Blogging, or Knit Blogging in particular, is getting WAY too popular.
It amazed me at the beginning of my blog experience, that there were over 300 people that would want to read about the boring life of a 43 (now 44) year old gay man and his knitting.
It was gratifying that so many folks enjoyed my writing and my knitting design, and the progress on projects. Even more gratifying than those things, was the highly interesting comments that readers would leave that would help me form my opinions on various topics of interest to me.
You'll notice that I've put the last two paragraphs in past tense, but I don't mean to say that most of the conversation isn't still very vital.
Many of the folks that read this blog are sophisticated, talented, interesting, smart and opinionated, and their comments reflect that. As blogging becomes more and more popular, I'm getting concerned that the average KnitLost member will be using the blog forum (not just mine, but many of my daily reads as well) as another channel to add mundane drivel to the vast world of the internet knitting community.
For those of you who were members of the KnitList when it deserved that name, it was a great venue to discuss knitting and everything about it. It attracted mostly vibrant, adventurous knitters who truly added to the avocation of knitting. It is now irreversibly overrun with some of the most boring knitters on the planet, who not only don't forward the growth of knitting, but portray it as a stagnant, self-centered and fear-based activity.
My theory on the demise of the KnitList is a very elitist one. I think the average knitter is boring and provides no challenge to the pioneers of the craft. The KnitList was started by pioneers, and then as the KnitList gained more and more members, it grew to be directed by the average knitters. My rantings here about the KnitLost, and the KnitDweebs on it show my resentment at losing such a valuable forum.
My biggest concern is that as knit blogs become more and more popular, the forums that the comment and tagboard softwares provide will become more and more average, and will eventually be as dull as the KnitLost.
Here's what I propose doing to keep that from happening and to maintain the prestige of the folks that have been reading my blog and the other well-written knitting blogs.
Blog Commenting Rules
It may not be evident, but I take great care in the quality of writing on my blog, and the selection of topics that I write about. The one difference between groups like the KnitLost and my blog, is that I can control my blog. Afterall, I am a major control queen.
I'm not sure if readers are aware, but my comments are hosted by Haloscan.com (when it's working). In addition to hosting yours and my comments, which are attached to the individual blog entries, Haloscan software allows me to also edit and delete comments. It also allows me to ban e-mail addresses from commenting.
Here's what I plan on doing. I read all comments that readers leave, and I will continue to do that. I will evaluate each comment to make sure it meets at least one of the following criteria (or others as they occur to me):
1. It adds value in any of the following ways:
a. It reflects a specific opinion
b. It provides insight
c. It shares something of interest to readers
d. It includes a tip about the topic at hand
e. It expands the dialogue of knitting
2. It has relevancy to the current, or a recent blog topic
3. It reflects thoughtfulness on the writer's part
4. It asks a question that:
a. isn't answered somewhere else in the blog
b. isn't easily answered by a simple Google search
5. It includes suggestions on current or future designs
6. It critiques my or others opinions (I have no problem with flames, screaming matches, swearing, or
The comments will also be screened to make sure they avoid any of the following content:
1. "Me too" comments...if you are in violent agreement with someone else, just leave a comment like "Ditto Marilyn", but don't feel obliged to rewrite the same comment as someone else, in different words.
2. Beginner knitting questions. If you need beginner tips, send me an e-mail and spare the other readers.
3. Selfish, self-aggrandizing, self-promoting comments.
4. Hollow praise of projects or designs unless it provides thoughtful insight on why it's being praised
Good example: The lines of the garment go perfectly with the color design
Bad example: I LOVE the new sweater
5. Hateful comments that are irrelevant to the current or recent topic.
Good example: Only a flaming faggot would wear that color combination
Bad example: All faggots deserve to DIE
Once I've evaluated the comment, I will either:
1. Make no changes.
2. Add something to spice it up that will appear to readers as if you wrote it (e.g. "Did I mention my husband was uncut?")
3. Delete the entry
First and foremost, I want this place to be a place where folks can feel comfortable expressing their opinions about knitting and all things related to it. Please don't take these new rules as a reason to censor yourself or stifle your opinion. One of the most valuable components of this blog is the interaction of readers. Frightening would-be commenters is clearly not the intent of the new criteria.
I've gone back and reviewed a lot of my most recent comments to my blog, and I doubt I would have changed any of them, even with the rules I just stated above. Just for fun, I might have included something spicy, but only because I enjoy doing that.
Second, I don't want you to read these rules as a repeat of what happened on KnitU. Their censors weed out anyone with disagreeing opinions and leave the e-mails with the most boring, self-adulating crap you could imagine. The new rules are just an encouraging reminder that I want folks to enjoy reading my blog, and interacting in the commenting forum.
Finally, if you can't stand the thought that your comment may appear to include something racy that you wrote (e.g. "I also have an incredible talent of swallowing a banana whole."), and you want to leave a comment, but you're not sure it will pass the review, just add "No Edit Please" at the end, and I promise not to make changes to it.
I got through with the ribbing on the second sleeve, and I'm on the second row of color blocks. It was too cloudy to take a decent picture today, so I leave you with two completely non-knitting related pictures that I thought you might enjoy.
The first one is the view from my hotel room this week and next. It shows the Inner Harbor of Baltimore.
The second picture is something I found on the web, and had me giggling like a little girl.
Hope you enjoy.
Friday, April 11, 2003