Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jackalopes & Guest Posts

Recently, the topic of jackalopes showed up at work.  Anyone who has toured the American West has probably come across postcards of these curious beasts, with the bodies of jackrabbits but antelope-like horns.  Even out East, at some frequency reports of these creatures appear stochastically.

In a somewhat similar manner, I periodically get requests from previously unknown correspondents requesting that I allow them to write a guest post in this space.  I will say this now: this space is unlikely to present an in-depth analysis of the jackalope genome before I allow any such guest post.

Now, some of this is pure selfishness.  But, there is also a philosophical side -- this space represents my voice, and I can't really understand how anyone else could speak with my voice.  Clever things displayed here are mine to take credit for, and the stupid things I deserve the brickbats for.

The latter is indeed one reason I don't imagine opening up this space; I really don't want to let something in that is stupid but not my stupid.  I'm also a bit suspicious of motives; not only are the requests coming from complete unknowns, but there are other hints that these may be from "search optimization" vendors or others of dubious repute.  One woman claimed to follow-up on an earlier message as though I had simply ignored the first, rather than my polite refusal.  That "her" two email addresses were slightly different suggests that "she" is in the business of trying to capitalize on short memories (but Gmail has a very long memory, so I caught the deception).  Others have come from authors professing to write about music production or sustainable land use, topics that aren't necessarily bad but clearly not in the usual scope of this space.  The fact that each person says they have an idea, but can't bother to send me an outline also raises red flags.

Still, I can't be sure that these are all dubious.  I looked a bit at the text of each one, and while there were some limited similarities they hadn't come from a simple spambot. So, my advice to anyone genuinely looking for a forum is this: start your own blog.  It's simple, and easy, and if you write something interesting and send that to my attention.  If I think it interesting (even if I don't agree), I'll be happy to link to it & remark on it, much as others helped me get started.

Would I ever reconsider?  Probably not, but if I did it would need to be huge.  Perhaps if Watson wanted to write in this space -- but would I ever live down what he wrote?  No, I'm stuck with a credo that everything here needs to come from my head via my muse, and while both rarely get the bandwidth they deserve, in the end I can be happy with that.


Mike said...

We've received some of the same dubious requests from a series of Gmail addresses offering guest posts.
What I find fascinating is the level of sophistication of the bot to come up with a syntax that is just about real. I engaged in a little correspondence with 'Madison' to see how far it could be pushed. May not be a bot at all but someone with English as a second language. Still find it interesting because the end game is not clear. ( it isn't as if anyone will open up their blog post to a free-for-all ! )
As for the Jackalope... Way back in University we hung out at the White House bar near a ski hill in B.C. and darned if there wasn't a Jackalope head on the wall alongside the less mythical stuffed animals. It was great fodder to tell tales to tourists.

A. Mackay said...

> I will say this now: this space is unlikely to present an in-depth analysis of the jackalope genome before I allow any such guest post.

I have to parse this... I think it means that you will shortly be posting a jackalope DNA analysis.


... followed by the first guest post here.


[ just kidding -- great blog, even without the unknown authors ;-) ]

Anonymous said...

This reminds me to ask...can I post in your blog?