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  #1  
Old 03-31-2009, 10:57 PM
Brenda Brenda is offline
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Default Apollo Project

Bob described BhTV's Apollo Project in his diavlog with Mickey on March 31. What do you think?
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2009, 04:45 AM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.

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.
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2009, 09:16 AM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2009, 10:42 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
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?
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2009, 10:45 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
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.

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.
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  #6  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:15 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post

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 . . .
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  #7  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:29 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by AemJeff View Post
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?
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  #8  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:37 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by nikkibong View Post
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. :-)
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  #9  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:40 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
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.
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  #10  
Old 04-01-2009, 12:55 PM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
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.
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  #11  
Old 04-01-2009, 04:51 PM
Abu Noor Al-Irlandee Abu Noor Al-Irlandee is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #12  
Old 04-01-2009, 04:57 PM
Bobby G Bobby G is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

I also like this idea.
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  #13  
Old 04-01-2009, 05:18 PM
Jeff Morgan Jeff Morgan is offline
 
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Default Format Idea

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.
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  #14  
Old 04-01-2009, 06:25 PM
very weak internet arguer
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #15  
Old 04-01-2009, 06:38 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby G View Post
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.
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2009, 06:40 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by very weak internet arguer View Post
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.
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  #17  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:03 PM
Bobby G Bobby G is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #18  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:06 PM
nikkibong nikkibong is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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:


Lyle



Wonderment




Kidneystones


and . . .


denillesteve
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  #19  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:13 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby G View Post
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.
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  #20  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:16 PM
Bobby G Bobby G is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinSwords View Post
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.)
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  #21  
Old 04-01-2009, 07:17 PM
TwinSwords TwinSwords is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby G View Post
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.
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  #22  
Old 04-01-2009, 09:38 PM
John M John M is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
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!
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  #23  
Old 04-02-2009, 02:36 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Waste of Staff and Resources

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!

Last edited by Baltimoron; 04-02-2009 at 04:01 AM..
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  #24  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:12 AM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #25  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:29 AM
kiwimel kiwimel is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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!
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  #26  
Old 04-02-2009, 09:57 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda View Post
Bob described BhTV's Apollo Project in his diavlog with Mickey 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.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
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 who mysteriously keep getting slots, 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 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.

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.
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Last edited by bjkeefe; 04-02-2009 at 10:07 AM.. Reason: typo + a few more words
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  #27  
Old 04-02-2009, 10:29 AM
Baltimoron Baltimoron is offline
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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!
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  #28  
Old 04-02-2009, 11:44 AM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Baltimoron View Post
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.
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  #29  
Old 04-02-2009, 11:52 AM
AemJeff AemJeff is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.

Quote:
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.
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  #30  
Old 04-02-2009, 11:54 AM
graz graz is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.

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.

Last edited by graz; 04-02-2009 at 11:57 AM..
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  #31  
Old 04-02-2009, 12:59 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

No thank you. I'm too smart to turn on the camera. ;-)
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  #32  
Old 04-02-2009, 01:23 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

I'm more in favor than my snarky post 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.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 04-02-2009 at 01:30 PM..
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  #33  
Old 04-02-2009, 01:50 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
[...]
Mostly very good points. Two quibbles:

Quote:
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.

Quote:
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.
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  #34  
Old 04-02-2009, 03:33 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by bjkeefe View Post
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.
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  #35  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:11 PM
bjkeefe bjkeefe is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Simon Willard View Post
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

The New Republic

Talking Points Memo: here, here, and especially here

The Young Turks

Pajamas Media TV: here and here
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  #36  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:25 PM
bookofdisquiet bookofdisquiet is offline
 
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Default I'll do it.

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
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  #37  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:38 PM
Bobby G Bobby G is offline
 
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Default Re: I'll do it.

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.
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  #38  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:39 PM
Simon Willard Simon Willard is offline
 
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Default Re: I'll do it.

Wow. This is a great post. Sign this man up.

Last edited by Simon Willard; 04-02-2009 at 04:45 PM..
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  #39  
Old 04-02-2009, 04:41 PM
uncle ebeneezer uncle ebeneezer is offline
 
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Posts: 3,332
Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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  #40  
Old 04-02-2009, 05:03 PM
cragger cragger is offline
 
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Default Re: Apollo Project

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.
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