11 July 2006 by Published in: Blogging 9 comments

I’ve been thinking about some of the feedback that I’ve received on Adam Hendel’s blog. I have to admit that I agree with the folks that noted that there are some flaws with the articles posted on Adam’s blog. Adam found a VERY old writing of mine that described John Buford’s defense at Gettysburg as a defense in depth. Once upon a time, I believed that to be the case, but after a great deal of additional study, I came to the conclusion that his tactic was, in fact, a covering force action. I’ll get into the difference between the two in tomorrow’s post here. Suffice it to say that I have publicly corrected myself numerous times and in numerous forums over the years, and he failed to pick that up. So, I sent him a comment about it. The comment was eventually posted, but it took three days. I have issues with that, as I don’t want the public thinking that something I said years ago, but which I have publicly repudiated is still my view of things.

In the past, I have simply pointed out the presence of a new blog, given a comment or two about the content, and just added it to the list of blogs linked to this one. After reading the criticisms of Adam’s blog and my own issues with it, I have decided to change my policy. From now on, I will wait a bit to put my seal of approval on them. I want to be sure that they’re worthy of bringing to the attention of my readers. I will probably remove the link to Adam’s blog in the next couple of days.

There are also a couple of bloggers who simply don’t post. One blog hasn’t had a new post since June 16, and another has had only two since June 1, one of which had nothing at all to do with history. Whether the bloggers’ jobs get in the way, or they don’t have anything to say, it’s hard for me to endorse blogs where nothing new is posted for more than a month at a time. If that remains the case, I will probably remove those links. So, please don’t be surprised if some of the links disappear, probably sooner than later.

Scridb filter

Comments

  1. Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 7:02 am

    Hi Eric, — Unfortunately, all that has been accomplished between your initial post and the reader’s comments is perhaps give this guy a reason to feel just a bit insecure. Whether you and your readers consider his posts to be scholarly or not is probably the furthest issue from the author’s concerns. Like many he was just trying to share his passion with a larger audience. Of course, all of this hinges on the assumption that the blogger in question followed this little exchange. I would say that if you are going to remove some of your links just do it and be done with it. I’ve removed a couple of links for various reasons. Part of the problem here is that this little community of readers and bloggers has created the illusion that we are all buddy buddy.

    One final point: I don’t consider much of anything that is published on the various Civil War blogs – including my own – to be “scholarly.”

  2. Tom
    Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 7:52 am

    Good Morning Eric and Kevin –
    Both of you accomplished one thing, made me look at your links to ensure that I was still listed.

    I’ve talked to many a “researcher” who was looking for information, I’ll give it to him and then 5 years later receive another email asking for help again – because they are just starting up again. Blogs are a lot like any other hobbie, people go at them full steam and then, well, run out of steam. It’s too bad because I really do enjoy reading what others think, even when I don’t agree with them. 🙂

  3. Harry
    Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 10:31 am

    I think we need to remember that no one is more or less “qualified” to blog than anyone else. Adam shouldn’t feel insecure, but he should be careful of the sources he cites, and know that citing a source in and of itself does not necessarily legitimize what he has to say. While I still check bibliographies and notes prior to making some book purchase decisions, I have learned that alone they at best may only evidence poorly researched work, and in no way are indicative of the contrary.

  4. Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 1:20 pm

    I disagree with Kevin, but in a good way. I visit Kevin’s blog and Eric’s blog, and others, because I want something close to “scholarly” information and reading. I consider Kevin and Eric accomplished historians. Blogs like mine are for fun and I visit many like mine that I enjoy. Though I try to be as accurate as I can, I know I probably make mistakes. God knows my blog is a work in progress…

  5. Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 2:40 pm

    Guys,

    As a regular Joe Schmoe who has no real qualification to write a Civil War blog other than having read several hundred books and even more magazine articles (Kevin both teaches and has had quite a few book reviews and articles published & Eric is obviously an author as well), I thought I’d weigh in. I think from simply reading his blog entries that Adam means well and wants to inform others with these articles, and also that the comments were a little harsh for someone who was just starting out. I don’t know what age group Adam falls in (I’m 27 myself), but I personally figured I’d give him some time to adjust. I know it took me several months to come up with a formula that I felt comfortable with.

    With that said, I also reread my blog entries to ensure as much accuracy as possible when it comes to things like place names, names of people, dates, etc. Mistakes can, do, and have happened along the way. That’s another reason I like blogging. If I am laboring under some misapprehension I’m sure someone much more knowledgeable than myself on a given subject will come along and set me straight. It’s interesting to do a set of entries on Eric Jacobson’s Franklin book for instance, and have the author and Sam Hood (relative of General Hood) commenting along the way. I feel like I can learn so much more this way than simply by reading the book.

    I agree with Chris that I expect these blogs to be somewhat scholarly, but I do not have the same expectations as when I read Civiil War History journal or North & South magazine, for instance. My payment for these publicatons ensures expectation, while the free nature of reading blogs dilutes this to some extent. I visit the various Civil War blogs for fun, mostly daily. Without blogging, I doubt I would have found Kevin’s Crater manuscript, bought some of the more obscure books Drew reviews, or started looking at cavalry books written by Eric and others, for just a few examples. By its very nature, blogging is a grassroots sort of thing. Some blogs are more scholarly than others, and I find these differences to be a good thing in many cases.

    Brett S.

  6. Harry
    Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 3:40 pm

    I don’t read blogs for their “scholarly” content. I read them for stimulation. Usually that means that what the blogger has to say either makes sense, or causes me to strongly disagree – though I admit the latter can only bring me back a few times. But writing blogs is kind of like being Vice-President – how can someone be qualified when there are so few requirements? That’s one of the things I like about blogs – they are an equalizer. Everyone who writes one is just a guy (or gal), saying what is on their minds. On his or her own dime. The difference between someone who has published in the field of Civil War history and someone who hasn’t is that, well, one has published in the field of Civil War history and the other has not.

    I don’t think the “criticism” of Adam (or of Eric’s assessment of the blog’s content) has been harsh. Hopefully, if Adam wishes his blog publications to be “scholarly”, it has been constructive. Regardless, it’s his right to write his blog as he sees fit and for his own reasons, as it is ours to read it or not read it for our own reasons.

  7. Wed 12th Jul 2006 at 4:16 pm

    Harry,

    I pretty much agree with everything you said in your last post. When I said “a little harsh”, I guess I just meant that I was surprised by the comments a little, even though they they were all 100% true.

    I think I’d like to take back my use of the word “scholarly” as well. I read blogs for the same reason I read books on the Civil War. I want to be informed as well as entertained. Sometimes I’m one or the other, sometimes I’m both.

    BTW, does anyone know exactly how old Adam is? I got the sense he was in high school from having read the articles.

    Brett

  8. Fri 14th Jul 2006 at 3:23 am

    Eric,

    I can appreciate that you want the links on your site to be interesting, regularly updated places for your readers to go, but this notion that you’ll withhold your regal endorsement if Sean and I don’t pick up the pace (the two examples you cited) is a little off-putting.

    For my part, I would simply encourage you to go ahead and do it — no need to serve notice, and gently scold people for letting their jobs get in the way. It’s a question of style — everyone’s got a different pace. If it were all about volume, to include what are essentially personal diary entries (sewage backup in the basement, house-breaking puppies), what’s to stop any of us from posting daily?

    Regards,
    Dave Woodbury

  9. Fri 14th Jul 2006 at 9:02 am

    I don’t know, Dave. There are plenty of us that manage to do so. The issues with puppies and basements are certainly secondary and only make up a small percentage of the posts here.

    Obviously, it’s your blog and you should feel free to run it as you see fit. At the same time, I retain the right to decide who to endorse on my own blog.

    Eric

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