Friday, 11 March 2005

any savage can dance

quoth Fitzwilliam Darcy, ever so pompously; and it seems that now any idiot can blog.

I'm dimly aware that there are standards of blogging etiquette and it would be unfortunate to breach those conventions, especially if the gaffe created offence where none was meant, but at the same time I don't want to go setting up rules and such for myself without understanding the reasons for them.

Take this thing about not editing or backdating, for instance. I understand that these are taboo practices because they disrupt the contract between blogger and reader that the blogger is archiving successive (genuine) states of self ('states' as in impressions or prints). And that's fair enough, in a way. But at the same time, the contract guarantees a fiction (since you can redraft and re-order drafts before publishing, and of course, you can fictionalise (or fib all you like about) the most basic material.

I don't really get why you'd want to backdate an entry (unless in the service of alibi augmentation) but editing and revision strike me as quite a different issue: the live publishing format allows you to go back to something relatively off the cuff and unprocessed, and work it until it's considerably more worthwhile. And given the open-access nature of weblogging, it seems a bit fraught to rule out second thoughts. I'd have thought that this would result in more self-censorship, not less, since you'd be reluctant to write anything that seemed a bit iffy. Whereas, if you knew you could always come back to something, you might be more inclined to put it down regardless and spend a few days seeing how it wore.

Well, it's interesting. The linking thing is a bit of a puzzle also. Negotiating the the degree of reciprocality and obligation involved in linking elsewhere (and in being linked too, I suppose) is way beyond me at this point. And I don't intend to go too far into the subject yet, because I'd like to avoid spending much mental time on what looks to me (a newcomer) like an exclusive club rather than a social network. That is the sort of impression which tends to eventually recede. Meanwhile, better things beckon.