Intl Wota and the N.W.O. (New Wota Order), Part Two

Filed in American Wota 3.0Tags: ,

I had a great deal of fun with the recent Intl Wota comment thread describing how we work and the selection process for being covered by the current Intl Wota crew. However, there’s a few more things worth mentioning that I’ll bring up here – mostly because it has less to do with Intl Wota as a whole and my own specific role there. Please keep in mind that I am speaking only for myself here and none of this should be seen as representative of the opinions of anyone else.

First, I want to clarify my role in Intl Wota as it now stands and as it will hopefully develop:

  • All major decisions now go through the Troika. Seriously, pengie and broomhead are as much in charge as I am. And hopefully that means that in a few more months Intl Wota won’t be thought of as “mine” as much as “ours”, and that the “ours” will include the entire staff.
  • My role as an active contributor will diminish. And by that, I mean from the usual twenty or so posts a day to maybe a dozen, if I had my druthers. I think I’m still doing a half to two-thirds of a day’s worth of IW posts, I’m going to try to make it from one-third to a half in the coming months. We’re in good hands with the current crew, we’ll be going on an active recruiting drive soon – summer is usually when blogging picks up in our community – and I want to pay more attention to the other stuff I keep talking about (IW Press, the samizdat) as well as Ame Wota right here. That does mean I’ll be pickier and that the Meh Factor (I look at it, go “meh” and decide not to cover it) will be raised considerably in what I write about at IW. But that can only be a good thing.
  • I will not be covering H!P for the most part. Actually, this is already the case. With the exception of breaking-news stuff that we want to get on top of right away, I find I’m covering less and less H!P. First, we have several people in our stable who handle that very well. Second, there’s a lot of other things that need covering and deserve Intl Wota’s attention. While H!P is near and dear to my heart, I want Intl Wota to break free of its reputation as an H!P-centric site.

With that in mind, here are a few things about my own personal criteria as an Intl Wota contributor and a general reader of J-music blogs. I share these, not to encourage anybody to fit within these boundaries, but to know where I stand and why that’s the case. I have no desire to be the Strunk & White or Syd Fields of J-blogging, but I’m a dedicated reader who knows what he likes and why he likes it.

  • I don’t care about bad grammar or mis-spellings as long as the general ideas and argument are solid. There’s a number of people writing in English who aren’t native speakers, and yet they’re willing to share wonderful insights that I think are worth passing on. Also, if you’re using blogging as a way to hone your writing skills, I’ll give a pass. Lord knows, I make enough typos and grammar mistakes that I’m not going to throw stones in that regard.
  • I appreciate humor and snark. If I laugh, that’s a huge step towards doing a write-up – often because I’ll have a joke of my own to include, and I’m stupid like that.
  • Eyecandy doesn’t catch my attention unless it’s of personal interest to me. My biases are pretty well-known at this point. Same with media posts, though I find I’m a little more lenient if it’s something not usually covered by Intl Wota.
  • Being a fan does not excuse a blogger from having a balanced critical perspective. That’s actually a whole blog entry in and of itself, but if I read something and think, “You can’t possibly mean this,” that’s a bad sign. I want to believe that our community can engage in productive discussion and debate, but it’s hard to do so when a position is so extreme that I can’t get a hold on reasonable basic premises. If you’re going to make an outrageous claim or opinion, positive or negative (and I’ve seen both), then make damn well sure you can back it up in a commonsense fashion. Shock and sensationalism for its own sake is tiresome right from the start.
  • Syntactic gobbledygook amuses me but is a sure way not to get covered. This is less of a case of “you can’t mean this” than “what do you mean in the first place?”. I’ve run into posts where I find myself having to parse sentences that are horribly, hilariously tautological, and that’s enough to drive me away. Blog entries that take on a pseudo-intellectual air but merely provide one nugget of obfuscatory prose after another is not impressive – it’s just sophomoric in the truest sense of the word.
  • Condescension is a big turn-off. I don’t want to feel like I’m being talked down to, nor do I cover posts that do the same. I’m not saying all opinions are equal – Lord knows that’s never the case – but a little basic courtesy goes a long way. Again, I want to believe that our community can engage in productive discussion and debate, but it’s hard to do so when confronted with ad hominem attacks, explicit or otherwise.
  • If you advertise your own posts in the comments section of one of my blogs, that lets me off the hook. You got your free hype right there, no need for any more on my part.
  • I’m a sucker for crisp, clear prose and enjoy lively expository writing. Because we’re writing about another country’s pop detritus, it’s often necessary to give some background information. If you’re going to do this, don’t treat it as the boring section of your article – give it an interesting spin, make analogies that you think your readers will understand, and make sure you’ve got your facts straight.
  • I’m also a sucker for grand ideas that illuminate the world of Japanese music and idols in an unexpected way… but only if it’s well-defended and the argument is convincingly constructed. Actually, it’s the construction of the argument – the way smaller points are use to buttress larger concepts – that leaves me most in awe, and it’s an admittedly tough thing to do. For me, these Big Idea posts need to be assembled like cathedrals, pointing towards the sky one carefully-placed building block at a time, with a few gargoyles thrown in to keep us amused and on our toes.
  • I love honest opinions and admire anyone who can balance their own personal reactions as a fan of Japanese music with broader insights on the industry as a whole. It’s not something I do well, so it’s great to read others who do it superbly.

As I’ve said, these are my personal tastes and cavils. If you have issues with them, take it up with me and not Intl Wota as a whole. And just so we’re clear – I can think of multiple examples from multiple bloggers for each and every point. If I wanted to single somebody out, I would be much more specific and go fisking in a merciless, no-holds-barred manner. Carly Simon I’m not.

Last and perhaps least, here are things bloggers can do to make my life easier as an Intl Wota contributor. I’m not saying you have to do them, but it’s certainly appreciated and may mean the difference between whether or not I’ll cover a blog on my less-than-exuberant days.

  • If your blog is going to have a name that uses unusual letters that I can’t just type from a standard QWERTY keyboard – kanji or cute little icons – then I’d appreciate if you made sure that the title is somewhere on the page where I can just highlight, copy, and paste.
  • It’s really a good idea to have the name you want to be known by on every blog entry in a clear, easily found manner. Sometimes I don’t know how to refer to a blogger so I just use the name of the blog instead.
  • Because the main Intl Wota folks work through RSS feeds, updated blog entries are often not seen by us. If you have major news and developments, it’d be great if you just posted a new blog entry.

All that said, I think I’ll post later about my own faults as a blogger. They’re numerous and morally repugnant, and should prove as much fun as this.


Comments (Comments are closed)

4 Responses to “Intl Wota and the N.W.O. (New Wota Order), Part Two”
  1. MomotarĊ says:

    Hey Writer, Ho Writer
    Nice Writer, Go Writer


    Hey Bloggers, Ho Bloggers
    Nice Bloggers, Go Bloggers


  2. Illuminating. You seldom see this high a standard vis-a-vis evaluation of posts, even in professional print journalism where Rad’s day job is right now. It is an imposing gauntlet through which to pass and, therefore, a high honor to be listed as “recommended reading” in this neighborhood.

  3. I’ve had some serious second thoughts about this here:


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