If you have "no place to go," come here!

Another blog down

[I'm stickying this because Corrente is still standing and I would like to keep it that way... But am not quite sure what to do (beyond what I am already doing. --lambert]
The Agonist.

"If you have no place to go, come here...."

* * *

The Agonist first came to my attention when Sean Paul did live war-blogging during the Iraq invasion in 2003 -- that is, a very long time ago. So, yes, nine years is a very good run, and kudos to the Agonist community for keeping the fires burning that long. But still....

So now, Violet and The Agonist are gone, and Atrios says his funding model doesn't work anymore. I feel like I'm an arborist watching the progress of Dutch Elm Disease. Thanks to the Corrente community for keeping Corrente, with its pure donation model, alive, however tenuously!

But I'm baffled. The original project of the blogpsphere was to replace the media -- and not, pace the odiferous Ezra Klein and the fragrant Matt Yglesias, become it, nor to mutate and devolve into a front organization for either of the two legacy parties, like Kos, Digby, et al.

And if anything, the media needs replacing more than ever. So WTF? Has FaceBorg sucked everything up? The Twitter? Neither can handle the long form, so is the long form dead? Naked Capitalism lives by the long form, so I'd say the long form is alive. Is political blogging dead? Has a younger generation moved on? WTF?

NOTE Adding: Ironically, Saturday was blogroll amnesty day: The day the access bloggers threw all the small blogs off their blogrolls. Personally, I've never been a believer in blogrolls, because I never saw the hits from them, but the act itself signified the division of the blogosphere into blogs with access and blogs without, replacing the free-form interchange of the early blogosphere with, ultimately, taking points engineered by career "progressives."

UPDATE Another one.

No votes yet


Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I have been trying to "come here" for weeks! Is anyone home??

Submitted by lambert on

Did you apply for an account, and if so with what handle or email, so I can check? If you did apply, you should have gotten email in response; please check your spam folder.

(Since I upgraded the site, I am getting almost no spam applications so my approval cycle is much more rapid, almost instant.)

UPDATE I just made the Contact form (menu bar at right) work -- even for anonymous users, assuming my spam-blocking tools hold up!

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

I can't log in because I keep getting 'belongs to another user' message .... I don't understand.

Submitted by lambert on

Sounds like you're applying for a user name (handle) that some other user has already claimed. Try another handle?

albrt's picture
Submitted by albrt on

It does this if you are not signed in and you try to comment using your own name. It's confusing - you might want to add something like "are you signed in?" to the message.

Submitted by lambert on

Again, I just made the Contact form (menu bar at right) work -- even for anonymous users with no accounts, assuming my spam-blocking tools hold up. So please feel free to contact me using it, and I will see what I can do.

DCblogger's picture
Submitted by DCblogger on

NOTE Adding: Ironically, Saturday was blogroll amnesty day: The day the access bloggers threw all the small blogs off their blogrolls. Personally, I've never been a believer in blogrolls, because I never saw the hits from them, but the act itself signified the division of the blogosphere into blogs with access and blogs without, replacing the free-form interchange of the early blogosphere with, ultimately, taking points engineered by career "progressives."

Blogroll amnesty might well have been the beginning of the end.
I have seen the same thing in technology blogosphere. Twitter killed blogging.

Submitted by [Please enter a... (not verified) on

too bad - if the long form is gone our brains are lost to the mindless broadcast news-bite or twit -

- well, occasionally i write a very brief answer to a post of interest, but that is all that is, a short and succinct observation i hope

- just out of interest - is the cost of running one of these things quite high, or is it also that the time involved is too much and over time the interest fades due to lack of change maybe...

Submitted by lambert on

Corrente because of its size and functionality has a dedicated server.

However, the real "cost" of running one of these things is time (and for the admin (me) a gradual "clogging" of mental filters that comes from processing so much content for so long).

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

I never expected the blogosphere to replace the media -- ongoing reportage with any pretense to comprehensiveness requires more institutional structure and deeper pockets than bloggers are likely to have. In fact, I don't see how active blogs keep going without an institutional structure to keep one or two persons from having to do everything. You have my gratitude.

The great thing about the blogosphere was the reassurance that you're not crazy or alone in finding the media narratives absurd. I think that's very important: building and maintaining a left community to be ready when action is possible. And actually, to continue trying to figure out what action is possible and to promote it.

Not much is happening in the national blogosphere now. Even with the lull, I have more blog I'd like to follow than time to follow them. I remember back when the Koufax awards were valuable for helping me find good new blogs. Now, good grief, I'm overwhelmed with too many. And there's also the existence of state and local blogs, which used not to exist. A plethora of riches

The lull in national political blogs is a function of no real lefty action being underway. I was heartened to see Atrios talk about finding a relevant current groove -- increasing Social Security. I think that sort of campaign is an opportunity for blogs. We should put it beside a national health service and a guaranteed income as policies to try to drill into people's consciousness.

Having said all that, I am sad about the demise of the Agonist. I came to it back when BOPNews went defunct, and Ian Welsh and Stirling Newbury wrote regularly for it. I would note that both now have their own blogs which they post to rather rarely but still with great insight.

Submitted by lambert on

I knew Sean Paul was part of that axis, as was (IIRC) Stoller. Deep roots. I never did connect over there because I came in through the Philly blog axis, which was blown to smithereens in 2008.

letsgetitdone's picture
Submitted by letsgetitdone on

That's all terrible! Can't believe the MSM are driving us all out. But I know there's a big name syndrome operating. We can be saying something for years; and then Krugman says it and everyone hastens to Facebook him. It's all about sucking up, and not lifting each other up.

Submitted by Lex on

I'm friends with SPK and the old school crew from the Agonist, and even did some filling in as EiC for SPK while he was traveling. It's a convoluted story that comes down to the selling of the domain, which leads to the rent seeking as well as the people putting in the work at the EiC position getting paid. (and if someone else is making money off the work, that's a reasonable expectation)

Most of the good old school blogs are run by a person. It's a community, but there's between one and three people who keep the wheels turning. When that person decides not to dedicate themselves to the site, it's hard to keep it moving. And a dependence on ad revenues appears not to be a stable business plan. The other place i'm deeply involved in (Scholars & Rogues) recently moved back to one of the big blogging platforms. Nobody's ever gotten paid, and until the move the people involved in the site chipped in as necessary to keep the lights on.

hard to keep a blog on its feet, especially if the proprietors have jobs or conflicting life interests or just want to take a break every now and then.

Though it should be noted that the Agonist isn't actually dead. It just doesn't have an editor in chief, and most of the major contributors that Steve Hynd brought with him have left. It may rise from the ashes in some way ... or the site owner may shut it down and sell the domain to a Canadian metal band.

Submitted by Lex on

Don has his own blog, and his stuff can be accessed through his personal site:

I don't know about Numerian. My understanding of the situation is that there is not currently anyone capable of performing the full editorial duties. As diaries aren't part of the current setup, there's really no "front paging" anyhow. I'm fairly certain that both Don and Numerian have full posting ability so until/unless the owner shuts the site down for good, they could still post as normal.

The Agonist isn't so much dead as without any form of leadership, but i believe that most of the old back-of-the-house crew like Tina and NYMole stepped away before this. I used to be an editor and on the mail list, but the list move and i wasn't invited and became no longer an editor (though my participation and duties were always light). So i don't have any deep, inside knowledge.

twig's picture
Submitted by twig on

personally, I really like numerian's writing because -- like lets and Hugh -- he's great at explaining economics, etc., in a way a normal human being can understand.

Submitted by jawbone on

the run up to the Bush/Cheney Iraq Invasion. Sean Paul had access to Stratford and had been accused, at some point, of using their info in his blog. Can't recall exactly when that was, but at one time he was considered somewhat prescient.

The Agonist led me to other blogs and finally a way to read and comment with people who saw through the MCM (Mainstream Corporate Media). I think I may have found Corrente through The Agonist.

I kept forgetting recently to go there after Sean Paul stepped aside (I did not know he sold the franchise!) and when life got really busy...and my list of must read blogs has narrowed.

Oh, btw, I do so miss David Dayen's news posts.

Submitted by Lex on

Steve Hynd oversaw The Agonist moving from Drupal to WordPress and was trying to open registration/commenting up. (In the past, every time SPK made it easier to register the site was bombarded with spam.)

Yes, it was sudden. My understanding is that Steve was trying to get a deal worked out for being paid for another year and the owner came back with a paltry sum. The monthly pay i heard when SPK left was small compared to the effort of running a site, so this must have been tiny. Steve walked away, and the pretty much all the people he brought on followed quickly thereafter. But people who were posting regularly before the EiC switch have kept posting and there's a group trying to save it in some fashion.