Patterico's Pontifications

6/21/2005

L.A. Times Wikitorial Defaced with Porn

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 6:22 pm



It turns out that the reason the L.A. Times wikitorial came down was because some people were defacing it with pornographic pictures.

Too bad. Some are calling the experiment a failure. Some are saying that the wiki platform is not the best way to achieve interactivity with the paper’s readers. Some are saying: maybe it is, but not when used with editorials. And some are saying that starting the experiment with an editorial about the war — one of the most emotional topics you could pick — was a tactical mistake.

To me, the important thing is that the newspaper tried being truly interactive with its readers. This is a Good Thing. Interactivity carries with it perils: trolls, spammers, and just general assholes. Bloggers already know this.

But it’s worth it. The precise mechanism isn’t the key — for example, some blogs without comments are very interactive, but they use links and e-mails to maintain their connection with other sites. The key is the desire to have interactivity, and the boldness to pursue it even though many will be eager to pronounce the experiment a failure.

So, I salute Michael Kinsley and the others at The Times involved with this project. This is not a failure. It’s a beginning. The enterprise is worth it. Keep it up.

10 Responses to “L.A. Times Wikitorial Defaced with Porn”

  1. You’ve got a point. It’s good that the Times tried something new. But I don’t share your enthusiasm for interactivity in the abstract. I think that when it comes to opinion, something like a “Wiki” is actually harmful.

    I think the public debate is best served when there are many opinions out there. I think that the truth of any given subject of controversy is more complex than pro and con. It’s better for ten people sit down and write ten editorials that express their own opinions than for those ten people to collaborate on one editorial that ends up, in the very best case, as a bland, homogenized statement with neither passion nor honesty.

    I think exploring new ways of getting people involved in the debate is good. I think exploring new ways of bridging old media and new media is good. But I also think that we have to be honest and frank along the way. I think some ideas are just plain bad, and the “Wikitorial” idea is definitely among them.

    Jeff Harrell (a5b150)

  2. So we’re not allowed to laugh at this, is what you’re saying?

    See Dubya (01a4f9)

  3. I think the LAT should start a new weekly pair of columns that run only on the online edition, so they don’t have to use actual scarce print space.

    Taking a cue from Outside the Tent and from the period many years ago when they had a “Column Left” and “Column Right” arrangement, they should call it BlogsideLeft and BlogsideRight.

    Each column would rotate among, say, ten different well-known political bloggers, left and right respectively. That means ten bloggers on the left and ten on the right. Each week would see one from column A and one from column B.

    Each blogger could write whatever he wanted for his turn… but the Times would reserve the right to refuse to run a particular column if it decided it was improper for some reason (libelous, for example, or just plain infantile — you never know with the lefties).

    So once ever ten weeks, you’d have a column by Markos Zúniga facing down a column by Hindrocket, or whatever.

    In other words, rather than specific, one-time invitations, as with Outside the Tent, a continuous, running series on the left and on the right, where you know in advance who is going to write this week’s columns. Make the deadline the day before it runs, to allow for topical columns. And post the list of upcoming columns by name and date, so we know when to eagerly search for the Patterico column or whatnot.

    I don’t think anyone has ever done this; it would be dirt cheap (just the cost of paying for the column itself — what is the lowest rate for the LAT, $250 per column? probably cheaper if it’s online only — no printing costs); and it would allow for cutting-edge, almost real-time dialog between left and right on the phosphoric pages of the LA Times.

    But of course, that would require them to admit there is a responsible right wing….

    Dafydd

    Dafydd (df2f54)

  4. So we’re not allowed to laugh at this, is what you’re saying?

    Well, I realize the headline almost invites laughter . . . but, no. It’s about as funny as spam comments. Get your blog and you’ll understand.

    Patterico (756436)

  5. Patterico,

    While I am certain something like the LAT experiment could work at a better newspaper, I noted in accounts of the story that the plug was pulled as a result of, for example, people displacing headlines on several pages with the words, “F— USA”.

    I think it’s quite possible that the LAT finally got some real “quality time” with the moonbats its editorial policies and dispreputable reporting have been attracting to its pages.

    ttyler5 (edf81b)

  6. There was also a charming bit about Terri Schiavo’s parents having raped her with a rusty razor when she was a young child.

    Patterico (756436)

  7. See-Dubya, as one who has his own blog, I hereby grant you permission to laugh at this.

    Xrlq (e2795d)

  8. Xrlq wildly overstepped his authority with his laughter-authorization initiative. I’m shocked, shocked I say, that he would act with such reckless disregard for the Blogstitution of the Blognited … uh … Blates.

    Laughter remains prohibited until the Blongress passes a Blogmendment blogthorizing it.

    Jeff Harrell (a5b150)

  9. I thought the official line was that this is all Slashdot’s fault.

    Chadster (1f0516)

  10. […] And last year, when Michael Kinsley began an experiment with interactive editorials, or “wikitorials,” I supported the effort. When the first one was defaced by pornography, many declared the experiment a failure — but I believed that it had been a success, just because the paper had the guts to undertake it. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Hiltzik’s Blog Suspension Should Not End the L.A. Times’s Interactivity with Readers (421107)


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