One piece that I was disappointed to read was the news that biblioblogs.com, run by Brandon Wason and John Hobbins, has decided to exclude bloggers who are not part of an institution, regardless of the quality and relevance of their work.
Whilst biblioblogs.com has never, to my knowledge, claimed to be an officially representative body, they do carry a certain weight, and it's rather depressing to think that their definition might begin to be taken up in other circles such as the Biblical Studies Carnivals or the Top 50 Biblioblogs site (whose latest list has also just been published by the way).
If my subject is considered too tangential, or my work is deemed to be of insufficient quality then it is absolutely fair enough if it's excluded or just overlooked, but it's a wholly different thing to be excluded on the basis of affiliation.
I'm not sure whether the decision has been made simply to narrow what is, admittedly, a very extensive field or whether it's an attempt to demonstrate legitimacy to those in academic circles who are critical of the biblioblogging movement. Either way it seems to demonstrate a lack of understanding of web culture. Only the other day I was reading an article by Gary Hamel, (another academic - former professor at Harvard Business School) describing key aspects of the emerging web culture, and his first two points were as follows:
1. All ideas compete on an equal footing.Perhaps this is just sour grapes from me because I fear being excluded from something I have been a part of for the last few years. And sure they can argue that's it's my "choice" not to be an academic. Unfortuately I, and no doubt others like me, only discovered that this is what we would have liked to do once any realistic chance of actually doing so had already passed.
On the Web, every idea has the chance to gain a following—or not, and no one has the power to kill off a subversive idea or squelch an embarrassing debate. Ideas gain traction based on their perceived merits, rather than on the political power of their sponsors.
2. Contribution counts for more than credentials.
When you post a video to YouTube, no one asks you if you went to film school. When you write a blog, no one cares whether you have a journalism degree. Position, title, and academic degrees—none of the usual status differentiators carry much weight online. On the Web, what counts is not your resume, but what you can contribute.
Finally, it's nice to see that next month's carnival will be hosted by fellow Brit Doug Chaplin, a great blogger who is also facing the chop, and whose cause is far more worthy than my own.
Labels: Biblical Studies Carnivals