Alan K. Henderson's Weblog


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Tuesday, June 05, 2007


The blog is five years old today.

I remember Jay Manifold's one and only piece of advice on blogging: have fun. That hold true whether one is going for a few laughs or delving into serious topics. Some people have made stabs at coming up with rules for blogging. I won't attempt a comprehensive list, but I believe that these principles are very important:

  • Do not take disagreement personally. Everybody disagrees with you on something.
  • In any debate, whether by email or comments section, actually changing opinions is extra credit (and quite rare, by my experience). The goals are to make your position understood and to understand others' positions. You should seek to identify what I call the "hinge issue" - the point at where divergence of opinion begins. I hold up my exchange with Sean LaFreniere (see here and here) as an illustration; the hinge issue in this case is disagreement over the legitimacy of the legal concept of substantive due process.
  • If you send a link to one of your posts to another blogger, don't request that you be linked - that's already implied by the email. Your goal is to entertain the addressee.
  • Most bloggers should never blog about work. If in doubt, assume you're among the most.
  • Don't blog about friends and family without permission.

I'll recount a few blog milestones:

  • Date uncertain Making use of my ISP-provided webspace to host images displayed on the blog. I wanted that capability most for putting flag icons next to my blogroll entries. It also supports what has become a blog tradition, my annual costume party posts on October 31.
  • November 5, 2002 Birth of the other blog, the Henderson Prize for the Advancement of Liberty. Inspired by my dissatisfaction with the Nobel Peace Prize. I first announced the "prize" here, and explained why I chose not to parallel the Nobel Peace Prize: "The prize specifies liberty instead of peace because the latter cannot last for any significant length of time without the former." Putting together one of these prizes is one of the highlights of the year. It's educational, and often I don't know the complete roster of awardees until the HPAL entry is complete. For instance, while working on the award to honor the end of slavery in Britain, I didn't realize that it would dovetail with one of that nation's early legislative reforms, the Reform Act of 1832. I also didn't realize how many Communists would win the award for contributing to the downfall of Communism. Because the award seeks to highlight specific events, its roster will invariably include persons who have on other occasions been very unkind to freedom; Janos Kadar is a classic example.
  • January 12, 2003 One of the early Instalanches, if not the first.
  • September 08, 2003 My first guest post at Sasha Castel's now-defunct blog; I announced it on this blog here. Being invited to post on someone else's blog is one of the highest compliments a blogger can receive. Don't know if she'll make a comeback, but I've kept a hyperlink in the window.
  • March 2005 Texas Blogfest 2005. First blogger gathering I went to. Met Emperor Misha for the first time.
  • July 4, 2005 Linked by Jim Lindgren of the Volokh Conspiracy. One of the harder links for a non-lawyer to get. Fittingly, the topic was something very non-lawyery - Doonesbury.
  • November 5, 2006 A guest post at Samizdata, on certain political implications of the graphic novel V for Vendetta. I submitted the post on my own initiative, and Samizdata kindly accepted it.

Many thanks to my readers.


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