“Just Wanking”

There’s a fun, albeit somewhat uncomfortable conversation going on among some political blogs I read, and it’s about how much blogging is too much. It started with this:

I’m privileged to have a job that I really enjoy. But at the same time, I would prefer to write somewhat less—this pace is stressful and doesn’t leave me as much time to pursue other projects and interests. But though I would prefer to write somewhat less, I have a stronger second-order preference to produce a blog that’s competitive with other major offerings on the internet. And over the years competition between bloggers has led to escalating word-counts. The resulting situation isn’t terrible, there are lots of people you should cry for before you get to me, but basically we bloggers are engaged in a red queen’s race where we all need to keep trying harder and harder just to maintain our positions.

Then it went to this:

The blogosphere would be a better place if everyone took a deep breath and decided that quality was more important than boosting traffic by simply having a post — any post — on every news event of the day. Slow down and think instead!

And today we get this:

Picking up from the Kevin Drum-Matt Yglesias exchange on the Red-Queen race of contemporary pro-blogging, I will name names of people who blog too much among the folks I read. Some of the people are folks whose writing I’ve long enjoyed but whom I’ve practically given up on reading because, when faced with a count of 30 items in Google Reader – since breakfast – the heart sinks and the mind quails . . . It’s much easier to just click the “Mark All Read” button and resolve to catch the next batch. . . . Kevin Drum himself is kind of on the edge. He’s been known to top ten posts a day, and my rule of thumb is, once you hit double digits you’re just wanking . . . In the spirit of this age of economic restructuring, I will simply declare how often people may blog. Most of you should average four to six posts a day. If you’re a group blog, you may post once an hour.

Hurm. This is post eleven for the day. Thirteen yesterday. I suppose that’s pretty wankeriffic. In my defense, a lot of them are short posts and, hey, it’s baseball, which beats the heck out of dense wordiness about the budget and deterring Iran or what have you.

Still, I’ve been wondering lately if less is more. Anyone have any thoughts on that? And I promise, this is my last post of the day.

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  1. sirsean said...

    I think 10 is too many if you suck. 100 is too many if you don’t.

    And re: this blog … I think there should be more posts in the late afternoon. I’d like to be able to read them on the way home from work. Even if they’re #15-20.

  2. Tim Kelly said...

    I always appreciate the content, I don’t have to (and don’t actually) read everything you post but as a non-Google Reader type I’m always happy to see something new when I click over here for the fourth time that day…

  3. Breaker said...

    “The blogosphere would be a better place if everyone took a deep breath and decided that quality was more important than boosting traffic by simply having a post — any post — on every news event of the day. Slow down and think instead!”

    If you replace ‘blogosphere’ with ‘financial news networks’ or even simply ‘news networks’, I think this world would be a better place.  There is far to little ‘news’ for all of the ‘talk’ that there is in all forms of broadcasting – TV, Radio, Interweb, whathaveyou. 

    Insightful analysis is always useful, but on the whole our news sources do not provide that.

    That said, this blog is an enjoyable diversion for me, and I come here to enjoy the posts and comments.  I haven’t yet felt that the quality is slipping in an effort to hit quantity targets.

  4. Doug said...

    I think it’s a great blogging pace.  I like getting to work and having 4 or 5 to read and then having 4 or 5 more during the course of the day.  My employer may like you to blog less, but really that would just mean more sporcle.com time.

  5. Chris H. said...

    As sirsean said, it depends on whether the author sucks.

    You do not suck, Craig.  Until and unless you do, there’s no number of posts that would turn me off.

    Bring it on.

  6. Jacob Rothberg said...

    C’mon without Dashing Calcaterra we’d have to get off our lazy internet asses and explore these here interwebs ourselves. Imagine the kind of dangers (carpal tunnel injuries or firefox burns, amongst others) that you are protecting your faithful audience from.

  7. Andy L said...

    Some moderate lefty you turned out to be.  Mother Jones?  You’re as much a socialist as I am.

    As for the issue at hand…I regularly have over 60 new items every time I turn on Google Reader, which is several times a day.  Perhaps I read too many baseball blogs.  And it’s true – many just get glanced at.  It would be better for me and for the blogger, probably, to only write when you feel moved and you really have something to say. 

    Easier to separate the wheat from the chaff when bloggers consciously choose to produce only wheat.  I haven’t noticed this specifically as a problem with you, though, Craig, since as you said your posts are short.

  8. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Eh, it’s Kevin Drum.  I don’t read the whole site, and to be honest, only occasionally read Drum.

  9. Levi Stahl said...

    I think you’re fine, Craig, especially when you account for the fact that we’re in the week leading up to the season, and that therefore there’s a lot of baseball news going down.

    The key, as those above have noted, is quality, and you’ve got that. While I, too, declare Google Reader bankruptcy every once in a while when, after a day away from the computer, the numbers of unread posts just get way too big, I always check yours out before I mark all as read.

  10. APBA Guy said...

    Well, obviously, I think this is a great blog, I followed it over, and since I get more than my share of A’s related posts, I vote:

    Keep ‘em coming!

  11. Mark Runsvold said...

    But Matt Yglesias, Craig? You Tax-‘n’-Spendocrat, you!

    Seriously though, I echo the sentiment that some people can do quality AND quantity while others can’t. Andrew Sullivan obviously works very hard at sifting through tons of information, linking without comment to the stuff that speaks for itself, and adding insights as needed. He may post 100+ times a day, but none of the posts are garbage.

    And anybody that thinks you post too much is a crazy person.

  12. YankeesfanLen said...

    You write about the Yankees enough and generally leave ARod alone, so I guess I’ll keep you.

  13. TC said...

    My Google Reader was topping 200 posts per day, and I’ve decided to cut out any blog in which I mark 25% or more of the posts “Read” without reading them.  If you’re posting 10 times a day (hell, if you’re posting 5 times a day), and I’m only reading 1 or 2, I’m done with you. 

    To be honest, I kinda liked ShysterBall a little better about a year ago when you were posting 7-8 times a day, instead of the 10-12 you seem to be hitting now, but the posts are short and so the difference is about 15 minutes, I can live with that.  If Poz starts posting 10 a day, I’m done for. 

    I’ll join the chorus though: you blog is good, Dashing, and as long as it remains so, I’ll continue to read, almost regardless of the post count.

  14. scatterbrian said...

    Who appointed that dude arbiter of blog post limits? Readers should be perfectly capable of managing their own discretionary reading without having to impose rules. I mean, if your Google Reader is getting too full in the morning, maybe cut down the amount of stuff that’s coming in? (Just not Shysterball.)

  15. Aaron Moreno said...

    If you find the life of fast-paced blogging too difficult and stressful, you really need to slow down. The same applies to reading blogs or anything else. If you don’t enjoy it, then it’s work, and who wants to work for free?

  16. themarksmith said...

    As long as And that Happened comes back, I’m fine. If it doesn’t, then … well … I’ll probably still come back. But I’ll be less happy about it! Tell me that those are coming back.

  17. TC said...

    I second themarksmith.  And That Happened makes Shysterball into a sort of 1-stop baseball shopping for the 5:45AM crowd.

  18. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Mark:  ATH is definitely coming back.  First thing Monday morning, although it will only have one recap that day.  Tuesday morning: full blast, baby.

    ATH is my favorite part of this blog.  I have a hard time believing that I didn’t do it the whole first year I was blogging.  I’d sacrifice just about anything else around here, but I’d still put those posts up.

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