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November 30, 2003
500th Post: The Dark Side of Blogging

Last night, after we got home, I fired up the laptop and took a quick look around some of my favorite blogs before hitting the sack. I was hoping to come up with a blogosphere theme for my 500th post, and the Commissar at the Politburo Diktat did not disappoint -- although certainly other bloggers have been behaving in a most disappointing manner:

The Politburo authorizes me to extend its congratulations to the LOL on its highly successful advancement of Party members within the TTLB Ecosystem, maintained by the "Dumber Than the Average Bear" NZ Bear.

With your commendable and Revolutionary use of two tactics, you have propelled many LOL members to high ranking in the Ecosystem rankings, even while the Ecosystem is maintained by that reactionary wingnut, NZ Bear.

The Commissar discovered that some League of Liberals bloggers have been using two different methods of artificially inflating their stats in order to move up the TTLB Ecosystem: multilinking posts and multiple sitemeter accounts. The first isn't necessarily abusive, unless all you're doing is publishing posts with so many links that it's obvious that the whole purpose is to pump up your alliance's stats. (The Commissar includes an example in the comments over at NZ Bear's post on this subject.) The second, though, is plainly intended to deceive the Ecosystem programming in order to boost the standing of LoL bloggers. This has caused NZ Bear to suspend a number of LoL blogs and invalidate their links for the Ecosystem:

If you're wondering just how badly these blogs distorted the League's rankings, I'll draw your attention to the League's total inbound unique statistics from this morning, before I suspended these blogs: 8597 unique inbound links across all the League's blogs. With the removal of the duplicate blogs, the League now totals 5641 unique inbound links. That's right: 34% of the League's total unique links were due to these duplicate blogs. To League members, I ask you: is that really the way you want to advance?

I have trouble trying to decide what is most disturbing about this scandal. The LoL logs involved (a minority of them) purposely abused NZ Bear's hospitality by corrupting his Ecosystem. There's a masturbatory element in all of this, too; I mean, what's the point to all of this if all you wind up doing is running your stats up with a bunch of your own links? And what does that say about the credibility of LoL blogs, that they go out of their way to falsify their records? Would you trust anything written by a blogger that feels free to corrupt someone else's blog system?

That's not the worst of it, though. If you read through the comments for NZ Bear's initial post on the subject, you'll find some of the LoL trying to make the case that conservative blogs play games with their stats, too. I am sure that's true. However, before the LoL came along, there were two alliances, and neither of them were partisan; they were formed around tongue-in-cheek opposition to or support of Instapundit. While their blogs may or may not be politically oriented, their alliances were not. This political finger-pointing is ludicrous and embarrassing, especially since it's coming from the only politically-oriented alliance in the Ecosystem and the only alliance that's been caught with its hand in the cookie jar.

This is what happens when one loses sight of their reasons for blogging. If the only reason you blog is to become a Large Mammal in the TTLB Ecosystem, what do you think that gets you? Validation of your political beliefs, or some sort of affirmation as a human being? It's an odd way to think, and it results in twisted escapades like this. It's hardly a Watergate event, but it's still a good lesson in corruption.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 30, 2003 3:33 PM

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