Trust networks never really work. These are semi-formal systems on the web where people nominate other people that they consider to have a particular relationship with: say, they trust them to look after their puppy. Then these new puppy-trustees each nominate even more people, based on what they think are similar criteria, that they would let look after their hilariously big-pawed beastie. Repeat this process, like a pyramid scheme of good will, with infinite amounts of notional money, and you eventually sort the world into people who, in their own opinion, have all earned puppy-trust, and people who don’t. You cross your fingers early on, of course, and hope that there’ll be someone left in the latter camp.
At first glance this all sounds quite sweet, especially when you think about cute little puppy-dog eyes, but consider: all the security problems you’d have on a formal computer network, you can have on some non-formal social network. Not only that, but you have no way of enforcing the same definitions across the whole network, no way of trusting that your trustees’ trustees’ trustees version of “puppy love” is in any way related to your own, or indeed is technically legal depending on the closeness of physical contact involved. Then throw lack of agreed protocols and the presence of non-technical people messing with the system into this heady mix of well-meaning stupidity, and it’s not surprising that the end result is pointless and, in the final analysis, more than a little pompous.
So when you spot a group of people you respect starting to indulge in this sort of nonsense, you really have to step in. The trust token in this case is the “Thogger“. I know, isn’t it? Kind of like a new slang word for football hooligan, a contraction of “thug soccer” along the lines of “chugger”. But it apparently means “thinking blogger”, which doesn’t mean thinking blogger in the sense of “thinking blogger”, oh heavens no, but “blogger that makes you think.” Well, thank heavens for that, I say: at last we can separate the bloggers that make you think from those that are actually just seopoer aeb onetb]rygn qwdz eprmew ook.
Of course, nobody’s yet mentioned such nasty truths as “thinking probably just means performing the same sort of A-level-student fisking and fairly basic textual analysis that all my mates are patting themselves on the backs for doing” or “thoggers will probably come to similar conclusions, or have similarly-aligned principles, as other thoggers,” and certainly not the startlingly and somewhat uncomfortably forthright “hey, Ilker: how come you’re complaining about blog-memes being tired old spam and then sicking up a lazy, pseudo-intellectual one of your own? And why does your post on thought provocation provoke me to think ‘dear God, this chap could do with an editor?'”
All the usual criticism that this otherwise healthy blogging community practises has been buried, sadly, in the mound of self-congratulatory bunkum and tummyrot that inevitably accompanies self-awarded community accolades. Besides, look at the time the poor chap’s spent in Photoshop:
But I digress. Although I’ve not yet been nominated for one, I nonetheless would humbly like to bestow a Thogger on five people. Call it anarchy, or performance art, or a zest for smashing hegemonies even before they become established; or whatever you fancy, really.
Let me make this clear, though: I don’t want a Thogger. I don’t actually want to give Thoggers out either. I’ve just nominated the people I think are mischievous to pass unsanctioned Thoggerdom on. See, if you’re at one of those crazy Domino Rallies, and the people are setting up dominoes of purest smug, then it’s an act of kindness, really, to pick up handfuls of those dominoes and just throw them around, and encourage other people to throw them around, in the hope you’ll bring the whole edifice of smirking cheap-meme cliquery down around you.
Anyway, if you’re feeling adventurous, feel free to nominate whoever you like for a Thogger, whether your name’s in the list above or not. Don’t blame me if you incur the wrath of the Thogger community with their thog-rays and thog-piercing thoglets. If this does happen, then my advice is: don’t let the Thoggers grind you down.