Thursday, May 11, 2006

R' Gil's RCA Presentation

(Hat tip: Drew Kaplan)

As you may know by now, R' Gil Student (Hirhurim) gave a presentation at the RCA Convention about the blogosphere, focusing of course on the J-blogosphere. His outline is here; the PowerPoint presentation is here. The "gossip" many people were curious about was which blogs he would talk about when discussing the 'must-read' blogs for a Rabbi; of course, the list was very good and very unsurprising. He split them up into categories, naming 30 blogs and 3 feed-based sites in 11 categories. The final category was "Jewish blog aggregators", and included the main three: JRants, JewishBlogging, and Technorati's Judaism link. The fourth one was a bit different and quite flattering: SerandEz.

All in all, the list was quite good [no, not just because he mentioned this blog], especially considering that just 30 were mentioned. While obviously everyone would have their own list, there were only one or two surprises to me that I'd have expected Gil to put in, the one that jumps out being Orthomom - though since her focus is primarily on the Five Towns, perhaps that's not global enough for what he was looking for.

Yiasher Koach to Gil on what seems to have been a very well done presentation; I hope it has the proper effect on that which goes on in the J-blogosphere.

For those who are curious, here's the list of blogs he mentioned, taken from Drew Kaplan's post: [click the timestamp]


Beyond BT
Lazer Beams
A Simple Jew
Current events
The Town Crier
Commentary on current events
Emes Ve-Emunah
Torah content
Torah Musings (okay, it's really Hirhurim...)
Rabbi Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer
On The Contrary!
My Right Word
Little Green Footballs
Prominent personality
My Obiter Dicta
Ben Chorin
Luke Ford
Un-Orthodox Jew
Failed Messiah
Hipster Judaism
(Esther's) My Urban Kvetch
[not the] Godol Hador
Da'as Hedyot
Jewish Atheist
Ben Avuyah
Renegade Rebbetzin
Drew Kaplan's blog
Jewish Blog Aggregators
Jewish Blogging
Technorati Judaism Blogs


  1. Congrats on making the list, now let us know if the counter went berserk after that presentation :)

  2. Congratulations on the mention.
    Other than you cross-currents, my right word and LGF though, his liberal bias is all too obvious. There's a lot more out there on the right and some get more traffic than the Current events ones that he lists.

  3. sour grapes, soccer dad?

    i think he went beond just whaty gets the most hits and what covers news that others ignore

  4. Oh please anonymous. I'm guessing that you're one of the bloggers that he mentioned.

    But those on the right would argue that he ignored a lot of news items that "others ignore" too. It depends from where you're sitting.

    He started off with a graphic showing the Jewish blogs with the most hits. That was his original criteria.

    Though he proudly displays his JIB awards he ignored Israelly Cool!

    He doesn't even mention Elder of Ziyon who actually does research instead of cutting and pasting from Media Matters.

    And of course he has that graphic promoting Shmiras Ha-lashon but still advocates a blogger who uses his anonymity to smear people. (Outside of that blogger's impressive numbers.)

    I know that I'm nowhere near the top in hits, but I do know that I rank higher than Gil in Technorati.

    And yes there are some sour grapes.

  5. Whine, whine, whine.

    (I am not the same anonymous from above.)

    And of course he has that graphic promoting Shmiras Ha-lashon but still advocates a blogger who uses his anonymity to smear people.

    All bloggers, anonymous or not, use their blogs to say mean things about other people. I've read, for instance, your comments about Arabs and liberals. Anyway, what does a blogger's anonymity have to do with anything? S/he is not using his anonymity. S/he is using his/her blog, just like you use your blog.

    I know that I'm nowhere near the top in hits, but I do know that I rank higher than Gil in Technorati.

    Gil earns his Technorati links. He doesn't get them from reciprocal systems like Blogs for Bush, or for sponosoring carnivals.

  6. And of course he has that graphic promoting Shmiras Ha-lashon but still advocates a blogger who uses his anonymity to smear people.

    Only one? Do you mean DovBear, who has a tart tounge? Or GH,who has been a thorn in the side of Roshe Yeshivot and Gedolim from the begining? Or Luke Ford and Failed Messiah who surely have done their share of "smearing?"

    And if you are so sensitive about irresponsible blogging, why do you continue to support LGF, home to some of the worst racists on the web? Why do you link to blogs that demonstrate real bigotry toward Arabs, gays, blacks and unorthodox Jews?

  7. Congratulations Ezzie. You do the Jewish blogosphere a great service by your "linkfests". I am always discovering new blogs by reading you (in addition to Havel-Haveilim). Did Gil mention this carnival?

  8. "And of course he has that graphic promoting Shmiras Ha-lashon but still advocates a blogger who uses his anonymity to smear people. "

    Which one is he referring to ?

  9. He could be referring to:

    Failed Messiah
    Luke Ford

    All of these blogs occasionally say mean things about others. (And as noted, SoccerDad could be referring to his own good self, as well)

    However, he singled out just one, so you can either
    (1) ask him
    (2) figure out which of them he reads
    (3) Go back through his archives to see if the self-admitted Mr. Sour Grapes is carrying a grudge against any of them.

  10. (And as noted, SoccerDad could be referring to his own good self, as well)

    Well no. He couldn't be referring to his own good self. SoccerDad was not included on Gil's list.

  11. Woah, this degenerated rather quickly.

    SD - I don't think Gil has a liberal bias, and I don't know if he realized that IsraellyCool gets so many hits. I thought it was a fair representation, and wasn't meant to lean one way or the other. I enjoy EoZ, but I don't think he gets anywhere near the hits of the ones Gil mentioned.

    I'm not sure who you meant with the anonymous smear line, but I think he was pointing out both the "good" and the "bad" of the J-blogosphere.

    Anons - Firstly, not "all" blogs put down people. Second, I don't find that SD (who, by the way, I don't think is conservative) puts downs Arabs or liberals. I also should note that LGF himself never advocates any of the issues you mention; and all blogs link to blogs they disagree with.

    Re: the carnival aspect of J-blogging. SoccerDad started Haveil Havalim, which has been a major positive for the J-blogosphere - particularly for smaller and newer blogs.

    WBM - I was wondering myself if he mentioned HH. It would have been nice, but I'm not sure that it relates to his presentation - convincing Rabbonim to keep up on the latest issues in the Jewish world.

  12. Ezzie,
    The reason I was bothered by the omission of Israelly Cool! is because of the JIB awards. Gil displays his JIB gifs, I think he owed an acknowledgement there.
    AS far as Anonymous #2 goes, he whined when he was left off Jason Maoz's list of essential bloggers, so it's interesting that he calls me a whiner. (And I responded in more detail in an e-mail.)
    However I will admit that there's an element of sour grapes. No one likes to be left out.

  13. SD - This is just an outline. Perhaps he did say that it was started by IsraellyCool. That doesn't make it one of the ones to follow.

    Granted, this is easy for me to say because I was put in, but I wasn't put in for my own content, rather for what I link to: It's just not a big deal. Gil was showing which blogs seem to have the best pulse of what's going on, and selected those he's most familiar with. Makes sense to me.

  14. Quite flattering. Too bad the old protocols and village idiots are gone. they were the epicenter of general "hock" relevant to the rabbis.

  15. I wouldn't know, they were before my time...


    Rambam on dissing Gedolim
    I happened across an amazing Rambam:

    יז) וזה הוא דרך ישיבת הלצים הרשעים: בתחילה מרבין בדברי הבאי, כעניין שנאמר "וקול כסיל, ברוב דברים" (קוהלת ה,ב); ומתוך כך באין לספר בגנות הצדיקים, כעניין שנאמר "תיאלמנה, שפתי שקר: הדוברות על צדיק, עתק" (תהילים לא,יט); ומתוך כך יהיה להן הרגל לדבר בנביאים וליתן דופי בדבריהם, כעניין שנאמר "ויהיו מלעיבים, במלאכי האלוהים, ובוזים דבריו, ומיתעתעים בנביאיו" (דברי הימים ב לו,טז); ומתוך כך באין לדבר באלוהים וכופרין בעיקר, כעניין שנאמר "ויחפאו בני ישראל, דברים אשר לא כן, על ה', אלוהיהם" (מלכים ב יז,ט).

    Basically, the Rambam is detailing a four step process that can lead people to the point of kefirah b'ikar.

    1) Spending lots of time talking about "narishkaitin".

    This, he says, will lead to:
    2) Degrading Tzadikim.

    Eventually they will:
    3) Speak [negatively] about the neviim and begin doubting their words.

    Which will result in:
    4) Total kefirah.

    What amazed me was that we saw this four-step process take place before our own eyes on a number of blogs over the last few years.

  17. A new anonymous

    Besides for SD's sour grapes on the politics, you can't say Gil was "advocating" for the blogs he picked. I'm sure he finds the entire "scandal" section as disgusting as anyone else, but thought he should warn Rabbis about the menuvalim out there.

    To call Canonist a current events blog is a mistake. He gets all his traffic by being fourth in the scandal category.

  18. NewAnon - I agree wholeheartedly. As I said, I think he was pointing out the good and bad in the J-blogosphere; if you look, he discusses early on the lashon hara and other negative aspects on the blogs.

  19. "All bloggers, anonymous or not, use their blogs to say mean things about other people."

    Surely you can't really think that all blogs do this?

  20. Hmm, I'd also note there seems to be different circles of J-Blogs. For example, has very high traffic (1200-2000 daily, bigger than IsraellyCool), the is no slouch, is Chabad specific but also heavily traffic'd.

    Yet none of these show up on most normal J-Blogosphere radar. Wonder why is that?

  21. Akiva - fair point. There definitely are different circles, and though I try to see what's out there, I generally stick to the circles I'm used to.

    I think people stick to a) the ones they started reading originally [and their respective circles]; b) the people who comment on their blog or who they find that are of the same wavelength; and c) those who they can relate to. I'm not really interested in CrownHeightsInfo, so I'm not really going to go there. That could be true for most J-Bloggers.

  22. [That was not a knock on CrownHeights - just an honest remark.]

  23. Congrats, Ezzie - and thanks for the honorable mention. I never really thought that my blog was predominantly focused on the Five Towns, though.

  24. OM - Yes and no. Maybe it's more like that lately, with the Lawrence PS posts. I guess it's just less global than (say) DovBear, A Town Crier, et al. Again, I'd still have put it there - I was just speculating on why perhaps you weren't included.

  25. He categorized me as a skeptic ?? On par with jewish Atheist and Ben Avuyah? Boy am I mad!!!

  26. What? You're a skeptic, just still frum. I think. :)

  27. Thanks - aw, don't feel left out. I didn't get in for my own stuff, either.

  28. Thanks for the alert. The story of how I arrived at your posting is here:

    (sorry, am not that technical enough to figure out how to use HTML tags by myself)

    And unmitigated kudos to all the others mentioned. And now I go over to find out what was 'said' about me ;>)

  29. What will it take to get mentioned in future years?

  30. It's extremely hard to make a list of "must-read" blogs. I've done this a bunch of times and always feel weird leaving people out. But the truth is we all have our "must-reads" and then our "B-Lists," that's just the way our busy lives are. And it doesn't mean that being on the B-List is a bad thing or that we're lesser quality. Depending on the point someone is trying to make, that person makes his lists accordingly.

    And besides, if the RCA people go to any of those sites, they'll likely follow the links to other sites, so it makes sense to recommend "hubs" like Jewlicious and Jewschool, among others, even if only as a resource....

  31. YMedad - I already read it. :)

    SL - Good question. I'm not sure there will be future presentations like this, but rather people will slowly become more exposed, and - as Esther says - they will follow the links to other blogs.

    Esther - Exactly. I'm quite certain that people going to your blogs then follow that to other blogs. Everyone finds their own favorites (as I wrote about above in these comments), of course, but the bigger blogs do provide the most powerful links.

  32. For one, R' Student has never in my memory made a comment on my blog. For another, I didn't think I had much impact on the J-blogosphere. Much of my readership is non-Orthodox and non-Jewish.

  33. I think he picked you partly because you post without hate, asking legitimate questions/making legitimate statements. Reasonable people may disagree, but it's not over the top. He might feel that Rabbis would gain more by being aware of real issues and not over-the-top sarcasm. (Just a guess, could be way off.)

    I doubt Gil reads many of the blogs he mentioned on a regular basis. It's more like his perception of which ones are important.

  34. Congratulations for having made the RCA must read blog list.