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May 19, 2006

Comments

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Lance McCord

This cracked me up: "Poor Mr Cone, trying to make it in a world he doesn't understand." It's kind of like saying "I hear some crackpot named 'Ford' is trying to make it in the auto industry."

Ed Cone

Well, I'm not exactly a household name...

I don't mean to harsh on the diarist, or to discourage people from being passionate and creative, but this is a live issue for political bloggers of all stripes -- we talked about it when Brad Miller was in town -- and it's good to get it out in the open.

mbair

Lance,

I'm the diarist, who wrote that Mr. Cone doesn't understand the medium he works in and I stand by the comment.

I also got no repsonse from Mr. Cone when he posted on my diary at OAC. I replied to one of your posts last night Mr. Cone and you were on that diary posting this morning you must have just missed my reply. Check this link: Ed Cone at OAC

You opened up a whole new can of worms on that diary and clarified your position that this is about a commercial venture hijacking OAC aid for bandwidth and blogging communities establishing speech norms. Whatever that means.

Please allow me to repost:

I stand corrected

but I still take issue. It's a chat, most of the stuff in there is "junk" by definition. That's what the whole forum is for, it's the least serious mode of communication offered on this site. The chat feature is and I predict will remain the least serious forum out of everything offered here.

Like I said in my reply to NCDem, I didn't think your squiblet, on it's own, merited being singled out. Not until I read the second unfair hit piece on Mrs. Edwards. I tied the two comments together to put some meat on this bone and reiterate the point that blogging pros like yourself are sometimes wrong.

Bluey and your comment here on this thread indicate to me that you feel Edwards is responsible for anything I post on this site. If that's true then I don't know what I'm doing here. Anything I write, by your measure, is fair game to criticize Edwards. So why should I continue to blog half-heartedly hoping that no one will misconstrue what I write or use it against the candidate. I'm not a pro like you. I'm just a person interested in politics and an Edwards supporter.

This is crazy, the answer is not hold our tongues and become a political bromide not worth the server that this blog lives on.

The answer is to fight every step of the way. Every step. Every blog piece. Every day.

I do not believe, as Mr. Cone and Mr. Bluey do, that anything written on any part of the OAC by a blogger not associated with OAC can be fairly attributed to Edwards. That's the failure to understand the medium. There is no way around this guys. Just a way through. Mr. Cone's and Mr. Bluey's sentiments are an obstacle in that path.

Sorry to disrespect "the Henry Ford of blogging", but hey - I'm just an ignorant whacko blogger who doesn't understand the real world of the blogosphere. In reality though, I'm the person you built the OAC blog for. Right? So if you built it for me, but I can't use it then what's the point? Why don't you have a meeting about that.

Oh yeah and Model-T's? They sucked and were available only in black. The line was successful because they were so cheap and thus available to everyone. Plus the man that made Ford into Ford wasn't in fact Ford. It was the engineer that tooled that first factory for the assembly line model. Not an original idea to the Ford Motor Company, that idea came out of the Swift meat packing plants in Chicago and was brought to Michigan and to Ford by that guy. That's what made the Model-T cheap, and Ford a household name.

PotatoStew

"I do not believe, as Mr. Cone and Mr. Bluey do, that anything written on any part of the OAC by a blogger not associated with OAC can be fairly attributed to Edwards."

Who said anything about "fairly"? The point is not whether it's fair to make that attribution, but that your opponents *will* make it, fairly or not.

Fight every step of the way - that's good. But the fight will be easier if you at least consider what ammunition you may be handing out to your opponents.

Lance McCord

mbair,

Unsolicited commercial phone calls are generally considered a nuisance; unsolicited commercial mail is "junk mail;" unsolicited commercial email is "spam;" and when someone jumps into a conversation among friends to try to sell something, that's just rude. So why the freak-out over Ed's statement about "junk comments"? And which of Ed's comments do you read to mean that "anything written on any part of the OAC by a blogger not associated with OAC can be fairly attributed to Edwards"? Maybe your outrage (anger, indignation, whatever) is misplaced.

billg

Connected thoughts:

1. If it hasn't already been done, there's a dissertation that needs to be written on the impact of posting to the net on reason and inhibition.

2. A lot of people need to be reminded that the right to speak freely does not entail the obligation of anyone to listen, or, having listened, to take them seriously. Or any obligation to overlook rudeness.

mbair

PotatoStew,

Okay, so English ain't my strong suit your point on the use of "fairly" is well taken. But you say:

Fight every step of the way - that's good. But the fight will be easier if you at least consider what ammunition you may be handing out to your opponents.

But aren't you arguing for a prevent defense? This fight is not going to be easier if we lay down and play a cautious game. Like I said, there's no way around this problem, but there is a way through. Politcal advisers and pros like Mr. Cone should be leading the way, not pulling in the reigns.

billg

mbair, I'm not sure why you would think Ed Cone is professional political advisor instead of a journalist who blogs.

Nonetheless, the problem with assuming an extreme, winner-take-all apocalyptic stance vis-a-vis the opposition is that you will alienate the majority, who aren't frightened so much by political opinion as they are by extreme, winner-take-all apocalyptic visions, regardless of political coloring.

mbair

Lance,

Unsolicited commercial phone calls are generally considered a nuisance; unsolicited commercial mail is "junk mail;" unsolicited commercial email is "spam;" and when someone jumps into a conversation among friends to try to sell something, that's just rude.
So were you on this chat? Please describe? I don't have a dog in the t-shirt fight. I don't sell cafepress stuff at all. I don't even know what all went down on that chat, I wasn't there. I don't usually chat because chats are full of junk comments. I pretty much blog on political diaries, Kos and OAC only, because I can have a serious and unchatty discussion. But if someone wants to offer a t-shirt or mug or whatever where do they go to do that? Open threads? Isn't that what a chat is? A bunch of open threads entwined together?

So why the freak-out over Ed's statement about "junk comments"?
Because he should know better. OAC has a bunch of different ways into the conversation, each tier of communication is one more step away from the candidate. The chat feature is the farthest tier down.

And which of Ed's comments do you read to mean that "anything written on any part of the OAC by a blogger not associated with OAC can be fairly attributed to Edwards"? Maybe your outrage (anger, indignation, whatever) is misplaced.
These comments by Mr Cone posted on the diary I wrote:
"The other reason, which is at the heart of the post above, is that people who seek to discredit John and Elizabeth Edwards will comb this site for ammunition."

"There's been some talk in this thread about different norms and standards for chat, open blogs, and official blogs. That may be true...but when the chat window has John Edwards' name on the top of it, do participants who are interested in helping Edwards have any obligations that they might not have at, say, DU?"

"I think the key to all this lies in tapping the energy and passion and ideas of a lot of smart people, while recognizing that this is all happening in public; to be fearless but not foolish; and to remember that if you are posting at a site with someone else's name on it, no matter how much freedom they give you, it's ultimately about them, not you."

I'm arguing for more responsibility for what we write on the OAC blog too, like Cone does in that second excerpt. Sadly, we arrive at very different conclusions. I'm not putting my gun down to prevent giving the candidate's opponents ammunition. But then again, I'm just a freaked out blogger, excuse me - a passionate and creative random contributor who offers misplaced outrage, anger, indignation, whatever. That's the web for ya.

I only came over here to throw down because Mr. Cone didn't reply to my post and someone else on the thread threw up this link. Maybe this is just rude to jump into a conversation between friends, but I'm from Boston - it just comes naturally.

mbair

billg,

Connected thoughts:

1. If it hasn't already been done, there's a dissertation that needs to be written on the impact of posting to the net on reason and inhibition.

2. A lot of people need to be reminded that the right to speak freely does not entail the obligation of anyone to listen, or, having listened, to take them seriously. Or any obligation to overlook rudeness.

Okay so I'm stupid and uninhibited because I'm posting on the web and not confronting you face to face, read cowardly - and you call me rude? All rightey...

mbair, I'm not sure why you would think Ed Cone is professional political advisor instead of a journalist who blogs.

Because he wrote this stuff on the diary:
"Just for accuracy's sake: I was actually part of the blogger dinner hosted by with John and Elizabeth Edwards in Georgetown last June, not the recent meeting in California."

"Let me add here that although I have consulted informally with the One America team from time to time, these are my opinions and have not been discussed with staff, John and Elizabeth Edwards, or anyone else."

"I guess I can claim to have followed the JE blog evolution fairly closely: I first mentioned blogging to John Edwards in person in 2002, and I published my first unsolicited advice for the JE'04 campaign in January of '03. For a long time, the campaign was unresponsive, and some supporters were defensive. Still, by August of '03 John was doing his first blog interview at my site, and in Feb 2004 I published the most extensive look inside his web operations during the campaign. As noted above, I met with JE, EE, and staff last summer to discuss web strategy, and I remain in contact with the OAC folks. And I've written a lot about the web and politics, including the first in-depth look at the Dean campaign's web usage in late '03."

He also said that he was asked to comment on the live chat feature by OAC staff. Can't find that quote, sorry I'd throw it up here if I had it. That sounds like a pro and a consultant to me.

Nonetheless, the problem with assuming an extreme, winner-take-all apocalyptic stance vis-a-vis the opposition is that you will alienate the majority, who aren't frightened so much by political opinion as they are by extreme, winner-take-all apocalyptic visions, regardless of political coloring.

Isn't an election winner take all? Last time I checked we don't form coalition governments here and there's one one President. And who do you think goes to blogs like Kos, DU, OAC or any other candidate's website anyway? This is exactly my point. If Joe and Judy swing voter aren't sure what a blog is, then they might be swayed by the political attacks. Unless they know better. It's not for a pro to reinforce the idea that anything written on a blog by a contributor can or should be attributed to the candidate.

As far as alienating the majority with extreme and apocalytic views, did you follow the last election?

Ed Cone

I am a journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on the web and politics. I sometimes get asked to speak to candidates and campaigns about those things. I don't get paid for it, and would refuse pay if it was offered. I'm not a political advisor, as a quick look at Google or the About tab on this blog would show.

Also, I don't know why you keep saying I haven't responded to your post, I've been writing pretty steadily beneath your original post since about 9:15 last night, and you've been quoting the responses here.

The point of your post was that political opponents will seize on blog comments for ammo. I agree.

You seem to think chat doesn't count. I disagree. It's branded OAC and JE. You can argue it's "just chat," good luck.

Then again, you "don't have a dog in the t shirt fight," you don't know "what went down," you don't even pay much attention to chat -- but all that was the main subject of your original response to me. Whatever.

You say you're "arguing for more responsibility for what we write on the OAC blog."

No, wait, one sentence later, you're "not putting [your] gun down to prevent giving the candidate's opponents ammunition."

You think the fabulous original flamethrowing fullthroated voices of the web shouldn't be reminded that their posts at JE-branded blog might possibly have consequences.

Except when they should.

I think that if you want to be helpful to any candidate, you should slow down before posting, and think twice before starting needless flame wars.

Roch101

"OAC has a bunch of different ways into the conversation, each tier of communication is one more step away from the candidate."

Edwards is a candidate?

mbair

I am a journalist and blogger who has reported extensively on the web and politics. I sometimes get asked to speak to candidates and campaigns about those things. I don't get paid for it, and would refuse pay if it was offered. I'm not a political advisor, as a quick look at Google or the About tab on this blog would show.

Your comments on my diary indicated to me that you have consulted for politicians looking to engage on the web. Whether you get a pay check or not is your own business.

Also, I don't know why you keep saying I haven't responded to your post, I've been writing pretty steadily beneath your original post since about 9:15 last night.

You didn't respond to my reply and I didn't want to inject myself into any volley you had with other bloggers on that diary. You chose to post this piece about my diary. If you hadn't done that I would have never come over here.

You "don't have a dog in the t shirt fight," you don't know "what went down," you don't even pay much attention to chat -- but all that was the subject of your original response to me. Whatever.

The way the chat window is set-up at OAC I can see what other chatters are writing when I'm on the site. Right? You've been there, you don't have to be chatting to read the comments.

The point of your post was that political opponents will seize on blog comments for ammo. I agree.

You seem to think chat doesn't count. I disagree. It's branded OAC and JE. You can argue it's "just chat," good luck.

Then by corollary, you support my position. This blog is branded Ed Cone, so since you have chosen to allow this comment then you must agree. Right? Isn't that the same thing?

You say you're "arguing for more responsibility for what we write on the OAC blog."

No, wait, one sentence later, you're "not putting [your] gun down to prevent giving the candidate's opponents ammunition."

Okay that's fair I'm not a very good writer, I'm arguing for bloggers to go out in the sphere and stick up for their candidate. Just blogging isn't enough in the coming race. Haven't you ever heard a disclaimer like "the views expressed here are not necessarily the views of this organization?" Isn't a blog of the OAC type the same thing?

You think the fabulous original flamethrowing fullthroated voices of the web shouldn't be reminded that their posts at JE-branded blog might possibly have consequences.

Except when they should.

That gets back to my first post: "This is crazy, the answer is not hold our tongues and become a political bromide not worth the server that this blog lives on. The answer is to fight every step of the way. Every step. Every blog piece. Every day."

I think this is self-absorbed bullshit by someone who posts without reading, loves the sound of his own angry words, and lobs attacks at people who have been working on this project for years.

What project are you talking about? Are you a journalist that uses the web to publish or what? I didn't know I had to be invited to participate on a blog like this. I thought if a site allowed comments and non-registered or unscreened users to view a post then that was the invitation. Learn something new everyday.

It's not likely to be very helpful to any candidates you support.

Okay, so maybe you're right about that and I should stop blogging over at OAC. You know more about this business then I do. I guess it's true that candidates want people who are strongly committed to them but the cost sometimes is too great. I guess I'm in the net negative column and that's something to think about. I don't post or blog because it's my job. If I have to water everything down or sugar coat the content then what's the point? It's beyond my ability to craft a diary that is bulletproof.

And I'm a she, but you'd have no way of knowing that.

mbair

Roch101,

Edwards is a candidate?

You got me there.

Cara Michele

What's the difference between blogs, online journals and diaries?

Ed Cone

mbair, I don't mean this unkindly, but this is not about you, it's about the OAC site.

I made an observation about a political site I've been following for years. I stand by the points I made, that commercial speech is a questionable use of the OAC site and brand, and that writers at the site need to consider the implications of writing under the OAC/JE banner.

The salient point of your diary entry was that opponents are going to seize on material, unfairly and out of context, to do a campaign harm.

It's an important observation. To argue that it puts no responsibility on writers at a campaign site seems wrong to me.

I have no interest in flame wars. You started one with me, calling me out in a public diary for my observations about a junk comment on chat. Now you say you don't care much about chat, or even know what was said in the chat I referenced...

...but you want to keep arguing, although by now it's less about political speech than about why you got your facts wrong, or whether you should keep writing...Such drama. Save if for your MySpace page.

Ed Cone

CM, diaries are like blogs within blogs. At a large community site like Daily Kos or One America or Red State, there is a front page, and then multiple diary pages that are maintained by individual writers.

'Online journal' seems like it could be applied to a single-writer blog like this one, or to a community site, or a diary at a community site.

mbair

Not good enough, you told me I was full of bullshit, on an ego trip and that my support for any candidate would only hurt them in the end. And you call me a drama queen?

You are wrong, especially since you are a professional in this field, to reinforce the idea that Edwards is responsible for anything written on that site because he has his name on it. The whole concept of the way OAC was built is to separate the "from the podium" posts from the "open mike" or the user generated diaries.

Ed Cone

For someone who dishes it out so freely (and without much regard for the facts), you sure whine a lot when a little comes back your way.

As PS noted above, I'm not reinforcing the idea that politicians are responsible for anything written on their sites -- just pointing out that their opponents will try to score points on them by saying so.

People who are trying to win elections might want to bear that in mind.

John Smith

As a long-time reader of Ed Cone's website, I think Ed Cone here is being unfairly criticized.

He was merely trying to point out that when a candidate opens up a forum online, that commercial or junk postings may cause problems for that candidate down the road. That's it.

Also, if I may make some other observations:
1) Candidates ARE responsible for what is put on their websites whether they wrote it themselves or not. Like it or not, they had better be aware of what's being posted.

2) Campaign workers who feverishly yell and scream online at anyone who has even the least bit of constructive criticism about their candidates DO NOT help their cause. Before this episode I was very supportive of Mr. Edwards, but after seeing MBair's comments, I have to wonder what kind of self-described "whacko" people are working at his campaign. Indeed how a campaign is run is reflective of the candidate.

3) If anyone has ever met Ed Cone then they would know he is a very ethical, moral, and trustworthy journalist who is very open and responsive. For MBair to impugne his credibility and make personal attacks for absolutely no reason shows that she is just trolling the web looking for a fight.

She is obviously an expert on everything, willing to scrap over the smallest of details, taking everyone to task over nothing using personal attakcs and then wondering why everyone calls her out on it. Her endless patronizing arguments are full of hot air and strange statements, like when she pointed out that meat-packing plants in Chicago should get credit for the creation of the Ford Motor Company.

I'm sure she will not like these comments, but...whatever. That's the web for ya. I'm from Boston, so it just comes naturally. Whatever that means.

Benny

Q for Ed Cone:
I stated on the OAC that Elizabeth found out about the power of blogs (for political engagement) via you or her knowledge has been attributed to your advice. Just so I check my comments factually, is that true or not?

I see you visit OAC more often. That's great.

I am not interested in the dogfight as much as I've enjoyed how much interest your comments, along with mbair's have generated in terms of political discourse. She, along with 3 others, do the JRE News Round-up and are superb at that centralization of JRE News. I'm a regular contributor to that weekly diary since we have no other mechanism at present for it.

I do know from lurking at the Tar Heel Tavern, EC.com is one of da blogs to read for NC. Other ones are anonyMoses..and Science & Politics by Bora. One of my posts on my blog was nominated as an honorary one for Tar Heel Tavern, and I'm fortunate to be one of the Idea Consultants.

A lot of us are not journalists such as yourself; we're just bloggers who wish to speak their piece and offer ideas or levity (at times, via OAC chat or some diaries) to the conversations with JRE and EAE, but also learning to be citizen journalists. Many of us are accustomed to the DU and DK models. I hope we don't go in the TPM model, although I like JMM and I know Elizabeth really likes his site.

This morning in case you missed it, I did give an idea to the OAC blogger (that you refer to who peddles on the OAC chat room his/her Anti-bush wares) who could care less about engaging those of us on OAC. I suggested s/he pay 10 bucks and put a sticky on the DU Big Board for his site so that s/he gets more eyeballs for the buck.

I hope to meet you someday, maybe in July 2007. If you keep lurking at OAC blog, you'll know what I mean.

Ed Cone

I can't speak for Elizabeth Edwards as to how much I contributed to her early understanding of political blogging, but she is a longtime reader and commenter here, and (as noted at the OAC site) my comments on and direct conversation with the JE camp go back a long way and continue to this day.

I hear EE said nice things about me during her keynote at the Personal Democracy Forum in New York last week, too :>

I don't consider myself a visionary on this stuff, just a reporter who lucked onto this story relatively early and then wouldn't shut up about it.

Re: voices on campaign sites. There is a balance to be achieved between passion and personal expression on the one hand, and helping (and not hurting) the cause one ostensibly supports on the other. This is not unique to the web. I wouldn't want people carrying signs for my candidate at a polling place if they felt completely unrestrained as to the language and tactics they used there, either.

benny

EC:
Thanks for your answer..sort of. Like the blogosphere.

One thing of note, in case you haven't:

Three letters or words work well for branding. Many of us on OAC notice 3 letters a lot, and we like them. Thus, JRE, EAE, OAC, etc. 3Bubbles, the new chat service provider says is 3--meaning we are a group, not 2 folks--just as you use for JE and EE, but I think we like 3 letters.

John Kerry, Wes Clark, etc, use 2 letters for their brandmarks is yours.

Your choice to use 2 letters or join many of us (including TPM) with 3 letters.

I'll be hangin' around here too.

Benny

Ed Cone

Sorry, but I don't work for a campaign, I'm not pushing a branded product. I'm trying to communicate, not sell.

benny

Likewise Ed Cone..just pointing out something. But if you wish to be in the swing of our blog...3 letters, dude.

U Rock!

Thanks..Benny

Ed Cone

Thanks, Benny. I appreciate what you do, and I'm impressed with the OAC community.

But remember, my independence is one of my most valuable assets. It's valuable to the Edwards camp, too.

NCDem

"But people who are interested in doing more than peddling their mugs and t shirts might want to consider that an open forum provided by a campaign involves some degree of user responsibility, too.

And other members of that community might consider what the norms of the community are going to be, and how to create an online culture that encourages individuality and passion without encouraging behavior that is at best distracting and at worst harmful to a campaign"

Ed:

Of course we have considered that we should be mindful of how we post. But, by the same token, John and Elizabeth cannot be held responsible for what someone else says. Therefore, to say what some blogger posts on their website can be damaging to their campaign is a stretch. How can John and Elizabeth be responsible for what millions of people say?

While we are not paid representatives of the campaign, the majority of us that are regulars on that blog, do try to exercise good judgment when volunteering for the Edwardses, whether it be in their physical campaign office (as many of us did during the GE), at an event or working to help keep their blog going.

The poster that posted a link to his mugs, etc, is not even a regular OAC poster but a newbie.

BTW, my cafepress items are sold at cost. I have no mark up on my items and I'm pleased to see how many people are buying them but I see nothing wrong for those who are selling their items with some markup, letting people know about it, on the OAC blog as long as they don't spam the site with that info.

Ed Cone

NCD, Potato Stew addressed the issue of user-generated content near the top of this thread.

The fact that it's not fair or reasonable to hold a candidate responsible for everything posted at a branded site will not keep people who wish to harm the candidate from trying to use such material to harm the candidate.

That's why the community on a site needs to be mindful of the issue. I've discussed this at OAC in terms of community norms and reactions.

You can't go through life, or a campaign, scared.

But you can go through smart.

Funny thing, when the JE'04 campaign was not really doing much very well on the web, I critiqued their efforts here. People were defensive. It flared up in public at the first Harvard Bloggercon in October 2003. I got flames that made jbair's rants look like love letters.

Eventually, many of the issues I and others raised were addressed...but it too late in the game.

Now I've raised some basic questions about what represents appropriate content at a campaign site. It's not apocalyptic stuff, nor am I claiming to have all the answers. But it seems a worthwhile conversation to be having now, rather than too late.

NCDem

Thanks for the reply, Ed.

As I said, we have discussed those things and are aware that we need to continue to.

We also have a TOS, that we, the regular posters, fought for. To say that is not being "defensive," it is reiderating what I've said because you continue to make the same suggestion which is premised on the idea that we have not considered such things.

For instance, with the TOS, we fought for that on the new blog because there wasn't one on the old blog (or it wasn't enforced) and we saw the damage it did. So, in that respect, we are in agreement that there needs to be some control over content and that we are mindful of post content.

I think the damage was more that it drove off other posters not that anyone held the Edwardses' responsible for the comments.

I think so far, the OAC web team is doing an excellent job at moderating the new site. In fact, there have been numerous comments deleted and they are highly responsive to our suggestions.

I value your perspective and hope you continue to spend time at the OAC blog.

I think we all agree that this new blog has a lot of potential and is an indication of how seriously the Edwardses take the netroots.


Thanks again.

Ed Cone

I am impressed by the OAC site, and the community there.

I also appreciate the fact that when mbair flamed me for pointing out what I saw at the chat and raising questions about it (after I had been emailed by the Edwards team to ask what I thought of the new chat function), other writers (including you) starting chiming in with calm responses to the effect that maybe I wasn't an evil ignorant troll after all. Nobody flamed back at mbair. It was exactly the kind of community response I would hope for.

These issues of community don't get resolved once and forever, with a decree or a TOS. They come up again and again, as new people join and passions run high.

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