He may be on vacation, but John at Mormon Stories ("MS") can still manage to kick up some dust, now complaining that he has been "de-listed" from the Mormon Archipelago's handy blog aggregator, which bills itself as the "Gateway to the Bloggernacle." [Disclosure: I am part of the committee that runs MA sites, including the aggregator, but was not involved in the discussion about the MS post in question, nor in the decision to temporarily "de-list" the Mormon Stories site.] Since John specifically discussed DMI in his post and invited MA-listed blogs to respond, I will do so here. I'm speaking for myself, not for anyone else. Many of the points relate to issues raised by commenters rather than by John in his original post.
To avoid a long discussion where none is required, I'm just going to list a few relevant points:
- It's just a blogroll. The MA aggregator is just a glorified blogroll. There is nothing official about it, and being listed or not doesn't confer membership or obloquy on anyone. It happens to be a particularly handy blogroll for those who want to keep track of the 50 or so blogs listed at the site, but it's just a tool. Anyone who wants to customize their listing can do so at LDSelect, another fine aggregator.
- MA can't list every Mormon blog. This is so obvious I would have a difficult time explaining it. There are sites that do try to display every LDS blog, but they're not aggregators.
- MA doesn't want to list every Mormon weblog. Some weblogs don't fit with what MA does. Why not? Because MA lists a selection of weblogs that host discussions of Mormon-related topics from a relatively faithful perspective. If you want weblogs that talk about Mormon topics from a different perspective, they are not hard to find, but it's not MA's purpose to provide links to them.
- But that seems so unfair! Does posting online just activate a dormant whining gene in some people? If not getting listed on someone else's blogroll strikes you as terribly unfair, you need to write a letter to your mother and ask her permission to finally grow up.
- But that's censorship! Another blockhead comment one sees over and over again. Governments can censor, prohibiting expression with the threat of some sort of punishment, but MA is not a government entity. And censorship implies actually censoring something. Listing or de-listing a blog at MA has no effect on that blog's posted content: nothing is censored, deleted, or prohibited. In the very loosest sense, one might analogize editing or deleting blog comments that present unwelcome points of view to censorship, but MA doesn't feature comments, so MA couldn't "censor" any viewpoints even if it wanted to!
- Why did you put up a DMI post on the problems at the Foyer? Because it's my blog and I wanted to. And it was fun to watch a snarky DAMU board go into meltdown; I thought others might like to watch as well. The Bloggernacle has its own train wrecks from time to time, and I post on them, too.
- But how will people find Mormon Stories now? According to John's own post, less than 10% of his hits come from MA. Here are four easy ways to find it without the MA link: (1) Google "Mormon Stories" and it's the first link; (2) make a bookmark; (3) put a link in your own weblog's sidebar; or (4) go visit LDSelect. Given how easy it is to find his site and how few referrals he actually gets from MA, it's unclear why John even cares whether he's listed or not.
- So what can I do? Since John wants to make the issue a matter of public discussion, I invite visitors to leave a comment favoring one of the following three options:
- Permanently list MS at MA.
- Keep bouncing MS out of the MA listing, then back in, as a function of posted content.
- Permanently de-list MS from MA.