June 18, 2002
11:15 PM   Subscribe

I know that Blogathon is mentioned in the side panel, but I was interested in what MeFi'ers think of it. Did any of you participate last year? What was your experience with it? Who's in for this year?
posted by dobbs (65 comments total)

 
Sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, I'm (95% certainly) moving that day; otherwise, I'd love to participate.
posted by gohlkus at 12:00 AM on June 19, 2002


Hm... sponsoring bloggers to sit in front of the computer and blog. I don't know about that. Maybe we should sponsor them to go out and get some sun, for God's sake.
posted by Xkot at 1:13 AM on June 19, 2002


Nice idea. I'd like to agree with it. But.
Frankly, there's enough crap being posted to the web already. Now it's being done under duress, in the name of a cause. Why not just take the time to convince the people who would be your "sponsors" to make a charity donation outright?
posted by Su at 1:54 AM on June 19, 2002


Frankly, there's enough crap being posted to the web already.

You mean like sourpuss complaints about other people having some fun and helping out a few good causes along the way?

Now it's being done under duress, in the name of a cause.

Duress? I must have missed the part where people are being forced to do this. (Obdisclaimer: I'm sponsoring my fiancée, who's blogging for BookAid.)
posted by sennoma at 3:35 AM on June 19, 2002


Oh dear,su. A few MB of non-essential HTML might get posted to the web, some money might go to charity, and worst of all, some people might have some fun in the process. I'd say it must be stopped.

What does it say on your business card, Certified Professional Killjoy?

(Obdisclaimer:I may participate if work allows. I already blog several times a day might as well do some good in the process.)
posted by jonmc at 3:40 AM on June 19, 2002


It was interesting to come back after the fact last year to see what kinds of things people had posted. It seems like a lot of them had stuff pre-planned, and intermixed that with reports on their level of awake-ness. It wasn't unlike a belated reading of the play-by-play blogs people do as they watch an awards show or sporting event, but it was colour commentary about their own lives.

I'd love to take part, but as I noted last year and this, it's held on a Saturday. Since it would be work, and since money would be made, it's not something I can do, even for charity. If there were an alternate date for Saturday sabbatarian bloggers I know that I and a couple others would gladly do it.
posted by Dreama at 4:20 AM on June 19, 2002


Ahh, sweet rewards for quantity over quality...! Please, what's the point? If people want to give to charities, do we really need people posting every 30 minutes for 24 hours a "pre-planned" mix of content (or worse yet, the "Here I am posting for the blogathon, wow, isn't this exciting?" entry). Just give to the freakin' charity! I agree with Su, there's already enough crap out there in the blogging world. This event seems like just an excuse for publicity...
posted by yarf at 5:45 AM on June 19, 2002


Oh my god, I signed up for this thing without realising it was simply an exercise in self promotion and the mindless proliferation of polluting blogstuff!

/me shoots self

*thud*
posted by ceiriog at 6:07 AM on June 19, 2002


One down, 247,799 to go...
posted by yarf at 6:24 AM on June 19, 2002


yarf, su--apparently you have no interest in the blogathon. You'll be happy to hear that I am very interested in it. I will be happy to put out 24 hours of so-called crap, because I believe that some people need a reason to give money to charity. It gives the donors a sense of participation: they can watch their horse perform, so to speak. Furthermore, I'm all for more ways and reasons to give to charities. For every person out there is a possible different reason to give to a charity. Perhaps this gives a group of people who wouldn't otherwise donate money a reason to.

I don't know if I'll be able to do it this year. I'll regret it if I can't.
posted by ashbury at 6:26 AM on June 19, 2002


obDisclaimer: I'm part of the blogathon team, but I'm not part of the public relations folk so I should likely just keep my mouth shut, but you ask good questions that need to be addressed.

Please, what's the point?

I think jonmc summed it up best:

A few MB of non-essential HTML might get posted to the web, some money might go to charity, and worst of all, some people might have some fun in the process.

What's the point of a walkathon? What's the point of a marathon or of a telethon? Why bother blocking those streets, or wasting airwaves when people could just donate to charity?

People as a general rule don't just up and donate to charities. They donate to charities when they need a tax break, they donate to charities to buy a chocolate bar or a box of cookies from a child. Sure there are lots of people that devote insane amounts of time effort and money to charities, but relative to the general population, they're rare.

If people just up and donated to charities then fundraising wouldn't be in our lexicon.
posted by cCranium at 6:51 AM on June 19, 2002


...because I believe that some people need a reason to give money to charity...

Um, wouldn't that be because they have some money they want to donate to a worthy cause? Since when did giving to charity become something that needs to be event-driven??

It gives the donors a sense of participation: they can watch their horse perform, so to speak.

I don't even know what to say to something like this... Blogging as competition or a horse race? It's just too funny!!
posted by yarf at 6:53 AM on June 19, 2002


~The other day, I heard about this thing that people do to raise money for charity. Apparently whole bunch of people get together at a local park and actually run around the park over and over, following the same path ad nauseum, in order to get sponsors to donate money to charity. I mean, it's crazy! There is already enough foot traffic in our local parks! Why do we need more people running in circles and going nowhere? Half of them can barely jog anyway!

They should just get their sponsors to donate directly to charity and save the wear and tear on their joints and ligaments.~

If there were an alternate date for Saturday sabbatarian bloggers I know that I and a couple others would gladly do it.

A charity marathon in my parent's town (which has a large sabbatarian population) deals with this problem by asking that teams run for 24 hours (it's a relay marathon) during a 48 hour period.
posted by iceberg273 at 6:57 AM on June 19, 2002


I never understood the point of a walkathon other than to show support (like a rally) for a cause. Online, I could just say, "Hey, I support this charity and if you want to keep enjoying this wonderful blog I put out everyday, you should too!" I can't imagine anything parallel to that in the real world.

The point of a marathon is to outperform, to win a race against other participants, while showing support for a cause. There's no parallel to this idea in this blogathon, as far as I can tell.

The point of a telethon is to raise money to keep a service going (e.g., PBS) that otherwise might not be able to survive. Same with MS, except the service is research into a disease. But you don't see too many telethons any longer, perhaps because their time has since passed as a novel way to raise awareness and money for a specific cause (e.g., where's the National Cancer Telethon or the National Heart Disease Telethon?).

If we were all blogging for a common cause, a common goal, perhaps my feelings would be different. But this is, "Blog for whoever you want, find your own sponsors, and we have nothing to do with the exchange of money or anything when it's over." Seems haphazard at best.
posted by yarf at 7:00 AM on June 19, 2002


If we were all blogging for a common cause, a common goal, perhaps my feelings would be different. But this is, "Blog for whoever you want, find your own sponsors,

A few "suggested charities" are provided but people have the option of choosing their own to increase participation.

and we have nothing to do with the exchange of money or anything when it's over." Seems haphazard at best.

Um, no. It's called "assuring sponsors that you're not running a scam to steal their money."
posted by laze at 7:13 AM on June 19, 2002


I responded to some of your points, but reading over them, my responses are pretty tangenital to the discussion at hand, I think.

The Blogathon is a way to raise money for charities. Last year it raised over $20,000 for 77 different charities.

Without the Blogathon, some of those people who donated probably would have anyway, but most of those people probably wouldn't have.

I just can't see anything negative about that. Maybe I've got my rose-coloured goggles on too tight, that's definitely a possibility.

And there's a reason for letting the users handle everything themselves. It costs a lot of money to setup a donation acception and payment out scheme. It takes a lot of time to administer and maintain that sort of thing, and the Blogathon isn't even a non-profit organization. It's just a group of people providing a centralised place and a common task as an excuse to raise charity.

Fundamentally I don't understand why it's a bad thing, or why it's a waste of anyone's time. We're not demanding that anyone participate, and as you can see the restrictions and constraints are made obvious to users from the get-go.
posted by cCranium at 7:20 AM on June 19, 2002


Can I come back from the dead now?
posted by ceiriog at 7:32 AM on June 19, 2002


No!

* pushes ceiriog's head back underground *
posted by cCranium at 7:42 AM on June 19, 2002


I am all for sponsoring bloggers to blog if they are required to write only in iambic pentameter. or haikus. ... and they must not mention how tired they are or how much caffeine they are taking in.
posted by amphigory at 7:52 AM on June 19, 2002


I will be blogging in full cynghanedd, as usual, but from behind the wall of death, which is a first for me.
posted by ceiriog at 8:00 AM on June 19, 2002


Well, excuse me for calling bullshit where I see(okay, consider) it. Oh well, it's not the first time this has happened here. For the sake of completeness, my view of [X]-athons isn't any different. At least the PBS people come right out and beg. They're honest about the whole thing.

If those of you defending the concept can honestly say you haven't read someone's blog and said, "Oh jeez, not another I-apologize-for-not-posting, or I'm-so-hung-over post or in this particular case I'm-so-tired", then fine, I accept your argument. I never said it shouldn't happen, and I'm not going to go picket a walkathon. I said I'd like to agree with it, but don't. If people have to be coerced into donating to charities with stunts like this(or lots of walking), then it's still great that the donation is being made, but I consider the means kind of sad, ends justifying and all that.

I'd put forward that most people post to their sites once or twice a day, in general, and if they're lucky, it's actually worth reading. Ask any writer(yes, bloggers are writers, at some level, whether they admit it or not) who cares about what they're doing to increase their output by 240% for any period of time, and they'll either tell you to go to hell, or tell you up front that it's going to suck. Since these people have already agreed to the output, I'm saying it's probably going to be crap. The fact that it's for the children, or whoever, doesn't make me feel any better about it.

If I had any money to give anybody, I'd ask that my "horse" make one post of actual meaning, and maybe even beauty. If you're going to sell something, and that's what's really happening here, make it worth buying. Don't be the salesman that won't shut up and go away.
posted by Su at 8:00 AM on June 19, 2002


Waitaminute. That should be 24X.
posted by Su at 8:12 AM on June 19, 2002


Well, excuse me for calling bullshit where I see(okay, consider) it.

What exactly are you calling bullshit on though? That's what I don't understand.

Yes, there's already crap posted to blogs and there's going to be accelerated crap generation. What does that have to do with the blogathon?

Is the internet running out of space? Has your homepage been set to the blogathon without your say so? How does this accelerated generation of crap affect you in such a negative way?

Interestingly enough, yarf's last post suggested the strongest argument for the blogathon yet: It's a new, novel way of raising money for charity. It's not the be-all and end-all of charitable drives, it's just a new way of doing a classic benefit.
posted by cCranium at 8:21 AM on June 19, 2002


I agree Su. Hearing about the boring minutia of other peoples live is so annoying. Like this:

I'm so bored. I've been huddled up in the house, leaving only for dancing, food and occasional runs to the book store.

When it's done for charity instead of the nobler goal of self aggrandizement it is even more annoying. There is not a lot shallower than the motivation of charity.

Before you throw a rock Su make sure you are not looking at a mirror
posted by srboisvert at 8:24 AM on June 19, 2002


Su,

i can think of a few writers who increased their output because they "had" to. Philip K. Dick, for one (had ex wives and children to support and couldn't keep a regular job. believe at one point he wrote four or five novels in a year); Harlan Ellison (was challenged to sit for 8 hours a day in a shop window and write at least one short story each day, based on ideas given to him by the book store's browsers.); Norman Mailer (was being nailed by the IRS for back taxes so had to write a novel before X date in order to get an advance and not go to jail); those are off the top of my head. i'm sure there are many others. increased output does not necessarily equal crap. and if it does, no one is forcing you to read it.

my point isn't to nitpick with you about these things, but gimme a break.... "there's enough crap being posted to the web already..." yeah, there's also a ton of crap books, newspapers and magazines being published. there are, thankfully, also writers of quality out there.

you seem to be implying (with this: "Don't be the salesman that won't shut up and go away.") that someone somewhere is forcing anyone to read anyone else's blogs. you don't seem to take into consideration that there are many people out there who read certain blogs every day and ENJOY them and want to encourage those writers to write more, not less. hell, if Bobby Burgess signed up for blogathon, i'd donate a hundred bucks to whatever charity he wished. i don't want him to shut up. his "crap" thrills me. you might think that there are some other readers out there who also have their favorite writers who they want to encourage to post more often.

now you can say "well you could just donate the $100 to the charity without bobby..." well, that's not the point, is it. i don't actually have $100 of "disposable" cash at the moment. it's not like i'm sitting here wondering what to do with my money. but i'd consider such an investment the same way i would weigh buying a new book by a favorite author. i'd be getting the words and the charity (instead of the bookseller) would be getting the money. am i selfish for not donating "just because"? i hope not. am i stupid for donating because i like someone's writing? according to your logic, i just may be.
posted by dobbs at 8:32 AM on June 19, 2002


Hmmm. I really don't see how one objects to this event without objecting to charity in general. The actual event is always beside the point: who cares if the money is raised via blogging, jogging, knitting, or drinking? As long as no one gets hurt. Also, since a novel approach to charity fundraising will get more press, and since it may reach a different crowd (tech freaks and warmongers?), it's easy to argue for the superiority of this event over yet another marathon or race up the CN Tower.

Okay... fine, Su. I'll sponsor you. Is that what you're looking for?
posted by D at 9:03 AM on June 19, 2002


I love it...

Someone asks for Mefi'ers opinion about something. People give their opinions, pro and con. Some Mefi'ers cannot let those with opinions divergent from their own alone, and have to keep hammering them with the likes of...

"Why are you a part of our group-think?!?"

"It's for charity, for chrissakes!! Are you against raising money for charity!???"

Folks, life ain't black and white. Live with it that some people just don't see any value in a tasteless exercise of this nature.
posted by yarf at 9:08 AM on June 19, 2002


So, is it time for me to weigh in yet?

Disclaimer: I'm the founder of the Blogathon.

As for the cynics, I have to laugh. How cynical and jaded do you have to be to tear down a charity event? Dang. That takes effort.

Anyone who cares about this world must find their own path toward making a contribution. A quote from a favorite musician:

"Look, if you don’t think the world’s right, there’s no point sitting in your room smoking a joint and doing nothing about it. That’s hypocrisy. And the idea shouldn’t be that doing a good thing makes you a better person. To me, if you don’t do anything, you’re a shithead."

I spent a lot of years being a shithead.

I felt I had the imagination to do better than simply giving what little I could to my favorite charities. The Blogathon raises many times what I could give individually. That's all it's about. Using the skills I have to do what I can. It's the same for every participant--using something they love to do something important.

The Blogathon does more than raise money: it also raises awareness. People choose their own charity so they can grab a wide audience to look at their favorite cause. Thousands of people will learn about the Progeria Research Foundation and Heart House who would have never otherwise heard of them.

Finally, it's fun. I can't possibly explain how fun it is to someone who hasn't participated. For 24 hours, you're a part of a worldwide community that is more tight-knit than the everyday web neighborhood. You stay up together, you sit bleary-eyed in a chatroom, you gossip, you wonder if you'll make it. You make friends.

It's a harmless activity, it requires a bit of effort and endurance, and it does a lot of good. I'm proud to be associated with each and every person who blogs or sponsors. Some of the blogs last year were amazing--a lot of art, education, creative writing--you name it. It's a fantastic group, and I'm excited to see what happens this year.
posted by frykitty at 9:09 AM on June 19, 2002


PS: The discussion, though it makes me smile and shake my head, is very cool. Who would think that something so straightforward could be controversial?
posted by frykitty at 9:15 AM on June 19, 2002


Su, you've addressed a lot of reasons why you think the Blogathon is pointless, and complained about the fact that some people need events to encourage them to give to charity, and you've even somehow managed to tie this into "ends justifying the means".

What you haven't done is point out why any of the events going on is negative in any way. Whether ends ever justify means is irrelevant if the means are harmless. If money is being raised for charity and the participants are enjoying themselves, what's your problem? In what way is 24-hours of blogging or the fact that someone will donate money to a charity in exchange for that hurting you or anyone else? Unless you can explain that, then your argument is even more pointless than you claim the Blogathon (which as has been pointed out, raises tens of thousands of dollars for good causes) is.
posted by daveadams at 9:23 AM on June 19, 2002


I did it last year. (self link: last year's 24-hour blogathon archive.) I was worried about the same things some people have mentioned: posting for the sake of posting and not because I had something to say; raising more attention than money; falling asleep or writing about nothing but how tired I was... but at the same time I didn't want to prepare too much beforehand, because that would've felt artificial to me. so I asked people for topics of any sort, and then I picked some to write about and some to illustrate with real-world cut-and-paste collages (all of which were made during the 24-hour blogathon period). it gave me so much to do that I could barely keep up with my own posts, let alone the other websites I was trying to read. and I wouldn't say that much of what I did was brilliant, but it didn't feel entirely meaningless to me, and that was enough. it was fun and I raised about eight hundred (I think) dollars.

will I do it again? certainly not this year, and probably not ever. once was enough. but there's no reason that it can't be challenging and productive and maybe even fun for other people to spectate. everyone approaches things differently and this is no exception, but there's no reason to think that everything that happens during the blogathon will be crap.
posted by rabi at 9:23 AM on June 19, 2002


Dobbs: So you're equating enforced output for purposes of survival with this? 'kay. As for Harlan Ellison, he's such a bastard, he probably was doing it for sheer publicity and was giggling the entire eight hours.
Regarding encouraging your favorite writer to post more often. You (intentionally?) ignored the point: The reason people post X amount is because that's what there is to post, or maybe even because it's all they want to post. You overclock a computer, it'll go faster, but the more you push(24X...), there's a greater chance it'll screw up and possibly just stop. Same with people.

Srboisvert: I agree Su. Hearing about the boring minutia of other peoples live is so annoying. Like this:
I'm so bored. I've been huddled up in the house, leaving only for dancing, food and occasional runs to the book store.


So we're already at the personal attacks? Cheap, and uncalled for. Convenient, BTW, to pick the two sentences I could probably excise and make absolutely no difference to the entry.
First: I can probably name the people who actually visit my site, and tell you how they got there. It is not, nor was ever meant to be a blog. At least not according to Meg, but that's another discussion. It is decidedly self-centered and internal. I hope I never show up on Daypop in any capacity. It's me talking to myself, and if anybody else wants to listen in, they can, though I'm always mystified as to why. I could go on with this bit, but there's really no reason for purposes of this discussion.
Second: What we're discussing here is within the context of the Blogation, which I have absolutely no intention of participating in. My site is not a factor for consideration.
Continuing from there: D, piss off. Do you seriously think I'm stupid enough to rise to that bait?
I'm not opposed to charity at all. I just wonder when it became a spectator sport. This is a stunt. I accept that. "But rather as I accept[ed] locusts."

When it's done for charity instead of the nobler goal of self aggrandizement it is even more annoying. There is not a lot shallower than the motivation of charity.

Wait. Is this you backpedalling, or irony? I can't tell. I'm unclear where the self-aggrandizement is coming from, incidentally. I tend to shoot myself down rather a lot on my site.

There seems to be some sort of assumption that I think this thing shouldn't happen, so let's clear that up. Go right ahead. Have fun. I'm sure some of the participants will make some great posts. Frykitty: I seriously hope you guys break last year's total. By a lot. In the end, the charities will benefit, and that is the point of the event. And I won't have been a part of it. Oh, well. I fundamentally disagree with the process and that doesn't allow me to. I suppose I should have just kept my mouth shut?
posted by Su at 9:27 AM on June 19, 2002


Live with it that some people just don't see any value in a tasteless exercise of this nature.

How is it tasteless to raise money for charity by doing a silly endurance event?

I'm not looking at this as a black-and-white thing (and I don't think anyone else is either), I seriously am asking you (and Su) to explain why you think this is negative. You haven't done so thus far. Okay, so you think the idea is silly, and you claim that the participants might be aiming for some publicity. I think you're wrong on both counts, but tell me, how is it negative? Who is getting hurt? What societal values are being eroded?
posted by daveadams at 9:30 AM on June 19, 2002


Daveadams: What you haven't done is point out why any of the events going on is negative in any way.
Crap(or a more vulgar word for it) is harmful. In a literal sense, it becomes toxic when there's too much of it(overproduction). When the crap in question is content, it dilutes the value of said content, and by extension all content. Call it signal to noise ratio, or whatever you want, the concept is the same.
I would put forth that the societal value being eroded is a respect and expectation for quality, but I'm half afraid it would be taken as a joke.

If it hasn't become clear by now, my issue is less with than the stunt factor(and obviously not the charity) of the Blogathon than with the fact there will be a massive amount of fluff poured out onto the net, pretty much all at once. Yeahyeah, it's happening all the time, but does it have to be an organized event? As I've said, I would rather see these people spend the entire 24hours making one good thing and showing that to the world. The marathon analogy only holds up so far here. Running is an almost self-sustaining act, as long as you don't fall down(In terms of physics, that's almost exactly what it is.) But writing of any quality takes time among other things, before you even get to the part of typing it out, and half an hour is rarely enough. There are ways the exercise could work. I really like Rabi's idea from last year, and will be visiting his/her(?) link later because I'm interesed in the concept. I would like to think it or something as good were common, but I don't.

I don't really think I've got anything new to add here. I've tried to be clear, and it doesn't seem to be working. Anything else will just start annoying people, starting with me. Saying that 99% of everything is crap(yes, it's a button) isn't necessarily a sign of pessimissim. Sometimes it's a request for quality control.
posted by Su at 9:51 AM on June 19, 2002


I would like to think it or something as good were common, but I don't.

More common than you think.

And that's just a sampling. Sure, there's a lot of "Gee, I'm tired," but the 'thon also inspires some great output.
posted by frykitty at 10:05 AM on June 19, 2002


Su: So you're equating enforced output for purposes of survival with this? 'kay.

no. i'm taking the reason someone chooses to increase their output out of the equation. i'm merely saying that increased output doesn't have to equal crap, which is what your post implied.

As for Harlan Ellison, he's such a bastard, he probably was doing it for sheer publicity and was giggling the entire eight hours.

i don't see how his being a bastard or enjoying the stunt has anything to do with it. i don't read (or listen or watch) to make friends with the artist.

Regarding encouraging your favorite writer to post more often. You (intentionally?) ignored the point: The reason people post X amount is because that's what there is to post, or maybe even because it's all they want to post.

maybe in your world there's only one reason for things, but not in mine. why are you assuming that everyone's blog runs the same way (as yours)?

my site's output is generally connected to my free time. if i was available to write every day, i would (i used to), but it's not financially possible for me. some of my entries have taken as long as 7 hours to write. none have taken less than an hour. (because of the way my brain works, i can't do entries piecemeal. each entry is written and sent out in one sitting.) i'm a freelance worker and take work as it comes in, which is why my output is so sporadic. it has nothing to do with "The reason people post X amount is because that's what there is to post".

(at the same time, i understand that not everyone's site works the same as mine. many work the way you suggest. i'm merely positing that it's not necessary to lump everyone together and assume that people will have nothing to say for the 24 hours and the project will result in a bunch of drivel.)

You overclock a computer, it'll go faster, but the more you push(24X...), there's a greater chance it'll screw up and possibly just stop. Same with people.

fair enough. but there are also people who work much better under pressure or with a deadline. different strokes...
posted by dobbs at 10:10 AM on June 19, 2002


The Blogathon does more than raise money: it also raises awareness.

You just did that. With one post. Now the thousands of people who read this thread (and not the dozens who read one person's random blog) know about those charities you mentioned.

Wasn't that cool?

Now if you just get the bloggers to keep a link on their blogs all the time and ask their readers to donate just once a year, haven't you accomplished pretty much the same thing with a lot less flash?
posted by yarf at 10:17 AM on June 19, 2002


>D, piss off.

Easy now. I didn't mean that as bait: I've met people who disagree with charity, and to me that makes a more interesting argument than criticizing the fundraising activity, which is generally understood to be beside the point.
posted by D at 10:22 AM on June 19, 2002


Now if you just get the bloggers to keep a link on their blogs all the time and ask their readers to donate just once a year, haven't you accomplished pretty much the same thing with a lot less flash?

Nope. Lots more hits for the 'thon. Pooling attention toward charities is part of the point.
posted by frykitty at 10:23 AM on June 19, 2002


Frykitty, I should also note that if you'd really like to publicize unknown charities worthy of giving to (and encourage people to give to charities in general), you might find a place somewhere to do so amongst the 188 links on your homepage, not a single one pointing to a charity (except, of course, the self-promotional link to the blogathon itself).
posted by yarf at 10:26 AM on June 19, 2002


you might find a place somewhere to do so amongst the 188 links on your homepage.

Why? I get very few hits on my home page. It's much more effective to use the Blogathon. That's what it's for.
posted by frykitty at 10:30 AM on June 19, 2002


Now if you just get the bloggers to keep a link on their blogs all the time and ask their readers to donate just once a year, haven't you accomplished pretty much the same thing with a lot less flash?

Humans by nature, become jaded by things that they see all the time. How long has there been a "Donate" link in the MeFi topbar, and yet, how few of the thousands of MeFites have actually given? Or even notice the link anymore?

Events garner publicity and interest, and from that interest comes awareness. If there were no Blogathon, who would pay attention to Frykitty, as one person, saying "Please donate to these good charities once a year for me, eh?"

Further, there is no evidence to demonstrate that charitable "flash" is a bad thing.

Even moreso, despite the desperate flailings of Su and others, there is no evidence that the majority of the participants in the Blogathon (judging from last year's offerings) offer crap in the main, nor that they offered nothing but 24 hours of crap during the event. As I mentioned before, it seemed clear that many had planned what they would blog, picking out links and storing things in reserve for posting as the day went along. Most were just as interesting over the course of their >48 posts during that day as they are on the whole over the span of any other time period.

If the blogs involved were nothing but steaming piles of shite, then that would certainly be amplified in a situation like this. But the reality is that the vast majority of those who were conscientious enough to want to take part in the Blogathon are not purveyors of garbage blogging to begin with, and I don't doubt that the same will hold true again this year.
posted by Dreama at 10:33 AM on June 19, 2002


Thanks for the links, Frykitty.

D: Fair enough. I'm not one of the people who considers the event beside the point($1000-a-plate charity dinner? Uh...no.), so that's cleared up. But yeah, opposing charity outright is intriguing, in a way. Some Indians have an interesting view on that one that's essentially rooted in their religion's concept of destiny.
posted by Su at 10:34 AM on June 19, 2002


yarf wrote:
Live with it that some people just don't see any value in a tasteless exercise of this nature.

That's fine, and just like the guy sitting in his car behind a police barracade, honking his horn while charity runners go past for a few minutes, you're welcome to your opinion, and everyone here is welcome to call you a cynic for it.

Look, the bottom line is that this is fucking harmless. If you don't like it, don't donate to it. If you do, go ahead and donate, either way no one gets hurt.

Personally, last year I sponsored someone because I know I should donate to charity under my own accord, but I rarely (if ever) do it. Someone or something has to remind me. So if I'm at a chartity event, I'll donate money, if PBS or my local non-profit Jazz station asks for money, I give them money. In the case of the blogathon, I saw a friend doing it, for a worthy cause I didn't know existed, so I sponsored her, gave $50 and it was great. She got to blog (rather well, I might add, not just fluff about how tired she was), a charity got some money, and I became aware of a charity I might need someday (it was blindness-related, something that's definitely in my present and future).

So the bottom line is no matter how pointless it looks, it works, it does some good, and no one gets hurt while doing it. It can operate successfully with or without your help, so if you don't support it fine, but I don't see why you have to continually pound on the fact you don't like something. You've stated your distaste for it, great, whatever, but let it go.

I couldn't give two shits about american football, but you don't see my posting in every thread about it "do you dumbasses really like this pointless, barbaric "sport" this much?" and repeatedly hammering on that point.
posted by mathowie at 10:56 AM on June 19, 2002


So we're already at the personal attacks? Cheap, and uncalled for. Convenient, BTW, to pick the two sentences I could probably excise and make absolutely no difference to the entry.

If holding up a mirror is a personal attack then so be it. The way I (personally) see it you engaged in a sweeping generalization about blogging and pre-judged the people who are committed to the blogathon as being about to put more garbage out on the web.

As for visiting your site and pulling a quote being cheap, I agree it was. In fact it is even a logical fallacy to hold someone who puts forth an argument to the standard in the argument.

I just can't see where you can get off denigrating other peoples contributions on the web when you freely state that your own site in your own words: decidedly self-centered and internal. I hope I never show up on Daypop in any capacity. It's me talking to myself, and if anybody else wants to listen in, they can, though I'm always mystified as to why. So you can ramble but other people can't? I don't understand how you can maintain what seem to be completely contradictory notions.
posted by srboisvert at 11:18 AM on June 19, 2002


I love it... again...

Dobbs asks for our opinions, and the two people who dare give divergent opinions (and then attempt to defend them) get flamed for having them!! And one of the flamers is the guy who runs the site. Nice.

So this is what "community" is all about? Sweet.

Next time, don't ask. Or better yet, people who might actually have something different to contribute, don't bother.

"You don't fit in here, move along..."
posted by yarf at 11:29 AM on June 19, 2002


yarf, you can have dissent (even if I can't possibly understand why), but what is pointless and uninteresting is that you continue to post over and over again about it.

My last post was trying as politely as possible to tell you to let it go. This doesn't have anything to do with community, the whole thread is totally uninteresting and pointless due to the continued presence of dissent. I'm not saying dissent should be eliminated and we should all be super happy fun metafilter, but it's not moving forward. You have a personal beef with this thing and I don't understand why, and you're not clearing that up, but you keep making the point that you think it is stupid. I'm saying fine, you're entitled to that opinion and you can state it here, but you and Su have stated it over and over again and it seems pointless now.
posted by mathowie at 11:33 AM on June 19, 2002


yarf, if you didn't come across as cynical and bitter about something that does some good for others, maybe you wouldn't feel so put upon.
posted by ashbury at 11:35 AM on June 19, 2002


That's because I, like millions of others in this world, do my good deeds with no notice and no need for notice or reminders... Just quietly, we toil away, we pay our bills, we donate to charity when we feel like it. No event. No media. No press releases. No self-congratulations. We just do it because it's right.

I just find the whole business of someone needing a reason or event to give to charity crass. You want a reminder? Put it in your daybook or on your calendar. I just don't get why all the attention and exposure on something other people seem to have no problem doing all the time without making a big deal of it.

And this kind of comment:

This doesn't have anything to do with community, the whole thread is totally uninteresting and pointless due to the continued presence of dissent.

really speaks volumes... As though the point of every conversation was movement. "Look, the dissenters aren't moving, let's throw rhetorical rocks at them and see if that'll get 'em moving! Let's jab a few personal insults their way and see if that spurs 'movement'!"

It got ugly real quick, and I'm still not sure why.
posted by yarf at 11:46 AM on June 19, 2002


yarf, you're right, it did get ugly, on both sides.

Maybe you don't need a reminder, but many of us do. Maybe you are more altruistic than the average person. But I don't think that people needing a reason and an event or reminder to donate is "crass". I don't mean to throw stones but I think that you're attitude towards the whole thing is far more "crass", if not self-righteous and holier-than-thou. If you do your thing quietly and without fanfare, good for you, but there's no need to piss on the parade of others who believe that they too are doing a good deed for their fellow man. As Matt said, if there's no harm in it, why bother going against it?

With regard to your comment on community, a community should allow dissent. In this thread you are against the majority. In the next thread, you may be in the majority against someone else. This doesn't mean that we can't all get along without disagreeing with someone's perspective. Your opinion, be it negative or positive, along with everybody else's opinions, is what makes up the community.
posted by ashbury at 12:05 PM on June 19, 2002


I just find the whole business of someone needing a reason or event to give to charity crass.

Crass, perhaps. But also reality, however unfortunate that is. Not all people give to charity without prompting or reminding. Rather than tsking and saying "it shouldn't be that way", why not accept reality and do what we can to change it?

I'm honestly happy you think it's crass, I think it's great that you do things quietly and on your own. But the world just doesn't work that way. When people aren't aware that there are ways they can help, when people aren't aware that there's anything that can be helped, whose responsibility is it to educate them?

Ignorance can't be cured by the ignorant -- they don't know there's something to be cured. People who see a problem need to educate other people about the problem, otherwise that problem will continue on forever.

The Blogathon is just one way people are trying to educate others about problems in the world. No one here is saying that you've got to love the event.

The reason I've been pestering you and Su about your responses is that I was genuinely curious about how you could hate it.

You think it's crass that people have to be reminded or prodded to donate to charity. That's an excellent reason to disagree with the event, why not say that from the beginning rather than dismissing the event out of hand?

What is gained by derailing the thread? If you don't care at all, why bother to post? If you disagree with the intent of the event, you can do so without being dismissive or condescending.

Maybe there's a way to promote charity that doesn't come off as crass. I don't know, but if there are people avoiding the Blogathon because of its crassness then there are certainly people who would love to be able to find an uncrass method of promoting charity to those people, and maybe a discussion here could lead to that.
posted by cCranium at 12:16 PM on June 19, 2002


And one of the flamers is the guy who runs the site. Nice.

or, you know, chick.
posted by judith at 12:26 PM on June 19, 2002


judith, i believe yarf was referring to Matt and MetaFilter, not Blogathon and frykitty.
posted by dobbs at 12:33 PM on June 19, 2002


Something's gotten lost here that should come back up. Frykitty: Since there's so much time until the actual event, what about putting up a question at the Blogathon site to see how many people aren't participating on religious grounds, or just that day not working for them? What about making it stretch over two days, and having the participants choose one? Since there's not really any time-sensitive administrative stuff to worry about[assumption], it wouldn't be extra work or anything. I don't think there'd be a serious dilution, and there'd just be the potential of that many more people going in on it.

And...MetaTalk.
posted by Su at 12:50 PM on June 19, 2002


Yarf and Su, you both lost, get over it, move on. You're just being jade-colored wet blankets and you know it.

I think it's a great idea, and I enjoyed following along last year. Bravo frykitty!

I'm thinking of participating this year, so I'm on the lookout for sponsors... (hint)
posted by evanizer at 12:56 PM on June 19, 2002


I read the whole thread.
For some reason, without passion, I'm crying out loud.
posted by Opus Dark at 1:04 PM on June 19, 2002


Yarf and Su, you both lost, get over it, move on. You're just being jade-colored wet blankets and you know it.

How exactly did they lose? Their opinions are certainly as valid as anyone else's, and both were finally able to dumb them down enough for me at least to understand their points.

Sure, I disagree with them still, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Although hey, if I somehow won, then yay!
posted by cCranium at 1:10 PM on June 19, 2002


Evan: Thanks, but I moved on twenty comments prior to your insight. As cCranium(hooray!) already stated, it had nothing to do with losing. Or winning for that matter. I said what I needed to, answered the questions put to me, and some of us have come away with a little more understanding.
posted by Su at 1:22 PM on June 19, 2002


Since there's so much time until the actual event, what about putting up a question at the Blogathon site to see how many people aren't participating on religious grounds, or just that day not working for them? What about making it stretch over two days, and having the participants choose one? Since there's not really any time-sensitive administrative stuff to worry about[assumption], it wouldn't be extra work or anything.

Good questions all. Just an FYI there's a bboard where we discuss just these things. It definitely came up last year.

To answer briefly, I made a conscious decision to have everyone blogging during the same 24 hours, so it would be one event, and it would be exciting most of the way through. It's very hard to make clear to someone who hasn't done the event, but those 24 hours are an amazing experience, and I am very reluctant to dilute that in any way.

I did change the start time this year to better accommodate European bloggers.

Who knows? We may experiment with that part of the format next year. This year administration is hugely busy, so changing wouldn't be a good idea.
posted by frykitty at 1:30 PM on June 19, 2002


there's going to be accelerated crap generation

there is a gem in this thread ;)
posted by rhyax at 2:28 PM on June 19, 2002


you both lost

Depends on who is keeping score... assuming, even, that one can win or lose here.
posted by crunchland at 3:56 PM on June 19, 2002


What a fascinating thread. There's a Master's Thesis in here somewhere.

And : even though I think I understand, to a degree, where the dissenters are coming from, I disagree with them. The blogathon is nothing but good.

Go Frykitty, go!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:38 PM on June 19, 2002


[Also, tangentially but perhaps related to what we're talking about, rusty has managed to raise more than $30000 for kur05hin in donations in a couple of days.]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:05 PM on June 19, 2002


Holy crap.
posted by Su at 10:24 PM on June 19, 2002


This Su creature is one bitter megalomaniac. Have a chill pill, honey. The taxi will be here in ten minutes to take you to your Botox clinic.
posted by susanlucci at 8:18 PM on June 20, 2002


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