We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]


1. noun. A contraction of weblog, a form of on-line writing characterised in format by a single column of text in reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent content at the top) with the ability to link to individual articles. There is usually with a sidebar displaying links, and the content is frequently updated.

(probably coined by Peter Merholz)

Usage: “Glenn has writen an interesting article about the folly of gun control on his blog”

also see: Warblog, Journal blog, Pundit blog, Tech blog, Group blog

2. verb. To write an article on a blog.

Usage: “Steven Green has just blogged about the joys of Vodka today”


“After reading that crap in the New York Times about globalization, I feel a serious need to blog about real world economics”

The majority of blogs are non-professional (update July 2004: commercial blogs of various sorts are now appearing in increasing numbers) and are run by a single writer. However whether or not a blog has a single author or is a group effort, a key differentiating factor between a blog and other on-line formats (such as forums, wikis etc) is that the main articles (as opposed to just comments) are written by the blog’s owners/members and not by the general public.

Although there are several competing definitions regarding what makes a blog a blog, it can be convincingly argued that, circa 2004, for something published on the web to be a true blog, it must be configured to be readily accessible by the blogosphere. That means although reverse chronological order is a defining feature of a blog, that alone is not enough. If the individual articles cannot be linked to separately via a permalink (rather then just linking to the whole site), then the site in question is not a blog.

This means some ostensible blogs are debatably not really blogs at all (they are merely ‘blog like’ in appearance) by what the developing understanding of what a blog really it.

For example the Guardian, a British broadsheet newspaper, has two blogs and prides itself that it ‘gets’ blogging. However whereas the Guardian Online Blog, which deals with technology, is indeed a blog (and quite a good one), the Guardian main blog, called simply The Weblog1, is nothing of the sort as you cannot link to individual articles and hence it is not actually part of the blogosphere. Not surprisingly as a result ‘The Weblog’ is largely ignored by other blogs and hardly ever linked to according to the various monitoring services such as Technorati or Blogstreet).

1 = as of late 2004, ‘The Weblog’ was superceded by Newsblog, which is a proper full featured blog

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