You are stuck with what we find interesting on any given day

Thanks for all the kind feedback I got last week. I can't begin to tell you how nice that was.

I've noticed a couple "why is this on LISNews" comments for the first time lately. For years the LISNews about page said:

"You are stuck with what we find interesting on any given day, if that happens to interest you, then today is your lucky day." And I always wanted the rest to say: "If not, then tough shit, you're not paying for it."

I can't remember exactly why I took that line out. I guess it just never felt quite right being there, but I still think it sums up nicely what we do here. For the most part LISNews works like this:

Someone has an interest in becoming an author at LISNews.
They contact me, I give them super secret and exciting author powers.
They find a link, story, site, or something they find interesting.
They login, and post it to LISNews.

I've always worked hard at keeping LISNews as open as possible, without going completely metafilter, because I believe that having more people involved with the site makes it more useful/interesting/informative/exciting/etc… Lately, the number of authors, coupled with my time off, has meant there's been a noticeable change in what gets posted. I've posted the majority of the stories over the past 4 years, which means, by default, I controlled much of what was seen around here. That's not really something I ever wanted, you know I've been begging for more authors since day one. I've been begging for more participation in general since day one. I'm trying to avoid the echo chamber, and I think we do a pretty decent job most of the time.

So, to answer your question, that is on LISNews because someone thought it was interesting. It's there because we want it there, because you might learn something, and because we decide what to post. Your feedback is always welcome, but we do this because it's fun, and because we find it interesting. We don't need to worry about ratings, or readership, or offending people.

I'll need another week or so to get the new server finished up, and all the domains moved over. LISNews is going to go last this time, because LISNews is going to be such a huge pain to move I don't even want to think about it until I have to. Keep your eyes on That's where I'll be testing the new code before I dump all our old data in. You can expect some serious down time and general messiness at LISNews for a while as I make the transition.


I've been curious just how far astray from library news we can go -- and John Ashcroft's health seems to be quite astray.

Could you possibly elaborate on "LISNews is a collaborative weblog [aka blog] devoted to current events and news in the world of Library and Information Science"?

What qualifies as the "world" of LIS?

I'm one who often reminds "take it to your journal," because when visitors show up they are likely to go to "Home" and read what purports to be news, not opinion. I like to think I'm doing my part to get levies passed by not confusing people checking out what's going on in libraries.

It's not like we have no space for opinion. But if I decide to rant about Kerry, post it as "story," I hope some smart editor rejects it, because my personal opinions are not news. Your moderators are only human--they'll pick up the posts they agree with and discard the ones they don't like, and soon you'll have not much worth reading. People can opine and whine all they want at their journal option, but let's have just a tad bit of professionalism with "news" and "story."

>>and John Ashcroft's health seems to be quite astray.

Yeah, I can't say I completly disagree with you, personally, I would not have posted the first one. I can see why it was posted, and why you would think it didn't belong.

>>Could you possibly elaborate on "LISNews is a
>>collaborative weblog [aka blog] devoted to
>>current events and news in the world of Library
>>and Information Science"?

Well, there's a bunch of us (collaborative) and we post stories to this blog, and most of us are librarians, and what we post generally has something to do with libraries most of the time.
I'm not really sure how to answer that one, hopefully that did it.

>>What qualifies as the "world" of LIS?

Well, I suppose the easiest way to answer that is say Browse The Topics>, and repeat, it's what we happen to find interesting.

I've heard from a bunch of people that the best thing about LISNews is they never know what's next, and that's one of the best things for me as well. I don't know where the line is drawn, but it's rare I think someone has gone over it. The Ashcroft stuff was close to the line, though probably not over it.

I more or less agree with you. There have been things that I wouldn't have posted, personally, but that doesn't mean they should not have been posted. I've yet to see much that I'm really sure didn't belong. There's alot of new authors here, and there will be mistakes made, and I'm not thinking of anything in particular, but there'll be mistakes. Like you said, we're not journalists, we're librarians.

As for a Kerry rant, or a Bush, or Clinton, Regan, etc... Yup, those don't belong, but I'm sure you can see the connection between Ashcroft and libraries, I'm not saying it's a good one, but I think we can all at least see it.

That part of the Patriot Act that applies to libraries is news. Ashcroft's health is not library news.

>>Ashcroft's health is not library news.

You don't get to make that decision.

Blake, without your vision, and editing, some chaos on LisNews has occurred which is not surprising. I think you know this. That's why nbruce's comments struck a nerve.

Too many cooks spoil the stew. And lately some of the cooks have been adding ingredients that don't belong in LisNews. The Ashcroft health story was one and Rochelle's softcore "yeasty" book excerpt was another.

These articles were not even remotely concerned with librarians or issues related to our work.

There have probably always been people who tried to submit inappropriate stories to LisNews,but you have kept these stories to a minimum.

For some, the freedom to post on this VERY popular news service is too tempting.

A few people are taking advantage of this freedom to post whatever they find interesting and are ignoring the mission and the focus of LisNews which you established and which brings us here.

I think your answer to nbruce's concerns was too harsh, probably the result of the stress of too much stuff goin on, etc.

nbruce doesn't make the decision about what appears on LisNews...but maybe s/he or someone who agrees with the mission of LisNews should be helping you do that during this stressful time.

Keeping LisNews on course requires one person at the helm who is committed to maintaining the same level of quality you established, not alot of prima donnas trying to grab a moment of attention for what interested them for a nanosecond.