Thursday, January 12, 2006

BoingBoing Doublepost: Mark vs. Cory 

An interesting coincidence of simulposting over at BoingBoing this evening provides a nifty opportunity to explore the difference in posting styles of fellow BBhosts and all-around amazing gentlemen Mark Frauenfelder and Cory Doctorow. Analysis follows, but first, just in case it goes away, a look at the doublepost in question:

Subtle differences abound. Some of the more obvious:
  • The blogentry titles are significantly different. Cory’s post title celebrates the cookbook itself; Mark’s refers to a "scanned copy OF" the cookbook. Meanwhile, Mark uses and capitalizes the actual name of the cookbook, and the longform of the year (1950s) while Cory shortens both, making for a shorter title overall

  • Note the different choice of pic. Given the same source info, Mark went for the oddest inside-the-book pic, thus reinforcing Cypher’s language (and a WHOLE SECTION just for…) while Cory goes for the equally weird but much more colorful cover. Shape and layout come into play here, too -- wide vs. tall pics frame the text differently; I wonder if either choice was made with visual impact of the overall entry in the larger context of the page itself in mind?

  • Given the same information, Cory provides a backlink w/thanks to the poster and also a link to the material posted, though they are arguably/ultimately from the same sourcehuman. Mark, on the other hand, provides no such double-link to Cypher, though his site is not the same as the ground meat cookbook site.

  • Mark eliminates the redundant wordage (ground meat, from the 50s) from the content, since it’s in the title. Cory allows the redundancy, thus preserving (we assume) Cypher's original quote.

  • Cory capitalizes the sender’s name, and uses the ubercool “sez” to introduce Cypher’s original language. Mark uses actual English words but does not capitalize "cypher".

Also worth including, if anyone decided to take this up as a thesis topic, would be the context, both before and after. Has this happened before? Is there some protocol for Mark and Cory to follow from here? Once the incident has come to the attention of the four bloggers over at BoingBoing, will the two posts be mashed-up into one single post, or will one ultimately be dropped by someone -- and, if the latter, by whom: the original poster, the "other guy," or perhaps a third party, such as Xeni?

With or without such aftermath-watching, a more detailed, thesis-level analysis would necessarily note that much of the difference in style is consistent with the obvious difference in perspective that both Mark and Cory bring to the table. There are few surprises, in fact -- stylistically, these differences could have been predicted by us regular BoingBoing readers with some accuracy.

In closing, then: the opportunity to close-read this massively popular web compendium is priceless; glad we could be there to see it.

And a caveat: No disrespect or even critique of either Cory or Mark is intended herein. Each is enjoyable -- incredible, I daresay, and inspirational to boot -- in his own way, both on BoingBoing and in other ventures, digital and non-. It wouldn't be BoingBoing without them. I'm just glad they're each unique.

UPDATE: 2:56 am:

If my read of posting times is accurate, Cory -- who was online anyway, posting other material -- seems to have withdrawn his post. Happily, the screenshot above is going nowhere. Now: will the folks at BoingBoing think this worthy of passing along to their readers?

posted by boyhowdy | 2:23 AM |

When we get a double-post, the later poster usually just deletes it. One of us will email the other and s/he takes it down. This happens most often when one of the California editors is up late or when I'm working early in London, since we're all awake at the same time then.
Cool...just about what I was guessing, given the way your post disappeared so soon.

Incidentally: though a newbie fan (as of this summer), I have very much enjoyed reading your (Cory's)fiction. "Down and Out" makes great beach reading; "Comes to Town" deserved reading thrice. And congrats on quitting your "day job" -- as I said in my blog earlier, if today's earlier long-form post is any indication, the world will surely benefit.

/suckup. I can't believe I'm practically gushing to someone else in a blog comment on my own blog. Okay, I'll stop now.
Shucks! Glad you liked the books!
This is great! Thanks for posting this. I laughed heartily. I would like to bake a lamb loaf for you one day.
Happy you liked it, Mark. I'll take that lamb loaf anytime -- mmm, mmm, good!

As with Cory, I'm a big admirer -- thanks for YOUR good work, too, Mark. I gave my father a copy of The World's Worst on our way to a John Gorka concert just after it came out; he was so happy with it he had trouble staying focused on the show.

I really appreciate y'all stopping in. Keep up the great writing and thinking!

- a fan
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