Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

The Future of Reputation

Professor Dan Solove, who hosted Blawg Review #75 at Concurring Opinions, has just published a new book. The book has prompted quite a number of thoughtful reactions in the blogosphere.

Now, Dan Solove is looking for bloggers who are especially interested the issues of Internet gossip, rumor, privacy, anonymity, and free speech, who might be interested in writing about those topics in a review of his book. Dan's offering free review copies in exchange for a commitment from selected bloggers to review his book, which he describes as follows:
My book is about blogging, and I discuss how information spreads rapidly throughout the blogosphere – with both good and problematic effects. Obviously, I want to try to harness the good side of the blogosphere’s power, and that’s why I’m trying this experiment. The purpose of my book is to spark a discussion about the issues, and I cannot imagine a more appropriate way to do so than in the blogosphere.

If you’re interested in reviewing the book, please send me an email with your address, a brief description of your blog, information about your readership and visitor traffic, and a link to your blog.
As an anonymous blogger, I look forward to reading the book and the discussions it sparks in the blogosphere. But I won't be sending the Professor my address. ;-) I'll have to buy the book here.

As the anonymous editor of Blawg Review, I'd be very interested in reading insightful reviews by the famous hosts of Blawg Review #68 and Blawg Review #119. What opinions on the future of reputation, gossip, rumor, and privacy on the Internet could possibly be more personal than those of Jeremy Blachman and David Lat?

Jeremy Blachman, as most of our readers know, became well-known as the author of the Anonymous Lawyer blog, which turned into a popular book and website by the same name. David Lat, is a rather celebrated gossip blogger, who began blogging with the pseudonym Article III Groupie, a.k.a. A3G, at Underneath Their Robes, a provocative blog about the Federal Judiciary in the United States. After being outed in the New Yorker by Jeffry Toobin, David Lat left his job as an AUSA and became a bloggissip, first at Wonkette and now at Above the Law, a Legal Tabloid where he is the founding editor-in-chief.

So yeah, we want to know what these guys think about Dan Solove's new book and the topics he's raising for discussion. We'll update you [here] and [here] when their reviews are published.

In the meantime, I'd like to share a few thoughts on the subject. Here on the Blawg Review weblog we've had heated debates (even blog fights) over the issue of this editor's anonymity. We won't take you back to that brouhaha. In the end, it seems that most, if not all, of the followers and participants in this project are now comfortable with the fact that the character that works behind the scenes here supporting law blogs (or blawgs as some like to call them) is a rather benign and benevolent force in the blogosphere. It has become generally accepted, I think, that the anonymity of the editor here is for the good of the project, rather than for the protection of the editor. In our discussions here, an important distinction was made between anonymity and pseudonymity, the first where the reader doesn't have a clue who is communicating, and the latter in the case of a character with a reputation of its own communicates under an assumed name or identity, however distinct from that writer's person. But enough about me.

Getting back to Dan's book, which has its own website, it will be great when he's got a blog there that will be a forum for discussion of the important issues raised by this book. I see a link there that points back to Concurring Opinions at this time. It might not be obvious how inappropriate that is considering the legal structure of that law blog as a corporation with a reputation of its own, apart from that of one of its shareholder's books. No doubt that linkage is with the agreement of that blog corporation, but it's inappropriate in this anonymous editor's opinion -- for what that's worth. I expect that sometime soon, Dan will have a new blog there, perhaps a blook -- maybe a prize.

As an online "addendum" to his new book, a blog there would follow recent case law and would be the best place for Dan Solove to engage the blogosphere in this ongoing discussion of the issues he cares about. I'm sure Professor Solove would be blogging there today about a post by blog maverick Mark Cuban on Media and Vulnerability, which has sparked a discussion of these very issues in the comments.