August 13, 2003


Andrew Orlowski has written a story in The Register, regarding Webloggers deal Harvard blog-bores a black eye. This covers BloggerCon, and most critically, the $500 cost:

But on what grounds does Dave Winer, backed up by a small circuit of adoring journalists and fellow webloggers, have to uphold his right to fleece them for real bucks?

Dave Winer says No fleecing and John Palfrey has commented "We've got a strong public spirit, and we're certainly not out to fleece anyone".

The following is my oversimplified analysis, but I think in broad general outlines, it explains what's going on (again, remember, I said it's oversimplified, there are exceptions, but I think the overall analysis is valid):

The right-wing bloggers are rich (or at least comfortably well-off). To make connections with other people useful to them, a $500 conference fee is a token. It's just a cost of doing business, like country-club dues.

The left-wing bloggers are not rich (some not even comfortably well-off). To them, an invitation to pay $500 to pal around with mostly (not exclusively, but mostly) right-wingers, is absurd. They have trouble imagining anyone would regard that as a reasonable fee.

The academics never pay for any conference out of their own pocket (it's a perk of the job). So viscerally, they don't understand what the fuss is about.

There's other issues, but I believe this is the flash-point. It's the key to the various views.

Disclaimers: Dave Winer mentioned me (favorably!) yesterday, for solving a puzzle of his. Andrew Orlowski has quoted me in the past. And John Palfrey also recently has noted me. I actually don't know who I should be lining-up with here, according to the rules of politics. I think I won't get in trouble for this article. I think ...

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in cyberblather | on August 13, 2003 06:17 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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If you want to attend a real grass-roots con without the self-important navel gazing, try this one. If anybody attends, look me up and we can split a Shiner Bock.

Posted by: chip at August 15, 2003 12:29 AM

I wonder if academics really never pay for the conferences they attend. If so I certainly don't qualify as a academic: I spent an awfull lot of mony on conference fees and travel costs.

Perhaps a feature of the US academic world?

Posted by: Max Dornseif at August 15, 2003 06:22 AM

The "invitation" to selected prominent bloggers to pay "a mere $500" to attend insulted most of those invited, since the $500 was to pay other prominent bloggers to attend.

Rollo the Rich Kid thinks you're chopped liver, and a sucker to boot.

Posted by: anon at August 23, 2003 08:49 AM

a) conservative (more-or-less) and
b) an academic who has to pay his way to conferences


c) I was offended at the price as well.

Your broad terms are not broad enough. :-D

Posted by: bryan at August 23, 2003 09:32 PM