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Oops! What am I still doing here?

by Frank Schnittger Tue Nov 28th, 2017 at 12:42:33 PM EST

It is now ten years to the day that I published my first diary here, entitled "OOPS what am I doing here?". In it I asked:

Are we all frustrated journalists here, failed academics, or seers whose genius the world just plain refuses to recognize?

Or is this just that wonderful human institution, an Irish pub without any beer, but where everybody gabs just for the sheer fun of it?

Every newcomer wonders how and where they will "fit in", and whether they would be better off going elsewhere.  Just what is your unique selling point?

The "about us" tab gives very little of the history of this blog - who are the distinguished contributors, who are the editors, what have you all achieved in the past other than allowing people to let off some steam?

I don't expect you all to rush off to justify yourselves, particularly to the new kid on the block, but what exactly are your brand values and why should I spend time here rather than elsewhere?

Is it a mutual admiration society, a community learning experience, an opportunity to brag about how much I know on certain topics, a forum to exercise my debating skills or just a nice friendly place to be?


This site seemed to be a lot livelier then, with a lot more contributors, controversy, and even a few on-line spats which went seriously off the rails. But compared to the abuse I got if I wrote on Timesonline on the Palestinian issue, which included physical threats from people who claimed to know where I lived and worked, it was all relatively tame.

Nevertheless I regretted the many contributors who seem to have left because of the abuse they felt they had received. We particularly seem to have lost many of our female contributors and I missed the diversity of thought and belief that many of them had brought to the site. It always seemed to me that we had to choose between being a small cosy club between like-minded people and a much larger, more diverse site with a much larger readership and influence on the real world around us.

My ambition was always to try and create a sort of European DKos, Booman or Huffington Post which could have a real influence on events and represent part of an embryonic European Demos holding EU policy makers to account. Writing for me was always about trying to reach out to a wider audience and engage with them in current events. There are many reasons why these early ambitions failed to materialise:

Firstly, Europe lacks a common language like the USA which means there are always a limited number of people who feel confident enough in their command of English to engage on complex subjects in a nuanced way. Attempts to create a multi-lingual version of the European Tribune foundered on a lack of technical resources and the antiquated nature of the Scoop software which powers this site.

Secondly, some of the founders and major contributors like Jerome a Paris, afew, DoDo, Migeru, Fran, and In Wales moved on in their lives and were never adequately replaced. Iconic subjects which had given the European Tribune a unique selling point - such as Jerome's Windpower and Anglo Disease series, Countdown to $100 oil, Dodo's Train blogging series, 'Bubbles' Greenspan (debt, money & growth), remember him? and various other topics gradually died a death.  Many stories attracted over 300 comments. The passion, hope and despair which had driven their creation seemed to die with them.

Thirdly, the 1,000 word blog seems to have been replaced by the 140 character tweet, Instagram photo, or short, snappy Facebook post. In depth discussion of complex or topical issues seems increasing confined to specialist or academic online forums with minimal participation. Popular disillusion with "politics" seems to be rife. Younger contributors who might have succeeded our founders are more concerned with getting and keeping a job than with debating the finer points of public policy. Work has gotten a lot harder and more time consuming. Leisure time is now required for switching off.

Fourthly, and more particularly, enthusiasm for the European project has waned. The financial crisis only confirmed our analysis and predictions, but the political response was the opposite to what we proposed: austerity rather than Keynesian reflation; narrow beggar-your-neighbour nationalism rather than a concerted European wide solidarity and co-ordinated response. The treatment of Greece seemed the last straw for many. Trump has extinguished all hope of more positive leadership coming from the USA.

Brexit has given the European project a belated second wind, if only through highlighting what the European project has, collectively achieved over the years. But most people have tired of UK exceptionalism and can barely wait to wave goodbye. Actual evidence of the EU learning some lessons and implementing more enlightened policies going forward is scant. The EU has become a technical exercise in banking regulation, minor monetary policy adjustments, and keeping refugees at bay. Hardly the stuff to inspire a new generation of bloggers.

I have limited my ambitions to trying to keep the front page ticking over in the hope of retaining a core readership and, hopefully, attracting a few new contributors. Nothing looks worse than a front page filled with last weeks news.  Bjinse (whom I have never met), keeps the newsroom in flow and a couple of other active front pagers contribute what they can given other commitments. My attempts to recruit new front pagers haven't succeeded and participation levels seem to be declining although I have never succeeded in obtaining usage statistics.

Having published 425 stories over 10 years I feel the European Tribune has almost exhausted what I can contribute and I need to move on. However I feel it would be a pity to let the European Tribune die. If any of you have any ideas of how to revitalise and renew the site please add them in the comments.

Display:
I had little interest in politics until one, Rt Hon D Cameron, took the risk in standing everything I have believed in for the last 45 years, on its head, (and lost).

I believed that the EU offered an outward-looking joint vision for the divided island that is Ireland amd the divided community that inhabits the north. While one could argue for many hours over the relative contributions of that Eurpoean Vision compared to the grinding efforts of George J Mitchell (and others), it is clear that the loss of that vision could/will undo much that has been achieved since 1999.

In my search for answers for Things European, Google brought me to eurotrib.com. I found a level of erudition and analysis that is not (always) evident in the MSM.

Though I have found little to contribute, I have read almost everything written here and appreciate the experience and contribution of all, particularly the thoughtful entries from yourself Frank, with a length and depth that must take the considerable amount of time you describe.

Please stick with it here until at least 1st April 2019 until we have a clearer idea how this mess will unfold. I nearly said "will resolve" but there is no resolution when UK Gov has gone around for three years insulting those who thought you were friends and partners.

I remember that de Gaulle refused UK entry to the six in the 1960's and Pompidou refused entry in 1971, according to Heath, because he believed the English aim was to destroy the political project. Some have indeed tried to do that for their 45 years of membership.

As to your last request for new ideas, that is way beyond my abilities to recommend, but do be aware there are "lurkers" here too who value what is written.

by oldremainmer48 on Tue Nov 28th, 2017 at 01:39:24 PM EST
ay yai yai, it'salways a bittersweet experience to see those we have lost.

I don't know the answer to your question Frank, I'm sorry. We've been asking it and variations for 5 o6 years at least and answer comes there none. I fear the day we go dark, I will have lost something that I consider a good thing, but I rather think that we have been by-passed. With the exception of dKos, almost all of the major user-driven political blogs have fallen quiet. Runing these things is expensive, the maintenance requires time, contributing requires a bit of knowledge.

Facebook has stolen so much of the thunder, and it's easier to comment, like things, bring ideas in. I'm not an essay writer, I have lots of ideas for things I'd like to say but the process of organising those thoughts into a coherent essay is mostly beyond me. So I don't.

FB is a convenient halfway house between the long form of media and the idiocracy (mostly) of twitter.

I will miss this place but I'm friends with most of you on FB, so we persist in other forms

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Nov 28th, 2017 at 08:28:32 PM EST
It seems to be a lot of people here are very bad at Twitter.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 11:46:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe that is the niche.

Eurotrib - when you are very bad at Twitter!

by fjallstrom on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 12:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find actually using Twitter quite a pain.
And by using I mean even just reading the timeline. Just too many conversations happening at once.
by generic on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 12:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean just look at that:

Very interesting but instead of a link and excerpt like you would get in the old web you get picture as a source.

by generic on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 03:07:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I really only use it to promote content here or as a news feed from a very few trusted sources. I wouldn't dream of having a prolonged conversation there. Facebook is better. I'm a member of a few forums there which provide focused conversation on stuff I am interested in. But you have to keep it short, which for me, as you know, is a struggle!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 01:07:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Concerning the opening three questions in your first diary, yes.  Concerning the rest, I think everyone is rather frazzled, either from hanging on or from scrambling.  2016 was vile, 2017 has been the resulting harvest of toxic waste, and the foreseeable future is more of the same.  One thing I've seen over the decades is that a thing is what it is, and if it tries to be something else, it ends up being nothing.  ET may not be the size it was, but it still has a niche, and I believe it will attract those who discover that Twit, Instaram, and Wastebook are pap that exist to serve the shallow end of the political pool.
by rifek on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 03:20:47 AM EST
I am grateful to you, Frank, for taking on the role y9ou have here at ET. What you have done is far beyond what I ever could have done or have wanted to do. I am also highly appreciative of Colman's efforts to keep the platform running.

Being Irish, you have inevitably brought more coverage of Irish politics and society, which I have thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. I have noticed that ET still really does come alive after important elections and around some crises. But ugly developments are becoming numbingly common and those of us here are hardly immune.

ET wins hands down for posting anything much longer than a paragraph when compared to FB. On those few occasions where I find a serious subject I would like to share it is vastly easier to prepare it on ET and then post it on FB - sometimes with part of the diary broken off into comments under the OP. But I too mourn the loss of our former front pagers.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Nov 29th, 2017 at 04:18:42 PM EST
Successful blogging depends on building an authority brand, eventually. To wit, ET was most successful while the focus on renewable energy (and some financial, transportation accents) were prominent. Booman still has serviceable direction and definite leadership, while ET has no particular distinction anymore. Unfocused community blogging becomes procrastination, especially at these taxing times.

My own inclinations are pretty contrarian even among "rebelious" progressives. I try to be more focused in this way.

by das monde on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 01:30:39 AM EST
I would have thought that Brexit and its implications was a pretty dominant focus for ET at the moment together with some other European topics such as Catalonia and various European elections. The problem is we have too few diarists willing or able to provide expert coverage of a wider range of topics. Even when other topics such as climate change are covered, little discussion/participation takes place.

Booman is pretty exclusively a political blog written from a broadly progressive to mainstream Democratic party perspective. That has the advantage of developing a pretty clear brand identity but also limits participation to political nerds and party animals. I think readers here can legitimately expect coverage of some of the main issues effecting Europe, but they don't always get it because we have too few people actively contributing.

Whilst you may argue that ET no longer has any particular distinction any more, I think the charge of procrastination is unfair. We haven't been slow to take fairly outspoken positions on key issues; the problem is our influence is minimal because so few people are engaged any more.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 02:19:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The market for Brexit analysis is not deep, apparently. Is anyone "making a living" of that?

A good deal of deliberate effort is needed to keep people engaged and to attract new readers. A leisurely manner of blogging is not doing much.

by das monde on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 02:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pleased to find that your search for resources that assist the development your thesis :) continues. That life project, in the context of this thread, evinces the finest quality of internet communication available to those who search. That is curiosity.

"Moral Imagination"
is a phrase that I recently encountered in a long "dead" tv interview transcript, one dated 1990. It occurred in that case casually, without argument. But it provoked me to investigate eurotrib.com "usage statistics," a measure, if you will, of my curiosity? eveyone's curtiousity? apart from the utilities, ascribed by any given speculator of the economic persuasion, to a URL.

Now, that investigation would be trivial for any website administrator with or without the full G-suite; hosting service providers typically supply software, too, in the package of server services. But I am not a eurotrib site administrator. I am owner/administrator of my own domain nearly 15 years now. For me its purpose has always been "secondary contact number", a private number. I don't use it to blog.

I was disappointed to learn hough that Alexa look-up is no longer a public facility. It had been as late as '15 reporting domain "rank" and traffic by minimal "traffic" criteria. Now detail is charged USD 99/mo, but I surmise eurotib.com rank among all is 3 million something or other of nearly 300 million domains and 1.28 billion websites.

Running in the middle --more or less-- of an expanding universe of highly-motivated, opinionated and commercial, independent or corporate franchise, communication exchanges (the "TLD"). How each chooses which number to dial remains something of a mystery, even with statistical descriptions of the relay.

Here, there, and yon are three of those websites reporting bot surveillance of www TLDs.

Is 3,846,034 a sign of the moral failures of the "domain" owner, its administrators, and patrons? I wonder idly as the diverse purposes (reader v. writer, producer v. consumer, sender v. receiver) that value assignment may signify are not well understood.

What woe will befall competitors, when 8 billion or more individuals obtain fully "democratized," unique not shared, IP host assignment in each hand. Such as before they will need to discriminate who, when, why, and where to find the information they seek.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 05:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Long ago ...

When the Pond was still a community!

Froggy Bottom Cafe - Feb. 2015

Martin Longman is an editor and prolific writer for the Washington Monthly. Always had a following when he was at Daily Kos as Booman23. The Booman community too has lost all front pagers and has no ties to international writers or topics. One needs to toe the official Democratic party line ...

by Oui on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 07:33:40 AM EST
As the name suggests, Booman is essentially a one man blog. I hope that doesn't happen to ET. Martin seems to be gradually migrating to a paid position at the Washington Monthly with BT gradually becoming a legacy site or test bed for first drafts of stories.

Trump's victory appears to have had a traumatising effect on the liberal blogosphere in the USA, silencing many and causing others, like Booman, to adopt much more conservative positions. No doubt there are many underground or emergent sites I am not aware of, but somehow it is hard to care any more.

I have written 64 stories on US politics in my time here but none for a year because the US seems almost beyond hope.  Any country that could elect Trump, even with a seriously skewed and flawed electoral system, has some pretty basic problems that can't be papered over by the marginal change of governance a (still somewhat unlikely) Democratic victory in the Mid-terms would imply.

In some ways I am reminded of when I did my Master's thesis on Apartheid, inspired by the many political refugees from South Africa I had met in Ireland and the UK. I never dreamed of visiting South Africa while Apartheid was in force as I would have felt complicit in the system.

Now, if it were not for the many excellent US friends I have got, I would feel the same way about visiting the US.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 11:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having been long-term resident (14 years) in the D.C. tri-state area ("DMV"), I am familiar with Washington Monthly print magazine. I never subscribed to it or Washingtonian magazine or Bethesda magazine. The limited circulation and editorial purview of these titles by and large reflect the parochial interests of affluent "Belt Way" --gov employees, gov contractors, gov consultants, attys and lobbyists-- "permaculture". Enumerated lists, "The x Best Y," are recurring promotional events in print editions. I would hardly look for their electronic product or presume the editorial formula published thereby were any more authoritative than that approved for "Belt Way" consumption. But. Far be it for me to mistake the rewards offered to Booman, legendary progressive blogger, to propound a "more conservative" message are imaginary.

What I find is deep pockets are as persuasive as they are self-serving. Washington Monthly titles are one and the same publisher and funders.

Washington Monthly, print edition
washingtonmonthly.com | About, masthead, board, and funders
The Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 2016

The project is the brainchild of Jeff Hamond, vice president and director of the philanthropy practice at government relations firm Van Scoyoc Associates. Mr. Hamond, who previously served as Senator Charles Schumer's economic-policy director, said that in his experience, Capitol Hill staffers had little exposure to philanthropy, aside from the annual Foundations on the Hill event.
[...]
Fundraising for Nonprofit Journalism

Diane Straus[s], publisher of The Washington Monthly, sees Successes of Philanthropy [washingtonmonthly.com subdomain] "as a way to deepen our relationships with foundations, "some of whom we know, some of whom we don't."

Founded in 1969, the magazine is itself a nonprofit.

philanthropy.washingtonmonthly.com | About, funders

By comparison to the budding conglomerate, what eurotrib.com gives to me, lurkers, and "unique visitor" is reliable points of reference --a personally-selected, volunteer hub-- to current affairs. This modest aspect of "net neutrality" becomes increasingly valuable as barriers to information and communication between people who rely on commercial IP hosting become more complex, more expensive for each subscriber. And they will, definitely.

 

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Dec 1st, 2017 at 02:19:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Upon rereading Frank's initial blog, as well as the scatteringly brilliant comments, i felt both sadness and wonder.

I don't know where it's going from here. I expect serious effort at leaving facecrack for what it is, and moving intelligent discussions to Discourse... as friends of mine are currently attempting...

i'm still a regular lurker here, and would miss the discussions if it were gone. At the least, i hope all of you are following the fallout from the Glyphosat train wreck happening in 'Schland...


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 12:09:05 PM EST
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 01:10:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Comment on a David Aaronovitch column
by Frank Schnittger
Timesonline, 2007-06-02

[David Aaronovitch was one of the participants in the Doha debate; he wrote an online column with some interesting commentary about that debate.

One of the reader comments regarding that column was from one Frank Schnittger. It brings up a very standard pattern that arises whenever Israel is criticized; I know that I personally have had similar experiences when I participated in an online discussion group (Slate's Fray).

What appears below is the relevant part of Mr. Schnittger's comment (emphasis is added).]

Having also been the victim of Zionist abuse (sometimes on this blog) whenever I raise the topic of Palestinian suffering I can empathise with how Norman Finkelstein feels.

Its not that it isn't possible to build a rational case for a number of different points of view, but that, for some reason, a rational debate never even gets started.

The first response from my opponents is always to latch onto the fact I have a German sounding name and label me as a crypto (or not so crypto) Nazi sympathiser.

Personal abuse of the most vile sort invariably follows, and even on moderated blogs such as Timesonline, this is rarely censored, and even some mild retorts on my part have been ruled out of order.

It sometimes seems that any attempt at a rational analysis which uses generalisations about Israel is automatically deemed to be anti-semitic and racist [presumably he means uncomplimentary generalisations], whilst the most vile racist slurs by Zionists are regarded as fair or at least arguable comment.

However it is the ad hominem nature of the responses which is the most saddening, because it means that the argument is never progressed beyond the playground "who's side are you on anyway?" level of debate.

Intro part of my diary @BooMan

by Oui on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 07:28:03 PM EST
Perhas you could confuse then by discussing the spreading of Judeo-Nzazi groups in Israel. Some background:https:/www.haaretz.com/opinion.premium-1.713924
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Nov 30th, 2017 at 07:40:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A follow-up diary ...

Europe: A Brave Judeo-Christian Continent

by Oui on Fri Dec 1st, 2017 at 06:03:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
My reply to your comment @BooMan ...

    "You have a gift for writing in addition to a sound mind of expansive thinking. You are much appreciated Frank ... we must focus on putting new life into the ET blogging community. Narcism and self-interest is so ... contemporary and won't last beyond this decade. The global self-interest is a worthy cause because we all live on this planet Earth, nowhere else to go!"
by Oui on Fri Dec 1st, 2017 at 06:11:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've normally been only a step above a lurker on this stie. Aside from occasionally aggregating links, unsubstantiated and vague commentary, and the occasionally depressive snark I have little to add. I always found the old days of deep and sustained debate fascinating, because I never even tried to read them as anything other than an outsider. I knew better than to dip my toes into the deep part of the pool, and have no interest in getting burned by participating in arguments where people are using unfair online tactics, such as actual evidence, data, relevant personal experience, professional knowledge, etc.

I know my limits, and when it comes down to it, I have very little of interest to say.

by Zwackus on Fri Dec 1st, 2017 at 03:28:08 AM EST
You are too modest.  Most of us can also do modesty, but not so well. Blogging is also about bluffing: spinning a yarn and challenging your readers to find and exploit the holes in your argument - and not being too proud to admit a mistake when found out...

The best story telling is based on a few facts and a lot of imagination.  There are enough "facts" around to support almost any argument, provided you are selective enough. The art of the Irish pub yarn is to start with a few undeniable truisms and get gradually more incredible as the story progresses to see how long you can hold the stage...

It would be utterly boring to write about something you know everything about and have nothing to learn. Far better to write about stuff you know something about and let the commentators fill in the gaps. Blogging is a collective enterprise. A blog comprises not only of the lead story but the collective discussion afterwards which is often the more enlightening.

So think of yourself as an agent provocateur, an enabler, facilitator, initiator and conductor of discussion.  Put yourself out there: Throw up a few facts and opinions and let the melee begin. You know you can do it Zwackus!!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Dec 1st, 2017 at 09:52:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't want to get maudlin on y'all, but this blog has  sailed some stormy seas since its inception until its entry into the doldrums.
At its peak it was phenomenal, just before Captain Windmill Jerome left the bridge.
Some good things last and ET refuses to lay down and die.
There is still much of what made it great, the stalwarts still present and some of the main commenters lurking more than posting, only occasionally popping above the parapet to let us know they're still kicking!
Time and politics have moved beyond polemics and ideology, events move too fast for those antiquated indulgences now.
ET is in idle compared to its heyday partly because of software limitations and energy conservation.
Blogging here was pretty effortless while Tribex made blockquoting a breeze, a few lines of code that made the blog faster and added elegance to boot.
Once Firefox jinxed that, and as FB gathered global steam with its far superior -in most important aspects- software the current took many of us there.
I miss the fiery interchanges, the anarchically eclectic multi-cultural collisions, the photo diaries and the buzz while it was still growing eyes and ears.
Now it feels more like a local pub, providing reassuring continuity in a cyberspace where change is king.
Even in its present state it remains formidable, at its best it was a Treasure Island.
(That occasionally became Lord of the Flies).
I don't miss the intensity of the conflicts and the sometimes ugly exchanges I remember all too well, women gradually gave up on the acrimony and shouting past each other as their voices were in most cases ignored.
As womens' civilising influence waned, certain old (male) hands became ever more self-important, showing up in almost bot-like fashion just to shower sarcasm rather than share news, to be dismissive and alpha rather than inclusive, tempered and welcoming.
Snarky snarling became the soupe du jour.
The whimsical and fey, the playful and multifaceted were driven out by scientistic hubris geeks whose main occupation was belittling what they deemed a priori heretic, or to use a phrase often used as bullying jab 'Not even wrong'.
In short it became a gladiatorial testosterone orgy, with patience and humility in short shrift.
With an ever-accelerating geo-political narrative outlapping the ability to comment cogently on 5 minute-old news, perhaps blogs are just too slow moving animals to compete with continually expanding and evolving behemoths like FB.
This place is quaint and gemütlich, I salute the regulars and thank them all for leading ET out of the sexist shoals it foundered in for a while.
No fur flying, no blood on the walls, no snide digs, it remains quirkily informative and has lost all of its chief dissension instigators and group think bullies.
Perhaps ET has heydays ahead, perhaps not. I wouldn't bet on either outcome.
Either way it's still unique and I always learn something here.
I can't always say the same about FB!  

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 04:25:47 AM EST
I'm quite fond of that word.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 05:13:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A conflict among progressives is more like herding cats than a testosterone brawl, no? We are egalitarian, but know better than others. And it does not really end :-)
by das monde on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 11:20:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That lovely comment reminded me of all that was (and still is) good about ET....and of course also the occasional incredible (testosterone-fuelled for sure) pie-fight.

I found ET to be a fantastic crucible for creating and testing concepts and ideas - often to destruction. Also a fount of knowledge and wisdom.

It was also great to put faces to the names in Paris or occasionally elsewhere bilaterally. I have made many connections I value greatly and can still call upon to this day for an opinion, advice or forensic dissection.

Finally,ET remains to this day a forum on which I may still publish a speculative piece which I might not get published elsewhere. I actually have one in mind that has been brewing for a while on the oil market (what else?).

So don't give up quite yet, Frank...there's life in the old dog yet, I think.

NB: It would be interesting to see a Green Giraffe diary from JG himself, for whose remarkable efforts in the stormy seas of off-shore wind I have the greatest respect.

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 03:39:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, there. You have often been in my thoughts. Sometimes in my comments off-eurotrib, as the need has arisen these many years.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 03:52:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Facebook killed the community blog. It's too easy to share news items, too easy to comment. And once ET developed into a community through meet up it was only natural that the core ETes would become linked through FB and drift to interacting there. It's just too convenient.
Are we all frustrated journalists here, failed academics, or seers whose genius the world just plain refuses to recognize?
I guess I am a bit of the three. And for the last 2 to 5 years I have been making a living off it, too, so I have had less and less time to blog on ET, so I apologise.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 04:35:58 PM EST
Thanks for the time you do spend here! In general I find Facebook good for socialising, keeping up with friends and family, and linking to good stuff. I've only occasionally done serious blogging there, and that usually only on specialist forums for things like rugby etc. I should get out more and visit more serious sites but I generally find them to be not particularly vibrant.  It is the interchange of knowledge and ideas I like. Hope to see more of you in future!

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 09:01:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks, all, for your kind comments. I wasn't fishing for complements so much as genuinely at a loss as to what we can do to revitalise the European Tribune. A community blog isn't really a community blog if it is the same few people contributing stories all the time.

I appreciate there are many ways of contributing: moderating, promoting and writing diaries, recommending, writing comments, rating comments, contributing to the newsroom and open threads, providing tech support, and even just lurking and providing good vibes. To an extent I am flying blind because I don't have access to any usage stats, but I appreciate all contributions.

As it stands I am just writing about stuff I am interested in but am conscious that that is a very Ireland centric view.  As Ireland makes up c. 1% of the EU population that means the coverage is somewhat unbalanced and many important stories in other countries aren't covered at all.

I've been told that the practice is to front page only stories that have a strong European angle and that LQDs or unsubstantiated opinion pieces/snarks generally shouldn't be front paged, but I promote/recommend/uprate what I can.

I have proposed some others to be given front pager privileges but haven't achieved a consensus on that yet. Most of the published list of front pagers are no longer active, so we need some new people to take on more responsibility.  Hopefully that will happen soon.

In the meantime I will continue to contribute stories when I have internet access (I am sometimes off-line) but can't guarantee a regular supply of new content. Hopefully others will take up the slack. Happy blogging!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 2nd, 2017 at 08:56:15 PM EST
This channel should be taken over:

by das monde on Mon Dec 4th, 2017 at 07:38:18 AM EST
I'm 27. I've read this blog since I was a teenager, I got here through some ancient list of links that an earlier version of DKos had on it's sidebar.

At the time of delivery I fascinated by what I dreamed things could be: a future EU as an integrated alternative to Bush's United States (which I was growing up in) on the world stage. I watched intently as the crises popped up and (sometimes) faded away.

Things like the Lisbon Treaty, or the crippling austerity projects... Oh especially the Greek Tragedy, which was a terrible and disheartening rollercoaster. Oh, and Scotland... And now Brexit (though also Corybn! Which is a nice change of tone).

And so much more over the years. Not to mention getting to read cool stuff about wind power, trains and other neat non-political stuff.

I learned more about the European project (the good and the bad) here than anywhere else I've found, both at the time that i discovered the place and since. I can't recall my old account info; I only used it to rate comments anyway. The reason being was because the knowledge of many of the contributors on ET intimidate(d) me enough that I didn't like to comment, myself.

But the point is: I've been here nearly all along. I don't know if there is anything I can do to help (after all, y'all don't even know who I am, even though I recognize the styles and handles of a lot of YOU all and the other personalities who've been in and out over the years) but I'd be happy to.

Regardless, even if I can't help, I hope the blog continues; I can't imagine taking the European Tribune out of my routine. It's an oldy but a goody :-)

P.S. Is there a EuroTrib FB group and/or page setup? That might be a great offshoot project or even future evolution of the site. It has a lot of the tools and features needed to write the posts, while also incorporating lots of features that this platform doesn't have.

Anyway, just wanted you to know that I appreciate this place, even if am I just a ghost here.

by temprano8 on Wed Dec 6th, 2017 at 06:04:15 AM EST
a nice surprise. Please add more as the discussions continue. (You're welc0me to tell us about yourself as well.)

As one of the early adopters of facecrack, which i used to stay "connected" with my global network... i must admit i'm having a hard time swallowing becoming a commodity sold to the highest bidder. i don't "like" my choices being fed into the data gathering maelstrom. so im even considering if i must leave my facecrack presence behind... despite the advantages the platform brings to my widespread network.

some of my colleagues are attempting to bring serious discussions to a site called Discourse, but i haven't checked it out yet.

temprano8, don't be a ghost...

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 6th, 2017 at 11:11:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Our facebook page is here, although we really only use it to post links to new stories here.

Please don't feel shy about posting your own comments/diaries here.  We're not half as intimidating/knowledgeable as you seem to think! And anyway, writing posts from a US or different perspective can be instructive for all of us.  It doesn't even have to be on a European topic, although that tends to be the focus of our front page.

In the early days some posters who posted less knowledgeable or "ideologically incorrect", or less well written diaries sometimes got some harsh feedback but I have been trying to shift the moderating role to a more nurturing,/encouraging of new talent mode. Sometimes it can be a pain for old hands to read the same old arguments which have been debunked here many times all over again, but they are just going to have to suck it up because we need new people from all backgrounds to add new life to the place.  If that means some old arguments get rehashed, then so be it.

Anyway, you are hardy a newbe here, and well able to fight your corner, I suspect, so feel free to add your perspective!

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Dec 6th, 2017 at 11:25:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When I was about 27, I discovered the blog The Whiskey Bar featuring Billmon, and essentially have never given up on blogs since. I suspect I have learnt more on blogs then I did in school - or maybe it isn't comparable as my schooling came first and blogs later, thus having one being built on the other - so therefore you must have learnt much more by being able to combine school and blogs.

Therefore, it is obvious that you are in a better position to contribute then I was at 27 and I jumped right in. Or maybe I just didn't realise my limitations, which again makes you the more qualified. QED, so now you have to write more. :)

by fjallstrom on Fri Dec 8th, 2017 at 03:54:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You didn't, by any chance study logic at any stage?

Index of Frank's Diaries
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Dec 9th, 2017 at 12:55:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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