Sunday, June 03, 2007

Four Things, Tagging and a blatant plug for Just Posts

(Note: Blogger is still having a problem with pictures using Opera. Have no idea when it will be fixed.)

Anyway, four things. I blatantly stole this from Lucia. If you are reading it and you want it, take it. Open source. I really don't like the whole "tagging" thing. More on that below.

Four Jobs I’ve Had

1) Unix System Administrator
2) Medical Claims Examiner
3) Medical Biller
4) Technical Support for an ISP

Four Movies I Can Watch Over & Over

1) The Color Purple
2) Resurrection (with Ellen Burstyn - not the Sigourney Weaver one)
3) The Recruit
4) Seven Years in Tibet

Four Places I’ve Lived

1) Sacramento, CA
2) Tucson, AZ
3) Baltimore, MD
4) Colorado Springs, CO

Four Places I’ve Vacationed

1) Thailand
2) Israel
3) Cross-country trip in the US, random ~ driving aimlessly
4) Can't recall anything else as an adult

Four of My Favorite Dishes

1) Satay chicken and rice
2) Chinese Dim Sum
3) Mountain Mike's Pizza
4) Old fashioned ham and cheese grill

Four Sites I Visit Daily

Each one on my sidebar

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now

1) Well, predictably of course... Thailand
2) Bali
3) Monterey, CA
4) In the cottage I rented a few years ago


Now... regarding tagging, etc.

I thought about this over the past few days because something occurred that offended me. I like to take some time to think about it, to find out why I find something irksome, rather than just saying "it's irksome" and walking away from it. Naturally, my own imperfection usually leads me to initially think "f*** this. I'm outta here", but part of the function of giving up childishness is to avoid that kind of impulsivity and think about things before reacting or acting in anger.

I've concluded it is my age. As hard as it is to imagine, I'm officially a senior citizen, eligible for AARP and all that stuff. And things do change as we get older, things far deeper than grey hair and creaking bones.

The things we find "cute" or "chummy" in the distant past now seem cloying and exclusive. In my own case, I didn't like it in high school and I especially don't like it at this stage of life. In a venue like this, I really am all for inclusiveness, a kind of grab-it-as-you-can, get-up-on-the-soap-box-if-you-wish free-for-all. I have a sidebar to recommend blogs I think others will enjoy as much as I do.

That probably comes from my own history on Usenet. I'm not accustomed to waiting for someone else's permission to speak ~ and I'm sure as hell not going to start now.

At any rate, I really don't think someone should have to be "chosen" to participate in any discussion on the wide open Internet. The private discussions I have with others I blog with are done backchannel.

Naturally, linking for attribution is only ethical and to direct someone to something I find particularly moving or rousing falls under the umbrella of "sharing". I like acknowledging something I find particularly beautifully written or about an issue that is particularly compelling.
An example of this would be the "Just Posts" roundtable, wherein everyone who chooses to participate is invited and included in a discussion of social justice issues. Content is the only limitation. Forwarding blog posts from others is acceptable. Sending in your own is acceptable.

In short, I think it is one of the best executed roundtables on the Internet at this point. I am honored and happy to participate each month because I consider it to be a high road effort. It is absolutely flawless in the way it is designed.

But truthfully, the cutesy, cliquish "oh you're hip enough to be included" stuff just makes me feel kind of nauseated.

I'm no longer overtly offended.

I'm just offput ... and disappointed.




Christine said...

A few random facts about me (and you!): I was born in Colorado Springs. I love Mountain Mikes (it has been WAY too long since i've had some),and I am always a happy gal in Monterey.

Tagging--this is an interesting one. I am very new to all this so until a couple weeks ago i didn't even know what it meant. I never thought of it as cliquish, but i can totally see how it could be. It could definitely make people feel left out or excluded if they never get tagged. I have seen bloggers who participate in a meme, then don't tag anyone, probably so as not to make anyone feel bad for NOT getting tagged.

And i can also see how, in the right instances, it could be embracing. Like, if someone does a meme and simply says "hey anyone out there want to tackle this, too, for fun!" Or if an experienced blogger extends a tag to a shy or new blogger, like when slouching mom invited me to participate in my first meme.


Hel said...

Some of the authors of first sites I found never replied to any of my comments. At first I minded terribly but then I realised I was doing my blog for me. Soon after I found Jen and then notsosage and you. And then more and more amazing people popped in.

I still read some of those first sites. And sometimes I will say something. Just because I want to.

Snoskred said...

I don't love the whole meme thing for the most part. I can see why some people like it but I don't much like having to answer set questions like that, and I don't like the idea of leaving people out either. On the rare occasions I've done one I've said if you're reading this consider yourself tagged and then I link to anyone who participates because I think that is only fair - that way whether or not to participate is up to them. And what about if someone gets tagged but they don't want to take part? They then feel an obligation. It's not nice.

I link to blogs I read because I think that's fair too - if I can't live without reading your posts maybe others who like what I write will feel the same way about the other blogs I read. It's my way of giving something back to people, too. Over the past few weeks I've done a major clean out on my google reader and I also went through and commented on all the blogs I read to let them know I'm reading because most of the time they don't know unless I click through. I feel like I want them to know I think they're doing a good job.

I like to set myself blogging tasks which involve commenting on blogs and then set out to accomplish them. I found you that way back in the Nablopomo days. I'm about to read through the entire blogging chicks blogroll and comment on as many of the blogs as I can, I'm looking for new voices to hear seeing as I cleaned out some of the old ones. ;)

The thing really bugging me at the moment re blogs is an apparent explosion in blogs telling you how to make money from your blog. I'm not against making money from my blog - and I have recently done so, and am considering other options as far as doing that. But I don't like going to a blog which has more ads than content, and I'd never put my readers through that either.

Liv said...

I think tagging is somewhat akin to the sidebar thing. You put who you like, you name it something cute like "our gang" or "links I like" and then you put your buddies in. You add or drop people at your whim. It's pretty much the same thing as you say "oh you're hip enough to be included." Which makes it even more of a statement when you choose to take someone off your sidebar. Just a thought...

Snoskred said...

Hel, I'm terrible at replying to comments I get on my blog. I just have so many things to do during the day and that's not counting getting distracted by things on the web. So if one of them was me I do apologise.. ;) I hope it wasn't me! That goes for anyone commenting on my blog.. there really aren't enough hours in the day..

Girlplustwo said...

Thank you for your kind words about Just Post. Your input into the creation helped to shape it into what it is today.

I am not a fan of memes, mostly because I don't like having to think on demand. I don't generally tag others for the reason you mentioned, because in truth the memes ARE often interesting and i would like to read anyone's response who is moved to answer. Allowing them to be freeform allows for that.

The upside of meme-ing is that we do get to learn things, like the ones just shown by you, that we might not have learned otherwise. I do like that part, and I do like when one of those speaks to me and i answer them, but it's got to have that inner pull as well.

Like, for instance, i don't think i knew you went to Isreal. I'd love to hear more about that, the context of the journey and what you discovered.

Girlplustwo said...

ps. if the isreal thing was somehow a post i missed, let me know which one!

Girlplustwo said...

oh, and one more thing. The Color Purple - I was in high school when it came out. it immediately became my favorite movie, and still is to this day.

thailandchani said...

Christine, I like the method you suggested and that is how I do it. I like the openness of it. "Here, take it and run with it". Any time I do one, it's open to anyone who wants it. It just works well that way.


Hel, I know I try to reply to all the comments but will admit to being erratic. It's all in timing largely.. if I am here at the system, I reply right away. Sometimes my energy runs out. I'll try to be more careful about that though... because I value all the comments I get. :)


Snoskred, your comments are always so well-thought out and expansive. I always know what you're thinking ~ and that's important.

I try (note try) to comment on a new blog every week. I specifically look for blogs that are new. Truthfully, I find the idea of having to comment on hundreds of blogs intimidating but I definitely like doing it in a fairly considered way.

Some blogs I comment on daily, mostly because of content and familiarity. I am always open to finding new ones though.... always.


Liv, I struggle with the sidebar thing. Really. I do. Sometimes I remove someone because they've stopped blogging or update so infrequently that I don't want to have it there for people to click on and find dead content.

Beyond that, believe me, I struggle with it a lot because those links are there because I value them.

It's not a "popularity" thing. Each one of the links on my sidebar are included because they are people I believe have something to say. There are a variety of political and spiritual viewpoints on there. Offhand, I can think of a Wiccan, a libertarian, an atheist.. you get my point. Even if I disagree with them, what they have to say is important and presented well.


Jen, I don't have any particular dislike for memes. They are valuable for the reasons you stated. Additionally, they're a good way for people like me who blog daily to have a "lazy day" and answer a meme.

I enjoy learning about other people, too, and memes are a great way to get snapshots.

As for Israel, I've never posted about it. It definitely came to my memory because of the meme format. :)




Hel said...

Oi! I was trying to say that I realised waiting for comments was silly. But going back and reading my mail I realised that not what I ended up saying at all.

I soon realised that blogging could well become a full time job. Rushing around trying to reply to everyone who comments on your blog could soon take the joy out of blogging. And many of those first blogs had up to 40 people commenting.

I am learning to just enjoy the process. Sometimes I cannot get around to commenting at once and sometimes I can. Sometimes I get lots of comments and sometimes I don't. Sometimes I'm included and sometimes excluded. But I think this is part of what blogging is about. There is much to learn from observing my reponses and how they are related to many, many things like hormones, happy day at work, bad day at work etc.

But I don't think many people exclude others on purpose. They are just busy getting on with their lives.

Don't know if all of this makes sense.

Snoskred said...

Commenting on hundreds of blogs is quite a task to set one self, I will admit that. The Nablopomo one was a huge challenge and I never finished it, I was commenting on 100+ blogs a day most days and still didn't get it done by the end of November. It was exhausting and sometimes I had to force myself to keep going.. but.. it was one of the most rewarding things I ever did because it meant I found a lot of really wonderful blogs and interesting people who I enjoy reading posts from. Including you. ;)

This time I'm taking it a lot more slowly, maybe between 10-20 new blogs to comment on each day. That's mainly because I want to be able to read back a bit and get an idea of where people are coming from, and I want to keep up my commenting on other blogs.

I probably write too much when I comment here (and yours is the one I write the most on when I do comment) but your blog is quite thought provoking for me. I find your viewpoints very different to mine on some occasions and it is fascinating to me. Commenting on it helps me think about my viewpoint in an even deeper way. I like the comfort in knowing I can say what I'm thinking on something and you're not going to slap me in the face for it, or anything.. ;) That's a fairly nice feeling - you are inclusive and I like that.

thailandchani said...

Hel, Okay.. I get what you're saying. I don't always "comment back" to everyone who comments here. Sometimes it's simply an issue of the commenter doesn't have a new post up and I've already commented on the previous one. Sometimes it's energy. I do have health problems.

I am lucky to be retired and have the time to be as inclusive and polite as I want to be. If I was working, forget it ~ so that part is totally understood. During that time, I didn't have the energy to lift a fork, let alone give thoughtful comments on someone else's blog. Didn't have the energy to have a blog of my own either.

The exclusion thing: I agree with you in the larger sense... but I believe there are things we can do to minimize any potential damage. One of them is to leave memes open to whoever chooses to answer them.

The thing that offended me late last week surrounded a meme. When I was reading blogs and one person actually said "if you're hip enough to be included", I just blew a fuse. I got some practice using my more colorful Thai.

I was angry because there are plenty of people who read that individual's blog. And how are those people supposed to respond? It's like a slap in their faces.

The idea of being like that, so catty and petty, that made me angry. That's the kind of thing that permanently alienates me.

I don't like it. Never will. And I find no excuse for it in someone who is over 15. Adults are supposed to be sensitive enough to know that kind of thing is potentially hurtful.

I don't think I am personally important enough that anyone deliberately excludes *me*.. but this, in the larger sense, isn't about me. There's just already enough thoughtlessness in the world. Why purposefully engage it ~ when it's not even fricking necessary?

My two baht :)



Hel said...

"if you're hip enough to be included" - ROLF - that is hyterically funny. Anyone who uses the word hip is square. Snigger.

meno said...

I am hip enough to comment because i say i am. :)

Memes are a tough one for me, i usually enjoy being tagged, but i HATE tagging other people. How's that for a double standard?

thailandchani said...

Jen, regarding the Color Purple. I am so pathetic that I have a VHS copy, a DVD and the book! :)

One of my favorite Sofia quotes in the movie:

"I know what it like to wanna go somewhere and cain't. I know what it like to wanna sing and have it beat out 'ya. I want to thank you, Miss Celie, fo everything you done for me. I 'members that day in the store with Miss Millie - I's feelin' real down. I's feelin' mighty low. And when I seed you - I knowd they is a God. I knowd they is a God."



thailandchani said...

Hel, very true. It does say more about the writer than needs to be said, eh? :)

~Chani The Hopelessly Unhip

thailandchani said...

Meno, I probably have some of that, too. .. you know, the double standard. It would be easier on everyone if they were just offered openly.

See? I knew I had the solution! LOL


~Chani the Persistent :)

Girlplustwo said...

ah yes. the speech Celie gives to Mister at the dinner table, and the moment in the chapel w/ the preacher are money too.

and that one tiny scene when Harpo falls through the roof and the kid says "it's gonna rain on your head" that one gets me every single time.

thailandchani said...

Jen, I also really liked Sofia's statement to Celie in the corn yard.

"Girl child ain't safe in a house of men. All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my uncles. I had to fight my brothers. A girl child ain't safe in a family of men, but I ain't never thought I'd have to fight in my own house!"

ZING! Bang!


Yeah.. and the speech Celie gave at the table.

"Until you treat me right, everything you touch gonna fail!"

Geez, It's time for pizza and an afternoon with The Color Purple!

S said...

Oh, these commenting issues make my brain hurt when I think about them.

Recently I was totally shocked to learn that some bloggers believe that one should respond to every comment that comes one's way. That's tough when you have a lot of commenters, isn't it? And not that much time in the day? Two kids to take care of? Etc., etc.

I don't know the answers here.

But I do know that cattiness and pettiness are high up, very high up, on the list of things I dislike.

Lucia said...

I'm glad you snapped up this meme, because I'm not one to tag, and I figure people who want to grab things will grab 'em. I hear you on the tagging. I'm very sensitive to a feeling of being left out...and I quite dislike it.

Snoskred said...

slouching mom - that's not all some bloggers believe. If you read some of the blogs out there at the moment, there's a list of tasks as long as a roll of toilet paper which bloggers "should" do. I don't think anyone has time for most of it really.

hel - I totally agree with your comment that began "oi" - blogging could be a full time job and in fact some people are making it their full time job and earning money these days.

I do it because I enjoy it. That's not why I started out blogging - I started out because I was concerned that I might be kicked off a website I loved and people would not be able to find me when it happened. I wanted a way for people to find me if the dreaded event did occur. Thankfully it hasn't but I am so happy I did it now, it's led to so many other things which I didn't expect.

I'm glad that other people enjoy my babblings occasionally and I am glad to have regular readers. I enjoy reading other people's blogs too. You do get to feel over time that you sort of know the people and they become friends, I like that aspect of it.

This has been an excellent discussion btw. ;) quite fascinating! ;)

Tabba said...

Chani, I see your point about tagging. I have "super" bloggers on my blogroll that I never comment on....I lurk.....My comments (when I do comment) on their site is but a mere ripple in a very large pond. I have found that I tag individuals as a means to get to know a blogger that I would like to learn more about or a blogger that I think would have interesting insights/reflections - much like those that are in my sidebar. I truly don't think I do it to be inclusive or exclusive. Rather a means of reaching out.
If that makes sense at all.

QT said...

Chani - I am so glad you picked this meme up! I would love to here more about the random cross-country trip - I am sure you came across some interesting things.

As for tagging, I see where you are coming from with it. For me, I like to tag people who don't post every day - it seems like an easy way to get to know them better.

I also don't tag on every meme I do - just the ones I think are fun, like this one. I keep inmind there are people like jen who don't like to do memes, as well.

As for being hip/down with the clique - It is a hard line when you meet a blogger in real life. For me & my blog, which is about everyday things that happen to me, it seems inauthentic for me NOT to comment that I had met a blogger in real life. At the same time, I can see how it could come across as cliquish. But it was an event in my life, and I feel like I have a right to mention it. There are good/bad ways of going about this, of course.

I am one of the least exclusionary people you could meet. Seriously. Just so you know that about me.

thailandchani said...

QT, thanks for telling me how you see it. I guess that leaving it wide open gives everyone an opportunity to pick it up, if that is what they want to do.

As for the cliquish stuff, I don't think meeting someone necessarily creates cliquishness. If I met someone and had permission, I might write about it, too. In fact, likely. Not absolutely.. but likely.

Cliquish stuff comes from inside and reflects outward. It's a choice of words, a way of presenting oneself, it's a verbal look down the nose ... and it's recognizable.

I've never considered you as anything but inclusive.

But I'm still going to steal your memes if I feel like it. :)



thailandchani said...

Tabba, yes.. it makes sense. I think as long as it's understood that anyone can do it who would like to do it, that's the most important things.

I know that I've sent offlist notes to someone at times, bringing their attention to particularly good ones.

There are some good ones floating around.



thailandchani said...

Lucia.. I'm with you 100% and I appreciate your not being offended at my blatant thievery. :)

I don't like that "left out" thing either. I took enough of that crap when I couldn't do anything about it. Now I can. At least I can raise consciousness... hopefully.

That isn't to say that I expect to be included in every single thing. It wouldn't even be too likely that I could keep up with all of it.. but if someone deliberately rubs our noses in their exclusiveness, I'm not afraid to call it what it is.


Peace to all! :)

This has been a great discussion!


KC said...

Baltimore, really?

I never mind being tagged- more interested that someone want's to know x about me or thought I might share an interesting viewpoint. But tagging...I don't enjoy so much. It can definitely feel exclusionary sometimes.

Julie Pippert said...

Chani, it does stink to not get named.

I've seen meme after meme (and other little lovefests) go on and a bit of me yearned for someone to pick me, too.

I think it's pretty normal to want to be included.

But you're right, the important thing is to not get too caught up in it, either way.

It's a worthy post, worthy point to keep in mind.

Perhaps I ought to have tagged my blogroll and anyone; instead I paid tribute to the three bloggers who launched me, simply because that seemed fitting for the last meme I did.

And yet, there is also something nice, sometimes, about naming people special in that moment.

And I enjoyed your four things meme...Israel! Wow! Glad you did that.

thailandchani said...

Julie, I understand your points.. and this is really a bigger issue than just me not getting tagged for a meme and getting pissed off about it.

It's about a way of doing things. In the particular case I am talking about, there is a lot of wisdom that could have been culled that wasn't... because it was presented in such an exclusive way.

I've snarfed memes before.In fact, I've never concealed it. They're on my blog.

Two things were involved with this: one was my seeming ability to put away childish things like wanting to run, getting really angry and burning bridges or some other inane thing. The second is that it provided me with an opportunity to write this post and start a discussion on the practice itself.

As for *attribution*, I can completely understand that. If I'd been permitted to answer that particular meme myself, I probably would have stated openly that Jen at One Plus Two is largely responsible for launching mine.

It would have been attribution... and it would have been nice to let people know that.. but it wouldn't be excluding anyone else. The fact is that she did that. Joe Blow or Josephine Glow didn't. That's just the fact.

So.. I understand why you did that.

I'm wondering... maybe... if memes could be open.. but perhaps ask for input from certain people we happen to think of? Maybe it could just become customary that anyone who wants it can take it.

Maybe that would be a compromise position.

I'm still not sure. I just don't want to be responsible for hurting other people ~ or making them feel "less than" or as though what they might have to say doesn't count because they're not part of the "in crowd". That totally repulses me.. so I have to balance my own ethics with something that is minor in so many ways but has larger implications. This is a little pebble.. but can become a boulder.

Make more sense?



thailandchani said...

KC, oh, yes.. Baltimore. I have a wild story about how that came to be. Unfortunately, I can't blog about it because of the legal action I took against the person involved.

Drat it anyway! :)



Anonymous said...

I just grab memes I like without waiting to be tagged. I have to work on "owning" my blogging, so that works for me.

I don't like to tag, necessarily, because it makes me think of gym class. When I'm reading a meme,my heart always pounds a little bit until I see who has been tagged.

I took the links widget off my blog. Back in March, Debbie of I-Obsess wrote a post about how she felt to see she had been removed from someone's blogroll, and with all my stopping and starting, I often loose track of people and forget to update my lists, and the only way to avoid the whole thing is to get rid of it. I don't use those links, so they're not needed. If a reader wants to know which are my favorite blogs, they will find out either through my comments section or if I decide to recommend something great I've read.

Anonymous said...

I've got loose screws, not loose tracks. Sorry about the typo.

Julie Pippert said...


I read the blog post that you felt was exclusionary. I noticed that blogger wrote that comment, and I read your reply on that blog about it; could tell you were not cool with her comment.

From another POV: What she wrote struck me as a joking comment, a challenge to people to *answer* the meme. She didn't say "if you are cool enough to be *asked*" she said "hip enough to *answer*" which I took as a challenge, as in, please do answer this meme (because it had a higher value than just for fun). I read this blogger regularly and she hasn't been one who has struck me as elitist, so I gave the benefit of the doubt.

Now as for this particular meme, it was declared open to all and any at the source, and at many participating bloggers, some of whom were not tagged. One blogger said, I wasn't named in a tag but want to answer and the leader said, please do...this is open, the more the better!

Multiple bloggers we both read said things along the lines of: I bow out of tagging so if you read this, and would like to answer, please feel free to do so.

You were permitted to answer that meme. Your answers would have been received gratefully and with interest, I think. No, I feel sure.

Prior to your post, I had just sent an email to the leader of this meme and said I was going to go through my favorites to ensure each had been tagged to answer and did she have a list of the link backs so I could make sure not to double-tag. She was working on getting the updated link back list.

It was just a matter of time. I had noted that you and about five others I thought ought to be participating had not yet done so.

That, however, doesn't address your larger point, which is an MO in the blogosphere and life in general of exclusionary behavior, whether intentional or not, and a call to be more conscientious about not so much including as not excluding.

It's a good point.

Keeping it in the blogosphere...

I hate bucketing people, but in this, I'll break my own rule. ;)

I observed two and a half types of meme taggers:

1. Those who follow the rules exactly and tag 3, 4, 5 whatever people as per the meme rules.

2. Those who do not like to tag and either simply do the meme and do not mention tagging, or say "I tag my blogroll," or "I tag anyone reading this," or "I tag anyone who wants to do this."

half: people who combine or alternate between 1 and 2.

Interestingly, I also observe that these same people tend to receive tagging in the same way. I tend to not pick up a meme if I am not named.

People who do not tag are often not overjoyed about being tagged, or get "meme'd out."

I think it is a sort of evolution. I am rarely tagged and therefore not fatigued. Bigger bloggers are frequently tagged, sometimes multiple times for the same meme, and are fatigued. I think the more fatigued you are, the less you outwardly tag. A bull stops here deal.

Because there is such crossover, I am often reading the same meme on both tagger and non-tagger blogs. I probably read open challenges for any meme several times at least, so the fact that I do not take up the gauntlet is my own choice versus lack of opportunity. That's me.

I'm not sure how or why memes got into the habit of tagging limited numbers of people.

Possibly named people are more likely to answer whereas open call is more likely to be ignored.

The idea of tagging is meant to be viral, so that eventually everyone gets tagged. But when the buck stops or shifts to open call, it ends up that not everyone gets tagged.

So, you're right, someone can get left out of being specifically named, what with "buck stop here" and "open calls." But that's not the same as a denied permission.

So what to do?

Your compromise of, I tag everyone, this is open, but You and You and You must definitely answer...

1. Doesn't that still make some people seem special above a cattle call? Couldn't that still make someone feel hurt and excluded?

2. Would you take that challenge? Would you answer the meme? You picked up the open call for 4 things but not the open call for blog history. What was the difference?

I don't think there is any way we can go about in life making moves we are sure will (a) never hurt, (b) never exclude, and (c) make everyone happy all of the time.

I think most people mean to, try to, although some are definitely better than others, while others are more conscious of it.

I know when I realized that it had troubled you to not get specifically named, I felt badly. I don't like to hurt someone else. I think most injury is inadvertant and when called out, people want to make amends.

I am not at all a "let it roll off me like water off a ducks back" sort of person by nature. I note these things particularly, and am troubled by them more often than I'd like to be.

Like you, I have learned to feel it, breathe deep, think about it, and respond (or not) rather than react.

I don't think I am sure it can or should be changed since I do think in this, most people try to do the best thing they can.

What I can control is how it affects me.

So that's where I am on it.

I hope that blogger replied to your comment; I haven't gone back to check. But perhaps...perhaps the thing to do is to email her and let her know how what she wrote came across to you.

thailandchani said...

Julie, thanks for your great answer.

At this point, I must admit that I no longer remember where the original offending post was ~ and wouldn't be able to find it again to see if she/he responded to my comment. Once I'm that turned off, well, I kind of block it all out.

It was the larger issue, as you mentioned. That is part of the reason I wanted to bring it out in the open to see what others had to say about it.

In general, I think you're right. Many people do leave it open...

This morning, my compromise idea doesn't sound so good, does it? :)

That's part of this process of brainstorming it. I can definitely see where that wouldn't work so well.

There's no way to do it perfectly, I guess, beyond just leaving it open.


De,I am going to find and read the I, Obsess post. It would be interesting and perhaps enlightening to read. My sidebar truly is a cross-section of a lot of viewpoints and I have them there to recommend. Still, I want to read the post to get that woman's perspective. If I have to change something, I will definitely look at that.




Gwen said...

Julie has left me tired (she does that, doesn't she?)! I am of several minds on meme tagging. On the one hand, I don't really like meme's very much, mostly because I am just plain contrary. At the same time, I find myself strangely (yet only very slightly) hurt when I'm not tagged. I don't want to do the meme; I just want to know that someone is thinking about me. I have so many conflicted feelings about blogging and popularity and inclusion/exclusion. I get slightly freaked if I have "too many" comments, because I feel compelled to answer them all in one way or another, and I don't have unlimited amounts of time. But, if I don't have very many, or when I notice how many OTHER people have, then I'm all like, what's wrong with me? Why doesn't everyone love, adore and want to worship me? Crazy, crazy, right?

Have I mentioned before I have issues? :)

thailandchani said...

Gwen, I must admit.. Julie is simply more intelligent than I am which is why her thoughts always force me to think. I'm glad for it really ~ even when it's a challenge that sends me off to the thinking corner for a good long while. LOL

Of all the responses here, it does seem that most people really don't like tagging very much. Even those who marginally defend it bring up the shortcomings.

That really lets me know that it's just not a very good practice.

Memes really aren't all that different from those emails we all get occasionally that say "get to know your friends". Email lists are famous for them and I get a couple a week, usually with all hashmarks in place from the 4,279 places it's already been. I usually delete them.

The proliferate around the email groups like wildfire. It amazes me how many people answer them.

However, they're always open... anyone who wants them takes them.

The web is far more open than email lists which usually require membership. Membership is nothing more than a Yahoo membership really.

With the web being open, it's easier to see who's "it" and who isn't.

In the final analysis, the memes are just an example though. It really does just exemplify a type of behavior that I don't see as particularly kind or inclusive.

I share your feelings in reaction, sometimes. Sometimes not. Linkfests in general usually just make me click to the next blog.

It was the wording that really torked me off last week.

That little sting you mentioned. I believe we experience enough of that in our daily lives without having to experience it in our recreational activities.. such as blogging.

But that is just one getting-old woman's opinion. My tolerance for and patience with hurtful and thoughtless behavior is declining with age. :)



LittlePea said...

Wow! I enjoyed reading this post and all the comments--I would so love to hear about your travels Chani, Truly!

This was such a good post because it had me thinking about the way I blog and maybe some unintended messages I may have sent out to people who don't know me and my kind of humor or people who are new to my blog. I refer often to 'cool people' and my blog roll as you surely have seen by now as the 'cool people section'(which you're included.) I didn't name it that to make anyone feel left out or uncool.It's my way of making fun of that kind of "I am SOOO COOL and you're not if you don't see yourself here" mentality-an attitude I was surprised to notice when I started reading blogs.I guess I assume everyone just knows that I hate all that stuff and make fun of it as much as I make fun of myself. I only have a few links because I only know and visit a few people regularly and because of my shyness-it took me along time to even have a blogroll because I didn't want anyone to think, "who does she think she is, linking to me like we're best friends or something and I don't even know/like her!" Because I'd seen so much of that here in the blog community back when I was a lurker... Even though I've been blogging for almost a year I still feel new to all of it. As far as replying to comments-I don't always out of pure laziness, I'll admit that and it's personality flaw I have that I mention and make fun of often on my blog. As far as tagging-I never get tagged but most of the bloggers I regularly read rarely do memes and that's fine. I've only participated in a couple memes and always say whoever wants to be tagged is tagged because I hate making anyone feel obligated to participate. I'm glad you posted about this because this really has me thinking-the last thing I would ever want to do is hurt someone's feelings or make anyone feel left out or insulted and I would like to post about that soon myself.

Snoskred said...

I've just gone through and rehashed my google reader and redone my blog roll at the same time. So I have a couple of thoughts on blogrolls.

One - I like to link to people I read. I really don't care if they link back to me though it would be nice (and helps raise your blog's page rank as well as your blog's technorati authority) but my blog - and my blogroll - are for me more than anyone else.

It's not a list of cool people or people in any in crowd, it's people I enjoy reading so much that they have become a part of life as far as I am concerned. Some of the people on my list blog very rarely and that's fine - we need to have a life in order to write about it.

Two - Cleaning links out.

It's a major hassle and takes up time and I've just had to do it myself so I know how you feel sober briquette. However a spring clean is always such a nice thing and to complete the task is very satisfying. I don't think anyone holds it against you if a link is dead, and it probably doesn't need doing more than once a year, and it's a good time to re-assess what you're reading anyway.

I kicked out a few links when I went through my list, some were to blogs that are so "popular" they really don't need me linking to them, my sidebar is long enough as it is however they were all blogs that I found I didn't really want to read anymore. What is there on my sidebar as it stands today is exactly what I'm reading and I intend to update it monthly in future, I've put some steps in place which will make it easier to do that. But I am the world's most disorganised person. And I am aiming to have the longest sidebar on a blog, ever. ;)

I also found a few blogs in my google reader had moved without letting people know, it was good to catch up with them again. I just thought they had stopped blogging.

One last thing - I do think there's a strong case to be made for letting someone know when you have been offended by something. Me personally I had a struggle with a similar issue myself recently - a post which made me feel physically ill, actually. It made me nauseous. I didn't really want to say anything to the blogger involved and am still mulling over the concept of it. I'm afraid the blogger would feel like I am trying to censor them and it could turn out badly, but at the same time I can do without feeling the urge to throw up while reading an RSS feed that I'm a part of and want to continue to be a part of.

I would hope, Chani, that if I ever did anything which you found offensive you would at least give me the opportunity to discuss it. ;) You can always email me if anything comes up, and I'd never bite your head off about it. I hope you know that.

crazymumma said...

ah. the joys of being a woman of a certain age. the joy of not giving a farck anymore....

Her Bad Mother said...

Your post, and these comments, have been just so interesting. I'll admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable at first (is she talking about me) but then shook it off and dove in.

I'm of many minds about memes. They're a social game, so they do have elements of inclusion that might smack, also, of *exclusion*, but I think that that's very rarely the actual case. Most people who do spread memes make it clear that they'd love anyone to do it. It is, of course, nice to be tagged (some of the time - I could tell you a thing or two about meme fatigue...), but I don't think that tagging should be taken as social approval.

If I do do a meme, and do tag people, its usually some combination of people that I know and would particularly like to hear from and people that I don't know well and would like to encourage to get involved. Then I ALWAYS open it to everyone.

But tagging is tricky. I'm rarely tagged anymore because people assume I won't do it or won't notice because I'm supposedly some kind of semi-popular. And I have reservations about tagging sometimes because I think the tagge might think that it's lame or have a no-meme policy or something. But still, if I start a meme (as we did with BlogRhet recently) or a call for posts (which by definition don't involve - tho' I suppose they don't preclude - tagging), I make sure that I make it clear that I love to see ANY response.

I wouldn't, however, want to see an end to tagging because it's a powerful tool for creating a sense of community, for saying to each other 'I really want to hear what YOU have to say.' And it's a more powerful prompt that just saying 'hey everyone! discuss amongst yourselves.' I've been pushed many a time to write about something that I wouldn't otherwise write about simply because someone took the time to NAME me, to push me.

I hate that anyone ever feels excluded. But I don't think that the possibility of bad feelings is reason enough to get rid of tags or awards or individual relationships or any other feature of community.

WHEW. Head aching now. Great conversation. I hope that you won't mind if we maybe pick it up in BlogRhet for further discussion?

thailandchani said...

HBM, thank you for your response.

Many things are running through my head right now and I'll just take them, one by one.

First off, one of the things I've tried to make very clear is that this post by me was not generated by sour grapes or pissyness because I wasn't tagged for the BlogRhet meme. In the larger scale of things, I couldn't care less. I was offended by some use of language and called it as I saw it.

At the same time, I do think it perhaps borders on disingenuous to get a roundtable together, ostensibly to discuss the rhetoric of blogging.. and then use exclusion as part of the data gathering process.

I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed but I do know that skewed data produces skewed results. I got that one in my first year of college where, as it happens, I earned my degree in sociology. I am aware of social process.

So.. okay. We're clear on that one.

The more personal, feeling part of me also took offense at the idea of the fact that many, many really good, thoughtful people who wouldn't be included because they're not part of the "hip" group (a use of language that totally offended me. We're all adults here.).

Maybe I am biased but I think I am lucky as hell to have the best commenters on the Internet. My blog is not one of the "popular" ones but I believe we have a very nice, gentle, caring and respectful community here. We have all different political views, spiritual views and general worldviews but we always get along. We're kind to each other, even in disagreement. It is always interesting here. And it's nothing I've done. It's the people who come around.

And many of them were not included as well.

If I read something wrong, I own it and offer my apology. I am not always the most careful reader. I scan. Bad me.

The statement of it being a "social game" or just a way of building community is not valid, imo. There are many ways to build community, many of them considerate and respectful of all people. It is one style of community building, certainly.. but it is not the *only* community building style.

I don't personally like competition and the concept of "winners and losers" or "popularity v. exclusion". It appalls me. On a visceral level. In the long run, I think it's destructive. It may create sub-communities but does nothing to create a larger community.

It's easy from a position of privilege in any venue to believe that those who disagree or find fault with the idea of exclusion as just small-minded or insecure. After all, if someone hasn't experienced both sides, my concerns might even appear a bit petty.

But I look at the larger picture and can only see more divisiveness, more exclusion, more factionalizing by continuing to use "social games" to eliminate the possibility of challenge and make sure we are surrounded only by likeminded others.

Sometimes small things grow into big things.. and in this particular culture, it has happened to the detriment of too many, too often.

So.. even if bad feelings in and of themselves are not enough reason to do away with it, the larger implications are. What kind of community, what kind of world, do we want to live in?

I do thank you, quite sincerely, for coming by here and sharing your perspective with me, hurting head and all. It gives me something additional to think about ~ and that is always valuable.

And of course you are welcome to pursue this conversation in any manner you consider to be appropriate or useful.



gingajoy said...

Hi Chani,
As one of the instigators of the BlogRhet meme, I also wanted to chime in here. First, I want to thank you for raising issues of community inclusion/exclusion politics that have got my brain ticking. (and yes, I had the same “oh shit” response as HBM). I have always been of the same opinion as HBM, that memes are excellent ways for building community, and for me personally I have always felt more guilt over actually tagging someone (and making them join in) as opposed to not tagging. Obviously, there are all sorts of issues here that need to be untangled or considered in more detail.

You are of course right that there are many forms of community-building that take place in these online spaces, and memes are just one aspect of this. There are so many things we do to signify belonging or participating in a community that can be interpreted or perceived differently to how we intend—who we include on our blogrolls, who we visit daily, who we read, who we comment on, who we respond to via email, who we link to. In the end, no matter how much we argue for egalitarianism and democracy, there is no such thing as community without boundary. No such thing as community without norms.
The question is how do we accept this and at the same time remain open and inclusive.
One reason memes are so interesting is that they *are* very pervasive, there is a tricklethrough effect that can be quite stunning; thought the immediate effect can seem more like a popularity contest (certainly not our intention!). And memes can also take on lives of their own, new meanings in new contexts, as we see here.

I wanted to respond to your comment about this meme being for the purpose of research and data. This is something that those of us working on BlogRhet have talked about between us a great deal—what kind of “research” is this, and are responses “data”? And of course, meme responses cannot be treated as any kind of quantitative data for the reasons you state—we’d be laughed out of school. In addition, there are ethical considerations to take into account. (see: That said, I think your point about the politics of tagging is something we’ll seriously take into account (not least, in a discussion of the topic you raise). I will also change the original announcement to make it clear that we would like to hear from *everybody* and this is not a “reach out and touch somebody” deal only.

As one of the creators of BlogRhet, I can say I am quite dismayed at the idea that we might be propagating a popularity contest or something that would create divisions as opposed to break them down. I will point out that on the various occasions that HBM and I have discussed the project, we have offered an open invitation to anyone to join the team of contributors. Anyone. And we have a diverse group of team-members as a result (I plan to have a short bio page up by tomorrow!).

So once again, thanks for raising these issues here, because they are definitely important. Right now BlogRhet has a running tally of topics we plan to discuss (no more memes for a while, I promise) and the Politics of Memes is most definitely getting added.

MARY G said...

This has been a very interesting series of conversations on tagging and on exclusion,as well as other comments.
As one of the perps of the BlogRhet meme, I would like to add my voice to the throng.
As other BR organizers have already stated, the meme was posted on the BR site and was clearly described as open to all. In fact, I think we were really urging everyone to get on board because every voice added to the discussion is so valuable.
When we started the meme with tags I, for one, hoped that tagging would be useful in moving the request for information into areas that it would not otherwise reach. To my mind, that is the whole purpose of tagging -- to increase the reach. However, it only works if people do pass the tags along, whether to one or to many. If you let a tag die on your site, it is not working the way it should. The 'all join in' is a nice thing, but unless you ask people to ask people, it stays in its own backyard.
Chani I respect your voice and your opinion, but I really wish you had given a link to the comment you found objectionable so that I, and others, would be able to make our own judgements as to whether it was exclusionary.
I am one of the BR workers because I answered an open request for anyone interested to join in. I am a brand new blogger, with few credentials, but not only was I allowed to join, I was made to feel welcome. In fact, I have been welcomed everywhere in this part of the blog world that I have been. And I'm not a certified 'thinky' person. I blog about robins and garbage bags, in fact. Thank you for your kind comment on my blog and please accept my apologies for writing such a long comment.

thailandchani said...


Thanks to you for coming by, too. :)

I'm trying to think of where I can go with this without repeating what I've already said. I don't want to bore you silly.

At the same time, I want to emphasize one thing above all else. I have found that when I look at my own ethics, one of the roots of all my choices is the kind of effect it will have on others around me. It's something I am extremely conscious about.

Additionally, I think in terms of concentric implications. A bird flaps his wings in Virginia Beach and it rains in Seattle.

The things we do matter. They matter a lot. And I am not by any means claiming perfection. As a born-again Christian friend of mine says "I'm the biggest sinner I know."

One of my choices with my blogging experience is that I want to be as friendly, as inclusive and as kind as I can possibly be within my own very human limitations. Sometimes that means I have to make choices that might appear odd to others...maybe even extreme.

I don't want this to seem as though I am targeting BlogRhet. I didn't link it in the original post for a reason. The issue is a larger one and that's where I want to keep the focus.

In virtual communities, I believe we have a tendency to act out our "stuff". I've done it.. and I've seen others do it.

When do we do what's necessary to create a real women's community (which it is primarily women, after all) that proves we can do things without the usual outcomes that we're accused of?

Ultimately, those who want to tag will tag ~ and those of us who aren't comfortable with it won't. I used to get tagged a lot.. and now I don't. It is likely because as someone said earlier, the buck always stops with me.

I respect both choices... but if I see someone hurt by it, I will call it.

I have to. My ethics demand it. I can't sit by and watch it happen because someone might get mad at me.. or think less of me.

Tagging is such a minute issue.. but the larger issue matters to me a lot.

If you happened to read the book "Blink", it brings some of this to mind.. how we make snap judgements that are unconscious. I think sometimes our behavior can also be like that. We do things because they've always been done that way without realizing the roots. We need to examine those things every now and then.

And I'm rambling all over the bloody place. It's late. If I had the sense God gave a housefly, I'd delete this comment and go to bed. :)

At any rate, what I am saying in short is that I don't want to make this seem accusatory about BlogRhet. Honestly, I don't even know that much about it. It turned up during some blog surfing. No one told me about it specifically.

I had some thoughts and I posted about them. It's a good reality check to hear what others have to say.

I am grateful to you that you want to discuss these issues in a broader context... I am also glad that you came by to correct what might have been some misconceptions on my part.

I wish you the best with your efforts. The best.. .really.



thailandchani said...

Mary, your points are taken. In all honesty, I don't have it in me to tag individuals at the cost of others who may not be included.

This matters to me. It really, really matters. (Imagine my best Sally Fields voice.)

People put their hearts and souls out on these live journals. They really do. I can't participate in anything that I think might throw a wet blanket on that or make someone uncomfortable. Granted, sometimes it's a real pain in the butt to have to be so conscious.. but it's my choice and I'll live with the consequences.

By now, you've read enough of my writing to know the kind of thing I do... how I write and what ideas I present.

I didn't link the Blog Rhet post because my entry was about my feelings, my experience, my sense of what I saw and how I reacted to it. I wasn't looking for validation of my position or my perception right then. Had I wanted that, I would have backchanneled a few people and asked. I would never do it publicly.

The post was about tagging. It wasn't about any specific group doing it ~ but the practice in general.

I wasn't declaring war. The issue just seemed important enough to me at that time to bring it to the table.

Thank you, too.. and please.. don't ever apologize for a long comment. I like hearing what you have to say.. and that's what the comments forum is for.