Europe: Show Us Your Pajamas!

The Satin Pajamas were a real hoot for me, frankly. Had the 1st Annual European Weblog Awards been submitted to a jury of ?experts,? there?s a general feeling among us Euros in the Fistful that a well-known site like Crooked Timber would have won. And frankly, that would have been boring as hell.

Instead, the vote went the way it should have: It became a popularity contest, and an occasionally crass one at that, amidst a miniature orgy of backbiting and recriminations (?snaggle-toothed, accordion-playing hillbillies? was my personal favorite). This ? sorry to say it folks ? is one of the reasons I love Europe.

Owing in part to a furious round of vote-grubbing on the part of both Slovenia?s The Glory of Carniola and Hungary?s Pestiside (let?s not forget, Pestiside started it!), Carniola was propelled to victory, not only in the category that started the fracas in the first place (Best Weblog Focused On A Single Country Or Region) but in the Grand Prix ?Best Weblog? category itself.

Michael Manske of Carniola, rooting for Petite Anglaise in the top slot, asked AFoE to withdraw Carniola from the Best Weblog category, even before the polls closed, citing “religious reasons.” We do not accept his non-acceptance. The Grand Prix Satin Pajama goes to Carniola, whether he wants it or not. We congratulate him: It?s an excellent site, and it won fair and square.

Well? Yes, careful readers may have noticed that, according to Manske himself, “an enthusiastic Carniola reader voted more than once from different computers.” This “confession” came via his comments bin. The matter has been submitted to the members of this blog for adjudication.

A Fistful of Euros decrees: Yeah, and?

Look ? and here?s my personal viewpoint ? this being Europe, I suspect there was a gentlemanly amount of cheating on all sides. Everybody who isn?t self-employed had a chance to vote at least twice (once at the office, once at home). There were Slovene partisans who accused the Pestisiders of cheating, based on its disproportionate votes-to-traffic ratio. Independently, a few excited Pestiside readers accused their neighbors of the same, claiming to have noticed sudden jumps in Carniola?s numbers. Frankly, we have no way of verifying any of this, nor can we know if disqualifying multiple votes would have changed the results. We can?t even vouch for the validity of so-called ?Carniola confession.? And that?s just limiting the discussion to the Hungary-Slovenia flap.

And come now ? ?cheating? is a strong word, no? It implies breaking the rules. And never, to my knowledge, did we post any rules! Yes, for the record, if there’d been anything seriously screwy, like a mass transmission of votes by automated script (can you imagine anything more lame?) we would have noticed it and disqualified the benefactor. That didn?t happen. The results stand.

So, Pestiside wins ?Best New Weblog? and is able to get further mileage out of the bizarre notion of beleaguered Magyars getting stabbed in the back, yet again, by the treacherous Slovenes. And (the deserving, in my view) Carniola gets not one, but two prizes. Everybody?s a winner, it seems.

Everybody, that is, except for Petite Anglais and all of us who were burning to see her pose online in satin pajamas, as she promised she?d do if she won. Thanks a lot, Budapest.

Now for the upshot of this contest: I, for one, am an extremely conservative blog surfer. I usually stick to the blogs I know and those that know me. (Embarassingly, much of AFOE?s own blogroll is virtually unknown to me.) Yet thanks to Satin Pajamas, I?ve been exposed, with pleasure and edification, to excellent sites such Northern Ireland?s Slugger O?Toole (winner of the Best Political Weblog prize). I?ll leave the comments section open to further namedropping along the lines of, ?Golly, I had no idea such-and-such guy/gal/group even existed.?

If I may do so on behalf of AFOE, I?d like to close the first annual Satin Pajamas with the following good-natured message to the European People(s): Chill out!

54 thoughts on “Europe: Show Us Your Pajamas!

  1. He he, you guys are great. In the gentlemanly spirit of bending the non-existant rules, I salute you.

    As for the scripts, even though they are lame, I might have bothered for a few euros more. For just a fistful and a satin pajama, I was content with clearing the cookies and resetting the connection manually for about 5 minutes.

  2. Doctor: Oopsie daisy. Corrected. Hey, at least I know how to say it!

    Crni: For the record, you ARE lame – and unless you’re yanking our collective chain, an embarassment to Carniola, to boot.

  3. Wow. The article author himself called me lame. Maybe you should take your own advice and chill out.

  4. On Scott MacMillan’s blog:

    Lubljana(?):
    Glory of Carniola

    What the hell is that? Laziness, that’s what. Talk about lame.

  5. Jesus, Pestiside was right. You Slovenes really are a treacherous bunch after all. I fixed the spelling error on my blog anyway.

    Crni, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you’re a teenager with too much time on your hands. Tampering with a vote for which there are no prizes by fiddling with your computer settings is hardly gentlemanly; and bragging about it afterwards is certainly most UN-gentlemanly.

  6. “Laibach”? Is that Welsh or something? I didn’t realise they were getting in on this whole Hungary/Slovenia spat as well… It’ll be the Cornish next, you mark my words…

    Rydhsys rag Kernow lemmyn!

  7. By spelling Ljubljana ‘Laibach’ one would simply be making a political statement. Misspelling it on a permanent part of one’s front page of a blog is just lazy.

    The reaction has nothing to do with Slovenia or Slovenians. Scott fired personal insults at another poster. Crni, I believe, was just trying to help out a friend (Manske) who had asked for votes (sure, he wanted to win fair…but, as Scott said…there are no rules).

    Cheating is always rampant anywhere in silly popularity online polls like this. And finally, Petite Anglaise even encouraged cheating with her appeal for one vote per ‘puter.

  8. “Laibach.” That reminds me of an Austrian coworker of mine. Sent to Ljubljana to meet with our Slovenian customer’s technical people, this coworker managed to make an ass out of us and our team.

    Sitting at a meeting with several people from my company, as well as a few of our clients’ executives, this genius proceeded to speak in German about how easy it was going to be to pull the wool over on this customer, as they were so naive.

    Of course all at the table, Slovenes included, were fluent in German.

  9. By spelling Ljubljana ‘Laibach’ one would simply be making a political statement. Misspelling it on a permanent part of one’s front page of a blog is just lazy

    If laziness it be, then nonetheless less offensive by far, I daresay, than that ‘simple’ (as you describe it) political statement.

    And I don’t think even the charge of laziness is justified. Doubtless we must all try harder to get our foreign orthographies right. But in the mean time, if some anglophones innocently spell K?ln ‘Koln’, Z?rich ‘Zurich’, Ko?ice ‘Kosice’ or Ljubljana ‘Lubljana’, di velt vet nit aruntergeyn. (And, oh yeah: apologies to Yiddish-speakers for any spelling errors in that last bit.)

  10. Crni,

    I cannot speak for afoe as a whole, but here is how I see it. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose this is not terribly important. We didn’t set up any elaborate ground rules for voting. We didn’t (and couldn’t, really) police the votes for anything other than patent technical manipulation (bots etc.). (There was a question at one point whether this might be happening, but afoers far more technically adept than I looked into it and concluded it was highly unlikely.)

    But our reaction of ‘Yeah, and?’ does not reflect a consensus that rules (even unspoken rules) are things to be bent with a gentlemanly wink. Here’s what happened:

    When Michael very honourably brought to our attention that one of his commenters (you, as it turns out) was boasting about egregious multiple voting, we put our heads together to determine what could and should be done about it. And we decided that there was little we could, and probably little we should, do. As I said, the voting mechanism was not one we could effectively police. We have no way of knowing, therefore:

    – whether you really did cheat, or if you did, that you did so to the extent you claim. (FWIW I incline to think you did. But we have only your word for that, and if you are taken at your word, then you are not to be taken at your word, if you see what I mean.)

    – whether there was some Crni-equivalent who did the same thing for Pestiside but was canny enough to refrain from bragging about it.

    – whether anything similar happened in respect of other candidates in this or any other category.

    Added to that is the fact that we did not post voting rules, assuming (in our innocence) that in a context like this, people could be trusted to do the right thing without an enforceable code.

    Absent hard evidence that cheating did affect Carniola’s results, absent any evidence as to the extent (if any) that cheating affected the outcome of other nominees in this or any other category, and given the fact that as a technical matter cheating didn’t violate any rules of the election (other than those basic unwritten laws of honourable behaviour that we all really ought to follow simply because it is the right thing to do), we concluded that ‘Yeah, and?’ was, unfortunately, the only possible response we could make.

    But that doesn’t make your cheating ‘cool’, if you did in fact cheat. I don’t think we need to chill out about this; we’re not really heated up about it, you see. It’s just a bit sad, that’s all. We’d hoped (naively, perhaps) that people would behave as they should.

    Apparently not. That’s unfortunate, because I for one should have hoped an honour system would work. And it’s unfortunate because Michael (and by extension, everybody else who won their category, and everybody who didn’t) might now feel they cannot be certain their results were accurate.

    If your boast of multiple voting is truthful, then I would like to think that it does not display any malicious dishonesty on your part, but merely a regretably poorly controlled enthusiasm for what is undeniably an outstanding blog. Sadly, we are probably going to have think about a more technically sophisticated mechanism for next year’s vote, and we are probably going to have to state explicitly some rules that we all would have hoped need not be explicitly stated.

    Congratulations: you have played no small role in bringing about this state of affairs. I hope you enjoy any notoriety you might have brought yourself. In the mean time, I encourage you next year to lobby all your friends to vote for Carniola, if that is the blog you wish to see win. And I encourage you to vote for it yourself — once.

  11. I was never bragging about it. If you had read the Carniola message board, I wrote it as a confession.

    The reason I did it was the funny post at Pestiside. When I read it, I knew the excrement was going to hit the fan. Pestiside rankings jumped from 3% to 30% in a matter of hours. Eric D’Amato is a wonderful manipulator and he also advised his fans to do as in Chicago – vote early and often.

    That little statement spurred me to investigate, whether your voting system was really so naive. I was pretty dissapointed to find out that it could be easily fooled. Anyone with half a brain and 5 minutes of free time (i.e. – me) could rack up multiple votes. And I am by no means a computer specialist.

    The fact that I came forward and admitted to it does not make me uncanny. As you have figured out yourselves, many people could have voted multiple times. The fact is, that if you wanted your Satin Pajama award to be taken more seriously, you should have installed a more serious voting system. As it was set up, it was all a nice joke. I sure had a laugh. From your adjudication, I thought that you all had also realized what a joke it all was. I guess not.

  12. >>By spelling Ljubljana ?Laibach? one would simply be making a political statement. Misspelling it on a permanent part of one?s front page of a blog is just lazy

    >If laziness it be, then nonetheless less offensive by far, I daresay, than that ?simple? (as you describe it) political statement.

    Offensive? No. Lazy and lame? You bet.

    >And I don?t think even the charge of laziness is justified. Doubtless we must all try harder to get our foreign orthographies right. But in the mean time, if some anglophones innocently spell K?ln ?Koln?, Z?rich ?Zurich?, Ko?ice ?Kosice? or Ljubljana ?Lubljana?, di velt vet nit aruntergeyn.

    ?, ?, and ? aren’t even English letters! The fact you are attempting to equate misspelling Ljubljana with CORRECTLY spelling the English names of other cities (except K?ln/Cologne) is beyond lame.

  13. The incredible interest concerning these Blog awards makes me think of professors and students in smokey dens discussing the world over beers etc…. very self satisfying … it also makes me feel like an outsider for my lack of interest .. perhaps, I am just unfeeling, though I CAN understand how an actual BLOGGER might be interested…

  14. All this Ljubljana/Lubljana/Laibach nonsense brings to mind an anecdote I once heard from someone who swore it was true.

    Two foreigners on a flight to Budapest strike up a conversation.

    One asks the other, “so what are you doing in Bucharest?”

    The other shoots back, “You mean Budapest.”

    To which the first one replies, “I’ve heard it pronounced both ways.”

    Lesson: Don’t sweat the missing “j”.

    On the other hand:

    Q: If Queen Victoria had been a Slovene, what would she do during sex?

    A: Lie back and think of Laibach

  15. I was never bragging about it. If you had read the Carniola message board, I wrote it as a confession.

    Confession implies sorry. You’re not sorry.

    Eric D’Amato is a wonderful manipulator

    So it’s Eric’s fault.

    your voting system was really so naive.

    And it’s our fault.

    you should have installed a more serious voting system.

    And it’s the system’s fault.

    …mm, yes, I think “lame” pretty well covers it.

    Doug M.

  16. No Doug. I am sorry I did it. Yes, it was a lame thing to do. It doesn’t mean I need to be called names like in kindergarten.

    On the other hand, the end result is not really much different from sending an email to 30 of my friends to vote here. The voting system simply allowed me to be lazy about it. It also allowed not only me, but practically anyone, to do the same.

  17. Crni:

    I don’t think anybody is calling you kindergarten names. And no, this was not like the elections in Ukraine, or in Florida.

    It’s just a bit disappointing. As I said above, I’d have hoped everybody would have acted in the proper spirit without needing to be told to do so, and without being policed (electronically or otherwise). Yes, it was pretty easy to cheat. That fact should not be seen as an invitation to go ahead and do it.

    So, next year we’ll need to be a bit more formal about things. Doubtless anybody who really wants to cheat will still find a way to do so; we can only try to make it a bit of a pain in the arse for them.

    If you now see what you claim to have done as lame and are sorry about it, fair play to you. Next year, vote once for your choice in each category. But feel free to write as many emails to friends (or blog posts and/or comments) as you like in support of your candidate; there’s nothing at all wrong with that.

    With that, perhaps, we can consider this matter closed.

  18. ?, ?, and ? aren’t even English letters! The fact you are attempting to equate misspelling Ljubljana with CORRECTLY spelling the English names of other cities (except K?ln/Cologne) is beyond lame

    I’ll grant you the point about ?. Similarly, umlauts are not a standard feature of the anglophone keyboard (though probably a lot more familiar to most anglophones than is the haček). But here your argument is not as strong. The umlaut is merely a convenient shorthand for a following ‘e’ (have a look at the way words are alphabetised in a German dictionary); you can certainly find K?ln and Z?rich written in German-language texts as Koeln and Zuerich. And ‘e’ is, I believe, an English letter.

    It’d be an astoundingly petty point, you might say, to note with disapproval an English-speaker writing Zurich instead of Z?rich (or even Zuerich). And so it would be. About as petty, in fact, as your belligerent pedantry. Somebody misspelt Ljubljana; when this was brought to their attention, they fixed it. That you continue to fleck spittle about this suggests to me that your hierarchy of relative lamenesses needs adjusting.

  19. I?d have hoped everybody would have acted in the proper spirit without needing to be told to do so

    That’s hilarious!

    Besides common sense, lost in all this is the fact both Pestiside (vote early and often) and Petite Anglaise (one vote per computer) encouraged users to take advantage of your oversight and rig the result.

    I’d place the lame blame primarly on a) the bloggers encouraging cheating, and b) the organizers of this competition who were under the illusion that without organization this contest had a even chance of earning a whiff of legitimacy.

  20. Fact #1: ?, ?, and ? aren?t English letters.

    Fact #2: The English names for K?ln, Z?rich, Ko?ice, and Ljubljana are Cologne, Zurich, Kosice, and Ljubljana.

    If you cannot accept these facts, Mrs Tilton, there is no point in debate since you are living in a different reality.

    PS: Yes, I was petty in pointing out that Scott misspelled Ljubljana. I did it out spite because it really annoys me to see others (like you and Scott) attacking participants (like Crni) for faults in your own lame system. Further, voters were encouraged by Bloggers (like Pestiside and Petite Anglaise) to cheat.

  21. |=|=|;

    I see: Crni cheated, but the fault for that lies with a system that was cheatable. As Duke said in Repo Man, making his exit: ‘I know a life of crime has led me to this sorry end, but Society is to blame.’

    Yes, you’re right, it was easy to cheat. I suppose you could fairly call that a fault of the system. But you know, some of us are brought up with the idea that, even though a piece of candy is lying around unguarded, you don’t steal it; if you find somebody’s wallet, you return it, including the cash inside, even though you could keep it with nobody being the wiser. I apologise for assuming that you too had been taught to behave that way.

    Crni’s not really being attacked, you know; mildly reproved, if anything (and as I wrote above, I consider the Crni matter closed). He doesn’t strike me as a terrible person; just a bit naughty and overenthusiastic. In any event a much more attractive person than a cunt like you.

  22. I resent the accusation that I encouraged people to cheat because I jokingly said ‘one vote per ‘puter’. It’s naive to think that anyone who has access to a computer at home and at work won’t vote twice. On the other hand, no-one in my office was able to legitimately vote for me because we have a single IP address. I’m sure it all balances out in the end.

    At the end of the day I’m disappointed that only a quarter of my daily visitors got around to stopping by and voting, but I don’t think there was any foul play.

    I also don’t accept the criticisms of AFOE’s organisation of these awards. In the Bobs people can vote once a day, in the bloggies, one vote per valid email address. Hardly foolproof, any of them. My only thought is that perhaps if the results hadn’t been visible throughout the contest it wouldn’t have encouraged people to exercise undue influence… But then that was part of what made it so gripping….

    😉

  23. I apologise for assuming that you too had been taught to behave that way.

    Who said I behaved differently? Your lack of integrity knows no bounds.

    Accept fault, learn from it, and don’t be so defensive. Reflection is the hallmark of a superior mind. I hope your quick recourse to name calling at least made you feel somewhat better, until reality hits.

  24. Got around to reading this, and am sufficiently annoyed by the charge of cluelessness to bother commenting.

    1) There wasn’t much discussion of voting methods, and I doubt anyone but me and tobias gave it a moment’s thought. The reason I wanted this one was that it would maximize interest in the awards, and I was proved right. Considering the small viewership of our nominees compared to other awards, interest must have been very high. I don’t particulary regret the decision. The purpose of the awards is exposing people to new blogs. The competition is the hook and shouldn’t be taken to seriously (obviously).

    2) We knew there was a potentioal for trouble. We wouldn’t have the unlocked doors community of Koufax, but because the low stakes and the lack of political acrimony I figured it was unlikely. And indeed, without D’Amato’s shit-stirring there’d be no acrimony, and we’d been spared this and the other tedious silliness.

    3) Voting at home and at work was not cheating. Almost everyone of any blog’s readers can do that, therefore it doesn’t make any difference. The results aren’t less meaningful.

    4) Someone using a script would ruin the competition, but it seemed quite unlikely, someone would bother. And us not noticing if it did happen even more so.

    5) One guy voting twenty-thirty times is different from voting three times i guess, and is a bit lame. But what annoys me is crni’s “confession” that seems designedto tir shit up. annoyingly it succeeded to some extent, but it’s not like petite is writing us angry emails and demanding a recount. There’s no actual controversy here, just a lot of chatter over nothing.

    6) If as in most cases the winner wins by a wide margin, more people will voted for her or him. If the margin is small, luck will play a role, and that’s okay. With that in mind declaring the results invalid because of Crni would be pretty arbitrarary.

  25. Wow, so much energy and time wasted for…. for what? I wouldn’t have imagined that a simple lining up of blogs – (non-colliding) opinion writing that is – would stir such an ego fight. Man, some people simply have too much time in their hands. 🙂

    All comments aside, I think the underlying goal of the contest was touched: the European cultural differences and related egos are present more than ever…err, I mean it was a good chance to learn about very good blogs and interesting people from all over Europe in spite of all those egos and differences.

  26. Besides common sense, lost in all this is the fact both Pestiside (vote early and often) and Petite Anglaise (one vote per computer) encouraged users to take advantage of your oversight and rig the result.

    No, besides common sense, what’s lost in the above graph is that the three ominous-looking words you think are a serious call to vote more than once were part of an article that – sorry, but I have to turn the caps on here – ANYONE BUT A DOLT OR AN ILLITERATE COULD SEE WAS NOTHING MORE THAN A FUN LITTLE GAG PIECE SLAPPED TOGETHER TO CHEER UP THE PUT-UPON DESK JOCKEYS WHO COME TO MY SITE EVERY DAY TO ADD A LITTLE SPICE TO THEIR OTHERWISE DREARY LIVES.

    Meanwhile…

    And indeed, without D’Amato’s shit-stirring there’d be no acrimony, and we’d been spared this and the other tedious silliness.

    Perhaps, but to be perfectly truthful, I would say that my shit-stirring was pretty much the only non-tedious thing about the contest. Actually, to really truthful, it’s probably the only non-tedious thing that has ever been on or happed to this blog.

  27. no, this blog is one of the best out there and always interesting. way, way better than yours.

    that said, i didn’t mean it to sound as if I’m mad at you or anything. your shit-stirring happened to be inconvenient.

  28. >>Besides common sense, lost in all this is the fact both Pestiside (vote early and often) and Petite Anglaise (one vote per computer) encouraged users to take advantage of your oversight and rig the result.

    >No, besides common sense, what?s lost in the above graph is that the three ominous-looking words you think are a serious call to vote more than once were part of an article that – sorry, but I have to get defensive and go postal here… blah blah blah

    Fact: Your words encouraged cheating (albeit not as explicitly as those of Petite Anglaise).

    I didn’t and won’t take you seriously, D’Amato. See, I don’t care what your intentions were because the fact remains. All I’ll say further is that you read way too much into things. Unlike you, I made zero assumption with respect to your motives, mental capacity, etc. I merely pointed out a simple fact.

  29. “Your words encouraged cheating (albeit not as explicitly as those of Petite Anglaise).”

    no they didn’t!

    I keep shifting from annoyance to amusement and back. it is funny, as well as a bit sad, but it’d be much funnier if it’d happened to someone else’s awards.

  30. Now I’m amused.

    Vote often, once per computer

    Read it again, Dave. Over and over, if necessary. The message is not hard to find!

  31. Your Trackback is down, so here is my article:

    http://scottish-independence.blogspot.com/2005/02/satin-pajama-wearers-of-continent.html

    -“Thanks to James Ker-Lindsay over at Lose the Delusion – Proudly Battling Euroscepticism for bringing my attention to the choice Satin Pajama – The First a Fistful of Euros European Weblog Award. First prize went to The Glory of Carniola, by Michael Manske. James Ker-Lindsay won bronze medal in the Best New Weblog section.

    There are tons of good blogs there for…”

  32. Stuart Dickson, thank you for taking me up on my friendly request that readers name-drop good blogs they discovered via this contest. I’m going to go read Slugger O’Toole now.

  33. It’s a pleasure, Mr MacMillan.

    Good Scottish Gaelic surname by the way. I’m pleased to see the more authentic spelling has been retained by your family.

  34. Having joined the political arena (AWARDS), many BLOGGERS have exposed themselves, by

    Exchanging decency, nobility, and intelligence, for

    The defense of what is proprietary, no matter how tiny, be it a BLOG, a vote, a comment, a sentence, upside down pride, an emotional response, or even one’s own language, and

    The exposure is illuminating: Try re-reading this thread twice; see how it compares to the stupefying triteness of an infocommercial, or better yet;

    Escape the malaise. Perhaps an anecdote;

    A revisition of the judge who questioned Hitler at his Putsch trial, and that he was accused of desiring to become a Premier:

    The meanness of the office he was accused of seeking so enraged Hitler that he might nearly have choked to death, in his disdainful retort that what he sought was much GREATER than Premier.

    If only the judge had accused Hitler of seeking the lowest political office; a BLOGGER:

    Hitler might have exploded into pieces akin to the chad earlier mentioned in this thread, and BLOGGERS today could discuss his ‘light’ end; for blowing smoke, about hanging chad, or eternal dust, are great subjects will within the purview of a BLOGGER.

  35. I thought the stuff on Pestiside was funny, and it’s a shame some people took it too seriously.

    That said, this:

    the only non-tedious thing about the contest. Actually, to really truthful, it’s probably the only non-tedious thing that has ever been on or happed to this blog.

    — smacks of poor impulse control, or worse, bad manners.

    Eric, there are some people here whose paths may cross yours professionally. Me included. Word to the wise.

    Doug M.

  36. Eric, there are some people here whose paths may cross yours professionally. Me included. Word to the wise.

    That’s odd. Where I come from, when a person offers up some rather innocuous (and “not non-tedious” or thereabouts is about as innocuous as it gets) negative comments about a publication it’s just considered media criticism – or a letter to the editor! – while someone who threatens a person with professional retribution for voicing such an opinion is considered to suffer from poor impulse control or bad manners.

    Anyway, don’t take it so personally. While I do think this blog is dreary, I’m not saying (and don’t necessarily think) that you or the other people contributing to it are dreary; in fact, the only contributor I know is almost never dreary, and your personal site is pretty fun.

    Rather, the problem is that (at least from what I can tell) the people feeding FFOE all seem to hold views on most of the issues discussed that conform quiet neatly to existing conventional wisdom. I’m not, of course, suggesting that people should pretend to believe in things or be outraged by things that they don’t or aren?t just to add a little oomph to the proceedings. But if you are not breaking news or covering things that no one else is covering, your coin is opinion. And if your opinions always seem carefully designed not to offend the conventional wisdom, well, that coin isn’t very shiny. One can only read so many posts saying that democracy in Ukraine is good and Auschwitz is bad and Tony Judt is “eminently, and refreshingly sensible” before you start wishing that FFOE was instead called “A Fistful of Belarusian Bolshevik Bitter-enders” or “A Fistful of Anti-Vatican II Monarchists.” But again, it’s not your fault that you folks hold uncontroversial views and express them uncontroversially. It just means that you need to do a better job of in other areas, like breaking news, or being a clearing house in one particular beat. (Then again, this being Europe, it probably doesn’t hurt to keep pointing out once in a while that democracy is good and genocide bad.)

    The other problem is even more innocent. Group blogs, like most communal enterprises, are tough to keep going, or keep good. I would only point out (respectfully!) that FFOE has more than a dozen contributors but over the last two weeks has averaged under one post a day, and that’s counting the contest stuff and the lists of previous “hit” posts (but not the open thread). But again, I think that’s mostly the nature of the beast, and don’t mean to suggest you or the other fistfuls are doofuses.

    Either way, I’m going to give you a pass on your comment, which I’m sure you did not mean to come off the way it did, and to point out that you are always welcome to call my stuff not non-tedious, or even say that it sucks cat ass. As they say, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, as long as they spell your name right.

    EJD

    PS: My first name is spelled with a “k”

    PPS: I don’t think we are likely to cross paths professionally, though FYI I am hiring!

  37. You people are funny. War, famine, natural disasters killing upwards of 200,000 people, the IRA pulling out of the peace process, Iran and the US shouting at each other about nuclear weapons, slow but sure crackdown on freedom of speech and political opposition in Russia, continued civil wars in Africa, ongoing repression of women’s rights in Saudi Arabian elections, suspension of habeas corpus in Guantanamo Bay and Britain, introduction of compulsary biometric ID, corruption, mendacity and dirty tactics at the heart of governments worldwide, and you’re getting worked up about a funny little poll and whether or not someone you’ve never met (and never will meet) has called you names on the interweb? No wonder the world’s going to shit…

  38. Who said I behaved differently? Your lack of integrity knows no bounds.

    I have no idea how you behave. What I do know is that your response to a claim of cheating was to attack those scolding the cheater because it was possible to cheat. Blame, in your worldview, apparently attaches to the existence of an opportunity to do wrong, not to wrongdoing itself. That’s a highly interesting concept of integrity you have there.

    As somebody mentioned above, it was apparently also possible to cheat (with minimal or no effort) in a number of other blog contests. I take it we both agree that that’s less than fully satisfactory. So: do you have some application for cheat-proofing an election like this? (An application that doesn’t cost anything and doesn’t require a full-time IT staff to implement?) If so, you’ll do the whole blogging world a service by making it available under a CC licence. If you don’t, then I suggest you get working on it; when you’re finished, your indignation might merit more respectful attention.

    As for your charge that the whole thing was just a silly popularity contest: you’re right, of course. But you say that as though it were a bad thing. No, nobody got a prize with any real-world value. And the fact that somebody wins a given category doesn’t even really mean they’re necessarily the best in that category (something that subjective can’t really be settled by a vote, in any event). But lots of people who are enthusiastic for one blog or another got to express their enthusiasm; the blogs in question got some additional exposure; and a lot of us learned of worthwhile blogs we hadn’t known before. (My own blogroll certainly profited from the excercise.) That seems about all one can hope for from a contest like this, and in that, I think, it succeeded.

    BTW, the irritability you have expressed in this thread seems to me to stem in some degree from annoyance at the slagging-off of Slovenia posted at Pestiside and reported here. (‘Slovenes this, Slovenes that’, was your rather delphic comment up above somewhere.) Let me take the opportunity to assure you that I am unaware of any anti-Slovene prejudice here at afoe. Indeed, if I were asked to rank my own favourite Former Habsburg Possession That Is Now An Independent Country But That I Have Never Been To, I suspect Slovenia might just pip Hungary at the post. But be that as it may, Erik d’Amato’s ‘snaggle-toothed hillbillies’ line was pretty funny. I doubt d’Amato is really a Slovenophobe; he was just getting his troops fired up in an admittedly wisearsed way. Puerile, yes; but funny, too. You should try to be less humourless; unless you are aiming for a tenured position in Oppression Studies, you’ll find it a handicap. And let us not lose perspective: Carniola, after all, took the top prize (with, I might add, the vote of at least one afoeer).

    Sorry if my name-calling pissed you off. It pissed me off that I succumbed to the temptation; it’s something I normally try to avoid. You may view this as an achievement, if you like: if you set out to be irritating, you succeeded grandiosely. As for the advice in your final para: all very true, and all (considering the source and the context) very amusing.

    Good day to you now.

  39. cmi and /=/=/ could fuck up a wet dream. They’re actually getting self-righteous and huffy now. Unbelieveable.

    And yeah, /=/=/, I misspelled your name too. So sue me.

    Fistful of Euros and Crooked Timber, for all their egregious niceness, seem to get some of the worst trolls.

  40. Mrs Tilton, you?d do much better with me if you ceased with the assumptions. I already stated, clearly, what got me started here. I continue(d) because it was a pleasure to defend myself, as I enjoy a good, ardent debate.

    For the record, I sincerely enjoyed Pestiside?s satirical articles on the shameful thought of losing to Slovenians; I did not take offense in the slightest. With regards to my Slovene this, Slovenes that, readers at The Glory of Carniola know what was meant by it.

    It?s interesting to observe for just how long different people can keep it civil before they explode over what they are unable to (or unwilling to take time to) understand.

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