Monday, November 03, 2008

Liblogs 411

With there having been a lot of discussion of late around how Liblogs is administered and the process for considering the possible addition of a new blogger to or removal of an existing blogger from the Liblogs aggregate, I thought it may be useful to share a little background on how such decisions are made.

Any decision about the possible expulsion of a blog from Liblogs, or the denial of an application for membership, is a collective decision discussed and made by the Liblogs board. The board members are Jason Cherniak, David Graham, Ted Betts, Denise Brunsdon and myself. We discuss the case by e-mail and take a vote, with a majority being needed to deny admission or to expel a blogger from the aggregate. While no one is entitled to be or remain a member, we take such decisions seriously and deliberately.

Jason has done a superlative job for all of us in setting up and administering Liblogs, but has also done a good job behind the scenes in consulting broadly before taking such drastic action as the removal of a blogger. This does sometimes mean we don’t respond as instantly as some would hope. We also remove blogs as a last resort, after attempting non-public means of resolving the issue which gave rise to the demand for removal. The private process is between Liblogs and the blogger in question, which does unfortunately make it seem to some we are uninterested or not taking action.

Right now, as a blog aggregate we base our decisions on our best judgment, having a regard for the best interests of the Liblogs aggregate. We’re in the process of developing a more formal code of conduct or guidelines for members on which to base these decisions, so it’s a bit clearer and more transparent for all. Basically, the only rule at this point is that you need to be a Liberal. If not a member, at least a supporter. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t criticize the party—such criticism is healthy and important to a democracy – but still, you should wish to work in advance of the Liberal cause and Liberal values. We very much err, however, on the side of inclusivity.

That said, some behaviour clearly crosses the bounds – hate speech, libelous attacks, and so forth – and isn’t welcome in the Liblogs community.

There have been very few cases where a blogger has been denied admission to Liblogs, or has been removed from the aggregate. In every case, the goal of the board is to be transparent, and offer the blogger the opportunity for response and for remedial action before making a decision.

We welcome your thoughts and comments on these issues, and hopefully with your input we can draft some guidelines to help guide the future growth of the Liblogs community, both into the leadership race and beyond. You’re welcome to leave comments on this post, or e-mail your thoughts to myself or any of the other board members.

(Posted on behalf of the Liblogs board)

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william said...

Hi BCer,
Question - I was once on the list, then disappeared (inactive for a while), and then during the campaign re-submitted to Liblogs, but have not been re-added...anything that I need to do?

A BCer in Toronto said...


There's been a backlog going through the application que because of the election, but it should be cleared by the end of the week.

penlan said...

Thankyou for the explanation Jeff. I had no idea there were a few people involved in maintaining Liblogs. And it was good to know how things are decided & why it sometimes takes some time.

Olaf said...


I certainly do not envy your task as you describe it. For example:

Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t criticize the party—such criticism is healthy and important to a democracy – but still, you should wish to work in advance of the Liberal cause and Liberal values.

And Liberal values are what exactly? I mean, even those straightforward policies which I think most Liberals agree upon (eg. for gay marriage), are not supported by all Liberal MPs, let alone all Liberal grassroots members. It's a difficulty ALL aggregators/parties/groups face, but it's particularly hard for a centrist, big tent party, to try to codify party "values" in any meaningful way.

I understand the temptation and desire to identify criteria for acceptance into the "club", and the desire to exclude those who seem to run contrary to the larger party bent, but how you can do this in a reasonable way is beyond me. All I can say is good luck. :)

KEvron said...

who needs the liblogs aggregator when one can simply hit the "next blog" button at the top of their home page? i suppose you could argue that clicking that button doesn't guarantee that you'll be directed to a liberal blog, but, then again, neither does the aggregator.


A BCer in Toronto said...

Olaf, it can be tricky to codify these things, but here's how I see it: there's a difference between being a Liberal who has concerns about the direction of the party and issues with the leadership and expresses those concerns because they want to see the problems corrected and the Liberals succeed, and being someone that's not a Liberal and doesn't want them to succeed and is just stirring up crap. Nothing wrong with the first one, I've taken issue with the party myself on a number of occasions, and there's nothing wrong with that.

Olaf said...


I see what you're saying, and I definitely understand the desire to marginalize certain Liberal "impostors". The difficulty will not so much be in identifying such people, but in producing a set of rules or guidelines allowing you to do so while appearing to be objective. This, of course, you already know. I just like to hear the sound of my own typing. :) Again, good luck.

Red Tory said...

Jeff — This is good to know. I wish that I had been aware of it sooner and maybe I wouldn't have acted like such a petulant jackass.

Might I suggest you post a version of this on a permanent basis in the "About" section or whatever, perhaps along with some guidelines for people who wish to register complaints, etc.

Just a thought.

Centrist views said...

Do us all a favour, stop trying to put a brave face on what you allowed, liblogs took the part of one of its elitist, with his supporters, attacked an opinion, with words such as stupid, and whore, just to name a few, one of which left a comment on this post. Intolerance comes in many forms, and your site practices it, in full form. One of the reason liblogs is not popular, is because your site "must" be left, anti-american and does not accept dissention of this position,nor centrist or right wing views, which the liberal party is composed of. Where does it say that there are no right wing liberals? The attacks on a blogger started with an elitist who did not like the response. He, who starts it, is responsible. Your site would be best named rhinoblogs, you certainly do not speak for any liberals. A Canadian, can be liberal and support McCain, if not, then J. Chretien would have never survived for a second term, noting the cuts he made, now would he. Also, one can be anti-bush without been anti american which your site represents. We have investigated many sites, yours was the most intolerant, of the views outside your own, which is left.
Justice my friend, is served in many ways, let us see if you have the will to undo an injustice. You can contact us through our site, we would be glad to share our findings with you.

Ted said...

"Centrist Views", you are sadly full of crap. Get over yourself. "Justice"? It's a blog for Pete's sake. This has nothing to do with silly little blog wars over expressed opinions.

Liblogs does not vet opinions or block dissent. But it is not a liberal bloggers aggregator as you suggest; it is a Liberal bloggers aggregator. It is not always going to be clear what that is but it will be somewhat clearer what that certainly is not.

If there is nothing about a particular blog that appears liberal, let alone Liberal and you don't respond to requests for contact information or respond to questions and you refuse to take down clearly libellous statements in your comments section... really, now, what can we do but take some action.

Ted said...

"Might I suggest you post a version of this on a permanent basis in the "About" section or whatever, perhaps along with some guidelines for people who wish to register complaints, etc."

We are working on refining Jeff's statement into something a little more formal. But only a bit more formal. We are not too keen on the idea of a full set of guidelines and rules. These are blogs afterall and such purity tests are not what we want. But there is clearly a need to be a bit clearer on what we cannot allow, for legal reasons mostly, and the process we go through to get there.

Red Tory said...

Ted — Fair enough. I certainly wasn’t suggesting any kind of “purity test” but more just something very general (statement of purpose or whatever) and some guidelines for how people can register a grievance if they feel that such an expression is warranted.

I realize this sort of regrettable unpleasantness puts you folks in a somewhat awkward position.

Ted said...

RT - didn't take anything you have said to indicate you wanted any kind of purity test. Quite the opposite. And we have come to recognize through this that we owe it to the community to highlight the very few rules of the game so to speak.


Demosthenes said...

I think you might want to supplement Liblogs with some kind of actual group blog.

Right now, it gives the impression of a glorified RSS aggregator, and most people already have one of those.