I had a chat with a friend recently that prompted me to write this.
Just in case the title of this post didn't make my feelings on the matter crystal clear: group blogging is one of the worst ideas ever to come down the pike. Its suckitude is greater than that of a fusion-powered Electrolux. The foulness emanating therefrom is rivaled only by the stench of a Korean rice-paddy in summer.*
Have I made myself clear?
Now, by the above I do not mean blogs which have been group blogs from the beginning (or very near the beginning). Power Line is one such. It made its name as a collaborative effort, as have many others.
No, I refer to the truly awful idea of established bloggers with unique "voices" and personalities that then, for whatever reason, bring in new authors. A good blog rarely benefits.
Case in point: Frank J.'s IMAO.
But recently, for some reason unknown to me, he added other writers. Perhaps it was because he has less time to devote to the site. Lord knows, I understand that. But I don't go to IMAO to read those other people — I go there to read Frank. I suspect I am not alone in doing so.
Anything on IMAO that Frank didn't write merely dilutes the strength of the site. The other authors may or may not be good [and in my opinion, the folks added at IMAO run both ways] but regardless: they are not Frank. I don't care if they're funny or not. They are not Frank. I would sooner wait for a new Frank piece than go to the site and have to wade through the work of people whose scribblings I didn't go there to read.
If the other folks are good writers, they could/should have their own sites. Readers will or will not bookmark or blogroll those sites. They might even get frequent and prominent linkage from Frank and others.
On the other hand, if they aren't so good, we'd all be better off if they'd stop imitating Frank.
All of the above applies not just to IMAO, of course, but potentially to any blog.
There are other sites that became successful on the unique strengths of their respective founders, then added authors to provide more content. On a site that is heavily dependent on the "voice" or personality of its founder this seems to me to be, in almost all cases — how shall I say it nicely? — an exceptionally unwise idea.
Yes, occasionally an established blog might bring in a new contributor who might bring new readers, whose quality matches that of the founder. [Update: see Wizbang, as noted by Jay Tea in the comments, for a successful example.] But the latter would seem to me to be a rare thing. On a blog as unique as Frank's, it may be close to impossible.
Imagine me joining Bill Whittle and trying to match his quality. Sorry, folks: not gonna happen. Bill's site would suffer, and I'd look like a fool for my trouble.
I am decidedly less hostile towards the notion of "guest bloggers" during those times that the host of a site might be away for an extended period, but I still put myself into the "anti" camp. I would no more open my site to a fill-in guest host than I would allow a guest writer to put daily entries into my diary.** This isn't the Tonight Show, where something has to go out over the airwaves every night.
But then, I'm not exactly a successful blogger, and relatively few people visit this site. As such, I or someone in a similar position might be able to get away with adding another author. It might be a decided improvement. [It certainly would be, here.]
But to tamper with a successful formula, be it on IMAO or any other site, is to risk driving away the people who visit the site for the main reason the author started the site in the first place: bloggers want to be heard, and the regular visitors want to hear them.
Don't screw that up.
* Having spent a few summers on and near the DMZ, I know whereof I speak.
** No, I don't actually keep a diary. Not now, not ever.
[Howdy, Wizbang readers.]
Posted by Russ at 10:01 PM, March 4, 2005 in Bloggery