The Beauty of An Actual Diverse Community
Opinionated Man a.k.a. Jason Cushman over at HarshReality is what one could consider a powerblogger of sorts – whatever that term even means anymore. He actually may be addicted to blogging to the annoyance of his wife. Over time, he has used his site to promote other WordPress bloggers as well as to promote community interaction between all of us.
In particular, his WordPress Meet & Greet threads for bloggers have been fantastic and he has featured a weekly number of “Guest Posts” written by just about anybody who has come across his site – usually commentors and people who frequent the site.
I’ve written a few guest posts and enjoyed how it let me reach a wider audience with thoughts – I’m sure other guest posters have had the same feeling. What I now realize is just how invaluable these guests posts are. Jason isn’t a particularly political, controversial, or culture war type of blogger – though he’s written a few controversial posts.
This has attracted a community that is actually “diverse” and not in the artificial corporate and blogosphere buzzword sense. Your thoughts, posts, and ideas will actually be either critiqued, analyzed, and discussed by a group of people with all sorts of opinions.
Think about how significant and rare that it is.
Most blogging communities are echo-chambers in and of to themselves. Dissenting commentors are labeled trolls and anyone who critiques the groupthink just a bit too much is ousted. Actual dialogue is usually impossible because of the way dissenting opinions and the people who express them handle the internet.
This results in “safe-spaces” that are subconsciously and indirectly created – often through disabling comments all together or moderating them to an extreme fashion that the only people who frequent are the one’s who agree with essentially everything that is said.
These communities then usually rehash the same sort of crap. Once in a while, they say something crazy enough to go viral to get page-clicks, and then go back to the intellectual and conversation deprived vacuum. HarshReality’s community allowed you to actually talk with people outside of the usual echo-chambers and that is becoming harder and harder every day.
Something I noticed a few months back was that most of the conversations that took place – even where there was noticeable disagreements – were very amiable. Jason isn’t big on censorship and comment moderation – so that makes the level of cordial discussion that too place even more surprising.
We may be about to miss that.
Well, Jason’s good deed of promoting and enabling a community was taken advantage of – possibly by a detractor – though we may never know. Someone used his “Guest Post” feature to post “stolen” material. I’m still not sure if it was copyrighted or not, but it did get attention and a warning from WordPress:
As the individual who agreed to the Terms of Service contract when activating WordAds, you are responsible for all content posted on your blog and subsequent Terms of Service violations.
It is far more than just those three. From the notes left by the investigators, I’d say probably the entire Guest Blogger Posts category is suspect.
The investigators re-evaluate rejected applications monthly. If they find absolutely no copied content after a much more thorough re-evaluation, they may re-approve your application. If they find even more copied content, they will likely permanently ban your application.
Now Jason’s guest post system worked pretty well. Bloggers who wanted to create a guest post would email him, he would briefly check it, and then post it later in the day. Pretty simple and effective.
Perhaps maybe too simple, but time constraints are a thing and Jason often posted things by his phone and WP’s format isn’t exactly the greatest via cell phone. For now, these are Jason’s parting words:
“I talk to everyone via email before they guest blog. I am not sure how what happened, happened… but either way it did. I got played.
My wife wants me to stop blogging. I have considered it. I don’t make a lot of money at my normal 40 hour job and blogging was my release… and possibly a way to chase a dream. Perhaps writing will need to take a rain check for now.
Be careful out there. HarsH ReaLiTy will be closed for a bit. Enjoy the articles, that were ALL written by me, and the free promotional posts.
Jason C. Cushman
If Jason does leave us, who will pick up his mantle? I don’t have alot of hope, but you never know. One thing is for sure – they can’t be a control freak on a power trip – which limits our options on the internet severely.