Great librarian attitudes

I read this post this morning, and couldn’t help being a bit startled by this:

If you’re on the wall about Library 2.0 then this is the post to read. Stephen makes some great points that (I hope) will shut the mouths of the people debunking Library 2.0 and make them go “hmmmm”.

I’d already read the Stephen Abram post in question. Abram wants to keep the “Library 2.0″ bandwagon a bandwagon. That doesn’t surprise me; it’s entirely consistent. But, you know, Stephen Abram saying something doesn’t automatically make it true, any more (or any less) than Walt Crawford saying something makes it true.

What does surprise me is the stated desire (not Stephen’s!) for those who don’t agree to “shut [their] mouths.” Surely the person writing this post doesn’t believe that Abram is so utterly convincing that everyone who thinks “Library 2.0″ is overrated as a term will suddenly realize they were wrong, wrong, wrong?

The post certainly made me go “hmm.” As in, hmm, always interesting to see a librarian who wants people who disagree with them to shut up and go away.

I wouldn’t post this here, but I made a similar (brief) comment at that blog. Apparently it was either trapped for moderation or rejected as spam.

Chalk this up as another example of why the whole “Library 2.0″ situation couldn’t possibly be confrontational. Nope. No confrontations around here… (Actually, the post had the opposite of the desired effect. I had, in fact, been staying out of the “Library 2.0″ discussion. But, hmm…)

20 Responses to “Great librarian attitudes”

  1. Steven Cohen Says:

    My exact words were, “Huh?” after reading the Web2Learning post. Abram’s post was a reaction to my “smoke and mirrors” post (and my long comments to Abram’s seem to be stuck somewhere too – goodness how I despise comment moderation!) and his piece is being very well received. It was a very good piece. This is a great debate, one that will probably be over long before L2 and W2 run their respective courses…

  2. tangognat Says:

    I’ve been saying nothing about the whole Library 2.0 thing on purpose, although I have some strong opinions. Although I guess this comment counts as saying something. I don’t think much of people who embrace a movement but are unable to engage in any sort of dialog.

  3. Steve Lawson Says:

    Well, I don’t want to go out on a limb too far defending the post that Walt is commenting on, but let’s look at it again:

    “Stephen makes some great points that (I hope) will shut the mouths of the people debunking Library 2.0 and make them go ‘hmmmm’.”

    I do not read that as “make them shut up and sit down”; I read it as “make them stop ripping on Library 2.0 long enough to think about what Abram is saying.”

    Now, this isn’t something that I would personally say, but I don’t think it is as bad as you do, Walt. If a Library 2.0-debunker said “I wish these L2 zealots would shut up long enough to consider my counter-argument,” I’d think it a bit much, but not that they wanted L2′ers to go away.

    Anyway, I am still mostly in the “just make libraries better” camp, though I do think a less heated approach to talking about Library 2.0 might still be useful in explaining to non-bloggers what gets us excited about Blyberg and Bisson’s catalogs and things like that.

  4. Angel Says:

    Dang, goes to show how gradually I am tuning out of the whole L2 meme and its confrontational tone. I did read the post, and I guess I just scanned it, since I missed the “shut the mouths” part. I thought librarians were all about encouraging diverse points of view and helping others express their opinions freely. I guess someone missed the memo on that on the way to L2 Nirvana? Like Tangognat, I have some opinions, but I gave up long ago on commenting on anything related to L2 on my blogs (other than if I try a new device, as an experience description. As for my comment here, well, it is Walt’s place, which seems a good place to have a conversation), and I scan what the gurus and detractors write, but with less concentration these days. The confrontation just turns me off. With respect to Mr. Lawson, that seems a bit generous of a defense. The blogger could have easily said “I wish that Mr. Abram’s post would make people think” or something less inflamatory. Then again, I am not one of the experts. I just go by what people actually write. Best, and keep on blogging.

  5. Steve Lawson Says:

    Well, Angel, that’s why I said I didn’t want to go too far out on a limb! Point taken.

  6. walt Says:

    Steven C: Sorry–somehow your comment here got held for moderation as well. I can’t imagine why! Fortunately, on approval, it appears where it should chronologically.

    All: I think Angel said it very well. As have all of you. Geez, I love the conversations here.

    Oh, and as to moderation: I’ve kept it at WordPress’ low level–but turning it off entirely would have resulted in several hundred spam comments to date, including, shall I say, a “fistful” that I would be truly horrified to see on the site even for a few minutes.

  7. Jenny Levine Says:

    What I don’t understand about the whole L2 debate is that people seem to be treating it differently than other debates in libraryland. It’s no more or less contentious than what you read about the situation in Cuba, the PATRIOT Act, filtering, subject headings, or a hundred other issues. Personally, I’ve been through these exact same arguments, with confrontational language on BOTH sides, in regards to blogging, RSS, instant messaging, and other issues.

    So if we look at the bigger picture of our profession, is it too much to recognize that there will ALWAYS be extremists on each side and to say that the rest of us that want to have a dialogue will just focus on the middle? Why do we need to point out confrontational language in one specific post and paint the entire movement with that brush? You make a good point that one person saying something is true doesn’t make it true, but it’s not like Stephen is a lone kite drifting in the breeze.

    I don’t want to see someone else point to Walt’s post and say, “See, he never focuses on any of the GOOD things that are said about L2 – that’s how they all are,” and characterize the skeptics with equally bad generalizations. I could point to confrontational, anti-L2 posts if I wanted to, but why would I do that when I can TALK with the center instead?

    For our part, I truly believe that Stephen Abram, Michael Stephens, other L2 enthusiasts, and I have tried to debate individual points, rather than personalities. On the other side of the fence, I think Walt, Meredith Farkas, and a whole lot of other people have done the same from their perspectives. So why do we need to keep pointing out the edges and spinning them further out instead of concentrating on the actual issues?

    Honest questions, Walt: what exactly was the point of your post? To say that there is contention about the issue? To point out that there are pro-L2 people who use language that could be considered extreme?

    If so, will you then point out similar posts from L2 detractors? Because I don’t see the point in continuing that aspect of this, especially on a site where you pride yourself on conversation rather than accusation. You have much better topics to devote yourself to, and this just doesn’t seem like the kind of rabbit hole you would go down. Obviously something about this particular post irked you enough to deviate from that behavior.

    Is it really so surprising to you to find out that there might be one or two people out there who imply that the other side should “sit down and shut up?” Do you really mean to characterize the whole movement with a link to this post above others of substance? If so, why?

    I’m truly curious.

  8. walt Says:

    Whew. Long comment. Long enough that some comment systems at some blogs wouldn’t even allow it…

    I don’t see anything in my post that characterizes the whole “movement”..except to the extent that some in the “movement” assert that there is no attempt at confrontation. That’s demonstrably not true. And I get damn tired of being accused of raising straw men. (Sorry to use strong language…)

    Yes, this particular post irked me. A lot.

    I do not remember cases in filtering or other debates where library bloggers have, in essence, told the “other side” to shut up. Told them they were wrong? Yes. Told them to shut up? That’s just so un-librarian…

    And yet, all I did was add a comment (to the post) to that effect. It would have stopped there. Until the comment was treated as spam. Which is why I wrote the post.

    I would note that Stephen Abram’s January 19 post did a pretty good job of dismissing any questioning about the name and the “movement” as being “change resistance wrapped up as commentary” and explicitly dismissing name issues with “So what. It’s a shallow contribution beng needlessly repeated.” Which is, I suppose, a thoughtful discussion of detailed issues. At least it’s a nicer way of telling critics that their contributions are not worthy of being paid attention to.

  9. Amanda Robertson Says:

    I read the Stephen Abram post when it was sent to me for the Carnival this week (though I had not seen Nicole’s response) and while I found it a very interesting read, Stephen didn’t change my position, which is that I don’t see how L2 constitutes a paradigm shift in the field.

  10. Steve Lawson Says:

    “Told them to shut up? That’s just so un-librarian…”

    True, we usually tell people to shhhhhhhhhh!

    That’s a joke; more speech, more speech!

  11. Steven M. Cohen Says:

    Walt: I knew that my comment would get moderated by you in due time (usually, it takes an hour or two). I commented on Abram’s piece last night at 10:00PM and it still hasn’t been posted. In fact, who knows how many other comments he hasn’t moderated yet. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a very very very busy guy, but that should have been taken into account when he started the blog. I wonder if he has an assistant that could moderate his comments….

    I also know Nicole from Web2Learning. Her blog is wonderful. I love the fact that she’s passionate about what she believes in and expressed it. Good for her. I only said, “Huh?” because I’m not used to reading posts like that from her. Spunk is good! Very good! It’s when bloggers lose their spunk (or don’t have it in the first place) when they start to bore.

  12. walt Says:

    I won’t do an Ed Asner. (You may be too young: First episode of the Mary Tyler Moore Show, as she’s interviewing for a newsroom job. “You got spunk, kid. I hate spunk.”)

    You’re right, of course: Spunk is a good thing. And I like Nicole’s blog, by and large. If I thought it was worthless, I wouldn’t comment on it.

    But I was so taken aback by that post…

  13. Nicole Says:

    WOW! Is it good or bad when something you wrote causes so much hub bub?

    First, Walt, I want to apologize that your comment was filtered as Spam – I just installed Spam Karma and I’m learning how to use it – I didn’t even know there was a comment waiting for moderation until I read your thread here.

    Second, I am sorry to everyone I offended – and have posted it officially at my blog. I never ever meant for people to interpret my post as you did. Steve Lawson was right in his original interpretation; I just thought that Stephen Abram had a great post and I wanted to let people knew I agreed with him.

    Steven Cohen (too many Steves around here) – glad you like my spunk – I actually have a lot of it in person – I was just expressing it all verbally at work – guess I didn’t have an outlet yesterday :)

    Anyway, once again, I’m sorry if anyone took my post the wrong way – I’ll watch my words next time.

  14. walt Says:

    Nicole: Your post also got trapped as requiring moderation, and as you can see was approved as soon as I got the email.

    Sorry if I overinterpreted. Maybe it’s because it combined Stephen Abram and a sense of “don’t say anything against Library 2.0″ in the same post, and given Abram’s dismissal of all “opposition,” combined with the force of the language, it struck me the (wrong?) way.

    If you’d said “Stephen makes some great points that those who’ve opposed Library 2.0 should think about,” I might disagree over how great the points are (or, more to the point, whether the virtues of new applications rise to the level of a Movement requiring a Name), but certainly wouldn’t hassle you over the comment.

    Do note: It’s also the case that, if I didn’t think you had worthwhile things to say, I would never have linked to your blog in a post.

  15. Nicole Says:

    I completely understand and next time I’ll re-read what I’ve written before hitting submit :)

    As for the waiting for moderation thing – Spam Karma is installed on my blog and it doesn’t email me – I have to figure out my settings – but now that I know about the problem I’m checking my blog every 1/2 hour to approve all relevant comments.

  16. Brian Says:

    Doesn’t a reference to “people who are debunking Library 2.0″ imply the presence of bunk? Hmmm …

  17. walt Says:

    Hmm. My 10-foot pole has gone missing. Which is all I have to say about Brian’s comment.

  18. Filipino Librarian Says:

    i like the reasonable discussions here. this could have easily degenerated into something very embarrassing–but it didn’t. wow!

  19. walt Says:

    I’m impressed by the way this all turned out as well. Maybe because, with one lengthy exception, most people involved had a sense of humor about the whole awkward situation.

  20. Filipino Librarian Says:

    and so, i guess, the post was appropriately named =)


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