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A Question for Readers:
As you have probably noticed, we Volokh Conspirators tend to blog on a pretty eclectic set of topics. On Wednesday, for example, we blogged about sex discrimination and same-sex marriage; terminology used in news reports about terror attacks; civil lawsuits; word puzzles; retiring sports announcers; supreme court nominations; restaurants near Toledo; legal brief formattting; and a couple of other topics.

  Here's my question: Do you like the mix? Or would you prefer if we divided the VC — either within the blog or by starting new spin-off blogs — so that there is more subject matter uniformity? This is an issue that comes up with a lot of blogs, and particularly with group blogs. Without editors to pass on whether a particular post topic is appropriate, bloggers tend to write about whatever they feel like writing about. Sometimes bloggers split up their work into two distinct blogs; for example, Stephen Bainbridge has his general blog and his wine blog. Analogously, we could split the VC into a "law and legal academia" blog and an "everything else" blog. Alternatively, perhaps we could just classify different posts by topic in a way that you could view topic-by-topic.

  I'm curious whether readers have strong thoughts about seeing something like this at the VC. Should we keep it 'as is,' or try for a structure with more subject matter uniformity? As always, civil and respectful comments only. (Oh, and to be clear, this is just a question I have, not something that I have discussed with any of my co-bloggers. So even if you want it, I don't know whether it would happen.)
Scott Scheule (mail) (www):
I really have no problem with the mix. However, I wouldn't recommend taking any new contributors on any time soon. There is only so much information one can read from one blog. As it stands though, the mix is just fine.

However, if any of you do start talking about wine, the time will have come to start a new blog.
7.15.2005 3:38pm
BartN (mail):
I like the fact that all topics are posted toghether. By having it this way I get to look at all sorts of things I would normally not read about. I am not a lawyer and would probably miss a lot of the law postings if they were seperate from the non-law posts. If I come to a post I don't find interesting it is easy enough to scroll past it. Just my thoughts
7.15.2005 3:39pm
Stevethepatentguy (mail) (www):
Write about whatever strikes your fancy. I like checking in and being surprised by what I find. A steady diet of appelate litigation and public policy would not have me checking in a couple times a day.
7.15.2005 3:40pm
kobayashimaru:
I'm a big fan of the eclectic posts in this blog. Although I often come here to learn about the latest legal issue, it is nice to not get bogged down in the heavy topics. I would vote against splitting it up.
7.15.2005 3:40pm
xavier:
keep the mix! It makes for much more interesting reading. There are already plenty of pure lawblogs out there, I prefer the variation on your site.
7.15.2005 3:44pm
LG (mail):
Keep mixing it up! I'm in financial/economic consulting, my wife's an attorney, and we also discuss education, history, politics, ethics, etymology, wine, astronomy and anything else that strikes the fancy and that VC has been known to address. You could even put in a couple of sports or cooking posts just for fun...
7.15.2005 3:45pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
Umm. . . . Some of the posters here seem to believe that this blog is Instapundit, PowerLine or the Corner where they post regurgitations of GOP talking points. I won't name names, but yesterday's post on Joe Wilson was a joke -- I could have gotten that "information" at GOP.COM. I think it has hurt the overall feel of the blog which was always a place to get intellectually honest analysis (mostly legal but also some policy based) from a mainly right-wing/libertarian perspective, but without the spin. Some of the new posters just seem to be putting forth the same stuff you can get at the aforementioned sites. But whatever, it's Volokh's blog, if he wants them posting here, it's his choice. Hell, maybe it's gotten the site more hits, I don't know, it seems like everyone these days is polarized on one side or the other, and people who like non-partisan stuff are dwindling.
7.15.2005 3:48pm
Hattio (mail):
I definitely vote for keeping the mix. If you split it up people would just find some reason to post to both groups, with some legal tie-in. Wasn't there a post just yesterday about some lawyer who was also a golfer? That probably would have gotten double-posted because it mentioned legal stuff. It's easy enough to skip things you dont' like.
7.15.2005 3:49pm
Shelby (mail):
I think it's fine as is. If you do change the blog, I hope it's by adding "classify[ing] different posts by topic in a way that you could view topic-by-topic". Or making greater use of the Hide/Show function to reduce the scrolling needed to get past posts not of interest to a reader.
7.15.2005 3:50pm
Matt_R:
I'm with Steve the Patent Guy. The VC often exposes me to subjects and ideas I otherwise might not -- probably wouldn't -- encounter. (And that's true even with respect to legal issues. Interstate wine shipment cases? Not an issue I'd probably have given a thought, but for Todd Zywicki.) The fact that I never know quite what I'll find here is one of the things that keeps me coming back. It would be annoying to have to skip around among several different sub-blogs to get all the content.
7.15.2005 3:50pm
The Shadow:
I'm not a lawyer or law professor, and I usually skip or skim the more serious legal posts, but I like many of the other non-legal posts. It would be fine with me if the serious legal posts went to a different weblog, though ones written for a general audience could stay here. However, I'm not seriously unhappy with the current mix, though nowadays there sometimes seem to be just plain too many posts. If the number of posts keeps growing, it should be split or a filter added.
7.15.2005 3:51pm
John Jenkins (mail):
I agree with Shelby that a nice feature would be some kind of sort by topics with a few different general topics, but dividing the blog would not be good. Please don't bifurcate the Volokh Conspiracy!
7.15.2005 3:58pm
Alberta_Econ:
Keep the mix. It's a unique blend of differing political viewpoints, topics, and general interest (plus a nice mix of reader comments). Not many places like this on the net.

I agree with Shelby though. Perhaps create category links (like Slashdot) and lead them to separate pages. But still keep everything on the main page. It's always nice to browse the different topics in one place.
7.15.2005 3:59pm
JDB:
I love the mix, of topics and writers. Even across different topics, I think there is a fairly consistent theme: rational, reasonable, insightful and well-written commentary, of the sort unavailable anywhere else (at least in a group-blog format). Those qualities, I suspect, are what keep most of us coming back for more every day. I'm not interested in every post, but I sometimes discover I'm more interested than I'd expected, and I've certainly learned things here.

Having said that, I second Greedy Clerk's post, although I might change "some" to "one" in his first sentence.
7.15.2005 3:59pm
guest:
I tend to agree with Greedy Clerk. I feel the intellectual quality of the blog has gone down lately. Not because of the political leanings of the posters per se, but because I think some of the posters have allowed their strong political leanings to affect the quality of their posts, and have been more prone to "sloppy" posts. I used to feel confident that when something was posted, it had been thoroughly thought through; now many of the things I read on this blog seem to be little more than partisan name calling.

I guess this doesn't address Orin's question directly, but I think a great first step to improving the blog would be capping the number of entries each contributor could post each day. I think fewer, but more well-thought-out posts each day would be an improvement over 8 or 10 less-well-thought-out posts.
7.15.2005 4:02pm
Erick:
I love the mix. Dont change.
7.15.2005 4:02pm
William Baude (mail) (www):
The overwhelming consensus seems to be to keep things as usual, but I suppose that is unsurprising, since people who like the blog less than they used to probably read it less (and thus are less likely to have read the post 30 minutes after it goes up).

I tend to think the costs of splitting the blog up are much lower in this day of RSS, but I suppose a great number of people read it in the traditional format. Still, I tend to think division would be good. I think a post/author/day limit would be bad.
7.15.2005 4:04pm
Proud Generation Y Slacker:
It's fine the way it is. Put in a filter or just color code the post topics if you want.

Instapundit is GOP talking points? Heh.
7.15.2005 4:07pm
Moshe Krakowski (mail):
I really, really, like the mix of topics. It is one of the best things about this blog. I like some contributers more than others, (as is natural), but the wide variety is always fun.
Even though, as Orin points out, this results in an eclectic presentation, it seems like there is nevertheless a coherent underlying feel to the blog. I couldn't say exactly what it is that bonds everything together (maybe Eugene's force of will?) but there is definately something unifying the blog despite the wide range.
Please don't change!
7.15.2005 4:09pm
anonymous coward:
Another vote for a mix--I think it's terrific. (The predictable blogospheric-debate-of-the-moment posts that Greedy Clerk objects to are not a favorite of mine, though.)
7.15.2005 4:10pm
Goober (mail):
More cowbell.
7.15.2005 4:14pm
GAC (mail):
I'm definitely in favor of the eclecticism and the overall mix. But I'd second Greedy Clerk's comments. I don't share the political leanings of many of the posters but have tended to think of the VC as a place where the most intelligent and informed ideas of the libertarian-right were advanced and discussed. Yesterday's Joe Wilson post and a few others of its ilk don't fit that category -- if I want to read that, I'll go to Little Green Footballs or some such site.

In general, though, this -- in a tie with Crooked Timber -- is one of my favorite sites for smart, broad-ranging, provocative, and challenging posts. Its current mix is essential to that!
7.15.2005 4:15pm
Decarsu (mail):
I agree with most of all of the above - keep the mix. If I want a sentencing law issue, I'll go the a sentencing blog. If I want an international law thing, perhaps I'll look into the Becker-Posner bolg or opinio juris. If I want to know about the "dirty" aspects of judicial stuff - I'll go to UTR (Article III groupie).

There's so much specific stuff out there already. What separates this blog from the others is that it is not exclusively one legal issue or another.

As for Greedy Clerk's claim that the blog is one-sided - the majority of the bloggers on the site (and most likely the readers, I suspect) share a very broad common philosophy. I don't agree with a lot of the Chicago school/law and economics/utilitiarian thought that appears to be prevalent with many of the bloggers, but I know that when I come to this site, I'll get thoughtful entries by intelligent individuals who I respect and who come from a general philosophy similar to mine. Even if I didn't share the general philosophy, though, I would know that, in any event, the discourse on this blog is worthwhile.

In sum, I'd suggest keeping the blog the way it is - diverse content - with the regular bloggers keeping up and the "sometimes" bloggers keep chiming in from time to time.

Doug
7.15.2005 4:25pm
Chris Brody:
The mix keeps it interesting for me! If it weren't for the eclectic, erudite span of topics that the Conspiracy features, I'd probably tune out. As it is, you guys are the only blog I read that isn't strictly left-of-center. Don't mess with success.
7.15.2005 4:26pm
jgshapiro (mail):
I would prefer you don't divide the blog. As a practical matter, it seems easier to scroll down past a posting I don't care about than to go to a separate blog. I don't know why this is. Maybe the act of scrolling is marginally easier than the act of doubleclicking on a sister blog link.

I suppose at some point, the blog becomes unwieldy because of the number of contributors and the number of topics, but I don't think you are anywhere near that point yet. If you split up the blog, I suspect that fewer people will read postings on the non-law stuff, because you have a reputation for discussion on legal issues that brings people here from all over the blogosphere, but that would not necessarily bring them to a blog on miscellany.
7.15.2005 4:27pm
big bran muffin:
keep mixing it up--it doesn't feel unwieldy to read and feels like much less of an echo chamber than other blogs or group blogs.
7.15.2005 4:32pm
Andrew Schoppe (mail):
Another vote in favor of the status quo, with the possible exception that it might be nice for, er, quieter Conspirators to be encouraged to resume posting. I would be delighted, for example, to read posts by Prof. Korobkin, my Contracts prof, and others who have not posted in awhile.

With regard to allegations regarding the blog's intellectual honesty, though, I don't think that "yesterday's post" by Jim Lindgren can reasonably be described as akin to "the regurgitation of GOP talking points" when passages like the following are included:


"But that doesn't let either Rove or Bush off the hook entirely. I won't go into the other evidence in part because I don't know much about it, but the question whether Rove lied to Bush or the White House press office is still an open question (Rove was quoted as having said that he wasn't involved, which if he really said this, appears to be a lie). If Rove lied to investigators, then he might be prosecuted for obstruction of justice or related claims.

And President Bush promised to fire the leaker. Although Bush could argue that, at the time he promised this, he assumed that the leaker had committed a crime by leaking (and now it appears that the leaker did not), this is a very hard case to make to the public and the press. It would seem that Bush must either fire Rove or break his promise (even though Bush may have a plausible argument that his promise was based on a false premise—that the leaker committed a crime by leaking)."



Honest treatments of current and pertinent issues are what I expect to see at the VC, and that's what I think I'm getting. Keep it up!
7.15.2005 4:32pm
Eduardo S:
Keep the mix. The content may be unpredictable from one post to the next, but there's one constant: it's always thought-provoking and/or educational. I'm a lowly software geek with no legal background. This is the only blog I read daily, precisely because of its eclecticness and because of your ability to make me pause and think.
7.15.2005 4:36pm
Ted (mail):
I think it's good to keep the mix, but maybe just with some stronger normative pressure to have fewer of the "everything else" posts. I.e.: keep the mix, but adjust the portions.

I'm also with Greedy Clerk. I'm left-leaning myself, but that's actually part of the reason I like this site: to come and read intelligent viewpoints from the other side. Mostly I want that on legal issues (Kelo commentary, e.g.).

I'm much less interested in the day-to-day political stuff, especially when it just seems to correspond to the talking points of some DC hack. I agree about yesterday's Rove-Plame post -- I have little interest in that sort of thing. If I did, I'd read Powerline instead of Volokh.
7.15.2005 4:37pm
countertop (mail):
The hodgepodge of topics and ideas works very well and means there is always something to keep everyone coming back.
7.15.2005 4:37pm
Guest (mail):
As others have said, the political talking points stuff is, well, reasonable minds can characterize it as they will. As for me: I expect law professors to act like scholars - which means they analyze all sides of a question after examining all the evidence. I shouldn't be able to predict a scholar's legal conclusions based on his political leanings since, well, law cuts with a finer blade than politics does.

Lately, though, there seems to be a strong correlation between a poster's politics, and his "legal" conclusions. That bothers me. Of course, I could be wrong: maybe all law is politics, and thus we should expect a perfect correlation between one's political opinions and one's legal views. But I'm not that cynical yet, and I don't let my personal opinions get in the way of my legal analysis, and I'm not even a law prof. So a professor should at least hold himself up to my low standards.

Anyhow, I already read a VC "spin-off": http://volokh.com/?bloggers=orin,eugene,randy,juan
(which, btw, also includes Puzzlebloggers Kevin's posts).
7.15.2005 4:40pm
John J. P. (mail):
I like the mix. My only suggestion would be to be to use the show/hide feature for long posts, as someone above mentioned.
7.15.2005 4:41pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
Ditto on keeping the mix.

To clarify (?) what I think several commenters are saying, I accept the rightwing lean of the VC and don't think that posters should self-censor themselves. What I *would* like is that, if anyone's going to post on a partisan subject, it be either their personal gut reaction (because, hey, it's a blog) or an analysis based on their own expertise that adds to the debate---for ex, one of the VC's lawyers looking at whether the Espionage Act has any application in the Plame case. Whether "partisan" or not, this stuff is worthwhile.

Simply cribbing a bunch of stuff from PowerLine and posting it does indeed lower the level of the VC. Spoken as one who does indeed crib stuff in such manner for his own little blog, and is fully aware of the VC's superiority.
7.15.2005 4:42pm
Steve Carroll (mail):
Keep the mix! The current mix is a great way to learn about new interesting areas that smart people are thinking. one dimensional smart people aren't as interesting!
7.15.2005 4:45pm
Fern R (mail):
I like the eclectic mix: I can go to one or two eclectic blogs (like this one) and be reasonably informed about what's going on in the world. Besides, posting on some of the more "fun" topics makes the bloggers more real and likable.
7.15.2005 4:50pm
A. Nonymous (mail):
In justification of the comments policy, it was noted that they were like a party: be nice, be sociable or be asked to leave.

That's exactly how the blog posting should remain as well. No one goes to a party and talks about nothing but X especially if the party is mixer for a conference of professional Xs. Other things creep in, like nice places in Toledo to eat. As long as the party doesn't get rowdy or exceptionally dull, people stay.

I know I am staying.
7.15.2005 4:54pm
NR (mail):
I agree with Greedy Clerk. I love the eclectic mix, but could do without the partisan polemics. This post, for example, was pure political hackery. I can't think of any other examples quite that bad, but it does seem that the Conspiracy has been drifting in this unfortunate direction, and away from the thoughful, nuanced, carefully qualified analyses I had come to expect.
7.15.2005 4:54pm
Steve:
The problem with the purely political posts is not whether they lean to the left or the right, it's just that you can find posts in that vein on 8 million different blogs already, and the discussion that ensues from those posts seems to be of considerably lesser value than the other discussions on this site.

One of Prof. Volokh's gifts is that he has a way of taking a different riff on subjects that have otherwise been done to death. For example, the other day, rather than getting into the issue of whether we do/do not torture people at Gitmo, whether the techniques we use are/are not acceptable, and so forth, he seized upon one particular line in a Sullivan post to ask the interesting question of whether Americans are really more tolerant of harsh conduct today than they once were.

Those sorts of posts are the "value added" of this blog, in one reader's opinion. Posts about whether Joe Wilson is a bum who deserved to have his wife outed, whether accurate or inaccurate, don't add much value to the blogosphere.
7.15.2005 4:55pm
Brad (mail):
I strongly believe the blog should be maintained as a single blog, rather than split into two or more sister blogs. The posts are eclectic and that makes it fun and interesting to read them. That fundamental eclecticism extends beyond the "law" and "non-law" topics; even the posts covering purely legal topics are eclectic. I do not think your readers would be served by splitting the blog up in that manner since there would still not be a coherent theme behind either of those split blogs.

I think SCOTUSblog and its sister, The SCOTUS Nomination Blog, are a good example of where a group blog can be split since they have two distinct themes and the bloggers consistently stay on topic. It does not seem like the Conspirators have an interest in focusing their posts in the VC in this manner.

On the other hand, I think it might be very helpful for some of your readers if they could easily find the posts related to a particular topic, much as Shelby has suggested. I, frankly, don't know how technologically feasible that is, but I don't think you necessarily need to change the structure of the blog to accomplish that goal. If it's something people might like, but don't have to take advantage of, why not include it as an option?
7.15.2005 5:01pm
Jason DeBoever (mail):
I agree STRONGLY with the general consensus that the mix is great and it's why I keep coming back here. I'm no legal expert, but I like to hear what you legal experts have to say, and enjoy learning by reading your posts. As for the eclectic, well, that I do understand, and I would hope you wouldn't get rid of it, because it keeps me from feeling too stupid in the midst of all the heady legal info.
7.15.2005 5:07pm
von (mail) (www):
Keep the mix! You've got one of the best group blogs out there (IMHO); don't mess with it.
7.15.2005 5:08pm
Challenge:
Calling Wilson a liar is "political hackery?" I thought that was a fact. =)

I like the eclectic mix. Some things, of course, are more interesting than others, but I like the variety the blog offers, though I come here mostly for legal news and analysis. No need, in my opinion, to have spinoffs.
7.15.2005 5:09pm
Lisa Stone (mail) (www):
The mix gets my vote. That said, IMHO you'd get a lot of mileage out of a category tagging system that would allow readers to read by subject and/or author...
7.15.2005 5:10pm
Warmongering Lunatic:
The only thing I'd change is I'd remove comments.
7.15.2005 5:10pm
Michael:
I get the blog via email, which allows me to use the search functions of Microsoft Outlook Express when I want to find a specific post or even a broad range of posts.

The search capability at the bottom of the page is pretty good, too, though you can't sort the results as many ways.

Would people rather read all posts about economics, or all posts about a specific economic subject (e.g.: bankruptcy)? All bankruptcy posts are already easy to find by carrying out a pico search on the web page.

Idea: would it be possible to create bayesian filter software, like the spam filters, that would categorize emailed blog posts into different user-designated categories? Then every user could have whatever categories they wanted...
7.15.2005 5:11pm
Tom D.:
I'm also in substantial agreement with Greedy Clerk. I enjoy the mix of topics, but don't like it when this blog turns into a political hit and run. I would prefer Kerr and Volokh post more, with some of the political hacks posting less. Less posting overall would allow fruitful discussions going on in the comments to stay alive longer because posts wouldn't be shoved down the page so quickly.
7.15.2005 5:12pm
Larry (mail):
In the words of a very famous and well-respected judge, Orin, "get the hell out of there while people still like and respect you."
7.15.2005 5:12pm
Challenge:
Category tagging would be good for getting more traffic on previous posts, if that is desired. For instance, Eugene Volokh could have a whole "slippery slopes" category where a new visitor could view his many post on this and related topics. I know many of you already kind of do this with the "related posts" links, but some sort of categorization, I think, would be a plus.
7.15.2005 5:14pm
Ry Jones (mail) (www):
I love the current format - please stick with it.
7.15.2005 5:17pm
gst (mail):
NR: funny you should select that post as an example of partisan hackery. Those that know him or know something about him recognize that there are few law professors out there less partisan than Jim Lindgren. (I should disclose that I had him as a professor and enjoyed him. On the other hand, he gave me a B+, which in law school is kind of like an F.)

And I suppose I must say something on-topic too: I like the eclectic mix of bloggers and blog topics.
7.15.2005 5:19pm
Susanna:
Feel free to stay eclectic. Though I disagree strongly with the political views of most people who blog here, the site is generally interesting and informative.

That said: some more categorization of posts and/or a "Recent posts/recent comments" section would make the blog easier to navigate. Or perhaps have only the first paragraph or two of posts visible without clicking on "more"? As it is, the site is a bit fo a pain to navigate: you often have to scroll through insanely long posts on subjects you're not interested in to even see what other posts there are.
7.15.2005 5:20pm
Mike in Colorado (mail):
Please keep it as is.
7.15.2005 5:25pm
DJ (mail):
Mix.
7.15.2005 5:28pm
JR:
Haven't read all the comments, so sorry if someone said it. I'd keep it as it is. I have a suspicion that the miscellaenous blog would slowly degrade as most of the VC bloggers concentrated on the legal blog, as that is their primary expertise. A lot of the random posts, which I enjoy, tend to build on previous random posts by other bloggers. I think splitting the blogs would hinder that process. Or maybe I've gone wobbly.
7.15.2005 5:30pm
Splunge (mail):
Just to be contrary...had I my druthers I'd see more mix at the VC. It's pretty solidly monochrome ivory-tower legal/economics by me, although I realize experts can always make a large number of fine distinctions within a general field that aren't apparent to outsiders.

But, hey, what I'd find nifty is if you brought in -- if only for a different reflection on your legal issue of the day -- a molecular biologist or astronomer, an aerospace engineer or CEO, a retired military man, an RN or doc, a farmer or airplane mechanic, and so forth. Really different people. Folks maybe without a Ph.D. or J.D., who haven't seen a college campus in 20 years, but who've maybe learned a curious thing or two in the School of Hard Knocks and can express themselves as clearly and interestingly as your regulars.
7.15.2005 5:31pm
Elias:
lol, Larry, I'm not sure that Professor Kerr meant to open up a forum for ad hominem attacks—now with 50% more misspellings!

Maintain the mix.
7.15.2005 5:33pm
cw (mail):
I used to like it better. People avoided participating in (or didn't care about) the political BS of the day. Now I don't read it as much because of political postings of some members. I can get that in millions of other places, better done too.
7.15.2005 5:37pm
jrdroll (mail):
The " Hide/Read More" feature would be useful. Keep the mix.
7.15.2005 5:47pm
Douglas E. Appelt (mail):
As a non-lawyer, I find the posts here to be interesting, substantive, entertaining, and well worth a read. The political slant is along the lines of my own preferences, so I don't mind that, either. Consider this another vote for the status quo!
7.15.2005 5:49pm
Cheburashka (mail):
I like the eclectic mix. I think the number of bloggers is getting a little high, though.
7.15.2005 5:57pm
jwilcox1024:
I prefer keeping the mix all on one page. Having a header or sidebar that listed the subject lines of all the recent posts might be nice, though.
7.15.2005 5:59pm
htom (mail):
There are lots of sites which specialize in topic X (whichever X you choose); some of them are even well-written and reasonable. There are few that have the happy well-done mix of topics here, and I would prefer that you keep it. Thank you all for contributing.
7.15.2005 6:05pm
rbj:
I like the as is eclectic mix. Not every post interests me, but that is fine. Ya'll should write what interests you.
7.15.2005 6:05pm
Eric Rasmusen (mail) (www):
A change that would help in the same way as splitting the blog would be to use CLICK HERE FOR MORE after the first paragraph of each post. THat way it is easier to skip posts.
7.15.2005 6:11pm
Nathan_M (mail):
I second (although by now I guess it's more accurate to say I tenth or so) Greedy Clerk's comment. But perhaps hackery is in the eye of the beholder, and while it would be nice to see the hackery go, it wouldn't be worth it if it took other content with it. Just like on Instapundit, the hackery is pretty easy to skipover (not to suggest the VC has the same concentration of hackery).
7.15.2005 6:12pm
TL:
Can't put my finger on what makes the VC the VC, but I vote with the super majority. Scotus just wears me out. Posner Becker when they do post is the same way. VC is the only one I check multiple times each day. And I have even become somewhat obsessed with emailing questions to the contributors here at VC, who to my surprise make themselves accessible even to a yahoo lawschoolers like me.
7.15.2005 6:30pm
TL:
Also, I agree with Che-something above. If any more bloggers are added, I may get to be a little overwhelmed, and scale back my obsessive habits.
7.15.2005 6:33pm
Blithering Idiot (mail) (www):
Yes -- please continue to mix it up!
7.15.2005 6:36pm
Greedy Clerk (mail):
I strongly OPPOSE the idea to split posts so that only the first paragraph shows --- this is very bad for those of us who read on RSS when out of the office -- on TREOS or Blackberry's, because the RSS reader will not pick up the extended entry.

By the way, my comment about some of the "hackery" (not my word) was not directed to the political leanings of the blog. I am probably fairly conservative on lots of issues (crime, pers'l freedom, etc.), but just that the reasoning of some opinions read more like PowerLine or Insty where we know the conclusion --- and in a few cases are simple cut and paste jobs from PowerLine.

7.15.2005 6:37pm
SearchlightCrusade (mail) (www):
You can do both. Speaking as someone who was inspired by Professor Volokh's endorsement of Powerblogs and investigated for my own, they have a powerful and useful ability to create categories, and allow posts to be in multiple categories. I like reading your mix of articles, but if anybody wanted to find one type of article quickly, they could go to the appropriate category.
7.15.2005 6:38pm
lucia (mail) (www):
I like the mix. That said, I think the most important opinions are those of the conspiritors themselves, and of course, particularly Eugene Volokh. Also, looking over at The truth laid bear, it appears your traffic has generally increased since June. So, it seems the eclectic mix isn't driving people away.

So, if more people are visiting, and you people are enjoying yourselves, why split the blog into many blogs?

If you collectively want to make things for convenient for people who like to see only a sub set of topics, you could set up your blog software to file posts in "categories". If you organize it properly, people who only like certain categories could visit posts in those categories only.
7.15.2005 6:57pm
Roger Sweeny (mail):
as is
7.15.2005 7:17pm
Jay Gilbert (mail):
Readers come back to a blog because we discover that the blogger's interests (more than their opinions, really) are interesting to us. If we sometimes discover that a blogger's additional interest is one we never realized was also ours, so much the better. Blog away.
7.15.2005 7:29pm
Adam (mail) (www):
Less rap; more soft music from the 70s, 80s and today.

And more Boardman!
7.15.2005 7:45pm
big dirigible (mail) (www):
I thought the Conspiracy was much better in the old days, when it was just Eugene V. and three or four others. I always skipped Eugene's posts about poetry, but most evrything else was fairly worthwhile. Now with more Conspirators I find it to be an inferior product - sorry, but I just don't find the writings of most of the newbies to be that interesting. Whatever can be done to push it back toward the way it was would be an improvement - although I realize that won't happen, as it implies a major purge.
7.15.2005 7:51pm
fling93 (www):
I love the mix. Don't change it. And with your full-post RSS feed, it's pretty easy to skip over topics I'm not interested in.

I do miss Jacob Levy, though.
7.15.2005 8:10pm
GAC (mail):
Just a quick follow-up to say:

Jacob Levy is definitely missed!
7.15.2005 8:14pm
Nate (mail) (www):
I would personally find it refreshing to find a post about Johnny Depp wedged between a post about Justice Rehnquist, but that's just me.
7.15.2005 8:24pm
Nate (mail) (www):
I would personally find it refreshing to see a post about, say, Willy Wonka wedged between a posts about property rights and Justice Rehnquist, but that's just me.
7.15.2005 8:25pm
RichC:
Love the mix! Second (third?) the opinion on Levy.
7.15.2005 9:28pm
Timothy Burke (mail) (www):
I like the eclecticism of the mix.

I'd prefer some more consistency in the quality of the thought here. You get four, five, six, seven smart, self-aware, rigorous posts, and then you get a partisan hack-job post. Then four, fix, six, seven smart, self-aware posts again. That's certainly a lot better than the ratio at almost every other blog, but still, I don't see the reason for the occasional post that appears to be little more than a reprise of the talking points from a spin-master, considering the general excellence and care.
7.15.2005 10:27pm
erp (mail):
The VC is a must see for me. Conspirators should just keep on doing what they're doing and posting about what interests them.

The short lead-in is easier on the eyes because it makes the page look less cluttered and comments are interesting and fun. A very small suggestion, with so many different people contributing, it would be useful if a particular writing style would be adopted by all. Indent paragraphs or not, blocks for quotes or not, all caps for titles or not. Sorry for being picky, but page layout adds a lot to the overall enjoyment of reading.
7.15.2005 11:02pm
A Brian (mail):
Keep it exactly like it is.
7.15.2005 11:08pm
Clay:
Count one more non-lawyertype who
a. likes the mix, and can use a scroll button when he doesn't
b. favours a cap on new bloggers, but likes occasional guest bloggers
7.15.2005 11:43pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
Love the blog, but comments and politics here don't mix. As some have pointed out, if I want to comment on, say, the Plame/Wilson thing, I go to, for example, Polipundit.com. There, I know that I can get almost as heated as I want.

So, stay away from political hotspots, unless absolutely necessary, and when you do cover such, turn off commenting.

But I really do like the fact that the comment feature is now enabled. The level of comments is, so far, much higher than I see most other places.
7.15.2005 11:46pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
Late to the party, but that's never stopped me before.... ;-p

Keep doing what y'all are doing now - why screw up a good thing?
7.16.2005 1:09am
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
"Also, looking over at The truth laid bear, it appears your traffic has generally increased since June. "

That's because they enabled comments. Each comment adds about three more hits--and that's assuming that people only comment once. I've always thought it was very misleading for TLB and Technorati not to distinguish between blogs that allow comments and those that don't. Unless they're weeding them out, but I can't see how.

The mix is fine, but every time I see one of the bloggers put a list of other posts on the topic at the bottom of his post it drives me nuts. How hard is it to categorize the posts?
7.16.2005 1:16am
teh (mail):
I say keep doing what you're doing. If I remember right, two years ago just Eugene and Sasha used to write a whole novel everyday on here. I doubt that the amount written on this blog has actually increased significantly.
7.16.2005 1:28am
Michael:
To Cal Lanier:

As I understand it, the list of other posts on the topic are supposed to be narrower than a list of all posts within a single category. They refer only to posts on the same narrow subject/story, not all posts in that category. The function of the links back to previous posts are to connect the reader to previous posts that help them to understand the current post.

A category could be something like "economics" or "bankruptcy." A thread of posts (with links back to previous posts in the thread) would be for something like all commentary on "bill 1012, the new bankrupcy legislation."

Then when bankruptcy-related bill 389 is proposed next year, posts on that subject would not link back to the 1012 thread. If, on the other hand, the text of bill 389 was very similar to that of bill 1012, it would probably be put in the same thread (because those past posts would be useful to understanding the newer posts).
7.16.2005 1:59am
Tondar (mail) (www):
Change sucks. Leave it as is!
7.16.2005 5:24am
stephen (mail):
keep the mix. keep it together.
7.16.2005 10:51am
Aeon J. Skoble (mail):
Keep the mix. That's part of the fun.
7.16.2005 12:19pm
Bemac (mail):
Unless you plan to break it, there's no need to fix it.
7.16.2005 1:36pm
dafydd (mail):
I'll add another vote for keeping the current mix. I actually surf the conspiracy through its RSS feed on Livehournal (http://www.livejournal.com/users/volokhconspire/), so I can ignore those posts that don't interest me.

In other words, write what you want and I'll read what I want. :-)
7.16.2005 2:18pm
NickM (mail) (www):
I too favor the status quo. The down arrow and scroll bar take care of any posts I have no interest in very nicely.

Nick
7.16.2005 2:55pm
Toby:
I like the mix.

The one downside of the Blogosphere is the tendency by some to craft a complete fabric of microblogs that "think just like me" and never engage with the issues of the day. An eclectic BLOG like this, albeit one with a particular lense, creates a far more enganging confrontation with diverse world views, inluding a recognition of the consequences (good and bad) of living a viewpoint.

Sure there are flaws, but what doesn't have them. Any "cure" is likely to have more/worse ones.
7.16.2005 4:30pm
Cal Lanier (mail) (www):
Michael,

But unless I'm missing something, they aren't categorizing now. Why not start there? If I were to click on a "bankruptcy" section, odds are that the first ten posts would be the same that are now itemized in each post, and I wouldn't have to jump around.

It's a small gripe. But I really think a place like this benefits from category pages.
7.16.2005 6:00pm
TCO (mail):
Practical answer: Break it into categories, not seperate sites.

Bigger picture: Blogs are neat in a way, but still seem sorta frustrating. I think there is some spectrum of interactivity of content on the net:

webpages, newspapers, blogs w/o comments, blogs w/comments, bulletin boards/forums, chat rooms.

The neat things about blogs are the content and the currency. However, that whole serial nature of the content and front pagishness and such leaves something to be desired. Anyone know of some good analysis thinking about this issue?
7.18.2005 12:17am
TCO (mail):
oh...and could you do something about the layout/presentation? Nothing stands out. Hard to scan. It is almost as bad as Jerry Pournelle's site. Take a look at Powerline, MichelleMalkin, Whizbangblog for some ideas for improvement...
7.18.2005 12:23am
qmony (mail):
The blog is fine as is. Don't fix what isn't broke.
7.18.2005 12:40pm
Sparky:
As is.

What's the big deal, somebody doesn't know how to use the "Page Down" key?
7.18.2005 11:39pm
TCO (mail):
Well...at least make the layout look better. It looks cluttered and titles don't stand out well now.
7.19.2005 12:31am
NR (mail):
Here is a great example of why this blog would benefit from short lead-ins followed by "Click here for more" links.
7.19.2005 2:13pm