Sunday, July 24, 2005

Meta-Carnival #6

It is time for a new (approximately monthly) round-up of all known blog carnivals. If you want to trace the history of carnivals, see how they are born, grow, metamorphose, mature, reproduce, age and die, as well as more about them, compare this one to the previous Meta-Carnivals: One, Two, Three, Four and Five. All of those (and more) are also collected here.

For entering many of the carnivals, you can use the Universal Blog Carnival Submission Form over on Ferdy's blog. It is an extraordinarily useful tool. Harvey of Bad Example has written a tutorial how to use the Form to enter various carnivals.

If a carnival is missing from this list, or if I messed up a link, please let me know.

In these meta-carnivals I tend to just list the carnivals and provide the links to the homepage, last issue and next host of each. This time I will do something different and editorialize a little. I have hosted various carnivals about a dozen times so far and have written several times about the carnival phenomenon. I have founded one carnival and co-founded another one. Putting all this together with doing a regular meta-carnival I fancy myself an expert on the topic and have recently been invited to talk about carnivals at the next big BloggerCon.

For a longer essay about carnivals, see here (this essay has been, with minor editing, re-published here, here and here).

Here is, in a nutshell, what I think. Imagine that you are a historian, a journalist or a student in, let's say, 2055. You are interested in finding and documenting public reactions to an event in 2005. Where do you look? Not in books or MSM as that does not reflect 'public' reaction. You naturally go to the Internet and look for blogs. But there are millions of blogs and each has many, many posts in 2005, most posts irrelevant to your query. How do you find the best, most relevant posts? How do you find blogs that cover your topic in depth? Search engines cannot help as they are sensitive to your choices of keywords and will invariably provide too many irrelevant hits, while missing some important ones. What you need is a single central place that contains the most important material and links to other relevant material which in turn links to other relevant material and so on, so you can follow these radial spokes out of the center as much as you want. And ALL the links are on the topic of your interest and limited to 2005. There is only one such kind of central place - the blog carnivals.

There is currently a huge proliferation of blog carnivals - a very positive development - so I would like to list a few criteria for what makes a carnival, and then a few criteria for what makes a carnival useful to a future historian. The latter, IMHO, are also the criteria that make a carnival succesful in the long run - something that can be tested by looking at the carnivals that are already dead. Perhaps in the near future the second list of criteria will also become defining of a carnival (no matter how a linkfest calls itself).

First, what currently defines a carnival?

1) A Blog Carnival is a series of blog posts. It is not a single post, or a series of websites, or forum threads.
2) Each edition of the carnival is a single blog post. It is not a series of posts, or a website, or a forum post.
3) The overarching theme and format is well defined.
4) All issues are posted with predictable frequency. Some carnivals are daily, some quarterly, most appear once a week, but they do not appear on a haphazard random schedule. A break for summer or Christmas is reasonable (even some MSM does that).
5) There is some editorializing by the host of each issue - at least a brief introduction. There have been some very creative (and successful) examples of thematic editorializing recently, most notably on Grand Rounds, Skeptic's Circle and Tar Heel Tavern.
6) Each issue of the carnival is a collection of links to other blog posts (almost never to websites or forum posts).
7) Each link is suggested to the host by other bloggers (usually people submitting their own best posts). While the host is likely to include his/her own entry, as well as perhaps some "editor's choice" entries, if most or all the links are chosen by the host it is not a carnival.
8) Participation in the carnival is open to every blogger, i.e, it is not limited to card-carrying members of a particular group/ring/coalition. Though some carnivals will be somewhat limited thematically or geographically, every new blogger who satisfies a basic criterion is automatically eligible.

Now, from the perspective of a future historian, what really makes a carnival, or at least what makes a carnival useful?

1) It has a central place (a blogpost, a blog, or a webpage) that contains the mission statement and, most importantly, contains the complete archives of the carnival - the links to every single issue. After 50 years, the archives will be very big and need to be easily accessible and searchable. Ideally, the carnival homepage is incorporated into a larger community webpage that provides additional information and links that can be useful to the future historian.
2) It regularly rotates hosts. The non-rotating carnivals have a smaller chance of surviving 50 years, they are less likely to be perceived as "their own" by a bigger blogging community, and are less likely to represent the broadest swath of the bloggers writing about the particular topic.

Let's see now how the current carnivals stack up against these "rules". I assume that some of you will disagree politely and some of you will disagree impolitely, but this is my current view and I welcome your comments. Also, keep in mind that I am not judging the theme or the content of the carnival - only the format and the technical aspects. While collections of Right-wing rants are not my cup of tea, I certainly want all carnivals to have a long life and to grow good and popular. More the merrier (and better for the scholars of the future). Perhaps these suggestions here will help you in making your favourite carnival become even better than it is now.


Here are some carnivals that are doing everything right and more:

Carnival of Un-Capitalists (economic and labor topics from a Progressive/Liberal/Leftist perspective) has been incorporated into a bigger community page - The Uncapitalists Journal which also includes a blog, a forum and a newsletter. The old carnival homepage is still up and is a good example how to do it right: Carnival of Un-Capitalists. Here is the last edition and the next one will be found here.

Carnival of the Godless (a skeptical look at theology and religion) has recently become a part of a broader coommunity effort at UTI. The last edition was posted here and the next one will be here

Blawg Review (law and legal scholarship) also has a spiffy homepage and blog and well-organized archives. Here is the last edition and here is the location of the next edition. While the posts come mostly from conservative bloggers, they are trying to cover the whole spectrum, so, if you are a liberal blawgger, please submit your entries there.

Tangled Bank (science, nature, medicine, environment, and the interface between science and society) had its homepage rebuilt recently, adding a blog and making it look better and be more functional. It has become really big lately. While Tangled Bank is always going to be the compendium of the very best science blogging (like "Science" and "Nature" in the real world), more specialized "journals" have spawned off of it. Most of the critique of creationism has moved to the Skeptic's Circle and the Carnival of the Godless. Medical blogging has moved to Grand Rounds and Nursing Moments. Indian scientists have Scian Melt. The birders have started I And The Bird. I am fully expecting new carnivals starting soon, more narrowly focused on mathematics, physics, astronomy, geology, climatology or cognitive science. I would also love to see a carnival of social science - where are the anthropologists, archeologists, sociologists and psychologists? Yet, the best posts by those same bloggers will always go to the Tangled Bank. The previous issue of the Tangled Bank and the next host are here.

Raging RINOs have started RINO Sightings. This is the official carnival of the Raging RINO Community ("Republicans who have not swallowed the whole party line, who are not into religion, or who disagree with some of the standard platform planks"). The last edition is #3. This may be the best place to look for updates.

Carnival of Liberty (archives are here) (libertarians) is always cross-posted here: Previous
Next. Thus, it is also a part of a greater online community effort (if only the Progressives would do this on DailyKos...nah, wishful thinking).

Everything Just Right

Here are the carnivals that "obey" all of the above rules for what makes a good carnival:

The homepage of The Tar Heel Tavern (North Carolina blogging) is also soon going to get incorporated into a broader community, fusing with an aggregator, blog, information abour meetups, teach-ins and BloggerCons, etc. Previous edition is here and the next host will be .

Skeptic's Circle (debunking pseudoscience and quakery) Previous Next.

Grand Rounds (medicine, nursing, health-care), Previous; Next

History Carnival (history) Previous; Next

Carnivalesque (early modern history): Previous; Next

Carnival of Bad History (debunking misuse of history) is a quarterly carnival. Previous edition is here and the host of the next one will be decided soon.

Philosopher's Carnival (philosophy) Previous Next.

I And The Bird (birdwatching): Previous; Next.

Music Carnival(music, podcasts): Previous; Next.

The Scian Melt (Indian science) was declared dead but has risen back from its ashes:
Previous; Next.

Karnival of Kidz (children: pictures and stories) Previous; Next.

Carnival of the Balkans (blogging in, from, or about the Balkan countries) is on summer break. Here is the last edition

Smarter Than I (best posts selected by readers, not self-selected) is also on summer break. Previous Next

New Blog Carnival Showcase Extravaganza (introducing new, young blogs) Previous Next

Carnival of the Cats (cats) Previous Next.

Carnival of Recipes (yummy) Previous Next.

Carnival Of The Gamers (computer and video games) Previous Next.

The Rundown (formerly Carnival of the Runners) (running) Previous Next.

Carnival of Revolutions (freedom movements around the world) Previous Next.

Bharteeya Blog Mela (Indian blogs) Previous Next.

BritBlog Roundup (British blogs) Previous Next.

Carnival of Personal Finance (personal finance): Previous; Next.

Carnival of Capitalists (economics from a Conservative perspective) Previous Next.

Carnival of Cordite (guns) Previous Next.

Bonfire of the Vanities (the worst blog posts) Previous Next.

Carnival of Comedy(supposed to be funny stuff, but most entries appear serious): Previous Next.

Catholic Carnival (Catholicism) Previous Next.

Missing a Homepage with Archives

While it is fun to enter these carnivals now, and most of them have great content, the lack of the homepage/archives will make these useless for future scholarship. Perhaps they will build homepages soon - sooner the better, before the number of issues becomes too large! Even for a more short-term outlook - I keep getting hits to carnivals I hosted several months ago, all coming from the archives: it is a gift that keeps on giving.

Carnival of Vanities (the first, oldest, biggest - the original carnival of best blogging). Searching Silflay Hraka for the Carnival can allow one to find the links to all issues, but it is a major pain to do this. Previous Next.

Rascal Fair (Montana blogging) downgraded to a monthly event for the summer in order to be more inline with Montana's rafting and backpacking nature.

Carnival of Education (education): Previous; Next. Each edition has a list of links to all previous editions on the bottom - something that will become unyieldy soon.

Storyblogging Carnival (stories writen by bloggers) Previous Next

Nursing Moments (nursing): Previous; Next. A very new carnival - I am assuming that they will build a homepage.

The Carnival Of NBA (professional basketball) Previous Next. It is difficult to find issues without a central place and archives.

Haveil Havalim (Vanity of Vanities Initiative) (Israel and Jewish blogging) Previous Next.

Christian Carnival (Christianity) - there is a home-post but not a real archive. Previous Next.

Celebration of the New Christian Fiction (Christian stories) Previous Next.

Not Rotating

While not having a homepage/archives is easy to fix, lack of rotation is a more serious problem. It tends to tap into a narrow sliver of the blogosphere and excludes people who are not seeing eye-to-eye with the host - thus it is not representative enough for the purposes of the future historian. It prevents a wider community of bloggers from feeling "ownership" of the carnival and investing time and energy into it, thus leaving a single person to do all the hard work. Once that person quits doing the carnival, or quits blogging, or dies, the carnival is kaputt.

Carnival of Tomorrow, (blogging about the future) has a great topic and excellent issues so far - I hope they start rotating hosts soon (I want to host!): Previous, Next.

Friday Ark (animals of all kinds) serves a very specific role and would be difficult to start rotating and have it turn out well every week: Previous Next

Advocate Weekly #9 is the latest edition of the carnival devoted to the support of public education. It is archived in ocasional posts here.

Carnival of Dogs (dogs) Previous Next

Blogging For Books (about books) Previous Next.

Digested Readers (book reviews): Previous; Next

Carnival of the Walkers (walking, as in 'exercise'), Last, Next.

Blog Of The Day (daily carnival showcasing one blog per day) - being a daily carnival, perhaps it is impossible to have this one rotate hosts.

Funny Stuff (jokes etc.) is another daily carnival: Previous.

Carnival of Cars (automotive blogging): Previous; Next.

Carnival of the Optimists (optimism) Previous Next.

Watcher of Weasels (competitive, "Survivor"-like, "best of" carnival) Previous Next.

Carnival of the Liberated (Iraq and Afghanistan) Previous Next.

The Best Of Me Symphony (guest-edited best of older blog-posts) Previous Next.

Hillbilly Carnival #1 (West Virginia bloggers) and Hillbilly Carnival #2 so far - a brand new carnival with room to grow.

Carnival of New Jersey Bloggers: Previous; Next.

Items of Interest (one of many Left-bashing Right-wing collections): Previous, Next.

Carnival of Classiness (yet another Right-winger sneering at the Left): Previous; Next.

Carnival of the Clueless (another collection of clueless Right-wing bile targeting liberal strawmen): Previous; Next.

Carnival of Crazy #1 (another crazy collection): Next.

Carnival of Insanities(the most insane of them all): Previous Next.

Christian Views Symposium (answering questions on Christian topics) Previous Next.

CarnivAOL just started. It highlights AOL blogs.

Not Really a Carnival?

Blog Tower (best writing of the Progressive blogosphere, thematically not limited to politics) Previous Next. Hosted on a website instead of a blog, with no predictable frequency, without links (entire posts are copied) - it is just not a carnival....which is a shame because the posts are exceptionally good.

I am still trying to figure out the Cotillion, a distributed carnival-like thing that is hosted by several people simultaneously. It appears that sometimes they collect links, sometimes read books, all women, all Rightwing....

Asia By Blog (Asian blogs) - host posts a lot of links, then publishes the list of "Top 10 most clicked of the week" round-up.

Sneak's Wide World of Blogging - links chosen by the host. Previous Next.

Red Ensign Standard (Canadian Conservatives) Previous Next. Another strange case: the hosts pick links from a limited pool of blogs (the members of the group). Thus, every weekly round-up of posts (e.g., the Friday Round-up of the Liberal Coalition) would count as a carnival. I don't think so. See criterion #8 at the top of this post.

It is exactly the same reason why Homespun Bloggers Symposium is not really a carnival although it is a great idea. It is limited by the membership requirement. Previous Next.

Vox Apologia (Christian apologetics) is experimenting with various formats, including Dies Apologia and TheoMeme. Developing...

Also, some people invite trackbacks and call the resulting post a Carnival of Trackbacks. Here is another one, the lates issue being here. Apart from the fact that the whole institution of the trackback is a dinosaur that has outlived its usefulness in today's blogosphere, just having people throw links in does not a carnival make!

Dead Carnivals?

Let me know if these are not dead, i.e., if they have just moved to another venue, changed the name, or are on hiatus.

Another good one appears to have ended: Cavalcade of Canucks (Liberal Canadians).

Also unfortunately, Carnival of Sin (seven deadly sins) is quite dead, too.

Carnival of Poetry, Poetry Carnival and Carnival of Poets are all dead. Dead Poet Society?

Carnival of Videos - just one edition?

Speaker's Corner (liberal blogs): Previous.

Kissing Booth

Carnival of the Families devoted to woman's rights apparently never took off.

Cul-de-Sac, somebody's own carnival started with the first issue here and ended with the last issue here.

Carnival of the Rugrats

Carnival of the Pajamas apparently had ten issues.

Carnival of Consumers is officially dead.

Carnival of Solutionshad two issues.

Bush Bloggers could not be found since the election.

Big Blue Bash Previous - is officially over.

Carnival of the Commies (Rightie look at Leftie blogs) Previous Next - appears to be dead.

Biblical Studies Forum

Pro-Life Carnival

From The Edge.

Again, if I have missed a carnival, or messed up a link, or pronounced a live carnival dead, or you disagree with my opinions, let me know in the comments.

Update: Thanks to Richard Chapell for alerting me to the existence of the Kiwi Carnival (New Zealand blogs). It belongs in the "Doing Everything Right" group. Previous; Next.

UPdate 2: I see that New Jersey bloggers have started rotating their carniva. That is good. I hope they also make the homepage soon.

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