Blog Drama

I’ve confessed my love of Techmeme many times. I still love it. But man, the drama of late. I was thinking that we shouldn’t be having so much drama right now, during the holiday season when everyone’s hoping things will wind down. But then I thought that lots of families have drama during the holiday seasons. Maybe Techmeme is simply reflecting the blog family having a big meltdown.

The latest round of TechCrunch’s UK meltdown kicked me off today. It’s so tiring, having to read chapter after chapter about it.

Worse was having to read the drama about Leblogs. Didn’t go to it. Wasn’t that familiar with it. Didn’t care about it. But man, did I have to scroll through the stuff about it.

There’s been other stuff like this that is hard to point to, since I can’t easily page back through how Techmeme changes during the day (tips on this are here). Gabe, please, make it easy to go hour by hour to see Techmeme “front pages.” The new river of news view is nice, but I love the front pages — even when the news itself makes me hate them.

Over the past few months, it’s just felt like there’s been a growing breakdown in civility and decent behavior toward each other. I can get as snarky as anyone, but I do try to stamp it down. I know drama sells. Sometimes if the drama is in a coverage area I like, it can be that guilty fun pleasure of watching it. But if I had to pick, I’d go dramaless.

Whatever Happened to Online Etiquette? from David Pogue at the New York Times came out last week and really struck a chord with me, as I’ve watch the sniping and drama grow. He gives the reasons why people might act this way, chiefly that you are anonymous on the internet or far removed from those you might be attacking.

Those aren’t good reasons for bad behavior. Again, I’m far from perfect. But I always try to think that if I write something, I might very well have to talk to someone I might be writing about. That doesn’t mean I won’t write something negative. But is it fair? Will I be comfortable to say to them, sorry — but this was justified, this particular tone. And in particular, I think about what if I have to meet someone in person. Would I behave in a particular way in a face-to-face manner? I try to exercise those face-to-face manners online, especially when leaving comments or in forum discussions.

After all, during your Christmas or holiday meals, are you going to leap across the table and start slapping friends and family members if you disagree with them. Will you call them profane names and spit in their faces? OK, so I know it’s not a Hallmark moment for lots of families. But still, we should act online as we’d do in person. Less drama, but we could probably use less of it.