As of today Larvatus Prodeo will once again cease publishing.
Long-time readers will know that the blog started out on March 17, 2005 and then ceased publishing from April 10, 2012 after a seven year run. We were conjured into existence again from March 10, 2013 to monitor the run up to the September election, decided to stay on for a bit to see how it all worked out with the new government and then kept going from there.
As I write the blog statistics say that there have been 7,199 posts and over 385,000 approved comments, that’s 53 comments per post. Commenters have always been a large and welcome part of the LP community.
This year there has clearly been some drift: a narrowing in the number of posters and in the number and variety of commenters. From October 9 Mark succumbed to the exigencies of moving out of his long-term digs at New Farm while carrying an above normal academic teaching load. Since then we’ve had one post from him – on his book sale. Other than that from October 9 to Christmas we had the regulars from the Cat Herding Cabal, one post from Robert Merkel, one from Paul Norton and 44 from me. It wasn’t the way the blog was meant to be.
For some time now I’ve wanted to take a three-month break from blogging to attend to some other matters. We looked at the options and finally on December 29 Mark and I came to the conclusion that we should let it go. Mark is in Sydney at the moment doing a spot of house-sitting without full internet access, so we agreed that I would do the last post.
Back in April 2012 in signing off Mark waxed analytical about the changed nature of blogging in the context of the social media and the MSM generally. My expectations of quality blogging were fairly simple. I used to find, quite regularly at LP, that after reading a post and the comments thread I was sufficiently informed and aware of enough diverse points of view to form a settled view of my own on any given matter. This was a great advantage of blogging over the one-hit, one-way pieces you get, in the main, from the MSM, which often are incomplete, contain inaccuracies and raise more questions than they resolve.
Now on the internet the edges are somewhat blurred between what constitutes a blog and what doesn’t. Mark back then made reference to other sources as follows:
If you’re looking for other places for independent Australian political commentary, you can’t go past John Quiggin and Club Troppo (where my own blogging trajectory began) and Crikey and New Matilda. And of course, there’s the excellent Hoyden About Town.
Three of those are blogs, two are not, but none of them MSM. With the MSM and other platforms carrying both advertising and a comments facility, and with the MSM carrying ‘blogs’, classification can be confusing. Nevertheless the continued existence of Quiggin, Troppo and Hoyden amongst others leads me to believe that there is still a place for traditional blogging.
So as to the future, who knows? It’s conceivable that LP will rise again to report on the political chicanery that I fear will be our lot. To be fair, though, I think perhaps our trajectory reached its zenith early in 2011 or perhaps a little earlier. Indeed on January 12, 2011 on a single day, when Mark was live-blogging the Brisbane flood, we had 28,484 “views”. So while a further resurrection is possible I think it unlikely. LP in full flight was one of a kind and is probably better left that way.
Two other historical facts are relevant to round out the picture. Firstly, we spent some time at Larvatus Prodeo in exile when the main blog was borked. I always suspected we were sabotaged by the forces of evil as it seemed to happen just before elections.
Secondly, I think there is still a hole a few months wide in the 2008 archive. I did a series on sea level rise back then that wasn’t available last time I looked. My bookmarks for the Henson posts from May-June 2008 failed.
There is a third, I believe the famous ‘chics and guns’ post is no longer available, more is the pity.
All these things may exist, if you have the patience to search the National Library archives.
As for myself, I do not intend just yet to go gentle into that good night. I’m hoping to return around April with a blog focussed on climate, but also including sundry other stuff. Should you so desire, I reckon if you Google ‘climate plus brian’ you’ll find me if I’m there.
Meanwhile thanks all around for the contributions and the memories.
There’s plenty to reminisce about. Did we ever break the record of comments on Is Missy Higgins lesbian? Just now I’ve been reminded that most of the comments are doubled up on many old posts, which would distort the whole blog stats.
Time to exit stage left!