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When blogs attack!
October 27, 2005 6:56 PM   Subscribe

"Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo."

A frothing rant on bloggers and blogging by Forbes [bugmenot]. Don't miss their advice on how businesses can fight back!
posted by nyterrant (61 comments total)

 
Blogs will overthrow capitalism! Hooray!
posted by davy at 7:01 PM on October 27, 2005


ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway

Yeah that's a fucking great idea.

Sidebar
Who is Pamela Jones?


A complete douchebag
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 7:02 PM on October 27, 2005


Iceman: I don't like you because you're dangerous.
Maverick: That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous.
posted by TBoneMcCool at 7:09 PM on October 27, 2005


A complete douchebag

Why do you say that? Lose a lot of money in SCO stock?
posted by mr_roboto at 7:10 PM on October 27, 2005


Well that's one way to get on Technorati's most popular links list.
posted by revgeorge at 7:14 PM on October 27, 2005


"[Halpern] posts photos of himself online with the famous (including Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of this magazine)." (Emphasis mine)

So, buddy of the editor-in-chief gets dissed on blog, then magazine disses blogs?

Yawn.
posted by spazzm at 7:14 PM on October 27, 2005


This must be some kind of record. Anti-capitalist remarks in the first comment!
posted by nightchrome at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2005


It's an interesting read, with a lot of facts, opinions, and angry invective. Oddly enough, it reminds me of a blog post.
posted by onalark at 7:20 PM on October 27, 2005


Anti-capitalist remarks! Call the Blog Police!
posted by cleardawn at 7:22 PM on October 27, 2005


nightchrome writes "Anti-capitalist remarks in the first comment!"

Psssst, nightchrome: I think it's a joke. You might want to turn down the sensitivity on your red-detector
posted by mr_roboto at 7:25 PM on October 27, 2005


Oh, it probably was a joke. I just have nothing else to do right now, so I had to say *something*. It's not like I really care what crap Forbes is saying about blogs, I don't really like either side of the issue. Bloggers tend to be egocentric nutjobs, Forbes tends to be tedious crap.
But god forbid I go ten minutes without saying something on mefi...
posted by nightchrome at 7:27 PM on October 27, 2005


One blog, Groklaw, exists primarily to bash software maker SCOGroup in its Linux patent lawsuit against IBM, producing laughably biased, pro-IBMcoverage.
Okay, so SCO launches utterly frivolous and absurd lawsuits against other companies in order to drive up its own stock and extort huge licensing fees from frightened companies. Someone starts poking holes in their absurd and increasingly deranged claims, and the BLOG in question is the problem?

Sheesh.

Also, they seem to be confusing 'low-entry-cost media' with 'blog.' These problems existed long before blogging. Hell, they existed before the Internet. Strange that they didn't profile the JunkScience.com guy.
That led to organized outrage from bloggers who, it turns out, are consultants who make money installing Notes.
Wow. I had no idea I was a consultant making money from installing Lotus Notes.

This is easily one of the worst articles I've read in Forbes. They'll probably get hate mail about it, and bloggers will probably write scathing analysis of it. And the editors/writer will claim that the reaction is proof.
posted by verb at 7:35 PM on October 27, 2005


In reference to the fat-substitute guy -

Let me get this straight. His company's stock fell precipitously.... because of bloggers?

What the hell kind of investors get their stratgies from angry bloggers?

It seems like this kind of thing would "thin the herd" a bit.
posted by afroblanca at 7:42 PM on October 27, 2005


Bloggers tend to be egocentric nutjobs

PJ is undoubtedly an egocentric nutjob.

But she's far from being a complete douchebag. For an egocentric nutjob, she actually does a phenomenal job of work.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:48 PM on October 27, 2005


Wow, the quality of Forbes articles are slipping.
posted by camworld at 7:48 PM on October 27, 2005


Metafilter: I just have nothing else to do right now, so I had to say *something*.
posted by bitmage at 7:51 PM on October 27, 2005


bitmage, thank you! My life is complete now.
posted by nightchrome at 7:52 PM on October 27, 2005


This is easily one of the worst articles I've read in Forbes.

Ah. You aren't familiar with the work of Dan Lyons then?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:53 PM on October 27, 2005


Wow. So it's official - blogs are no-longer something to be laughed at, but something to be feared.

Damnit, this is going to make those guys even more annoying.
posted by -harlequin- at 8:00 PM on October 27, 2005


Forbes dubs itself the "capitalist tool".

Well at least Forbes is half right.
posted by clevershark at 8:05 PM on October 27, 2005


So, is 'forbessucks.com" registered already?
posted by clevershark at 8:11 PM on October 27, 2005


Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site...

You mean like that?

See--that's satire. And satire is fair use.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:12 PM on October 27, 2005


MiltonRandKalman retards A complete douchebag
mr_roboto responds Why do you say that? Lose a lot of money in SCO stock?

No, because I'm a numbnut and I thought that was a link to the author's bio.

Dan Lyons is a douchebag and a complete kneebiter.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 8:13 PM on October 27, 2005


kneebiter? I thought the expression was "ankle-grabber"!
posted by clevershark at 8:14 PM on October 27, 2005


A complete douchebag

No, because I'm a numbnut and I thought that was a link to the author's bio.

Dan Lyons is a douchebag and a complete kneebiter.


Its ok. I feel like a total asswipe for having done the same thing.
posted by gsteff at 8:16 PM on October 27, 2005


Fuck-apples.
posted by sklero at 8:30 PM on October 27, 2005


PJ is undoubtedly an egocentric nutjob.

Evidence?
posted by odinsdream at 8:32 PM on October 27, 2005


Oh, that communist internet!
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:33 PM on October 27, 2005


Heh, I wonder if this guy ever heard of Kyle Bennett of HardOCP and his fight with Infinium Labs.
posted by SirOmega at 8:43 PM on October 27, 2005


Forbes...Forbes... Yeah I remember them, didn't they pioneer the steam powered locomotive?
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:44 PM on October 27, 2005


What a bunch of jizz-igloos.
posted by jefbla at 8:52 PM on October 27, 2005


Iceman: I don't like you because you're dangerous.
Maverick: That's right! Ice... man. I am dangerous.


Totally off topic, but a bunch of friends and I are being Top Gun pilots for Halloween, and seeing that brought a smile to my face.

*Punches the air.*
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:12 PM on October 27, 2005


I've never gotten that about Halloween in North America, how you can just basically dress up as whatever you want.

In the UK you are firmly (but fairly) restricted to ghosts, werewolves, vampires, zombies, skellingtons, that sort of thing.

I agree Tom Cruise has become somewhat scary of late, however, so I'll grant you Top Gun pilot.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:47 PM on October 27, 2005


TheOnlyCoolTim, do you watch the new tv show "How I Met Your Mother"? Doogie Howser is on it, and he dressed as a Top Gun pilot for Halloween, and was an absolute riot. The show is hilarious, and he is by far the funniest part of it.
posted by nightchrome at 9:52 PM on October 27, 2005


Pirates are pretty big here too. And isn't it funny how it usually cools down a bit around Halloween?

Coincidence?

/I think not.
posted by wah at 9:53 PM on October 27, 2005


Sorry, but for a back on topic moment I wonder if they gave any thought to the fact that there might be people on the other end of the line who are motivated to post their opinions on things out of a good reason? Or to make any such differentiation.

Sure we can sit around and shoot the bull about how terrible Starbucks coffee is, or how Scotch 3M pads don't scour worth a damn, and they can hire watch dogs to harass us about it, (or whatever other dirt the watchdogs come up with, or whatever)

But I don't think that's really a lot of content is griping about product issues, and most companies would take that to be useful feedback for improving product.

Industrial Military Prison complex. Cymfony, Intelliseek or Biz360.
posted by nervousfritz at 9:55 PM on October 27, 2005


wah, same show made fun of the "johnny depp style gay pirate" costume craze as well.
I watch too much tv.
posted by nightchrome at 9:57 PM on October 27, 2005


Anyways instead of just escalating or choosing escalating strategies they could always find some mitigation, unless it really is a foundation-empire issue at stake, and the debate is fundamental. And if that was the case they could do a better job trying to convince, rather than just labeling the other side of the debate as a terrorist or Lynch Mob, (true lies), and say let's take part in a rational debate. (Not you are a bad person, but rather, this philosophy will hurt America, because ___)

On seeing this I was immediately reminded of Dow selling gunpowder to both sides of a war. They (capital T) can certainly make more money by preserving the scary notions of Barbarians at the gate, and pushing this Big 3 of corporate security.

I tell you what, I'll smear their product: I think it's probably not needed as much as they're charging for it.
posted by nervousfritz at 10:00 PM on October 27, 2005


nightchrome do you watch the new tv show "How I Met Your Mother"? Doogie Howser is on it, and he dressed as a Top Gun pilot for Halloween, and was an absolute riot. The show is hilarious, and he is by far the funniest part of it.

It's going to be legendary!

I second that, great show!
posted by lundman at 10:13 PM on October 27, 2005


I still think the fat-substitute guy has it all wrong. If your investors are pulling out as a result of libellous, (presumably) groundless accusations, isn't that a problem with the investors, and not the ones making the accusations?

You can't really stop people from making accusations, whether they be bloggers or otherwise. All you can do is have the facts on your side. If your investors pull out despite the evidence of your innocence, then they obviously just left a good thing and will eventually suffer for it. The market weeds out the gullible and naive.
posted by afroblanca at 10:14 PM on October 27, 2005


In spite of this looney editorialist, Forbes was dead on when they got Penny Arcade to talk about blogging.
posted by tweak at 10:53 PM on October 27, 2005


Anyone here read foucault? No? Good, then i can pretend to be an expert on something i barely understand.

Foucault describes a scenario that, simplistically, presents the case that the oppressed in a society are actually the holders of the largest power base in that society. Specifically, oppressors are a select group of individuals whose power is greatly dwarfed by the power of those they oppress, but that they maintain their control because the oppressed don't recognize their own power or don't know what else to do. (note: I haven't used even one word ending in -ism or -itial, yet, so this doesn't really do justice to foucault's point.) It's a lot more complicated than that, but that'll do for my point.

what is whats-his-name saying here? that industrious individuals with the ability to publish on the internet can single handedly take down any innocent corporation they want, and using a complete lack of evidence and schoolyard bully name-calling, no less?

ridiculous. the man is willfully ignoring the real enemy here: PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY. blogs represent almost no power in today's world: except as the voice of joe average and his viewpoint. true, that joe average is maybe joe average+ (the + meaning "+ internet savvy.") but it's still essentially joe average where most things are concerned. No blogger wakes up one day and decides to go after some dude's trim-spa clone for no reason and hound his company into rubble. chances are he had a gripe or some feeling of being wronged and pursued it. But that's not what killed this guy's stock price. what killed it is that when confronted by his stockholders and nestle itself, this guy had NO SUITABLE ANSWER. do you think nestle gives two shits what a blogger thinks? no. do you think they'd have abandoned a great money making idea over manufactured scandal? no. the problem is that this guy's market value was based on precisely what the author said it was based on: hype, and no more. and when the public held him accountable, he had nothing substantive and suffered for it.

so this author is pretending that bloggers have this crazy power over people's minds, when the real problem is the financial elite are holding on to their position with nothing more than the prayer that people don't look too closely at how they run their businesses. THAT'S what this dude objects to. He doesn't want his bosses buddies held accountable for their actions, and he resents that blogs have engaged, at times, that solitary important function of the media.
posted by shmegegge at 11:03 PM on October 27, 2005


what shmegegge said
posted by afroblanca at 11:06 PM on October 27, 2005


odinsdream: Evidence?

You just have to read what she wites. She firmly believes that she speaks for everyone who uses Linux. I applaud her tenacity and the work she has put in to shed light on SCO's tactics but if she really wants to be taken seriously, she needs to cut out the editorialising. The facts alone are damaging enough to SCO.
posted by bouncebounce at 11:10 PM on October 27, 2005


Dan Lyons is Forbes's personal attack troll, with a personal vendetta against (and complete ignorance of) all open source. Ignore him.
posted by PenDevil at 11:45 PM on October 27, 2005


Dan Lyons is Forbes's personal attack troll, with a personal vendetta against (and complete ignorance of) all open source. Ignore him.

That's the GOP spirit PenDevil: attack the messager!

Doesn't it strike you as odd that Groklaw may very well be an IBM front? It stikes me as a little too smooth, a little too comprehensive, a little too well informed to be the product of your average blogger. PJ must spend hours at the courthouse everyday obtaining documents.

What "journalist" or paralegal for that matter would put so much effort into a website like this and remain anonymous? How does she earn a living?

Now there is nothing wrong with IBM defending themselves and defending Linux, but why hide behind a proxy?

For being a supporter of Open Source, there is nothing Open Source about Groklaw. It is as closed and proprietary as Windows and that should make some Linux supporters more than a little bit uncomfortable. You can be damned sure that IBM cares not a bit for Open Source, they care only about IBM.
posted by three blind mice at 1:18 AM on October 28, 2005


You can be damned sure that IBM cares not a bit for Open Source, they care only about IBM.

Well, that attitude ignores the fact that the world is not zero sum, and that their open-source efforts can benefit both shareholders and society. It also ignores the practical reality that businessmen are not infallible, and that some of IBM's open source support efforts will be gambles that ultimately don't benefit the company, and end up having negative opportunity cost (i.e., they end up having been actual but unintentional charity).

That said, I think that Groklaw is IBM sponsored too.
posted by gsteff at 1:54 AM on October 28, 2005


that said, groklaw existed well before this debacle. that's an awful lot of forethought.
posted by shmegegge at 2:12 AM on October 28, 2005


"PJ must spend hours at the courthouse everyday obtaining documents."

Dude do you even read Groklaw? She gets most of them from publicly available online filings. She has links to all the court filings sites where the various SCO cases are taking place.

Those that aren't available there she has volunteers who live close to the courthouse who have to physically fetch them for her (and also report back from hearings).
posted by PenDevil at 3:00 AM on October 28, 2005


First they ignore you
Then they laugh at you
Then they fight you
Then you win.

I'm also reminded, in the follow-up, or the flamers bible
posted by BigCalm at 5:45 AM on October 28, 2005


Doesn't it strike you as odd that Groklaw may very well be an IBM front?

Perhaps Forbes is an SCO front company! Did you think of that? Hmmm? Hmmmmmmmm?
posted by verb at 5:59 AM on October 28, 2005


three blind mice writes "That's the GOP spirit PenDevil: attack the messager! "

...and then TBM proceeds to attack the messenger (Groklaw). Hmm.
posted by clevershark at 6:02 AM on October 28, 2005


Forbes sucks.
Blogs rock.
MeFi rules.
What BigCalm said, or was that Gandhi?
posted by nofundy at 6:51 AM on October 28, 2005


Sounds about right to me, the only caveat being that lots of businesses also like to spew lies, libel and invectives. They call these "press releases" and there's less swearing, but it adds up to the same thing. Deal with it.
posted by axon at 6:53 AM on October 28, 2005


Sorry, I'm not registering w/ your site to read your rant....I'm sure it was REAL relevent 'though.
posted by wavespy at 8:54 AM on October 28, 2005


If shareholders are foolish enough to believe a handful of anononymous weblogs - that is, if they prefer invective and rhetoric over facts - then they should stop investing in companies and take up something else. Like blogging.

This article reminds me of Christian fundamentalists fired up with the delusion that the world is controlled by a few gay people and their army of sympathizers. Jones even invokes The Threat of Teh Gay in her zany summary of Microsoft's reversal on same-sex policies. It's not just the blogosphere, folks - it's Teh Gayosphere as well!
posted by palinode at 10:13 AM on October 28, 2005


Excellently said shmegegge.


I don’t know where anyone gets off calling blogs a lynch mob. I don’t know any bloggers obsessed with revenge.
....I say we go get the motherfuckers.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:28 PM on October 28, 2005


thank you. I am very intelligent and capable of expressing myself quite well.
posted by shmegegge at 11:16 PM on October 28, 2005


Doesn't it strike you as odd that Groklaw may very well be an IBM front?

The appropriate answer to your sentence, as written, is "yes, that is odd." But, you obviously don't understand that's what you wrote - what you intended to say was something like "Don't you think groklaw could be an IBM front?" To which the answer is "That's possible, but highly unlikely."

It stikes me as a little too smooth, a little too comprehensive, a little too well informed to be the product of your average blogger. PJ must spend hours at the courthouse everyday obtaining documents.

Hm, lack of intelligence hurts you. I don't know why you think the site is "polished," it runs off the same kind of code that other blogs use, so it's bound to look similar to them. I personally wouldn't use the word polished to describe it. It's hardly out of the ordinary. As for being "your average blogger," that isn't what Pamela is. She's a paralegal who decided to get involved in writing about a particular case that deals with issues she feels strongly about. She doesn't write about her crushes - her favorite recepies, politics, or any other "average blogger" things. In fact, her site is pretty hard to get in to (as you so aptly demonstrate) unless you've either been reading it for quite awhile, or have a special interest in the subject matter.

What "journalist" or paralegal for that matter would put so much effort into a website like this and remain anonymous? How does she earn a living?

Wow, again - that lack of intelligence thing comes back to bite you. You might be interested in the About page. As for her employment, she is employed - I think by OSDN, if I remember correctly. She hardly maintains the site on her own, though. She has at least one person doing webmaster stuff, and often enlists the help of readers.

Now there is nothing wrong with IBM defending themselves and defending Linux, but why hide behind a proxy?

For being a supporter of Open Source, there is nothing Open Source about Groklaw. It is as closed and proprietary as Windows and that should make some Linux supporters more than a little bit uncomfortable. You can be damned sure that IBM cares not a bit for Open Source, they care only about IBM.


Again, you need to work on that intelligence. Groklaw's blog itself runs on open source geeklog. It's served by open source apache, hosted by a group dedicated to the fundamental ideas that open source leverages. In fact, everything she writes on the site is available under the creative commons license, which is decidedly unique for a journalistic endeavour. You can also comment on any of the stories. Often, readers are relied on to help transcribe court documents and find typographic errors, not to mention the hard work coallated from hundreds of readers into the UNIX ownership timeline. Beyond that, PJ herself runs linux (suse, I think) and thus presumably prepares all her stories whilst using open-source software written by literally thousands of people from around the world.

Seriously - pay attention - you might learn something.
posted by odinsdream at 11:26 PM on October 29, 2005


* amendment to the above: PJ obviously doesn't walk down to the courtroom to get documents - they're often filed electronically, on a PACER system. You can get the same thing yourself. Try it. Depending on what document you want, you may need to pay a small fee.
posted by odinsdream at 11:28 PM on October 29, 2005


Make that OSRM, not OSDN. My mistake. Additionally, she has since resigned to head off any allegations that her employment with OSRM somehow indicates she believes there are IP risks in linux.

If that isn't a good example of ethics, I don't know what is.
posted by odinsdream at 11:58 PM on October 29, 2005


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