Saturday, July 17, 2004

the EDDix 50 - top 50 law blogs?

the EDDix 50 - top 50 law blogs?

Via ResearchBuzz we discover that EDDix - EDD Information Exchange - whoever they are - recently and inexplicably - unless it be to drum up business - has published the EDDix 50, a list of what EDDix writers regard to be the top 50 law blogs (blawgs).

Minds can Differ on Selection

Of course, minds differ, and there will never be agreement on blog rankings.

But as can be read in the comments to the EDDix posting, there are some strange omissions of excellent blawgs and even stranger inclusions of websites which are distinctly not blawgs at all.

The commentary to the blawgs selected is nevertheless interesting, but, unfortunately, reveals no clear line of selection criteria other than pure subjective judgment by the selectors as to what is "authoritative" and who "has stripes". We might call theirs the "peppermint" list.

EDDix may misunderstand the Blogosphere

The Law Pundit is of the opinion that the members of EDDix may slightly misunderstand the nature of the blogosphere. Blogs are optimally an alternative forum of publishing thoughts, ideas and information. Blogs developed as a means of airing opinions which diverged from the often nauseous fare of sensationalistic pablum meted out to us by the standard news media for the headline-hungry masses. Yet, here we go again, pandering to the herding instinct and setting up mainstream "must reads" as if in a high school popularity contest. Generally, the world of the law is above that. We do not need EDDix to tell us what to do.

Can Blogs really be Ranked?

The Law Pundit is not sure that blogs are conducive to any kind of a ranking system since the best are at best primus inter pares.

Each blog has a specific purpose and is ostensibly addressed to a particular audience.
SCOTUSblog or Nipper's Patent Law Blog are good examples of this.

General blogs may of course attract the most attention.
InstaPundit or Ernie the Attorney are good examples of more general blogs.

The more narrow that the purpose of the blog may be, the smaller is its potential audience.
Blog 702 is a good example.

Many people in law and elsewhere read about current Congressional legislation at a blog like the
The Importance Of.

Innovative or more iconoclastic thinkers may have fewer followers, e.g.
Legal Underground.

Blogs overseas tend to get summary treatment - often unjustly - in the U.S., e.g.
IPKat or Simon's Blawg or the German American Law Journal.

In addition, the older blawgs tend to have the largest audiences, while newbies often struggle for attention. Indeed, the older blogs seldom add new blogs to their blog rolls, while the newer blogs add the older better known blogs as a matter of course, even if the blog quality may not warrant inclusion.

What makes a Good Blog? - Criteria

What makes a so-called good blog? What are the criteria to be used in selection? ANYONE can put up a subjective list of e.g. best blogs, best films, best music, etc. Indeed, EDDix has done so.

Blogs could be ranked for example by frequency viz. regularity of posting, by the quantity of posting (so many words per day), by blog design, by authoritative value (for third parties), by reputation of the blogger (his or her job position), by academic (theoretical) or lawyerlike (practical) standards, by the information niche filled or not filled by the blog, by the actual legal content of the blog, by the standard of legal analysis which can be extracted from the logic of the postings in the blog, by the entertainment value of the blog, by the personality or intellect of the blogger, or by personal contact between the blogger and the evaluator.

Depending on the selection criteria, some blogs may be useful to read on a daily basis, while others may be worth a look once a month only, without saying anything about the quality of the respective blogs. In other words, accurate blog ranking would be a sight more difficult than found in the simplistic EDDix treatment.

Rankings may Cut Off Essential Parts of the Blogosphere

If readers use lists such as the EDDix 50 to select and limit the blawgs they are to read, then they may be cutting off a certain section of the blogosphere from their selection process, indeed, these lesser-known blogs may be among the most interesting part of the blog community. We personally see no qualitative difference between most of the "must read" blogs and those not so recommended, nor is EDDix competent to draw such a qualitative line.

Special Mention of LawPundit

However, we thank EDDix for their special mention of yours truly and LawPundit in their pages.

As far as the megaliths and the law are concerned - we suggest that EDDix stick to marketing - which appears to be their field.

Is this one more case of people opining an opinion about the megaliths without having read the book? You can be sure. Sadly, many people have opinions about things that they have not personally studied and know nothing about and EDDix appears to be in this category.

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