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November 16, 2003

Posted by Teresa at 12:44 AM *

Four days, nothing new?
Technorati must be down.
Must be. Has to be.

Comments on Egoscanning:
#1 ::: Glenn Hauman ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 01:32 AM:

Teresa, my dear;
Technorati shows some links
but not every one.

#2 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 02:22 AM:

Glenn: I bow oh
how very discreetly to
your haiku display.


#3 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 02:54 AM:

I posted a link
to your rant on Saturday
of men and pinkies

#4 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 02:58 AM:

The reference passed
and the newbie did not grok
Technorati, what?

#5 ::: catie murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 03:27 AM:

Scott: Technorati
dot com: ego boo for fragile
blogger vanity

#6 ::: Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 03:56 AM:

In a comment at
Die Puny Humans, we find
some enlightenment:

#7 ::: adamsj ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 08:52 AM:

Technorati claims
that I link to no one in
their database--damn!

#8 ::: Elric ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 09:07 AM:

Theresa, old chum,
You are the "must read" for all,
No matter the count.

#9 ::: foo ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 10:36 AM:

I linked yesterday!
Technorati must hate me
(Or I did it wrong)

#10 ::: foo ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 10:43 AM:

Besides, don't you think
it's better to have none than
w00die and pe@ches

#11 ::: Alan Bostick ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 12:12 PM:

Teresa wants her egoboo right now,
But how much did she pay for it so far?
The Technorati server is awash
In pings from eager bloggers like herself.
The blogosphere is growing far too fast
For gratis services to track that growth.
How many cosmos do I have? Who cares
if I'm a slimy mollusc or a flipp'ry fish?
I'm having fun by posting what I write
On my own server. Egoboo is nice;
The thing that matters more, though is the fact
That I adore the sound of my own voice.

#12 ::: Jaquandor ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 12:18 PM:

There once was a blogger named Bostick
Whose verse seems a tad bit acerbic.
Says he: "Blogging's its own reward",
But I fear such will not strike a cord,
And he'll be off to stalk Barry Bostwick.

#13 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 02:52 PM:

There once was a blogger named Bostick
whose comments were subtle but caustic;
by using karate
upon technorati
his blogging's now linkage agnostic.

#14 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 02:55 PM:

I have but two links:
just one from the farmer, alas
and one from myself

#15 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 03:10 PM:

In Households Conjugal

Dear editor known as Theresa
please let me now give you a piece o'
advice: ego-google
is selfish but frugal
and saves you on PayPal and Visa

#16 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 03:35 PM:

I'm a bit puzzled by the imputation, found in some of the comments above, that there's something discreditable or unpleasantly self-centered about wanting to know what people are thinking and saying about--or in response to--the stuff one writes.

I bring this up because I've gotten snickery neener-neeners myself, when I've alluded to using Google Alert or Technorati to track responses to Electrolite.

Maybe I'm totally off base, but it seems to me quite reasonable to want to know about public reactions to one's own writing. Indeed, to my mind, someone who wants to know what the rest of the world is thinking is definitely preferable to another type found in abundance online, the person for whom others aren't really real.

Now everyone can hasten explain that they didn't mean it that way, or I'm misreading, and all the other predictable online gambits. But whether anyone admits it or not, that imputation is in fact present in several of these comments, and it's wrong.

#17 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 06:49 PM:

Dear Patrick,

I certainly "didn't mean it that way." I eagerly analyze my web statistics, and pay careful attention to what my readers email me, and thus my domain, in its 8th year, achieves over 1,000,000 hits per month. I experiment, and see what works. "The customer is always right."

Many times my readers have suggested a feature, and I've added it. That feeback, that interactivity, characterizes the old-fashioned web. You know more than I about running a blog, but I'm sure that the same principle applies.

My co-author Richard Feynman published an autobiographical book called "What do you care what other people think?" but, though he won a Nobel Prize in Physics, his equations do not apply to adjusting your presentation on the Web.

I presume that, besides being a brilliant editor in touch with brilliant authors, your editorial and anthological prowess is augmented by paying attention to some things that the critics have said of your work. Maybe I mis-spoke in the effort to make a limerick work, and force a rhyme. Please keep up the good work.

#18 ::: Ms. Jen ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 07:51 PM:

I bow deeply down
to poets greater than I.
Deeply awed am I.

(p.s. I didn't even realize that Theresa used the haiku form until the commenters did the same. I just thought it was just a very pared down post.)

#19 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 08:17 PM:

Jonathan, I wasn't actually thinking of you, but thanks for the self-parody anyway.

#20 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 09:00 PM:

Y'know, in my first draft of that post, the title referred to Technorati-watching as a ridiculous obsession. No good, though; it's graceless to have a title half the length of the posted haiku. I changed the title, referring to it as a vanity instead; but that still seemed top-heavy, so I decided to just go with "egoscanning": a fine old fannish term for the practice of flipping through newly-arrived fanzines to see if you're mentioned. Like so much fanspeak, it has distinct overtones of self-mockery.

Scott, Technorati is a site that keeps track of which weblogs have linked to yours. That's fairly benign. What makes Technorati a vice is the fact that it keeps track of how many weblogs total link to you; and when it tells you that some other weblog has linked to you, it tells you how many weblogs total link to them. Camping on Technorati, waiting to see who's linked to you, is the weblogger equivalent of authors who camp on Amazon or, checking the sales ranks of their books.

I went to a gathering of webloggers a while back. When a fellow weblogger told me about yet another weblog rating site, one I'd never visited, the first words out of my mouth were "What? Another vice? Do I want to know about this?"

#21 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 09:41 PM:

Google alert?

(I have so few vices left)

#22 ::: catie murphy ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 09:45 PM:

Huh. I didn't read (or mean) any of the responses as persnikity (except what's his face who garnered the limerick responses). I mean, don't we all do vanity searches?

*pauses, considering the possibility that there are people who /don't/ do vanity searches, and then bumbles off, stunned* :)

#23 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 10:03 PM:

I actually learned about Technorati from this site and have checked it often to see my stats. I'm still relatively new to the blogosphere and so it's a thrill, especially the first time when I discovered that in fact someone had linked to my site. It's nice to know, gives a boost of confidence to my writing to know, concretely that at least someone is reading my stuff.

#24 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 11:37 PM:

Technorati is yet another amazing toy I had absolutely no clue about. Fortunately, I have no guilty feelings whatsoever about this sort of vanity dorkage. Danke, Teresa.

Newbie writer sighs
Three hundred link to T's blog
and three link to his

Catie: I love vanity searches. According to Google, I'm a real-estate agent, a race-car driver, a doctor of surgery, a recent convert to Islam, a former vice-president at Sierra Interactive, a playwright, and a minor pro hockey player.

#25 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 11:39 PM:

Technorati says
I have but one inbound link;
I know there are two.
Katherine Cramer's the other.
Why can't they see her?
I demand credit for my
Wide-flung readership!
My sphere of influence is
Cruelly bisected!

#26 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 16, 2003, 11:40 PM:

I did a google search on my name once. I got some VERY strange things. Mostly not about me, since my name is not uncommon, alas. (No, I'm not the one who wrote a Star Trek TNG episode!)

I also found that a piece of my mystical writing was all over the web, in corrupted copies. That was more annoying than gratifying.

#27 ::: Dori ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 12:55 AM:

Well, there's an obvious answer to this one: if you can't find out from Technorati who's linking to your blog, then I'll just have to tell you in your comments that we do (click on "Whata0wea0reada0anda0recommend").

I always look at who Technorati says links to us, but I also take it with a grain of salt because it says that we only link to seven sites (last I checked) even though there's a few dozen on our blogroll. I'm guessing that it may be a Blogrolling-related issue.

#28 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 04:09 AM:

Reading through Making Light
Teresa asks for help
wishing she heard more from

We're adding more servers
to help one find websites
linked back to thee

adding nine thousand to
one point two million
every day

Improves your chances of
getting that egoboo.
New infra structure will
keep you au fait

#29 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 08:11 AM:

If I understand correctly, Technorati tells you how many other websites link to your own.

Fine and good. But those are simply raw numbers. And I would think that the true test of a blog's popularity and worthiness lies in receiving intelligent, lengthy and (perhaps) numerous comments from its readers.

In that regard, Patrick and Teresa are doing extraordinarily well.

(Not *koff* having an ego, I don't have to worry about egoscanning. Not being a blogger, I don't have to concern myself with links.) (Although I have been mulling over the idea of reviving UNDULANT FEVER as a blog. Another time sink; just what I need....)

#30 ::: Bruce Arthurs ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 08:13 AM:

And I should have written that post as rhymed couplets. Dang.

#31 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 10:13 AM:

Kevin, I love Technorati for helping me see reader responses. I don't need it for the status check, but I'm a writer and therefore by nature insecure, so I'm not as good as I should be at ignoring what Technorati calls "blog authority". (It's that feature that makes me suspect that checking Technorati too often qualifies as a near occasion of sin.) Fortunately, getting linked-to by Neil Gaiman or BoingBoing or Eschaton puts it all back into perspective.

I'm always a little amazed that Technorati works at all, given the stats in its upper-left-hand corner. As of this moment:

1,230,035 weblogs watched
60,710,834 active links.
101,890,870 links tracked

Bruce, it says right there at the top of my page that my readers are the best thing about this weblog.

#32 ::: BSD ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 12:26 PM:

search by
links to

mind of god


#33 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 01:23 PM:

Hmm. Up to now I've always used Google to see what and where my two book titles or anything about them have showed up on the web.

I'll have to give Technorati a try...


#34 ::: Dan Layman-Kennedy ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 02:31 PM:

Hell, I'd egoscan
If anyone read my blog
'Cept just my dork friends

#35 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 04:49 PM:

Technorati's back:
it now shows fresh links for me.
Self-esteem renewed.

#36 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 05:38 PM:

Bruce, Technorati shows the links with context around them, and is (usually) updated very frequently, so you see fresh comments together, and can click through to the ones that are more than just links.

'Blog Authority' is incoming link count - it's not holy writ. Even BoingBoing has under 3,000 of these, out of 1.2 million blogs.

As comment spam eats away at the utility of comment tools like this, comments on anotehr blog may be more resilient.

#37 ::: Arthur D. Hlavaty ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 05:54 PM:

I cast no first stones; I was egoscanning when the Web was a scientifictional dream.

#38 ::: language hat ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 06:33 PM:

...when the Web was a scientifictional dream.

Ralph 4CR looked around in astonishment. "You mean... there are invisible beams all around us, carrying information to all parts of the globe, even as we speak?"

The Master of Communications turned towards him solemnly. "Yes," he asseverated, "and the information is not carried whole, but is broken up into a myriad of infinitesimal packets, to be reassembled without fail when they reach their destination."

"You astonish me," breathed Ralph. "And this information is accessible to all?"

"It is," nodded the Master. "The issues of the day are debated by all citizens, no matter where they may be located, and communication no longer waits on tides or weather."

"And what are the great issues so decided?"

The Master cast a glance at the poll on his screen: Which Jedi Knight Are You? He looked severe. "I fear our issues would mean nothing to you across the great gulf of time you have traversed. You should go now and refresh yourself. We will speak later. You have much to learn. Vanna, show our young guest to his room."

A lissome blonde appeared from behind a curtain and beckoned...

#39 ::: Scott Lynch ::: (view all by) ::: November 17, 2003, 08:15 PM:

L.H., you magnificent bastard, you're lucky I've evolved the reflex of spitting my soda just to the left of my keyboard when I start laughing like a gut-shot hyaena in a nitrous oxide factory.

Or perhaps I should say that I'm lucky.

#40 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 03:58 PM:

In defence of the stone throwers.

I love this blog, and electrolite as well. I check them often, but self-righteousness and hypocrisy are my two favorite traits. (In myself, of course. In other people they are unforgivable)

I personally would only mock someones stat check immediately after being flush with pride or shame directly after a check on my own site stats.

#41 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 04:06 PM:

I recall the most interesting result of doing a search on my name, someone was using it as a sig in a yahoo-group.

I didn't mind (I was sort of flattered) but I was curious as to how he had come by it.

Sadly he did not respond to my query, so I shall, probably, never know.

But that is probably the nicest piece of ego-boo I've ever enjoyed.

Terry K.

#42 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 04:24 PM:

I did a search on my name and discovered I was an enemy of the Catholic church because of an article I wrote in which I confessed my sins to five different churches. I listed where to get the easiest penance. I was titillated and horrified (my favorite combination) to be declared an anti-Catholic person. I really am not anti-Catholic, for the record.

#43 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 04:56 PM:

Did you actually write the article, or was it just a person of the same name?

And I think there's a difference between being "an enemy of the Catholic Church" and being anti-Catholic. The latter implies prejudice against people of that religion. There are people who are Catholic by religion who are quite against the Church itself.

I don't think I'm anti-Catholic in the sense above. But I'm definitely an enemy of the Church, which has declared itself to be my enemy.

#44 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 05:00 PM:

Yes, I wrote it. I exaggerated the accusation a bit. Here's what they said about me:

The premier issue of a new magazine, Notorious, features an article by Sean Bosker that describes his experience of "going to confession" at four New York-area Catholic Churches. In his piece, "I Confess: Gettin92 Off Easy," Bosker instructs non-Catholics how to engage in a mock confession. Himself a non-Catholic, Bosker details what it was like for him to confess to various sins97all of which involved sex97and then receive "penance" for his transgressions. He advises readers to "Remember that priests are probably as grateful for some discussion of T and A in the afternoon as anyone."

Bosker "went to confession" at New York92s St. Brigid92s and St. Patrick92s Cathedral, as well as Blessed Sacrament in Staten Island and Our Lady of Sorrows in New Jersey.

William Donohue had a few words to say about this issue:

"David Anthony, the publisher of Notorious, says that his magazine was conceived as a cross between GQ and Playboy on the one hand, and Cosmopolitan and Vogue on the other. He failed: it is more like a cross between the Star and a Jack Chick publication.

"What Bosker did puts the lie to the notion that there is a strong inverse relationship between education and prejudice. While it is true that those with high degrees of formal education tend to be less racist and less anti-Semitic than others, history shows that when anti-Catholicism is measured, those who are the doyens of the culture tend also to be the most bigoted. Notorious is only the latest expression of that verity, demonstrating once again why anti-Catholicism has been labeled 91the last respectable bias.92"

#45 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 06:12 PM:

Hmm. It sounds like they're accusing you of the prejudice form, and like they can't make the distinction I made upthread.

I don't see why anything you did justifies their accusation. Certainly you were disrespectful of the Sacrament of Penance. But those churches are open to the public, and they don't have the right to expect everyone who walks into them to be Catholic, or behave as a Catholic would.

There was one point where I wanted, for reasons involving a fictional treatment I was working on, to find out what an RC priest does when he receives a confession of things that he outright does not believe are possible. I ultimately rejected the idea of making false confessions, because I did not wish to be disrespectful. But 'disrespectful' is not the same as 'a bigot'.

#46 ::: LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 08:38 PM:

Sean, you wicked man! But we love you anyway.

In truth, it seems like very much a thing a writer would do.

I don't think non-writers appreciate just how ever-present the wicked, observant little homunculus is that perches on the writer's shoulder, and needs the answers to questions just like that....


#47 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: November 18, 2003, 08:48 PM:

Big Bill Donahue doesn't need much to decide you're anti-catholic. Early on in the pedophilia scandal he decided that the problem was gay priests, so he went ballistic when people referred to the priests involved as pedophiles and not homosexuals and announced that anyone who would make such a dreadful allegation, that there were straight predators in the church, must be anti-catholic.

He's big on demanding that pro-choice catholic politicians resign. Pro-death penalty, not so much. Anti-living wage and human dignity - what are you, a catholic hater?

(and for the record, insofar as I'm anything, I'm catholic)

#48 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 07:26 AM:

Indeed, the Catholic Church contains plenty of people who take a dim view of zillionaire right-wing provocateur William Donahue. I'm sure that in his view, they're all "anti-Catholic" too.

#49 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 07:44 AM:


Just out of curiosity, is there any particular reason you just didn't ask a priest what they would do in such a situation?

#50 ::: Sean Bosker ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 10:01 AM:

I didn't know any priests, and when I wrote the story, I was curious about what different types of reactions I'd get by priests, on the job. All of the sins I confessed were sexual in nature, masturbation, gay sex, use of birth control. The variety of responses was very interesting. The idea of the piece was to be irreverant and to poke some fun at the idea that various sexual preactices could be viewed as wrong. It was by no means hard journalism. And, to be honest, I did feel like a jerk for misrepresenting myself to those priests.

I can understand why some people would consider what I did to be anti-Catholic, although I'm not anti-Catholic, I just disagree with some church views on some issues.

#51 ::: Sean ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 10:06 AM:

To give you an idea of the tone of the piece, it opened with a line from John Waters:

Every morning I thank God I'm a Catholic because it makes sex so dirty.

#52 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 11:22 AM:


Guess it's just different ways of thinking. I don't see that as anti-Catholic, just impolite.

My all time favorite 'Fresh Air with Terry Gross' interview was with John Waters. The one where he said, "The new drugs sound horrible to me. Who would want to take ecstasy and love everybody? Sounds like hell to me."

#53 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 04:27 PM:

Michelle, for two reasons: one, I didn't actually know any RC priests; and two, I wanted to know what they'd DO - not what they'd tell a fiction writer they'd do.

Even if they wouldn't intentionally lie (and I'm willing to believe they wouldn't), their response might be different than they'd expect.

#54 ::: Michelle ::: (view all by) ::: November 19, 2003, 10:03 PM:


Now I am curious to know whether they cover things like that in the seminary, and whether a priest would, in fact, be prepared to deal with such a situation.

I'd bet the Jesuits and the Paulists might be, since I think they're the most predominant on college campuses.

#55 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: November 20, 2003, 03:10 PM:

I gave up the project. The story didn't really work, anyway, even without the confession bits.

#56 ::: Christopher ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 02:05 PM:

Is Technorati down again? Seems like it's been several days since the last update.

#57 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 04:09 PM:

For the shy egoscanner, one can always scan for one's teachers, co-authors, ex-significant-others, and the like. I just found that one of my Acting teachers had died; a well-known mime and clown who was active in the earlier more free-form Renaissance Pleasure faires, before they disneyized to keep sex, drugs, and strip-Tarot away from the family-valued mainstream/mundane paying audience. His name was Jack Albee, and I got two pages of Google hits on him, free spirit that he was.

For an example of this second-order egoscanning, I just yesterday put on the web:

"My Teachers' Teachers' Teachers"

Anyone else out there in the chain of descent from Einstein, Ezra Pound, Andres Segovia, and Sarah Bernhardt? This is Friendster with a time machine...

#58 ::: Jeremy Leader ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 06:03 PM:

Jonathon, I assume you've seen the Mathematics Genealogy Project at

Unfortunately, it's strictly limited to graphing the PhD advisor/candidate relationship among mathematicians, and so not terribly useful for the sort of thing you're doing, but it's still interesting to pick a mathematician and follow their genealogy back through various pioneers of the field.

#59 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: January 19, 2004, 06:21 PM:

Jeremy Leader:

Thanks for the reminder on Mathematics Genealogy Project at

I'd bookmarked and forgotten!

I do know how my Erdos Number is 5, though.

#60 ::: Julia Jones finds comment spam ::: (view all by) ::: August 11, 2004, 01:39 PM:

oh look, it's a meds spammer...

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