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Kottke goes full time
February 22, 2005 6:37 AM   Subscribe

Kottke.org! Time was that you could get the crap kicked out of you for posting kottke.org to MeFi. Three and a quarter years later, what's changed? Jason's decided to make a living off this blog ... but without running advertising. Good luck, says I.
posted by sylloge (364 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Is it time for micropayments to be cool yet? If so, it might be interesting to do some kind of comparison analysis: who's offering what for how much out there.
posted by sninky-chan at 6:45 AM on February 22, 2005


He's right -- it is a HUGE economic risk. Even in a (relatively) cheaper apartment in Brooklyn, the cost of living in NY is astronomical. But if it works, it could really change, or at least affect, the whole idea of internet businesses.
posted by amyscoop at 7:03 AM on February 22, 2005


$30 suggested donation!!
posted by smackfu at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2005


Save Kottke!
posted by greasy_skillet at 7:06 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm nt sure if this is going to work unless Jason provides his subscribers with something more tangible. There are so many blogs out there now that it's quite possible most readers will jsut go somewhere else to get their daily fix of news, commentary and links. If I've learned anything in the past 8 years of running my blog, it's that people are very cheap. It will be interesting to see if Jason's effort succeeds. I'll be watching and paying attention, for sure.
posted by camworld at 7:08 AM on February 22, 2005


He was probably inspired by John Gruber of Daring Fireball who did the same thing in June. Unfortunately since Daring Fireball went 'commercial' about half of the postings are about donations and fundraising. I hope Kottke isn't going to do the same thing...
posted by kika at 7:11 AM on February 22, 2005


"Quitting my job to run kottke.org full-time is possibly the dumbest economic decision I've ever made in my life."

You don't say? First, people were going to make money selling shoes on the intarnets. Now they're going to make it off their blogs. The only person to market a successful diary was Anne Frank. And we all know what happened to her: the Nazis came and took her away.
posted by jsavimbi at 7:12 AM on February 22, 2005


there's a guy near my apartment who does something similar. He holds up a sign by a traffic light, and people give him loose change. (Confidentially, I've always suspected he drives a lexus, and parks it just out of sight.)
posted by crunchland at 7:14 AM on February 22, 2005


$30 is a micropayment?
posted by delmoi at 7:14 AM on February 22, 2005


Such optimism is to be admired, lauded and always avoided.
posted by NinjaPirate at 7:15 AM on February 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


I like the term "micropatrons".
posted by DrJohnEvans at 7:17 AM on February 22, 2005 [1 favorite]


Well, if this dosn't work out, he can probably make money off micropayments.
posted by delmoi at 7:17 AM on February 22, 2005


Does anyone else see this as incredibly narcissistic?
posted by tidecat at 7:17 AM on February 22, 2005


How is this different from, "help me pay off my credit card debt" or "help me fund my makeover"?
posted by yoga at 7:19 AM on February 22, 2005


Only in the way that anybody who is self-employed is narcissistic.
posted by Hartster at 7:20 AM on February 22, 2005


I think Kottke's ok, he's in my bookmarks, but he's going to have to do something really awesome to earn my money.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 7:21 AM on February 22, 2005


How is this different from, "help me pay off my credit card debt" or "help me fund my makeover"?

The same way that "help pay the Mefi bills!" can be argued.

Content has a value. I just hope he's done some research before doing this.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:22 AM on February 22, 2005


Maybe one day Natalie Portman will say something like "Kottke was one of those kids with the flies all around him, but look at him now." /garden state

But seriously, why not move somewhere where the cost of living isn't exorbitant? Send him to a small town in Alaska or Mississippi. That would make things interesting.
posted by shoepal at 7:22 AM on February 22, 2005


It will take 1,667 people donating $30 each year to get Jason to $50,000 gross. Somebody who knows better than me can speak to whether that's enough for a single person to live comfortably in NYC, and I do wish him the best, but I'll be very suprised if he hits that threshold. More likely he'll be offered, and will be unable to turn down, a number of freelance opportunities and will find himself just as torn re: site vs. outside work activities.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:23 AM on February 22, 2005


The only person to market a successful diary was Anne Frank.

Gotta give a shoutout to my Pepys!
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 7:24 AM on February 22, 2005


There was a time when Jason's blog was interesting, I am sorry to say but ever since his move to NYC his blog's quality in my eyes has gradually decreased. If he had tried this in 2000 or even 2001, I would have contributed and believed he could make a living out of it. Based on where his blog is right now, I honestly don't think it's worth $30 per annum.

Good luck to him, I hope he manages to do this.
posted by riffola at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2005


I read kottke.org almost daily. I admire him for giving this a try. I sent some green his way, although I agree with others-- $30 does not a "micropayment" make.

Also, regarding daringfireball, I couldn't agree more. I also donated a little money to John and have been a bit disappointed with the constant fundraising posts.
posted by gwint at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2005


ssf: for 6 months, my gf and I were living off of 35,000K a year and we live on the Upper East side.

so yes, if he gets 1600 people to pay him money, he'll be fine.
posted by Stynxno at 7:25 AM on February 22, 2005


With the greatest respect to the guy, there are bazillions of blogs out there, his site would have to expand massively for me to feel like contributing to his salary. After all, the stuff on his site will just wind up on waxy.org an hour or so later.
That said, good luck I guess, he seems like a nice guy. And if it all goes the way of the pear, well, it is better to regret the things you have done in life rather than the things you haven't
posted by chill at 7:28 AM on February 22, 2005


also, i don't read kottke and would be happy to see him fall off the face of the earth but if people give him money, then more power to him. and if anyone feels the need to feed a dream, i have several that could use financial backing.
posted by Stynxno at 7:29 AM on February 22, 2005


I wish I could just use a fixed-width font here, because I want to use figlet to express a very large word consisting of the letters L, A, M, and E.

Get a job, Mr. Lebowski.
posted by angry modem at 7:29 AM on February 22, 2005


Hartster: Self employed folks, like other workers, typically provide a known service/good in exchange for compensation. We're not sure what kottke is selling us. His personality? His filter on the interesting out there in the world? One of the things I've loved most about blogs is that they are share-ware of a sort. Now we're contemplating being asked to pay for the chance to read one chap's musings?
posted by tidecat at 7:32 AM on February 22, 2005



Well, if this dosn't work out, he can probably make money off micropayments.


God I'm tired. I meant google adwords. *sigh*.
posted by delmoi at 7:32 AM on February 22, 2005


At least personally, I question why he didn't post about this prior to jumping ship. He might've been linked to MeFi et al. and gotten himself a nice focus group to find out how he could make this work.

I don't see it working, personally. I know Kottke's weblog is not going to disappear even if it fails, so I would venture a guess that the "what I can get for free, I will" will prevail.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 7:33 AM on February 22, 2005


kottke could also try begging in subways. some beggers can make around 40k a year.

of course, he'd have to play a song and maybe dance a little jig. or sell candy to raise money for a basketball team.

but that would be more than he's offering right now.
posted by Stynxno at 7:35 AM on February 22, 2005


Does anyone else see this as incredibly narcissistic?

Maybe you're not familiar with Kottke. I bet you a 'micropayment' he gets a big stiffy from reading his own website.
posted by scottq at 7:35 AM on February 22, 2005


The freelance work has dried up Jason? No?
posted by Dreamghost at 7:40 AM on February 22, 2005


When I lived in SF I would always see this guy with a cardboard sign that read "hungry" and a hat in Union Square. One day, I was riding the BART to visit a friend and the guy was on the same train. He got off at the same stop as me and so I decided to follow him. He had an apartment in the Mission! He probably made more sitting on his arse than his neighbors did working honest jobs.

I've also read about corners in Manhattan where you can make like $300/day sitting with a cup and sad look on your face.

And stupidsexyflanders, I don't doubt that thousands will donate to Kottke. A lot of people never move beyond him and to them he is the "blogosphere." But like Riffola says, he's not been relevant or interesting in years.

And not that it really matters, but it strikes me as "interesting" in the chin scratching way that sylloge (Stewart of Flickr) made the FPP. It seems a bit disingenuous.
posted by shoepal at 7:41 AM on February 22, 2005


I never understood all the kottke hating. Is it just "a-list" envy? Something else? Because accusing a blogger of narcissism is like accusing your minister of piety, isn't it?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:47 AM on February 22, 2005


Kottke continually posts great links-- and Metafilter seems to think so too.
posted by gwint at 7:49 AM on February 22, 2005


"We're not sure what kottke is selling us... Now we're contemplating being asked to pay for the chance to read one chap's musings?"

Umm, yeah. We're being asked to donate payment in return for his writings on stuff. There's an incredibly large number of people who earn a living through their writing on stuff. When I give money in exchange for a copy of, say, The New Statesman I'm helping John Pilger pay his mortage via his writings on stuff. Your choice of payment model, in my everso 'umble opinion, whether its adverts, donations, employment or whatever doesn't make you narcissistic.

As it stands, I haven't read Kottke for years, simply because I have relatively little interest in the subjects he writes about and he's not a good enough writer to overcome that, in line I should say with 99% of the population.
posted by Hartster at 7:51 AM on February 22, 2005


Kottke's site is interesting enough; his links are usually quite good. 30 dollars is hardly a micropayment, but it isn't a crap load of money either. I think this is an interesting experiment and I wish him luck with it. (I donated.)

I thought it was a bit suspect for sylloge to post this as well; it almost seems like advertising.
posted by chunking express at 7:53 AM on February 22, 2005


We hate it when our friends become successful
We hate it when our friends become successful
Oh, look at those clothes
Now look at that face, it's so old
And such a video !
Well, it's really laughable
Ha, ha, ha ...

We hate it when our friends become successful
And if they're Northern, that makes it even worse
And if we can destroy them
You bet your life we will
Destroy them
If we can hurt them
Well, we may as well ...
It's really laughable
Ha, ha, ha ...

posted by Quartermass at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2005


And not that it really matters, but it strikes me as "interesting" in the chin scratching way that sylloge (Stewart of Flickr) made the FPP. It seems a bit disingenuous.

Yeah look's like it's been 3 years since his last FPP and this is what he considers "Best of the Web?" Now im wondering if kottke will make a FPP next time ludicorp has a big announcement. I love how these guys no longer contribute to the community unless it's to shill a friends product.
posted by Dreamghost at 7:56 AM on February 22, 2005


Are we looking at the modern day equivalent of "I'm going to quit my job and start a farm?" If so, I'll gladly take some oranges.
posted by VulcanMike at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2005


Bukottke.
posted by brownpau at 8:00 AM on February 22, 2005


You shouldn't compare this to Gruber, but Andrew Sullivan. A couple years back he asked for donations with no promises of what was to come, and no secret content of any kind. Anyone remember how he did on it?

He pulled in over $80k in a few days.

I think Jason will be fine.
posted by mathowie at 8:01 AM on February 22, 2005


One thing to remark on, is that as a piece of content being sold, the site has a really poor format. Bland, boring, and somewhat cluttered. It would be difficult to get someone to pay 30 dollars a year for a site like that with multiple writers, let alone one hack. Add onto that the sense that you're paying for one man's bills when he is physically able to go out and get real employment, and you've got a failure waiting to happen. Then again, maybe he's just trolling, and to that I would say 'bravo'. Duping little sycophantic shits out of their cash is an admirable effort.
posted by angry modem at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2005


A picture speaks a thousand words...
posted by Dreamghost at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2005


gwint, just because something says "via kottke" doesn't (always) mean he found it first or made it interesting. Due to his traffic, statistically speaking, he's going to get credited with a lot of things that were probably "via" a variety of other sites. I notice the same thing with "via boingboing" and "via waxy." [no offense to waxy, as he is really good about crediting/acknowledging his sources.]

on preview: Very funny, Quartermass. How about Suedehead or Bengali in Platforms?
posted by shoepal at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2005


I love how these guys no longer contribute to the community unless it's to shill a friends product.

When a blog that has been running for 7 years suddenly tries a new business model, I certainly think that's a novel thing that hasn't been done before. I would have posted this myself if I was up any earlier. This is significant, since few have tried anything like it before.
posted by mathowie at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2005


I thought it worth donating as a token of thanks for years of cool web entertainment, and on the promise of more potential 0sil8-like content (Yes, I wish it were 1998. Sue me).
posted by annathea at 8:02 AM on February 22, 2005


Hey - Mr Kottke Man.... If you're reading this and your webcam is on, could you hold up a big sign that says "Metafilter Sux Lame Haxxors" or some such nonsense.
Please.
posted by seanyboy at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2005


I like the kottke. I think he has great links, and I visit him every day. Still, his output better increase by a factor of fifty if he wants to justify a $30 donation.

Those of us with websites dream of living off them, and we always watch developments like this with a mixture of interest and jealousy. Honestly, I'm not sure if I want him to succeed or fail.
posted by notmydesk at 8:03 AM on February 22, 2005


And we have a winner in the category of Best Spooge Animation by Someone Concerned About How"Sensitive Users" Might React To SG Ads.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:04 AM on February 22, 2005


Of all the websites I regularly visit, MeFi is the only one that has ever mentioned kottke significantly, and I still haven't visited his blog.
posted by mischief at 8:08 AM on February 22, 2005


Risky, dumb, bold, interesting? - Yes.
Narcissistic? - A little, but so what.
Valuable enough to pay for? Don't know - let's find out. (I believe so, but that's just my opinion and my money)

I think for all of the discussion that this has already inspired, it's definitely a worthy post. Stewart probably put this here since it's a great place to toss a subject out to be dissected and scrutinized (or worse yet ignored).

Good for him for taking a risk and stirring things up a bit. I'll be watching with interest. Wonder where things will end up a year from now.
posted by kokogiak at 8:12 AM on February 22, 2005


The comments in this thread make me embarrassed to be a member of MetaFilter. Kottke's taking a large personal risk, turning down ads that he could doubtless make money off of, and just hoping that his work is appreciated enough that people will be willing to chip in for more of it (but if you don't chip in, that's okay too). And for this he gets vitroil? Sheesh.

Best of luck, Jason.

(I donated).
posted by gd779 at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2005


We don't reward stupidity here.
posted by smackfu at 8:18 AM on February 22, 2005


I think most websites are underpriced. I'll gladly pay $30 bucks for a year of kottke. I'd pay $30 for the last year of kottke, and this year will (probably) be even better.

To those hatin' on kottke - Could you recommend a blog that I should be reading instead? Similar topics, less "narcissism".
posted by rschroed at 8:19 AM on February 22, 2005


To those hatin' on kottke - Could you recommend a blog that I should be reading instead? Similar topics, less "narcissism".

I recommend a real book. Maybe a piece of nonfiction.
posted by angry modem at 8:20 AM on February 22, 2005


Personally, I don't understand this kind of "business" model. Doesn't part of the appeal of bloggers come from knowing they're "real people" that live normal lives and also happen to be able to filter some interesting content out of their experiences and share it with others? It seems like these "i want to live off my blog" business plans just end up cheapening their site by putting it at the center of their lives. Thus, the quality suffers because it's now part of a profit motive.

That's just my way of looking at it. There are literally thousands of other sites that will easily replace kottke if readers start to lose interest. I wish him well, and all, but I personally don't see it happening.
posted by odinsdream at 8:22 AM on February 22, 2005


I recommend a real book. Maybe a piece of nonfiction.

Those update everyday for seven years now? I hadn't heard of that development.
posted by mathowie at 8:24 AM on February 22, 2005


I'd pay to see more of his monkey.

That monkey is dynamite.
posted by dong_resin at 8:24 AM on February 22, 2005


thisafternoon i'm going to invent the permalink, which will revolutionize my idea for a real-time updatable reverse chronological web site featuring periodic archival. i'm going to be soooo fucking rich!
posted by quonsar at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2005 [1 favorite]



Now let's take a comic like Sandwich Shoppe-- divide their forty thousand readers in half, and multiply that by fresh, bee-sweet honey. That's a HOJILLION DOLLARS! Now, subtract three vanilla wafrers to pay the Billy Goats Gruff, and you've got a HUNDRED KABILLION MILLION DOLLARS!

posted by ShawnStruck at 8:28 AM on February 22, 2005


I recommend a real book. Maybe a piece of nonfiction.

Really? Malcom Galdwell perhaps?
posted by rschroed at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2005


I like the way you framed this post sylloge.

I used to keep up with Kottke but somehow started drifting away. I don't think it was so much because his blog changed as much as so many other good ones captured more of my attention. Who knows, now that he is devoted to this full time it may get better. It probably has to if he wants to make a sustainable business out of it. The first round of donations should be easier then the continuing ones. People sort of feel like they are paying as much for all they enjoyed in the past as for the coming year. Then it becomes a business decision as to whether the continued payment is worth the content. In any event, good luck to him.
posted by caddis at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2005


rschroed: To those hatin' on kottke - Could you recommend a blog that I should be reading instead? Similar topics, less "narcissism"

Anything . . . just, God, anything else at all. Please. Livejournal if you must. Just not Kottke. For the love of God and all that is holy, not Kottke.

Actually, come to think of it, probably the best blog that I've read, while not meeting your qualifier of 'similar topics' is wherethehellismatt.com, by that guy who did the video of himself dancing in various locations all around the world. He's your typical anti-social embittered geek, but his writing and experiences are just absolutely stellar. I'm not one for travel myself, but the blog is just fascinating - one of the few where I've started from day 1 and read through every update straight through.
posted by Ryvar at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2005


The only person to market a successful diary was Anne Frank.

Gotta give a shoutout to my Pepys!


The person most famous for hatching the idea of marketing her diary was Anais Nin. It was others who benefitted from Pepys' and Anne Frank's diaries - posthumously.
posted by melixxa600 at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2005


Ugh. Mornings. Mornings where you use a tags instead of i tags.
posted by Ryvar at 8:33 AM on February 22, 2005


Well I wouldn't pay for Kottke. He throws out the occasional cool link but it's rarely something genuinely interesting--at best it's "neat." His commentary is usually sparse and not particularly insightful. That said, I'd be very interested to see what price the market will set for his product. $30/year is steep though. He should take Google ads and cut that by 70%. The notion that ads may bias him but his thousands of numerous "micropatrons" won't is just wrong. Soon as there's significant money involved he's already representing somebody's monied interests, the way I see it.
posted by nixerman at 8:33 AM on February 22, 2005


I think he might have been better able to swing it 2 years ago, but the day of the blogger is at hand... if he were providing insightful news or political coverage, he'd be on a goldmine, what with all the news organizations mentioning "bloggers" with every third breath. As it is, kottke provides safe, comforting, non-offensive musings and content -- A warm blanky and a glass of milk.

I've never read Kottke regularly, and I can't remember the last time I even visited his site, but the truth is, if anyone can do this, kottke probably can. Best of luck to him.
posted by crunchland at 8:36 AM on February 22, 2005


I love Kottke. 6- and 12-String Guitar is an awesome album.
posted by driveler at 8:38 AM on February 22, 2005


Do I have to me using Microsoft to make micropayments to him? Good luck to him. Never read him, don't plan on paying $30 to start now. As has been noted, there are millions of blogs to read for free.
posted by fenriq at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2005


if he were providing insightful news or political coverage, he'd be on a goldmine, what with all the news organizations mentioning "bloggers" with every third breath. As it is, kottke provides safe, comforting, non-offensive musings and content -- A warm blanky and a glass of milk.

I don't know, you couldn't find this interview anywhere else. I suspect if he's devoting his time to the site, we'll see more things like that.
posted by mathowie at 8:40 AM on February 22, 2005


You shouldn't compare this to Gruber, but Andrew Sullivan. A couple years back he asked for donations with no promises of what was to come, and no secret content of any kind. Anyone remember how he did on it?
He pulled in over $80k in a few days.

But Kottke currently produces very little on the way of original content, unless I'm missing something. I don't agree with half of what Sullivan says, but he at least produces a lot of well written "opinion" virtually every day*. Kottke is mostly links to the same stuff that everyone else is linking to on the internet, with the occasional extended commentary that in my opinion no better written or thought provoking than many other blogger's commentary out there.
* Whether this was the case when he had his own pledge drive I don't know, I didn't read him back then.
posted by chill at 8:42 AM on February 22, 2005


fenriq, you don't actually have to pay 30 dollars to start reading him now. You can just go to his site. Or not. Whether the site is cool enough to warrant donating any amount of moneys is up to his readers to decide. The site is free regardless.

This read is so typical of Metafilter -- lots of bitching and snarkiness. Is it really so offensive that he is attempting to raise funds for his website? I would find him putting ads up more obnoxious.
posted by chunking express at 8:46 AM on February 22, 2005


don't plan on paying $30 to start now. As has been noted, there are millions of blogs to read for free.

He never said folks had to pay to read, or that the site would not be free. It's as free as PBS is, and this is just the annoying commercial once a year that you can ignore and continue watching for free.

I'm really surprised at how far people are going to shit on this idea. It's completely voluntary and doesn't change his site in any way. There are millions of blogs plastered in ugly ads (like MetaFilter) and he's trying to buck that trend while also testing the waters to see if patronage can keep him afloat. Hasn't everyone here with a blog ever wished they could do something like this? I don't understand where all the talk of his boringness or imminent failure is coming from.

I'm really curious to see if it works out for him and think he'll do ok, but then I like to read his site and am looking forward to him spending more time and effort writing it.
posted by mathowie at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2005



I don't know, you couldn't find this interview anywhere else.


yah, the average blog reader is dying to know who's dancing in car commercials.

...we'll see more things like that.

hardly the recommendation you seem to think it is!
posted by quonsar at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2005


If you don't think it's interesting you don't have to pay. Shocking! If you don't think it's interesting, you don't need to bitch. Also shocking.
posted by chunking express at 8:54 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm really surprised at how far people are going to shit on this idea.

I'm not, to be honest. People look at this type of thing from their 9-5 world and, whether they like it or not, can't deal with the jealousy they get from what he's doing. So they lash out. They try to show their superiority by knocking what a terrible blogger he is or how they "never read it".

The reality is that they want him to fail and to have to go back to getting a job because then they don't feel so threatened by him doing what they would love to be doing.

Seeing through offhanded snarky comments to their motives is Psychology 101. If you really didn't care, you wouldn't post about how disinteresting he is.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:57 AM on February 22, 2005


disintersting = uninteresting. Should never have had that 2 day old sushi for lunch...
posted by dflemingdotorg at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2005


yah, the average blog reader is dying to know who's dancing in car commercials.

Yeah, you're right, no one cares about tv commercials.
posted by mathowie at 8:58 AM on February 22, 2005


If you don't think it's interesting, you don't need to bitch.

you are obviously new to the internets.

and dflemingdotorg: you seem to know me better than i know myself. can i sign up for your newsletter?
posted by Stynxno at 8:59 AM on February 22, 2005


mathowie, we know he's your friend and you're pulling for him. You don't have to defend him so adamantly. As many people have mentioned, if anyone can pull it off, Kottke probably can. He's like the Matt Lauer of the Blogosphere.
posted by shoepal at 9:01 AM on February 22, 2005


I've just been informed via email that my assumption of no ability to use fixed-width fonts is false.
 _        _    __  __ _____| |      / \  |  \/  | ____|| |     / _ \ | |\/| |  _|| |___ / ___ \| |  | | |___|_____/_/   \_\_|  |_|_____|

posted by angry modem at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2005


Kottke says: "I should be on the webcam most of the day today. I guess you should be able to tell roughly how the above is going by how much I'm smiling."

The man does not look happy. I suppose he could be smiling behind his hand, but it doesn't seem likely.
posted by kindall at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm really surprised at how far people are going to shit on this idea.

I went to high school with a guy who went into pop music. He made millions ... millions. I cringe when I see him on some tv show or magazine. I knew the guy when he was an AV geek, playing with reel to reel tape recorders. Truth is, if I met on the street, he probably wouldn't recognize me. If you mentioned my name to him, he probably wouldn't even remember it.


I really really hate him.

So it's a lot like that, Matt.
posted by crunchland at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2005


can i sign up for your newsletter?

Send me a micropayment and we'll talk.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:05 AM on February 22, 2005


Problem with Kottke is that he's too slow. 90% of his links are day-olds or too NYC-centric. I just looked at his front page, and frankly, about 75% of his content was news yesterday. Speed to market, combined with trenchant commentary (not, "aaww thas fucked up," or "look look how really cool this is!") is worth paying for. Links obviously pulled off MeFi, NYtimes, de.licio.us/popular, and Arts&Letters are not.
Doing the sort of really hardcore surfing and writing necessary to earn what amounts to a yearly magazine subscription's worth of money will be really hard work. I hope he succeeds, but I really really have my doubts...

You know, if this were a perfect world, right now Josh Schachter's gold-plated jag would be pulling up next to Mathowie's Bentley to get a Grey Poupon hookup...
posted by Chrischris at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2005


I like the term "micropatrons".

I prefer "microserfs."* Has a nice ring of fealty to it.

I kid. This is just a more in-your-face request for donations that appears on hundreds of weblogs, popular or otherwise. No big deal, and I wish him luck.

*Yes, I'm aware of the Douglas Coupland book. The allusion was intentional.
posted by me3dia at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2005


I wonder how much Megnut's recent flight to freedom had to do with this.
posted by davebush at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2005


"oh I wouldn't pay to see him" blah blah blah

"koettke is no longer interesting.."

"He's too slow..."

See, I look at this from a different angle. Koettke has stated his personal site has suffered due to his need to work for a living. This goes to the comment that Koettke isn't as interesting or on the ball or whatever as he was, in say 1999.

But, let's also look - he's not talking about running a blog. He's talking about a return to creating a personal site. Osil8 was mentioned, as well.

Personal sites used to be much more than blogs of today. It goes back to the style/substance argument of years past.. that blogs would ruin the personal space because they make it so easy to publish online..

But also, that people don't have the time or energy to put into personal sites anymore. A good personal site is a morphing entity that requires a lot of time and energy to keep goin. You have notable exceptions, like your zannahs, but where's the latest design trick or experiment from Glassdog or Donea?

If Koettke 'goes retro' and is able to start creating for creation's sake, it won't be a blog, but more along what he mentioned - much more related to art for art's sake.

I, for one, am intrigued. I'm sure he made sure he had the eyeballs, at least from a site tracking perspective, to make a go of it. And as far as I can see, he said he would not restrict content based on payers/freeloaders.
posted by rich at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2005


I would find him putting ads up more obnoxious.

I'll try to explain - when a person puts up ads on their website, they make more money for themselves without me paying for it. Because my ISP - and most ISPs - charge me the same flat rate regardless of whether I use 3GB or 3.03GB a month, there's nothing coming out of my pocket and it doesn't bother me. If I really want, there's AdBlock, so I can prevent myself from even seeing advertisements.

Since I am never going to buy anything from a web advertisement, ever, nor have I (to the best of my knowledge) ever happened to have bought anything I've even SEEN in a web advertisement (thus punching a neat whole in the 'subtle influence' theory), the money in this situation flows directly from large, generally harmful corporations to the admins of websites I read without affecting me in the slightest.

However, when a person with a popular website announces that they will base their entire income on donations from readers, they impose a sense of guilt and duty to contribute upon their entire readerbase. If I wasn't already annoyed by the horrific amount of narcissism that plagues every last A-list blogger, this would push me over the edge.
posted by Ryvar at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2005


Kottke's announcement:
Think of kottke.org as non-crippled, fully-supported shareware...you only pay if you feel it's worth supporting.

Metafilter's reaction to it:
One of the things I've loved most about blogs is that they are share-ware of a sort. Now we're contemplating being asked to pay for the chance to read one chap's musings?

Um. There's nothing wrong with failing to read a link. There's nothing wrong with snarking about a link. Doing both in sequence, however, is not likely to vest your rage with heavyweight moral authority.

Still, I can see why people are so annoyed with Kottke. The man has been providing free content for years, and now he is quitting his paying job to provide even more free content, based solely on his faith in the honesty and good will of his fans. Really, he's worse than Charles Manson.
posted by yankeefog at 9:12 AM on February 22, 2005


mathowie, we know he's your friend and you're pulling for him.

Part of it is that, but part of it is that few people seemed to even read what he wrote before shitting on it. It's not a micropayment, there's no "pro" content, and it's basically voluntary donations and no ads. That's as reader friendly as you can possibly get. This thread reads like a string of really bitter people posting knee jerk reactions and I don't understand why. If this post said that "atrios.blogspot.com is quitting his job to blog and is requesting donations" instead of kottke.org, I wouldn't race to say "never read it, but it probably sucks and I hope he fails miserably." If I didn't read it, I wouldn't care, and I wouldn't post about it.
posted by mathowie at 9:13 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm really surprised at how far people are going to shit on this idea.

Matt, I don't see what you see at all. I see some people talking about how they think he's boring, some people wishing him luck, and a decent amount saying that they don't really care either way. I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that this thread is filled with vitriol. Seems pretty tame to me. [shrug]
posted by jnthnjng at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2005


People look at this type of thing from their 9-5 world and, whether they like it or not, can't deal with the jealousy they get from what he's doing. So they lash out.
If you read the comments of the people on the "I think this is a bad idea" side of the fence, you see that people have reached that opinion for a wide range of reasons. Some think he is dull, some think he is interesting but not interesting enough to donate $30 to, some think he is interesting but has made a bad business choice, some think it is a cheek just to ask people to send you money for doing what hundreds of thousands of other people do. To apply cod-pyschology and dismiss all that opinion as "Jealosy" is kind of silly if you ask me. Kottke is a relevant guy in a field that most MeFites are interested in, and he has made a bold move. It is bound to provoke debate, no?
posted by chill at 9:21 AM on February 22, 2005


I don't see the reason for all the bashing, although I've long assumed Kottke.org's popularity is down to little more than the fact that it's been going for a long time.

That said, the 'micropatron' idea is a nice way of framing micropayments, and if it proves a success, I can imagine it being adopted by a lot of lower traffic sites wary of pissing off readers with advertising, but in need of a little revenue. If I find something useful every day, I don't mind paying for it - I'm sure most of us spent a few quid on our favourite share- or donationware apps in the last year, and there's no reason why weblogs shouldn't adopt that model.

So sylloge is Mr. Flickr, and posted this, and one of the raffle prizes for Kottke.org micropatrons is 'Ten Flickr Pro accounts from Ludicorp'? That is a wee bit iffy, no?
posted by jack_mo at 9:22 AM on February 22, 2005


The man has been providing free content for years, and now he is quitting his paying job to provide even more free content, based solely on his faith in the honesty and good will of his fans.

I think quonsar has a better chance of supporting himself full-time off of the "free content" he's been providing for years to MetaFilter.

Well, or at least make enough to bribe Matt to reinstate him the next time he gets banned.

I don't read Kottke, but rubbernecking at wrecks is human nature.
posted by DaShiv at 9:24 AM on February 22, 2005


very wee.
posted by crunchland at 9:24 AM on February 22, 2005



Matt, I don't see what you see at all.


i think i am starting to get it. matt thinks that because google turns up lots of hits about car commercials on his own site that "everyone" cares about car commercials. this explains a lot. it's a very difficult thing to explain "wet" to a fish.
posted by quonsar at 9:26 AM on February 22, 2005


It's not a micropayment, there's no "pro" content, and it's basically voluntary donations and no ads.

I got that.

That's as reader friendly as you can possibly get.

This is where we disagree. I like ads (outside of interstitials) because I can trivially block them, and those I don't bother to block simply get added to my mental 'never buy from this company where it is possible to avoid their products' list. What I don't like is guilt or the implication that I am somehow stealing.
posted by Ryvar at 9:27 AM on February 22, 2005


It is bound to provoke debate, no?

I was more headed at the ones who were shitting on him, not the ones who aren't interested (which is fine but I still don't know why someone truly uninterested is even posting about it). If you read above, I don't even think it's a good idea, I just find it really ridiculous that people would go out of their way to say things like:

but that would be more than he's offering right now.

We don't reward stupidity here.

Maybe you're not familiar with Kottke. I bet you a 'micropayment' he gets a big stiffy from reading his own website.

These are the ones I was mostly addressing.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2005


I don't think it was so much because his blog changed as much as so many other good ones captured more of my attention.

That says it all for me. Kottke was one of my first regular reads (next to Dack and Dong) and I found the medium tantalizing. He did it well and was one of the only ones doing it but man, since 1998-99 there are so many more who are doing it just as well or better. Thats not a slam on Kottke but just a cold hard fact; that there is so much more out there to hold my attention and fascinate me.

With that said, if he can pull it off, he'll be my hero. I'd give my left nut to be able to sit at a computer, munching snacks in my underwear, knowing that I had micropayments streaming into my bank account.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm just not at the point yet where I'll donate for blogging. I'm willing to pay for a lot of virtual content, but blogging? Sure, your personal website is fun, but it makes me want to scream "Get a job!" when I see forms for donations and posts about it being a full-time opportunity.
posted by thejoshu at 9:31 AM on February 22, 2005


I dunno. Step back a minute from the personality, and think about this in the abstract (I've never met him, and I don't really read the blog) - if a lot of people are reading something every day, doesn't that give him a right to think there might be a demand? Enough that he can float out a proposal to possible investors (that's the people who make donations) to say 'hey, I gave you good stuff, I can give you even better stuff if I had more time - invest in me, and you'll get better stuff?'

I'm thinking if there's been a proven demand for content, and someone wants to try to make a go of internet busking, what the hell? Why's it so lame?

Some people are going to drop off, some people are going to give money. Eventually, he'll have to decide that if you pay money, you'll get access to better stuff.

Whether we like it or not, good information and design isn't free. It's just not. We can bitch about ads, or we can subscribe. That's about it.
posted by beezy at 9:32 AM on February 22, 2005


I recommend a real book. Maybe a piece of nonfiction.

Ah, delicious irony, a long-time MeFite telling someone to step away from the internet. Gave me a giggle.

Besides, reading blogs is more environmentally conscious. I mean, no trees are dying because Jason Kottke is blogging, whereas I have several of your beloved non-fiction tomes that were probably a significant portion of the Amazonian rainforest. Save the Earth, read Kottke!

/flippancy

Problem with Kottke is that he's too slow. 90% of his links are day-olds or too NYC-centric.

I think this has the potential to change for the better if he's concentrating fairly exclusively on the blog. At least, I'd hope.

I'm not sure I'm up to paying him $30, given the infrequency of my visits to kottke.org, but I'm actually considering donating something. More power to anyone who has the chutzpah to want to make money off of something they - and others - think they do well.

I'm just not at the point yet where I'll donate for blogging.

I bet you have a Paypal receipt from mathowie that says otherwise.
posted by angeline at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2005


As anyone considered that kottke being "slow" or not producing a lot of material could change simply by the fact that he's unemployed now? Blogging is so time-intensive, I could see how it is a full-time job in its own right. Yet if it's more enjoyable, how is it so bad that yet another person decided to leave the 9-5 rat race and essentially become self-employed? I envy him.
posted by artifarce at 9:38 AM on February 22, 2005


The web has changed a lot since its inception - in purpose and what people look for. I'm reminded of the commercial where the guy exercises for 5 seconds, then gets upset he hasn't lost any weight.. we have become a society of 'get it now' without asking what do we really want.

Most people here seem to think this is a navelgaving exercise for Jason, and I think they're missing the point.

It's an experiment to ask 'what else can the web offer'? It's an attempt at things that have gone by in the past like mp3.com for independant bands to offer their garage tapes to the masses. It's looking at if there is an opportunity for talented people to delve into their art and have it support them, as opposed to working as a web monkey for a design firm.

Think of the bigger picture, the implications success for Koettke could have on the next wave of innovation on the web if talented people can make a living doing nothing but working on creating content and new web innovations for no other purpose than creating for creating's sake.

It was during the time people could spend hours on personal sites that ubiquitous things of today like mouseovers and CSS driven design were born. Commercial ventures are typically not the innovators - it's those in their garage inventing something that drive the future.

Get your mind out of the box of just blogging - koettke's past was way more than just content, and I hope to see more of the past creative experiments than just timely updated entries about a trip to the john.
posted by rich at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2005


What I don't like is guilt or the implication that I am somehow stealing.

That reflects your own feelings when you see the word "donation." I don't feel guilty when people request donations, I just ignore most of them and donate to the ones I feel are worth it. As a quick example, the Sierra Club and Greenpeace send me crap in the mail every week that I tear up. I don't feel guilty when there is a nice sunset and I'm not "stealing" when I take a hike in the woods.

Recently when I noticed a Tsunami donation and one for a very specific type of cancer research and another person's legal fund to fight an unfair lawsuit, I donated, sans guilt.

If you don't feel guilty about blocking ads, I'm sure it's possible to pass over donation requests without any lick of guilt.
posted by mathowie at 9:42 AM on February 22, 2005


This reminds me of a thought I had the other day... that blogging for a living would actually be hell. Like, think of Wonkette. At first, it sounds like it'd be lots of fun: sit around, write funny things, get paid for it. But then look at the actual production schedule involved. To give people reason to come back, you've got to come up with new content a couple of times a day, no matter what's actually happening in the world. No news? Tough. the beast needs to be fed, so trot out the gin-and-ass-fucking jokes. I love to write, and love getting paid to write, but it seems to me that it would take about a week for full-time blogging to feel like a joyless grind.
posted by COBRA! at 9:43 AM on February 22, 2005


What I don't like is guilt or the implication that I am somehow stealing.

You see Ryvar, this is sorta the bit where you go insane. Given that he pretty much specifically disavows that in his entire post. Really if this offends you so much just ignore it, it's not hard, there#s plenty to do on the internets you know.
posted by nedrichards at 9:45 AM on February 22, 2005


He'd probably be better off holding a rabbit hostage.
posted by sellout at 9:49 AM on February 22, 2005


Damn..... From where I sit, I see a guy making a gutsy choice and taking a chance on an unproven idea, just because he wants to. That's something that 99% of us would never do, and maybe that's the reason for some of the shitting-upon-kottke taking place in this thread. Personally, I don't know the guy. I do read him regularly though, and think its a good site. Kinda ugly, but a good quick morning read. Many times, I have bought a beer for people who have contributed far less to the world than that. The way I see it, that's all he's asking for. Maybe he shouldn't have tossed that $30 figure out there.... I didn't even notice it at first, and I prefer the 'if you think this is worth something, please consider donating whatever you think its worth' approach. But still, that is basically all he's saying, and apparently his tip jar will accept anything from $5 to several hundred million. So, tip him if you like, and don't if you don't. What's the big deal?
posted by spilon at 9:55 AM on February 22, 2005


I don't know. A yearly subscription to Harper's is $15 a year; The Atlantic is about $30. I realize that they're only monthly, but they provide a hefty amount of professional, original content that is (IMHO) world-class. Even The New Yorker is $46/year. I don't think any one person can compete in that class. Even if the links are doubleplusgood.
posted by Ljubljana at 9:56 AM on February 22, 2005


ned: I made it pretty clear that this was an objection to the general principle of the thing, rather than Kottke in particular. I mean, I don't like pretty much every A-list blogger out there (Cory Doctorow being probably the big exception) but while it isn't going to affect me regardless, with everybody saying that this was a daring new model I thought I'd speak up as to why I personally found it an obnoxious one. He may specifically disavow it, but the guilt is still hanging out there, implied.

mathowie: I don't feel guilty when there is a nice sunset and I'm not "stealing" when I take a hike in the woods.

Recently when I noticed a Tsunami donation and one for a very specific type of cancer research and another person's legal fund to fight an unfair lawsuit, I donated, sans guilt.

If you don't feel guilty about blocking ads, I'm sure it's possible to pass over donation requests without any lick of guilt.


Observing a nice sunset and taking a hike in the woods hurts nobody. When donating to the Tsunami relief fund I did so out of an earnest desire to help rather than a feeling of moral obligation. When I block - or more frequently just ignore - ads, I screw over large companies hell-bent on destroying the lives of every individual human for the sake of their shareholders. But when someone imposes a moral obligation on me, that's when I get annoyed.
posted by Ryvar at 9:56 AM on February 22, 2005


It's nice to see that there's another site that y'all bitch about as much as Metafilter.
posted by FreezBoy at 9:57 AM on February 22, 2005


Ljubljana, Kottke is generating content daily, so to me a more accurate comparison would be the $40 I send to Salon.com every year, or the $75 I send to NPR. The quality of their content makes me want to support them, even though I could read/listen without contributing.
posted by tizzie at 10:03 AM on February 22, 2005


Is Kottke equivalent in any way to Salon or NPR?
posted by smackfu at 10:04 AM on February 22, 2005


But when someone imposes a moral obligation on me, that's when I get annoyed.

Wow. I just don't see where you get that at all. Sure, he's asking for money but I get asked for money from all sorts of people and organizations all the time. It's a request. It's not an imposition of a moral obligation--you're making up that story, Ryvar.

I'm surprised that nobody has really made the connection but what Jason is doing seems very much like what public broadcasting does. He's having a fundraising drive and giving away valuable prizes to patrons. So far he's much less annoying in his fundraising than my local NPR station.

On preview: FeezBoy, that was funny.
posted by donovan at 10:05 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm guessing to some people, yes he is equivalent to the NPR and Salon, otherwise they wouldn't make the comparison.

And Ryvar, what are you going on about?
posted by chunking express at 10:08 AM on February 22, 2005


Is Kottke equivalent in any way to Salon or NPR?

Perhaps not to you, but to others he may well be. It's all a matter of personal opinion, isn't it? Much like the donation amount itself, really. You give what you think it's worth, or don't give anything.

On preview, chunking express said.
posted by angeline at 10:12 AM on February 22, 2005


um, what chunking express said, rather.
posted by angeline at 10:12 AM on February 22, 2005


This is a pretty nuts reaction. Much like how Slashdot flipped out over the asbestos blog recently.

Regardless of whether you like kottke or not, or if you think he's worth $30, if he's successful at this, it means something good for the web. It means there's nothing stopping any of you from doing the same thing.

The "micropatrons" idea is a really interesting one and you should read what he actually wrote before jumping to conclusions. It's not synonymous with "micropayments", there doesn't seem to be exclusive private content. All he's saying is "if you want me to keep doing what I'm doing full-time, you can support my existence by activities by sponsoring me".

Either it'll sink or swim and I think it'll be interesting to find out which.
posted by frenetic at 10:15 AM on February 22, 2005


Kottke continually posts great links-- and Metafilter seems to think so too.

I read Kottke.org about every other day. More often than not the links he posts I've already seen elsewhere. He has a huge readership so of course many people bring them here, but his links are run of the mill everyday links that you can find anywhere. No way his links are worth any money.

And if he's now going to be making money off his site maybe he should credit those links? Or does he just pull them out of the air?

People look at this type of thing from their 9-5 world and, whether they like it or not, can't deal with the jealousy they get from what he's doing.

Wow, we get both sides, people who hate kottke and people who condemn anyone who disagrees with the man.

Believe it or not there's quite a lot of people who would not be jealous of someone sitting all day in front of there computer trying to make a living. Even if he makes it I don't envy him.

Kottke left metafilter a long time ago. And the individual who posted this link hasn't posted a link in almost 3 years. And in the thread Kottke has the man behind metafilter (and friend) covering his back. It's really funny to watch.

Kottke will have no problem at first. People will fall over themselves to give to their hero. But there's no way his blog now is worth 30 bucks. Now that all his time will go into his site, maybe it will in the future.
posted by justgary at 10:16 AM on February 22, 2005


For Matt's sake, I hope it works for the guy.

I don't think the Andrew Sullivan comparison is apt, as has been noted before. Many view donating to Sullivan in the same way as donating to MoveOn or the Bush campaign, it's to promote an agenda. Kottke doesn't have one. I've never been to his site until today, so I can't comment on what makes it more special than any other place, but it makes sense that someone who is very popular in their field would be able to self-sustain through their hobby.
posted by Arch Stanton at 10:17 AM on February 22, 2005


justgary;

Why is it only about the links? I think Koettke's thinking bigger than that.
posted by rich at 10:22 AM on February 22, 2005


I think it's an interesting idea, and I wish him well. I don't read Kottke very often at all, but I think I'll try to look in every now and then just so I can see what he's up to and how having more time to work on his site improves it.

I'll most likely donate a bit, but $30 is a bit steep (and not a "micropayment.") Wired charges, what, $12 a year? The Atlantic Monthly, as Ljubljana said, a wellspring of fascinating writing, is itself $30.
posted by Vidiot at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm apparently doing a poor job of expressing myself. If I were a reader of a large site with many corporate ads like MSNBC or Slashdot, when I read those sites and thereby reap benefit for myself I get something from them. Now, when I ignore their ads but still download them I help those sites earn money while simultaneously siphoning off money from their sponsors which down to nearly the last one are large corporations hell-bent on profit for their shareholders regardless of who suffers for it. It's win-win: I get content, content providers get ad revenue, and shareholders get screwed.

When I take a walk through a park and observe a sunset, I am merely observing a natural process and while I benefit no entity gives up anything for that benefit.

When I conduct a transaction it is because something I need or very much desire is held by the other entity - I get the object of my desire and they get (usually) some profit in exchange for the object which they usually do not especially desire.

When I do donate it is because I specifically want to help regardless of whether a request has been made or not.

But, when I reap the benefit of another's work and they request aid that I would otherwise be disinclined to provide, then I am gaining something while they are are losing something and I feel guilt because of this. I have a problem with this guilt being imposed upon me, just as a general principle, and this is why I try to avoid donation-driven sites unless the content is extremely compelling.
posted by Ryvar at 10:24 AM on February 22, 2005


>No way his links are worth any money

Yeah, it's not $1 a link or anything. Jesus!

I believe the snark and sneers are just people afraid to see him succeed. mathowie's defense seems a tad raw knee-jerk defending, and sylloge making this a FPP is Ad-filter, surely not best of the web...

Mmmm.
posted by gsb at 10:27 AM on February 22, 2005


Ryvar, I didn't mean to sound harsh earlier, but my point is simply this: Kottke isn't imposing on anyone, least alone you. Reading his entry, I get the feeling to him this is a grand experiment, one he hopes will succeed. I did not think "damn, Poor Kottke; I hope he doesn't starve -- better send him some cash-moneys". He's making an effort to try something different, and if you are interested in the cause, he is asking you support him. I don't think guilt should come up anywhere in that equation.
posted by chunking express at 10:32 AM on February 22, 2005


To me, a blog does a lot of things... one of them is allow a person to share a large part of themselves - their thoughts, feelings, opinions, what have you - and by doing so contributing something (hopefully) to those who take the time to read what they have to say. You could compare blogging with people who write books about their lives - which note: people PAY for. Only this medium allows for even more interactivity, which makes it more powerful and more useful all at the same time. Plus Jason isn't charging people to read his blog, he's simply asking for donations... if you don't want to donate, you don't have to and can still continue to read what he writes as much as you please.

I can imagine most of us who blog on a regular basis would love to take a year to devote to it - just like most artist's would like to devote themselves full time to their work. And some get lucky with grants or even the rare patron - so that's what Jason is doing here as far as I'm concerned. I haven't been a regular reader of his for a long time now, but when I heard what he was doing I gladly contributed because even though I don't have much money to spare myself, I think it's a powerful experiment that could go either way and at least deserves a chance. I don't know if it's viable... but I do know I'll be reading Kottke.org more often again.
posted by meg6212 at 10:36 AM on February 22, 2005


face it: if kottke farted, his pals would blog it and make statements like "after belching daily for seven years, kottke is trying a new and different gas release method!"
posted by quonsar at 10:37 AM on February 22, 2005


chunking: I understand why you think that, and I hope you understand that while mine may not be the most conventional set of ethics, there is a sort of twisted internal logic to them. I think this is one of those things where differences in ethical systems means we're just not going to be able to fully agree, and that's fine - the universe is filled with differing opinions.
posted by Ryvar at 10:38 AM on February 22, 2005


Ah Metafilterians, with your reactionary rants and inability to read beyond the first line of a post! No wonder all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago...

Can you people even read? Jason doesn't even use the word micropayment in his post. He proposes the concept of "micropatronage."

P.S. I'm Kottke's ex-girlfriend, am also suspiciously posting to MeFi after a long absence, and friends with sylloge and mathowie. We all have been in cahoots for a very long time.
posted by megnut at 10:47 AM on February 22, 2005


oh god, i'm in total agreement with quonsar. that's it, time for a little break from the internet
posted by keswick at 10:48 AM on February 22, 2005


I believe the snark and sneers are just people afraid to see him succeed.

Right, because nobody ever snarks and sneers about anything on MeFi until this Kottke thread?

"Man quits day job to panhandle at self-built onramp to Information Superway" is not exactly a headline that elicits fear from its readers. But you're surprised by a few guffaws?
posted by DaShiv at 10:51 AM on February 22, 2005


quonsar; that's just being cynical.. I'm not one of koettke's pals or regular readers, but I can appreciate the potential of talent, and especially when the talent is given a blank canvas with not limitations set by others.

Ryvar; one thing - do you support the painters or sculpters or other artists that you may have the opportunity to see (provided they are alive)? If you're in New York, did you go see the gates in Central Park are give the artist your money out of a moral obligation? Yes, some artists are supported by government grants, or corporate payouts or museums, but I'm sure that you have been able to take advantage of art in the past without paying for it, and feeling no moral obligation. That you feel a moral obligation in this circumstance is because the 'artist' is standing in front of you saying "Yeah, well, I don't have a regular job. This is my job."

(let's not argue over if Jason rates as an 'artist' or not.. I'm using the term loosely for illustrative purposes)

I imagine you would not have the personal pocketbook to support everything that others create, yet don't get paid for by you (either directly or indirectly through taxes, etc).

(as a side note, seeing megnut up there; I'm not an A-lister, and never really hung with the old school crowd, even though I've been around since that time, and have no emotional attachment to koettke's success or failure, but I have always 'believed in the web.')
posted by rich at 10:52 AM on February 22, 2005


When I block - or more frequently just ignore - ads, I screw over large companies hell-bent on destroying the lives of every individual human for the sake of their shareholders.

It sure is funny how I cease to be human once I buy some stock! Haw haw haw.
posted by kindall at 10:53 AM on February 22, 2005


I can imagine most of us who blog on a regular basis would love to take a year to devote to it - just like most artist's would like to devote themselves full time to their work.

As Randy Milholland of Something Positive (note: generally not terribly work-safe) is now doing, thanks to generous fans who thought he had a commodity worth paying for.

Of course, Randy still has to deal with a small crowd of critical jerks, but again - that's why this sort of thing takes some nerve as well as no little confidence in yourself and what you have to offer. I personally find that admirable.
posted by angeline at 10:55 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm not one of koettke's pals or regular readers

Clearly. You haven't been able to spell his name correctly once during this whole thread :)
posted by jnthnjng at 10:58 AM on February 22, 2005


> P.S. I'm Kottke's ex-girlfriend...

:'(
posted by brownpau at 11:00 AM on February 22, 2005


What's this guy actually gonna do on any given day? He needs 8 hours a day to run a single website? What has he got against lucrative freelance work?
posted by FieldingGoodney at 11:04 AM on February 22, 2005


Cahooters!

wait, that came out sounding different than i thought it would.
posted by gleuschk at 11:11 AM on February 22, 2005


Wow.

Threads like this make me ashamed of every having been part of this "community".

I pop into kottke.org every coupla days and usually find something interesting. I've never met the man and don't really care to. That said, I like his site, and will donate something when I'm able. When I saw his post today I knew someone would have posted it to MeFi so I popped over even though I've only made one post here since mid-December.

The fact that many of you are shitting on a suggested donation of $2.50 per month is pretty crazy to me. That's the cost of a single bus ride in my city. A lot of you are behaving as if the guy is holding the web hostage and he won't release it unless you meet his demands. D y'all go into B&N and hold up books by authors you can't stand and scream, "I can't believe they want $25 for the new [whoever] book! This is crazy!"

Back when I was doing Victory Shag and work was getting in the way, I mentioned I was going to wind it down. Many, many people wrote and asked me to just make it subscription based (a number of them suggesting $10 a month). I could have lived on it but the thought that I couldn't keep it going--and kacking out after taking money--seemed far too depressing to consider. Still, many people sent me paypal donations and some cash (and other items) via snail mail. It was nice to see people thought something I was doing was enhancing their lives in a way that they felt eager to pay for it.

Perhaps I'm naive or out of touch but I would think that the vast majority of people would want to quit their jobs and do something they enjoy, that's creative, and be able to live on it. (In fact, I'll go so far as to say that I don't want to know anyone who doesn't want to do this--unless for them that is their job.) Does this mean we all have to throw money at everyone who attempts it? Hardly. But discouraging anyone from trying--regardless of what you think of them or their project...? That's just fucking embarrassing.

I don't know about you, but with all the crap in the world that we have to pay for, I am genuinely elated to find that rare thing that I'm happy to pay for. For instance, over the span of a couple years, I donated, I'd estimate, a few hundred bucks to one of my favorite sites. I did this via text ads, covering the cost of membership for those who couldn't afford it, server $ donations, paypal donations to the site's creator as part of a birthday gift, etc. None of it was mandatory; I could have kept coming here for free (most of you do); I could have stopped coming altogether. The same goes for Jason's site.
posted by dobbs at 11:12 AM on February 22, 2005


I really don't see that much "shitting" in this thread. Some people think this is a bad idea, that's all. If you have no emotional investment in Kottke whatsoever, it's easy to say you don't like the idea, that you don't think it will work, etc. I don't see how that's any different from talking about any other idea/concept/website that gets mentioned on this site. Since Jason is such a great guy, of course his friends will feel hurt when they read negative reactions to his concept.

In any case, I am excited about this idea. I know another guy who is now 'blogging for a living' and it's an exciting concept, because if you can make it work it would be a wonderful thing. I hope that Jason is a pioneer for this, showing people how it can be done and how one can support himself through his content production online.

The most frustrating thing about Kottke.org through the years is that you sense there's a lot more going on that he doesn't have time to elaborate on or publish. Combined with a great readership, this could go places.

I hope he turns the site into a "one man magazine" with lots of different types of content, including a daily blog but also stuff like interviews, parody sites, mini-web-apps, fonts, etc. If he starts to ramp up production in that direction, and if I find utility in what's he's doing, I will become a patron, just as I am with a local radio station that provides me with a lot of great content.
posted by chaz at 11:13 AM on February 22, 2005


I've read Jason's site for a long time, on and off, I'm no crony but I have enjoyed reading his site. Whether you do, or not, is of course your choice based on your personal opinion.

Now, I'm guessing that he has a good idea how many people visit his site every day, and I'm guessing this played a large part in his decision. He suggests a nominal $30 'donation' (micropatronage if you will) and I'll bet a pound to a penny that he has factored in a percentage of his visitors donating that amount.

After all, be it grand experiment or narcistic self-promotion, without the ability to pay the rent I doubt he would be trying this.

Anyway I've not donated, yet, but will give Jason some time and see what he comes up with. If I think it's worth throwing a few bucks at, to show my appreciation, not through guilt or as forced payment, then I'll do just that.
posted by snowgoon at 11:16 AM on February 22, 2005


I am considering sending 5 bucks. . i hardly ever read kottke.org but I also find, that when I DO, it's very informative and his posts about any given issue are among the first, and very comprehensive.

His blog is obviously the product of a lot of intelligence, organization and hard work.
posted by Danf at 11:19 AM on February 22, 2005


Ryvar; one thing - do you support the painters or sculpters or other artists that you may have the opportunity to see (provided they are alive)? If you're in New York, did you go see the gates in Central Park are give the artist your money out of a moral obligation? Yes, some artists are supported by government grants, or corporate payouts or museums, but I'm sure that you have been able to take advantage of art in the past without paying for it, and feeling no moral obligation. That you feel a moral obligation in this circumstance is because the 'artist' is standing in front of you saying "Yeah, well, I don't have a regular job. This is my job."

I've never been to Central Park so I'm not sure what the setup is there. Is it something like there's chalk artists or something and you toss coins in the hat, that kind of thing? The only time I was in that situation (I don't get out . . . ever, basically) was on a roadtrip where we found this incredible metalworks sculptor somewhere between Seattle and Mt. Ranier. You got out of the car and could walk around and admire all his work on his lawn. There was a little drop box if you appreciated it. I put in a twenty before we left.

At the time I wasn't really thinking very rationally about the ethics of the situation. I just knew that I wanted to give something back for what I had gotten from it, and I did. Guilt and a sense of moral obligation never entered the picture. Maybe art is different in that it evokes an emotional response for me that weblogs, especially those centered on links, generally do not. I think the key phrase from my last ethics comment that applies here are "they request aid that I would otherwise be disinclined to provide." I wasn't disinclined.

It sure is funny how I cease to be human once I buy some stock! Haw haw haw.

It's a lot more complex than that but entirely off-topic to this thread. Shareholders are merely the catalyst in the process through which the virtual entity destroys people's lives and physical environment - this is another one of my ten page posts at LEAST, so my IM is on my userpage if you seriously want to talk about it.
posted by Ryvar at 11:19 AM on February 22, 2005


I think Kottke (and I hate calling people by their last name, even if it is their website's name as well) would do well to use PayPal's subscription system.

While it would not afford him the "guaranteed" income, it would make people more likely to sign up. For $3 a day, you can support Jason Kottke's efforts to make the web a better place.

I know I'd love to be in his place, thinking you could make a living just writing on a weblog, or at the very least, just writing. It is an aspiration of mine for some time. (Corporate sponsors... sponsor my web site today... for only $35,000, you get a big honking banner across the top of every page.)
posted by benjh at 11:21 AM on February 22, 2005


Would you be willing to pay $30 a year for Metafilter?

How about for some up-and-coming web magazines that operate on a daily basis, say The Morning News, The Black Table, etc.?

And how much for up-to-the-second pro blogs in the Gawker empire where advertising is used? Gawker? Gizmodo? Wonkette, etc?

How much for Boing Boing were it to be ad free?

How much for Fark?

How much for the individuals' blogs you frequent?

Curious to see what range of dollar-value folks assign to their daily reads that are currently free to access. Please name and value other sites of your choosing.
posted by Dukebloo at 11:23 AM on February 22, 2005


I also dont really understand the objections in this thread. Although, to be honest I didnt think this was that post-worthy either. :)

This is a great model, if he can make it work. Its the old community-supported artist model and its as old as civilization. I'll probably throw some money in the tip-jar. Then again, I'm the type that usually contributes to local arts organizations here in the SF Mission because I want them to stick around.

I dont read Kottke that often. To be honest, I mostly go there because everyone else goes there. But it'd be really interesting to see him succeed and perhaps start a new wave of free-form content (vs. political) bloggers take off.

Oh, and I will tip a bit extra on behalf of Ryvar so that he doesnt have to feel guilty.
posted by vacapinta at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2005


Meg: it's pretty sucky to make a big deal about not participating in a community but then pop out of the woodwork to insult the community over a handful of comments you don't like.
posted by Mid at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2005


Also, for Kottke fans, many of whom appear to say that $30 is a bit more than a micropayment. How much do you value a year of Kottke.org?
posted by Dukebloo at 11:25 AM on February 22, 2005


I want him to succeed. The invasion of ads everywhere which barely brings in any cash for most users anyway, is really getting on my nerves, and I offer to pay them away from the sites I visit. If I were a steady Kottke reader, I'd plunk down a bunch of bucks when I had some extra cash, yes. Thirty seems steep because it's a "big" number at once, but I wish him the best of luck.

Dukebloo, I'd probably pay thirty a year for Metafilter. Conversely, that is just a few bucks more than it is to access my archive of over twentythousand ads for one year. A bargain I say.
posted by dabitch at 11:27 AM on February 22, 2005


What's this guy actually gonna do on any given day?

Sit in front of his webcam looking glum to elicit sympathy, he already hinted at that.

I read his site more or less daily because his URL is usually the first to pop into my head when I am bored, and he always has at least one or two good links I have yet to see elsewhere. His site used to be a lot better, but if he does bring it back to life over the next few months I would pay the $30.
posted by fire&wings at 11:28 AM on February 22, 2005


Ah Metafilterians, with your reactionary rants and inability to read beyond the first line of a post! No wonder all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago...

...because all of the "reactionary rants" are about the first line.

also, how come people who disagree with Kottke, disagree with what he is doing, disagree with his "business model" are automatically assumed to be knee jerking or "shitting" on this thread? Could it be that people out there maybe, just maybe, have valid reasons to post what they do?

I personally think that the 3 man Mexican band who plays in the subway to be more worthly of receiving my money than Kottke. That's the reason why I disagree with Kottke's approach because there's no way i would donate. But that's my opinion, I'm not everyone and I don't assume that everyone is just like me. His business plan isn't new and his content isn't jizz worthy. But it's obvious that a lot of people here think otherwise and so go give Kottke your money and further the greatness that is this "blogging revolution".
posted by Stynxno at 11:28 AM on February 22, 2005


I've found the the blogosphere, and the universe, is incredibly generous when you follow your passion.

I've been very lucky with Blogumentary contributions. I've also been very lucky quitting my job and jumping off a cliff to see what alternate futures await. I'm more than happy to give Kottke $30 to do the same.

Best of luck to Jason and Meg, going their separate ways.

Meanwhile, visiting MeFi is not unlike Miroku's wind tunnel. :-/
posted by Dok Millennium at 11:30 AM on February 22, 2005


What's this guy actually gonna do on any given day? He needs 8 hours a day to run a single website?

I think I'll send him a copy of City of Heroes. That'll sop up some of that free time.
posted by crunchland at 11:31 AM on February 22, 2005


Maybe if Jason were to join a Mexican band. . .
posted by Mid at 11:31 AM on February 22, 2005


jnthnjng; probably because I have a friend who's last name is koethke, so I always throw in the extra 'e' with kottke. At least I get the double t's right instead of adding the 'h', as well.

But, hey - thanks for pointing that out and ignoring what I was actually saying. I totally understand that the value of what someone says is always immediately lost and ignored because of spelling errors.

Ryvar; http://www.the-gates-at-central-park.com/

And if you read what Jason is trying to do, it has less to do with links and more to do with what he has not been able to do, having a 9-5 job.. which is, from my understanding and past experience, much more artistic in nature than blogging and linking.

Mid; I'm sure if there was more at Metafilter that Meg had a desire to comment on, she would, but, well, this has probably been the only thing in a while that has struck a chord of any importantance for some of us.
posted by rich at 11:32 AM on February 22, 2005


what's so funny about this is that for the thousands of us who joined after the kottke ban was already in place, he's a nobody.

I should care about him why? (i'm with Stynx, i guess)
posted by amberglow at 11:33 AM on February 22, 2005


I am beyond puzzled by this entire thing. I don't know why this is worthy of a front-page post (especially one that breaks three years of silence), and I don't know why it engenders so many passionate arguments both pro and con.

I read Kottke's weblog daily, as I read dozens of others. It's an average weblog, good with the links (I find more fun and interesting stuff there than I do here), but not really interesting (to me) other than that. Still, I like it, though not enough to ever pay for it.

So many of the complainers here claim they have never read Jason's weblog, or haven't done so in years. Then why do you even care? Why is this even an issue? What does it matter if he wants to ask for donations? If you don't want to donate, then don't. If you don't want to read his site, then don't. Ignore it as you have lo these many years.

I think the whole "making money from weblogs" is an interesting concept. I cannot deny I've wondered how I could make money from mine (a near impossibility, I'm sure). I, too, find myself frowning at John Gruber's attempts on Daring Fireball, though I admire his courage, and I'm curious to see the results. I don't like any form of advertising, unless the weblog is targeted (like Matt's PVR blog). I find begging for money (like Jason) a little tacky, but no tackier than other stuff I see around the web. Personally, my favorite idea for making money off a weblog is to publish a print version of the content. If a person can publish a print version of their weblog, as Wil Wheaton has (and several others), then something's right.

Though many of you will bitch and moan about it, weblogs are here to stay. Their numbers are growing daily. People are going to find ways to make money off of them, and this particular method seems rather innocuous. I'm curious to see the results. I won't contribute, but I wish Jason the best.
posted by jdroth at 11:34 AM on February 22, 2005


I donated, and hope he makes alot of money.

Ryvar, could you clarify your position again on why you are offended by Kottke asking his regular readers (of which you are not one) to donate to him, instead of placing advertising on his site (which you would block because it is evil)?

P.S. I am kidding. Please do not post again. Anything . . . just, God, anything else at all. Please. Livejournal if you must. Just no more Ryvar posts here. For the love of God and all that is holy, not more Ryvar posts here.
posted by ericost at 11:36 AM on February 22, 2005


Such passion, I can understand it in the defenders but not in the detractors. Kindly explain how it harms you that Kottke is asking this. Personally I haven't read him much. I may do so in future without paying. If he posts something that rocks my world, I might sent him some money in the amount of my choosing. This is rather like the rest of the web. So WTF is your (collective) problem?

On preview, one critical difference between the musicians in the subway and Kottke is that you don't have to read Kottke. If you don't like Kottke then you don't read him and the worst that happens is you get no value for no money. If you don't like the subway musicians you're negatively affected by them. So arguably Kottke cannot provide negative value but your subway musicians certainly can. Is there an option to fine them accordingly?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:37 AM on February 22, 2005


Whether Jason manages it or not, just the idea that it might be possible to make a nice living from writing on your own site is utterly beautiful.

There are plenty of specialist one-man weblogs that pay their way. Whether Jason can manage it or not isn't the point: it's that he might well be able to, and that's just mindblowing.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 11:37 AM on February 22, 2005


I don't know, Styxno, but comparing what Jason is doing to "the 3 man Mexican band who plays in the subway" or saying that "[h]is content isn't jizz worthy" doesn't strike me as valid reasons for disagreement. Juvenile assholery, maybe.

I'd take Jason's detractors more seriously if they were a bit more mature about it.
posted by mcwetboy at 11:39 AM on February 22, 2005


(but Victory Shag i would have paid for, and Suck, and here)
posted by amberglow at 11:40 AM on February 22, 2005


I've never read Kottke, until I read Matt's link to some unique "content". Quite frankly that interview doesn't inspire me to click on to see more. The interview really isn't all that good or interesting. I wish him luck, and I hope he succeeds. He might be one of the few early ones that make some cash doing this, but what I see in the future is the people who make the real cash will be celebrities. Seriously, I bet Paris Hilton would make a killing blogging.
posted by Eekacat at 11:42 AM on February 22, 2005


Why is it only about the links? I think Koettke's thinking bigger than that

He seems to be, and that was my point. His site as it stands today, more links than anything else (and the same links that are posted on mefi and everywhere else for free), isn't worth 30 bucks. But I think even he would agree with that.

So let's wait and see what he comes up with. Maybe it will be fantastic. Who knows.

(it is funny seeing his friends stop by and now his ex girlfriend coming to his defense for us picking on the poor kid ...it's like we're all back in 9th grade again. So amusing)
posted by justgary at 11:43 AM on February 22, 2005


I'm not sure that the comparison to Andrew Sullivan is terribly apt, but why not try to make a go of it, and if it doesn't work out, he can always get another day job, right? Or contract work, whatever. I'm sure that someone here will be only too happy to do another FPP saying "Kottke quits blog, gets job," if things don't work out for him, so it's win-win.
posted by anapestic at 11:44 AM on February 22, 2005


No wonder all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago...

And yet it has survived, and even thrived. Amazing, isn't it? Golly, maybe the entire Web doesn't revive about you vapid coastal types and the latest asinine meme? Shocking, I know, but it deserves some consideration.
posted by keswick at 11:45 AM on February 22, 2005


One reason there is so much discussion here is that kottke disabled comments on 95% of his stuff a while back. Seems like a popular thing for "A-list bloggers" but it does create something of a bubble effect.
posted by smackfu at 11:48 AM on February 22, 2005


keswick, I think your comment pretty much sums up what is wrong with Metafilter. Why not just post "Meg you suck -- bitch." It would have been shorter at the very least. This thread is typical of every other thread that goes over 50 comments here, and since we get one of these threads every few days, I'd say Metafilter is far from perfect, and far from thriving.
posted by chunking express at 11:54 AM on February 22, 2005


One reason there is so much discussion here is that kottke disabled comments on 95% of his stuff a while back.

Excellent point, smackfu; I hadn't considered that.
posted by jdroth at 11:55 AM on February 22, 2005


Metafilter: it's like we're all back in 9th grade again
posted by gwint at 11:55 AM on February 22, 2005


No wonder all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago...

Wow, I missed that comment. What an embarrassing thing to say. Maybe that's what all this is about, A listers trying to get control of the web again, where they once ruled all! Before the web grew and mefi grew and now half the people don't even know the names of the "a list".

Besides meg, if jason is an a-lister, and gets a hundred comments per question he asks, and you get 15, I think that makes you a b-lister. Oh, the horror! ;)
posted by justgary at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2005


What were we talking about again?
posted by gwint at 11:57 AM on February 22, 2005


mcwetboy and george_s: I am comparing my personal valuation of both. I will give a few bucks to the Mexican band before I would give money to Kottke. I personally enjoy a mexican subway musician more than Kottke. I'm sorry if you don't feel that way and if I wasn't clear before, then I apologize.
posted by Stynxno at 12:00 PM on February 22, 2005


Did it maybe occur to you that almost anyone who uses the phrase "all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers" is probably being ironic?

I would have gone with "webloggers," though.
posted by anapestic at 12:01 PM on February 22, 2005


keswick, I think your comment pretty much sums up what is wrong with Metafilter. Why not just post "Meg you suck -- bitch.

I'm guessing you missed her condescending comments, and her asking if we can "even read".

I'm sure it was an oversight.
posted by justgary at 12:02 PM on February 22, 2005


Actually on other sites, coming out of nowhere into a thread, dropping a turd against everyone, and then not sticking around to be held accountable by the community for one's actions would be considered, without question, trolling. She's Meg though, it's all good.

<insert Mentos jingle>
posted by DaShiv at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't know about you guys, but I saw megnut's comment as being rather facetious myself. Facetiousness laced with a bit of defensiveness, yes, but facetiousness.
posted by angeline at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2005


Did somebody really just refer to themselves as an 'A-list Blogger'? Good gravy.......
posted by spilon at 12:08 PM on February 22, 2005


Did it maybe occur to you that almost anyone who uses the phrase "all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers" is probably being ironic?

Is it still ironic if nobody had called her an "a-list webloger" up until her comment, though?
posted by scottq at 12:10 PM on February 22, 2005


anapestic, did it ever occur to you that irony is used to say things we really mean without taking responsibility for them?
posted by nequalsone at 12:10 PM on February 22, 2005


Imagine if it were 1980, and bono.blogspot.com's latest post said this:
I can't believe I'm finally doing it. Today was a big day at the factory. After lunch, I had a few pints, talked with my mates about getting serious and then I just did it. I told the boss to sod off and that I was going to be a big music star. He laughed, but it feels great to be at home, working on songs. I really think our little pub group "U2" is capable of doing some good songs.
posted by Bono at 11:32PM | current mood: happy
and I could also imagine the metafilter thread that would ensue "that silly irishman is nuts to think his boring ass songs will buy more than a single potato. No thanks bono, or should I say, bonehead!!1!"
posted by mathowie at 12:16 PM on February 22, 2005


don't be too hard on kottke, megnut, or any of the other a-list weblogers... they've had to endure the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune for years now, in spite of, or perhaps because they've eschewed metafilter.
posted by crunchland at 12:17 PM on February 22, 2005


It's called a bum.
posted by ticopelp at 12:17 PM on February 22, 2005


I will not put a financial value on a blog. (And for that matter, I will pay for no blog, ever, although that's not what he's asking anyone to do.)

I think this is a wonderfully optimistic, potentially utopian, but tragically doomed idea. I like kottke.org, really quite a lot. Not knowing the man, I presume he's intelligent enough to have made this decision not because of stupidity but because of genuine passion. I'm a poet, so I understand that motivation straightaway.

But I object out of concern for the man himself, what he can afford to buy, what he can afford to replace when it breaks, whether he can even take a holiday when he needs to - all those things that make up a lot of the fabric of our lives.

Even Seamus Heaney needs to team up with a big company like Faber and Faber to make his career as a poet work financially for him. He's not looking to make big bucks, but just to survive.

And sure, Kottke might do that on his own with voluntary donations of $30 but he's more likely not to. And if he turns very poor, the bullshit within the romantic notion of poor-writer-in-garret will show clearly. He'll get hungry, or miss his rent payment, or have to live on baked beans. And that, seriously, can lead to depression and misery.

If he's doing it for a year only, which I hope he is, of course it's entirely different. But I don't think that's his aim.

On preview: even when faced with the most kick-ass site in the world, if it's free, I just won't even think of paying even if asked, and there are plenty more like me. That's not a snark, though, just a fact, and material to his chances of survival. Actually, I hope a really rich anonymous benefactor gives him $300,000 over a few years, so he can survive and we can see what happens.
posted by paperpete at 12:19 PM on February 22, 2005


mathowie, bono was last interesting around 1987. i wish bono would shut up and stop making music. i can't believe anyone would pay $18 for his mediocre cd. thank you.
posted by nequalsone at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2005


Keswick, you live in a coastal state, your profile contains an attempt to win yourself a free iPod, and you're living in a culture defined by those of us on the coasts, posting on a site created and defined by one of the people you're insulting.

As a result, I would not pay to support your work. I will pay to support Jason's blog, and to support the weblog medium as a whole.
posted by anildash at 12:23 PM on February 22, 2005


The only comparison between Jason and Bono is if you are talking egos.
posted by Stynxno at 12:25 PM on February 22, 2005


Now imagine if all U2's songs were navel-gazing cloaked in the guise of self-examination and 60% of their albums was Bono holding the radio up to the mic and going "Listen to this" or "This is cool, check this out" or "That's wack."

please tell me you didn't just compare Kottke for Bono. Reality check for Aisle A, please... Reality check on Aisle A."
posted by keswick at 12:25 PM on February 22, 2005


Imagine if it were 1980, and bono.blogspot.com's latest post...

see, such stunning lack of perspective is what keeps me bashing away! your kottke/U2 comparison is frigging precious!

besides, U2 has always been vastly overrated. bono, though, would have made a perfect navel-gazing blogger.
posted by quonsar at 12:25 PM on February 22, 2005


er, what keswick said.
posted by quonsar at 12:26 PM on February 22, 2005


If you knew anything about that vast untamed wilderness between Marin and Portland, Anil, you'd know that it doesn't really fit the Coastal archetype in any sense. It's as if someone picked up a piece of the Midwest and plonked it down in California. But you wouldn't know that, because you just zip through on I-5 in your Jetta or Beemer and sneer at the little towns on your way to your next iCircleJerk.
posted by keswick at 12:28 PM on February 22, 2005


Reading this thread made me realize that, while I don't care much for Kottke, I do care about MeFi. So I ended up visiting the Donation page and making a small-ish donation. Maybe we all should, just as a thank you to Matt for hosting MeFi!

On Preview: Hey mattowie, you should add MeFi to the spellcheck dictionary... unless "Mafia" is really what MeFi is about :)
posted by TNLNYC at 12:28 PM on February 22, 2005


i wish bono would shut up and stop making music. i can't believe anyone would pay $18 for his mediocre cd. thank you.

No, thank you for making my point exactly.
posted by mathowie at 12:31 PM on February 22, 2005


Time for a group hug.
posted by brownpau at 12:32 PM on February 22, 2005


argh
posted by crunchland at 12:32 PM on February 22, 2005


also add "mattowie" per TNLYC!
posted by nequalsone at 12:33 PM on February 22, 2005


Careful, nequalsone, before Bono's friends drop by to berate you, your family, and your dog for your reactionary rants and inability to read beyond the first line of a post. But facetiously, of course.
posted by DaShiv at 12:33 PM on February 22, 2005


and you're living in a culture defined by those of us on the coasts

"...so you better get used to it, right?"

See, it's stuff like this that gets Bush re-elected, people.

Keep posting A-listers, your fevered egos are showing through.

oh, btw, I promise you 99% of the country doesn't know or care who anil dash is or what movable type is, so you don't really define much culture past your little coterie. sorry, i know that hurts.
posted by keswick at 12:34 PM on February 22, 2005


Maybe we all should, just as a thank you to Matt for hosting MeFi!

Didn't you just read about Ryvar's ethics? Watch the ethics!
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:34 PM on February 22, 2005


If the Instapundit quit being a law professor to blog full time (he's rumored to make $10-20k per month already from blogging), would everyone be saying the same things?

Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept? Or is it the person asking it? Or is it how they ask it?

Or is it a mix of all those?

FWIW, I don't read instapundit, don't know why he is the king of right wing blogs, but I'd say more power to him if he blogged full time, even though I've never met him.
posted by mathowie at 12:36 PM on February 22, 2005


I hope Kottke is successful, because if he is, then that suggests that others -- some of whom have better value than Kottke -- might be able to follow in his wake. Which would tend to increase the value of the internet over time.

On the other hand, every day, I read around 50 weblogs before breakfast. Kottke is in the next-to-bottom quartile in terms of the value that I perceive from each of them (in the same kind of area as Greg Allen, Jeremy Zawodny, et al.) -- as a generalist with no strikingly intriguing subject area, good links but about 50% I've seen before, and with an engaging but not mindblowingly interesting writing style.

If I were to pay value for each of those 50 weblogs, and take Kottke's manufacturer's suggested retail price of $30, then that would imply a yearly subscription payment of $1500 or more, a number which holds up very poorly against comparable things that cost far less (Economist subscription: $129/year; DirecTV with all channels, ~$1000/year; DSL Connection: $360/year).

So what is the economic value to me of Jason Kottke? A good analog might be a section of a cheap local paper -- something to read to consume the moments in between bites of cereal, but nothing to get all excited about. A cheap local paper is maybe 25 cents for Sports, Weather, News, Finance, Local News and the Classifieds. Let's say Jason is about equivalent to the 'Local News' section -- maybe worth about 2.5 to 5 cents a read.

5 cents a read by 52 weeks by 5 days = about thirteen bucks on the top end. Given occasionally choppy performance over the past year, say $10 unless the situation improves.

I suspect that Jason's done about the same kind of math as I have, and is just putting up an MSRP in the hopes of getting a few bites at that price to offset the people who think it's free.
posted by felix at 12:37 PM on February 22, 2005


and I could also imagine the metafilter thread that would ensue "that silly irishman is nuts to think his boring ass songs will buy more than a single potato. No thanks bono, or should I say, bonehead!!1!"

Damn Matt, I thought you were more level-headed than to stoop to posting comments like this. I didn't think you'd stoop to insulting the members of your website by making such a sweeping generalization.
posted by Eekacat at 12:38 PM on February 22, 2005


This thread is just embarrassing to read. I wish Jason the best of luck.
posted by -t at 12:40 PM on February 22, 2005


Imagine if it were 1980, and bono.blogspot.com's latest post said this:

Wow. Just wow. I don't think much of Kottke, as clearly evidenced by this thread, but to compare anyone to Bono is the most grievous insult possible in any language ever spoken. From the dawn of time until this very moment there has not been enough pain and suffering in the course of human events to amount to what Bono deserves. During his Superbowl halftime show where he played while the names of the 9/11 victims scrolled by I actually went blind with rage and the sounds of his jackal howling somehow transformed itself into the Doors "The End" shouting "KILL! KILL! KILL!" The 90% of missing mass in the universe is no farcical 'dark matter' or 'dark energy', but rather the physical manifestation of my universe-spanning white-hot searing hatred for him and everything he represents.

brownpau: I'd grouphug but my head just exploded rather messily and I should clean my shirt first.
posted by Ryvar at 12:40 PM on February 22, 2005


I think it's the familiarity we have with the people who blog that gives us the notion that we have any reason to be critical. Jason comes across as an un-extraordinary guy, but he thinks he can make a living doing what many of us do for free.

Or maybe it's the same as being an optimist or a pessimist... one half of the people are willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt, and wish him well, while the rest of us are bitter, cranky, neer-do-wells, who will never achieve enlightenment.

(And if that instapundit guy makes $20k a month, well fuck him and his mother, too, dammit.)
posted by crunchland at 12:41 PM on February 22, 2005


The play by play, as of about 12:45 PST:

Stewart (Flickr, friend): Hey everyone, I know I haven't posted anything in 3 years, but FYI, Kottke's going to try Blogging as a career.
Mefites: Lame! Boo! Hiss! Who?! Why?! Good Luck! Whatever. FPP worthy? Adfilter! Who's sylloge?
Camworld (camworld.com, Former(?) A-list blogger): I'll be watching... [returns to lurking...]
Anti-Kottke Mefites: $30?! It's not worth $30! bwahahahaha! Schadenfreude ensues!
Mathowie (Metafilter, PVRblog, friend): Why is everyone shitting on him? Respect your elders, damnit!
Ryvar: I like advertising. Corporations are eeevvvvvil! Have I mentioned I like ads?
Pro-Kottke Mefites: You're all just jealous! Jason's daring and brave! I donated! Donating for things like NPR, PBS and of course Kottke is cool! Support the arts (and bloggers)! You wish you could be so brave as to eschew the 9 to 5! Suckers!
Megnut (ex-Blogger.com, ex-girlfriend, ex-A-list blogger, ex-metafilter): Why is everyone at Metafilter (still) so reactionary?! He said Micropatronage, not micropayment! p.s. I'm his ex-girlfriend. (I bet you knew that! Didn't you?! You had to have seen the articles about our courtship!
Ericost (Flickr): I donated!
Ryvar: Donation requests make me feel icky. I like Ads. Corporations are eeevvvvvil! Screw The Man! Ignore the ads!
Mefites: Ryvar, could you reiterate your position... NOT! A-list bloggers?! Irony? Facetiousness?
Mathowie: If Bono were a blogger you'd probably shit on him too!
Mefites: What year is it? Who? Did you just invoke The Bono?
Anildash (Typepad/Six Apart): Support Blogging! Bloggers are the future! Keswick, you're a whore and I won't support you.
Keswick: You're Yuppie dotblog scum!
Kinder, Gentler Mefites: Now, now. Let's all be friends and donate to Metafilter.
posted by shoepal at 12:43 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't think mathowie's point was that kottke = bono, but that a metafilter thread about someone going out on a limb to try something new would be treated harshly, as evidenced here.
posted by gwint at 12:44 PM on February 22, 2005


I've never read Instapundit, because... well... because I know I'd probably rupture a blood vessel on the first page. I mean, if Lileks likes his views, he's gotta suck. But I have a hunch he does more than just churn out links with the occasional half-hearted commentary.

Kottke's log has been on the downward slope for quite a while now. The fact that he still has a readership shows inertia works on the Internet too. The fact that he has the chutzpah to try and make a living solely by linking to other sites with pithy commentary shows me what a disconnect he has from the real world, where people who might also have something valid to say spend their lives slaving under flourescent lights for pittance and come how too tired to do anything besides watch TV.

As much as I'd probably loathe Instapundit, I suspect he has something to say beyond "Cool," and about things more important than the latest web geegaw, electronic gizmo that'll be clutter the landfills in six months, or prententious and ridiculously expensive public art installation.

But what do I know, I don't live in San Francisco, NY, or Portland.
posted by keswick at 12:46 PM on February 22, 2005


But you wouldn't know that, because you just zip through on I-5 in your Jetta or Beemer and sneer at the little towns on your way to your next iCircleJerk.

I hate to burst your elaborately constructed bubble but Anil's preferred mode of transportation, like any good A-lister, is being carried around on a golden litter by incredibly attractive barely nubile men and women in outfits color coordinated to match his website.
posted by lia at 12:48 PM on February 22, 2005


MetaFilter: we care who dances in car ads.
posted by quonsar at 12:50 PM on February 22, 2005



posted by nequalsone at 12:50 PM on February 22, 2005


to compare anyone to Bono

dude, I'm just talking about the paralells with dayjobs and musicians, and plucked a name out of thin air. At one point, everyone that was good at something was bad at it, and probably boring to watch practice. Then they put effort into it, and at some point they quit their dayjobs.

Ridiculing folks that are going to quit their dayjob doesn't make sense to me, whether it's a friend, a relative, or a complete stranger. They're taking the risk, not me.

BTW, I would like to hear feedback on these questions, honestly. Can anyone take a crack at it?
Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept? Or is it the person asking it? Or is it how they ask it? Or is it a mix of all those?
posted by mathowie at 12:51 PM on February 22, 2005


Can I get a copy of this 'A-list'? I can't keep track of who's on it anymore.
posted by scottq at 12:54 PM on February 22, 2005


I have a hunch [Instapundit] does more than just churn out links with the occasional half-hearted commentary.

Indeed.
posted by mcwetboy at 12:56 PM on February 22, 2005


Indeed.
Heh.
posted by mathowie at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2005


I think it's the familiarity we have with the people who blog that gives us the notion that we have any reason to be critical. Jason comes across as an un-extraordinary guy, but he thinks he can make a living doing what many of us do for free.

I agree completely. Jason seems a nice enough guy, smart, funny, writes well enough. But his blog for the last couple of years at least has been random thoughts, a movie review here or there, a question with comments thrown in, the larry king of blogging.

It will be interesting to see what he comes up with, but if it's just an 8 hour day of doing the same, I don't think he'll do well in the long term.

On the plus side, we have not had this many low numbers in a mefi thread in years. Where's jack saturn? It's all just all so cute.
posted by justgary at 12:59 PM on February 22, 2005


it doesn't seem like a mystery. i think pretty much everyone who voted "nay" on giving $30 to kottke said it is not worth it. a couple said no blog is worth it.

the comparison to musicians doesn't seem particularly good because they are valued for creating something. i don't read kottke, but it seems like most of the naysayers are voicing the opinion that he doesn't create much. and they are making comparisons to specific media including other blogs which presumably are more highly valued ($30?).
posted by nequalsone at 1:00 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept?

It's a risky concept, because there's so many others out there who do the same thing for free. Then again, you could say that about any creative profession. It's sad because blogging has become like everything else, and it's up for sale. It's ironic because many bloggers used to shout "free" at the top of their lungs. And it's frustating because, like anything else, it now doesn't have much to do with talent-- just who know you know and/or being in the right place at the right time.

Or is it the person asking it?

Oh God, yes. That too.
posted by keswick at 1:00 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept (a)? Or is it the person asking it (b)? Or is it how they ask it (c)? Or is it a mix of all those?

Looks like the majority of objections are over Kottke's current blog/product not being worth the patronage (b), with only a small minority of the objections being against paying bloggers period (a) or how much he's asking (c).

As I said in my very first comment upthread, I don't read Kottke and I'm just summarizing what I see here.
posted by DaShiv at 1:01 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept? Or is it the person asking it? Or is it how they ask it? Or is it a mix of all those?

Good questions, Matt. Dukebloo has asked something similar over in the green, by the way.

I think your first question comes closest to making the differentiation for me. I'm willing to support certain sites (Wikipedia), and maybe even certain targeted, focused weblogs (though I've not found one yet; your PVRblog is a good example, though). Somehow these seem different in class from a personal weblog. I find it difficult for me to grasp supporting a personal weblog. Could I ask people to support mine? How would that make me feel? How would that make them feel? What is there about a personal weblog, as opposed to a targeted weblog, that makes it worth supporting in a financial sense?

Next: is it the person? I have nothing against Jason. I don't know him, and have never exchanged e-mail with him. But his weblog is generally unremarkable. It's by no means bad, but it's nothing special. Most of the time it's just a collection of links (links that I tend to like, I admit). There's nothing to set it apart from the crowd. It seems noteworthy for being noteworthy. (And, contrary to Keswick's opinion, Kottke seems to do little navel-gazing. And what's wrong with navel-gazing (a.k.a. introspection) anyhow? More navel-gazing! More navel-gazing!)

I have no problem with how Kottke asked for money. It seems rather innocuous.

My two cents. Or three cents. Or whatever.
posted by jdroth at 1:01 PM on February 22, 2005


Where's jack saturn? It's all just all so cute.

he's probably hangin' with Mojtaba and Arash.
posted by quonsar at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2005


dude, I'm just talking about the paralells with dayjobs and musicians, and plucked a name out of thin air.

Ah, you're right, my bad. I have a few nerves here and there and Bono happens to be the worst. I totally jumped the gun and I'm sorry about that.

Moving on:
Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept? Or is it the person asking it? Or is it how they ask it? Or is it a mix of all those?

As tempting as it might be to say "d) all of the above", it's probably more that somebody would have to go way, way beyond the call of duty in terms of being interesting, emotionally moving, well-spoken, timely, and informative for me to donate. It would have to be a situation where regardless of whether they asked for it or not I wanted to send them a check anyway. There have been a few computer games (Planescape: Torment) where I wish the devteam was still around so I could mail them $100. It would need to be a blog that good.
posted by Ryvar at 1:03 PM on February 22, 2005


Alright, I went to Instapundit and while I luckily didn't rupture any blood vessels, I do feel very dirty. I'm going to go shower with a wire-tipped brush.

And if he is making 10k a month off that site, well, that's obscene.
posted by keswick at 1:03 PM on February 22, 2005


Attention: I'm now accepting micro-patronage for my comments here at Metafilter. I'm sure you'll all give to support me, right? ; >
posted by amberglow at 1:04 PM on February 22, 2005


Thanks for the answers. I think focusing on the abstract questions is a lot more illuminating than the specific personalities or what they are doing in this case.
posted by mathowie at 1:05 PM on February 22, 2005


I'm willing to support certain sites (Wikipedia)

Exactly.
posted by Ryvar at 1:06 PM on February 22, 2005


As much as I'd probably loathe Instapundit, I suspect he has something to say beyond "Cool,"

Yeah, he says things like "Indeed" or "Heh".
posted by kenko at 1:07 PM on February 22, 2005


Um, I just showed up here after 9/11, so I'm new by mathowie/kottke standards. So in all clear conscience, I can ask:

What the hell did this Jason Kottke ever do to you? Why does his experiment evoke this collective sneer from a substantial minority of commenters here? Did he run over a puppy? Did he say something nice about copyright restrictions or somesuch heresy? Was it the thread I remember where kottke said something like "Metafilter is neither meta nor filter. Discuss."?

From where I'm sitting, he's trying to see if he can make a living from his web site. I thought a lot of the regulars here do the same sort of thing, to varying degrees?

So what is it, people?
posted by sacre_bleu at 1:11 PM on February 22, 2005


> Attention: I'm now accepting micro-patronage for my comments here at Metafilter

I'll gladly pay you to not comment. There are many others I feel the same about. How about a micro-STFU payment system here Matt?
posted by ericost at 1:13 PM on February 22, 2005


amberglow: Sure, but you have to beat quonsar in a snarkfest first. To the death.

sacre_blue: I don't think most people had problems with the idea of the experiment per se -- the responses were largely variations on "kottke sucks" and "not worth $30."
posted by DaShiv at 1:17 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't think most people had problems with the idea of the experiment per se -- the responses were largely variations on "kottke sucks" and "not worth $30."

and don't forget those who combined the two into one overarching sneer.
posted by Stynxno at 1:19 PM on February 22, 2005


That everyone continues to insist that they would not pay for a blog, and they seem to ignore the fact that Jason has implied that his effort will not be focused on blogging, but a personal site, I think illustrates the problem here.

Many of you do not know the difference between a blog and a personal site. You lump everything into 'blogging' and linking to other sites and commentary.

Now, imagine an artistic corporate site that delves into all sorts of things, written, visual, and otherwise.. that doesn't depend on linking to the outside world for the majority of the content.

That is where Matt was going with his Bono example. But, of course, in typical fashion, people take illustrative things literally and literal things out of context just so they can ignore a point, or try to prove their own.

Use some imagination, if you have it. Expand outside of what you assume and know today. Then reconsider this whole discussion.
posted by rich at 1:20 PM on February 22, 2005


I'm a kottke.org micropatron.

You naysayers are giving me a headache. Please, stop your whining.
posted by tomcosgrave at 1:21 PM on February 22, 2005


*kicks crap out of sylloge*
posted by quonsar at 1:24 PM on February 22, 2005


I got a bold name! Wooo.


And see, Keswick, by saying "Oh God, yes. That too." you reveal that you don't like Jason. That's fine, you don't seem to like a lot of people. But that doesn't mean that what he's doing is a bad idea, and that's where your narcissism colors your judgement.

I didn't like the idea of "Hitch" as a movie for Will Smith to be in, but hey, tons of people did and so it's the number one movie. I think that's great, since (presumably) most people who watched it enjoyed it, and the people who were involved made some money on it. I'm guessing you probably resent those filmmakers, too.

Also, "And it's frustating because, like anything else, it now doesn't have much to do with talent-- just who know you know and/or being in the right place at the right time."

Knowing the right people and being in the right place is a talent. It also helps to have charm.

I'm sorry you think that there's a "Coastal archetype", keswick. I find that there's mostly all kinds of different people anywhere you go. in any sense. But when you say I "just zip through on I-5 in your Jetta or Beemer and sneer at the little towns on your way to your next iCircleJerk" you reveal your insecurities through your scarily wrongheaded reading of my life. It's the same flaw that taints your analysis of Jason's site, and it explains why you'd probably have such resentment towards someone who does good work, is recognized for it, and would aspire to being rewarded for it.

A lesson that we all would do well to remember is that "I don't like it" and "it's unworthy of existing/everyone must think it sucks" are two different things.
posted by anildash at 1:30 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't think most people had problems with the idea of the experiment per se -- the responses were largely variations on "kottke sucks" and "not worth $30."

OK, that squares with my impression. I look at kottke.org sporadically, and I find it occasionally interesting, as I do many sites. What I find puzzling is that out of approximately 11 bazillion websites on teh intarweb that:

1. post content
2. provide a mechanism for voluntary contributions
3. get posted to MeFi

... and for each, a bunch of people could say "_____ sucks, _____ not worth $30" ...

... kottke inspires the ol' steel-toed spleenbusting workover in the alley? I just figured I must have missed what prosecutors in sentencing hearings call "prior bad acts."
posted by sacre_bleu at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2005


Indeed.
Heh.
Bing!
posted by gleuschk at 1:31 PM on February 22, 2005


>So what is it, people?

I, a lowly commentator on MeFi, think it has something to do with a lot of webhits, a lot of cachet and the balls/gall to ask for money. It does not put me up or down.

>Did you just invoke The Bono?

Classic!
posted by gsb at 1:32 PM on February 22, 2005



posted by quonsar at 1:33 PM on February 22, 2005


I'm convinced. /quits job
posted by rxreed at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2005


I can't fathom why anyone would shit on the posterboy for the Helping Hands Buy-a-Brick fundraiser we held at 9622.
posted by adampsyche at 1:34 PM on February 22, 2005


Also, "And it's frustating because, like anything else, it now doesn't have much to do with talent-- just who know you know and/or being in the right place at the right time."

Knowing the right people and being in the right place is a talent. It also helps to have charm.


That's rather disingenuous, anil, and I think you know it; being born to the right parents is a similar talent.
posted by kenko at 1:38 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept?

Personally I don't value his commentary and links alone to want to pay. So I'm curious about the "other" stuff that Jason said he would try to do. (On preview: rich alludes to this in his post.) And I don't know all the circumstances, but I wish he had been more concrete with what those "other" stuff is before this announcement - then I'd have been more willing to micropatronize or whatever the new term is. But I'll be dropping by and seeing what he builds and shares.

I'm curious especially on the formal side of things. Calling it "revolutionary" to get paid for blogging is fine I guess... But since Jason has been doing this for a while, what if he tried to push the medium? Ask how to go beyond the current universally recognized blog format? I know he's poo-poo'd video blogging in the past (he called it camgirl redux). But surely there are other things he can experiment with. I would pay for him to do that. Every month, show me a tiny new idea about what a blog is and how to blog - how to capture, document, share, think together.

Disclaimer: I met Kottke + Megnut for ten seconds once, when Mr. Blogdex / Overstated was showing them around our workspace. /A-list namedrop
posted by shortfuse at 1:40 PM on February 22, 2005


I think given the fact that the vast vast majority of bloggers and people who have personal sites a) do it for free, and b) don't get their friends to post for them all over the net about how they now want money to do it, and c) haven't really proven themselves as someone whose personal site would warrant that kind of "patronage". Is he going to start living on the edge? Is his personal stuff at all interesting? Will he be a Belle de Jour or Washingtonienne? a Victory Shag? He wants money for what? Where's the proof of worth? No one in the olden days got patrons without proof of worth--if what's up now is proof of worth, i think most people wouldn't bite. To me, it sounds like a Save Karyn, except it's not bills, but a dayjob.
posted by amberglow at 1:40 PM on February 22, 2005


I gave him some money. Not because his site is the greatest thing since individually wrapped pieces of cheese; I don't read it all that often. I donated because this is a gutsy move and I want to see him succeed.
posted by djeo at 1:43 PM on February 22, 2005


Use some imagination, if you have it. Expand outside of what you assume and know today. Then reconsider this whole discussion.

Some have argued that it's not much of a personal site beyond the blog right now and they are therefore unwilling to throw money at promises alone. Others have questioned the value of even the blog itself, to say nothing of the rest of the content. Agree or disagree, but you're "ignoring the point" to misrepresent their various critiques in such a simplistic and disingenuous way.

... and for each, a bunch of people could say "_____ sucks, _____ not worth $30" ...

... kottke inspires the ol' steel-toed spleenbusting workover in the alley?


Are you kidding? Have you read the brutal threads about Save Karyn and similar sites? This thread is tame in comparison. The intercession of the supporting cast though made the thread a bit more lively than it otherwise would have been.
posted by DaShiv at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2005


Meanwhile ericost has just identified what may be the first genuinely viable business model for the blogoverse. And to think that years from now I'll be able to say I was there.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:56 PM on February 22, 2005


Twice as many comments and Kottke will be as important as Hunter Thompson.
posted by Cyrano at 1:57 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept?
I do not think so, if there is great content why not "buy" it like you buy a paper? But I do know a bunch of people that recoil in horror at the thought of opening their wallets for anything on the web. This is odd as the very same people often complain loudly about ads/use adblocking software, a.k.a the other way one could support a site. So what is the webmaster left to do, the one who spends countless hours and much bandwidth+hardware running something big (I'm thinking more of MeFi here than Kottke, as I really rarely visit there)? Anyone have any bright ideas?
posted by dabitch at 1:59 PM on February 22, 2005


Paris Hilton < Jason Kottke < Hunter S. Thompson

Finally, we got something right.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 2:04 PM on February 22, 2005


Making a great weblog and moderating the wealth of available information is hard, but Kottke makes it look deceptively easy. I can practically hear half the people in this thread thinking, "Big deal, I can do that!" Odds are, you can't. I read hundreds of blogs a month, maybe even thousands. Jason continues to be better than most, and consistency is important.

Kottke's "proof of worth" is seven years of blogging. To me, it's an outstanding track record. Some of you disagree. If there aren't enough people like me, he'll go back to a day job. Let the market decide.

Personally, I donated. He's ranked #9 in my sources for Waxy Links for a reason: he finds great stuff. And all this while doing it in his spare time! I look forward to seeing what he can do when it's his main focus.
posted by waxpancake at 2:09 PM on February 22, 2005


I'll break it down to the basics here.

No one deserves to make a living for just posting links and expressing his dumbass opinion.

The end.
posted by Josh Zhixel at 2:10 PM on February 22, 2005


I love Metafilter. I hate Metafilter.
posted by soundofsuburbia at 2:11 PM on February 22, 2005


So what is the webmaster left to do, the one who spends countless hours and much bandwidth+hardware running something big (I'm thinking more of MeFi here than Kottke, as I really rarely visit there)? Anyone have any bright ideas?

Sell user-created porn.

(Operators are standing by.)
posted by DaShiv at 2:11 PM on February 22, 2005


No one deserves to make a living for just posting links and expressing his dumbass opinion.

Why? Arguably, no-one deserves to make a living by peddling outdated ideas about 'the right way to live' and preaching at a bunch of people every week... and yet many do. (Note - I am attacking any sort of priesthood, merely trying to illustrate an idea.)

I've been following this on-and-off all day, and I still don't see the problem people have with this. This is someone who is gutsy enough to chuck in a presumable secure job and spend his time doing something he enjoys, and wants to get better at. And he's asking for help. How is this a bad thing?
posted by darsh at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2005


"This reminds me of a thought I had the other day... that blogging for a living would actually be hell."

It's not so bad. It's like any other job in which you are required to produce content on a frequent regular basis; some days it's easy, some days it's not and some days you want to jab a sharp pencil all the way through your ear to stop the pain of living. Most days, though, it's fun (in my experience).

It does help to have other sources of income, however. Of the various pro bloggers out there, I think most have at least one alternate source of income, even if it's other types of writing (in my particular case, I write books and also do business projects for clients). The reason for this is that the income even the "A-list" bloggers derive from their sites is relatively small -- the New York Times noted in its famous magazine article last year that Wonkette, for all her relative fame, made less than 20K a year from the site. I suspect that the number of people who make more than that from blogging can be counted using only one's quota of fingers. If Kottke can manage it, more power to him, but I do hope he's got a backup plan.

I blog for pay and I enjoy it -- I have certain responsibilities and certain restrictions per the desires of my client, but they're reasonable and I'm happy to work within them. I also have a personal site, which is resolutely non-commercial, since that site is meant to be fun for me, not work. I would be deeply hesitant to make my personal site commercial in any direct way, by means of advertising or donations; I occassionally sell reprint of entires or other material from the site, but those are after the fact. Thing is, I don't want my personal site to become my job, because then what would I do for fun?

From my point of view that's the main danger for Kottke. Making something you enjoy your job means that it's a job, and no one likes their job all the time, even when the job is blogging. I would have advised him to find someone to pay him to blog (clearly, it happens), but to keep his own site his own playground. There's value to having something kept out of the line of expected revenue streams.

Having said that, I do wish him success. He's taken a leap of faith and I hope he lands on his feet.
posted by jscalzi at 2:15 PM on February 22, 2005


What do people think websurfing is worth relative to other entertainment expenses?

I tried to put some monetary value on what surfing the web is worth to me, in comparison to my other entertainment and media spending - around $500 a year on books, $200 on music, $80 on magazine subscriptions, $100 on dvd rentals (I get to see most new movies for free). I pay $480 a year for internet access of which I'll factor in say 1/3 as a surfing expense, charging the rest up to reference and shopping costs. On top of that, I reckon surfing the web is worth about $200 a year. I would like to spread that over 10-15 sites that filter a lot of stuff I enjoy and don't have advertising. I do like kottke.org though not to the extent of 3/4 of a New Yorker subscription. On the other hand, I admire his gumption in this experiment so I will probably pony up the 30 bucks.
posted by liam at 2:16 PM on February 22, 2005


Would you be willing to pay $30 a year for Metafilter?
I think I would, actually, although given that I often have trouble scrounging together $30 for petrol at the end of a week, it might have to be something that's forced upon me, not voluntary.

How about for some up-and-coming web magazines that operate on a daily basis, say The Morning News, The Black Table, etc.?
I would have paid $5 a year for Suck, when it was still around.

And how much for up-to-the-second pro blogs in the Gawker empire where advertising is used? Gawker? Gizmodo? Wonkette, etc?
$0.00

How much for Boing Boing were it to be ad free?
$5 a year.

How much for Fark?
$2.00 a year.

How much for the individuals' blogs you frequent?
$2.00 a year, more or less depending on how needy the blogger is.

Note that I believe $30 a year would be a reasonable amount to pay for Metafilter. Look at the content here. Links bursting out of thin air every few minutes. Free and open commenting. A community of thousands. Ask.metafilter. It's worth it.

Kottke isn't.

No one deserves to make a living for just posting links and expressing his dumbass opinion.

Some might deserve a little beer money, or spare change to cover hosting costs, but a living? You'd better be a damn good writer.
posted by Jimbob at 2:18 PM on February 22, 2005


Wow Josh. While I may agree with a whiff of your statement, I think it's a little overboard to say "No one deserves.....". Are you the arbiter of what webloggers deserve and don't deserve? Kottke's "dumbass opinion" obviously strikes a chord with quite a few people so sit back and see how that plays out before zipping up the body-bag.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:19 PM on February 22, 2005


Or is it how they ask it?
Well, I reckon if Kottke had just asked for donations for the upkeep of his site, rather than announcing that he had quit his job to blog full time, the reaction would have been very very different. He appears to be saying that he is a somebody and really, nobody likes people standing up and proclaiming that they matter, especially when they really aren't doing anything that thousands and thousands of other people are doing. Kottke may have been a trailblazer, and he may have a bunch of (condescending) "a-listers" coming to his defence, but in pure economic terms, it doesn't matter who was first, it is who is the best, and to be blunt, that just isn't Kottke.
I genuinly genuinly hate saying that, because he really does seem like a nice guy and I genuinly hope he succeeds, but all these "If you don't like Kottke's idea, you're a stupid ignorant typical metafilter prick" comments coming even from Matt just piss me off no end, so what the fuck.
posted by chill at 2:20 PM on February 22, 2005


So what is the webmaster left to do, the one who spends countless hours and much bandwidth+hardware running something big (I'm thinking more of MeFi here than Kottke, as I really rarely visit there)? Anyone have any bright ideas?


posted by felix at 2:23 PM on February 22, 2005


mathowie, bono was last interesting around 1987. i wish bono would shut up and stop making music. i can't believe anyone would pay $18 for his mediocre cd. thank you.

Some people feel exactly that way about bono, and apparently some people feel exactly that way about kottke. But there are other people that value what each of these people do, and feel that they contribute something of value. You don't have to spend the money on a Bono CD, or pay Jason for blogging (or a personal site if it returns to that), but the people that want to can. I think it's actually a pretty good analogy.
posted by raedyn at 2:29 PM on February 22, 2005


Free and open commenting.

riiiiiiiight.
posted by quonsar at 2:32 PM on February 22, 2005


If he continues to sport this look shit, I'll pay the three sawbucks. ROWR!!!!!!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2005


He appears to be saying that he is a somebody and really, nobody likes people standing up and proclaiming that they matter

This feeling of "you think you're better than me?!" really speaks volumes about your interpretation, not Jason's delivery. He just said he was going to quit his day job and make the crazy jump towards trying to blog full time. He never said he was a somebody now. When a musician quits their day job to play full time that doesn't make them any better than when they had a day job and I haven't met a musician that doesn't fret over that decision and freak out when they do make the jump.

typical metafilter prick" comments coming even from Matt just piss me off

I've always held this site in high esteem, even when many have told me all the comments were pointless and left by cranks. There's a reputation for hot button issues at MetaFilter -- that folks don't read anything and just vent their spleens and shout their opinions at each other. That seems unfair doesn't it? That'd make us no better than any partisan ax grinding site on the web. But a lot of people in this thread didn't seem to read what he wrote (he never said micropayments, never said anything would be for-pay only) and are talking past each other.

I wish folks could read everything and try to get past the obvious points and at the underlying issues. I want metafilter to surprise me again with its collective thoughtfullness.
posted by mathowie at 2:41 PM on February 22, 2005


I wonder, if perhaps it is the idea of patronage that is getting folks riled up. I intuit (and perhaps others do as well) that a patronage system works something like this:
A creator makes sacrifices in their life in order to dedicate energy, time, money, to their craft. They excel at whatever it is they are making. Someone, with ample time, energy, (and most importantly) money recognizes that excellence and chooses to support and foster it.

While i admire Kottke's optimism and bravery and hope that he succeeds, this endeavor doesn't quite fit into the patronage model. He has yet to make major sacrifices for his craft. His craft itself (personal weblogging) doesn't exactly jive with received notions of Important Cultural Work and worse (and i don't mean this harshly) his blog, though popular, is not what i'd think of if i imagined the pinnacle of the form. And finally he is asking for green from an audience of whom many do not have ample time, energy or money.

A couple other small thoughts on this-- upthread, the MacArthur grant was mentioned. That is a perfect example of how i inuit patronage working. A person works and excels in their field, comes home one day with a message on their machine saying they're getting 1/2 a million dollars.

NPR, The Atlantic Monthly, etc. (all mentioned above), do, i think, fit into our received idea of Important Cultural Work.

I think it is very gutsy for anyone to challenge these received ideas, but i think Kottke is going to need to produce something more excellent than a fairly unremarkable personal weblog if this is gonna fly. His personality, his popularity in the blog world, and his past contributions to that world will carry him for awhile, but i'm not convinced this idea really has legs...
posted by verysleeping at 2:54 PM on February 22, 2005


Sometimes friends fight.

Can I go home now?
posted by rathikd at 2:57 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't think it helped that this came right after the whole "Gannon taken down by bloggers" thing. People were already getting a little fed up with feelings of self-importance, and this played right into that.
posted by smackfu at 2:58 PM on February 22, 2005


Quonsar's Matt-baiting grows tiresome and--perhaps worse--not-funny.

Matt: Jason's a hot button topic, for whatever reason (likely a mix of admiration and bitter envy). Add Kottke to the things that MetaFilter does not do well, I guess. Long-quiet friends of Jason showing up and (sometimes combatively) defending him was gasoline on the fire--not helpful.

I don't think there are any underlying issues. A guy is trying to make his living as a writer. He's asking his audience to pay him directly rather than going through a publisher. Tough racket, but not the first time it's been done. (See Andrew Sullivan, many investment newsletters, premium content on Salon and thestreet, etc., etc.) All the gnashing of teeth in this thread is about people's (right or wrong) perceptions of Jason as a writer/person/web celebrity, nothing more. I don't think anyone here is really against the abstract idea of what Jason is doing.
posted by Mid at 3:05 PM on February 22, 2005


I think you got it right way upthread, Matt:
"I'm really surprised at how far people are going to shit on this idea . . . Hasn't everyone here with a blog ever wished they could do something like this?"

So many connoisseurs, so few (micro)patrons. How many dilettantes here wish they could wave a PayPal wand and become legitmate artistes?

His idea of the patron is interesting, but also worth exploring fully if one is to understand how these arrangements really worked. Much less glamorous than you might suspect, and the strings attached weighed down many an enterprise. And artists supported by patronage didn't live like kings--much more like servants or court jesters.
posted by _sirmissalot_ at 3:09 PM on February 22, 2005


I wish folks could read everything and try to get past the obvious points and at the underlying issues. I want metafilter to surprise me again with its collective thoughtfullness.

Worth seconding.
posted by Quartermass at 3:11 PM on February 22, 2005


Is it that blogging as being worthy of support from fans is such a ridiculous concept? Or is it the person asking it? Or is it how they ask it? Or is it a mix of all those?

Maybe it's why buy the cow when you get the milk for free?

I tend to think of blogging the way I think of most artistic endeavors. Anybody can do it, fewer people can do it well, and of the people who do it well, only a tiny fraction of people can make a living of it. People tend to paint, write, sing, quilt, whatever mainly because it gives them pleasure. And I think most bloggers start out that way. The idea to make a living from it seems (to me) more to come from a disenchantment from earning your living in a more standard way than from any realistic idea that what you're providing is worth anything to anybody. There's virtually unlimited free content available, so you have to be a couple of steps above what's free to make payment worthwhile. And even then, would you pay to listen to Bono if you could get the tickets for free? Maybe, maybe not.

I think that blogging is probably a medium that's inherently poorly suited to commerce, especially in the absence of advertising. None of this has anything to do with Kottke per se (I don't read his blog, though not from any dislike of the content; I just never got around to it), but it does speak to why people think the idea of asking for a $30 contribution strains credulity.
posted by anapestic at 3:24 PM on February 22, 2005


i just wanted to wave at everyone. for real serious, i can't believe i read this whole thing. ah, the memories it evoked...
posted by maura at 3:30 PM on February 22, 2005


A guy is trying to make his living as a writer. He's asking his audience to pay him directly rather than going through a publisher. Tough racket, but not the first time it's been done.

To me, that's the essence of this whole thing, and perhaps why it rubs some people the wrong way. He's trying to make a living by writing, something that many thousands of people have tried before, some successfully, many unsuccessfully. And that's admirable. But some people here seem to be implying that he's doing something incredibly groundbreaking, something never-before-tried. He's not just trying make a living as a writer. No No No, he's doing something far more important -- he's trying to strike out and make a living as a blogger. Admittedly, there's something marginally interesting about making a living directly from readers, as opposed to through the established channels, but again, it's not as if that hasn't been done before either.

So I think smackfu is right, this probably grates on people who are fed up with the self-importance of blogging as 'concept'. People tend to push back when others want to make something seem way more important than it really should be.
posted by jnthnjng at 3:33 PM on February 22, 2005


i haven't even been reading him for free ...
posted by pyramid termite at 3:38 PM on February 22, 2005


what verysleeping said. (and others--Michelangelo maybe needs to get over himself a little?)

meanwhile, you could say andrew sullivan already did it, by getting sponsors for his blog. (sponsors that paid for a summer home, etc)
posted by amberglow at 3:44 PM on February 22, 2005


I've always found it interesting how Kottke (he's on the road to being a one-named celebrity) inspires such loathing in people. I don't like a lot of blogs, a lot of websites, a lot of diarists, but there is something that inspires visceral hatred of Kottke that can't just be explained by his gumption in doing things like asking people to subsidize his mediocre weblog.

I think it's his self-importance that subtly leaks out from behind his facade of cool, rational, mildly amusing posting. It's almost like a who has the dual issues of wanting to be a hipster and simultaneously assuming he is one. For the first, he's a dink, and for the second, he's a presumptuous dink.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 4:05 PM on February 22, 2005


BRING IT ON!!! (Quonsar, et al.)

For the record: Yes, I'm friends with Jason. I knew in advance that he was going to announce it (which explains the devious donation of Flickr accounts). Because I'm in Germany right now, I happened to be awake when he announced it. And it hadn't been posted already, so I posted it -- partly for old time's sake since I remember various Kottkewars in the early years and it would be funny to link to kottke.org[1].

If you think this wasn't post-worthy or wouldn't have been posted if I hadn't done it, you're de facto retarded: the number of comments already is testament to the horde's desire to type words in textareas in response to this particular stimuli.

There are a probably 5,000 comments in the MeFi database on the best of web/newsfilter debate. Despite that, it's almost certain that the next time HST dies, or the WTC buildings collapse, or Mathowie is caught in flagrante delicto with a goat[2], someone will post a link to the first news story or blog post or whatever that they come across. And that is as it should be.

Wether you loathe him or merely dislike him, Jason's been pretty influential in the evolution of the personal web. His taking a chance on making a living on that with relying on advertising or subscriptions for premium services/content is neat and discussing that is among the things that MetaFilter is for.

[1] It's been years since I posted to the front page of MeFi, but I have sporadically commented on threads here, in MeTa, and in Ask. At some point, MeFi hit an inflection point where it was too big for me to be able to keep up with the conversations and after that I stopped participating to the same extent I did early on.
[2] AFAIK, this hasn't actually happened ... yet.
posted by sylloge at 4:07 PM on February 22, 2005


He posts the odd interesting link, but this feels like someone who's good at unscrewing difficult bottle caps announcing they're doing it full time. It's a bit weird.
posted by cillit bang at 4:07 PM on February 22, 2005


If only we could turn back time and I could be a "micropatron" of word.com.
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 4:08 PM on February 22, 2005


Correction: "... without relying on advertising or subscriptions ..."
posted by sylloge at 4:09 PM on February 22, 2005


I'm not a regular Kottke reader so I won't be giving him the suggested donation (or more, or less). However, I spend similar amounts annually on other sites that are occasionally useful to me, so if I liked Kottke, I'd pony up.

It'll be interesting to see how he does, but I'd be surprised if he fails. This move has some interesting tax consequences, since he'll be able to legitimately expense a lot of his life now, which will make the donations go a lot further than a salary of the same number.
posted by mosch at 4:09 PM on February 22, 2005


oh dear, the photo KevinSkomsvold linked simultaneously cracked me up and creeped me out. What a little well placed eyeliner can do, he looks like a doll!

Love that graph felix.
posted by dabitch at 4:16 PM on February 22, 2005


Speaking of graphs ...
posted by sylloge at 5:07 PM on February 22, 2005


Oh brother. How could anything with the statement, "all of us narcissistic a-list weblogers stopped frequenting this site years ago..." be taken as anything but a joke?
[aside from the obvious and embarrassing misspelling of webloggers]
posted by megnut at 5:12 PM on February 22, 2005


And see, Keswick, by saying "Oh God, yes. That too." you reveal that you don't like Jason.

It's not that I don't like Jason; I've never met the man. I don't like his online persona. I mean, c'mon. A monkey? A New Yorker? What are you, Ross? I see nothing remarkable about what he is doing now. He's been resting on his laurels for a loooooooong time.

That's fine, you don't seem to like a lot of people.

Yeah, that's true.

But that doesn't mean that what he's doing is a bad idea, and that's where your narcissism colors your judgement.

And so because a few of his friends with neglected websites of their own think it's brilliant, that makes it a good idea?

I think that's great, since (presumably) most people who watched it enjoyed it, and the people who were involved made some money on it. I'm guessing you probably resent those filmmakers, too.

I resent them not for making money, but for making money catering to the LCD. That really has nothing to do with anything.

Knowing the right people and being in the right place is a talent. It also helps to have charm.

And some dumbass VCs, rite? Am I rite?

It's the same flaw that taints your analysis of Jason's site, and it explains why you'd probably have such resentment towards someone who does good work, is recognized for it, and would aspire to being rewarded for it.

Please. I've read A-list blogs that say basically what I said. As for my insecurities, yes I have a few. And I have resentments. One of my major resentments was that in my youthful foolish/idealism, I felt commericalization of the Internet was a bad thing. That's why I didn't try to join up with the cats at Yahoo in 1994 or any other venture since then.

I'm quite happy living in my small town in the middle nowhere. Mainly because I don't have to deal with hipster scum.

As for "resentment towards someone who does good work, is recognized for it, and would aspire to being rewarded for it," you're damn straight. Mainly because I do good work that others enjoy and I'm not fortunate enough to make a living from it.

A lesson that we all would do well to remember is that "I don't like it" and "it's unworthy of existing/everyone must think it sucks" are two different things.

Right. And I don't like it. And you A-listers seem more eager to convert me than the friggin' Jehovah's Witnesses. Show me where I said it was unworthy of existing or where I said everyone must think it sucks.

Oh, BTW, you can take your social darwinism and cram it up your ass.
posted by keswick at 5:17 PM on February 22, 2005


ooo, sylloge--people called him JKo? and that graph?!?
perfect!

keswick, don't let these has-beens get to you ; >
posted by amberglow at 5:20 PM on February 22, 2005


I too am no longer a daily reader of Kottke, though I have been in the past, and I still go every few days. Perhaps the drop in my visits says something about a decline in quality, but I tend to think it's because there's just that much more out there to read.

I'm not sure if I'm going to donate. I do feel like have to give credit to Kottke for being one of the first blogs I read, and playing at least some role in my realization/appreciation of The Blogging Revolution. I think I'll give it a little time and see if I want to send the money - like others have said, I expect he'll be putting up some great stuff soon. If nothing else, I'll probably be visiting every day for the next few weeks, at least.

re: sylloge - sounds like a good defense for the post to me. Footnote 1 certainly rings true; I feel the same thing has happened to me. Don't let the paranoid cries of AdFilter bring you down :)
posted by swank6 at 5:41 PM on February 22, 2005


"Are you kidding? Have you read the brutal threads about Save Karyn and similar sites? This thread is tame in comparison." - DaShiv

If I need to explain the difference between 'Save Karyn' and what Jason is proposing, then, well, you'll never get it - or at least you'll fight trying to understand it.

Keswick - Yes, I'd say he's been resting on his laurels for a long time. So why knock him when he's attempting to rectify that. Some people here may remember that there's not much love between Derek P (of {fray} fame) and I, but if he did something new like this, I'd be supportive and not get all snarky. Now, if you're bitter because you missed out on being employee number 4 at Yahoo and getting all that stock, I can understand - and just you mentioning that you had the chance displays the resentment you seem to have about missing out in order to 'remain pure'.

(waves to maura - I love the irony, y'know. When are we going to alphabet city again?)

I'd like to note that I just happened to come to Metafilter today. Total coincidence. I check in every few weeks/months to see if anything interesting is up. And low and behold - I saw the post about Jason today.

Now, not all the a-listers are on board. Lance is scratching his head at the lunacy that someone would attempt to make a living off their name in the personal web space, and his argument is pretty good.

But then, most of what makes money on the net is crazy or insane, so maybe there is a fit here.

But look- someone wrote book, *a book*, mostly based on Metafilter comments. Pamie repackaged her site to tell us why girls are weird. Why not just skip the printing press, add some code to spruce it up, and offer something up daily? I mean, being able to live off the web was a dream for many in the 90's - without having the commercial aspects. It wasn't really viable then, but now, just maybe, there is space for it. And if so, maybe it might drive the next shift in this space.

Think of the possibilities instead of just knocking it.

And megnut - the thing is, all the narcissistic alisters *and* alister wannabes and hanger-ons all stopped frequenting this site years ago. But we still love Matt.

I'll leave it to the masses to decide what was joke, what was truth, and where the beef is.
posted by rich at 5:44 PM on February 22, 2005


300+ comments...

*Metafilter*, occasionally swamped by trolls.
posted by ilovemytoaster at 5:49 PM on February 22, 2005


I don't think anyone here is really against the abstract idea of what Jason is doing.

There's no way you could my above posts and still come away with that impression. Now, I agree with the concept of patronage as it was practiced in the older sense - wealthy nobility paying an artist whose works they were especially fond of to simply continue creating them. I think that, after the dust settles on movies and music that this will be the new (old) shape of how the creative arts system will work because it is the only viable business model in a world where infinite replication of media is trivial. But like Stynxno I'm more likely to WANT to support that mexican band in the subway station than any blogger I've yet encountered.
posted by Ryvar at 5:57 PM on February 22, 2005


Jason's purpose is the start of a new business for himself, understanding has had a blog for some time. His purpose, however, has been altered: his blog will be his primary source of income. His blog has been a hobby; now it is his business. He hints, moreover, he plans modifications or additions to his blog; methods to make it worthwhile.

Like a new, modified, or redeveloped business, perhaps Jason should consider writing a business plan. A business plan may help Jason think about his goals/objectives, how those goals/objectives are met, what happens when the goals/objectives are met, strategies (marketing and technical), expectations, competition...
posted by quam at 6:05 PM on February 22, 2005


I'd be far more inclined to donate to the likes of waferbaby (celebrating its 10th year online today, by the way) which is obviously a labor of love for Daniel Bogan and on reflection, I feel that the main reason that I'd donate is that Daniel's gone out of his way to add a dimension of community to waferbaby that I feel would be lacking if any other generic blog were to start soliciting donations. If Jason Kottke's intentions are to start developing his site into new areas, all well and good. But I'd want to see concrete implementations of this before I'd be willing to consider ponying up cash.

FWIW, I did (and will continue) to sponsor daringfireball because of the incredibly narrow topical focus that John Gruber has as well as the professional level of writing that I think he does. However, like others, I'd love to see more writing from John specific to Apple/Mac/OS X and less posting on the business side of daringfireball.
posted by jperkins at 6:26 PM on February 22, 2005


and you're living in a culture defined by those of us on the coasts

You're a bit full of yourself, aren't you...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 6:39 PM on February 22, 2005


Please keep piling on. It will crank up the pressure on Jason to do some really good stuff, thus increasing the return on my investment.
posted by davidfg at 6:40 PM on February 22, 2005


i'm following this thread, and watching this on tv

(I'm thinking Kottke as Julie, Matt as Barbara, and Megnut as Ann Romano) ; >
posted by amberglow at 6:52 PM on February 22, 2005


thus increasing the return on my investment.

Hey, there's an interesting and novel idea. Instead of "pay me for my website", a plan that has (lets face it) been attempted many times in the past by many people, how about a weblog you can invest in and which will return dividends? Let's see someone take that on board. It might be more newsworthy.
posted by Jimbob at 6:55 PM on February 22, 2005


Please keep piling on. It will crank up the pressure on Jason to do some really good stuff, thus increasing the return on my investment.

I had no intention of joining this mud wrestling match until mathowie asked the reasonable questions that he did. I will admit to reading one of the comments here and laughing until I was crying.

on preview: Jimbob, excellent idea. Didn't David Bowie try that in the real world? How did it work out for him?
posted by jperkins at 6:59 PM on February 22, 2005


I think a lot of people wish Metafilter was still an idea with only a handful of people from a little web circle visiting and because it is not that anymore, they hate it and all that came to find it after them. However for a small fee I am willing to counsel those who need it. I can help you control your rage and perhaps funnel it into something more constructive.
posted by weretable and the undead chairs at 7:07 PM on February 22, 2005


There're so many funny, funny things in this thread, and things so illuminating about the very small world that is weblogging.

I wish him luck, despite the fact that I agree with many that he hasn't written anything really memorable for me, ever, and others do linklogs as well or better. I just don't see the value, but I do suppose that he'll be able to spend more time and do some good writing in future if he can make a living out of the site.

I really, really wish I could do the same thing, which may be, as some have suggested, where some of the criticisms in this thread arise. Hot diggety, the shit I'd write, things that I just haven't been able to find time to do justice to. But with the infrequent posting of my brainfarts in the last year or so, it'd be pretty hard to convince people to support the idea, I guess.

Plus, you know, I'm not an A-lister, so I dunno if I could depend on my Very Important Web Friends to help out with the funding drive.

~wink~

My god I'll be envious if he's successful, and tingling with schadenfreude if he's not. Perhaps he'll pay me to ghost-write his content for him. Maybe if he is a success at it, one day I might be able to do it too. Who knows? Either way, good luck to him. It's the dream of everyone who loves to write and has some small skill at it: making a living from words.

(Oh, and megnut? That 'a-list' comment was just precious! You come back now, you hear?)
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:21 PM on February 22, 2005


Even though the "a-list weblogers" put down Metafilter as a haven for cranks and jackasses -- a place that they all left once it stopped being cool-- it's curious that it's still one of the places where they broadcast their plans to the world.
posted by crunchland at 7:22 PM on February 22, 2005


they're trolling for cash for their buddy, and this gets more hits than their sites, i bet.
posted by amberglow at 7:28 PM on February 22, 2005


I used to have a bit of jealousy back in the days because I tried hard to make my weblog interesting or at least write well. I've said some harsh things towards various people that have and only for this rare occassion posted in this thread. But all that negative energy does not do you any good. Even if you think something someone does is a bad idea, it is tacky to insult them for it.


It's strange since I haven't thought about Jason in a long time and it almost comes on top of Jorn of robotwisdom popping up again.

Hopefully this move makes Jason a better weblogger, just as not weblogging for me is in hope of being a better writer.
posted by john at 7:30 PM on February 22, 2005


Ow. My eyes hurt after 300+ posts.

Anyway......I'd pay to see a return to real 'personal websites' ca. 97 with real content, proper innovation instead of the overhyped blog format which simply isn't worth paying for (Metafilter is the only blog I visit, because it's a community blog). The days of personal blogs are numbered.
posted by tommyc at 7:37 PM on February 22, 2005


THE MAN HAS A MONKEY TO SUPPORT. For fuck's sake.
posted by greasy_skillet at 7:43 PM on February 22, 2005


Metafilter: THE MAN HAS A MONKEY TO SUPPORT. For fuck's sake.

What if we all throw cash at Heather whatshername to bring back Suck?
posted by amberglow at 7:49 PM on February 22, 2005


I was just thinking to myself "probably the only person I'd be willing to donate $30 to for writing a weblog is stavrosthewonderchicken". If stavros came knocking, how could I refuse? So get writing, hear?
posted by jnthnjng at 7:54 PM on February 22, 2005


320 posts and no one has said "Pepsi Blue" yet??? It's a post solely directed to generating interest in a commercial venture, isn't it? (I kid, I kid.)
posted by smackfu at 9:08 PM on February 22, 2005


I find Kottke less annoying than the boingboing crew mainly because he doesn't constantly refer to himself in the third person. I'm sure he'll do ok at first because of the novelty of it all, but I'm not convinced this is something that can really last long term. It's hard to deny his appeal (he's been blogging successfully forever) but I just don't think his writing is very strong. Ever read his movie reviews? Wow.

I've never quite understood the Kottke phenomenon, but I wish him luck. I hope he paves the way for a bunch of people to do the same.
posted by Doug at 9:12 PM on February 22, 2005


The Boing has jumped the shark as they have nascar-ed themselves with ads and moved increasingly towards porn entries.

This thread has 300+ entries. I can think of a number of massive news stories that didn't garner that much response. Kottke has the brand, although my interest waned around the time that Meg H. dyed her hair dark brown. That was a tragic day in the blogosphere, in my opinion.

What I'd really like to do is gather together 3,000 people who need a particular software problem solved (pocket pc sync with mac, that works? Ical synchronization between multiple machines, etc.) and hire one smart guy to write the software for $20k, with a guaranteed refund if is isn't accomplished by the deadline. I'm talking solvable software problems. Like a web app that lets you find common available meeting times for coworkers. Or any number of small, solvable problems that have no open source solution yet.
posted by craniac at 9:59 PM on February 22, 2005


Okay, here's the deal. I'll PayPal Kottke $30 every time he does something that gets each of sylloge, anildash, megnut, and mathowie to post multiple comments in a MeFi thread.
posted by jimfl at 10:10 PM on February 22, 2005


kottke asking for handouts to blog is about as annoying as the time he tried to score a free ibook.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:49 PM on February 22, 2005


"Are you kidding? Have you read the brutal threads about Save Karyn and similar sites? This thread is tame in comparison." - DaShiv

If I need to explain the difference between 'Save Karyn' and what Jason is proposing, then, well, you'll never get it - or at least you'll fight trying to understand it.


Cue mathowie, "talking past each other" and "I wish folks could read everything and try to get past the obvious points and at the underlying issues." I'm sure Kottke appreciates your jumping to his defense and your almost being willing to deign to explain to me why his form of panhandling is different from Karyn's (as was pointed out elsewhere in the thread, not "payment" since he would not be withholding his content ffrom non-payers, but also not "patronage" any traditional sense either), but that was hardly my point. If you had read the context of the post I had quoted when making that response, it's obvious that I was responding to the notion that we were being unduly harsh on Kottke -- my example was to show how we've been much harsher in our criticism on other strategies of website-sustainment in the past. And we have a history of being harsh critics, and in fact far worse things were said of mathowie over the whole Suicide Girl issue than anything said of Kottke here. Hell, even the few comments made about Bono were more mean-spirited than any of the "Kottke sucks" post here. I really have to wonder if sylloge was honestly expecting anything else to come from making this post, aside from the free publicity for Kottke.


The most illuminating posts in this thread were the ones in which Kottke's supporters lost all sense of proportional response in their passion to defend him from criticism, as noted by chill and others. One would expect thicker skin and a more level head from such obvious web and MeFi veterans, but obviously that's not the case when Kottke is the subject of discussion here on MeFi.
posted by DaShiv at 11:25 PM on February 22, 2005


Regardless of status, how interesting can the weblog of someone blogging full-time be?
posted by Lush at 11:43 PM on February 22, 2005


and you're living in a culture defined by those of us on the coasts
You're a bit full of yourself, aren't you...


No, the people in the middle of the country keep telling me that they're tired of the coasts defining the culture. I've just been listening to them. Are you saying they're lying, Steve?
posted by anildash at 11:49 PM on February 22, 2005


Metafilter: free publicity for Kottke
posted by ericost at 11:52 PM on February 22, 2005


Boy, what a shitfest. But then I realized around 2002 that Metafilter, despite its roots, hates blogs.

Or maybe it just loves hating on blogs. :rolleyes: Oh the irony:

How dare these people write on the web and expect someone else to actually read what they say!
posted by me on the web without any expectation of being read


It's bad enough they're expecting to be read! The utter effrontery! I have important Paris Hilton notebooks to read, not your story about your cat dying!

Add asking for money, well, it's time to start throwing acid.

I really, really don't understand the venom people bring to knock something that doesn't affect them one whit. If you really don't care, you know, nobody's making you post in the thread. I never considered myself an A-lister (I was on the mailing list once ...), but I began reading Jason's site ... and blogging myself ... before there was a MetaFilter. Which I bring up simply to say that back in the day we all were experimenting with something and had no idea whether it would go anywhere.

The snark here all seems vuja-de to me, anyway -- his entry at Wikipedia just survived a vote for deletion. One of the points brought up there was that Jason gets something like 100,000 hits a day. That's incredible traffic for a personal site; it's probably surpassed only by a handful of blogs. He's very high in the blogging ecosystem, where he's ranked closely with Matt Drudge and Salam Pax. Even if you've never personally heard of him, or never visit his site, he's got huge inbound linkage (a function, no doubt, of longevity as much as any intrinsic interest). The point?

If anyone can make this work, it's probably Jason.

Jason's certainly not the first to try to make a go of blogging as a kind of career, but he's doing it without any kind of gimmick or schtick. I wish him well, despite my own doubts. I do this because I think highly of the weblog medium and the prospects for creativity and personality on the web.
posted by dhartung at 12:27 AM on February 23, 2005


Even though the "a-list weblogers" put down Metafilter as a haven for cranks and jackasses -- a place that they all left once it stopped being cool-- it's curious that it's still one of the places where they broadcast their plans to the world..

Of course, Jason has to be rubbing his hands in glee over all this attention (and money). It's an ad, plane and simple, and defending the post because of the number of comments is funny stuff.

And dhartung, where is the venom? 99 percent of the negative comments were of the "he's a nice guy, wouldn't pay". You might want to look at some of the supporters in the thread for venom.

Really, if we were only suppose to give positive comments, perhaps he could have taken out a textad.
posted by justgary at 1:04 AM on February 23, 2005


Really, if we were only suppose to give positive comments, perhaps he could have taken out a textad.

Some of us that are skeptical it is going to work but unhappy with the response recognize the difference between criticism and constructive-criticism. Saying "he had better put up more and better content, return to the way his blog was" is great because it provides some insight into ways this could be improved.

Keswick's, Omarosa-esque (I picture her voice as I read), "get bent because I have a dream I can't make money off of and so you shouldn't achieve yours" type of response are the ones that suck. They have nothing to do with the content and entirely to do with some misguided anger.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 3:44 AM on February 23, 2005


You know, really this is nothing new. I've been funded by micropatrons (the readers of the publications I write for) for five years, for my full-time writing (as a freelance journalist) about things I find interesting (stuff put in galleries by artists, etc.).

I would expect a MetaFilter post on my revenue stream innovations, but it's hard to link to paper.
posted by jack_mo at 5:29 AM on February 23, 2005


But, let's also look - he's not talking about running a blog. He's talking about a return to creating a personal site. Osil8 was mentioned, as well.
posted by sudama at 6:06 AM on February 23, 2005


what jack said, except that Kottke wants to be paid just to write whatever he wants on whatever he wants whenever he wants.

one good thing about this thread--i was reminded to give to Aravosis at Americablog.org
posted by amberglow at 6:06 AM on February 23, 2005


*points to dflemingdotorg*

Yeah, what he said.
posted by rich at 6:33 AM on February 23, 2005


I want to get paid to write computer software. Some people would argue that's asking too much. Some people want to be paid to sing songs or paint pictures. Some people would argue that's asking too much. Some people want to be paid to play sports. Some people would argue that's asking too much. There are plenty of jobs I think garner more money than they should, or less money than they should.

We live in a world where crappy movies and crappy music can still sell. Anyone here can try and peddle their wares on the street. If there is a market for your product you will succeed. Kottke seems to be hoping there is a market for his product -- though what he is selling is perhaps not that clear.

If Kottke wants to try his hand at blogging for bucks, who really gives a fuck? Yesterday I would have thought nobody, but apparently I was wrong.
posted by chunking express at 6:34 AM on February 23, 2005


I sent him five bucks. . . .now I hope that he doesn't croak any time soon. . .
posted by Danf at 6:45 AM on February 23, 2005


Some of us that are skeptical it is going to work but unhappy with the response recognize the difference between criticism and constructive-criticism. Saying "he had better put up more and better content, return to the way his blog was" is great because it provides some insight into ways this could be improved.

This would be a reasonable request if Kottke himself had posted an AskMe thread asking "how can I improve my website to make it more worthwhile for others to pony up cash for my content?", or even if he had posted using the upcoming MeFi Projects (i.e. "TellMe") pony. However, those who expect others to bite their tongue and spare any derisive, non-constructive criticism they may have here in the blue are being unreasonable -- since when has commenting in the blue been an "if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all" enterprise? If it's posted to the blue, it's a fair target for any hecklers who wants to lob a cream pie at it. That the person in question happens to be a personal friend of a few here is irrelevant: what's fair game for Bush, Save Karyn, and the Star Wars kid is fair game for Kottke.

Unless you happen to feel that Kottke is a special exception, of course, in which case all bets are off.

And on the topic of appropriate criticism, I second what Mid, justgary, and others have pointed out regarding the overardent responses of Kottke's supporters. If Den Beste had suddenly came back in the middle of a Bush thread to defend Bush by labeling Metafilter users a bunch of reactionary illiterates, we'd all collectively tell him to go to hell. Evidently, we're establishing the precedent that defending Kottke with similar tactics is merely par for the course in this community.

"Time was that you could get the crap kicked out of you for posting kottke.org to MeFi." Nowadays, it's for speaking ill of it here.
posted by DaShiv at 7:40 AM on February 23, 2005


If everyone currently on the public list of contributers on kottke.org has slid the recommended $30 his way, Jason is now $9,600 richer....
posted by tomcosgrave at 7:47 AM on February 23, 2005


Kottke.org!

Who?
posted by The Card Cheat at 8:49 AM on February 23, 2005


If everyone currently on the public list of contributers on kottke.org has slid the recommended $30 his way, Jason is now $9,600 richer....

And those with sites may also be getting a slightly higher page rank for being included in public list. A cheap way to increase your Google results.
posted by Timeless at 9:23 AM on February 23, 2005


And I even understand he uses rel="nofollow" unless you pay him at least $30.
posted by ericost at 9:33 AM on February 23, 2005



Besides, reading blogs is more environmentally conscious. I mean, no trees are dying because Jason Kottke is blogging, whereas I have several of your beloved non-fiction tomes that were probably a significant portion of the Amazonian rainforest.


Computers are electric, they require energy to operate. This energy must be generated. There are a few specific mechanisms by which this may easily harm the environment: trees included. Also, you must be talking about Japanese non-fiction, as Japan is the only country, to the best of my knowledge, to make paper from hard wood. Books do not harm the Amazon.
posted by nthdegx at 9:39 AM on February 23, 2005


$9,600 is a pretty good start, but I'm not sure that it augurs well for a sustainable income stream. Some of the people may have given more, too, though. I would guess that the people who are most likely to donate are the people who read his blog on a daily or near-daily basis, so that whatever he gets within the first three days or so is probably 80% of what he can expect for the year. I'm pulling those numbers out of thin air, of course, but I think it highlights how the model may not equate to income that you can rely on on an ongoing basis.

Still, if he can get $15-20K, and he's cut his expenses enough, he can probably get by on contract work. I don't see the blogging-for-a-living thing as an all-or-nothing proposition.
posted by anapestic at 9:46 AM on February 23, 2005


If everyone currently on the public list of contributers on kottke.org has slid the recommended $30 his way, Jason is now $9,600 richer....

And those with sites may also be getting a slightly higher page rank for being included in public list. A cheap way to increase your Google results.


Once you donate, you have to send an extra opt-in email to get your name on his page. So, that isnt the full list.
posted by vacapinta at 10:37 AM on February 23, 2005


He's really not an org any more. (I know it's not forbidden, but still it is intended to serve the noncommercial community...)
posted by Pigpen at 11:31 AM on February 23, 2005


Are you saying they're lying, Steve?

No, read what I wrote. I'm saying you are a bit full of yourself.


posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:13 PM on February 23, 2005


That's really fricking funny. I give Jason a lot of credit for (1) admitting that he's reading all of this crap (who wouldn't?) and (2) having a sense of humor after so many people said so many nasty things.

Good luck.
posted by Mid at 2:40 PM on February 23, 2005


Heh. Touché.
posted by Stynxno at 2:48 PM on February 23, 2005


"I just read about Kottke in us weekly. Those guys at the football game were total jerks." -- mandyc19
posted by jca at 2:55 PM on February 23, 2005


I was just thinking to myself "probably the only person I'd be willing to donate $30 to for writing a weblog is stavrosthewonderchicken". If stavros came knocking, how could I refuse? So get writing, hear?

Why thank you, sir. You are very kind indeed.

*gets to writin'*
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:27 PM on February 23, 2005


"That's really fricking funny. I give Jason a lot of credit for (1) admitting that he's reading all of this crap (who wouldn't?) and (2) having a sense of humor after so many people said so many nasty things."

Mid, what are you referring to?
posted by onekat at 4:09 PM on February 23, 2005


Jason's cam picture refers to these (juvenile) comments.
posted by Mid at 4:22 PM on February 23, 2005


Those comments are only "juvenile" to rubes who are too uncouth to appreciate fine Mexican music -- with atmospherically subway-enhanced accoustics -- as well as the stalwart dedication and thankless sacrifice required to master the craft.

:)

Actually, I pause for panhandling musicians more often than not. Sure beats yet another "honest" change-for-booze gimmick.
posted by DaShiv at 4:37 PM on February 23, 2005


begging for money (or getting your friends to), and then making fun of potential micropatrons is not that smart a move, i don't think.
posted by amberglow at 4:44 PM on February 23, 2005


Right, 'cause now they'll never give him any money. But cut him some slack; he's new to begging.
posted by ericost at 5:27 PM on February 23, 2005


I think that the mere fact, in a Wildian sense, that his decision to try to make a living out of this has generated 350 or so MeFi comments bodes well for his endeavor. You go Jason!
posted by caddis at 5:57 PM on February 23, 2005


...and his content isn't jizz worthy.

Okay, I'm sure we can all agree on that point, at least?
posted by nthdegx at 7:11 PM on February 23, 2005


Personally I've learned a lot from Kottke's site over the years. Yes I would be interested in makin bank and doing my sites full time. (I'm a tad jealous at his opportunity but will not take such a tack until I am ready to retire from the dayjob - walk away with my dotcom cash etc etc - wow that Yahoo missin guy sounds bitter!) At the most though I've never been able to garner more than about 20k a year from the sites and I need far more than that to support my family. I'll be keeping a watch and may patronize Mr. Kottke's efforts at some point if I can afford it.

Meg's comment was &^%$*& brilliant and my but this herd of comments has been most entertaining. Keep up the good work kids, err, fellow MeFi'ers!
posted by filchyboy at 8:19 PM on February 23, 2005


This thread has been super entertaining. Anyway, my take on it is:

- $30 is really too much--I subscribe to the New Yorker for $29.95 a year, and probably even in terms of word count alone that trumps everything Kottke posts in a month.

- This a-list-bloggers-freaking-out-at-MetaFilter thing is lame. MetaFilter is great. It is a lot more interesting than any one individual a-list blog, believe me. The value of the MeFi community far exceeds the value of any one individual blogger or any one network of bloggers who are friends.

- I would pay $30 a year for MetaFilter no problem.

People, IMO, are being snarky because, after all the endless talk in the 'blogosphere' about how organic blogs are, how they are many-to-many, how they're all about personal expression, how bloggers simultaneously are and are not the same as mainstream journalists, etc., etc., it's humorous when a blogger decides that he wants to become a Paid Author Writing to a Paying Audience Full-Time. Especially when all of us on MetaFilter enjoy for free, and "contribute" to, a site that, as Kottke himself has calculated, produces one-and-a-half 150-page books every day. What's weird is the combination of nostalgia for the good old days ("I'm interested in editing kottke.org as my primary interest; blogging for blogging's sake, I guess"), when blogging was something you did because you loved it, with the idea that it should be a full-time paying job.

I've never had a blog, though I've wanted to start one for years, but my notion of blogging was always that the blogosphere was like MetaFilter writ large: i.e., our contributions come from our writing and our posting, which forms a community, not from paying each other to write. If Kottke.org is going to become a one-man magazine, I'll pay for it, but if it's going to continue to be a compendium of links interspersed with 300-word posts, then I don't see how in the world that's worth paying for, although it is worth reading and responding to.

At a more basic level, it seems to me that value on the web in 2005 comes from communities. This is also what happens when we subscribe to a magazine--we are gaining access to a community of writers, not unlike the community of posters on MetaFilter. If you hope to become a sole proprieter of a cultural outpost, and to eschew community (Kottke doesn't have comments on most of his posts), then you need to be doing more than linking to other people's posts or to news stories. And, finally, for Kottke to make this announcement following a relative dry spell of one-line "remaindered" links with no comments is particularly unappealing. In the last few weeks Kottke has posted hundreds of one-line remaindered links and a handful of very short posts about boring stuff like his recent discovery of Joy Division (complete with old-fogey observations like "how fresh their music sounds ... I imagine some of it is the lack of genuinely new sounds in rock these days"--?!), and his t-shirt from Threadless. It shouldn't come as a surprise to all the a-listers that some people are unpsyched about the whole adventure--though it says something that so many of them have lined up here to defend this as content worthy of support.
posted by josh at 6:58 AM on February 24, 2005


Very well put josh.
posted by Dreamghost at 7:35 AM on February 24, 2005


I realized around 2002 that Metafilter, despite its roots, hates blogs.

There is that, yes. (Btw, it's good to see you writing again in your own space, dhartung. I must try that some time.) I'd also say that MetaFilter 2k5 isn't all so keen on the web at least as it exists beyond the borders of MetaFilter. All a bit MST2K, really. (Or, sometimes, The Life of MathowieBrian.) But I'm a crabby old-timer, so I would say that.

Patronage is a weird thing. Samuel Johnson got it right, I think, when he defined "PATRON" as 'a wretch who supports with indolence, and is paid with flattery.' In that spirit, I'm finally off to pony up, just because it gives the fucker no excuse not to resurrect 0sil8.

To me, it's more like the 'subscription' model that many eighteenth-century authors offered; not so much patronage, as a springboard to self-sufficiency. And at the current exchange rate? Bargain.
posted by holgate at 10:29 AM on February 24, 2005


Welcome back holgate! We missed you a lot.
posted by riffola at 11:05 AM on February 24, 2005


I just think it's funny that a lot of people who would pay for access to a community probably don't like fraternities.
posted by keswick at 12:11 PM on February 24, 2005


Well, love him or hate him, what he does is still worth 366 comments on mefi. Were most anyone else here to announce the same thing, not even half the waves would be made, and that says something. Can you hear the envy dripping off the comments? :)
posted by walljm at 12:59 PM on February 24, 2005


MetaFilter really envies George W. Bush.
posted by DaShiv at 2:44 PM on February 24, 2005


You know, it may be because I'm nearing 40 that I think like this but when presented with the idea of "quit your job and live off blogging" I think about things like - is the concept going to be able to pay consistently for 6 mos. or actually go on for years? I've temped many times in my life and hated living paycheck to paycheck, which freelancers do all the time. And then there's the thought of "if it doesn't work am I going to have something to put on my resume that doesn't sound goofy to a majority of employers?" And then I have really boring questions like how would you pay for your health care? Car insurance? What if a family member/significant other becomes ill - would there be enough money to set aside? Or would everything require a fund drive? If you think fund raising is easy go chat with some of the people who work for your local NPR. They don't get paid much at all and have multiple fund drives yearly where they basically get on air and beg - and believe me, it does not thrill them, it's just what they have to do. If there was an easier way then setting aside airtime to do this they would rather do it, but it works. None of that seems like anything I'd want to deal with. But that's probably just me, fixated on the annoying practical angle.

I'm interested to see if the experiment works. Not going to give, not snarking, just mildly curious. I would pay for MetaFilter (and my signif other does, so I consider myself in on that) because it's a variety of voices and a variety of content. Only other online content I'd actually pay for would be news, if it wasn't already free in some many various site. I'm all about variety. When I want one voice I'll read my friend's blogs.
posted by batgrlHG at 5:52 PM on February 24, 2005


I haven't checked Kottke.org in quite some time, but I still micro-donated. Back when I was still in the corporate 8:30-whenever you finished world, Kottke was a pleasant escape during the work day (as was MeFi, Fark, and Obscure Store). I was lucky enough to find a steady gig as a writer, doing what I love most, writing about trivial little facts, so that I could leave that job I detested so much and work from home on my own schedule. (Of course, I learned pretty quickly that equating "working from home" with "spending much of the day watching TV" means that you end up spending 48 or more consecutive sleepless hours cranking out material to meet deadline.)

Anyway, having found my niche, I wish Jason all the best on his quest.
posted by Oriole Adams at 8:03 PM on February 24, 2005


I may be a little confused ... it's late, and I'm up way past my bedtime, but I'm pretty sure Kottke has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by crunchland at 12:25 AM on February 25, 2005



posted by quonsar at 9:09 PM on February 27, 2005


It's on now, apparently; dude just got a full front page of Penny Arcade. So much for the mighty linking media power of Metafilter, huh? Must be a slow day in gaming.
posted by furiousthought at 10:18 AM on February 28, 2005


I am embarrassed for the "web celebrities" and their behavior in this thread. Including the operator of this site. And I have to agree with posters above that shitting, spewing, and vitriol all arrived after the over-zealous supporters did, not before.

"Returning" to MeFi only to tell everyone how stupid, illiterate, and pedestrian they are and oh-by-the-way-give-your-money-to-celebrity-blogger-A is very, very poor form.

It should also be a bannable offense.

megnut: "Ex-girlfriend". That's a shocker. You seem like such a likable person. You seem to be coping well for someone who was replaced by a monkey.
posted by Ynoxas at 1:51 PM on February 28, 2005


The Blogosphere's Matt Lauer [Newsweek | March 04, 2005]
posted by ericb at 4:53 PM on March 4, 2005 [1 favorite]


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