His explanation is here. I have long thought TDB built an attractive-looking web site, but I have not followed the company per se, nor have I read the new Newsweek, nor do I have a good sense of what Tina Brown on the web might mean. Sullivan was the first blogger I ever read and of course he still is very influential within the blogging field. What do you all think of this move? And is the market for blog acquisitions heating up again?
Some of you want more comment on this Freddie deBoer piece on why the harder left is underrepresented in the blogosphere. Here is RortyBomb, here is Matt, both good responses. Here is a one-sentence excerpt from the original:
The truth is that almost anything resembling an actual left wing has been systematically written out of the conversation within the political blogosphere, both intentionally and not, while those writing within it congratulate themselves for having answered all left-wing criticism.
My thoughts turn to the market-oriented and right-wing sides of the blogosphere. I see a few approaches out there:
1. Hold strongly to a pure free market line, but not much consider the toughest issues, starting with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and finishing with the inability of government to precommit to a lot of policies which might work as rules but never can be rules. There are plenty of easy issues to focus on, starting with farm policy and free trade and on those the market-oriented point of view is a slam dunk.
2. Hold forth on the really tough issues, take what is considered an extreme point of view, and not convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you. These bloggers also frequently find that their arguments are sufficiently a priori that a) they don't have much to say about new developments in the world, and b) their arguments end up being repeated and do not evolve much. Even if you think those are good intellectual qualities when truth is on your side, you probably can see that they will not attract the largest or broadest of audiences. A popular blog needs more of a plot.
3. Give ground on the tough issues, honestly and sincerely.
4. Focus on lowering the relative status of people on the other side of the debate. This serves some functions similar to #1 and of course there is a large supply of targets.
If a lot of left-wing bloggers are following #3, that is very good (I don't pretend to judge what is a very large canvas) and we can root for that practice to spread, including of course to non-left-wing bloggers.
Freddie deBoer seems to be very smart. I had never heard of him before, which I suppose means he is not extremely famous as a blogger. So let's see how he evolves when it comes to his critique that "labor rights are undercut everywhere for the creation of economic growth" in an ongoing debate with some people who know more about it than he does. He shows much better rhetorical skill than he does an understanding of labor economics.
Who exactly are the exiled left-wing (or right-wing) bloggers who deserve more attention? From deBoer, there is a mention of Daily Kos and I checked in there again (I hadn't for years) and I wasn't exactly awestruck at the content. Nor was it obvious to me that it was extremely left-wing.
I will readily grant that points of view can be stronger than they appear in a blogosphere debate and it is worth thinking through the biases here. Arguably the more serious corners of the blogosphere overencourage moderate, "defensible" positions, with few weak spots for obvious bone-crushing attacks, "gotchas," and charges of apparent moral turpitude from onlooking scolders. Still, that incentive is mostly a healthy one. Whether the blogosphere as a whole encourages moderation, I am not sure. But the better corners of it certainly do and that should be counted as one of its virtues.
Yes, we’re taking Freakonomics.com indie again because, even though the 3.5 years with NYT.com has been beyond great, a lot has changed in our universe since then – the film, a radio show, more books, etc. – and we’ve got a big appetite for uniting all these things, and a few more things, into one tight-knit little media channel known as Freakonomics.com. And we just couldn’t do that if the blog still lived at NYT.com. Paywall issue wasn’t a major consideration.
Will Paul Krugman end up behind a paywall?
Here are the most popular Marginal Revolution posts from 2010 as measured by landing pages and page views.
1. Book lists were very popular as a category. The highest ranked post in terms of page views was Tyler's Books which have influenced me the most which created a blogosphere avalanche. Links to other people's lists (of influential books) was also very popular. As was Books of the year, 2010 and peculiarly this post on The best-selling book of all time.
2. The number one linked post was What happened to M. Night Shyamalan? a one-liner and one-picturer. Also very popular in the category of "quickies" were Barbados v. Grenada, the demand for own-goals, Dead Birds, Freak-onomics, Nazi-Nudging, and Yuck_markets in Everything.
3. One Game Machine per Child on the failure of a computer voucher program to raise grades (but it did increase gaming).
7. Peter A. Diamond.
10. Why Did the Soviet Union Fall? (from 2007).
Other substantive posts with high popularity (in the top-50) were my posts Insiders, Outsiders and Unemployment and The Philosophical Cow and Tyler's posts How many children should you have?, Is there a case for a vat?, Does the Law Professor have cause to complain? and Why is Haiti so Poor?
Hope you have enjoyed this years offerings. What have I missed?
…in terms of breadth of interest in economic subjects, literature and ephemera, Marginal Revolution is like nipping into a world-class local bar, where the drinks are always perfectly mixed, the atmosphere is relaxed and civilized, while intelligent conversation and serendipity are available on tap. The comments tend to be of unusually high quality too.
From Alen Mattich's writeup of the best economics blogs in the WSJ. Congrats and thanks to all our commentators.
Here's Stanley Fish:
Commentators who explain smugly that O’Donnell’s position on masturbation (that it is a selfish, solitary act) is contradicted by her Ayn Rand-like attack on collectivism, or who wax self-righteous about Paladino’s comparing Sheldon Silver to Hitler and promising to wield a baseball bat in Albany, or who laugh at Sharron Angle for being in favor of Scientology (she denies it) and against fluoridation and the Department of Education, are doing these candidates a huge favor. They are saying, in effect, these people are stupid, they’re jokes; and the implication (sometimes explicitly stated) is that anyone who takes them the least bit seriously doesn’t get the joke and is stupid, too.
Sometimes I think of the political blogosphere as a huge commons. An individual blogger can gain in readership or influence by attacking or ridiculing some enemy, but at the cost of making that enemy stronger in the world as a whole.
I also believe that every time the words "stimulus" or "fiscal policy" are blogged it helps the electoral prospects of the Republican Party, no matter what the content of the blog post.
BM has a request:
would you take a hand few requests (maybe 10 or so) from the comments here and tell us (in a word:'NO' or a short sentence why) you will NOT fill them?
I hope this request is excluded from your picks!
I won't handle those I have already written about and have no new insight on, those I will soon write about (I prefer for most of my non-blog writing to be relatively fresh), and those I have nothing to say about at all, usually because of my own lack of knowledge. On top of that big pile, a small number of requests — small in percentage terms at least — strike me as best addressed by a quizzical, offbeat non-response.
I answer all the rest.
Yes, it's that time again. Please leave your requests for future coverage in the comments…
Here are a few sentences to ponder:
Some commentators have suggested that the internet allows people to present idealised versions of themselves to the world. Contrary to that idea, Yarkoni found that bloggers' choice of words consistently related to their personality type just as has been found in past offline research.
More neurotic bloggers used more words associated with negative emotions; extravert bloggers used more words pertaining to positive emotions; high scorers on agreeableness avoided swear words and used more words related to communality; and conscientious bloggers mentioned more words with achievement connotations.
Can we all agree that the cited post represents a considerable success? And might it apply to blog commentators as well?
Addendum: Arnold Kling comments.
You'll find it here. So far Neil Irwin is the major contributor but it is a group blog.
It's time that again. What would you like to hear about? Comments are open…
New research supports the notion that we fixate on enemies, and inflate their power, as a defense mechanism against generalized anxiety.
The longer article is here. This is another way of putting the point:
According to one school of thought, this tendency to exaggerate the strength of our adversaries serves a specific psychological function. It is less scary to place all our fears on a single, strong enemy than to accept the fact our well-being is largely based on factors beyond our control. An enemy, after all, can be defined, analyzed and perhaps even defeated.