Fascinating that a little game of blog-tag would evolve into the latest Oracle Blogosphere teapot tempest (nicely summarized here by Eddie Awad & commenters). Interestingly, the game has since spilled over into the wider Blogoverse.

Whether a blog-tag = spam is not a topic I would have foreseen in this venue. Just goes to show you that a community has organic attributes - it comprises many mutually balancing interests, such as ego/atruism, privacy/desire to share, and so on. Which is another way of saying: one person's nourishment is another person's poison, and often you don't know which is which until after the fact.

Update: Let me add that I am in the "nourishment" category. The reception the game received is proof enough that most (but not all) would agree; the beauty of a blog is that it can be a vehicle for creative self-expression, in which the reader learns something about the writer - not just dry facts.

Update: EI Dennis Howlett takes notice of this debate in his ZDnet blog.


I'm with you on the "nourishment" idea, but the whole teapot tempest does illustrate some issues regarding how we receive information (including how we filter it) and how we publish information (including how we identify it).

Posted by Ontario Emperor on January 11, 2008 at 02:45 AM PST #

There's a logical fallacy in your post that a lot of people are stumbling over: that the tagging game was needed because "the reader learns something about the writer - not just dry facts" The reader could learn something human about the writer at any time and it doesn't require a pyramid scheme to make it happen. That is what blogs are FOR. I know some blogs are entirely technical, but most are and have been for a long time a mixture of the technical, the funny, the personal and the general interest. I would certainly encourage all bloggers to do frequent 'this is me, human, warm and cuddly' posts. And I hope they do it when and as often as they want to, not as a one-off response to someone else prodding them to do so. Point is, the tagging game was completely unnecessary to make that happen. The tagging game has merely put a viral wrapper around the business of writing 'human content'. And it's that which has caused the damage. Better approaches were always possible to encourage the 'human post': Let March 16th be 'Global Oracle Bloggers Human Post Day', for example. A flood of warm, non-technical, entirely human posts, all gone the next day. Lots of interesting stuff produced, no damage done. When they force feed the ducks for weeks on end to make fois gras, does that count as giving them 'nourishment'?

Posted by Howard Rogers on January 11, 2008 at 02:53 AM PST #

Normally I despise these 'memes' - mainly because they are called 'memes', I think. But this time I took part as it's just a bit of harmless fun not spam. No-one forced me to. I read some of the posts but not all but I did discover some interesting blogs which made it worthwhile for that alone. People should try to remember that a community is made up of people, human beings. Sometimes the people are more interesting than brilliantly researched, original, detailed technical whitepapers describing how to install Oracle 11G RAC on Windows, Solaris, AIX, Ubuntu, RedHat and every single esoteric flavour of Linux.

Posted by Andy C on January 11, 2008 at 02:42 PM PST #

Irrelevant, Andy. You're again pushing the tired old line that I want lots of brilliantly researched technical whitepapers rather than posts about wallabies, museums, books, family, hobbies, the Other Half etc., etc. (all of which I have posted in large quantities myself and therefore have absolutely no objection to on the part of others). I want all of the above and more: I advised Doug Burns NOT to have split personal/technical blogs, if I remember right, as an example. This isn't an argument about content or against the 'human nature' side of blogging. It's about deliberately engineering an exponential flood of posts. The dichotomy you seek to portray is a false one, in short. Meanwhile, spray painting your local neighbourhood walls with 'tags' is just harmless fun, too, I suppose, at least for those taking part it in. Do you embrace the people that do that kind of thing as warmly as you embrace the people that have metaphorically done the same thing to OraNA?

Posted by Howard Rogers on January 12, 2008 at 01:15 AM PST #

Reasonable van disagree about the appropriateness of the method; as Howard points out, a game of blog-tag is hardly necessary to provoke an expression of "personality" on one's blog. I think my point is that this game clearly released some pent-up demand for such expression, so we should all do a better job of it in the future. No more blog-tag would be necessary.

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on January 13, 2008 at 07:07 PM PST #

Typing error! "Reasonable van..." = "Reasonable people can..."

Posted by Justin Kestelyn on January 13, 2008 at 07:08 PM PST #

Your analogy is flawed. Spraying a wall is criminal damage. If your analogy is correct, then simply report the matter to the police.

Posted by Andy C on January 14, 2008 at 10:39 PM PST #

It's damage, Andy, criminal or otherwise. Blog tagging damaged OraNA's utility for many, not just me. That you would ring the police for the one but engage in the other it instructive, though.

Posted by Howard Rogers on January 15, 2008 at 04:38 AM PST #

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