Chris Uggen's Blog: timestamping and malkintents

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

timestamping and malkintents

lawblogger eric muller recently chided foxnewsstar blogger michelle malkin for the timestamps of her posts. professor muller alleges that unknown others are crafting some of ms. malkin's blog posts because they appeared when she was apparently in-flight or possibly even speaking in minneapolis.

hmmm. i'm no fan of ms. malkin's bile with a smile vibe (though she did sort of cite me once) and plagiarism is a serious accusation, but i've got her back on this one. she works a lot, she writes a lot, and her posts appear when they appear. even malkin, the author of in defense of internment: the case for racial profiling in world war II and the war on terror, deserves a little more credit than this. [btw, professor muller offers a withering substantive critique of this book.]

ms. malkin's blog is far more influential (and far more clever) than mine, so i can't envision any cybersleuths caring about my timestamps or calling me out for inconsistencies. still, i'd be a major hypocrite to raise timestamping issues with others. for the record, anyone interested in busting me on similar charges would have a very easy time of it. here's how my suspicious timestamps and other inconsistencies emerge:

1. i start a post, save it as a draft, and post it later. unless i change it manually, the timestamp refers to when the post was begun rather than when it appeared online.

2. like ms. malkin, i have posted from airplanes, wrestling tournaments, and while engaged in other activities that i probably shouldn't mention in a public forum.

3. i often reprint posts from one blog to another and i don't bother to change the timestamp, which might be off by a few hours or a few days.

4. i know this is a no-no for real bloggers, but i edit posts after they appear online. usually this involves fixing typos, writing more succinctly, or changing phrasing for clarity or emphasis. if i make a big substantive change, change my mind, or catch a major error, i'll try to write "UPDATE" at the bottom of the post. ms. malkin would no doubt be savaged for such practices.

5. i just try to write up ideas and put them online as quickly as possible. as a public figure with a popular blog, i'm sure that ms. malkin takes a little more care. still, it is just a blog. i might feel differently if she were charging readers to get a regular dose of "exclusive malkin content" (malkintent?).

maybe i'm taking this too lightly because i see blogs as public diaries -- domains of freedom rather than constraint. do bloggers have more serious responsibilities? what sorts of norms have developed around responsible bloggership? i'm guessing there must be a manual someplace online. am i too cavalier about timestamps and editing?


after seeing this post, i felt snarky for not finding a more flattering picture of ms. malkin. not wanting to run afoul of any blognorms, i won't delete the old one, but will simply append a better picture here.


At 12:34 PM, Blogger michelle inderbitzin said...

just as a point of clarification on your point #3: when you are reprinting posts from blog to blog, you're talking about your own blogs now that you are running three different ones. no plagiarism issues for the distinguished dr. uggen...

At 3:50 PM, Blogger jeremy said...

It's beyond silly to draw any conclusions from blog timestamps.

I also don't have any compunction about editing posts in whatever way I care to. Maybe I would if I were a famous pundit.

At 4:26 PM, Anonymous chris said...

thanks, michelle. i don't usually plagiarize others' complete posts. although if i did, i'd probably use the Ambien defense.

speaking of plagiarizing... jeremy freese's artful disclaimer covers the timestamp issue quite nicely. since i don't know how to link to it precisely, i'll cut n' paste it here in full:

listed dates/times of posts bear no necessary relationship to the actual date/time posts were composed or published on this weblog, but instead may be the result of any of various whims, demons, and subterfuges that compel this weblog and its ambivalent proprietor forward at a given point in time. readers who are considerably agitated by any noticed discrepancies between indicated and actual dates/times of posts are strongly urged to seek psychiatric counsel, as this is only a weblog and so any tormenting of your soul by its temporal inexactitudes bespeak a strong possibility of serious mental illness. in other words, the proper response is not to complain to me about this, but to thank me for making clear the depths of your problem and setting you on the path to finally get the help you need.


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