Men stumble over the truth from time to time, but most pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened. -- Winston Churchill

All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. -- Galileo Galilei

I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think it's hell. -- Harry Truman

Location: Wichita, Kansas

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Friday, February 24, 2006

"Blogger Scale" Needed

After reading many blogs and the comments that accompany them, there seems to be a need to better describe political bloggers. The convention of party affiliation or words like right or left doesn't always capture the character of their writing. Perhaps something on the order of a logarithmic scale – such as the Richter Scale is in order. Here's what is proposed:

1-3 on the Scale might be described as “Independents”. This includes people who are not politically inclined, and have no particular ideological bent. They are often the pragmatic folk who post on the meat and potatoes issues they think might affect their daily lives. Though they are a large group, say about 30% of the American population, they are under-represented on blogs. Posting requires more energy than these low scorers on the Blogger Scale usually care to expend.

4-6 on the Scale encompasses many Republican and Democrats. They have a political philosophy, and can articulate their position on issues based on fact and analysis. The tone of the writing usually stays within the bounds of reasoned discourse. They may defend a point with passion, but not so much so that they cannot see all sides of an issue and other points of view. An exchange of ideas occurs within this range.

7-8 on the Scale begins to depart from logic, and here is where posting starts to reflect zealotry more than reason. The thinking process begins to assume a one dimensionality, often expressed in anger, personal attacks, name calling, and profanity. Right now, the far left seems to be over-represented in this range. It may be that frustration at the current Republican dominance of most Governorships, both houses of Congress, the Presidency, and the new Supreme Court Appointees have pushed more on the left to this extreme. Bloggers in this range trade salvos from their entrenched positions.

9 is where the blogging gets nuts. Here reside the true Bush hating conspiracy theorists, the White Supremacists and other fringe denizens of the blogging world. The posts are readily identifiable by the high degree of hatred they contain. Single issue obsessives on both sides of “hot button” issues find a home here. Tirades and rants are all that remain. The skewed reality of these unfortunates precludes any attempt at discussion. They are grossly over-represented in blogs as they seem to never tire of their “serial blogging” posts.

10 is reserved for the just plain insane. Reverend Phelps and Harry Belafonte live together in their own little universe. The posts of a 10 are so extreme that they reach toxic levels. Reader beware, exposure may be hazardous to your health.

This new system has practical value for the blogger. Blogs themselves can be assigned a numerical rating on the Blogger Scale, giving potential readers a useful insight into the contents. Some may prefer the interplay and thoughts of a “5-er” blog, while others may like the heat of a good “7.5-er”. “10” blogs might be accompanied by a warning before entering the site.

It can be helpful in dealing with individual bloggers as well. Comments of bloggers might be rated and averaged on their profiles. “Oh, I made the mistake of responding to an “8's” post, boy did I flamed.”
It might even help to moderate the discourse on blogs a little. No E-bay member wants a bad rating. Maybe bloggers would try to avoid being a “8”. Of course “9” and “10” raters are beyond redemption, but perhaps many “7” or “8's” could be saved.

Comments on ""Blogger Scale" Needed"


Anonymous Joshua said ... (12:56 PM) : 

How would a blogger's "rating" be determined? Specifically, can you think of a mechanism to prevent the system from being gamed or manipulated, such as by someone with an ax to grind against a blogger to artificially inflate the blog's craziness rating?


Blogger Copernicus said ... (1:04 PM) : 

A damned fine idea! The only problem I can see is that I havent found any democrat 3's.


Blogger Brandon said ... (3:57 PM) : 

Well joshua and don, nothing is perfect, lol. Perhaps an ethical blog rating code and another election will help with your respective concerns.


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