Snark, civility, and the “loyal opposition”(?)

Denizens of the Bloggernacle will no doubt be aware of the Snarker, a mysterious entity whose raison d’etre seems to be to serve up doses of caustic snarkiness to the Mormon blogs. Things seem to have heated up (again) and perhaps it is time for the Bloggernacle to offer its own thumbs-up or thumbs-down to the blue smurf and his/her friends. By turns both hilarious and mean, Snarkernacle has both delighted and dismayed. Fans say the ‘nacle needs a loyal opposition — a Daily Show — to offer a vital needle to the inflated egos that float about ’round here; others feel hurt (either personally or empathetically) by below-the-belt snarks and obsessive witchhunts that seem to target only certain blogs or bloggers.

Some time ago BCC hosted a civility pledge. Can snark ever be civil? Should the ‘nacle support Snarkey? Was the Mormon Archipelago right to boot them? Should the curtain be pulled back? For sure, Team Snarkernacle will tread its own path, but perhaps the feedbackers could use some (civil) feedback. I suppose the Snarkers would point out that no-one is forced to read Snarkernacle. Is that relevant?

Comments

  1. My take:

    I’ve been snarked. In fact, I think I was snarked in Snarkey’s first week. Thankfully, Ronan-snark has always been civil, so I have never felt personally affronted. I read SN every day; sometimes they’re funny, sometimes not. On the whole, I think they’re a useful ego-bust…

    …but sometimes they go too far, straying from snark to personal attack. Clearly they have it in for T&S and certain of their bloggers. The snark is not always fair and balanced, and that’s unfortunate.
    I think one would have to snark anonymously for it to work. This has unfortunate side-effects however: I have been asked on several occasions whether I am the SN. I doubt I’m the only one who’s been asked this. Anyway, I’m not. Full disclosure: I have on occasion emailed SN (not T-shirt worthy though, alas!),* but I have no solid proof as to who he/she is.
    So, my advice is: be snarky but do so with a wink and a laugh. Above all, be funny. When they’re funny, they’re really funny.

    Oh, and lest we forget, Snarkernacle crushed all in the vote for Best New Blog 2005. Were we all wrong, or did something change?

    *Can we buy MSTP shirts?

  2. When I got snarked in the early snarking days, I was flattered. Blogging is all about eyeballs, and I figured the Snark could bring me some.

    After Snark retired and turned the reigns over to Snarkette, I think the tone changed. It’s not so funny, really, and it’s meaner.

    I unbookmarked it about a week ago, and haven’t really missed it much.

  3. Anonymous snark is typically banal crap. I don’t see anything that you claim as positive coming from it. If you’re going to be a critic, then be a critic and take responsability for what you say. The Daily Show offers full disclosure.

    I’m not saying that coming out would change the quality of the content, but it may add a bit of responsability.

  4. I unbookmarked most of the LDS blogs a few weeks ago, and haven’t missed them much either.

    I think the snarker could chill occasionally, but there are moments of brilliance on that blog.

  5. Overall, thumbs down. I don’t visit there much but I have noticed that they are often funny and not inappropriate, but almost as often they are just mean, and sometimes extremely so. In my opinion, there’s no excuse for that. None.

    I was surprised the MA ever listed it in the first place. I wouldn’t see a problem with it if they would keep within the limits of civility (I do think snark can be civil), but they just don’t.

  6. Mark IV says:

    Contra Stapley, I see some value in anonymous snarking, precisely because it isn’t criticism in the sense of a back and forth reasonable discussion. There is a pretty high pompousness to content ratio in the mormon blogosphere, and a good ego-bust, to use Ronan’s words, is occasionally in order.

    When you go to SN, you go expecting to see something a little overblown. It is not necessary to know the identity of the court jester in order to appreciate the role he plays. I also think there is a lot less banal crap at SN than there is in the bloggernacle in general. Whoever is behind it has set a standard for consistent, high quality content. Granted, there are some missteps, but I give SN a grade of A-.

  7. The Snarkernackle is bringing out the worst in most, it seems. There was a time when I was pretty Snarker-loyal, but I think lately it has gotten a little mean, and less interesting.

    For all the meanness, there is one thing T&S should get out of all of this: they’re still a power blog, but if they don’t change their own tone pretty soon, they may not be for long. Snarker is contentious, but T&S is pretentious and esoteric, for the most part, and it’s going to cost them readers in the long run.

    As for snark on or not… I don’t know. The meanness is distasteful, but even more distasteful than the actual snarks are the comments on the site. I mean, what kind of Gospel living people are we supposed to be, hiding behind annonimity in order to be total assess (on both sides)?

  8. Kristine says:

    Crystal, I’ll grant you “esoteric,” but the T&S folks are generally not pretentious. I’ve met many of them, and they really are *that* nerdy (and that smart). You should see the e-mails fly when they get going about some bit of legal esoterica or economic theory or New Testament Greek quibbles. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, for sure, and it probably doesn’t have the kind of broad appeal that many other blogs do. I’m not sure that having a huge readership is the most important thing to most of the permabores–it’s just a bunch of Mormon geeks talking to each other about geeky Mormon things. I happen to love it, even though I generally feel like a complete idiot when I wade in.

    I’m always a little puzzled when people are so offended by the academic tone of some of the discussions (though, in truth, it’s mostly pretty low-level by any reasonable academic standard). Why not just say “hmm–not my thing” and move on?

  9. Mark IV says:

    Crystal, there is at least one thing worse that being an anonymous ass, and that is being one live and in person. Take it from one who knows. :-)

    Again, I think anonymous snarks have value, not in spite of, but because of, the anonymity. Usually when the snark swings and misses, it is because the discussion is becoming personal. It would be much worse if we actually knew a name.

  10. I’ve been the target of the Snarker as much as (or more than) anyone. And I was pleased as punch to add his scalp to my collection when he banned me.

    That said, I stopped reading the snarker in November of 2005. To the extant that I ever learned about snarker content, other people emailed or IM’d it to me, and I only ever commented there to poke fun at him for snarking me or to register my objections to his treatment of others.

    In any case, I completely agree with Mark IV.

  11. I don’t read the Snarker anymore, and I don’t have much to say about it one way or the other. If people get some enjoyment out of it great! (Same goes for my posts–if people like them, great!) If not, then don’t visit. Although the Snarker would be free to keep writing in solitude if s/he wants, it seems unlikely to me that s/he would.

  12. Kristine, there is a sense in which the general “feel” of T&S is quite pretentious. Specifically, they tend to have (a) an exaggerated sense that people should generally respect the loftiness or importance of their posts, and (b) a tendency to view their own opinions as unquestionably decisive (something I do freely as a commenter, but try to do more sparingly when my post creates a thread). Both of these are occupational hazards in blogging (BCC does the same thing occasionally) but T&S tends to be more guilty of them in general than the other blogs, and I think that this contributes to the accumulation of a general sense of fatigue with them over time. Lastly, I think that they have a basic disconnect when it comes to evaluating and understanding their brand.

    That said, the snarker’s jihad against the members of T&S was mystifying to me.

  13. Weirdly, snarker accuses practically every anonymous or psuedonymous commenter of being me or Nate. For the record (and contra snarker’s regular statements), I’m not the “biggest fan” commenter. When I’ve commented at snarker — which isn’t often — I’ve generally done so under my own name.

    (I did put together the stalkernacle spoof site, but everyone knows that — I never made that any secret.)

    Snark wasn’t bad at first, but of late they’ve just been petty and vindictive over there. And proud of the pettiness and vindictiveness. Like Dave, I find the recent change in tone pretty mystifying.

    Also, Dave, I hope you respect the importance and loftiness of this comment. It’s a damned important comment, you know. And a hell of a lot loftier than yours, too.

  14. Seth R. says:

    I don’t care about the anonymity.

    Like I’m supposed to know whether most of you are for real or not anyway … (although I assume you are, just to be nice).

    Typically, I enjoy the Snarkernacle. About 70% of the stuff gets a grin out of me.

    And honestly, some threads really deserve to be made fun of. Come on! You know posters on the infamous sex thread on FMH had it coming to them.

    However, I agree with DKL. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS STUPID VENDETTA ON T&S?

    I mean, sure T&S gets a bit dry and academic and all. And yeah, I admit I’ve been reading it less and less since I just don’t have the brain power to spare to plough through a lot of their posts. Sometimes it just feels like too much of a chore, so I’ve been straying elsewhere.

    But come on! The attacks have been relentless.

    Part of this seems to extend from when Heather Oman made the mistake of actually engaging SN and taking them to task. Back then, I thought the snarks at Nate were fairly mild. But they gradually took a nasty turn once Heather started jumping on them every time Nate’s name was mentioned. Perhaps, she was a part of escalating it.

    But I don’t think it’s really Heather’s fault things went like this. She’s hardly the first “public figure” to make the mistake of engaging the peanut gallery.

    None of what she did justified the completely one-sided, disproportionate assault launched not only on Nate, but anyone connected with him. This wasn’t just good-natured ribbing, it was like a concerted campaign to smack Nate down whenever he posted anything (no matter what it was).

    Of course, the worst crime of all was that the posts knocking T&S generally weren’t very funny (although the one on Adam: Tupperware kleptomaniac was charming enough). But overall, they tended to recycle the same material.

    And I have no idea what happened with the Julie M. Smith post. It’s like the Snarker went off his medication or something. That was crossing the line. It wasn’t even pretending humor anymore. They crossed into flat-out hatred territory.

    Oh yeah, the stream of profanity in the comments was a real homey touch as well. Way to go guys.

  15. There have been times when the snarker is hilarious. Most of the times she’s mildly amusing. They’re in a wonderful position to be a light-hearted reminder to not take ourselves too seriously. To call us to repentence, if you will, with humor.
    What I don’t get is the very pointed, very hateful posts that surface every now and then. When I read those I’m embarrassed to keep their link on my page. I think their most recent post was the last straw for me.

  16. Steve Evans says:

    I don’t know that you could call me a Snarkernacle “fan.” I don’t like much of what he/she/they write. But I agree wholeheartedly with Ronan’s sentiments, namely that Snarker serves/d a valuable purpose in pushing our buttons, deflating our egos, and holding a mirror up to pretense (yes, Kris, pretense!).

    Obsessive witchhunts are something of a familiar topic to me. So are personal attacks. I don’t really like any of them. So overall, no — I can’t say that I am a true fan of the Snarker. But I hold the site in esteem as something potentially valuable, even vital. If Snarker did not exist, we would have created him, because we need him.

    The loyal opposition is more than a court jester buffooning the King. It is a check on the power and influence of the majority. Snarker doesn’t quite fill that role — he’s more of the jester, showing Lear his foolishness, and crassly, too at times. But I welcome his presence, however crass, because of what he represents. Hopefully, his snark and criticism of our overdrawn wisdom will keep us grounded.

  17. Steve, though I agree with the principle you are holding up, I think that the Snarker rarely actually served as a check on egoism, the power of the majority (though I’m not sure what that means in this case), or much else. By consistently going too far, he made it easy not to take him seriously.

  18. Steve Evans says:

    Jim, you’re right, of course. I don’t think he succeeded. But I love the fact that he tried, albeit in a flawed and human way.

    Oh, and power of the majority? I have no idea what I meant. I suppose I meant that larger blogs with larger readership have potential to reach out to more people, to make more of a difference and to hold sway. With great power comes great responsibility, as Uncle Ben said. I know we’re only talking about blogging, but y’know sometimes people get big heads even about something silly like that.

  19. Steve,

    Granted, some level of loyal opposition probably improves the bloggernacle dynamic. But I think most everyone agrees on that threshold point. The real question is, is SnarkerNacle that loyal opposition?

    Let’s see. Just in the past few days, they’ve called Frank, Nate, Julie, me, and others “stupid,” “dumb,” and “morons.” They’ve mock the family members and life events of T&S bloggers. They call the group T&Stards. They’ve done all this from the cover of anonymity.

    Oh, and in the midst of it all, they griped at Julie for not being _civil_.

    This course of action is, alas, pretty normal for them. They’ve been doing the same things for months now. It’s mean, petty, vindictive, and personal.

    You know a little about personal attacks. You’ve been attacked before, for Banner and other things. Not very pleasant.

    And at its worst though, it’s 300-comment worst, the Bannergate threads never came close to the Snarker’s level of vitriol. No one called you a stupid dumb bastard on the T&S thread. No one insulted your wife or family.

    Yep, there is a role for loyal opposition. Filling that role, though, requires some level of good judgment and knowing when to stop. And it’s clear that the current Snarkernacle crew doesn’t have that level of judgment.

    Because of that, the site does two things wrong. First, it _doesn’t_ fill its role of loyal opposition, because it’s so obsessively mean. Second, it does harm. It hurts people. Real people. And it takes glee in doing so. (See recent posts; see also recent Snarkette comments gleefully claiming credit for poking other commenters in the eye, and so on.)

    If you think that the bloggernacle is helped out by the presence of a site that calls Nate (and Heather, and me, and Julie, and Frank, and Dave, and others) stupid dumb bastards and morons — well, I guess you’re entitled to your opinion. My opinion differs.

  20. Kaimi, I believe we’re better off for the Snarker. Your opinion differs, as perhaps it should.

  21. I’m surprised at how many people find the Snarker funny. I think most–if not all–of his satire falls pretty flat. Wit in no way justifies meanness, but if you’re going to be that mean, you darned well better be funny. The Snarker just isn’t.

  22. Steve,

    Well, we’ve discussed this before. I’m not sure what exactly you’re differing on. That the level of virtiol was greater at T&S? I guess that’s a judgment call. The factual assertions, though — you weren’t called a stupid bastard; there were no attacks on your family — are correct. The assessment of the comparative meanness or wrongness of the two may differ depending on the reader.

    But in any case, they both contain elements of personal attacks.

    Based on our discussions, I believe that you think that you’re the best party to assess the level of personal attack in the T&S Bannergate threads. (If that’s wrong, please let me know.) Well, if the victim decides the level of harm in a thread, then you’re _not_ the best person to assess the harmfulness of SnarkerNacle, are you? Shouldn’t the ones to assess harm there be the victims as well? And so if you’re the best person to assess the harm of the Bannergate threads, then the best ones to assess the harm of SnarkerNacle are me, and Dave, and Nate, and Heather, and Julie. Right?

    The Bannergate thread was in many ways an abomination. But it did eventually end, after a mere 300 comments. I’ve heard it characterized as an “open wound” — but even so, it was a wound that was left alone after a few days. Let me ask you this — how would you have feel if that thread, and the personal attacks in it, continued on a blog dedicated almost solely to personal attacks on you and your friends, with new posts and new personal attacks every day, for months on end?

    There’s more than one open wound in the bloggernacle, buddy. We’re not better off for either of them.

  23. *sigh*

    So you don’t like the snarker, Kaimi. I get it.

  24. Jared E. says:

    I think the whole dynamic of this is so interesting. Do you think it could have turned out any other way? It was inevitable that a real fight began. If the snark is ever truly discovered and eradicated, someone else will rise to take the snarks place, and I bet the same thing will happen.

    Why do we really have to take ourselves so seriously?

  25. It’s more than that, Steve. There’s a pretty striking similarity of argument between Bannergate arguments and snarker arguments — though some people are on opposite sides.

    People harmed by Bannergate thread: That thread was a personal attack on Steve, Naomi, etc.
    Bannergate thread defenders: Yes, but it was necessary. It had to be done. Someone had to blow the lid on it.
    People harmed: Yes, but you did it in a way that caused a lot of unnecessary personal pain.

    Fast forward to:

    People harmed by snarker: That’s a personal attack on Kaimi, Nate, Heather, etc.
    Snark defenders (including Steve and Ronan): Yes, but it’s necessary. It has to be done. We need our loyal opposition, don’t we?

    So let me take a page out of your own book and give you the same response you’ve given me (and others) on Bannergate: It doesn’t have to be done in a way that causes unnecessary personal harm.

    Like I said, there’s more than one open wound around. You seem to think that your own open wound is not justified by the necessity arguments you’ve heard (“it was necessary”). But you seem awfully willing to let necessity (“loyal opposition is necessary”) justify the continuation of personal attacks on others.

  26. There are some parallels to be made, perhaps, Kaimi. But you’re making them in a strange way, and why? To convince me that I should hate the Snarker? To convince yourself that your hurt feelings are justified? Those aren’t arguments you can win.

    I’m not justifying the Snarker’s personal attacks. Have I said so? I think you should read what I’ve written.

    And I think you should shut up about Banner.

  27. Steve, step back to the meta question: Can necessity justify meanness?

    If yes, then both Banner threads and Snarker are potentially fine (as long as one accepts the validity of the underlying claims of necessity.)

    If no, then neither Banner threads nor Snarker are acceptable.

    I’ve read your prior complaints about your treatment on Banner as relying in part on an argument that necessity does not justify meanness. It’s a great argument for claiming that your treatment on Banner was unacceptable.

    If that’s your position, though, then I’m at a loss as to why you think Snarkernacle is acceptable, because that position seems to run counter to the same principle.

  28. It’s not a great argument, and I don’t want to engage it. It’s a threadjack, and you’re pissing me off now.

  29. I like Snarky/Snarkette. Sure, he/she/it has a Capt. Ahab thing going on with the Omans (“from blogspot’s heart I stab at thee”) but nobody’s perfect.

    Just because I don’t agree with a lot of Snarky’s criticisms doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good snark.

  30. Steve,

    I don’t think it’s a threadjack, because I was responding to your prior comments. But your comments seem to be morphing as we speak. You originally said something like “Bannergate wasn’t as civil as you say” and I responded. And now that’s gone from your comment; which in turn makes my comments (made in response) look disconnected and threadjackish.

    And now you’ve added a disclaimer about personal attacks to #26, and added “I think you should read what I’ve written.” Um, that’s not so easy to do when you keep _changing_ what you’ve written.

    I’m not sure how to have a reasonable comment dialogue if you’re going back and changing your prior comments, halfway through the thread.

    But I guess we agree on the idea that the personal attacks are not justified, so that’s a start.

  31. This post seems to be abit of a set up. There are strong feelings about the snarker and there are some well recognized perspectives:

    the snarker is sometimes funny
    the snarker often mean
    no egos have been popped (or otherwise afflicted)

    …but really, tell me again something positive has resulted from it? (Besides the occasional giggle) I can think of several negatives quite easily.

  32. I added to and edited my comments prior to the posting of your responses in each instance, Kaimi. I think that’s fair. Complain if you will, but you’d be advised to reply to comments as they appear, not as they once initially appeared.

    Hint: I never changed anything I said about personal attacks. I’ve never considered them justified. I am reconsidering my position.

  33. My goodness.

    I don’t know if Julie will see this here or not, but I just saw what was said about her on Snarkernacle. It revolved around a minor exchange she and I had. I feel awful that something I said was used to attack her.

    I’m on the ultradefensive about my parenting skills already, was having a bad day and I was all primed to lose it before she ever commented. Once she clarified what she meant, I could have let it go, but was feeling petty – I couldn’t resist commenting back. My bad.

    Anyway, Julie – I hope you weren’t hurt by what was said about you – just please know that I do NOT share their opinion. I’ve read enough of your comments over the last couple of years to know that you are a pretty amazing person.

  34. Fair enough, Steve. Thanks for clarifying.

  35. J., you don’t think egos have popped? Maybe not for those with the egos, myself included, but for those who hero-worship, certainly the snarks affect how those heroes are perceived.

    The role of the political satirist, for example, isn’t to change the mind of the leader, but rather to affect public perception. I’m not claiming Snarker was anything so lofty or noble, but as a check on blog-cults of personality? Don’t be to quick to discount that impact.

  36. Jonathan Green says:

    Unreasonable, mean-spirited attacks don’t deflate personality cults. They only help build them up by adding a sense of unfair victimization to the adulation.

  37. Kristine,

    I’m not offended by the academic tone (heck, I’m a religion major with a philo minor and an econ background. I can geek out with the best of them), but it’s hard to deny that there is a pretentious tone on the blog, and it’s gotten more pretentious lately than it used to be. It’s not meant to be an attack… more of an observation.

    Academic posts are fun, but variety is good, too, especially when a blog has such a wide readership.

  38. J. (#31),

    Yes, this post was a set-up. I saw the vitriol flying at SN and thought someone should host a wider discussion, as this is clearly something that is of some import to our online community. Guilty as charged. I sense some emotions are running high; this is perhaps evidence that SN, much as some would like to ignore it, does matter.

    For me, it’s all very simple: does the bloggernacle need some needling? Absolutely. Is SN serving that function? Ah, now there’s the question. Sometimes yes. But does this justify the personal attacks? No.

    What can be done? One suggestion to Snarky: turn off comments. I mean, I don’t need to leave comments at the Daily Show for it to work. If Jon Stewart’s funny that’s enough. And for the rest of us: reward or punish Snarky simply by patronising/not patronising the site. If he is consisently mean and is consequently ignored, it will all go away. If the meanness stops and the funny continues, then re-link him.

    Sorry for the pontification.

    Oh, if this thread gets nasty I will close it pronto. You see, I HAVE THE POWER!

  39. Kaimi, there is no comparison between Banner of Heaven and the snarker. This has been explained ad nauseam, and I can’t help feeling that it’s a little self-serving for you to continue to pretend that you don’t remember what was going on (especially since you were in on it from the get-go). In any case, nothing justified the way that some of your cohorts behaved over Bannergate.

    BoH was a fixed-length exercise in creative fiction. We worked out characters and a complete plot line, scheduled posts weeks ahead of time, and planned to pull up the curtain and reveal the act at Thanksgiving (which was exactly 6 months into the project). The Banner of Heaven was not overtly mean to participants besides me, Steve, Brian, and Christian, Naomi, and Allison. And we certainly did not have entire threads given over to scorning people.

    You are free to think that Banner of Heaven was ill-conceived or even morally wrong. But the snarker is no more similar to the Banner of Heaven than it is to a cartoon strip. Adam Greenwood’s behind-the-scenes maneuvering to try to coerce apologies in order to make himself look good (i.e., set himself up as the master of justice and healing) is closer to what the snarker does than anything that we did at Banner of Heaven.

    Old men forget, yet all shall be forgot, but we’ll be remembered with advantages for the feats we did at BoH.

  40. Old men forget, yet all shall be forgot

    Wait. Is it Crispin’s day?

  41. Elisabeth says:

    C’mon, Ronan. You’re Cringer – He-Man’s “fearless” friend – not He-Man. Remember? We voted on this.

  42. (Who’s He-Man then? It certainly ain’t Steve or Stapley. That leaves YOU!)

  43. Elisabeth says:

    (You’d better stop revealing Castle Grayskull’s secrets, or I’ll send Orko to kick your butt. And he WILL do it.).

  44. Elisabeth says:

    I’d rather be called a “stupid, dumb bastard” or “uncivil” than be vilified in absentia in said 300 comment post as an unscrupulous, malicious liar, and publicly excoriated for all the failings of our internet community.

    The snarks frequently cross the line, but the most anyone takes away from the snarks are that the snarkees are silly or full of themselves.  And, really, how can you take a chihuahua seriously?  The snarker set himself up as a joke from the beginning, but the Banner of Heaven witchhunts were very real.

  45. Speaking of absentia, I’m going to close the thread for now. I’ve invited the snarkees to respond. I think they can get a sense of the differing opinions out there by now.

  46. Snarkernacle has responded, so the comments are now open again.

  47. SN is like the Daily Show with Craig Kilborn — nice idea, but needs a Jon Stewart to really make it hum.

    Me, I’m PBS — everyone has it on their TV, but no one’s watching.

  48. Snarker’s message:

    1. SN is a team effort. Don’t gang-up on Kurt.
    2. Lots of people in the ‘nacle submit anonymous snarks. Anonymity is important.
    3. T&S responds badly to snarks.
    4. Private emails expressing hurt are always treated sensitively.
    5. If you want funny, submit something funny.
    6. T&S is evil.

    Everyone inclined to continue this conversation should read Snarker’s response. In case Blogger’s comment-system brings you out in a rash, feel free to comment here. But be nice. BCC Editorial Position: T&S is not evil.

  49. Julie M. Smith says:

    Re #33–

    Thanks, Sue, that’s what I had suspected. No hard feelings.

  50. Without having read Snarkernacle’s response I think that Snarkernacle has at least sometimes served a good purpose. I usually find it amusing but I also have recognized when it went overboard in being mean or focusing on certain individuals too much.

    I can see the reason for Snarkernacle anonymity and think it’s probably better for the Snarker that way. However, I have tried to figure out the Snarker’s identity and at times may continue to do so. It’s an amusing exercise sometimes.

    I’m not convinced at all that Snarkette is female.

  51. Now having read Snarkernacle’s response I’m interested to know to what degree the Snarkernacle is original and how much of it is based on tips.

    Oh and I’ve been snarked a few times, deservedly so. One time out of embarrassment I took a post down for a little while. Then I got over it and put the post back up.

  52. I think it would be best from now on to refer to the Snarker team at all times as “Kurt’s Kronies.”

  53. If you are being snarked take it as a compliment. It means that you matter. People that don’t matter, like myself, have to beg to get snarked.

    Nate is one of the most prominent figures on the bloggernacle and probably one the best posters. Therefore he gets snarked. It’s a badge of honor. Congratulations!

    Of course, sneering columns have to be anonymous. That’s the first thing I learned exploring a journalistic career. You publish everything proudly under your own name except the sneering column. It’s a venerable journalistic tradition.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Kaimi’s concern about our family members. But if we involve them in our blogs then we are dragging them into the public spotlight. If you need your spouse and kids to be safe then don’t expose them on the Internet.

    As for quality, sneering newspaper columns only publish once a week. Other sneering events are annual traditions. The Snarker publishes a lot. Some snarks are better than others. That’s normal.

    Anyways, for my part I am taking myself way too seriously. The reason is probably that my religion matters to me. I suspect that I am not the only one. If that’s the case, it’s useful to get snarked every once in a while.

    A bad joke is still a joke. It seems to me that we can all benefit from tolerating these mishaps.

  54. Kristine says:

    Crystal (#37)–I’ll have to take your word about the pretentious tone. I don’t see it. Serious, occasionally pedantic and condescending (the Mr. Rogers snark was well-aimed). But pretentious to me suggests people acting as though they’re interested in something just to be impressive, or speaking in a tone different than their usual conversations for the sake of seeming erudite, and I just don’t see that happening. You don’t have to like the personalities, but I think they’re fairly accurate and quite sincere representations of who the bloggers really are.

    And isn’t the whole point of blogs that you don’t have to appeal to a wide audience? That you’re allowed to post what interests you and if people don’t like it they can find content that they like on other blogs? I don’t know where the idea that T&S owes its readers some sort of broadly popular content comes from.

    I don’t want to seem too defensive; pretentious is as pretentious does, I guess, and especially if you haven’t met any of the permabloggers in person, maybe it is hard to believe that there could be that many people who really talk that way all the time. Maybe I’m just completely warped from having spent too much time in graduate comp. lit. seminars–my pretentiousness-meter may be calibrated to a wildly outlying standard!

  55. Steve, you’re right that my comments were a threadjack. Sorry about that.

    As for the general question, let me add a little context. I’m hesitant to do this, for a few reasons. In large part, because it’s personal and sensitive. Partly because I’ll probably just be snarked for it.* Mostly because I don’t usually do blegs, and this isn’t meant as a bleg. It’s just context — really.

    But I think context is helpful to understand why I think the way I do. And more importantly, it may help others, because I think this kind of context extends beyond me. So, here goes:

    The past month has, for a few very personal reasons, been the worst month of my life. No question about it. It’s consisted mostly of stretches of hell, interrupted by the occasional less-than-crappy moment. (May’s not looking so good, either.)

    In the midst of a month of pure hell, the snarker has managed to add a little bit of extra misery. Not a lot, mind you; it’s relatively small potatoes. But hey, in a month like this, every bit counts.

    (And as to their beloved opt-out policy — well, I really shouldn’t have to say “stop hounding me, you jerks” to get a bit of peace. Should I?)

    Anyway, end of tanget. I’m not looking for sympathy; I deal, and life goes on. But I am saying, that’s why it’s wrong. Not because of _me_, but because of the broader point. We don’t know what people are going through. We don’t see the pain and stress that people hide. The principle extends way beyond me — for example, most of you know about another person who was the target of a series of vicious attacks in the midst of a very stressful, difficult time, and who took it very hard. And those are just two publicly known examples; gotta suspect that there’s a lot more to the iceberg. That’s why the snarker’s gratuitous, anonymous, mean-spirited mockery is wrong.

    It’s been painful to read the comments and to see people whose opinions I respect, some of whom I’ve considered friends, so defending a site that has of late been my own personal stalker. I think most of you are decent people. Consider the context, when you talk about whether the snarker belongs in a universe of decent people.

    See ya ’round.

    *Don’t. Just don’t.

  56. Mark IV says:

    Elisabeth, #44 said –

    I’d rather be called a “stupid, dumb bastard” or “uncivil” than be vilified in absentia in said 300 comment post as an unscrupulous, malicious liar, and publicly excoriated for all the failings of our internet community.

    That is very close to how I think about this as well. Let’s face it, if you are the Behemoth of the Bloggernacle, what you say and do is going to get noticed, and you are going to step on some toes, even if it is only inadvertantly. I think it is much better to have your failings lampooned by a cartoon character than be called to repentance by a real, live person who is full of righteous indignation.

    I also wish the snark would become more adept with the scalpel, and less handy with the chain saw.

  57. Mark IV says:

    Kaime,

    I posted before I saw your comment. Although I have never met you, I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that if I did, I would like you, and I hope you would like me. I also hope sincerely that life soon starts making sense to you again. I value your contributions to the LDS online community.

    Keep you chin up, Hermano.

  58. I’ve read the snarkers reply. Since I’m banned there (with pride), I’ll comment here.

    They’re absolutely right that most of the comments are anonymous and that people read the snarker because they enjoy it. But this isn’t proof that the anonymity is good. Make no mistake: it’s proof that there is a strong, general undercurrent of vindictive pettiness in the ‘nacle. The fact that the snarker succeeds, gets so many contributions, and is so infrequently objected to is a condemnation of all of you.

    I want to be perfectly clear on this: the meanest things that have been said about me were not have not been said by the snarkers.

    Moreover, the snarkers’ self-proclaimed 100% success record for taking down offending posts is a load of crap. You’re just playing games where you require people to admit that you’ve gotten to them before you attempt to make amends for things that you shouldn’t have done in the first place.

    Lastly, the anonymity doesn’t do the snarkers much good if they have to ban people (like me) who actually attach their name to their objections to their shenanigans.

  59. Inasmuch as SN can in fact hurt people, that should give pause. Kaimi, thanks for posting. I second Mark IV: scalpel not chainsaw, please. A message to all, me included.

  60. Kaimi illustrates well one reason why intentional meanness is not excuseable. We don’t know how people will take it. We don’t know if we are causing actual pain. (If we do know that we are causing pain and we still behave meanly, we are sinning, and I don’t think this is a trivial sin. We are Christians. Being nice matters a lot.). Once people express that they have been hurt it’s just time to stop. I have seen several instances over at SN where it clearly went beyond good, clean fun. Like I said before, I believe a lot of what happens there is just fine. But the 25% or so that’s poop sullies the whole enterprise.

  61. Costanza says:

    I support the Snarkernacle in theory, but I have always been puzzled by their policy of banning people (like DKL). It seems to sort of cut against the grain of the entire enterprise.

  62. William Morris says:

    Snark is devolved form of satire. And it’s so 2004. I mean even Wonkette gave up on it and decided to go straight. It’s the meth* of humor and wit — cheap, easy to cook up and it makes everybody jittery.

    The only post that approaches decent satire there is ” In Defense of the Word ‘Heathen'”

    But even that is no “The Rape of the Lock.”

    * I was going to say crack cocaine, but that’s so 1990.

  63. I should add (in fairness to the snarkers) that as inadequate as I find their record of apologies and retractions to be, it is still far, far superior to that of Times and Seasons, who, through its silence, has stood by it’s record of vilifying people (here and here, for those who are wondering), which was, indeed, done in absentia–I was banned from commenting on T&S while they were vilifying my activities as those of an unscrupulous, malicious liar, and publicly excoriating my blog for all the failings of the bloggernacle.

  64. I agree with you, DKL, that you should have been given the opportunity to respond. Criticizing the Banner of Heaven incident is fair game though.

  65. Steve Evans says:

    Tom (no. 60), I agree with your sentiment. People have delicate feelings and we ought to err on the side of preserving good will amongst us. I wonder if there is a way though for critique, satire and snark to function even in a kid gloves environment that we require.

    In other words, I agree with you, but I don’t think your conclusions necessarily exclude Snarker’s overall endeavor.

  66. Just to make this clear: I support the idea of bloggernacle satire, but whether SN offers that is up for debate.

  67. John Mansfield says:

    Sister Kristine’s views of Times and Seasons have evolved a bit over the last year:

    “BCC seems smaller and chummier–a more congenial place to write personal reflections, while at T&S I feel compelled to try to keep up with the intellekshuls, or at least to dress up my banal reflections on quotidian existence with a few faux-philosophical trappings” 2/1/2005 @ 2:36 pm

    “You said ‘your grouping is founded on personal relationships that we strangers don’t share.’ That’s not really true–most of us don’t know each other in the real world. The personal relationships we have were built right here.” 2/2/2005 @ 9:57 am

    (link)

  68. Hellmut Lotz: Criticizing the Banner of Heaven incident is fair game

    Agreed. My position on it is well known, and it is unwavering. But I recognize that reasonable people can disagree about this.

    Hellmut Lotz: I agree with you, DKL, that you should have been given the opportunity to respond.

    Thanks, Hellmut. I want to emphasize that the issue is deeper than that. Nate’s thread was started and ran it’s course with exactly the kind of self-justified finality that plagues their blog. There was hardly an outward expression about the question of fairness (I seem to remember Ben H making one such objection–but comments at T&S are down right now, so I can’t look it up) and with some perma-bloggers tenaciously vilifying objectors without addressing arguments (corroborating my long-standing position that their comment policy is a tool that they use to clobber outside commenters with, while they consider themselves are above being fettered by such things).

    If I had pressed the issue hard enough, I may well have been given leeway by the T&S folks to comment on that post (T&S participants are welcome to comment on this). I did not press the issue with them, because the thread had basically run its course in less time than the T&S’ers are effectively able to take action, and commenting on it at a late stage would have legitimized it.

    To the best of my knowledge, the thread remains open to comments to this day, and I have still declined to comment on that thread even though my commenting privileges at T&S were restored in mid-January.

    I don’t intend this as a thread-jack. I don’t have any hard feelings toward the T&S folks–I comment there all the time (probably as much as anyone). But I think it’s germane to the issue since Kaimi has brought it up here and the snarker has invited the comparison.

  69. Jared E. says:

    “I wonder if there is a way though for critique, satire and snark to function even in a kid gloves environment that we require”

    Steve, I really don’t think there is. Those who feel they wield true power on their respective blogs will almost always be offended by an ‘in your face’ satirical treatment of thier work. And it is only a matter of time before it gets personal.

  70. Yeah, Steve, I think there is a way for critique, satire, and snark to be OK. A lot of the time SN has done it in a way that to me seems appropriate. So, in general, the enterprise of snarking for fun and for whatever other potential benefits is not necessarily sullied by SN. But specifically, SN is sullied by the poop that they haven’t had the sensitivity or scruples to edit out or keep to themselves.

  71. Steve Evans says:

    See, between 69 and 70 lies a really interesting debate.

  72. From Snarker’s response —

    “Not once have failed to remove a post that offended the person in question who contacted us privately. Not once. Got it? And this has happened several times.”[sic]

    THIS HAS HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES. That statement alone should tell team SN that they go way too far way too often. The fact that several people would have to contact them to remove posts is appalling.

  73. Mark IV says:

    Wiz,

    But give SN credit for doing that. When I have objected to content that seemed like an unfair personal attack at other blogs, including T&S, it never gets retracted. Instead, my worthiness as a Mormon gets called into question by people who are deadly earnest.

    As much sympathy as I feel for Kaimi right now, I have to say that he as defended conduct on the part of some of his bloggers without taking into account the feelings of people who were pronounced unfit for the church.

    If this is going to become a debate about hurt feelings and who is the most frequent offender, there are 4 or 5 other blogs that make SN look like a sandlot team.

  74. Aaron Brown says:

    I want to agree with Kristine that T&S is not “pretentious.” I don’t think it’s ever “pretentious.” I have to wonder if people aren’t using “pretentious” as a synonym for pedantic, esoteric or over-my-head. There may be valid critiques to make of T&S, but I don’t think this is one of them.

    Aaron B

  75. Here’s something I’ve already brought up, but I dug up some further details. Out of 8 blogs nominated for Best New Blog in the Niblets, SN won with 30% of the vote. That’s quite a thumbs-up. So, in light of the concerns now being raised, is it that:

    1. The Bloggernacle is peopled by nasty folk who enjoy seeing other people baited.
    2. Things changed. It was once cheery and lampoony, but it got nasty.

    ?

  76. Mark – Really? 4 or 5 other blogs? How depressing.

    And these personal attacks to which you have objected – were they in the comments or were they the post itself?

    I’m curious because I do think it’s a bad thing to not moderate the comments when they get personal, you know, jump in and say – ‘lighten up guys’, ‘please refer to our comment policies’, orsomething like that – but I think it’s far worse to make personal attacks the main point of a post. Just my opinion.

  77. Fine, I ammend my statement. Instead of pretentious, I should have said pedantic, boring and stuffy.

    Better?

  78. john scherer says:

    Ronan #75
    I think #2 is the definite answer. When the smurf took over for the Chihuahua, things got much more angry and hurtful over there. It still has some bright moments( I think soemone should make a T -Shirt out of the Adam Greenwood tupperware photo). Overall though, it’s mostly just petty and mean.

    Then again, we’re all concerned over the opinions of a smurf and a Chihuahua, which means I should get back to work.

  79. Jared E. says:

    It isn’t that I think satirical work is bad. I just think that by definition, satire is offensive. Webster defines satire as:

    1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
    2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly

    True satire is always meant to ridicule the target. I personally love satire, but that is just because I am sick and twisted. ‘Nice satire’ is merely a light hearted joke, and will rarely make the intended audience truly take note, beyond the obligatory light chuckle.

  80. The cool part about all this stuff is that it exposes how lame putting all of your eggs into an internet basket can be. There’s more to life, folks. I always find these little rants to be the most entertaining part of the “bloggernacle”. Along with the fact that there are “workshops” on blogging about mormonism in Southern California. Good stuff. Keep it up. I watch. Kind of like I watch American Idol and “My Super Sweet 16″. Vapid entertainment.

    Carry on.

  81. Mark IV says:

    Wiz,

    I think you have identified the heart of this discussion. Does SN exist “just to make personal attacks the main part of a post”?

    I don’t think so. I think it does, or at least can, serve a useful function.

    People feel attacked when their beliefs are subjected to an uncharitable analysis. This happens in the bloggernacle everyday, and you’ll have a hard time trying to convince me that those who do it don’t know that they are hitting a nerve and maybe even drawing blood, but they excuse it by saying they are serving a higher purpose, and if people can’t take the truth, too bad.

  82. Aaron Brown says:

    rd – You are so wrong. There is nothing more to life than blogging. Nothing of worth, anyway. Most of us don’t even have friends in real life. We have lost all contact with the “real” world. We just interact over the Web all day every day. Life is good.

    Aaron B

  83. Mark IV says:

    …American Idol and “My Super Sweet 16″….

    Good snark, rd. That is more like it, this thread was starting to get gloomy.

  84. Aaron Brown says:

    Hellmut said:
    “If you are being snarked take it as a compliment. It means that you matter. People that don’t matter, like myself, have to beg to get snarked.”

    I agree with this. I’ve sort of sluffed off my blogging duties in recent months, and though I’ve been snarked by the Snarker at least once before, I’ve been otherwise ignored. From this I conclude that I need to make myself more of a presence again. This may be more of a motivator than Steve Evans’ crack of the BCC-whip could ever be.

    Aaron B

  85. “I think you have identified the heart of this discussion. Does SN exist “just to make personal attacks the main part of a post”?

    I don’t think so. I think it does, or at least can, serve a useful function.”

    I agree with you that personal attacks are not the main reason Snarker exists. The main reason snarker exists is to call attention to themselves, in which they have clearly been successful. BUT, I do think they make personal attacks the main point of a post far too often, as demonstrated by the comments in this thread by Kaimi and others, as demonstrated by the fact that they have been asked to pull their posts several times.

    “you’ll have a hard time trying to convince me that those who do it don’t know that they are hitting a nerve”

    I would never try to convince you of that. I agree with you absolutely there. It’s just that I don’t know where the line is – the blog administrator should jump in and police all the comments or let the debate continue. But that, I think, ultimately is a post in and of itself, or at the very leat, a severe threadjack.

  86. I think it’s very clear who the real Snarkers are:

    1) Those who like the snarker ARE the snarker!
    2) Those who don’t mind him are the ones feeding him snarks.
    3) Those who abhor him are T&S permabloggers.

    That about sums it up! As for me, I think Jenn is Steve Evans.

  87. Imagine a blog that exists to personally insult every living thing in the Universe, in alphabetical order. That would be the blog of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, and it would be pretty good.

  88. Okay, if I understand this right the Snarker is a good and valuable thing because:

    1. It is funny. We like funny.
    2. It deflates egos that need deflating.
    3. T&S is boring and pretentious and Snarky is the cure.

    I actually think that sometimes it is funny. I like funny. (I feel like the straight-man comedian in “Good Morning Vietnam” — story of my life.)

    On the other two, I am a bit more conflicted. They have posted a whole bunch of stuff attacking me. I guess that this is good to the extent that it deflates my over-inflated ego and makes me less pretentious. Fair enough. I no doubt have ego problems and am pretentious. On the other hand, posting nasty attacks on my wife when she writes on decidedly non-pretentious, non-ego driven topics like why she dislikes moving is somewhat less defensible.

    I am really mystified by the whole Nate-and/or-T&S-wants-the-Bloggernancle-to-bow-down meme. The Bloggernacle isn’t like Belgium. It is not some piece of earth that powerful neighbors fight to control. For myself, the Bloggernacle is a place where I go to read interesting stuff or find someone to talk to. That is really it. Even inter-blog competition is more a myth than a reality. T&S has gotten more traffic since the rise of BCC. Indeed, to the extent that bloggers see themselves locked in a life and death stuggle for readers, I think that we benefit from more blogs. More blogs tends to mean more readers, rather than more competition for the same number of readers.

    As for the tone and content of T&S, the dirty little secret is that aside from the odd stunt post (most posts on SSM or sex fall into this category) the tone and topics are not selected on the basis of what is most likely going to make readers think that posters are smart etc. etc. Rather, posters tend to post on…drum roll…what they happen to find interesting that day. In my case, this probably means that some of the posts are pedantic. I happen to like discovering fun little facts or plays on arguments or the like. My reaction is much like my son’s reaction to a new paper airplane. He wants to take it outside and see if it will fly. Other people have other amusements. It is a big old world, let a thousand blossoms flower, etc. etc.

    Finally, despite what Kaimi said above, I really don’t think that there is any good analogy between BofH and the Snarker. I thought that BofH was deceptive and ill-concieved. However, as near as I can tell it was never intentionally nasty or mean, and I certainly don’t think that those involved in it were nasty evil people. (And I said so at the time.) I doubt crew Snarky are nasty and evil people. However, they have frequently said nasty and mean things.

  89. BTW, I am really, really at a loss by the idea that some how the main fault of T&S threads is that they claim finality. What?!? It’s a blog people! By definition, it is not final, nor does it claim to be…

  90. Speaking of Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged, I think Nate #88 wins a Rory for Most Gratuitous Use of the word “Belgium” in a Serious Blog Comment.

  91. I left my thoughts over on the SN post, but thought I’d copy them here:

    As both someone who has been snarked and has submitted snarks, (*gasp*) I have to say that while team SN’s efforts are sometimes less than perfect in their execution, they are also sometimes a hoot. It’s like any blog, of any style. Some entries are home runs, and some fall flat. Given the direct object of each post, sometimes feelings get bruised. As they point out in this post, though, they are quick to respond when someone does not take it well.

    I, myself, have asked to have a snark that they did of me removed. Not only was the post removed, but a really kind apology was put up in its stead. I have to say, though, that the snark that I asked to be removed, from a snarking standpoint, was dead on. I asked to have it removed because I was horrified with *myself* for what I had most snarkworthily written.

    So, when it’s a little much, just speak up. Say so. They do listen. It only gets ugly when back-and-forth battles get going. (Honestly, the snarker pack usually comes out on top in those; the various big blog bloggers who continue the arguments usually just come off looking lame and like they’re scrambling to save face in light of knowing that SN was right)

    So, team SN, I say keep at it. Not that the ‘nacle could thumbs down you out of existence anyway. The joys of a personal publishing platform, eh?

    People who make so much of themselves usually do so artificially. When anyone picks at their facade, it can really get to them. (Think: the bigger they seem the thinner the skin–like a balloon.**) Those who overreact to snarks, should perhaps take a look at themselves, get it in perspective, and maybe use it as a chance to grow.

    [**Hahaha, that’s where all the hot air must come from. Lest I get attacked for saying that, it is not aimed at anyone in particular, honestly.]

  92. Nate, good comments.

    It sounds like your response is geared at least in part around a disconnect (or a perceived disconnect) between T&S as seen by its members vs. the Snarker or the general populace. People snark at navel-gazing, but in this case maybe it is interesting to consider what generates such perceptions. As you say, nobody at T&S is purposely being pseudo-intellectual or distancing or power-hungry or anything of the kind. It baffles to think of how such a perception could be had at all. And yet, there it is.

    I have a similar problem: I am convinced that I am the smartest, most genial man in the world. And yet others take a different view. Idiots.

  93. Randy B. says:

    Frankly, I think the larger problem at SN is not the posts but the comments. Rather than easing tensions, SN’s comments usually aggravate them — oftentimes seemingly purposely so.

    While the posts are offered as snarks, they are often defended as legitimate attacks. Hard to come to the defense of supposedly fun-loving jokes when the comments that follow make it clear that they are neither fun, nor loving, nor jokes.

  94. Steve EM says:

    As someone who’s been snarked more than most, I think they’re a great bunch at snarkernacle. But, then again, some people say I’m not real either.

  95. Randy B. says:

    I should add that I too often find the posts at SN funny (though the bit about Julie crossed the line, in my view). I just wish the comments made it more apparent that the site is intended as a well-intentioned joke.

  96. Steve: Perhaps the public exercise in navel gazing that you suggest would be useful, but I suspect that it probably simply come off as pretentious, pseudo-intellectual, or meglomaniacal. For what it is worth, my wife tells me that when I get excited about some idea I tend to come off as arrogant and dismissive of others. Unfortunately, what we say always seems to exceed what we mean.

  97. “what we say always seems to exceed what we mean.”

    Exactly. That’s what I explained to the sealer in the Temple, but he didn’t get it.

  98. Or fortunately in some cases…

  99. fortunately for me — Sumer may disagree.

  100. “what we say always seems to exceed what we mean.”

    Agreed.

  101. Speaking solely as Kurt and not for SN,

    When it comes to pretention, T&S has earned that label in my mind because you have people on there who have no idea what they are talking about and yet they sit there and speak ex cathedra. I have taken some of the permabores to task for this in the past and they usually fight it kicking and screaming rather than admit they are wrong, and as long as they have not preemptively banned me, I will continue to do this (if you would like some blatantly pointed examples of this, I will oblige, but I suspect that anyone who reads T&S with any regularity will be able to recall some clear examples). Anyone who speaks on a subject they know nothing about and pretend to be knowledgeable on the subject when they are in fact ignorant can be fairly labeled as pretentious. Being a knowledgeable expert in one field doesnt mean anything when you step out of your field. Some permabores frequently step outside their fields of expertise (or feign expertise when there is none) and expect to be regarded as authorities on the subject. Hey, stick your neck out like that, and its going to get chopped. I dont sit around and discuss tort reform, because I know nothing about tort reform.

    When it comes to satire, its just impossible to please everyone all the time. One person thinks X is funny, another thinks it isnt. One person thinks its over the line, another doesnt. It is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. If you think you can do better, then do it. Its easy to criticize, harder to actually outperform. So, for our detractors who say we havent been keeping up quality, lets see you do better. If some of it crosses the line, hey, sorry about that, but who gets to decide what that line is? We do, and what a surprise, some people dont agree with us.

    As far as the personal attacks go, Nate, you are the one who started it with me back on M* on that Daniel Petersen thread. You stepped in out of nowhere and made cheap personal attacks that had nothing to do with anything (hence my quoting of that comment back at you in the 2nd comment on the Frank’s neighborhood thread, but you apparently didnt get that I was quoting you back at you after you quoted that comment from teh Apocrypha thread at me). And as for your wife, she started the personal attacks on SN before SN ever turned their gaze to her. She came after us to defend you, and she repeatedly insulted us with her speculations on who and what the Snarker was (a lonely, insecure single guy, or some other nonsense like that). And, your post on your personal blog questioned our motives, so why arent we allowed to question yours on our blog? So, Nate, my friend, if you dont like being personally attacked, then dont personally attack people. And if your wife doesnt want to leave the room with a black eye, then tell her not to come in the room swinging.

    As for Aaron’s recognizing that the tallest blades of grass get cut first, he is right. Do nothing stupid or obnoxious on the Bloggernakkle and you dont get snarked. Its just that easy. When was the last time FPR Mogget or Amira at Conversation got snarked? Never. Why? Because, believe it or not, they actually think before they write, are deliberate and not pretentious. Wow, imagine that. Thoughtful, intelligent writing isnt snarkworthy.

    And, as for The Wiz’s accusation that the people at SN are attention-seeking egomaniacs. Yup, you are so right, that is why we all blog pseudonymously under a united obviously fake character. Good work, Wiz, you really hit the nail on teh head on this one. And there is nothing I want more than for you to love and worship me, which explains why I go around the Nakkle kicking people in the shins and giving the them the finger as I walk off.

    Finally, what is the purpose of the SnarkerNacle? To snark people. That is it. Is it useful? Sure it is. The simple fact that all of you are losing sleep and not doing work and spending time thinking and talking and writing about it means it is something important. If it wasnt, then you wouldnt be sitting here reading this right here right now. Could we do it better? Sure, something can always be better. Will it be? Probably not, because humor is subjective and the grey areas we operate in are broad. Hey, like I said above, if you think you can do better, go ahead and do it.

  102. D. Fletcher says:

    I’ve never been snarked. Suddenly, I don’t feel cool.

  103. Yeah D. Fletcher. You better start a blog. :)

  104. D. Fletcher says:
  105. “As far as the personal attacks go, Nate, you are the one who started it with me back on M* on that Daniel Petersen thread.”

    Now I get it. Nate’s the White Whale, and SN is the Pequod.

  106. “As far as the personal attacks go, Nate, you are the one who started it with me back on M* on that Daniel Petersen thread.”

    Ah ha! I knew that there had to be some decisive moment from past history where I really pissed Kurt off. I’ll have to go back and find what I said.

  107. “you apparently didnt get that I was quoting you back at you after you quoted that comment from teh Apocrypha thread at me”

    Kurt: I am affraid that wasn’t me, but it was a witty reparte of unattributed quotes nontheless.

  108. Steve EM says:

    I believe T&S is the only site that currently bans me. Prima facia evidence of pretentiousness, n’est-ce pas?

  109. cantinflas says:

    “Can snark ever be civil? Should the ‘nacle support Snarkey? Was the Mormon Archipelago right to boot them?”

    Civil, yes, but as Christians that should not be our only concern, or our baseline.

    I think that the problem is that snarks are based in negativity. They can be light-hearted and fun, but the basis is STILL negativity in one form or another.

    I am shocked that I am about to do this, but I find that President Hinckley is a good champion of kindness, and should definitely be emulated in that respect, and his comments here pertain very well to this discussion.

    Kurt’s defense of his position seems to be “Well S/HE did it first!” Kurt, this is not a valid excuse for a reprehensible behavior on the playground and it is of no value here, either. I do not believe that every post at SN was wicked and worthy of condemnation, but the spirit of the whole project seemed to stem from negativity rather than kindness. I also recognize that all of the same behaviors have existed on the bloggernaccle as a whole, and am saddened by it, but SN seemed to be the point guard for the movement and has brought the issue to a head.

    In contemplating if I, myself, would be capable of attempting the same goals of SN but without being mean to anybody, it occurred to me that is is so far out of character that I couldn’t even attempt it. My dad used to make me and my brothers recite “Do not initiate, do not escalate” and it has remained one of my mottos for my adult life.

    Can’t we all just get along?

  110. Kurt, you’re response (#101) speaks mountains about why the snarker is inappropriate and not useful.

    First of all, undercutting all the supposedly harmless, ego-deflating satire is an agenda laced with bitterness and vitriol (hence the constant undercurrent of meanness everyone observes).

    Second, everyone deserves what they get except you. T&S deserves what they get. The Omans deserve what they get. But when people register their objection to the Snarker, you ban them. Because, for some reason, you’ve placed yourself above just desserts.

    Third, you state, “Do nothing stupid or obnoxious on the Bloggernakkle and you dont get snarked.” It’s simply not your place (or anyone’s) to publicly flog people for perceived bad behavior on the bloggernacle.

    Fourth, (relating to the quote in the preceding point) your quite obvious agenda against certain people makes your credentials for uncovering stupidity and obnoxiousness in others doubtful at best. Since when have you been a paragon of discernment and propriety?

    Fifth, (overlapping with at least a few of the above points) you make it clear that the you are partly motivated by revenge.

    But rest easy. I believe you when you mention the volume of contributions you receive from bloggernacle regulars. My experience tells me that you’re outlook is quite common; other people just hide it better than you do.

    I commend you in this regard, Kurt (and very sincerely, too): You speak your mind, and one always knows where he stands with you. I was actually relieved to learn that you were the snarker, because you weren’t attacking anyone as the snarker that you don’t attack as yourself. Thus, your anonymity was not cowardly, it was maintained simply to antagonize. (And antagonize it did.)

  111. I have a lot of negative things to say about #101, but I don’t think it would do anybody any good for me to say them. It probably won’t do anybody any good for me to say this much, but here I go: I think it’s sentiment is very far from a spirit of kindness.

    But who am I to call anybody to repentance?

    Whatever.

  112. For the record, I have baited Snark twice (at least) but the Snark Collective never took me up on it. However, perhaps they understood I was joking.

  113. Nate, Make no mistake, nobody really considers your pronouncements to be final–no matter what medium you choose to convey them in. The fact that your tone is at odds with the medium that conveys it simply speaks to its factor as an irritant to readers.

    As far as pretense, don’t take solace in Aaron Brown’s word–he’s as pretentious as the worst of ‘em. Here’s some food for thought: I don’t know a single real snob (intellectual or otherwise) who actually believes that they’re a snob (though I know plenty of aspiring ones who do). Pretense is closely related to snobbery, and I’m confident saying the same thing about it.

  114. “Nate, Make no mistake, nobody really considers your pronouncements to be final–no matter what medium you choose to convey them in.”

    DKL: I never supposed that they were. As for tone, I suspect that both of us are going to have to labor on with the disability of occasionally having a tone that rubs others the wrong way.

  115. DKL, I believe I’m a snob — does that make me only an aspiring one?

  116. Steve EM says:

    I’m sorry, but I can’t stomach this dumping on the snarkers. I haven’t forgotten the “Steve the fornicator” remarks from the T&S crowd, calling me something I hadn’t done in decades. And the _______s still ban me. What a bunch of hypocrites.

  117. Steve, in all fairness, you didn’t always go by EM.

  118. Steve EM, I do think it’s telling that all these people come out of the woodwork to condemn the snarker once it becomes known that it’s Kurt. I could count on one hand the number of people willing to voice their objection about the snarker before it came to light that it was him. In this regard, there is some similarity between the vultures who swooped down to take their shots at BoH and those stepping forward on this thread for the first time to criticize the snarker.

    I’m not piling on here, I’m on record for saying this all along. I’m not anti-Kurt. In fact, I am impressed that he pulled it off. When Christian told me early on that it was Kurt, I disbelieved him because I doubted that Kurt could gain such a following. I was certainly underestimating him.

    Moreover, now that I think of it, I called the snarker a coward in several of my exchanges with him, and (for reasons I identify in my comment #113) I was incorrect. I hereby apologize.

  119. Steve Evans, your the exception to every rule I know of.

  120. Steve EM says:

    Steve Evans, I remind you my former handle was a rebuttal to the label the T&Sers gave me.

  121. 58: “The snarkers’ self-proclaimed 100% success record for taking down offending posts is a load of crap. You’re just playing games where you require people to admit that you’ve gotten to them before you attempt to make amends for things that you shouldn’t have done in the first place.”

    72: “THIS HAS HAPPENED SEVERAL TIMES. That statement alone should tell team SN that they go way too far way too often. The fact that several people would have to contact them to remove posts is appalling.”

    Well put, both of you.

    69-70-71. Sure, there is snark that’s fine. Putting a picture of a bear next to Ronan is fine by me, and was pretty funny in my book. Some original links were very funny. (“Using husband’s computer while he’s at work” and “adding this link so we do not get delisted” were both great).

    Repeatedly throwing around personal insults isn’t funny, though. (“Ohh! Let’s call Frank a moron. That’ll have everyone rolling in the aisles!”)

    75: It changed, Ronan. It went from mostly-funny to mostly-mean. Possibly due to the Gyges ring effect that Nate suggested.

    89: Spot on. I don’t think many blog posts claim finality, especially not at T&S. If you want to tell Nate he’s wrong about the jurisprudence of seer stones, by all means do so. He won’t be mad. In fact, he’ll be thrilled that someone’s _talking_ to him about the jurisprudence of seer stones. (So will Heather, for that matter — “Nate’s got someone else to talk with about that, and I don’t have to nod attentively any more. . . “)

    101: “yet they sit there and speak ex cathedra. . . ”

    This is why I preface all my posts “By my authority as a Times and Seasons blogger, I hereby pronouce and declare . . .”

    Which is a snarky way of saying you’re full of %^&, Kurt. One has to have some level of authority to speak ex cathedra. We’re, um, bloggers. No authority; no claim to authority. No one at T&S claims to be the pope; there are no ex cathedra statements.

    We do have ideas and thoughts, and we even (gasp!) talk about them. (This is also known as “blogging.”) However, if talking about one’s opinion constitutes speaking ex cathedra, then you’ve got a mighty broad vision of the cathedral.

    (What does Inigo Montoya say? “I do not think that word means what you think it means.”)

    “Do nothing stupid or obnoxious on the Bloggernakkle and you dont get snarked.”

    Uh, yeah. So, a post about visiting one’s friends, enjoying their company, and meeting for a bloggersnacker, is either “stupid or obnoxious.” A post discussing a feature of the scripture CD’s, and a discussion of how technical tools can add to one’s scripture study, is also either “stupid or obnoxious.” Oh, and the TTLB sidebar link on T&S is also either “stupid or obnoxious.”

    (Again, I refer you to the Inigo Montoya quote, above.)

    108: “I believe T&S is the only site that currently bans [Steve EM]. Prima facia evidence of pretentiousness, n’est-ce pas?”

    I can’t speak for my co-bloggers, but I like to think of it as evidence of good taste.

    Recall, Steve, that your banning took place after you posted a half dozen successive comments describing in varying levels of detail your experience watching porn stars ejaculate. I’d pull the plug on you again for that, Steve, ten times out of ten. And if that makes me “pretentious” . . . well, let me refer you to the Inigo Montoya quote, above.

    118: Dave, I don’t think that’s correct. I’ve been publicly opposed to the snarker for months, so has Nate, so has Wiz, so have many others who haven’t yet weighed in here. Who exactly are the Johnny come latelies?

  122. So, for our detractors who say we havent been keeping up quality, lets see you do better.

    Get a grip. I don’t need to be able to sing beautifully to recognize that someone else can’t, either.

    You’re right: good satire is difficult to produce. Even Mark Twain had his moments where he just came out mean.

    It seems odd to me that the attitude, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen,” is coming up in a community of Latter-day Saints.

  123. Kaimi, you and the Omans and the Wiz are indeed among the people I can count on one hand. And I do remember several of Steve EM’s comments that were deleted. They were pretty bad.

  124. Hey, I’m snarked in the links. I’m plased about it and think that part of it is funny.

    I’ve blogged about how to deal with humor sites, it isn’t a secret.

    http://ethesis.blogspot.com/2006/03/how-do-you-deal-with-snarker-everyone.html

    I thought those who were ignoring those principles were doing it on purpose.

  125. Steve EM says:

    Kaimi,
    Go ahead and defend your crowd’s name calling and banning me. The comment your referring too was more nuanced than that, and I wouldn’t do it again anyway. I’ve been banned at plenty of sites for a time, including this one, sometimes fairly, sometimes not. Yours is the only site in the nacle that to my knowledge perpetually bans people. Face it, you’re not a very forgiving or humorous bunch. The snarkers nailed you spot on.

  126. Thanks for the link, Ethesis. That was a good discussion and a good try on your part to focus on the positive, though I don’t think it worked entirely. Some of the comments there devolved pretty quickly. There’s a lot of good material, though. Let me quote in part a comment from Shannon L. on that thread, that I thought summed up many of the issues very well:

    The Snarker is only humorous when there is some truth to what he says and when it isn’t mean. He ceases to be funny when what he says is an outright lie and when it is malicious. That is too often the case. The other problem with the Snarker is that he often acts like a typical playground bully. . . . he is being unduly malicious to try to shut people up. . . .

    There is definitely a place for humor on the bloggernacle. I just think that SN is too often malicious and it has missed the mark. I would love to see a funny site pop up that didn’t take itself so seriously. . . . But picking on people is never funny.

  127. keeping my mouth totally and completely shut.

  128. That’s my wife Kaimi’s quoting. Ain’t she something?

  129. Heather Oman says:

    Kurt, team snarker, et al.

    I apologize for my behavior in the comments. Obviously I was less than polite, and certainly you are correct that somebody who takes the name of Christ should not behave in such a manner. It has been mentioned that my comments on SN were escalating. I’ll buy that. They were not particularly meant to be escalating, I really was just that mad about some of the things you said about Nate, and about me, and felt I had to, as you say, come in swinging. I admit it, I was looking for a fight because I felt I needed to defend my family. I should have stayed out of the ring completely, because I did, as again you say, get my black eye. Thanks–it still smarts.

    But I just want to say something else. The Bloggernacle isn’t a perfect place, and I get fed up with some of the antics of people as much as anybody. I think that some of the posts I read are lame, poorly written, egotistical, self serving, posted with an intense axe to grind, inappropriate (i.e., the sex thread at Tales. I took my comment down after I heard you snarked it), and just downright boring. I think I myself have even called T&S a total snooze-a-thon, and sometimes it is. Sometimes the bloggernacle is what you have said it is–a steaming pile of crap. Hey, we do what we can. Sometimes, frankly, we suck.

    But SN isn’t just about poking fun, and nobody who has read the things you have written about other people can possibly believe it. “Fun” doesn’t get personal or nasty. Telling people that their blog is a load of crap? Name calling? (T&Stards, etc). Obsenity (I give you the finger, the NYer salute, etc)? Banning people for baiting you, or for calling you on outrageous behavior? These are not witticisms. And you can not possibly be surprised when people like me come in swinging when you say such hurtful things. Call us hypocrites for engaging in the very behavior we condemn. Again, we probably deserve that label. But don’t be surprised by that behavior. Nobody likes to be made fun of, and you often come off like you are deliberately picking a fight. You often sound surprised when you find one.

    I also think you’ll find that most people have much more simple motives that you think in posting. We want to have a conversation, we want to talk about things, we want to make connections with people who are thinking or feeling like we are. Kristine is right about the nerd factor at T&S. Nate really does read the Apocrypha, and wants to talk about it! We want to write and express ourselves, and suddenly our society has a medium where anybody can be an instant author. To call a certain blogger particularly self serving is slightly redundant–that’s the whole point! But self serving in a much less diabolical manner than you at SN suppose.

    I understand what Team Snarker thinks they are doing. I understand why some people in the Bloggernacle thinks it has a place. I hope now that you understand why I disagree.

  130. Dave,

    I took that part out of the comment. Didn’t want to unnecessarily denigrate the poor woman. After all, as she once said in a T&S comment (the funniest Landrith comment T&S has ever received): “I married [DKL]. Is that not punishment enough?”

  131. anonymous says:

    I agree with what Heather wrote above; basically, it’s not funny to single people out for doing basically what anyone with a blog does.
    Frankly, I don’t see why people are so adamant about defending the enterprise: OBVIOUSLY, people aren’t upset about funny, harmless posts; it’s when people’s actual feelings get hurt that they respond negatively. And Kurt’s comments above pretty much admit that the enterprise wasn’t soley about ‘having a little fun with the bloggernacle.’ That doesn’t mean it should be shunned or anything, but motives seem relevant.

  132. Aaron B says:

    I have it on good authority that if people would just respond to Kurt’s ranting and raving with poetic verse, the Spirit would overcome him and quell his vitriolic outbursts.

    I don’t know this firsthand, mind you, but a special lady friend of mine told me it’s true.

    Aaron B

  133. Jared E. says:

    I’m kinda new around here. Can anyone give me the run down on what was up with ‘Bannergate’? If it’s what it sounds to be, then I wish I would have been around to witness it.

    The snarking crew has really got under everyone’s skin, I mean were up to 132 comments now. I think if we removed the redundancy from what everyone has said it would come down to:

    1. Some people are really pissed off that the snark has openly mocked them…
    2. The snark is sometimes an A%# H$#&…
    3. T&S may or may not be full of (enter your favorite explenitive here)…
    4. Everyone seems to just love talking about 1-3…

    Did I miss anything?

  134. Aaron B says:

    “Prima facia evidence of pretentiousness, n’est-ce pas?”

    Steve EM, randoming inserting French terminology into one’s comments is SOOOOOOO pretentious, I could barf.

    Aaron B

  135. Oh, Jared, you missed a lot. And this big fight. you should thank your God, too.

    I was saying over at snarker how remarkably multiple personality-ish it is of Kaimi, although he swears he is not the snarker, or whoever is the snarker, because you know whoever is the snarker is here arguing with HIMSELF.

    So whoever he is, she is, they are very smart and probably crazy, but who am I to talk.

    I like everybody, I wish we could all be friends.

    Except that one guy to whom I made the unfortunate comments that now cause me to cringe, but we would probably be friends if he hadn’t left. Oh, and Kris, on Our Thoughts, which is my bad.

  136. Heather Oman says:

    oh, and I guess I should apologize for insinuating that the Snarker was really a single guy who wasn’t gettin’ any. That original post was more intended as a joke, a tongue-in-cheek jab at the Snarker and a rally cry for women. I guess it pushed a few buttons, and I again was engaging in the very behavior I condemned.

    I still like the title, though.

  137. Oh, and 132 is nothing. Bring up the subject of sex, or women and the priesthood and these guys will be threatening to kill and eat each others’ children. They get up to 300.

    Note how I speak of you guys in the third person.

    I only threaten to eat your children on–what subjects turn me cannibal? I can’t remember.

    For one thing, don’t slam Fawn Brodie to DKL. There’s that.

  138. Aaron B says:

    Seriously, I’m still not getting the “T&S is pretentious” line. Perhaps individual exchanges involving certain T&S permabloggers have exhibited pretention. It’s not like I have followed every conversation that’s ever gone on over there. But in general, the word seems inapt. Yes, I know DKL will see this as mere evidence of my own camaraderie with the pretentious. So be it.

    By the way, it is certainly true that I, on the other hand, can be pretentious at times in my blog posts. In case you hand’t noticed, that’s intentional. It’s part of my online shtick. Nobody who overtly compares himself to Martin Luther or Mother Theresa would think of claiming otherwise.

    I always assumed it was part of my charm. :)

    Aaron B

  139. My wife just pointed out to me that I must have misread Mark IV when I said that I agreed with him, and she’s correct. He and are in disagreement about the snarker.

  140. Aaron Brown: I have it on good authority that if people would just respond to Kurt’s ranting and raving with poetic verse, the Spirit would overcome him and quell his vitriolic outbursts.

    OK, Aaron. I whipped this one up as a piece offering:

    The Snarker was always covert
    and at intervals tickled and hurt.
    He flipped all the photos
    so dolts looked like dodos,
    and now we all know it was Kurt.

    It’s only a limerick, and I’m no poet. Also, I doubt it will induce the Spirit. But you can’t say I didn’t try.

  141. Well, I’ve learned a lot from the comments here, would not have guessed it was Kurt who was one of the snarkers.

  142. Mark IV says:

    Look out, Popcorn Popping.

  143. But…who’s Kurt? lol

    Remember when I thought you were the snarker, Stephen?

  144. I like everybody, I wish we could all be friends.

    Except that one guy to whom I made the unfortunate comments that now cause me to cringe, but we would probably be friends if he hadn’t left. Oh, and Kris, on Our Thoughts, which is my bad.

    annegb, you are a gem sometimes.

    Not much else to add.

  145. annegb, I swore off snarker type activity about thirty years ago, and got completely sober from it last night … but I really try. If I were the snark it would take some work to reclaim that perspective, but I think I could do it.

    I do remember your thinking that, which I took as a compliment at the time.

  146. Seth R. says:

    “Those who don’t mind the Snarkernacle are the ones who contribute snarks”

    Yeah probably. I generally don’t mind the Snarkernacle.

    And I sent in a tip-off about Lisa’s now legendary “Lindor Mint Truffle” disclosure. Don’t know if I’m the only one who did, but it did get promptly snarked.

    I also sent one about Adam Greenwood’s credentialism post. That one never panned-out.

    I’m sure no one cares, but just wanted to follow Kurt’s brave lead. Without the semi-explitives of course.

    So yeah, it’s probably a correct assessment.

  147. Mark IV says:

    Mark IV, I’ve already submitted a story to Popcorn Popping, and they turned it down. They said that it was too short. I joked in response that I get that a lot, but I really don’t. (In fact, the usual complaint is exactly the opposite–but in real life and in personal exchanges I’m much more self-deprecating than I am on the blogs.)

  148. Oops, I [DKL] wrote that previous comment, but I accidentally entered “Mark IV” into the Name field, because I was responding to him and thinking his name as I was typing. Can an admin fix that?

  149. Seth R. says:

    Sigh,

    DKL. Are you trying to say you’re ALSO MarkIV?

    Sometimes it’s just tiring keeping up with you.

  150. Steve Evans says:

    we CAN change it DKL/Mark IV but that’s just too choice.

  151. “You can ad hominem my “taste” or my looks, or my writing, or my intelligence, or anything else you can think of; however, that will never change the fact that you run a blog, the sole purpose of which is to denigrate, belittle, and caricature other people for the sake of a so called laugh. And, you do it as an anonymous coward. Maybe it’s just me, but I see nothing praiseworthy, lovely, or of good report in that.”

    This was my assessment of SN on this thread earlier this year. It remains my assesment of SN now. Whay they do is neither civil or loyal opposition.

  152. Could an admin pleaee correct my previous statement in #139 where I said that I disagreed with Mark IV? How could I even think of doing something so foolish?

  153. Well, I’m not Mark IV, and you know it, Steve. You’ve seen me and him in the same room at the Boston Bloggersnacker at Kristine’s house.

    Guy, you’re one of the other stalwarts that has opposed the snarker for some time. If I recall correctly, you and I were banned for criticizing the snarker in the very same thread. Good times.

  154. DKL: You are correct–good times indeed. And, as I recall my reaction then at hearing that news also remains the same: “Oh the humanity”

    How ironic the SN crew can’t/couldn’t handle criticism on their own site aimed at them, without “banning” those who criticzed.

  155. DKL – no harm, no foul.

    I once had you confused with Miranda something or other.

  156. Mark IV says:

    Sorry everybody, comment 155 was me, Mark.

    I’m going to bed now, and I hope my wife recognizes me.

  157. Guy and DKL: Oh, that was priceless. It doesn’t get any better than that. Are we the only 3 ever to be banned?

    Kaimi: Thanks for quoting me (twice). I stand by both comments.

  158. Steve Evans says:

    DKL, where ever you and Mark IV are assembled, there Arturo is also… or something like that. I’m sure we’ll change it eventually, but I am laughing right now at all this stuff.

  159. William Morris says:

    I have nothing to add to this discussion, but this epigram came to me as I read this thread and a Google search proved that no one has ever said this before, so I will….

    Pretension is the soul of twit.

    Oh, yeah — and — Trenchant!

  160. Re: #140 – So if we all speaketh in rhyme, even in double-time, the snarker’s output will climb, up from the depths of green slime?

    (Guess I have a thing for green jello lately; see #38 on the silly caption thread)

    Anybody want a peanut?

  161. Oh, and re: #144: Annegb is a gem ALL of the time!

  162. Nate, for what it’s worth I enjoy your posts and like your online personality. Though I am an incorregible contrarian, I enjoy your arguments and the opportunity to debate with you.

    If I were in your place I wouldn’t second guess myself much because of feedback from the Snarker. Insofar as their description of your behavior is accurrate, it’s a caricature.

    It puts things into perspective but it’s not worth it to dwell on Snarks.

  163. Seth R. says:

    One lesson I’ve learned from studying politics is that it NEVER pays to “blame the media.” Striking back is almost never productive.

    First off, it legitimizes the criticisms that “the media” is making. Dignifies them with a serious response, so to speak. The only real take-home message observers get is that YOU take these charges seriously.

    Secondly, you look weak for attacking the messenger instead of the message.

    Honestly, I think, in the long run, the Republican party is going to suffer a lot for its attempts to blame the “liberal media” for its woes. It ultimately just comes off whiney.

    Richard Nixon is a perfect example of a President who always had an antagonistic relationship with reporters. He blamed them for his loss to Kennedy. He complained that they had unfairly portrayed him and favored Kennedy instead. After his defeat, he remarked bitterly to a press gathering

    “Well, you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore.”

    Guess what? The press is STILL kicking around “Dick Nixon.”

    You can’t win battles “against the media.” You can address the substance, but not the messenger (not usually).

  164. Seth R.

    Please clarify–are you comparing what passes for blogging over at SN to the function of the free press historically and today?

  165. Jared E. says:

    I think Seth makes a decent point. Personally engaging those who criticize you will only antagonize them, which will only lead to further criticism. Addressing the substance of their criticisms, or just plain ignoring them is a much more effective route.

  166. Seth R. says:

    No, no, no.

    The snarkers don’t even come close to the level of professionalism, pervasiveness, and institutionalization that we expect of actual news organizations.

    That’s not a surprise to anyone. In fact, I’d be scared if the Snarkernacle were really like the MSM.

    My only point was that the Snarkernacle is really the only thing the Bloggernacle has that is even close to a dedicated news and commentary source (twisted as that may seem to some).

    Sure, T&S may crosslink to BCC or DMI. Ned Flanders may remark on something he read on another blog. And Mormon Archipelago is dedicated to providing pure raw information on what is going on Nacle-wise.

    But there really aren’t any other sites out there expressly geared toward reporting Nacle news and analyzing it (after a fashion).

    In this respect, the Snarkernacle is the closest thing the Bloggernacle has to a dedicated, independant media. Of course, MA qualifies as well, but it’s completely different in purpose, being largely uncritical of the subjects it reports on.

    My point is basically Jared E.’s summary in #165.

    So, yes Guy, I guess I am comparing the Snarkernacle to the “free press.”

    Obviously, they are quite different from each other in many important ways. But they both occupy the same position in relation to the subjects (targets?) they cover.

    Basically, it’s an analogy. Take it too far and it will look ridiculous. Just like any analogy.

  167. Seth R.,
    In addition to the Snarker, there are ‘comment’ features at most if not all LDS blogs I’ve ever happened upon (which we both are obviously aware of)…hahaha. But yes, I see your analogy as appropriate to a point (which is all you meant it to be, I understand).

  168. Seth R. says:

    Wait a second …

    I’m the independant press?!

    wow …

    Who knew?

  169. Steve EM says:

    For the record, Nixon’s “you won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore” came after his 1962 loss for Governor of California against Pat Brown. Funny that today only silly lightweights kick Nixon, who really did rehabilitate himself before his death. Ironic that the left so despised Nixon, who’s demise eventually brought about the rise of the right. Nixon was no conservative just as JFK was no liberal by today’s standards.

  170. Steve EM says:

    Well, I checked to make sure and am still banned at T&S.

  171. Seth R. says:

    Guilty as charged Steve.

    I think I’ll have that framed in my office:

    “Seth D. Rogers, Silly Lightweight”

    Should help me keep perspective.

  172. I think Seth makes a decent point. Personally engaging those who criticize you will only antagonize them, which will only lead to further criticism. Addressing the substance of their criticisms, or just plain ignoring them is a much more effective route.

    It only strengthens the criticism. If you don’t react to it, or laugh with it, you channel and diffuse criticism.

    Gee, 172 posts, for what? If no one had taken it as a reason to fight, this probably would not have even drawn a comment.

    The bloggernacle will have critics and commentary and humor. We can either try to encourage it to grow or we can get whatever grows up wild.

  173. Stephen M, it’s not quite fair to say that we’ve got 172 comments about the snarker, since these range from everything from a bad limerick to a disagreement about Richard Nixon.

    This is one of those threads that we might have had at Banner of Heaven, that is like an out-of-control 18 wheeler. You know the kind: it’s such a disaster that it should have ended a long time ago, yet it’s a good read and it’s disappointing to see it wind down.

  174. #

    Stephen M, it’s not quite fair to say that we’ve got 172 comments about the snarker, since these range from everything from a bad limerick to a disagreement about Richard Nixon

    Pretty much captures the snarker…

  175. Mark IV says:

    it’s disappointing to see it wind down.

    Let’s continue it, then.

    A blogger named DKL
    made admins’ jobs pure, living hell.
    They cussed him and panned him
    and threatened to ban him,
    but he laughed, shrugged, and said “Oh, well!”

  176. Seth R. says:

    The middle was pretty good, but the first and last lines need work.

    Not like I can come up with anything better.

  177. There once was a blogger from Milton,
    As narcissist as Paris Hilton,
    Who nibbled fondue
    With a Midgley named Lou
    And said “random, please pass me the Stilton.”

  178. Oh, geez. Limericks about me? OK, here’s one:

    There once was a blogger named Dave
    Who was born in a dark, smelly cave.
    What he’d say on the ‘nacle,
    was nothing but cackle,
    ’cause he never could learn to behave.

  179. SN is not a T&S attack machine, and Im not Ahab and Nate isnt the white whale. Call me Ishmael if you like, but look through the archives and you will see BCC, M*, BofH, FMH and all the rest get hit with exceptional frequency. The comment I made about Nate’s past personal attack on me on M* was there solely to point out Nate’s criticism of SN for personal attacks was the kettle calling the pot black, and nothing more. Any problems I have with Nate are taken up directly with him on T&S (as the T&S archives will attest), and not through SN (if I used SN to do that, then all of the confrontations with Nate on T&S would have been played out as SN snarks). SN is an equal opportunity offender. I bet if someone went through all the archives and tallied up the targets, it would end up pretty even-handed.

    And for DKL, SKL and Guy Murray (comments 153, 154, 157). You were not banned from SN for questioning/critisizing/complaining. You three were banned for trolling, pure and simple. When you cross-post off topic rants to unrelated threads, that is trolling. People are free to criticize SN right on SN, and they do it all the time. Look at any of the comments on any of threads. So, sitting there and smugly accusing us of being hypocrites is just an act of projection.

    And, finally, I appreciate DKL’s retraction of the accusation of cowardice on my part, and we appreciate Heather’s apology (we understand her desire to protect/defend her husband). None of us seek to justify what we are doing, or make it anything more than the silly, satirical nonsense it is. Sometimes we dont do as well as we would like. Sorry. None of us are professional humorists, none of us get paid to do this, its all just for laffs. If we genuinely offend you and hurt your feelings, please take it up with us by e-mailing us in private and we will take corrective actions by either editing or deleting the post. Like I said before, we have a 100% success rate of honoring offended party’s requests (point of clarification: the intended target has to be the complaining party).

  180. The snarker has been extremely helpful to me as I’ve set up my own blog and I’ve never read anything that struck me as malicious. It always makes me laugh, but I’ve never gotten in on that other stuff that you guys talk about.

    What strikes me here is how tender we all are, despite our attitudes, our smarts, our courage. Stephen Covey talks about understanding the tenderness inside in his book “Spiritual Roots of Human Relations” and it resonated with me thirty years ago. It still holds true.

    David Landrith, for example, is a marshmallow inside. IMHO, sorry, David, for outing you.

    I have a deep and abiding attachment to Times and Seasons, but at times I feel just stupid around those guys. The snarker has been invaluable in diffusing that sense of inferiority I get at times, especially when you guys at T&S COMPLETELY IGNORE ME :) lol.

    Further wisdom from Covey: “Realize and use the power of little acts of kindness and courtesy. . .

    I particularly emphasize the kindness of not rushing in and throwing around judgement and good success formulas–taking the time to understand.”

    I feel if I can dish it out (and we all know I can), I have to be able to take it; on the other hand, we are all friends here. Nobody enjoys being attacked, in this case, even the snarker, who is my friend. Whoever he or she is.

  181. annegb: David Landrith, for example, is a marshmallow inside. IMHO, sorry, David, for outing you.

    What? Who?

  182. With the number of times he’s been roasted, shouldn’t he be nice and sugary crisp by now? Yum!

  183. I saw an interesting thing on Doctor Who Friday night (Season One, still, in the U.S.) Margaret the Slitheen was trying to persuade the Doctor from taking her back to [unpronounceable planet name], where she would surely be executed, with the plea that she was changing. She used as an example a young woman who she had been preparing to kill, but then did not.

    The Doctor replied, “That’s the way all mass murderers learn to live with themselves. They bring up the one they let get away; the little puppies they rescued; the person they didn’t kill, as if that means they aren’t really evil.”

    annegb’s comment about snarker helping with the web page reminded me of that.

    Snark has turned mean. S/he used to be funny with an edge. Now s/he’s just plain mean. Mean people suck.

  184. Brian G says:

    I’m glad DKL, Steve, and others have pointed out key differences between BoH, SN, and the respective reactions to both.

    Needless to say, I would have no moral authority or credibility if I chose to criticize what Kurt does, but if I can make one observation it would be the interesting fact and phenomenon that any post which begins by questioning the morality of BoH and SN has inevitably turned in large part into a critique of what is wrong with T&S. You can see that at work here, and on Nate and Julie’s threads about BoH over at T&S. I just find it interesting and I wonder why?

    My theory is the following: I think that by virtue of the sheer size and popularity of T&S all its permabloggers, particularly the prolific ones, are de facto leaders in this online community. I think many of them have ambivalent feelings about this, but it can’t easily be denied. Some obviously feel more comfortable being the moral guardians who point the way than others. Regardless, leaders they are, and I wonder if we wouldn’t all be happier if they just accepted that. As leaders they’re going to suffer some unkind and perhaps unjustified attacks, and as has been suggested above real world leaders offer models of how to deal with such situations.

    If you draw an analogy between nations and Mormon blogs, T&S is certainly the U.S., an unquestionably powerful and influential blog that sincerely attempts to use its power for the good of everyone, but ends up often judging smaller blogs as threatening and finds itself embroiled in conflicts that a) it’s not altogether committed to and b) it is ill-equipped to decisively win (although BoH was instantly obliterated to be sure, and maybe that wasn’t such a bad thing after all). I think a perceived abuse of power, often before all the facts are in, or an inability to attempt diplomacy is part of why when T&S permabloggers use, or try to use, their influence to confront smaller blogs they find troubling, it ends up backfiring in many ways.

    But the bigger reason I think this phenomenon persists is that at times T&S permabloggers (and I respect all of them in one way or another) show a surprising amount of distrust in the discernment and judgment of the members of the community to conclude for themselves whether a blog is bad or good, harmless or malevolent. Bloggers will continue to try to create blogs that are different and yes, controversial, why can’t more trust be shown in both the people that make up the community, and the marketplace of ideas?

  185. Steve EM says:

    Oh please, the T&S crowd are no more leaders than BKP is prophetic. Anyone who thinks SN is mean didn’t go to public school.

    Steve EM, Evangelical Mormon and conscience of the Nacle

  186. I don’t know, I think of some of them as leaders. Not all, but some. Also some guys on M* and BCC. Mostly men. Sorry, girls, I guess that’s how my mind works.

    I don’t see anybody par up to murderers, nor am I any defenseless puppy, although I am a computer-help slut.

    Ann-hyperbole? :) I’ve heard about the snarker being mean, but I’ve never read anything mean.

    Aren’t we all fair game? Aren’t we all a little full of ourselves? I know I can hardly move in my house for my ego.

    I don’t understand the fight between Times and Seasons and everybody else. Sometimes Julie acts stuck up. Sometimes she cracks me up. Almost all the time Jim ignores me. AS DOES NATE. Who else is there–you guys, who’s nicer than Adam or Bryce or Wilfried or more gracefully queen mother-ish than Rosalynde?

    Criminy. Enough. I hate this.

  187. Eric Russell says:

    I am surprised to discover that SN wasn’t Nate, Kaimi and friends all along. Honestly. I was convinced they had created the site in order to satirically pick fun of those who voice complaints with T&S. If those SN posts which target T&S are a reflection of geniune antagonism, the whole thing has kind of lost its humor for me.

  188. YES, WELL, me too, Eric. I suspect every last one of you now. Not that I’m about to complain and bite the hand that does my pictures :).

  189. “Nate isnt the white whale.”

    Thanks Kurt. Coming from you that means a lot to me ;->…

  190. D. Fletcher says:

    I’ll heat up this dialogue again by saying something incendiary: Times and Seasons posters reacted to the deception of Banner of Heaven, and the sneering attacks of the Snarkernacle with equal vehemence. But in my opinion, the ramifications of Bannergate are far more disturbing for the community, such as it is, than the sometimes humorous, sometimes vicious Snark’s remarks.

  191. Steve Evans says:

    “Incendiary” is one adjective… “mistaken” is the one I’d use for your remark.

  192. Steve Evans says:

    …you troublemaker!!

  193. D. Fletcher says:

    HeHe, of course you’d think that. Nobody’s examining their belief in the Church because of something the Snark has said.

  194. 190 “I’ll heat up this dialogue again . . .”

    Chupacabra! Chupacabra, already! Chupacabra, I say!

    Hey, has anyone seen my lost little chupacabra?

    So — why did the chupacabra cross the road?

    (To get to the other side).

  195. Steve Evans says:

    D., no one’s examining their belief in the Church because of Banner. We may well have been some kind of catalyst or instigating factor, but no way was Banner enough to send someone out permanently.

  196. Thou shalt not take the name of danithew in vain. Nor shalt thou abuse the sacred symbol of chupacabra.

  197. D. Fletcher says:

    Are you sure about that?

  198. Okay, I know that Kaimi, Stephen, and DKL are not the snarker, because I asked them and they said, no they are not. Also Brian, I think.

    So eliminate them from the list. Also, it’s not me.

  199. Elisabeth says:

    annegb – LOL!! Um, the snarker is KURT.

  200. D. Fletcher says:

    It’s not me either — not creative or funny enough. Plus, I always use my own name in the blogs, so people can praise me (or blame me, as the case may be).

  201. D. Fletcher says:

    Kurt, I think, is only one of the Snarks.

  202. I had never visited the Snark’s site until this post went up a few days ago. I checked it for the first time then, and searched it to see if it had ever mentioned me. It had. And it was fairly complimentary! So, naturally, I’m in favor of the whole enterprise.

  203. So, then I did, too! I’ve never done that before. I found a whole bunch of stuff, which I’m going to go read now. I don’t think I’ve seen these things. Some funny things about Jessie, who you single guys will kick yourself for not taking me up on that.

    Also a post I made defending you. Which I don’t remember.

  204. Oh, I’ve got to learn to keep my mouth shut.

    If it were legal, I’d spring for a full frontal lobotomy. on myself.

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