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May 10, 2011


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James Grimmelmann

Bloggingis work (or at least some of it is). But it should also be done for its own sake. We don't put banner ads in our articles or show a fifteen-second commercial at commencement for teaching an overload. The fact that people are reading your words ought to be quid pro quo enough. Any further self-promotion is justifiable only if it's something the readers will enjoy, such as a discussion-provoking post on a forthcoming and funny or controversial article. It's not a "payback" one is "entitled" to.

Bob Power

As the song goes, it's hard out here for a blogger.


Personally, I agree with the commentator. I assume that blogs like this invite guest bloggers to share ideas with the readership and diversify the information being provided. What I don't believe is that these guest bloggers are invited simply to promote their own work. There are other venues for that.

Also, the post in question was particularly egregious/sad. The guest blogger not only identified his article and provided the ssrn link, but then openly bragged about where it had placed (and the irony is that the placement wasn't even that great).

All in all, I know our field is one that is rife with self-promotion. But could we try and keep the blogs simply as a place to share new ideas. If professors need another place to brag, use Facebook or -- better yet -- start your own personal blog. Those who care about what you're doing can then visit specifically for that purpose.


I also agreed with the person who posted that comment but when I tried to chime in with my support, my comment never appeared on the blog. I tried a few times -- apparently the author is being selective in what comments he's allowing. You'll note that almost all of them are in support of his position.

Got to say, I'm not very impressed with how the guest blogger in question has handled himself.


Ok, what I don't understand is the objection to self promotion. Exactly what harm does it cause the reader? How is your life worse for having read it? It can range, I think from the useful (providing info to readers) to the tawdry (simple bragging), but I can't see how it causes sufficient harm to produce objections.

The folks at Volokh often post when and where they're giving a presentation. Of no interest to me, but I can't say I am worse off for them doing it.

Dan Markel

Don't assume that it's Eric who is deleting the comments. I often delete and/or ban the idiotic and anonymous ones and their IP addresses. Take it up with me if you don't like it.


It's just a matter of taste. Blogging invariably involves a degree of self-promotion; I thought the implicit question was simply whether more blatant self-promotion ("BTW, here is what I have written. Finis.") was appealing to readers. One reader suggested it wasn't, in perhaps an overly rude way -- not that there's really a nice way of putting it. It was occasioned by, but not particular to, the blogger.

Now there are other data points in those comments approving of self-promotion, but in an atmosphere that's more like wagon-circling or stoning a heretic. I would guess that the ban in that post on any anonymous comments -- idiotic or otherwise -- is likely to shape the input. So long as no one thinks this reliably polls reader reactions, fine.

Re self-regulation, one counterpoint: I do sometimes think bloggers don't confront and check the perverse effects of disintermediation. Editors and hosts and others used to constrain, somewhat, what people said, including horn-tooting. Now that's gone, and there's less to prevent people from indulging in their lesser impulses -- and fewer subtle and non-confrontational social signals, like people looking at their shoes or clearing their throats. It's open mike night, every night, with a virtual audience. Let us celebrate the tempering function of the craven, snarky anonymous commentator.

Alfred Brophy

Maybe it's time to roll out the old phrase about "blogger's disease"?

Mary Dudziak

One reason this is all so silly is that the entire reason for guest blogging is to promote one's work, and in that way reach a broader community of readers. I ask guest bloggers at the Legal History Blog to talk about their work. Even w/ a generic blog, I would think that guests get invited in the first place because they have interesting work to talk about.


"One reason this is all so silly is that the entire reason for [pop-up ads] is to promote one's [product], and in that way reach a broader community of [purchasers]."

I'm not sure why it's so silly to see the original objection as a data point about a particular *style* of guest blogging from the consumer side; indeed, what's sillier in the original thread is the fierce disregard for any reader input. The objection could have, but did not, distinguish between guest blogging that describes work, wrestles with its limits, and invites criticism (and, ideally, produces it), and citation flinging or abstract dumps of the kind one sees on Legal Theory -- where one does, BTW, have a trusted intermediary. Anyway, it isn't all equally appealing, but bloggers can do what they please.

Robert Speirs

I would have given this blog a chance if it weren't for the "his or her" in the post at the top of the page. Illiterate toadying feckless morons.

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