Monday, June 22, 2009

Don't---Let the Blogwars Begin

Thanks to everyone who commented on the post I put up this morning. I do appreciate the feedback-- though I fear I may have fallen victim to a faux-controversy. I asked you all about giveaways honestly. I wanted to know if what I have going on is too much of a good thing. Most of you said no-problem, keep 'em coming. And a few hinted that maybe a weekly post listing the giveaways would be a good way to go (I think that's a good idea as well). I asked you the question in response to a post by another blogger who used the phrase "when do you ever stop whoring yourself out?" in his post title and mentions (not by name) blogs that do giveaways in the body of the post. I, being the naive little thing that I am, defended the practice and received some snide remarks in response (as I quoted in my other post) which is why I looked to the readers of this blog to tell me what they think about giveaways-- good or bad. Silly me, I thought that would be the end of it. But there's something I didn't know about the other blogger-- he's a bit of an instigator. He has a new post up now, mentioning me by name and commenting on the "tribalism" going on over here. Apparently, if you comment in support of me, you are part of a "mob" rushing to defend a member of your tribe. Okaaaay. I started to write a response to the new post, but I deleted it. I figure, why give him the satisfaction? I read a comment on another blog that said that this kind of thing is something this blogger does on purpose-- to generate controversy and discussion on his blog. I guess you could say it's his own version of whoring himself out. So, I'm going to ask you all a favor. I'm not mentioning him by name or blog here because I don't want to encourage the tactics of going after other bloggers to gain attention to oneself. And I'm going to request that anyone who reads this, who knows the blogger in question, that you refrain from commenting on his blog or defending me. Lets not give him what he wants and maybe he'll learn to have a little class in the future.


PeterWilliam said...

For what it's worth, I saw that same post/blog earlier today. I wasn't sure why someone would throw that out there. Bored? Looking for a fight? Who knows? Either way, you're probably taking the best route possible. No worries - see you around.

Dhympna said...

Should I grunt and dance around in a tribalesque manner? ;)
Keep doing what you are doing--you are appreciated!


SQT said...


I vote bored and looking for attention. No big deal. Thanks for stopping by.


Hmmm... Maybe I should come up with a name for my tribe? Nah. That assumes I have one.

Wendy said...

I don't know that blogger and even if I did, I wouldn't bother to comment on his post. And I don't think you should either, so good job on not dropping down to his level. :)

timpoirier said...

Feel free to send him in my direction. I can tell him of an easier, less offensive way to get people to comment on his blogs.

Basically, do like I did. Ask the people who you respect most to give their feedback.

It worked for me that one time I asked you to stop by.

Cynnie said...

dammit i missed the tribal wars :(

SQT said...


I'm slow sometimes, but I do learn. :)


Some people will take attention any way they can get it I guess.


Damn, I could have used you.

RD Williams said...

I look at it like this. People read a blog because they find something in it that they like. If people don't like giveaways they just won't read your blog. Sounds to me like this other blogger is just throwing things out there like a 'shock jock' on the radio, seeing if he can stir the pot. *shrug* His blog, his business.

I think you do a wonderful blog by the way. :) Tribe name? LOL

DesLily said...

SQT you have been here doing your thing for some time now.. just do what you do. 'nuff said.

Plinydogg said...


Seriously do not stress over this. Regardless of the cause, these little tiffs break out all the time, as you know. When I first started SFJ, the controversies du jour were about what constituted a real review and whether or not bloggers should be paid. As others have already said, just do what you want you to do and move on.

furiousBall said...

I'm loosening up my feces flinging arm right now.

Hagelrat said...

generally I give away books I do not want to hang on to, why not let someone else enjoy them and it's a nice bonus to see comments form some of the people who usually lurk. I don't do many and I don't think they bring me new readers. If you get a lot of review copies, or multiple copies why the heck wouldn't you spread the joy?
As for people stirring, meh, let 'em do what they need to do. You have your dignity and your readers.

SQT said...


I strongly suspect that this is just an attempt to stir the pot. People keep saying that whatshisname is an "intellectual" and in many ways he is. But it's not a catch-all that lets him off the hook when he's being deliberately insulting. And I do believe it's deliberate.


Yeah, no real reason to change anything.


I'm realizing that some people love a controversy.


Aim that way.


Thanks for assuming I still have some dignity. ;)

Charles Gramlich said...

They call 'em blog trolls for a reason. What they want is attention. Don't give 'em any and they'll fade away.

SQT said...


To be fair, he really isn't a troll. He just likes to exploit a "discussion" to drive traffic to his blog. I think he relishes an argument.

Michelle G said...

It sounds very similar to those 'shock jocks' on the radio. If there is enough controversy - more people will want to listen to the radio show. I guess he thinks the same thing applies to his blog.

I've never been one to listen to that type of radio program, tv show or (now) blog.

I think you did the best thing. Ignore him. Eventually he will move on to his next topic. :)


And does out tribe have a name? I think it should have a literary ring to it.....LOL

AndrewPrice said...

Wow, what an a~hole, pardon my French.

It sounds like a pretty desperate attempt to get attention for his blog. And you're 100% right to ignore him.

On the issue itself, it strikes me as downright stupid. How exactly do you "sell out" as a blogger? The only way I can see someone selling out is if they start changing their opinions to make a sponsor happy, and I don't see how a giveaway does that at all.

As for the claim of tribalism, that's typical defensiveness. When people can't win their argument with logic, they attack the other side. That's all it is.

This guy sounds like a loser.

SQT said...


On a small scale it is. Whatshisname doesn't use Twitter or any other medium to drive traffic to his blog, he pretty much relies on word-of-mouth. Which is why I think he likes these little dust-up's.


The whole "tribalism" thing irked me because it's a blatant attempt to discredit anyone who disagrees with him without addressing the disagreement at the heart of the debate. He likes to fall back on his credentials as an "intellectual" in situations like this. But really, isn't using a strategy from the Alinsky playbook intellectually dishonest? I think so.

AndrewPrice said...


I would have been irked too about the tribalism comment, I think you've read it right.

I don't know who this guy is (I'm assuming it's Steven King -- hate that guy), but I have found that most people who hold themselves out as intellectuals are basically arrogant pretenders. And the attempt to discredit everyone with whom he disagrees as tribalism is just more proof that he's a poser. Real intellect doesn't have to attack people.

SQT said...


Lol! I should be so lucky to have King come after me.

AndrewPrice said...

Sqt, I'm sure that can be arranged. Of course, you might do a little time. . . ;-)

Harry Markov: daydream said...

What can I say? The guy has an opinion, which I think he stated rationally and you responded rationally, but somehow the friction started quite a spark. It is true that giveaways generate hype, I mean who doesn't like free stuff. Also there are people that love the hype and the web-hits so they use this as a tool to generate interest in their blog. So I agree with him partially.

Do I feel like everybody has these ulterior motives? Not really and from what I know from the bloggers I personally follow that handle giveaways, I can conclude the lack of such motives. The reaction that commenters started over here is because as frequent readers, people more or less develop some connection of endearment. And if your friends see you are hurt, then more or less they are going to respond. This is my view of the matter, because you do communicate on quite a personal level with everybody that comments, so it's natural. This is not to say you have a tribe, because it would mean that your readers are more or less mindless and easy to manipulate.

As a final thought, I think that especially when it comes to a large community that deals with literature, there shouldn't be such conflicts, since we are all smart people to be above such quarrels.

Okay I think I'm done.

Terry Weyna said...

Interesting response to a post that was originally a bit of self-criticism by a blogger who thought he wasn't writing enough reviews lately. For the record, the criticism that came at you was from people other than the blogger -- and wasn't even entirely directed at you, but at those whose blogs consist of virtually nothing but press releases, giveaways and interviews without ever posting original material requiring critical thought. I don't think that's you, but if you're holding the post up to a mirror and seeing yourself reflected, perhaps you should consider what that means.

Me, I think there's room for your blog and that blog all on the same vast interwebs.

SQT said...


Thanks for coming by and commenting.

I actually didn't think Larry was referring to me. If you go back and read my comments I didn't say I hope you're not talking about me.... I just thought I'd throw in a defense of the practice of giveaways.

I did understand that Larry was referring to himself in most of the post, but as you can see from the comment stream, a lot of people thought there were some subtle jabs at other blogs. I waded into the conversation with the intention to defend giveaways, not become the poster child for them.

I was annoyed at McCalmont's comments. I guess he isn't good at an online tone, but I did honestly wonder if giveaways were annoying so I thought, what the heck, ask the question on my own page. I chose to let people know that I was in the middle of a conversation elsewhere and the tone of the conversation. Maybe I shouldn't have. But I wasn't looking to start something up with Larry.

So I was peeved when he wrote the second post and used my name because it seemed geared to inflame tempers. The whole "tribe" thing did seem like an ad hominem attack designed to stir things up more. I figured I'd reply-- in a roundabout manner. But also try to contain the argument so it would go on and on. I also put the post up because I saw that some people were already Twittering about Larry's post, and I didn't want everyone to start getting all wound up over it. I just wanted it to die a quick death.

But thanks for coming by and offering your thoughts. I do appreciate it.

SQT said...

Oh, and I love how the fact that I asked people not to jump into the fray supposedly proved Larry's point about tribalism. Yeah, Larry's tribe isn't jumping in to defend his ad hominem attack and doing exactly what Larry wants-- which is dismiss any points I may have made to the original argument. That context has totally been scrapped so that Larry can create a new controversy-- which I have no doubt he'll run with as soon as he can formulate his thoughts.

I've gotten some emails from people detailing Larry's activities at other web-sites that demonstrate his proclivity to starting fights to generate traffic. I'm not the only one, by a long shot, that thinks this is deliberate.

Unlike Larry, I won't be posting about his shenanigans in order to keep a fight going. This is his game, not mine.

SQT said...


I didn't notice your comment until now-- sorry about that.

FWIW I think Larry hides behind the "rational" tone he tries to put out, when in fact, there's nothing rational about going after other bloggers-- something he is known to do.

The fact is, he got us talking about the whole "tribalism" thing when it had nothing to do with the original conversation. He's got a cute little strawman built up here and something tells me he's been itching to try it out for awhile. It's designed as a no win for me if I comment on it at all because it's going to generate conversation and hence-- speak to the "tribe." What a bunch of baloney. All this back and forth is childish and not at all "rational." And if Larry is half the grown-up he claims to be, he'll stop using other blogs as examples of what not to do in the blogging world. But I'm not betting on it.

Terry Weyna said...

I know Jonathan personally from a class I took with him last year, and I like him very much. I wouldn't define him as a troll, because I think of trolls as those who just stir up stuff without adding anything -- and while I don't think that Jonathan always (perhaps never?) expresses himself tactfully, I think he has interesting opinions. There are many ways in which he is a negative indicator for me, in fact: if he doesn't like something, I know I should probably grab it and read it right away! (Abigail Nussbaum has the same effect on me.)

I'm not writing as anyone's tribe, or at least I don't think I am; I always feel like the kid who's on the outside looking in from any community. I *was* one of the people who was concerned that I was being criticized, because I'd been away from my blog for awhile (I've now posted four reviews in four days, so I feel a little better!).

I'm sorry if you feel that I'm just here as a defender rather than someone with an opinion of my own; but I don't really think that's what you've said, and I don't want to read anything negative into your post, because I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Heh. No, seriously, I expect to hang around here and comment more, if you don't mind -- I've added you to my favorites list and will be interested in following you. (No, not a threat -- a promise!) I invite you to do the same at my place: Reading the Leaves is my beloved blog, read by few, but with my heart poured into it. Constructive criticism always welcome.

SQT said...


Please don't think I read anything negative into your comments. I was really pleased to see you here. I'm sure Johnathan's a good guy. It's just easy to misinterpret comments on a blog because there's no subtleties added-- like vocal inflection. I didn't really get peeved until my name was used. I don't do that on my blog. I link to other blogs to announce contests and such, but never to engage in a dispute. I never mentioned Larry's blog and I won't in the future.

At any rate, I'm flattered that you'd link to me and I'll be sure to visit your site as well.