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Brenda
03-31-2009, 09:57 PM
Bob described BhTV's Apollo Project in his diavlog with Mickey (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/18683) on March 31. What do you think?

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 03:45 AM
If you have not yet watched Bob and Mickey's latest diavlog and don't know what the Apollo Project is, you can hear Bob describe it at this dingalink (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/18683?in=72:52&out=79:15).

Personally, I think it's a great idea, and I hope at least a few of BHTV's commenters take Bob up on the offer. My concern is that forum dwellers tend to be introverts — not exactly the kind of person who is itching to appear before the world on camera.

The success of the Apollo Project depends, I think, on finding those (few?) commenters who are at the more extroverted end of the personality spectrum. Hopefully BHTV's forum is atypical and has a higher than usual proportion of extroverted commenters, because there are a lot of people here who have great minds, excellent insight, and many interesting things to say.

Simon Willard
04-01-2009, 08:16 AM
This is a small step for bhtv, but it would be a giant leap for most commenters. I suspect most don't have the right stuff to be on camera. On the other hand, I'd enjoy seeing some of the more strongly opinionated commenters brought down to earth in a shower of their own flaming rhetoric.

AemJeff
04-01-2009, 09:42 AM
This is a small step for bhtv, but it would be a giant leap for most commenters. I suspect most don't have the right stuff to be on camera. On the other hand, I'd enjoy seeing some of the more strongly opinionated commenters brought down to earth in a shower of their own flaming rhetoric.

That sounds like a challenge! Will you take the same step?

AemJeff
04-01-2009, 09:45 AM
If you have not yet watched Bob and Mickey's latest diavlog and don't know what the Apollo Project is, you can hear Bob describe it at this dingalink (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/18683?in=72:52&out=79:15).

Personally, I think it's a great idea, and I hope at least a few of BHTV's commenters take Bob up on the offer. My concern is that forum dwellers tend to be introverts — not exactly the kind of person who is itching to appear before the world on camera.

The success of the Apollo Project depends, I think, on finding those (few?) commenters who are at the more extroverted end of the personality spectrum. Hopefully BHTV's forum is atypical and has a higher than usual proportion of extroverted commenters, because there are a lot of people here who have great minds, excellent insight, and many interesting things to say.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that it requires extroverts. Just people comfortable enough in their skin to stay focused on the task, rather than overworrying the presentation.

nikkibong
04-01-2009, 11:15 AM
Personally, I think it's a great idea, and I hope at least a few of BHTV's commenters take Bob up on the offer. My concern is that forum dwellers tend to be introverts — not exactly the kind of person who is itching to appear before the world on camera.



As a guy who is occasionally prone to bouts of loud-mouthery, showmanship, acting, and - ok, I'll admit it - karaoke, I'm not sure that I agree with this characterization. Just because some people enjoy expressing themselves in online forums does not mean they don't like to express themselves elsewhere.

My concern with the Apollo Project is with its rather elitist attitude; pitting 'true' bloggingheads against 'amateurs.' I dare say many of our commenters offer more expertise on a wider range of subjects than many of the prolific 'heads . . .

It's long been a dream of mine to appear on bh.tv, but not as a lowly, amateur commenter . . .

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 11:29 AM
I wouldn't go so far as to say that it requires extroverts. Just people comfortable enough in their skin to stay focused on the task, rather than overworrying the presentation.

That's true. I think more extroverts fit that description than non-extroverts, but I agree participation would not require an extroverted personality.

So how about it, Jeff,are you going to volunteer?

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 11:37 AM
As a guy who is occasionally prone to bouts of loud-mouthery, showmanship, acting, and - ok, I'll admit it - karaoke, I'm not sure that I agree with this characterization. Just because some people enjoy expressing themselves in online forums does not mean they don't like to express themselves elsewhere.

My concern with the Apollo Project is with its rather elitist attitude; pitting 'true' bloggingheads against 'amateurs.' I dare say many of our commenters offer more expertise on a wider range of subjects than many of the prolific 'heads . . .

It's long been a dream of mine to appear on bh.tv, but not as a lowly, amateur commenter . . .

Heh, you do come across as an extrovert in the forum. Uncle Eb is another I feel sure is extroverted. And I didn't mean to suggest that everyone who spends a lot of time on forums is introverted, nor do I have data, but still, I feel sure it's true, and if it is, it may hinder recruiting. Which is why you should sign up to be a regular. Maybe Bob'll let you graduate to A-list after a couple episodes. Think of it as the farm team. :-)

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 11:40 AM
This is a small step for bhtv, but it would be a giant leap for most commenters. I suspect most don't have the right stuff to be on camera. On the other hand, I'd enjoy seeing some of the more strongly opinionated commenters brought down to earth in a shower of their own flaming rhetoric.

ROFL. I imagine you would have the option to not upload the video if you thought better of it afterwards.

AemJeff
04-01-2009, 11:55 AM
That's true. I think more extroverts fit that description than non-extroverts, but I agree participation would not require an extroverted personality.

So how about it, Jeff,are you going to volunteer?

I volunteered for the testing part of the project. More directly, I'm open to the idea, and I'm far from being afraid of making a fool of myself - but I'm not sure I'd really be an ideal choice. So it's an open question.

Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
04-01-2009, 03:51 PM
It sounds like a great idea to me. There are some good discussions here in the forums that would be even better and quicker to access if they were just conversations. I don't know what percentage of BhTV viewers regularly or semi-regularly read through the comments sections, but for those of us who do, there are also many commenters whom we respect and feel like we "know" and would be very curious to see them discussing issues.

Bobby G
04-01-2009, 03:57 PM
I also like this idea.

Jeff Morgan
04-01-2009, 04:18 PM
Disclaimer: I have no technical knowledge about what I'm suggesting.

Idea that's essentially video comments in the bh.tv video frame.


How about the two-sided diavlog frame we all love, with each successive video comment playing on alternating sides to make one video thread.

The alternating sides makes a visual back-and-forth to emphasize the conversation aspect that makes bh.tv stand out. The viewer could just click play and watch the back-and-forth.

It would be nice if the video commenter could upload their clip and view it in the bh.tv video player and pare it down with the little editing carrots, possibly check the volume, or make sure they are centered in the frame, before posting it to a video thread. With this I think users would quickly be posting clean clips that won't test the patience of viewers.

While a video comment is playing on one side, on the other side you might desire something better than a freeze frame of the last commenter... perhaps text stating the subject line of the previous video comment or the overall topic.

This format is not conducive to branching like the regular comment threads, but I think the restriction is a good thing for conversation. This is bad in general though because each new clip has to go on the end of the line, and yeah... you record and ready a clip only to have the conversation move by new posts while you were readying your response to a now out-dated segment.

Possible fix: while one comment is going on one side of the diavlog frame, the other side could display little links to replies to the currently playing comment. So while Aemjeff is talking on the left side of the frame, on the right side I can see that Bjkeefe, Ebeneezer, and Wonderment have responded. I can then click on one of them and go down that path.

very weak internet arguer
04-01-2009, 05:25 PM
i think you guys have to do it just, at least, to be the first site to do this format....if, in fact, you are the first. that would be so weird to finally see what some of these people look like. i would never do it myself because i don't have a camera or the ability to argue live but i'd definitely watch.

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 05:38 PM
I also like this idea.

You'd be a great candidate to participate, with your vast wealth of knowledge.

I hope Abu Noor participates, too.

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 05:40 PM
i think you guys have to do it just, at least, to be the first site to do this format....if, in fact, you are the first. that would be so weird to finally see what some of these people look like. i would never do it myself because i don't have a camera or the ability to argue live but i'd definitely watch.

For sure. I think it'd be a big hit. And a good way to get visibility for the aspiring pundit.

Bobby G
04-01-2009, 06:03 PM
Thanks very much, TS. I'd be more likely to participate if we had avatars rather than showed our faces, though. I have a job working for the state, after all.

nikkibong
04-01-2009, 06:06 PM
One great possibilities for this project is that some of the commenters' true identities will finally be revealed! From the first Apollo Project 'vlog, we present:

http://www.synthstuff.com/mt/archives/limbaughmug1.jpg
Lyle


http://krazyteez.com/images/che%20guevara.jpg
Wonderment



http://www.subvulture.com/archive/dead_wife_one_flew_over_the_cuckoos_nest.jpg
Kidneystones


and . . .

http://www.samizdata.net/blog/%7Epdeh/micky_kaus_lrg-thumb.jpg
denillesteve

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 06:13 PM
Thanks very much, TS. I'd be more likely to participate if we had avatars rather than showed our faces, though. I have a job working for the state, after all.

Yeah, I know what you mean. I work for an extremely conservative major corporation, in a very conservative town. I've had bosses who would think nothing of firing me for being a Democrat.

Bob did say avatars were possible. I'm pretty sure there is software that will substitute the video with an animated avatar.

Bobby G
04-01-2009, 06:16 PM
Yeah, I know what you mean. I work for an extremely conservative major corporation, in a very conservative town. I've had bosses who would think nothing of firing me for being a Democrat.

How completely horrible. I was just talking about losing respect from my colleagues and students, not being fired. (Though perhaps not getting tenure.)

TwinSwords
04-01-2009, 06:17 PM
How completely horrible. I was just talking about losing respect from my colleagues and students, not being fired. (Though perhaps not getting tenure.)

Yeah, it does kind of suck.

John M
04-01-2009, 08:38 PM
One great possibilities for this project is that some of the commenters' true identities will finally be revealed!

I already have an identity, thank you very much, you socialist fuck!

Baltimoron
04-02-2009, 01:36 AM
Disclaimer: I don't own a video camera, and I wouldn't buy one just for the Apollo Project.

I'm concerned about the technical difficulties Wright discussed. bhTV still has recurring problems in diavlogs occasionally. Adding the video comment format might swamp the staff and drag down the comments and diavlogs. Or, it's possible that the challenges could help raise the staff's game. Generally, I think it's more hassle for little payback.

I also must say I don't generally watch YouTube video comments (or most comments at all). I often only listen to bh diavlogs. There's nothing intrinsically appealing about video that would attract me to the boards more than typing. Video consumes so much bandwidth and other resources, that I think video commenting is just for spoiled narcissists. I'd listen to bhTV if it went stereo-only, depending on the cast of interlocutors. I'm the type of person who reads transcripts after listening to podcasts and watching Meet the Press. I'd like to see bhTV issue transcripts. And, admittedly, I'm just tight with money. If someone wants to buy me a camera, thanks!

Don't bribe me with an addiction I don't have, Bob! I've made my peace with the fact you or your staff don't think my suggestions are useful, but this idea just seems frivolous Just keep the debate going, increase the number of diavlogs, and broaden the topical scope.

Now, if Mickey were to field comments live on video, I might buy a camera and enter the fray!

Oh, and more doggie videos! My wife adores your dog!

uncle ebeneezer
04-02-2009, 03:12 AM
Twin, it's all relative. Compared to people who aren't comfortable getting onstage and performing in public, I'm an extrovert. But compared to most musicians (who are all look-at-me and want to be in the spotlight), I'm definitely more of an introvert.

I don't think I'd be very good at this. I'm terrible at remembering facts/names etc off the top of my head. And I usually have to think a bit before I post. I don't know how valuable my off-the-cuff remarks would be.

I rather enjoy my spot in the peanut gallery, as it is. But I'd love to watch some of you guys try it.

kiwimel
04-02-2009, 03:29 AM
Would love to join in (so long as I can use an avatar - I hate cameras!), but as I live outside the US (in New Zealand - the other side of the world) I don't know how it would work logistically (time zones etc).

Sounds like an absolutely brilliant idea though - I would love to see it up and running!

bjkeefe
04-02-2009, 08:57 AM
Bob described BhTV's Apollo Project in his diavlog with Mickey (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/18683) on March 31. What do you think?

Here is a response from your resident curmudgeon.

Let me start with a disclaimer, which I hope you and other readers will keep in mind as you all encounter things that may annoy further down: I don't like, as a matter of principle, to pour cold water on a new idea from Bh.tv Central before the idea has had a chance to be tested. I have held off on posting my negative reactions for a day or so because of this. I finally decided to say my piece, since Bob asked for immediate feedback.

So much for the preliminaries.

On the other hand, I'd enjoy seeing some of the more strongly opinionated commenters brought down to earth in a shower of their own flaming rhetoric.

This early response articulates one of the reservations I have about the Project Apollo idea. I suspect that many who will support the idea are interested mostly in spectacle, where they'll be rooting for freak shows and train wrecks, and that the whole thing is going to amount to nothing more than a high school popularity contest. This smacks of cheap voyeurism, and is not what I'd call elevating the discourse.

I also think there is a lot to what Mickey said in the diavlog where this idea was first broached, about the value of Bh.tv's diavlogs supposedly being that they present the most worthwhile voices available. While some of the commenters here have lots of interesting and thoughtful stuff to say, and certainly appeal more than some of those (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Althouse,%20Ann) who (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Goldberg,%20Jonah) mysteriously (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=McArdle,%20Megan) keep (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Lewis,%20Matt) getting (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Continetti,%20Matthew) slots (http://bloggingheads.tv/search/?participant1=Cox,%20Ana%20Marie), I still wonder how much more they can bring on camera beyond what they already contribute to the forums. I note that few of the better commenters here offer links to their own blogs where they offer additional substantive commentary or analysis (NB: I do not think of my own little slice of the Web as substantive), so I fear that they've said all they care to say in the forums. Or perhaps most of the better ones are interested in maintaining a pseudonymous identity on this site, separate from what else they do in life, for whatever reason. In either case, I fear that those whom I'd most care about hearing from are going to be replaced on camera by others whom I don't. I look to Bh.tv to present people who know more a lot more about things than I do. I wish more time and energy would be spent on broadening the base of topics covered, beyond here's-how-I-feel political chatter. I fail to see how having the commenters do diavlogs gives a good chance of accomplishing either.

On a visceral level, my reaction to this idea comes from my deep dislike for vox pop interviews on the news, radio shows that let listeners call in, reality TV, 98% of all comments posted on the Internet, and in general, everything that smacks of amateur hour.

Plus, I prefer reading to watching video -- it's much more efficient way of transmitting information, and I can filter and control the pacing far better than a fast-forward button will ever support. It is also usually the case that complex ideas are more clearly articulated when they are written down, rather than spoken extemporaneously.

Finally, more details on my most serious objection: To the extent that effort spent on producing Project Apollo detracts from the effort of booking the many other people (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=1813) we've said we'd like to see (or see return (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?t=2629), in some cases), I am opposed. To the extent that the possible distraction dilutes the effort to broaden the topic areas covered, I vote against. I think Bh.tv too often relies on regulars who have run out of new things to say, and I frequently chafe that so many of the diavlogs are just partisan bickering about momentary political tempests. I don't see why we can't have more than one science-related diavlog per week, for example. I don't see why we can't have a regular feature on hard-core technology issues, for another. I'd like more academics to come on to talk about their specialities, in both policy and cultural realms, for a third. And so on.

All that said, I'm fairly sure I'm in the minority on this, and I am well aware that all but one of my objections are easily dismissed with a simple "No one is forcing you to participate." To the remaining one: if Apollo is truly going to be run by someone separate, as Bob hinted, and will therefore not seriously undermine efforts to improve the site along its existing paths, then maybe it's not a serious worry.

As I said at the beginning, I don't want to come off as disparaging. I have no objection to giving the project a shot and I'm not going to say anything more against it until we've had a chance to see how it plays out. But since immediate reactions were sought, I decided to share my misgivings. Take them for what they're worth.

Baltimoron
04-02-2009, 09:29 AM
I concur with your opinion. I'm impressed with your thoughtfulness, and believe it's more than the proposal deserves. I'm actually dismayed that Bob would consider this proposal seriously. I've become a little less enamored with bhTV as my schedule competes with reading, blogging, and other projects. BhTv needs to commit itself to excellence, and this is not the measure I would ever have devised.

I also think, that in a recession, where the utility and value of companies and policies, etc. are reconsidered, abusing bandwidth with frivolous video is wasteful. bhTv should become leaner, more environmentally efficient, and set a standard for both erudition and business acumen.

Goodbye Old Bloggingheads! Vive New Bloggingheads!

bjkeefe
04-02-2009, 10:44 AM
I concur with your opinion. I'm impressed with your thoughtfulness, and believe it's more than the proposal deserves. I'm actually dismayed that Bob would consider this proposal seriously.

I want to make clear that I am not dismayed by this. The current fashion on the Web is user participation, and there is always the (long shot, in my view) chance that lowering the barriers to entry could expose someone valuable whom we'd never have had a chance to find out about otherwise. So, I say give it a shot, but I'm skeptical, and please don't let neglect the effort of continuing to improve what we already know is good and distinct about this site. But I'm not dismayed. Trying new things is worthwhile.

AemJeff
04-02-2009, 10:52 AM
It's difficult to substantively argue contra Brendan's well stated objections. I'm not certain I care about the degree of intrusion into my not perfectly maintained online anonymity as much as Brendan does, but years spent trying to promote an image of myself and others as performers have probably skewed my sense of the importance of that. Also, assuming the availability of useful avatars, it won't necessarily be an issue.


Finally, more details on my most serious objection: To the extent that effort spent on producing Project Apollo detracts from the effort of booking the many other people we've said we'd like to see (or see return, in some cases), I am opposed. To the extent that the possible distraction dilutes the effort to broaden the topic areas covered, I vote against. I think Bh.tv too often relies on regulars who have run out of new things to say, and I frequently chafe that so many of the diavlogs are just partisan bickering about momentary political tempests. I don't see why we can't have more than one science-related diavlog per week, for example. I don't see why we can't have a regular feature on hard-core technology issues, for another. I'd like more academics to come on to talk about their specialities, in both policy and cultural realms, for a third. And so on.

I think the sentence I bolded implies an important relation that nicely scales the weight of this (important) objection. The closer that relationship approaches zero-sum, the more I'd worry about this. I have to say that the folks allocating resources at BHtv probably understand this as well.

I'm definitely more in favor than Brendan or Balt. From my perspective I see new games to think about playing, and the possibility of enhancing the variety of interactions in a lively community. I trust that BHtv mgmt understands that any community is a fragile thing, and that big changes bear a degree of risk. I like the idea that they're willing to shake things up and see what falls out. Often that doesn't lead anywhere interesting - in which case one would hope that to revert would not be impossible. But sometimes interesting things do happen.

graz
04-02-2009, 10:54 AM
Good luck in the effort, I hope it is a success.

Now that I got that out of the way... I don't see it as adding much value. Seeing as a commenters mug detracts from the point of succinct reply - even though that's rarely achieved anyway. What's the point of video? Is it a gimmick or an inevitability or just a why not? The front page dv'ers are locked in a format that allows for viewing or listening options. The standard has been set. It is good! Seeing any commenters face increases the chances that it will be of a piece with Ann Althouse style performance rather than a video capture of a written response. About a 18 months ago we had a viewer post a video reply. It was well delivered with good production values - I may search the archives to locate it - and seems to be the best that this project could offer.

I align myself with the previous commenters who suggested focusing on refining and improving the current product. As much as I disparage the Mickey, his point ought to be considered:Mickey sees his future. (http://bloggingheads.tv/diavlogs/18683?in=75:14&out=75:38)

My guess is that either Bob got an influx of cash that came with a conditional branding consultant or one of the corporate conference calls was geared for brainstorming "new ideas." Bob's progression from morose calls for civility to gee-wiz carnival barking... Hey... like amateur hour at the Apollo...you know... where they laugh people off the stage... is odd in itself.

That's my two-cents. And for what the dollar is worth....well.

Simon Willard
04-02-2009, 11:59 AM
No thank you. I'm too smart to turn on the camera. ;-)

Simon Willard
04-02-2009, 12:23 PM
I'm more in favor than my snarky post (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=108732#poststop) might suggest. Clearly Bob has been agonizing about the future of the media business, and is trying to think creatively. The vast attention paid to new things like YouTube and Twitter was predicted by few. This is an analogous situation. Apollo would be a new thing, unlike anything else (just as BHTV once was).

I think BJ's concerns could have been applied to BHTV at the start. Read books! Read the Times! I agree with him that you don't want to risk the original enterprise. On the other hand, innovation is essential in this era because every media enterprise is at risk. It's way too hard to know if Apollo would damage BHTV, or save BHTV. You just have to try things. Don't reality TV shows subsidize the evening news?

I think the crucial item is whether the tech wizards find a way to do this at low cost. Use your own camera, etc. Maybe organize the diavlog yourself with your vlogging partner? The price of on-line storage drops every day.

bjkeefe
04-02-2009, 12:50 PM
[...]

Mostly very good points. Two quibbles:

Apollo would be a new thing, unlike anything else (just as BHTV once was).

Not strictly true. Lots of sites are doing video conversations now; e.g., The Atlantic, TNR, TPM, The Young Turks, and PJM. And I'm sure there are some on YouTube and other upload sites, as well. As to how much any of this is strictly amateur may be in the eye of the beholder, but I'd say at least most. And I'm not talking about the production values.

Don't reality TV shows subsidize the evening news?

Ugh. Guess what else I never, ever (willingly) watch. If your claim about the funding is true, they're sure not getting any value for their money.

Simon Willard
04-02-2009, 02:33 PM
Lots of sites are doing video conversations now; e.g., The Atlantic, TNR, TPM, The Young Turks, and PJM.

OK, I was not aware of any sites posting diavlogs (with aspirations of serious discussion) between ordinary people.

[...pause for complaints about AA...]

Can you point me to any? It might drive some discussion here.

bjkeefe
04-02-2009, 03:11 PM
OK, I was not aware of any sites posting diavlogs (with aspirations of serious discussion) between ordinary people.

[...pause for complaints about AA...]

Can you point me to any? It might drive some discussion here.

Boy, if there was ever a comment that the Comment Nanny would delete for cause of content, this'll be the one. ;^)

Starting points (not all are conversations between two people):

The Atlantic (http://podcasts.theatlantic.com/)

The New Republic (http://www.tnr.com/tnrtv/index.html)

Talking Points Memo: here (http://tpmtv.talkingpointsmemo.com/), here (http://www.youtube.com/user/tpmtv), and especially here (http://tpmtv.talkingpointsmemo.com/tag/tpmtalks)

The Young Turks (http://www.theyoungturks.com/)

Pajamas Media TV: here (http://alicublog.blogspot.com/2009_03_08_archive.html#3876508852128625390) and here (http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=16770)

bookofdisquiet
04-02-2009, 03:25 PM
A couple months ago, I found myself sending an email to bloggingheads.tv asking for my account to be removed from this site. It was a sad and frustrating day for me. I had come to feel that this site, particularly the comments section, became a place for name calling and the creation of an "us v. them" kind of tribalism. Admittedly, I found myself responding to being called a "wing nut" and various other labels by uncharacteristically responding in kind with similarly unpleasant invectives. My arguments became less reasoned and more combative for the sake of being snarky. I began to label and dismiss people without fairness. In short, my interaction with the commentary section turned me into a caricature of myself.

I consider myself a non-partisan pragmatist with a preference for ordered, legal, social change through majority consensus—I am completely malleable in my views if I can be convinced. I thought Bloggingheads would offer me a chance to discuss issues in a rational and polite way. But it seemed the personal attacks and the vitriol degraded my experience and turned me into the same zinger slinging jerk I so loathed. It became easier to lash out than to spend the time and effort writing on this site to fully explain my views and their reasoning’s. The snarkiness made it impossible to agree to disagree and insults seemed the only currency upon which the commentary section was constructed. It seems that once people effectively label you, you can do nothing but argue—as opposed to finding a consensus.

It seems commentary on the internet, as well as the main street media, only works to sharpen our differences and opposing arguments quickly digress into character assassinations. The current state of human existence requires us to invest so much of ourselves into our identities that we are easily exploited by forces that seek to manipulate our actions for profit or otherwise (either knowingly or unknowingly). We now seek news organizations that reinforce our views thereby reinforcing our identities. I think this is dangerous and destructive and may well ultimately lead to the failure of our democratic system of governance.

I would like to see the Apollo project hash out the identities of commentors with discussions of broad issues about governance, economics, and culture.
I think the problem that exists today is that we stop listening to the "other" because we understand little about our common humanity. We see people as their identity or label, and judge their policy prescriptions from that framework instead of trying to understand them. Hence, the oft used strategy of discrediting someone's viewpoint because they are an "other".

I think Apollo could be a vehicle that turns the comment section into a place where ideas can reach consensus, not alienation, where people can treat each other with respect, not denigration.

I would like to participate in this experiment. I have a broad background of experience and will share it if considered.

Thank You,
Greg

Bobby G
04-02-2009, 03:38 PM
This is in response to book and BJ:

1. If this is a disaster, I doubt it will be the kind of disaster that sinks BHTV. Instead, I think it will merely stop attracting videovloggers.

2. It could really increase traffic to BHTV, especially if the best commenters could interact with some of the heads.

3. I think actually talking face to face (or avatar to avatar) with people will lead to a more civil atmosphere.

4. If commenters ever get to back-and-forth with 'heads, there has to be some system for doing it--maybe a way of ranking which amateur diavlogs were the most enlightening, etc.

Simon Willard
04-02-2009, 03:39 PM
Wow. This (http://bloggingheads.tv/forum/showthread.php?p=108962#poststop) is a great post. Sign this man up.

uncle ebeneezer
04-02-2009, 03:41 PM
After reading Brendan and Balt's concerns I tend to agree. Open mic night at the comedy club is usually awful because most people just aren't that funny. The same could be said of commentary. The diavloggers that are regularly on BHTV are here for a reason. Most have excellent knowledge and are well-prepared etc. (for the most part.) So I'd rather BHTV focus on improving the broadness of topics, variety of diavloggers, quality of diavloggers etc.

The other thing to consider is that in many cases (my own as an example) the quality (or lack of) of my comments is at least partly tied to the fact that I'm more or less anonymous and know that I won't subject myself to the same kinds of attacks that say Ezra Klein has to deal with. This is why I'm a BHTV commentor, and not a high-profile blogger. Expanding my "profile" would probably adversely affect my desire to go out on limbs, be provocative, be silly etc., in my comments in the way that is my preferred natural style. And I would suspect that that would be the case for many others as well. Simply put, it's hard to "be yourself" in front of the camera (even with an avatar.)

That said, I'm glad Bob and the crew are continuing to try and find ways to get better. The site's already pretty kick-ass IMNSHO.

cragger
04-02-2009, 04:03 PM
What day was it when this potential project was suggested again? 01 April?

In the event that it was a serious question, I suggest getting some sense of how many commentors think they have enough knowledge of subjects that would be of reasonably wide interest, something interesting to say about those subjects, and the speaking skills and willingness to contribute before expending any resources on the project. I suppose that these need not be diavlogs or debates, one could extrapolate the interview type diavlogs and consider having monovlog/lectures, although that raises a considerable risk of generating mostly partisan advocacy seeking a legitimizing outlet rather than informative talks and increases the potential problem of moderating the material BHTV accepts to post. Just my .02, but there are enough professional partisan hacks now that amateurs won't add much value.

You need a good idea what the source material you are proposing to post for the world before you can make an informed decision as to whether it is worth bothering with, and how much it might or might not add to the philosophical and/or commercial goals of BHTV.

From the posts upthread, there seems to be some interest in the idea, but nobody has yet stepped up and said they were willing and able to provide any particular content.

bjkeefe
04-02-2009, 04:19 PM
What day was it when this potential project was suggested again? 01 April?

Oh, snap.

Could Bob really be that cruel?

But boy, that would be one hell of an April Fools' joke.

Good thoughts in the rest of your post, assuming he's not.

Francoamerican
04-02-2009, 04:26 PM
.... but there are enough professional partisan hacks now that amateurs won't add much value.

That says it in a nutshell. Although some of the commenters here are well worth reading, amateur partisan hacks would be a disaster, and amateurishness, I am afraid, is what we would get if individual commenters were allowed to set the agenda for discussion. When you consider that the professional hacks, of which there are a certain number on BHTV, are sometimes blithering idiots, I shudder to imagine what we amateurs could contribute.

PS. I don't consider myself a blithering idiot, but I might very well become one on screen.

AemJeff
04-02-2009, 04:36 PM
PS. I don't consider myself a blithering idiot, but I might very well become one on screen.

It's exactly that danger that makes it an interesting proposition.

popcorn_karate
04-02-2009, 07:25 PM
I also think, that in a recession, where the utility and value of companies and policies, etc. are reconsidered, abusing bandwidth with frivolous video is wasteful.

hmmm yeah, wouldn't want to slow down someone's porn download with worthless crap like someone's thoughts.

I agree that this seems unlikely to generate much quality content. but I am OK with train wrecks and spectacles, so if people want to give it a try - go for it. I really don't see much downside.

Baltimoron
04-02-2009, 07:35 PM
hmmm yeah, wouldn't want to slow down someone's porn download with worthless crap like someone's thoughts.

Thank you for demonstrating why I no longer bother to comment.

I'm satisfied my opinion is on the record. I can only add, that if in the future, the Internet is metered and charges for content is itemized, I would probably not pay for video content from this site, but I would more likely pay for audio content. I would also prefer to pay only for discreet topics, not entire diavlogs. If possible, I think written transcripts should be cheaper than video or audio content. I would not pay for the Boards, whether video or not.

Props to booksofdisquiet and bjkeefe for two of the best comments ever on any topic. I do hope bhTV proves me wrong.

pampl
04-02-2009, 08:01 PM
I agree with book's great post. I know that pro pundits can look each other in the face and completely disregard each other, but that's why they get the big bucks. I think it'd be harder for amateurs to avoid taking each other seriously, at least at first.

SkepticDoc
04-02-2009, 08:06 PM
It could be an "Intellectualoid Gong Show"

Starwatcher162536
04-03-2009, 02:49 AM
[...]
Plus, I prefer reading to watching video -- it's much more efficient way of transmitting information, and I can filter and control the pacing far better than a fast-forward button will ever support. It is also usually the case that complex ideas are more clearly articulated when they are written down, rather than spoken extemporaneously.
[...]


That is exactly why I am hesitant about this proposal.

P.S.
Insomnia sucks. At least my random strolls on the internet occasionally turn up gems like this: http://www.xkcd.com/182/

bjkeefe
04-03-2009, 06:19 AM
P.S.
Insomnia sucks. At least my random strolls on the internet occasionally turn up gems like this: http://www.xkcd.com/182/

LOL! That was so good it was worth losing sleep to see.

testostyrannical
04-05-2009, 02:23 AM
I'm not sure what the point is. I suspect, however, that Bob is more interested in constructing sophisticated virtual communities than airing political debates. I do not think it is coincidental that this initiative follows on the heels of Ann Althouse's engagement. If this is the case, the rhetorical performance of the participants may not be that important.

claymisher
04-05-2009, 02:34 AM
I'm not sure what the point is. I suspect, however, that Bob is more interested in constructing sophisticated virtual communities than airing political debates. I do not think it is coincidental that this initiative follows on the heels of Ann Althouse's engagement. If this is the case, the rhetorical performance of the participants may not be that important.

That is very wise indeed.

Lemon Sorbet
04-08-2009, 06:01 PM
I'm doubtful about this. For one, I think a LARGE contingent of BH audience are actually bloggers, well known or not, who do not want their identities revealed so I suspect that automatically rules out a vast number. But I think that even the the non-blogger commentor values their privacy for a myriad of reasons - maybe they don't want things on record for fear of future career, or in my case, I am extremely careful with privacy as a result of an unsettling experience with a semi-stalker a while back. I haven't even registered on Facebook because of this gnawing discomfort despite their privacy controls. I think you can probably find someone amongst this group who is willing to do it but the pool of candidates will be pretty small IMO.

Lemon Sorbet
04-08-2009, 09:15 PM
oops, I just read the thing about avatars. Ok, then, disregard my previous opinion on this. My new opinion:

Avatar to avatar? I don't know...it seems like we don't need to go there. But AemJeff, if you want to do it I think you would be a great candidate!!

AemJeff
04-08-2009, 11:11 PM
oops, I just read the thing about avatars. Ok, then, disregard my previous opinion on this. My new opinion:

Avatar to avatar? I don't know...it seems like we don't need to go there. But AemJeff, if you want to do it I think you would be a great candidate!!

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Lemon. I should say that I haven't convinced myself that it would be a good idea.

Baltimoron
04-09-2009, 12:41 AM
If it's only going to be avatar to avatar, why even bother with video? Will the avatars dance around? Strip naked? Flash obscenities? That just sounds like the lamest waste of bandwidth imaginable! Audio can still accommodate bh's signature person-to-person format. That's really what bh offers - live combat! It's not video in itself. It's the chance to watch two people square off on a browser. But so often, for whatever reasons - the interlocutors, what I'm doing on the internet or in the house or office - I don't even watch!

So, in my most optimistic, booksofdisquiet mood, I would recommend audio only for the interlocutors - as in a special .mp3 button appended to a diavlog - unless both are absolutely committed to a video performance. I still want bh to improve its product more than I prefer this notion. But, I definitely don't want to watch avatars!

SkepticDoc
04-09-2009, 07:52 AM
In "real world" dialogs there is a significant non-verbal communication.

In the diavlogs, the participants only listen to each other, so the non-verbal response is to the spoken word. the video part may be just visual gratification for the TV generation.

I bet that an oral dialog podcast is a lot less expensive with equal content value.

nautirony
04-12-2009, 01:38 PM
Bob, I have been a fan of bhtv for a few years now though I rarely post in the forums. The concerns of bjkeefe and other curmudgeon are right on the money with respect to...money. What will be the cost of implementing this? I would like to see, for example, more academic types (from philosophers to technologists) and foreign faces (from Canada and England to Israel and India) at least as occasional interviewees. If you could do something about it, would the Apollo idea affect such attempts via ooportunity cost?

Also, a couple of suggestions. Have you thought about approaching non-obvious candidates for bheads like writers (of fiction) or artists who could be passionate and, hopefully, knowledgeable about a subject? For example, Matt has been talking about the Sri Lankan issue in the UN diavlogs for a few weeks. How about interviewing some well-known member of the Sri Lankan diaspora like Michael Ondaatje (or even, um, M.I.A. if you want more hits and controversial soundbites)?

Also, would it be possible to have inserts in the video? When diavloggers are discussing something related to widely available audio or video, if it is _very short_, can you insert it directly into the video? You can also use it to, for example, add relevant images (a graph illustrating a particular statistics or a photo of your dog) when appropriate. If that would be too intrusive or time-consuming to implement, how about 'pop-up links' that points to what the diavloggers are talking about. I think youtube allows you to do that for a while now.

popcorn_karate
04-16-2009, 01:03 PM
Thank you for demonstrating why I no longer bother to comment.


if only that were true, moron.

Baltimoron
04-16-2009, 06:39 PM
...if only that were true, moron.

Is that supposed to be an attempt at wit? Why can't you just express your exact opinion? I don't comment as often as others who have been a part of the bh community as long as I have. And, it's comments like yours that cause me to reconsider every time I do feel the masochistic urge to participate.

Now, what exactly is your beef?

popcorn_karate
04-16-2009, 07:15 PM
you're the one starting a beef.

you said posting videos will take up valuable bandwidth with repercussions to the economy.

I pointed out that that is silly because these videos will never take up even .00001% of the bandwidth taken up by truly useless crap like porn, so it does not seem like a valid concern. (expressed in a snarky way, admittedly)

you then stated that comments like mine are why you don't post.

your statement was an insult that never addressed what i said, and happened to be a lie.

now, as to "what i truly think" - it is that you made a ridiculous argument, i pointed that out, and you descended in to a little hissy fit. I honestly thought you might defend your idea instead being a cry baby. live and learn.

Baltimoron
04-16-2009, 08:01 PM
WTF are you arguing? Porn? Did I miss a new bh feature? The question doesn't the Internet as a whole, but bhTv itself. I would like bhTv to remain free, but I doubt it will, as I doubt most of the business on the Internet will continue providing free content. I argued I would not pay for video, but i would pay for audio podcasts, Financing just the diavlogs will be a challenge, but clogging the peipes with video comments is frivolous. And, in a situation like mine where my bandwidth is constrained by living on a island in a country with pa few pipes already straning to provide broadband, I don't want to receive video and risk freezing my connection. Or, have to pay more for more bandwidth. Even if the future doesn't have this economy in store for us, I still think it's prudent to conserve bandwidth. It's like water: charging for scarce resources is good for conservation.

You sound just my bosses who encourage me to take the company car and snicker that I take the monthly transportation allowance and walk or take buses and subways. You free-ride on a bad model, and then you criticize others for not sharing your addiction. At least my bosses a getting a kickback for every car issued. What are you getting for you advocacy?

popcorn_karate
04-17-2009, 11:35 AM
WTF are you arguing? Porn? Did I miss a new bh feature? The question doesn't the Internet as a whole, but bhTv itself.

the pipes that carry bhtv also carry everything else on the internet. saying that more videos from bhtv will clog up those pipes is ridiculous when you look at the volume of information flowing through those pipes. and a lot of that info is....porn! and other useless junk. so i can not see any reason to be concerned about it.

I would like bhTv to remain free, but I doubt it will, as I doubt most of the business on the Internet will continue providing free content.

I think you are completely wrong. but if it things change radically then it will certainly impact many business models. until then, confining yourself in the present to constraints that might happen in the future sounds like one of the stupidest ways you could ever run a business.


I don't want to receive video and risk freezing my connection. Or, have to pay more for more bandwidth.

I don't think anyone will force you to view video comments if they are available on bhtv, so why force your point of view on others. let other people do what they want and you do what you want.


Even if the future doesn't have this economy in store for us, I still think it's prudent to conserve bandwidth.

BHtv would have to be run by imbeciles to constrain themselves with your "prudence" when none of their competitors are so constrained.


It's like water: charging for scarce resources is good for conservation.

I think it is wise for society to have a public utility approach to water and sewage. that way poor people don't die of dehydration and sewage is dealt with so disease doesn't ravage the population. the overall cost to society is probably less by making water and sanitation cheap as possible for everyone.


and the rest of what you said was a bunch of weird ranting about your life and your boss, none of which has any relationship to what is or is not a good idea for bhtv.

Baltimoron
04-17-2009, 05:14 PM
Shorter version:

Gimme, gimme gimme...I hope they keep giving it to me even if I didn't ask for it!

Rest assured, I won't watch the comments! or, the content, if it's quality continues to spiral downward. There is no lack of quality material to read in this world. It's just rarely on these Boards!

As for ranting, I think you should work here. DSME would like your undiscriminating attitude!

popcorn_karate
04-17-2009, 05:22 PM
wow.

you really are just a prissy old loon aren't you?

now please live up to your threats and go away.

Baltimoron
04-17-2009, 06:35 PM
And, you are the rotting cream of the American culture - spoiled, self-righteous, wasteful, and myopic!

I'll watch what I want and comment when I want, but I won't pay for what I don't want, even if you think I should! And, here I was defending Americans as not being censorious or bullying! My, you're so American! If you're "normal", then I'll be loony. I'd rather be crazy than be your kind of American!

popcorn_karate
04-21-2009, 06:16 PM
this is some of the funniest shit ever.

i'm pretty sure we actually agree on most things, yet you are just intent on heaping a big mound of bullshit, that exists only in your own mind, on me.

oh well, hopefully you will try to engage what i actually say sometime instead of whatever straw man you are fighting.

bjkeefe
04-26-2009, 09:47 PM
Awfully self-referential of you, kidley.

Now run along and go delete some more of your earlier posts, crawl back into your jammies, and hope no one ever sees through your online pseudonym.

If there is anyone on this board who epitomizes gutlessness, it is you.

Gratifying isn't it, to learn how little the folks who can't shut up actually have to say on camera. 'Boys', like Arnold Kling, and 'right-wing loons, like Jim Pinkerton, David Frum, and Ann Althouse stand up with Matthew Lee and Bill Scherr to make their claims. Contrast that with the excuses keeping the big mouths incognito and safely under their beds.

Bob would do better to bring Dan Drezner and company's FP blog more closely into the fold. Terrified of being teased over tics; or convinced their tendentious attacks will be unpacked and ridiculed. I'd guess both.

Dust bunnies.

TwinSwords
04-27-2009, 12:17 AM
Awfully self-referential of you, kidley.

Now run along and go delete some more of your earlier posts, crawl back into your jammies, and hope no one ever sees through your online pseudonym.

If there is anyone on this board who epitomizes gutlessness, it is you.

I wonder what happened to Kidneystones to make him such an unhappy person. Week after week, month after month, year after year, his posts consistently convey one thing: he is deeply unhappy, and extremely angry. His life must be a very tough one.

bjkeefe
04-27-2009, 05:00 AM
You just don't have it anymore, kid. Even the wingnuts aren't trying to sell that OMG WHY HASN'T OBAMA FIXED EVERYTHING YET HE'S JUST LIKE BUSH LOL!!!1! swill anymore. Where ya been?

Every day that Obama is my president eases my eight-year-long stomach ache and settles my nerves just a little more, but thanks for your concern.

Nerves are a little frayed, it seems. Torture, rendition, drone attacks on civilians, and handing out cash to Wall Street check-writers is on for another four years, legitimized and defended by the truth-speakers as 'necessary', now that the donkey not the elephant is braying.

I've no sense whether the ditto-heads are stepping up or demanding (again) that others do the heavy lifting for them.

I hope Bob and his wife are explaining to their kids how the man they helped elect is killing civilians and 'enemy combatants' in Afghanistan and Pakistan just like the last President did.

That's change!

Brenda
05-01-2009, 03:37 PM
Thanks, everybody, for the feedback. We're still testing the technical viability of the whole endeavor. If it does go public at some point, we'll be proceeding slowing and with minimal impact on the core BhTV mission.