Saturday, June 4, 2011

Some suggestions for the direction of Independent Political Bloggers

In the comments to The Filthy Engineer's post,Lies, lies, and those manifestos” Richard asked for views regarding his original vision for Independent Political Bloggers which was to establish:

“a site about independent political bloggers and blogging, to promote the genre - a sort of noticeboard combined with "chat room"”.

If I remember correctly (I haven't found the original, so I may have dreamt it), Richard wanted to promote the disparate independent bloggers as a strong and credible, journalistic alternative to the churnalistic MSM.

If that's what he said, I think it's a great objective. If he didn't say it and I just made it up, I still think it's a great objective.

I believe there's a hunger for Richard's proposal. Unfortunately though, the actual business of blogging is pretty dull and once we've provided the bios that Richard suggested, there's probably not a great deal more to say. With nothing to say, our readers will desert and blogs without readers have absolutely no hope of influencing opinion. And so on balance, while I think the bios are a good idea and should be retained, my guess is that IPB can only survive on a diet of regular political comment.

The other difficulties that IPB faces are (i) that we are unlikely to give up our individual blogs and will want to reserve our best material for them and (ii) that there is already an excellent 'super-blog' in the shape of Orphans of Liberty.

With all that in mind, these are my own suggestions for a possible way forward. Hopefully, they will stimulate a discussion and more suggestions from other bloggers:

  1. we need to make up our minds over the objective(s) of IPB. Given that the concept of opposition has all but disappeared from Parliament, I favour developing a coherent bloggers' opposition as a genuine focus of dissent for all of those who feel disenfranchised by the current political model;

  2. to this end, our blogroll should feature all bloggers and MSM journalists whose writing is sympathetic to our objectives;

  3. to get the ball rolling, encourage all sympathetic bloggers to follow OldRightie's example and produce a ranked 'manifesto' listing the top 10 policies they would most like to see changed/scrapped/introduced. Based on the results, we could produce an overall top 10 on which IPB blogs would concentrate;

  4. For material, we all guarantee one original blog per week or use IPB as a 'best-of' site. In addition, we could – on a pre-moderated basis - include ad-hoc contributions from non-bloggers;

  5. the narrower focus and objective should prevent us from replicating the effort at the Orphans of Liberty site;

  6. as Richard has already suggested, we should avoid ranking the individual blogs but we do need to stimulate and record site approvals;

  7. we all actively 'market' the site on our own blogs.

Over to you!

Time Traveller's website is at Adventures in Time Travel


  1. I thought this was intended to be a blogroll with posts and comments; a sort of informal magazine with a useful reading list. What you're suggesting amounts to an exclusive club with rules that someone will eventually suggest should be enforced by the sanction of exclusion.

    Let's not get carried away. You'll be suggesting a committee next.

  2. William

    God forbid!

    I think many of us had exactly the same impression as you but unless I've misunderstood Richard's comments, he had planned a blog about bloggers - and at The Filthy Engineer's post to which I've linked, he asked us to comment on that.

    What I thought I'd done was to suggest a form of magazine but overlaid with a specific objective that would distinguish us from Orphans of Liberty - another of Richard's concerns. Unfortunately, all objectives imply a degree of limitation (rules if you prefer) don't they?

    And far from wanting to exclude anybody, I'm up for including all sympathetic voices, including non-bloggers (my point 4).


  3. Let's not have any rules at all. Why not allow a freefall of of independent thought? If we start manufacturing a rule book, we'll become the same as the political class and the MSM. All spin and no substance.

  4. Time Traveller wrote:

    'And far from wanting to exclude anybody, I'm up for including all sympathetic voices, including non-bloggers (my point 4).'

    I hope you'll excuse a little schoolboy mischief, and I really do not wish to spark an argument, although I'm sure someone will see a baton to be picked up and run with, but you've explicitly excluded all of those who may not be sympathetic, which is one of the objections I have to the Independent Network.

    I wonder how many smilies it might take to show that I'm making this comment in a good humour.

  5. Surely the only aim here is that if you're independent and you want to contribute, do what you can when you can - and spread the word about other independent blogs on your own site by linking to them and commenting about them. It should be nothing more defined than that.

  6. @Cranmer
    Independent of pseudointellectual smartaleckry.

  7. When we set up Orphans, we went for a "no rules" approach and let things develop. As it did so - very quickly, I might add - we had to put some order into the chaos. Initially, this has meant scheduling posts and adjusting that scheduling on the hoof, although this is something we might drop later.

    Secondly, we quickly found ourselves facing the ad hominem in the comments. We decided that we would prefer not to have this, so introduced our one rule in the form of a comments policy.

    I think, sooner or later, you will have to consider that one - do you want an anything goes approach or do you prefer to keep discussion civilised and enforce that if necessary?

  8. Pragmatism, tempered by experience? I like that.

  9. Go with the flow, whatever direction it takes us. Dissenters are manna, as it were.

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