Sports blogging has its own unwritten rules, like any community. But there are some commandments that I think bloggers should break early and often. Here's some laws of blogging I most like to break, and why. Oh yes, there will be a sequel, bank on that.
Law 1. You shall not say anything bad about posts from other sports bloggers, else the circle of mutual back-patting/ego-stroking will be broken. Where do I start with this? I forgot that the sports bloggosphere was ruled by a dictator and that dissent was punishable by death. Or you would think so, for all the fear and anger people display when anyone criticizes their blog or their favorite writer. And I always love the robotic nature of comments to blogs that just take one side of an issue: "Master Blogger has decided to choose Side A instead of Side B! Let us all agree with Master Blogger!" Disgusting.
And just because someone criticizes your blog doesn't mean they hate you. I met at least one of my best friends in blogging because they criticized my blog, or vice versa. Do you want to be a better blogger? Or do you want people to prop up your sagging ego? I guest-posted at The Starting Five, and Jordi took issue with the points I made. You know what? He was mostly right, and I'm glad he called me out. Otherwise, dumber readers might not ever figure out that what I was arguing might be flawed.
Law 2. You shall link to other blogs as often as possible and beg bigger blogs to link to you, so you can increase your hits. Let me be honest. When my small-blog pals link to me, I appreciate it. But it means, what, 10 more hits in my sitemeter? Same when I link to them; I do it every so often to show respect, but the two readers I bring them isn't going to make a big difference.
And when my big-blog pals link to me, sure, it means I get 800-1000 hits for the day (thanks to TheBigLead). But it means I get about ONE comment, because people who come here from a big blog already have tons of other blogs to read. Or, it means I get uninformed trolls (such as when I ran the Gilbert Arenas article and the Washington Post blog linked to it). Please, let go of your link fixation; you don't need the "gold star" from Deadspin as badly as you think you do.
Law 3. Your main goal shall be to increase hit count.
Covered here. I don't want many readers, I want good readers, people who look at more than one post when they visit and have something insightful to say.
Law 4. You are a marvelous, insightful blogger, and commenters should be fans. You shall not lower yourself by speaking to the commenters in the comment section or asking them for their opinions. Commenters are my main customers, so to speak. I'm not going to let them run my site, but I do want to know what they think. They can go anywhere they want, and they should know I want them here. Sports bloggers need to stop looking to some media outlet for validation (see Law 2) and start realizing that you first need to form a consistent core of commenters. Notice I didn't say fans (see Law 1), I said commenters. Look at how much the Nation of Islam Sportsblog has done with commenters; I'd rather read the comment section than the posts lately. (Um, hope that doesn't make me less righteous, NOIS.)
Law 5. You shall show people how up to date you are by posting only about today's news, even if you have nothing to add to the story. As I read more and more sports blogs, it gets to the point that I can only read one blog about a current event. Writers make similar jokes, have similar biased takes, and often don't have anything to say. Why? Because they're all reading the same AP copy or watching the same video to make their post! Not everything you post has to have happened today. I'd rather write a funny post on something that happened ten years ago than a boring post on today's events.
So, was this post inspirational enough to get you to break Law 1?