I've been thinking about writing an article. I want to get back into the groove of daily publishing. Really, it's just about me. I like the discipline. I did it for 14 years. I've taken a year off. I miss it.
I was going to call the article "Monster Baiters".
I wanted to point out the fact that some widely read bloggers seem to make an enormous amount of hay at Monster's expense. It turns out that the harshest critics are deeply supported by Monster's competition. It's hard to find an independent voice that actually cares about Monster's service. The motivation behind most monster baiting is strictly commercial.
The high volume of negativity comes from a few sources. They all benefit economically from making the criticism. That's Monster Baiting (or at least mental monster baiting).
(That's funny because it's a play on words. It's not a mispelling. One of the toughest things about the web is that word play is hard to notice in a sea of bad grammar and terrible spelling. The tsunami of content generated by new publishing methods seems to be driving the common denominator to new lows.)
Recently, I've been talking with a lot of people about literary rights, web publishing, expectations and how to assess quality.
There is no shortage of noise online. The interesting thing about the legal system is that it protects crap exqactly the same way it protects genius. One idiot's self-flagellation is accorded the same merit as the pure insight that drives fortunes. Copyright law protects authors, regardless of their worth.
There's an unstated assumption that all content is equal around the web as well. The theory seems to be that traffic is the determing factor. All things are equal to start. Attention is how you tell the great from the mediocre.
There's a lot of this simplemindedness going around. People who can't seem to rent a good idea whine incessantly about violations of their rights. What's weird is that you have to protect them in order to protect the stuff that's actually worth protecting.
The reality is pretty simple. If you take someone's materiaL, YOU HAVE TO HAVE THEIR PERMISSION. Quoting a few lines can be okay, if you provide a link back to the source. Since it's the writing that is protected, rewriting the material is the best way to steal it. Ideas are not protected, their expression is.
I'm always tickled by people who pretend not to understand this principle. They went to that high school where plagairism was okay, I guess. I enjoy being grumpy with them. I have the hardest time understanding rationalized sloth. Often, the folks who can't generate ideas are quick to abscond with one they find lying around.
The relentless requirement for fresh content on blogs adds to the problem. I've had too many conversations with idiot savants (okay they weren't really savants) who say something like "I liked your piece so much that I put it on my website. Hey, I even gave you full credit." The pressure to keep the blog current drives some odd behavior. While it's understandable, it's still theft.