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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Tracking the SL Interviews: LR & SL have the last laugh

As avid readers of the Russia blogosphere may know, senior Russia blogger Andy Young is currently in the midst of publishing an ambitious set of interviews with Russia blog publishers on his own blog Siberian Light. When he gets finished, LR intends to turn the tables and interview Andy. He started (naturally!) with La Russophobe, moved on to White Sun of the Desert, and most recently focused on Copydude. In the interim, he also interviewed fanatical blog reader and all-around- Russophile-nutjob Mike Averko, apparently to get an outside (way, way outside) perspective (some people might question the propriety of interviewing a mere reader before finishing with the actual writers, some might even say it's a bit disrespectful to those hardworking bloggers who've not yet been interviewed, but Andy is a bit of an iconoclast who doesn't concern himself with issues of that kind -- an admirable trait).

It's worth noting that the interview of "Copydude" doesn't give the publisher of that (disgraceful) blog's real name, nor does the "about" section on Copydude's blog itself. That's just for the information of some wackos (Andy has properly called them "demented") who criticize the use of anonymity on this blog. The publisher of Russian Blog (known only by the first name "Konstantin") is also anonymous, as are millions of other bloggers. There's nothing the least bit wrong with anonymity (without it we'd be missing quite a lot of the world's great literature), so there's no reason why Russian Blog and Copydude shouldn't be anonymous -- and the same goes for LR's contributors, should they desire to be so.

Let's take a look at the reception these four interviews have received so far, shall we?

To start with, La Russophobe's interview has received nearly twice as many comments as all of the other three interviews combined, as the list below shows:

Comments Received

La Russophobe (63)*
Mike Averko (22)
Copydude (13)
White Sun of the Desert (7)

*This doesn't count Andy's followup post "Why I interviewed La Russophobe," which generated an additional 23 comments, for a total of 86 so far. What's more, a number of the comments on the other three posts were written in response to comments made about them by La Russophobe. So, all told, LR has generated upwards of 100 comments for Andy's blog as the result of this series.

One must also suggest that since the level of interest achieved by Copydude and White Sun, both critics of LR, was exceeded by that of a mere reader, they perhaps need to get their act together. In that respect, at least, Andy's decision to interview the reader first seems to have been justifiable.

Next, let's Google the four interviews and see how many hits we get, shall we?

Google Hits

So this time, LR receives nearly ten times as much attention as the other three interviews put together.

After Andy published his interview with LR, a few of her Russophile critics wrote furious letters demanding to know why he dared to do such an "outrageous" thing, calling it a "waste of time." This prompted Andy, as noted above, to issue a second post explaining his purpose. Well, it appears that the question of "why" Andy interviewed LR, and why he interviewed her first, has been definitively answered by the data given above. One could add, of course, that there is no other independent Russia blog which has close to as many Technorati links, Google hits or published regular traffic as LR does. In fact, given all this, it seems like the better question to ask would be why anyone would be simpleton enough to question Andy's decision in the first place -- and if anything, one might ask why Andy chose to interview anybody else. But then, the demented Russophile minions rarely care to ask good questions. They seem to prefer watching Russia slip beneath the waves.

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