Why We Are Here
I know that the conventional wisdom is that the We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party blog is just an attempt by a few desperate individuals to cling to a joke that got old a long, long time ago.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The We Are All Giant Nuclear Fireball Now Party was not the reason for this blog, it was the opportunity for this blog, and that’s a very different thing entirely. Why “opportunity”? Because I felt it was time for a new kind of blog format, specifically, a new kind of community blog. With the WAAGNFNP, we had a great foundation upon which to build for arts, sciences, humor, and progressive politics.
As you know, on most community blogs, only a few essays make the Front Page. The rest are relegated to the sidebar hoping someone might notice. Obviously, this means neglect for some really great essays that deserve way more attention. My idea was to create a community blog where there is no sidebar, so each essay posted receives the full attention of the community. This is a great way to show respect for the author even if you disagree with the viewpoint, and a great way to honor a community whose attention span is substantially greater than that of a gnat. What a concept, eh? And what a great community we had to draw from, didn’t we?
Perhaps my biggest inspiration to do the WAAGNFNP blog was to provide the space for people who had great things to share, but weren’t interested in or didn’t want the bother of keeping up a blog on their own, or joining a group blog (being part of a set group of writers). So with the WAAGNFNP blog, these brilliant, witty, erudite people would be able to submit posts when they wanted to, free from the hassle of day-to-day blogging responsibilities, and we’d all benefit. And if people already had their own blog, they could cross post at the WAAGNFNP or write original material. They’d be an active part of the community, and perhaps get a little wider exposure for their personal blog.
My other great inspiration for this blog was to provide a safe space for people in our community who would never label themselves as “writers” to actually write. I feel strongly that a lot people with some of the most interesting things to say and share aren’t “writers”, so they don’t write (at least not in public), and we all miss out. And so do they.
There are a couple of radical concepts going on here. One is that professional writers, exceptionally talented writers (non-professional), and academics would be sharing front page blog space with people who aren’t any of the above but have good ideas and something very interesting to say nevertheless. The second radical concept is that since this blog would not be a “group” blog (set group of writers with the occasional guest contributor), on any given day you would never know what you were going to get subject-wise or style-wise. I felt that there was an audience for this kind of wide-open potpourri, and that people would come knowing that more often than not they’d find something interesting, thought-provoking, or fun.
So those were the key inspirations and reasons behind starting the WAAGNFNP blog. It’s a vision I still believe in because I think it’s a good one.
Some of you may be asking yourselves if we want to be taken seriously, why don’t we drop the whole WAAGNFNP and Cast of Characters (MOJ, 3Tops, Astaroth) thing? My answer to that is, Great Gojira! The last thing we want to do is be one of those blogs that gets taken “seriously”, and the WAAFNFNP and its Cast of Characters is a wonderful barrier against that ever happening. And anyone who doesn’t agree can just request a private meeting with 3Tops to register their complaint.
A Call To Action!
A community blog can only survive with the active participation of the community.
In order to continue, we will need more of our readers to move from passive to active participation:
1. First and foremost, we need content. You can’t have a blog without content, right? We need more people to hit that “Submit a Post” link at the top of the page. I understand that for many of you, this means getting over the “I’m not a writer” thing. You don’t have to be a “writer” to have something valuable to share, and posts don’t have to be long to be meaningful and substantive. The subject matter does not have to be directly political. We are interested in all subjects falling under the categories of arts, sciences, humanities, humor, and the all-important “other”.
2. Secondly, we need more of our readers to come out of lurkerdom and participate in the comments. It’s OK if a solo or group blog has readers but not many commenters, but it doesn’t work so well for a community blog for obvious reasons. We really love the commenters we have, we just need more of you.
Someone wrote to us saying that they did not comment more because they felt the quality of our posts deserved and required well-thought out comments. Well, that’s a fine compliment, but please don’t over-think it, people. As long as you’re not doing the hand-in-armpit-fart-noise equivalent of comment every time, you’ll be OK. This is a community blog. We’d much rather have you speak up than be silent.
3. Thirdly, we need more female participation. In order to bring in more women overall, more of our female readers are going to have to de-lurk and both comment and submit posts. I don’t need to spell out for anyone here what greater bounty gender diversity brings to the conversation table. I’ll just say that it would be a hell of a lot more fun and interesting for me personally if more of my sisters were playing too.
We need to take a survey to gauge if we will have enough interest and participation to continue. If you would like to see this radical new concept in community blogging continue, please state in the comments below what you are willing to do in terms of the needs mentioned above.
For those of you already fully participating, we thank you and there’s no need to say anything more unless you really want to.
For anyone who only has something negative to say, please don’t. You can’t possibly come up with a reason for why this blog can’t work that I haven’t already though of myself. I hate to deflate your buzz-kill high, but really, you can’t. If there’s not going to be enough active participation to continue, then so be it.
But for those of you who do share the vision and believe in the cause, please speak up now! Thank you.
Yours In Service,
Minister of Justice
Responses to “The Mission and A Call To Action!”