The Class of ’03

by Scott McLemee on December 10, 2007

Ralph Luker points out today that the history group blog Cliopatria has just celebrated its fourth birthday. Or anniversary perhaps. I guess it depends on how you look at it.

CT passed the same marker in July, though it does not appear from the archives that anyone noticed at the time.

A slogan that used to appear at Technorati said something like: “There are 55 million blogs. Some of them have to be good.” I never understood the logic of that. The idea that enough quantity is bound to produce some quality is not too rigorous, even by the standards of some blowhard quoting Anti-Duhring. Likewise, enduring for four years is no guarantee of anything either. But it’s pretty remarkable, even so, especially given the hyper-ephemeral nature of this medium.

Cliopatria at its best has been an example of why those who denounce the entire blogosphere as a bunch of people wearing pajamas in their basements and whinging about American Idol are, themselves, pretty silly. Congratulations to Ralph and the other Cliopatricians (also to myself for the good luck of being one of them) and also, retroactively, to the Timberistas (and ditto).



plebian 12.10.07 at 9:22 am

I would have thought that, statistically, the more of something created by humans that exists, the higher the chance that some of it will be created by someone with talent. In other words, I’d have expected the statement to be fairly certain, unless you are inclined to quibble with the value judgements embedded in the whole exercise…


kid bitzer 12.10.07 at 1:53 pm

yeah, larger and larger samples over the wrong population certainly do not guarantee quality. (“there are ten million heart attacks every year. some of them have to feel pleasant”.)

but presumably the relevant population in the blogging case is something like “literate computer users”, or more broadly “fellow human beings”, and that’s a fair population in which to look for the talent and ability to write good blogs.

if you figure this talent is distributed in something like a normal way, then i would think that the numerical argument becomes sensible again. unlike pleasurable heart attacks, people with a talent for blogging really are out there. keep taking larger and larger samples, and you’ll find them eventually.


yabonn 12.10.07 at 2:09 pm

From the link :
But even lower mathematics teems with contradictions. It is for example a contradiction that a root of A should be a power of A, and yet A^{.5} = \sqrt{A}

… Gni ?


Watson Aname 12.10.07 at 5:42 pm

yabonn — quite.

… contradiction … It is for example a contradiction … contradiction … contradiction

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think that it means.

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