Be the Student, or Be the Lesson

From James in the hinterlands (“Prosecutor and Defense Attorney Since 1968”), regarding Robb Fickman’s guest post1 on Ken Anderson:

Brilliant, of course, but I’m connecting for a separate reason.  I have recently started a blog and would like to cross pollinate with people such we yourself who obviously see the world the same as I do.  So I’d like to start by re-printing your blog with your permission, and to have a little “about the author” at the end.  If you’re interested, please let me know.  My fledgling blog is  Thanks, and thanks for the very well expressed opinion; I’ve been having trouble with a number of defense lawyers who feel that 10-days is a signal of something.  Maybe it is, but to get that deal then, at least they should have forced him to publicly admit what he did, like so many persecutors press pleading defendants to do instead of NC pleas.

Keep blogging.

James is making things up as he goes along. I’ve been blogging for six and a half years. I have a pretty good idea what works and what doesn’t. James has this idea of republishing other people’s work with “a little ‘about the author’ at the end.” This does not work. It’s nice of James to ask: many people would just do it without asking, reasoning that I must want more “exposure,” but I’m not interested in my content being used to fluff someone else’s blog, so the answer was no.

Of course since he was nice enough to ask, I also offered James some free advice, from someone who didn’t just discover blogging:


Who is advising you on this “cross-pollinating” thing? Because the way to do it is not to reprint other people’s stuff. It’s to join the conversation. Comment on other people’s blogs, disagree with them, write your own blog posts with links to their stuff.

This is work.

I think James wants this to be effortless—republish someone else’s posts, add a little “about the author” to the end, and boom: instant blog! The barriers to entry are low, but blogging isn’t effortless. Nothing worth doing ever is.

James didn’t much like that answer:

I have to say I’m a little surprised by this angry response, as the goal of my blog is to get important information out there, whomever writes it, with attribution, so that the public sees the reality of justice in America, and that’s why I proposed an about-the-author postscript.  I’d like to think that it’s just that you’re having a bad day, so I won’t take the acrimonious tone personally.

Don’t lose any sleep over it.

Why is it that when you tell people the truths they don’t want to hear, you are “angry” and “acrimonious”?

The problem is that if James is filling his blog with other people’s work, nobody is going to link to it and nobody is going to read it. If he really wanted to “get important information out there,” rather than “fill a webpage with keywordy goodness” he would follow my advice and join the discussion. Scott Greenfield has written about this more than once. Gideon lamented, Slowly but surely, the blawgoshpere [sic] is moving away from actual conversation and closer to pure marketing, but that was five years ago.

We can explain it to you, but we can’t understand it for you.

  1. No, I do not accept guest posts from strangers. Robb is a special exception. He and I have a deal: neither of us goes to jail for contempt alone. Since he’s likely some day to be my celly, I try to keep him happy. 

About Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett got his letter of marque from the Supreme Court of Texas in May 1995. He is famous for having no sense of humor when it comes to totalitarianism.
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