Tuesday, September 04, 2007

R' Gil Student/Hirhurim Moves to Reshimu

Now THIS is interesting... R' Gil Student of Hirhurim, whose blog has collected almost 2 million hits since its inception in March 2004, will be moving to a metablog called Reshimu, which is being run by Ben Atlas (formerly of, as Tzemach Atlas). From Gil's post:
Reshimu is a new site full of Jewish content that is the next generation of the online Jewish conversation. It is the next stage in the evolution of the web, beyond blogs. Hirhurim will be featured on Reshimu, similar to the way a column is run in a newspaper although with one significant difference that I will explain shortly.

The goal of a content-aggregating website like Reshimu is to create a community and cross-pollinate ideas from people with different backgrounds and perspectives. In that vein, the line-up of bloggers is reflective of different kinds of people who live and breath the highs and lows of the Jewish people. Therefore, you can expect a wider variety of perspectives commenting on future posts and I am sure that many Hirhurim readers will be adding their unique perspectives to other conversations. Additionally, all commenters will have to register with the website and maintain a certain level of consistency and responsibility in their words. But there will also be more powerful commenting features (including spell check) so that you, the reader, will be more effective in contributing to the discussion.
You can check the comments over there for yourself, but most of the concerns are similar to the ones I would have about such a move, chief among them being the association with Luke Ford, who will also be writing for Reshimu. I'm surprised that there has been little discussion so far about the need to register to comment - I think that what has killed most similar attempts (though granted never with the 'big names' this one has) has been the need to register to comment... particularly for a blog like Gil's which generally has a lot of comments flying back and forth.

I'm also not sure I agree with the "next stage in the evolution of the web" bit. In the secular set, metablogs that have quality writers haven't flopped per se, but I don't get the impression that they're incredibly successful, either. A simple way of comparing it would be to say that they're larger than any one of their individual writers, but less than the sum of all its parts. I wonder if this will even be able to reach that level of success, catering to a much smaller audience to begin with.

I wish R' Gil the best of luck in this endeavor, whatever my own concerns may be; and I hope that Reshimu lives up to what it hopes to be and does not get dragged down by its worst elements. B'hatzlacha.


  1. Gil on Luke Ford:

    I've voiced that concern multiple times. He will be edited.

    He's a talented man and, when he stays away from the smut and the pointless gossip, has done great things and is very insightful. He has a good deal to contribute.

    Wow...with Rosh HaShana around the corner, it's impressive to see such positive speech about a fellow Jew.

  2. I saw that. I don't know if that's good enough - he's still catering to a certain crowd, still writes a certain way, and while he's obviously talented (and connected!) he still is what he is.

  3. Whats with the rush to outdate blogs? These types of efforts just de-personalize blogs. On the other hand, maybe thats not a bad idea.

  4. Mentalblog hasn't been too impressive either.

  5. I suspect this is a capitulation. Someone like him cannot run a blog for long, because he likes to raise interesting questions, doesn't want interesting answers, and isn't quite comfortable censoring comments himself.

    Reshimu will allow him to have a censored sandbox without being personally blamed for the censorship.

  6. Chaim R - I agree. I think people like to jump ahead and feel like they're ahead of the curve.

    Bob - Agreed. Had some good stuff on occasion, though.

    JA - I don't know about that one, that's a bit too cynical. More likely: Less time spent, more money made. It's a side hobby that can take up a lot of time - this makes it less time-consuming and more worthwhile.

  7. Yeah, it is kind of cynical, but he's not the first blogger I've seen close up shop almost immediately following a show-down with commenters the author didn't want to give a voice to. (Malcolm Gladwell's blog comes to mind.)

  8. The nay's are far outweighing any support on his comment section. It's brutal.

  9. JA - I'll stand by my opinion that it's about more money and less time spent.

    Chaim - Yeah, I noticed.

  10. What surprises me is the degree of shock expressed that Rabbi Student would associate himself with Luke Ford. Except in his famous "Blogs every Rabbi must follow" he recommended at least 5 blogs that traffic in loshon hara, rechilus etc. (at least 3 of them were designated "scandal" blogs), one of which was Luke Ford.
    Rabbi Student isn't selling out now. He's always been in Luke Ford's corner.

  11. One could also ask about associating with self-described Jewish atheists.

  12. True, Bob, but I'm irked by that picture of the Chofetz Chaim that he really doesn't abide by.

  13. and I imagine just as Luke Ford will be edited, so will R' Gil?