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More Thoughts On Link Requests

A couple of commenters in this post (one of whom needed some lessons in logic and elocution) objected to my supposed "snobbery."

I have the same feelings as Warren. It does sounds a bit snobbish. I mean hell, just say no or ignore him. No need to humiliate the guy, even if it is anonymously. The guy knows he's being made fun of.

I have run technically oriented websites since 1996. Hell, I even ran a BBS back in 1986. We would always swap links (or data numbers) with each other. I honestly can't remember any time someone was lambasted like this, though I'm sure it happened back in the BBS days. A lot of kids ran those things, myself included.

Oh, for the BBS days.

My attitude has nothing to do with my self regard, or with my estimation of the value of the blog, or whether or not it's part of the "A list " (it's not). It is completely independent of the number of readers that I have. It is entirely dependent on the value of my time, and page space. In a follow-up email, the guy said something to the effect, "Well, I ran into that sort of thing from Hugh Hewitt, but who the heck are you?"

Sorry, but I consider my time just as valuable as Hugh Hewitt (and Glenn Reynolds) considers his, and for the same reason--it is ultimately our only finite resource. I find a little bizarre the notion that, any time someone sends me an email requesting that I spend some of it to go check out their blog, with no information as to why it might be of interest to me or my readers, and link to it, I should drop what I'm doing and do so forthwith, and if I don't, I'm a "snob."

Folks, there are literally millions of blogs out there. I could spend the rest of my waning life reading them, and linking to them, and I would end up accomplishing nothing pertaining to my own goals, and my blogroll would be so large as to be completely useless to my readers. "Link exchanges" may have made sense back in the BBS days, but they make no sense whatsoever in the blogosphere.

This humble blog is a publication--my publication. I have to balance my time against maintaining and enhancing its quality, and in fact, the fact that I'm not a top blogger with high hittage, and generate little revenue from it, and must spend most of my time actually making a living, restricts even more the amount of time I have to spend blogging and reading other blogs.

I don't think that it's unreasonable to expect that if someone wants you to read their blog, or link to it, that they invest a little effort to provide a minimal amount of reason to do so, other than "I think you'll like it." If I were a book publisher who received a manuscript with no useful cover letter, would I be expected to read it before one that came well presented? If I were an employer being asked to interview and potentially hire someone without a resume, should I prefer them to the applicant with one, and a good one? And if I don't do these things, am I a "snob"?

Of course, in this case, the problem is compounded by the fact that this was apparently a serial offender, according to other commenters, sending out minor variations of the same request to other people, both via email and comments. That, to me, is only one step removed from spamming (differing only in that it was somewhat targeted). The fact that I had to get around a spam filter to reply to his email was just the icing on the cake, and fraught with irony. I wish now that I'd had a filter to prevent him from emailing me. But maybe that would be "snobbery."

So no, I have no regrets or apologies. It was his behavior that was rude, even if he didn't/doesn't understand that, not mine.


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wickedpinto wrote:

I have 2 blogs I participate in, I don't ask people to read them. If they come across them, they come across them, if I'm asked I answer.

Fact is that most blogs require that the person reading them have the same attitude as the person writing or managing the blog, and that is what makes blogs fun.

I can't imagine ever pimping my blogs here, because I don't think your readers, or commentators would enjoy mine, and I almost definately wouldn't enjoy their comments.

The reason I don't do it, isn't elitism,(trust me on that I am not an elitist thing, if you don't already know) it is that I think that people can find what they want without being told to find it, and that those are the kinds of people I want.

clyde_m wrote:

it's a shame you have to spend so much time explaining yourself. i send posts around - get insta-launched once. if the receiver doesn't think my post adds anything to their site, i don't take it personally. blogs are very personal - they are like our homes on the internet. a home without doors so all can wander through.

i post mainly about politics now, but i did a post a couple of years ago off a Q&A site with a muslim cleric. i was amazed that the guy was telling followers when it was ok to masturbate. so i cringe a bit every year as rammadan approaches and i get all these hits from the middle east googling whether it is ok to touch thyself cuz ain't no touching her for a month. must suck. but that's just another room in my open house.

you write a good blog. don't feel so compelled to look over your shoulder.

Alan Kellogg wrote:

I write for myself. I post it on my blog because people do come to visit. Sometimes the post is popular. Other times it has no traffic to speak of. And sometimes a post will get traffic a long time after it was first published.

A focused blog should get more traffic than a haphazard effort such as mine. A focused blog about astronomy and space travel should get a lot more traffic. Only makes sense. Really, the best way to get traffic is to write well, and write well on subjects people are interested in. And submit your best stuff to the blog carnivals out there. Works better than blegging at verious blogs.

Leland wrote:

I just don't get it. Rand has a place for every commenter to easily include a link back to their website/blog. One would think to get Rand's interest, they might first try writing interesting comments on Rand's blog.

Note, Rand also puts the name of the commenter first, so if you write uninteresting nonsense, it is very easy for Rand and others to skip over it.

I agree with Clyde's last statement.

memomachine wrote:


Frankly most blogs are pretty boring. Either that or they're essentially regurgitated pap where an interesting post on one blog ends up being slightly re-written on another.

IMO I've got a blog, or two, myself but I don't bother posting anything until and unless I've got something original to say.

So LINK ME!! :) sorry, couldn't resist. hehe

III wrote:

I don't think the "snobbery" comment was related to the fact that you refused the guy a link, but rather to the fact that you publicly excoriated him and his approach (although kudos for not using his name).

Rand Simberg wrote:

I don't think the "snobbery" comment was related to the fact that you refused the guy a link, but rather to the fact that you publicly excoriated him and his approach

If that's the case (I don't think it is), then people who believe that are unfamiliar with the meaning of the word "snobbery." It was very clear to me that at least in the case of logic-challenged Warren, I was being a snob because I refused to give him a link.

Andrea Harris wrote:

I find it hilarious that your detractors seem to think you were "rude" to this guy. He's the one who called you "Simberg," after all -- an offensive familiarity even in this country of mandatory first-name-basis. In any case, I've been known to be much more cruel to the link-mes:

(That's to an old site of mine -- I was getting a lot of these "link my page!" emails and I'd finally gotten annoyed. I had another even more evil "FAQ" page up but I can't remember where I put it.)

Leland wrote:

Well, it works. Andrea wrote something interesting and provided a link with her name. I clicked it. Amazing how simple that is.

Dick Eagleson wrote:

Trying to explain the concepts of "manners," "politeness," "mutual advantage" and "maybe what you want isn't really the most important thing in everybody's world" to a narcissist is a lot like the proverbial attempts to teach a pig to sing - can't be done and just annoys the pig.

Splendid try though.

MG wrote:

Alternative approach:

"Heya, Mr. Simberg... nice blog ya got heah. Be a shame if something were to happen to it. Tell ya what, I'll make sure nothing... unfortunate... happens to it. Just put a little link to my blog on yours."

incongruities wrote:

Well stated. Especially about the value of time. There is so very little of it extra to spend on leisure and I consider it the epitome of snobbery for someone to impinge upon any bit of it out of some feigned right to entitlement.

I think you've been very polite about the whole matter, but then some people think I'm an asshole.

The worst part is that the people who will spam you for a link don't even know this conversation is taking place here.

Sam Dinkin wrote:

Own the "snob" description if that means not connecting with everyone. It's good to have standards. I do recommend that you create a semantic filter that checks for bad punctuation, spelling, capitalization and politeness as a way to screen correspondence and to link to your blog entry for how to pass. It's absolutely the height of politeness to tell someone (or everyone) what your standards are for people who would like to connect to you. In the hierarchy of politeness, it's the ones who have unlisted addresses who are being more impolite.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on October 13, 2008 4:11 AM.

The Hate And Rage From The McCain Campaign was the previous entry in this blog.

An End To Redundant Inefficiency is the next entry in this blog.

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