by Stephen Tall on October 1, 2007
Last week’s publication of Iain Dale’s list of the top 500 UK political blogs has sparked some criticism – the funniest is here at mediocracy (hat-tip: Tim Worstall), the most acute is here at Stumbling and Mumbling:
… there’s something nasty about the very notion that blogs can be ranked on a simple single ordering. The overwhelming virtue of the blogosphere is its diversity. And the many things that make a good blog are to some extent incompatible; originality versus consistency; passion versus intellectual rigour; number of posts versus quality of individual posts; brevity versus weight of evidence; wit versus gravitas, and so on.
These trade-offs mean the quality of blogs is just incommensurable – we can’t rank them. … And even if we can each rank our own preferences, what meaning is there to an aggregate ranking? To pretend there is one is to commit the error that libertarians have often accused utilitarians of making – of believing preferences can be easily aggregated when they cannot be. It’s symptomatic of the intellectual decline of the Conservative party that one of its cheerleaders should make this error.
Stephen Tall is 55th.