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I am a Spammer and so Are You if You Played The Tag Game

There is at least one person who is not happy with Jake’s old-fashioned game of blog tag. Howard Rogers has shut down his website in protest against this latest blog tag craze. Right now, it’s a madhouse I want no part of, Howard writes on his, now one page, site. He also expressed his frustration about flooding OraNA with 8 things you didn’t know about me posts here, here, here and here.

Personally, I think it is not spam, or at least it is not bad spam. The tagged posts show that there is a real person behind every Oracle blog, each with a different personal story to tell. However, OraNA is indeed flooded with the 8 things posts, so I do understand Howard’s frustration, even though his reaction was a bit extreme.

Do you think that the time has come to stop tagging?

Filed in Oracle, Personal on 10 Jan 08 | Tags: , ,

Reader's Comments

  1. |

    Yes Eddie, I think it is definitely the time to stop it. It would be better if it had never started. Why do people need this if they want to talk about themselves? Their blog is theirs, they can post whatever they want anytime, no need for tagging for that. I completely agree with Howard.

  2. |

    I like it. Keep tagging.



  3. |

    Hi Eddie,

    I am with Howard on this, although not as strongly put as Howard so eliquently does it! – way to go Howard!

    Also I think its bonkers to shut down your website in protest; if its left down long enough all the Google PR will be lost.

    I have been pinged by people to join in but i have little time enough for blogging as it is at the moment and when i do post it will be on topic.

    In some senses this is a version of a chain letter or more likely an attempt to emulate viral marketing in the hope that enough people link back to the originator of the process?

    If this catches on, I suspect google will pick up on it anway and add checks for this sort of behaviour to remove the link juice value from these posts.

    At the end of the day you cannot stop anyone from posting what they want on their own blog but this is too much like a scam for me – thats the suspicious security mind at work.



  4. |

    I think Pete nails it in one.

    I will say only in passing that I don’t know what Google ‘PR’ is, but I don’t care about my PageRank or anything like that and never have.

    When you are faced with a situation you profoundly disagree with; and when voicing one’s concern in a blog piece generates only comments about your mental state and a complete disregard for any of the substantive issues you raised; when those playing this ‘game’ refuse to even acknowledge whether there is an issue… when all the above is true, what on Earth does one do? Just grin and bear it and let these vandals take over the shop?

    I choose not to. I only have one way of registering my dislike of what has happened, and shutting the sites down was it. It seems a perfectly rational thing to do from where I’m sitting, not ‘bonkers’. And therefore not ‘extreme’, either.

    I realise opinions will differ on the subject, but I’m content that the response is measured and proportionate to the damage already inflicted by these ‘gamers’.

    Yas nails it in one, too: “Their blog is theirs, they can post whatever they want anytime, no need for tagging for that.” Absolutely. Why anyone thinks their 8 points will stand out in a sea of several hundred, I have no idea. Why not save their 8 points and write about each one of them over time? No-one gets inconvenienced, free expression still reigns, the quality of the content probably goes up and the chance to really find out something new about someone improves dramatically.

    Sadly, what some have not quite registered yet, I think, is that the original game-plan by Jake envisaged tagging going outside the Oracle blogging community (“I’ll start tagging Oracle bloggers, but don’t take that as a requirement.”) Which means this isn’t a private game that we can have a good chuckle over. It will spread to non-Oracle blogs, and then it will spread BACK to Oracle blogs and it will keep on going for as long as there are unthinking people who ‘pass it on’.

    Anyone seriously expecting this to “blow over in a couple of days” as Doug Burns put it is deluding themselves. This thing is here for the duration. That’s the extent of the damage done.

    I can only hope I prove as wrong on that prediction as I seem bonkers to some, but I won’t hold my breath.

  5. |

    I’m sorry you were compelled to shut your site down, Howard, but you and others are right, this chain letter gunk never stops. It’s everywhere, and cyberspace doesn’t need any more memes. They call it “tag” to make it sound cutesy, so people won’t realize what’s actually going on – that they’re getting manipulated by a chain letter and its originator to pass it along, along with the obligatory “Tag your friends!” urging. And all of this just so people can get trackbacks and linkage – please. That’s really not so different from the guy who claimed he personally knew a lot of spammers, and he would tell them to quit spamming you if you put a link to his site on yours. Gah. Chain letters nix the value of people’s blogs. I’ve stopped reading some of my friends’ blogs because they post every dumb crap meme survey chain letter they can get their hands on. Blech. There’s no such thing as “not bad spam” unless you’re talking about the canned meat…

  6. |

    (I apologize if this shows up twice; I encountered a server error when posting it the first time.) For the record, I think that Jake injected this into the Oracle world after seeing the “8 things” post on my blog, so I guess I’m partly to blame for Rogers’ frustration. Obviously, my participation indicates that I’m not bugged by the practice, although I admit that the idea of tagging eight people with the meme was somewhat daunting. (For the record, two of my eight people participated, and the other six have not threatened to kill me. Yet.) I certainly respect those who came after Jake and broke the mold by only tagging a few people, or perhaps not tagging anybody.

    Frankly, as I noted in my “solution” post on the topic (see link to this comment), I don’t see why such posts can’t be skipped. As Oracle the company expands its reach into more and more areas (I’m surprised they didn’t buy Countrywide), there’s going to be a bunch of ORACLE content that many of us are going to choose to ignore. Do we end up tagging someone as a spammer because we’re interested in Oracle Database and they’re talking about Oracle Business Intelligence? (M.B., if you ever see this comment, don’t take it personally.)

  7. |

    I’m kind of in the middle. i do agree with pete with the fact that howard is right about blog tagging. i do think howard went ot his extreme by shutting his site . its nice to know about some of the people you follow s o a nice old fashion game of blog tag is as bad as its seems. It shouldnt be tagged spam i guess but it can be ignored if you are not interested in the content but someone is always interested in some content so that someone might benefit from something in that particular post that other may not .

  8. |

    I participated, I’ve been following it, and I like it.

    Blogs, like much of the information that comes to us via the Internet, can be both devoid of any personal touch while still being pretty biased. Knowing some personal things about the various bloggers in a community not only injects more of a human touch, but it also gives me clues about any bias in their posts. I think both these aspects of our tag game have value to bloggers and blog readers alike, so I have to take exception with the spammer label folks are attempting to apply here…

    That being said, I can see why Howard feels as he does, though I think shutting down the website is more than a little “over the top” (but, it’s his site, so he can do with it as he sees fit).

    Regardless of how you feel about the result, keep in mind that the original intent in starting this game of tag was a good one…to bring the community of Oracle bloggers and blog readers closer together. Perhaps our discussion might be better spent on coming up with other ways to strengthen the ties in that community?

  9. |


    Fascinating that a little game of blog-tag would evolve into the latest Oracle Blogosphere teapot tempest (nicely summarized here by Eddie Awad …

  10. |

    the original intent in starting this game of tag was a good one…to bring the community of Oracle bloggers and blog readers closer together.

    You don’t bring people closer together by telling some of them, ‘if you don’t like it, just learn how to use an RSS reader properly’ (as if installing one is always an option. Don’t try it on a work PC that’s locked down with group policies, for example…)

    Yet that is what is now happening at, for example, -see especially Tim Dexter’s comment at #11: “just point Firefox at the RSS stream and I can pick and choose what I want to read”. Yeah, let’s just assume what browser people are using whilst we’re at it, shall we?!

    Interesting that thread, actually. Tim works out that approximately 50 out of 230 posts aggregated by OraNA are of the ‘8 things’ variety: it’s only 20% of the total, after all, nowhere near the exponential growth predicted, so no problem then!

    If I lived in a street where the local youths suddenly decided to spray-paint just 20% of the local walls with their tags, I’d call the cops. And if that failed, I’d move. That’s what I’m doing by withdrawing all my site material. Don’t like it? Think it’s an over-the-top response? Go do something about cleaning up the neighbourhood, then.

  11. |

    […] game of blog-tag would evolve into the latest Oracle Blogosphere teapot tempest (nicely summarized here by Eddie Awad & commenters). Interestingly, the game has since spilled over into the wider […]

  12. |

    I’m also kind of middle here. I’ve been tagged and responded however did not spread further this chain. Speaking about Howard’s decision to my mind it is kind of extreme. I’d compare that to self starvation in real life and that would be my veeery last step. And also if I remember correctly Howard lately invited other people to blog on his site. I of course did not read his terms, probably there were such terms like “you have to agree with each and every my move and decision”, but anyway I think it is not fair to them and to other people actively taking part in his site development. If I have a site without any other authors, then I could do anything I’d like. If I’d invite others to participate there, then I’d take some responsibility to act in the name of all of them. Of course in case Howard made consultations with other bloggers on his site then I a priori apoligize.

  13. |

    I have to back Howard on this. I find a lot of this tagging to be rather childish. As far as Howard shutting down his site — it’s his site and he can do what he wants and when he wants with it. I will patiently wait for it to come back up (hopefully as soon as this tagging baloney blows over). I needed his resources rather badly over the weekend while installing and setting up some software.

  14. |

    […] to what some Oracle bloggers (unwisely IMHO) had termed a ‘chain letter‘, ‘spam‘ or a […]

  15. |

    I had no problem with the “8 Things” tagfest, if thats what you want to call it…. I have been reading some of the tagged blogs for quite a while and personally I found it nice to get to know a bit more about the people behind the sites.

    Personally, I believe some of the reactions were extreme. If blog tagging happened on a weekly basis, then yes I would agree its a problem. But for one occurrence (that i’m aware of) affecting a few dozen blogs then I don’t see the big deal. I don’t recall the last time i’ve seen a tagged post, so it hasn’t spread like some have feared.

  16. |

    […] chosen to respond to what some Oracle bloggers (unwisely IMHO) had termed a ‘chain letter’, ‘spam’ or a ‘game’.I am genuinely sorry that you have decided to shut down your site as (as I have stated […]

  17. |

    As expected, the “8 Things” End Of Days predictions were, in fact, a mite short of the truth. It all passed quietly, nobody died and the only casualty was HJR’s Blog, which is now an obscure desert island in the sea of eternity.

  18. |

    Well, now it’s December 22, 2008, and I still remember this little episode – primarily because I’m semi-responsible for it, since Jake Kuramoto saw my post in the meme.

    So when I was tagged today, I participated, but didn’t tag anyone.

    Of course, any of you – Eddie, Jake, even Howard – are welcome to tag yourself.