December 24, 2008

My Worst Blog Post of the Year.

Jim Manzi at The Corner comes up with the idea of Worst Blog Post of the Year:
I think that progress requires shining a spotlight on our errors, rather than trying to sweep them under the rug. As such, I’m starting what I intend to be an annual tradition of identifying what I believe to my worst single blog post of the year.
Now, obviously, this could be used as a device to actually brag. I'm reminded of something Obama said after a debate in which the candidates we asked to confess to their "greatest weakness":
“Because I’m like, an ordinary person, I thought that they meant what’s your biggest weakness? So I said, ‘Well, I don’t handle paper that well. You know, my desk is a mess. I need somebody to help me file and stuff all the time.’ So the other two they say uh, they say well my biggest weakness is ‘I’m just too passionate about helping poor people. I am just too impatient to bring about change in America.

“If I had gone last I would have known what the game was. I could have said, ‘Well you know, I like to help old ladies across the street. Sometimes they don’t want to be helped. It’s terrible.’”
So what does Manzi come up with? It's this post in which he links to a piece about how well-organized the Hillary Clinton campaign supposedly is, and he's impressed by what we now know was wrong, but he voiced doubt at the time about the accuracy of the report. Aw, come on. That's a little sometimes they don't want to be helped to my ear. That's as bad as you got all year and you're innovating an annual feature to 'fess up?

Now, I'm not so sure I want to participate in this little game. Unlike Obama, I don't have to go first. I can see how the opportunity can be used simply to identify a time when I wrote about something bad that someone else wrote and I didn't call bullshit on it. But what the hell? I'll comfess. This is my worst blog post of the year. I saw something that wasn't there, impulsively called attention to it -- I was really quite excited about it -- then immediately had to update to say what I thought I saw wasn't there, but couldn't resist going on about how it could have been there in a much less conspicuous way which, of course, I would not have been able to see.

30 comments:

Maguro said...

Have to disagree - the "NIG" post was quite a bit worse.

Windbag said...

How about a poll to determine the worst?

Pogo said...

This is my worst comment evar.

Darcy said...

Ha! This was the post that came to mind while I was reading this and before I clicked the link.

It wasn't up to your usual quality, but given that it was part of the liveblogging and seemed sincere at the time, I think you were given too much crap for it.

Original George said...

Boy, do I disagree with your conclusion. You smelled a story. You jumped on it. Ready. Fire. Aim. You're being too lawyerly.

If you made a mistake, it was in failing to do research on the topic before publishing. With 2 or 3 phone calls to manufacturers of tiny in-ear radio gizmos (which do exist) you could have run a piece that gave both sides of the issue.

In fact, when this originally came up, I dug up some long techie story by someone who did just that and concluded it would be possible, though difficult, for a campaign to do what you suggested. The problem, as I recall, is not that such teensy devices do not exist but that radio signal interference would have been the problem during the debate because of all the other electronic media in the vicinity.

We live in an age where big media is too timid or too biased or too lacking in resources to move on interesting stories (that require actual reporting) and small media (blogs) are often too content to comment on stories without researching them independently.

Here is the piece that was at Kos. It's by someone who knows something about radio technology.

What I want to know is what neuropharmacological drugs national politicians are taking, i.e. attention enhancers such Provigil, Adderall and mood-altering drugs like antidepressants. Be like reporting who JFK's babes were in 1960. We'll never know....

Simon said...

I'm inclined to agree with Maguro, but the problem I see with windbag's idea of a poll is that you'd have to narrow the definition of "worst post" for the results to be meaningful in anyway. Does it have to be a single post, as the wording suggests, or can it be several posts arising from a common nucleus of operative fact? (For example, the "NIG" incident wasn't a single post, as I recall, it was a few interconnected posts; that's a feature of the blog medium.) And more to the point - "worst" in what way? Worst written? Least interesting? Least intellectually honest? Least thought-out (that appears to be the criterion for Ann's selection)?

What I'm getting at is, it doesn't tell us anything interesting to have a poll if Maguro and I both vote but he votes for the NIG post because he thinks it was the most substantively vapid while I vote for a post that contained a photo I thought was aesthetically dull.

Pogo said...

Actually, this is my worst comment of the year.

Ann Althouse said...

Yes, why don't you all 'fess up to your worst comment of the year?

Anyway, I might actually think that my worst post is the one that linked to the thing that was least worth reading and did not add something interesting. That definition of "worst" would more accurately reflect my approach to writing this blog. That's what I work hardest to avoid. But it would be really hard, in the hundreds of posts, to find the clearest example of failing that standard.

Windbag said...

My worst comment was the hamburger hymen one from the burger virgin BK thread.

Darcy said...

Now that would be interesting! To read what people felt were their worst comments of the year.

Simon said...

My worst comment of the year? On election night, I said something regrettable that need not be repeated. It was indefensible (although I would point to the extreme emotional duress as somewhat mitigating circumstances), it shouldn't have been said, and it was deleted shortly thereafter.

Darcy said...

I deleted my worst comment too, Simon. I can relate.

Pogo said...

I have had an embarrassing string of execrable comments, all vying for first place.

So hard to choose.

Almost certainly it was in response to Michael/Lucky. It was along the lines of Oh yeah? Well you're a big poopyhead! My inner sixth-grader is always in there, sniggering and ready to throw erasers.

reader_iam said...

Mine started and ended with "screw you" (actually, those are the parts of it that make it the worse, because of to whom it was directed) ... and I did not delete it, specifically to remind myself what an asshole I can be, and to try and do better in the New Year. This is true--the not deleting--of the others I might put on the list. (I commented a lot less this year, but still, there must be a few hundred; you'd expect some real clangers, wouldn't you?) Weirdly, I do delete comments, but not ones I'd consider the worst in the sense that most people would define "worse." There may be an exception or two, but for the vast-most part, that's true.

reader_iam said...

Anyway, I really just came over to say Merry Christmas, stay safe on the roads for those of you in the messy weather places, and all of that.

reader_iam said...

Actually, worst is that I've been sorta cranky all of 2008, a crappy year, for sure, but I shouldn't be taking it out on anonymous people on the internet.

For that I am sincerely sorry.

BJM said...

Coming off an election makes choosing the worst blog post of the year neigh to impossible, but one of the labels on this post is très amusant: Obama wit.

Pogo said...

reader is one of my favorite people I have never met, whose comments I always read, and whose insights are rarely as cranky as she thinks.

I read A Christmas Carol every other year. Initially, I was very much Bob Cratchit. Over time have found myself becoming Ebenezer Scrooge, even to the point of saying things that came very close to his utterances. Yeesh!

So Merry Christmas, y'all.
And to celebrate fully, it requires the Pogo Christmas carol, sung to the tune of "Deck Us All With Boughs of Holly".


Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Darcy said...

Merry Christmas, reader_iam. I'm not embarrassed at all to say that I don't "get" half of your posts here, and I mean that as a compliment to your level of intellect. Very interesting reading!

HelenParr said...

Insofar is this is only my second comment, I would have to say it is both worst and best.

reader_iam said...

Alternatively, I might need to work on clarity ... .

LOL.

Anyone got a good quick Christmas craft for kids? I am so not craft-y, but just found out I'll be watching a bunch of kids at church all evening. So, I'm making some more cookie dough, and that'll be good for maybe an hour or an hour and a half or so. Do kids still like to cut up old Christmas cards and make scenes? (Mine doesn't, probably due to taking after my bad blood line.)

/OT.

Pogo said...

How old are they?

Pogo said...

Easiest?
Draw their favorite doll/superhero/TV or cartoon character saying 'Merry Christmas' really really loud.

I love kids' drawings.

reader_iam said...

Probably 5-10, but possibly 3-11. Boys and girls.

David said...

Althouse--the year isn't over yet. You still have a chance to be a lot worse, unless you go into the four corners and run out the clock.

Assumpsit said...

Your worst blog post ever? How about all those "Blue Monkey Cafe" and "Purple Penguin Discotheque" ones? All of 'em. Maybe it's your worst blog year ever. IMHO, of course.

Things That Come Between Us said...

NIG. Without a doubt.

blake said...

Anyway, I might actually think that my worst post is the one that linked to the thing that was least worth reading and did not add something interesting. That definition of "worst" would more accurately reflect my approach to writing this blog. That's what I work hardest to avoid. But it would be really hard, in the hundreds of posts, to find the clearest example of failing that standard.

Just so: The worst post isn't either the NIG or the "invisible ear piece". Those were interesting for a variety of reasons.

Were those embarrassing to you? I hope not, or at least not enough to deter such posts in the future.

The worst posts are the ones we don't remember.

chuck b. said...

Helen Reddy and Ambien inspired my worst comment about midwest women wearing their mom jeans and tight perms. The usually grayscale chuck b. personality was asleep asleep at that point, and instead it was his cousin, warmglowing misanthrope spun on Ambien and Benadryl and singing spanish techno.

I do regret that.

Steve said...

Be honest. The reason you cite this as your worst post is because this brought so much unwanted attention to it.