17 March 2009

Assholes Welcome

Former Blawg Review Sherpa Diane Levin has suggested that a "No Assholes Rule" might be warranted for Blawg Review, in light of GeekLawyer's #203 published yesterday. As I commented at her blog, I respectfully disagree:
I tend to disagree with you (and with GeekLawyer, it seems). While Blawg Review is about gathering the best legal blogging each week, it is also about celebrating free expression and allowing each host to put his or her mark on the review. There are few rules by design and I think that this is one reason for Blawg Review’s success. I’ve not read “The No Asshole Rule”, but my impression is that it counsels against allowing assholes to derail a group endeavor or to drive out the less… er, extroverted members of the group. I don’t think that either has occurred here.

For all its profanity and bluster, GeekLawyer’s Blawg Review #203 not just accomplishes the aims of Blawg Review — to gather great legal blogging and present that collection on time and with polish — but excels. As I mentioned in my own review, this is a somewhat shocking presentation and, as you and others have noted, not safe for work. That being said, however, not everything that is worthwhile is safe for work and, moreover, Blawg Review is not work.

I don’t think that a “no assholes” rule would make Blawg Review better, any more than a “no politics” rule, a “no pop culture” rule, or a “no depressing news” rule would. One person’s collegiality is another’s boredom. We need a little color now and again, in Blawg Review as in everything else; granted, a GeekLawyer every week would kill the project, but so would a Colin Samuels every week.

The strength of Blawg Review is that it is hosted by, collects posts by, and is read by all sorts. I wouldn’t want to start determining which personalities and viewpoints fit the “personality” and “viewpoint” of Blawg Review because it doesn’t and shouldn’t have these. It has few rules, but it is and should remain inclusive of anyone who can live with these. GeekLawyer has, in my opinion, produced an outstanding Blawg Review. It’s outstanding, period, not outstanding in spite of the profanity or because of it.

Not every Blawg Review will satisfy all members of the audience every week, but a vibrant, healthy Blawg Review project will maintain and build its audience. It will be worth reading regularly, whether or not it meets one’s own expectations of legal blogging or collegiality.


Diane Levin said...

Colin, hold your fire, buddy.

I guess my efforts at irony here with this post were far too subtle, since you missed the fact that my tongue was firmly planted in my cheek. That’s the problem with the written word - the casual reader does not always discern the glint in the writer’s eye. Will obviously need to do better next time.

Thanks however for your stirring defense of Blawg Review. As a proud former BR sherpa, I would gladly take up arms against all foes and join the fray by your side.

Colin Samuels said...

My apologies then for my overwrought response! If only HTML had a "glint" tag!