Over at Millenial Star, Davis Bell has posted a few thoughts on the phenomenon of blog poaching. This follows up on the protests that some blogs receive at regular intervals about blog poaching.
Davis’s post may be kind of weak itself, but he does point to the interesting, broader issue. What is blog poaching, exactly? And assuming that it can be defined, why is it an issue? That is, why do some readers object to following up on a post on Blog A, with a post on Blog B?
This objection seems particularly surprising given that cross-blog discussion is an everyday event within the blogosphere at large. One pretty much can’t read a blog without running into “Instapundit says X and I agree because Y” or “Josh Marshall says X and I disagree because Y.” Entire inter-blog discussions, like the recent Volokh torture brouhaha, are based on bloggers posting follow-ups and replies to each other on their own blogs. So why is this practice called “poaching” in the bloggernacle?
And if this poaching is really objectionable, then what rules should govern it? Are there limits on follow up posts, and if so, what are they? May bloggernackers rightly claim topical preemption? (And what’s the statute of limitations on that claim?)
The anti-poaching advocates must also explain why they think that some alternate action is preferable. That is, is it really more useful to put slightly-related discussions in the comments of another blog? And doesn’t that alternate act risk incurring the wrath of the blog gods for the (greater?) sin of threadjacking?
For example, if Davis Bell posts about the theology of the Kinderhook plates and I read that post and have an idea for a discussion of the legal aspects of the Kinderhook plates, where _is_ the proper forum for that contribution? If I post it on M* as a comment, I’m likely to be accused of threadjacking. If I post it on T & S as a post, I’ll incur the wrath of the Steve-bot script. (Is that better or worse than the blog gods?) What’s a reader to do?
Finally, let’s ask, is the concept of poaching really useful for the minature marketplace of ideas that is the bloggernacle? If we’re giving Steve Evans monopoly control over all discussions of Zelph for the next 30 days, is the bloggernacle as a whole enriched by that? (What does Steve think of Eldredge v. Ashcroft, anyway?)
Anyway, I suppose that these questions have different answers, and I’m curious as to what our readers think.
Note: Remember to post all comments here, and not on Davis’s post. :P