Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

The Blorum

In a post at Phatic Communion, Curtis put forth the following intriguing possible initiative:

If I were to start a new blog — unlikely, at least for now, given that I can barely keep this one going while devoting time to the issue of 5GW — I would call it “The Iterate.”

I would begin the blog by addressing a core set of issues, relatively broad-based, and write a post outlining my general thoughts/ideology/impressions concerning each issue. I’d spend maybe 3 months doing this, but only write one intensive post for each issue.

After 3 months, I’d “iterate”, that is, I would address each of those issues again, one post each and in the same order as the original posts; but I’d be critical of what I wrote before. I would treat each previous post as I treat others I critique already. I would highlight certain statements and ideas, and 1) be highly critical, attacking the dogmatic or declarative or orthodox thrust, if one exists, 2) question the scope of the statement or idea — is this true within a limited scope only, or may it be applied broadly; if broadly, what are its real weaknesses in a broad application? — or 3) highlight how the statement or idea should have been expanded, completed, but was not — mysteriously? — at the time.

In the commentary that follows I suggest a personal wiki in which Curtis can put down his ideas and allow a very open source critique/edit from (perhaps) a restricted group of participants. The downfall of this is of course the reality that unlike the Wikipedia such an endeavor encompasses not an effort to define, rather one to hypothesize. The result would be both encyclopedic (as Curtis notes) in sheer information and an invitation for an effective tit for tat intellectual war as various theorists or commentators continually edit and redit ad infinum. Not exactly the effect one who is looking to refine his own theories is looking for.

And so it is the theory of a Blorum was born:

I've also lately considered designing a blog with bulletin board forum software rather than the standard blog software. I had found a plugin for Movable Type that allows any visitor authenticated through TypeKey to post new entries to a common blog; that sounded a lot like the way forums work; and I realized that some forum software is highly configurable, could even be designed to "look" like a blog in its output. Using forum software, I could allow visitors to register with the site but only with permissions to post comments to threads rather than new threads in one section -- where I'd blog -- and then have another section of the "blorum" where visitors could post new threads and start discussions.

In effect a hybrid or conflation of the effectively concrete or "closed" source approach of a blog and the open source approach of a forum. Blorum.


aelkus said...

Kind of reminds me of a listserv, usenet, or email list, actually.

Curtis Gale Weeks said...

One cool feature of forum software is the PM (private message) system, so further discussions could occur behind the scenes in a blorum, between any registered members, with private storage of each member's PMs.

I am not as familiar with the back-end maintenance of forum software as I am with back-end maintenance of blog software, although I do run a private 5GW forum for the Contributors to D5GW -- which isn't getting much use. I wonder how much server load is caused by a mid-sized forum, how much data-storage is?

Jay@Soob said...

I poked around at ezboard and came up with somewhere around $60 annually. Of course, ezboard is effectively on it's way out and so a more realistic figure might be in the area of $100 annually.

I doubt ezboard would support the framework you're considering but that's perhaps a ballpark figure for storage.

Anonymous said...

Drupal combines blog and forum features, and I think it could implement such a system. Its also free.

Jay@Soob said...

Thanks Phil.

G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jay@Soob said...


G said...

Whoops deleted my post. here it is again.

Gregory Bateson has an essay entitled 'Experiments in Thinking about Observed Ethnological Material' which covers a useful technique for highlighting personal statements or ideas.

Bit of background on batesons thought processes when he mentions loose thinking he is talking about creative type thinking. The opposite being strict thinking which hopes to critically think about the loose thinking thus creating original concrete ideas. It's kinda similar to talking about the equivalent of divergent/convergent thinking or the scientific process in general.

Anyway here's the two parts about the technique i'm talking about (willis, or perhaps willi, being two "whatcha talkin' bouts")

"When I am faced with a vague concept and feel that the time is not yet ripe to bring that concept into strict expression, I coin some loose expression for referring to this concept and do not want to prejudge the issue by giving the concept too meaningful a term. I therefore dub it hastily with some brief concrete colloquial term -generally anglo-saxon rather than latin-I will speak of the "stuff" of culture, or "bits" of culture, or the "feel" of culture. These brief anglo-saxon terms have for me a definite feeling-tone which reminds me all the time that the concepts behind them are vague and await analysis. It is like a trick like tying a knot in a handkerchief - but has the advantage that it still permits me, if I may so express it, to go on using the handkerchief for other purposes. I can go on using the vague concept in the valuable process of loose thinking - still continually reminded that my thoughts are loose."

"The second method is to train them to tie knots in their handkerchiefs whenever they leave some matter unformulated - to be willing to leave the matter so for years, but still leave a warning sign in the very terminology they use, such that these terms will forever stand, not as fences hiding the unknown from future investigators, but rather as signposts which read: "UNEXPLORED BEYOND THIS POINT.""

G said...


Jay@Soob said...

? LOL.

Curtis Gale Weeks said...

I have leapt from considering the blorum in the context of "The Iterate" to considering 1) its usefulness for the exploration of 5GW and 2) a general format-framework perhaps relating to much else, over at D5GW:

"To Blorum or Not to Blorum"

Jay@Soob said...

I think that's an excellent direction to explore. The Iterate was enticing in principle but seems almost obsessive to a fault in the long run. Over analysis of any subject can be counter productive. Over analysis of ones self might lead to genius or it might lead to abject uncertainty!

I'm looking forward to watching this idea take shape!