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Operating Blogging Aggregators

February 12, 2008

Both the promise and curse of blogs is that the owner can choose to place whatever content they please on them.

However, there are very few blogs that are able to draw an audience without the aid of some sort of aggregator; a community, if you will, of relatively similar interests.

The interesting thing about aggregators, however, is that, like the blog, the owner (or whoever is the controlling interest) can choose to place whatever content they please on them. Well, sorta. An aggregator has a few extra pressures placed on it; namely the members of its community and, in the case that an aggregator claims to represent the grassroots of a certain group, that group itself.

So, I think it can be safe to say this: Freedom of speech on a blog that one owns and controls is absolute (well, unless of course, one commits a crime with the blog’s content). Freedom of speech on an aggregator is not. One can say what they want on a blog, but the aggregator does not have to distribute the content of a blog.

Okay. So there is a blog which happens to publish content, let’s say in regards to an religious group, that could be damaging to the aggregator; to the community that the aggregator serves. Let’s say that you operate this aggregator. How do you respond? Do you:

  1. Remove the blog from the aggregator. This will please some, and anger others.
  2. Do nothing. You are not responsible for the blog’s content. On the other hand, the group that your aggregator claims to represent could disavow you.

There are no easy answers to this question. As an operator of a blog aggregator, one has to decide, via whatever process is choosen, to take the actions that will best serve the aggregator’s community.

I’d say that the operators of the Blogging Tories are in this situation right now.  The Progressive Bloggers have been in this situation in the past. Every aggregator will face this type of situation sooner or later.

You might ask me “What path should be chosen?”  I would respond that it is not my place to really say; that each aggregator must make its own choice, following its own processes and listening to its own members.

Categories: Blogosphere
  1. February 12, 2008 at 11:01 am

    The minute some one asks me to get rid of a third party blog off _my_ aggregator is the minute the complainer gets tossed. Too many complain and I’ll shut it down.


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