Questions About Blogging
By Arnold Kling
1) Why do you read blogs?
2) Why do you read economics blogs, specifically?
3) What are your favourite economics blogs?
4) Even more specifically, why do you read this blog?
5) What are your favourite blog features?
6) What aspects of blogging annoy/repel you?
7) What would you like to see more of on economics blogs in general, and specifically on this one?
8) Are there things that aren’t currently found on economics blogs that you would like to see?
9) If you were a vegetable, what vegetable would you be? This is our demographic control question.
Here are my answers:
1 and 2. Blogs remind me of Bernie Saffran, the late economics professor. His teaching style was conversational. Also, he was constantly recommending interesting things to read. That is what blogs do.
3. Greg Mankiw and Marginal Revolution have lapped the field.
4. I read Asymmetrical Information because Megan McArdle (aka “Jane Galt”), a former English major, is one of the best writers in the blogosphere. She also has interesting things to say. For example, see this post on war from when she guest-blogged on Instapundit.
5-6. Links and trackbacks are good (the latter can be spammed, unfortunately). Unpoliced comments are bad. I think we have the best comment policing strategy, which is to warn commmenters who are getting too personal and, if they fail to adjust, banning them. My theory is that for every bad commenter you ban, several good commenters come out of the woodwork.
7. I’d like to see more back-and-forth disagreements among economics bloggers. My sense is that such disagreements can be clarifying. On Asymmetrical Information, I’d like to see more posts by Zimran Ahmed (aka “winterspeak”). He is an interesting and brilliant guy.
8. I think that somebody should come up with a statistical filter for reading blogs, sort of like the statistical filter that I use for spam. If you were to combine the aggregation features of Economics Roundtable with a statistical algorithm that learns my preferences, I think it would improve things a lot. An unfiltered aggregator gives me too many posts to consider and still misses posts that I would like to read.
9. If I were a vegetable, then I would be ketchup, and hence controversial.