Last week, after some unfortunately contentious conversations related to my previous blog post, I was unexpectedly delisted from the largest LDS blog portal there is.
The delisting happened after Steve Evans, who is the founder of one of the most visited LDS Blogs, By Common Consent, responded to my critical comment with “J. Max, if you were at all sincere about withdrawing from the Bloggernacle (and indeed I long hoped you were!), you would never have posted your site as part of the largest Bloggernacle aggregator there is. Now is the time for you to prove your sincerity and honesty, by never showing your face anywhere in the Bloggernacle ever again. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.”
Officially, Steve Evans has no administrative power over LDSBlogs.org. However, within an hour or two, my blog was delisted. It happened without warning and without explanation. My blog and blog posts simply vanished as if they had never been included.
So how did this happen?
According to one source, the issue of whether my blog should be delisted was not discussed by the group of bloggers who are supposedly in charge of the portal. It wasn’t even presented for discussion. He found out that it had been removed from me. Apparently blogs are often added and removed without consulting the founders of the portal. As far as I can gather, additions and removals are made nearly unilaterally by two or three individuals with very little oversight.
There is some confusion about what “The Bloggernacle” is. Does it refer to all LDS Blogs? Or does it refer to a specific group of inter-linking, multually supportive LDS Blogs represented at least functionally by LDSBlogs.org?
While I think that many people want to apply the term to all LDS Blogs, functionally, as in Steve Evan’s comment, it is restricted to those blogs included in the LDSBlogs.org portal, and perhaps the blogs listed at LDSElect.org.
Why would an LDS Blogger who, like me, finds much of the content at LDSBlogs.org to be questionable and outside of the mainstream of Mormon views want to be listed and included in the portal? It is because LDSBlogs.org has a virtual stranglehold on LDS blog promotion.
If an LDS blog wants to increase traffic and readership they have to get included in a blog aggregator.
But none of the existing blog aggregators are a very comfortable place for more conservative, orthodox LDS bloggers who have qualms about giving tacit support to the content promoted by the portals by being included. However, the desire to not promote by association is counterbalanced by the need to attract readership.
So for all practical purposes, LDSBlogs.org has a great deal of power over which LDS Blog conversations get discovered and promoted, and which are ignored. And power entails accountability.
Currently, six of the nine solo-bloggers that originally founded LDSBlogs.org have become permanent contributing bloggers at the By Common Consent blog.
In Part 2 I will review some of the history of LDS Blog portals.