CSAs; Gush For je’
There’s a class of blogs best described as Cool Shit Aggregators. CSAs are must-read sites for those who want be in the know, the kind of sites so oft-referenced that their names get shortened for conversational speed.
Slashdot was one of the first. Surely you’ve heard geeks saying “did you catch that link off Slash?” But Slashdot’s user-submitted content is painfully geeky, limited in scope to “news for nerds,” and saddled with one of the worst and largest communities on the Internet. Big does not equal good, geeks, and Slashdot is effing huge. Even when browsing Slashdot’s moderated comments through a filter that allows only the best-rated thoughts through, most of it is intolerable. Sure, you can ignore it and just go for the links, but Slashdot fancies itself a community, the tragic mistake of a CSA.
Memepool, on the other hand, is a simple, elegant example of a CSA. Clean design, little babble, no comments or community, just links links links to funny, startling, unusual things. Keen to this day, but not updated often enough to feed the Cool Shit Hunter’s voracious appetite.
Boing Boing is Memepool’s polar opposite and Slashdot’s bastard cousin, still geeky but inexplicably popular. Boing Boing finds are often hidden in scads of commentary from the site’s author, who frequently throw in props to themselves and the causes they front for. It’s not a community site per se, but comments are allowed and “guest bloggers” are in frequent rotation. Most of the good finds seem to come from readers anyway, hence the comparison to Slashdot. Its appeal has already waned a fair bit in my book, despite (or in spite of) fashionable libertarianism/post-cyberpunk street cred.
So what’s my CSA of choice? “Who” is actually the question, and the answer is je’ (je_apostrophe), man(?) of mystery and master of makeoutcity.com. The majority of je’’s posts are daily collections of delicious links: techy without being geeky, interesting without being cute, and personal without being manipulative. It’s not just that he links to me, either; he links to everyone. je’ has an instinct for Cool Shit like nobody else, and I find more things and people through him than anyone/where else on the Net. Furthermore, the axiom that subtitles his blog (“all you need are kisses to start a makeout party”) remains as true today as when I first read it. So, so true.
I’ve been meaning to post this for several days, but the fear that je’ would pick it up in one of his link roundups and start a recursive linking session that would ultimately speed the universe to an entropic heat death kept me from doing so. However, I’ve consulted with several leading physicists who assure me that “nobody gives a shit about your weblog.” Except je’. Which is why I would buy him lunch if he came to DC. Thanks for being my favorite CSA, je’."