more desirable.

Petty bourgeois polemics and shouting matches which we've seen in the last 40 years on the British Left are nothing to emulate, altho fairly common...

Will said...

I agree with Graeme -- you are sad fuckking fuckkers. utter cretins. (now there will be a cretin following this comment saying that i am seeking attention and /or am a cretin for commenting on a blerg about cretins being cretins or some such shite). Tell you wot -- fuck off.

Will said...

blog comments... -- Why bother when you can irritate a lot more people just by
posting links on Arsebook or Twatterfuck?

Will said...

BTW ...Waterloo Sunset.. wot a boring as fuck arseend he is. Where two werds wood do you can guarantee 50 of the fuckkers. Dozy anarchist cunT.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Oh, hai Will, wanna make out?

(Don't feel the need to delete Will on my behalf Bob. I find him funny).

Will said...

I don't find you funny -- i find you as being a fuckking cunt of high order. anarchist tosser.

Will said...

fat stalinist (turned fashist) pig cunT http://tinyurl.com/393xm55 - the piggy eyed cunT will be in the EDL nowadays of course.

Waterloo Sunset said...

Awww, you're so adorable Will. Do you write poetry?

Will said...

Michael Ezra LOL

Will said...

antichrists, er anarchists, er schoolkids

Will said...

great review

http://londonbookclub.co.uk/?p=762

anarchists shud now shut the fuck up and retire to their squats and look after their dogs that exist on a string.

The Dumb cunts

Will said...

Kronstadt cunTs who needed to be killed like the vermin they were

"completely demoralized elements, men who wore elegant white trousers and did their hair like pimps."


ha ha. Long LIve TROTSKY!!

Waterloo Sunset said...

That was kinda beatnik, nice work!

(Hey, is it true you were responsible for setting up the Harry's Place website? Does that make you David T's bitch?)