Don't fear the tater.
Like many other people in the Virginia blogosphere, I’ve been trying to decide over the past week whether I like The Angry Potato or not. Sometimes hilarious, frequently just mean, usually free of any insight, I wavered back and forth on the question.
I have to say that as an ethical matter, I agree with The Richmond Democrat that there is a high cowardice quotient involved with this type of anonymous attack blogging.
But dammit, I kept reading.
While doing so, I could not help but notice that every Potato posting could be evaluated based on four criteria: two of which were positive qualities, and two of which were negative. They are, respectively, humor and insight, and pointless rage and idiocy.
I further found that by rating each criteria on a scale of 0-5 (0 meaning the post contained the least possible amount of the criteria, 3 being average, and 5 meaning it contained the most of that criteria), I could create a quality rating for each of the Potato’s posts simply by subtracting the total value of the negative attributes from the total value of the positive ones. A post that nets out with a positive number, therefore, was worth doing (the positive outweighs the negative), while a post that netted out at 0 or below, well, Tates should have just remained a couch potato and not wasted his time or ours.
I’ll give an example using a post Tates did about me, entitled, “Get Back In your Glass House.” In it, he attempted to deconstruct a post I did at Blue Commonwealth regarding Brian Moran’s inexplicable vote in favor of an unconstitutional restriction on abortion (it is republished here at The Virginia Democrat).
Here’s how I rated it and why:
Humor: 4.5 – I thought it was a damn funny post, especially the business about there being too many Alan Z.s in Virginia. Seriously, I try to sign up for a gmail account, and I’m AlanZ99999999999999, so I know what Tates is talking about. And I love the “Shooter McDeeds” schtick, also. (Truth be told, I’d have given him a five, but when I showed the post to Mrs. Aznew, she laughed a little too hard for my taste, so I reduced it by half a point.)
Insight: 2 – He gets points here only because I agree with his comments about TeacherKen. I appreciate the promotion to the front page, but brevity is a virtue.
Rage: 0 – I didn’t feel any rage in this post at all.
Idiocy: 4 – Beneath the humor, Tates attempts to make two substantive arguments in his post, both of which are lame. First, he contends, that as a guy, I have no right to an opinion about abortion. This argument is too idiotic to warrant rebuttal. His second argument, and the one from which he draws his title, is that because my candidate, Creigh Deeds, has his own record of sketchy votes on Progressive social issues, namely gay marriage, I’m living in a metaphorical glass house while throwing stones at Brian Moran.
First, this argument is transparent misdirection – I was writing about Moran and abortion, not Creigh and gays, so one isn’t really relevant to the other. But what really sends me over the edge is that I have written numerous times in a critical manner about Creigh Deeds’ vote on the Marshall-Newmann Amendment, so that glass house argument is shattered anyway.
It’s very frustrating. What good does intellectual honesty do you when people are too lazy to even take any pride in knowing what they are writing about? Do your research next time, will ya?
But, still, you total: +2.5, a positive number! A job well done, Mein Kleyn Shroyft Bulbe!
Lets take another example, say, your most recent post, entitled, “What? No Comment?” about a Blue Virginia post on today’s PPP poll.
Humor: 0 – I mean, I didn’t laugh at all. Were you even trying to be funny?
Insight: 0 – What’s the point of this post? That an advocate for a candidate spun a poll in a light most favorable to the candidate he supports? And this warrants our notice because …
Rage: 2 – You’ve written about this blogger previously with a great deal of pointless and unjustified rage. This particular post, however, wasn’t too bad, but the pointless reference to “bitching about other people making fun of him,” earns you a couple of points.
Idiocy: 3 – You attack when Blue Virginia comments on the news, you attack when he doesn’t. See the problem, there. Even if your arguments critical of this site had any merit, which they really don’t, you contradict yourself, obviously in a strained effort to level a criticism. Also, your recommendation of NDP with respect to this poll is misplaced – Kenton’s analysis wasn’t so hot.
Rating for this post: -5 – Sorry, Tates, that’s, what, ten minutes of your life wasted, never to be returned, that you spent drafting and posting this dreck? I suggest you use your time more judiciously going forward. Life’s too short, bud.
Anyway, folks (and I speak to here to the occassional lost surfer who stumbles onto this site), feel free to use this scale with respect to any Angry Potato posting and you will see that it works like a charm. And since you can now approach the site with a quantitative purpose in mind, you won’t feel as dirty or guilty reading it. And let the Spud know of your ratings – he seems like a blogger who really appreciates the feedback.
As this scale is my own proprietary creation, I hereby grant a license anyone who wishes to use it. I ask only that if you do, you reference it as The Angry Potato’s Posting Measurement Scale ™, or alternatively, The Angry Potato’s PMS™.