Some time ago, Tumblr started an official tag for political writing and picked some editors who would identify content from amongst the various politically-oriented blogs. These editors would “tag” the posts as “Politics” so that interested individuals could look through these featured posts, find new blogs to read, and generally keep an eye on the political writing of Tumblr users. And, to an extent, it works: when I was featured as a “top contributor” this week, 10-20 new Tumblr users began following my blog.
But, unsurprisingly, given the nature of the content, the “Politics” tag has also become something of a battleground. Except, of course, that there are gatekeepers — the hand-picked editors — and so the battle tends to tilt one way. Indeed, the identification of content has become so contentious that many of the Tumblr users whose blogs I follow have stopped even looking at the “Politics” tag because some of the editors’ ideological biases have gotten out of hand.
This morning, I saw that there were ten new posts that had been tagged by the editors.
Of the ten, three were from laliberty, three were from evilteabagger, one was from 12onpaul, and one was from libertarians. That’s four libertarian blogs, with eight of the ten new posts to be featured in the Tumblr “Politics” tag. From this sort of representation, one would have to conclude that libertarianism was positively sweeping the nation!
But that’s not the weirdest part, actually. Far stranger is the fact that not a single one of those posts contained any content that was actually written by the authors of those blogs; two of them, in fact, seemed to be entire chapters of books that the authors found online and simply quoted verbatim.
So, I’m done perusing the “Politics” tag, even for the minute or two each day that I used to spend there. If I’m looking for new blogs to read, I want original content, reasoned argumentation, and a genuine mix of material from across the ideological spectrum.
Interesting complaint, considering the top posts typically reflect your side of the political spectrum (not at all what you allege). I was going to make a post commenting on the lack of quality posts being promoted to the politics tag by the left (four separate promoted posts on the Newt glitter bomb?).
So out of curiosity, I ran down the politics tag (starting with your post) labeling them three ways: (1) posts by leftists or promoting/sharing leftist opinion, (2) posts by libertarians or promoting/sharing libertarian opinion (I also included small government republicans out of sheer generosity), (3) posts that were neutral or fit neither the first two. If there was any debate, I clocked it as #3.
218 posts for the left/liberals/socialists/democrats,
90 posts for libertarians/anarcho-capitalists/agorists/small government republicans,
32 posts for neutral/neither.
(Oh, and a vast, vast majority of them were shared links, quotes, charts, and pictures.)
And this ratio makes sense, considering there are 9 generally left-leaning editors to the three libertarians - and each of us is limited to 10 “promotions” a day*. So libertarians can promote a maximum of 30 posts a day - while left-leaners can promote up to 90. That’s a 3-to-1 advantage.
Which is ok, since there’s probably more bloggers on the left than libertarians on Tumblr (for now?).
So while occasionally there may be a bunch of libertarian posts at the top, there seems to be, judging by the reblogs, a convenient narrative being fed here. With only 25% of the promotable posts, libertarian editors are hardly the dominating force some make us out to be.
*For the record, I probably average about two promotions a day.
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