Quo Vadis again again
Blogging 1.0 often replaced the plethora of special purpose forums that were apparently everywhere.
Blogging 2.0 consisted of some special-purpose sites, but the real blogosphere was comprised of many sites very much like The Agonist: covering a wide range of topics, multiple viewpoints, meaningful (and sometimes heated) discussion, generally outside of and frequently in opposition to the MSM.
It seems to me it’s time to ask, “What will Blogging 3.0 bring?” As has been noted elsewhere, the drop-off in activity is not limited to The Agonist but blogs with a specialized focus are still healthy. Generalized blogs are either attached to some other money-making entity, independently funded or dependent on reader contributions.
Just to keep everyone in the loop, I wanted to let you all know that Agonist.org has a new owner.
There will be some technical improvements coming soon, primarily to make the site more responsive and mobile-friendly, since web access is increasingly being done via mobile devices.
The editorial policy will not change. We will still be free to post & comment as we always have.
In preparation, I will soon be simplifying the existing site, removing unnecessary clutter.
We would like to solicit feedback from bloggers and readers and a feedback form will be made available for that purpose.
Once the site is repackaged for better service and functionality, we will explore ways to attract more bloggers and blogging.
For over a decade of ups and downs, chaos and dedication, arguments and agreements, The Agonist has earned a place in the blogging community. We have had some marvelous writing, outstanding posts and spirited (to say the least) conversations.
We are contemplating compiling a Best Of Agonist ebook, to be made available free of charge.
We are investigating several distribution methods and will pick whatever provides the widest availabilty.
To that end, we hereby invite all members to submit their favorite posts/writers and let us know via the site Contact Page, since relying on comments here might result in overloading the comment system and emails are easier for me to keep track of.
Once we have assembled a reasonable list of posts, I will copy/paste/edit them by hand, since all the software I’ve seen to automate this process creates a very ugly and nearly-unreadable product. It will therefore take some time to put together.
If there are those who specifically do not want their own posts to be included, we will certainly respect their wishes.
Furthermore, we will only publish comments on an Opt-In basis.
Your comments will NOT be included unless you specifically give us permission.
Nota Bene: There may be posts whose names you recall and which show up in a search but turn up missing when clicked on. (We have an issue in the site database). I may be able to retrieve some of these posts from the clone site, as the export/import seemed to have resolved the issue on the clone site. If your favorite post doesn’t display, note it anyway and I’ll try to track it down.
In addition to providing the posts/comments, we may also ‘blurb’ the writers if requested, so that those who blog or write elsewhere may get a little ‘boost’ in visibility for their non-Agonist world. If that category includes you, feel free to provide us any bio or links you would like us to include.
(originally published Dec 9, 2013)
Agonist Diaries are back!
One of the best features of the old Agonist was USER DIARIES. After considerable effort, we’ve restored that function to the new WordPress platform.
All Agonist registered users can now create their own Diary entries. Posts can be on any subject but are subject to respecting the copyright of others and a few other obvious rules. Read More
Regular visitors will have noticed recent changes to this site. Some were aimed at improving performance, some at providing additional functionality. The most recent changes add more functions, provide a consistent method of navigating the site and improve the appearance.
Old habits die hard and we expect the new site will taking some getting used to. Part of the problem is that the ads on top and to the right take up a lot of ‘real estate’, which limits our options. We will continue to work on functions and cosmetics. If you have suggestions, comments are welcome and the Contact Page proves a means of communicating privately, as does the new Messages Page.
It gives me a great deal of pleasure, satisfaction and even excitement to announce that The Agonist will soon have a new Editor-In-Chief:
This is the second time in about a year I find myself unexpectedly promoted on the departure of the EIC. At least this time around I’m retired and can devote more attention to The Agonist, although, like Michael, I too have personal obligations which take precedence from time to time, as we all do.
I would emphasize that I have no agenda here except to facilitate and preserve The Agonist as a forum for discussing things that matter (or should matter) to all of us.
Today will be my last day as editor in chief of the Agonist. I’ve appreciated and enjoyed serving in that role. Personal and professional obligations are pressing and I do not have the time required to continue. The Agonist has the foundation to move forward and a readership that generated close to 800,000 views since February 2013 despite significant challenges.
I would like to thank steeleweed for his technical and systems support that allowed us to begin to tame the WordPress platform; nymoley and Tina for the expert editorial efforts; Raja for the highly reliable Newswire service; and Graham for his contributions. And, thank you Jillian for her efforts and support.
Don Henry Ford, Jr., Numerian, actor, and Jack Cluth deserve special praise for contributing engaging and provocative posts over time. The high quality Diaries posts of Synoia and Jayhawk deserve special recognition. I’d like to add thanks to Brian Downing for his excellent posts during a critical period.
I wish Stirling Newberry the very best on his journey and want to thank him for his graciousness and willingness to return to posting at the Agonist at a critical time. His posts were compelling and right on target.
I spoke with site publisher/owner Shavkat Karimov after making this decision. He asked steeleweed (Ray) to step in as the Editor starting Saturday. Ray agreed. This is an excellent move. Shavkat and the Proaxis folks before him have been very helpful and responsive in sorting out higher order system problems. There has been a hands-off policy on content. I have not heard a single word implying even a hint of censorship.
I’m saving the best for last. I’d like to acknowledge and express deep appreciation to four of my all-time favorite commenters (I’ve been using the Internet well before it was called that – 1981): Skriz, Synoia, Jayhawk, and dude. Their comments, insights, and humor were always appreciated.
I look forward to seeing where the Agonist goes and contributing material as time allows.
The very best wishes to all of you,
To: Agonist subscribers, authors, and users:
This is an update on the spambot attack on the Agonist today and the broader issue of site upgrades.
Today, The Agonist was subject to an attack by spammers with thousands of registrations in a short period of time. This is part of a much broader effort by spammers to build an army of users that can be activated and used for a variety of reasons, including denial of service attacks. The problem is outlined in an article here in Ars Techinca. That’s the bad news.
The good news is that the site didn’t tip over. The problems are being addressed in a comprehensive way. Some changes made about a month ago by the Proaxis Media folks prevented an even worse outcome. Special thanks to Tina, steeleweed, and Raja for their efforts throughout the day to identify this and contain the problems.
More Good News Read More
Images: WTF? Stay Cool We’re all in the same boat
Now that the dust has been stirred up and most of it has settled, I would like to solicit ideas from the entire Agonist community, from the top to the bottom.
I am seeking thoughts on how best to administer the site, keep posts flowing and serve both our writers and our readers going forward.
If the thread gets too long it will be closed to comments and new thread started, so feel free to let your creative juices flow.
BTW: With a Nor’Easter headed my way, my access to the ‘Net might be interrupted, so don’t panic or be offended if a response is not immediate over the next couple of days.
The Agonist has always been a labor of love for those who contribute to it. We’re not looking for glory and we are certainly not making any money from it.
The quality of our efforts have earned us a decent level of recognition and a good reputation on the ‘Net. We would like to see that continue.
In lieu of participation and management by the owners of The Agonist domain or their designate, the community seems to be continuing without editorial guidance or focus.
While this provides a forum at least for now, the long-term viability of an undirected forum is unpredictable.
The Internet is full of sites which degenerated into tiny communities preaching to their respective choirs, yet there are also communities which operate productively simply because of common interests and a tacit agreement of what constitutes appropriate postings and comments.
It may be that the inherent interests of the editors, authors and contributors will coalesce into a useful and productive whole and will thereby provide a focus for going forward.
For that to happen, those who post (or comment) should bear in mind that without any central guidance, their actions are the only thing that define the site to our subscribers and the blogsphere. Please behave accordingly – keep your comments on-thread, argue politely, play nice.
Good luck to us all.
(Update from actor212: I’ve pinned this post to the front page so that we can continue a really good discussion more easily)
I am not happy to read this on The Agonist Facebook page:
Ever since Diaries were never turned on, obviously a sign of distrust of the community, and some serious old vs new posters cock-fighting, I have felt that The Agonist had lost a great deal as a vibrant open and accepting community.
Some answers from the new owner/s would be appreciated. Thanks, Graham.
It’s with considerable sadness that I have to tell you, Agonistas, that my time here is up. I’d been told the owner was interested in extending my contract for another year, but when it came time for him to offer me terms today he offered me a third of the already small pittance I was receiving as Editor. There’s no way I can accept what was offered.
And so, this is my last day as your Editor In Chief. It has been immense fun for the last year, and I’ll miss you all.
Thank you, for everything.
Warmest Regards, Steve