Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Sunday, 2 January 2005

An updated links policy for the New Year

After a lot of thought, and some doubts, I have decided to update my Links Policy. This change will have as its most obvious consequence the lengthening of my blogroll.

Right or wrong (and I know that many other bloggers seem to disagree with me) I believe it is important to know a little about the person(s) behind a blog to place what they write in some context. On the other hand, even before this change, I have tried to include a variety of blogs in my blogroll, in terms of what they write, the points of view they appear to favour and where they are writing from; not all those included up to now have views which I share, indeed in some cases I agree with very little of what they write. At the same time, though, all the blogs included so far are (to varying degrees) reasonably well written, lively and thought-provoking. But none take extreme points of view or promulgate 'extremist' ideas - this part of my links policy will not be changing in any way. Although I do not allow profanity of any kind in my blog or in my comment area (deleting partially or wholly comments which stray in this and certain other ways - all explained in my 'Terms of Use' for this website), some of my links have been (and will continue to be) to blogs which do include what I consider to be profanity, but which are nevertheless well-written and interesting to read.

But, and what has really made me decide to update my links policy, there is no escaping the fact that quite a lot of bloggers seem to be extremely reticent about revealing any real information about who they are - anything at all that could tie their blog-writings to persons who exist in the real world. I'm afraid that, even now, I tend to be somewhat suspicious of such people, specially because I wonder just what agenda they may be 'pushing'. I've come to believe, though, that a lot of this reticence probably has more to do with a desire to limit the amount of spam arriving in their mail-boxes and probably in most cases has little to do with any 'shady' motive, although sometimes a part of me still wonders about this. The crux, however, is that there are quite a lot of blogs that I read on a very regular basis, because they are lively and well-written even if they offer views to which I take strong exception, but which I have felt unable to link to solely because of my views on anonymity by blog-writers.

So my blogroll has remained quite short and increasingly has come to represent only a small proportion of those blogs which I have come to rely on to help me form and challenge my own views. I will continue to exclude from my blogroll some blogs written by what I believe to be complete 'wackos', even if they are superficially well-written and provide me with a certain measure of amusement, shock, revulsion, etc, when I happen to read one of their more outrageous posts. Nor, of course, do I see much virtue in including so many links in my blogroll that I could never hope to keep up with what they are writing, if I am to continue to have some life of my own outside blogging - and, yes, I do have such a life. I sometimes feel that the sole purpose of having hundreds of blogs in a blogroll is in the hope of gaining reciprocal links in other blogs as some sort of status symbol; if I link to someone, it is not in the hope (or the expectation) that that person will link back to me, although it is nice when that happens. My decision to link will continue to be based on a judgement that another blog is a worthwhile read, whilst not espousing offensive and extremist views, but I will be somewhat more relaxed about matters of 'anonymity'.

In the next few days, therefore, I will be adding a number of additional blogs to my blogroll - please look out for them.

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