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Original Content! (Taken From Others)

There's a great thread up at HFBoards today about the Oilogosphere. Lowetide already has his take on it up, which is largely a defense of something that never needed defending in the first place. We all appreciate that Lowetide's site is a treasure, a unique and consistent take on everything connected to the Oilers, and if there are followers of the Oilers out there who don't like it for whatever reason I think that they're such a minority as not to be worth the effort of rebutting.

There are some valid points in this thread. Here's a quick review of some comments I found particularly interesting (note that when points were repeated, I tried to go back to the first point, and I also omitted stuff that defends the blogosphere because I'm more interested in a critical look at the medium at this juncture):

Giant Moo: "[T]hat doesn't change my general distaste for narcissism so prevalent in the "blogosphere".

An interesting point. I've always viewed the Oilogosphere as more collegial than narcissistic, but I can see where this comment has merit. I tend to think that it's basically a small-town phenomena: everyone knows everyone else, and thus we tend to gossip.

"Agreed, and number one issue is anonymity. How many times have Oiler blogs posted arguments which were not only wrong, but potentially libelous? Things that would get a regular newspaper sued?"

"I've read (in regular newspapers) about bloggers being taken to court over what they write (this is when their real names can be tracked down), and then claiming their sources are protected because they are journalists.

Then they turn around and say they are not bound by the normal ethics of journalism because they're not part of the big bad Mainstream Media."

I'm not anonymous, although I can't speak for others. Frankly, I think any writer holds himself to his own standards, including those commenters at HFBoards, and if a writer's standards aren't to the audience's liking, the audience doesn't have to read. As for libel, I have yet to see a libelous comment on any of the Oiler blogs out there.

"That's the other thing. So many "news blogs" are just repeating and linking to big bad Mainstream Media outlines when they "write" their "stories". Or blogs that just link to other blogs. That's not journalism. It's manual aggregation pretending to be more than it is.

The only blogs I've read who have actual news stories posted, where the author actually did the independent research to uncover facts, are run by people in the "MSM". I don't think that's a coincidence, either."

Often, the news may be the same, but the perspective on it is radically different from that of the MSM. I really don't see a big difference between blogs and HFBoards on this matter - HFBoard commenters immediately post links to any MSM-announced news, and share their viewpoints on it.

Dashing Silver Fox: "There is indeed a self congratulatory network of folks who have anointed themselves the all knowing priests of hockey based on stats that would make the Jesuit pursuit of "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" look like an empty search for the fountain of youth.

I don't want to start another **** storm here, but they have convinced themselves Horcoff is a top ten centre in the league despite an overwhelming amount of evidence to the contrary. But, like any piece of conventional wisdom, if it's repeated often enough, especially in a small circle of like minds, it becomes the gospel and can only be questioned under the threat of burning at the stake.

Having said that, there are some very acute minds, MC79 and Mirtle come to mind, who also have some perspective and a view of the big picture.

The blogosphere is an emerging source of valuable information, partially due to the lack of real journalism evident among MSM sports reporters, but there are also huge red flags that need to be raised because, other than folks like Mirtle, they have none of the constraints that MSM face daily."

As far as "conventional wisdom", I'll agree wtih PDO that the only "wisdom" with near-universal acceptance is the perception of Shawn Horcoff and Craig MacTavish. Aside from that there is all manner of debate, on things historical and current. Bruce has given me a lesson on more than one occasion (Curtis Joseph being the best example), and I've certainly disagreed with other bloggers.

As for Horcoff and MacTavish, it isn't the point of this thread, but suffice to say that my thoughts are my own, however erroneous they might be, not a result of being brainwashed by others.

"As a self professed HF Clown, I've occasionally found myself having to wade into the blogger morass to correct some of the obvious misinformation that gets passed around the "sphere" as fact.

There really is a sense of entitled conventional wisdom that becomes, over time, a religion."

Two things here: 1) Thank you so much for "wading into the morass" and correcting us. The exchange of ideas is one of the best aspects of blogging, and because the posts are generally more lengthy, I think the discussion is generally more in-depth than that available at HFBoards. 2) I don't think it's a religion, but even if it is, that's hardly an argument. It may be trendy to bash religion, but the vast majority of people on the Earth still have some kind of religious belief, so that's a poor argument.

Theoil: "The alternative (blogging) ends up one of two ways as near as I can see. You either end up with only those who accept the central thesis of the blogger commenting -which means that you end up with a form of religious homogeny and little in the way of response.

Or you end up with a popular blog like yours which will (over time) attract pretty much the same group that comes to this site. I see the latter happening on your blog already as your fame spreads. Bruce, one of your regular visitors, is excellent as I am sure you know."

Lowetide has not attracted the same group at HFBoards- please read the comments on his site if you disagree with me (especially the one by the aforementioned Bruce on Lt's take on this thread). Some of the names are the same, but the majority of the ideas are different.

As for homogeny, no. There is a general willingness to use statistics that is sadly lacking at HFBoards (they aren't perfect tools, but they are still useful ones).

"Actually it is the lack of respect for posters at HF that is probably the main impetus behind this thread. You are right that the blogs don't get the kids so much. But if you want downright nasty character assasination those who respond on the blogs win hands down. No moderator often results in no class."

Personally, I've been bothered by the occasional high-handed arrogance on display as one blogger (or commenter) slaps down other ideas presented. Even some highly intelligent people in these circles have indulged in this. That said, HFBoards is hardly a shining beacon of peace and camaraderie, so I fail to see the distinction. As for myself, I try and treat commenters with the same level of respect that they treat me.

David Staples: "The MSM, the blogs and the boards all have their uses, and all have their problems with jealousy, nonsense and out-of-control conceit."

On the money. There is no perfect medium.

Bryanbryoil: "Quite frankly I could care less what people think of me, I don't portray myself as being any better than anyone else around here, and as I've said in the past, arrogance and a superiority complex really ruins some great work by some. I would rather not even bother reading something from people that think so highly of themselves.

There have been some in the past that feel that their way of analyzing the game is the "correct" way. I'm sorry, but I guess that I'm just old fashioned in terms of letting my own eyes tell me the story."

Each of us has our own way of analyzing the game. I think statistics have their place (both as a common language and a complement to actual watching of the games) although they're limited, and I also think there is a large number of people out there who watch the game and miss very important things (I for example, like to watch the game with some close friends specifically because they have a knack for picking up things I miss). I really believe statistics should agree with what my eyes tell me.

As for arrogance, it simply doesn't enhance, and it's something that should be avoided if at all possible. Sadly, not one of us is perfect.

okgooil: "I think there is the idea a bit, that bloggers are a bit like that kid that, when he gets pushed around while playing a game, takes his ball home and tells every one if you can't be nice to me, then you can't play.

There is nothing wrong with Blogs and many poeple do a great job of it. I do think there are some that come here, don't get a lot of respect, so they are sort of like screw you, I will create my own blog world. This place is a circus and if you post here you open your self up to a huge amount of critisism, I think some of the bloggers, blog to hide from that. I mean at the end of the day, what is the differnce bettween writing a blog and posting a new thread here? basically nothing. Exept here you will get a lot more critism."

Well, I can only speak for myself, but I've never had any desire to comment on HFBoards. HFBoards, to my mind, is the mob, a place with tons of discussion but very little discrimination between the best commenters and the worst, and I prefer a venue with more controls. I've taken part in other message boards, and I while I enjoy browsing, I don't want to be a part of them, just because of the drive-by nature of the place.

As for the difference between starting a thread and writing a blog entry, how many threads start with just a poll? Or just one or two sentences? A lot more work goes into writing a blog post than making a comment or even starting a thread on a message board. As for criticism, believe me, bloggers get plenty.