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Tuesday, 7 April 2009

How to become a Famous Blogger

As MandM have recently been flagellated with the following non-sequitur [no link as the accusers righteously distance themselves from seeking readership from any source not purist enough to already follow their blogs for blogging solely for joy in their niche category and as we would hate to offend by increasing either's Technorati ranking (is mentioning that both have Technorati accounts an accusation of hypocrisy?) we respectfully do not link to them here]. The non-sequitur alleged against us is,

[1] If you appear to pay attention to how your blog ranks, its readership and other stats; then
[2] You are blogging with the wrong motives.

The conclusion does not follow from the premises. The missing premise is that if you pay attention to something then this is your primary motive. It is like saying that because you pay attention to how much you are being paid, your only motivation to work is to get paid and then in a bizarre attempt to avoid materialism allow your family to starve with no income.

We realised, as we wallowed in our "shame" and "self-indulgence" for expressing stokedness at being the number 1 New Zealand Christian Blog in HalfDone's rankings for March 09, that our only option was to embrace the dilemma and confess our sins; yes we have a tracking counter *sob* and a Technorati account and not only do we publish the top 10 NZ Christian blog rankings in which we consistently feature somewhat prominently but when we feature at the top of a New Zealand blog ranking report it does give us a brief, momentary surge of accomplishment [I know, I know, penitence, penitence for such wanton emotions - our accusers pay no attention whatsoever to their readership and we should follow their pietistic example].

As such, we feel obligated to share our strategy, it is the least we can do to make up for our indiscretions. In Well I’ll Be Blogrolled! Dr Doug Geivett provides sage instruction as to how to obtain your 15 minutes in the chart published below. We adhere to this religiously (and we spend many hours each week researching and writing our blogs when we could be getting on with our lives but I am sure that has nothing whatsoever to do with our ranking "success" and speaks only to our motives). /sarcasm>

Famous Blogger Guide

I will leave it to our readers to work out which route we have taken.


  1. your content is good, not gratuitous, so don't be ashamed in getting it out there - it is a very useful contribution to 'public discourse'

    Recent blog post: Wellington Harbour Reclamation

  2. I can understand where the complaints are coming from but there is an excitement in being known. While one shouldn't be arrogant, to have some pleasure in one's accomplishments is not wrong.

    The other problem with blogging is there is not the same feedback as usual discourse. If you talk to yourself, or talk to others and they consistently walk away, you have cues, get interesting, get new friends, get a life :)

    If you write a book, you may not have these cues but you have an inkling of sales.

    But with blogging you may be well read and not know it, or read by no one and should probably stop wasting your time. Ratings, site hits, comments, all give feedback in a relevant way for the media.

    While ranking well would be nice, I actually desire enough coverage that people who are interested in what and how I write know I exist. I don't waste time at blogs that bore me, I don't expect people to waste time at mine if I bore them.

    So well done, and something really needs to be done about the size of this combox!

  3. Thanks Gavin. We enjoy your blog too.

    We have been around long enough to know better than to let false piety and bad reasoning get to us. This was more an attempt at humour to break up Matt's intense series of philosophical posts.

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  4. You are so hitting it on the head Bethyada. As I have argued elsewhere, if the accusers were genuinely consistent in their reasoning then they wouldn't have blogs. They would deal with their need to express their thoughts and opinions by emailing themselves or keeping an offline diary.

    The very fact they choose to blog, to have stat counters, to set up Technorati accounts, to blog consistently, to answer comments to seek linkage means that they suffer from the same 'problem' they accuse those of us who don't hide we that we don't ignore how many clicks we are getting. We are just honest about it.

    [I will not deign the non-sequitur with a justification that we have x motives; anyone observing the level of research and effort we put into MandM who then concludes the non-sequitur is an idiot]

    Totally agree on the combox - had to scroll back and forth several times to check my argument followed and I swear the combox is the source of my increased typos of late. Still cannot find any definition as to script attributes for the combox though.

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  5. Message to pious, unlinked bloggers:

    Lighten Up! Rankings are a bit of fun. Only the occasionally disturbed take them seriously. One blogs because one blogs. If you are blogging for numbers, you will give up long before you hit fame!

    Recent blog post: The Right to Sue

  6. Argh, I'm going to be rude and disagree. If you want to become a famous blogger, you just need to write well. A personal recommendation to read blog X will be of (infintely?) more worth than a link in a blog roll (etc).

    I admit that I am probably guilty of the specific sin mentioned in this post, in that I am excited when someone links to me (in a blog post or forum), or if my Technorati ranking goes up...

    But in terms of making a regular and public thing of declaring exactly where your blog sits in a certain blogosphere doesn't feel right. Anyway, enough raving.

    There are varying and respectable methods of getting your point of view out there to as many people as possible - I suppose I'm a wee bit too much of a purist when it comes down to it though.


    Recent blog post: Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright

  7. heheh, though you know what? I wouldn't mind seeing you give Whaleoil a run for his money... that would be impressive. pretty much break into that top 3 or 4.

    Congratulations too, for becoming #7 blog in NZ!

    Recent blog post: Cherishsiliala Tahuri-Wright

  8. One becomes famous if one has something others celebrate: beauty, talent, knowledge, to name a few. Then one becomes a "celebrity." There are local celebrities (like a certain NZ softdrink), national celebrities and international celebrities. Since I stumbled upon your blog, your fame has spread to Abilene, Texas. Congratulations!

    Recent blog post: Thoughts on Obama’s Strategy

  9. In my experience you know your blog becomes famous when it crawls to a stop because the CPU is too busy handling the other simultaneous 16 page requests. Or the MySQL has to keep dumping saved queries for each access because people are all reading and writing to different posts. Or as a moderator you can't keep up with reading the posts from contributors, let alone the comments. Then I'm afraid that the blog rankings become the least of the considerations.

    BTW: did you read my post in December on how few Alexa sparky's there are running in the NZ blogs. That has more of an impact on the local blog rankings than anything else. Tumeke's one is the closest to accurate because it matches up the alexa ranking with supplied stats

    Recent blog post: Where would you get that idea? 2

  10. It is a very kiwi thing to congratulate and highlight the success of others but down-play and pretend you are not fussed by your own. (It is a stupid kiwi-Christian thing to take that a step further and turn any evidence that one is a little chuffed at one's success into a sinful non-sequitur about motives.)

    I am not wired like the average kiwi, and I live with an Aspie who sees through the emperor’s new clothes and regularly points it emperor’s I had never even noticed, much less their attire, so I find this practice stupid and much like the reasoning I slam in Of course I think I’m right! Everyone who blogs does it, there is nothing wrong with it; so what, why pretend? Like MacDoctor says you would seriously need to have no life to keep up the efforts required to top the rankings purely for the fame.

    Matt and I regularly spend out evenings together reading for, researching and writing blogs and bouncing arguments and angles off each other trying to perfect our take on something - much of what you read here is a collective effort that we assign a single author to based on who came up with the argument and angle and wrote most of it. We blog late into the night, we take it very seriously for good reason.

    Matt cannot land full-time permanent work, thanks to the car accident I can no longer work full-time, we have 4 kids and we don’t believe in welfare so something has to give yet there are very few vacancies in philosophy of religion in New Zealand and when they do arise they are hotly contested. Having a background in HR, I know that if amongst the pile of CV’s there is a name that the recruiter immediately recognises, that is often the first CV that makes it to the maybe pile.

    How do you get known? The speaking circuit only works if you are known – chicken, egg... Getting published means navigating editors and waiting months for each piece to be considered so raising your profile that way takes years - we still pursue publication but blogging is a great way to raise Matt’s profile and show his skills as a philosopher and rebut the fear that because he has a PhD he will go over the head of lay-people and get a lot of his work out there.

    Since deciding to take MandM seriously about 8 months ago, our efforts have already caused him to pick up short-term contracts and speaking engagements – we lived very well for the latter part of last year – so we think we are on the right track.

    Now of course as Andy said, the best way to succeed at blogging is quality content and patronage. At the core of all successful marketing programs must be a quality product that meets a demand. MandM is a brand; it must be marketed and promoted well. It is a fat lot of use to us if we have high quality content but no one is reading it so yes, we put a considerable amount of effort into attracting readership and raising our profile. Of course it helps that we came to blogging with a lot of networks and contacts and relationships with key people because of our pre-blogging fame (in certain circles) – we got linked by Kiwiblog within 3 hours of having our blog online but then we had worked with David Farrar on certain projects for some years before that - but who you know will only get you so far, it won’t bring people back day after day after day and after the initial rush of additions to blogrolls it won’t make people link to your work.

    Other couples watch movies together and have candle lit dinners, we blog – such is our sacrifice for our art LOL! The reality is that regularly producing quality content is easier said than done and unless you have a passion for it – it has to push your buttons - and possess the skill you just won’t be able to pull it off for long enough to play the numbers

    Enough said. Now I must get back to littering my blog with self-congratulatory posts about stats (and the odd hastily written, slapped together afterthought to make it look like we blog for legitimate reasons).

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  11. Thanks Andy :-)

    No Minister is definately within reach but the gaps between the blogs higher up the chain from there become exponentially bigger. To rise to that level, our readership would either have to take off internationally as the market for a Philosophy of Religion blog in New Zealand is small or we would have to weight our balance more towards political and social commentary and lighten up on the Christian Philosophy but then we wouldn't be being true to who we are so we won't be doing that.

    As I was trying to get at above, our efforts here are more about raising Matt's profile as a philosopher for practical reasons and not about chasing top spots on rankings - tops spots are just one means to an end.

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  12. Famous in Texas? Now that is cool!

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  13. Tumeke, while he lists the Alexa stats, does not actually use them in his formula, add to that his equal weighting of prolific posting and commenting and you have a formula that is rather flawed.

    The supplied stats Tim uses come from various stat counters which produce different results - I currently have extreme tracking and stat counter on MandM as an experiment and they are producing different results despite reading the same page.

    I strongly suspect that some sites that rank higher than us on his rankings do so because their stat counter counts their own IP's and are unemployed multi-bloggers so there are a lot of them hitting their own site each day throughout the day. I suspect this because our Alexa rankings, both overall and NZ, are at least twice as high as theirs, and we get more comments, yet their hit counters are allegedly higher than ours - I am also aware that if you pay for a stat counter you can manipulate it.

    Recent blog post: How to become a Famous Blogger

  14. Yeah. The one we use internally is Wordpress Stats, which excludes all administrators, known spambots, and known spiders. That is the 'purest' measure. We use that internally to look at the traffic excluding ourselves.

    I also have the plugin for google analytics to exclude admin pages - which is where we do our moderation, but to show the all users (including admins) at the 'front' pages. It also removes all known spiders and spambots. That is the one that we supply to Tim. The logic is that the writers on the standard are also prolific commentators. Apart from my temporary holiday status, they all work...

    I also have raw stats processed by a couple of other packages (forget their names) at the server. That allows me to identify anything that is using large bandwidth (for probable spiders) and to look at other access and timeout issues.

    I also backup the site logs in case I have to track someone for further attention.

    There really is no 'correct' measure. It depends what you want to measure. However the simplest way to increase scores is to count the spiders. On most sites that have a fast update of posts that will usually double the traffic.

    Recent blog post: Russian oligarch urges dump MMP

  15. You swiped some of my words!

    I couldn't agree more though, and I am glad you came to your senses and blogged about it afterall.

    That cartoon is fab and how wonderful to see your name linked on Dr Geivett's philosophy blogroll right next to Maverick Philosopher. An honour well deserved.

    I wonder how many critics read this, I will repeat it here to highlight it:
    "To rise to that level, our readership would either have to take off internationally as the market for a Philosophy of Religion blog in New Zealand is small or we would have to weight our balance more towards political and social commentary and lighten up on the Christian Philosophy but then we wouldn't be being true to who we are so we won't be doing that."

    There is no way that anyone reading your blog with their brains engaged would think for a minute that you do it for blog rankings. The effort and time that goes into what you do speaks clearly to that accusation. (As someone who has known you for some years I will testify that you talk like what you write here in person too.)

    PS. Sorry about getting you in trouble over at the Popping Slater.

  16. I don't "rate [my] own blog as number 1." Scrubbone rated MandM as number 1 Christian blog for March based on the formula he has been using for some time which has previously never put us in the number 1 spot.

    The March MandM top 10 stats will not be out until Tumeke's March stats are available and I am absolutely certain that when I run them we will not hold the number 1 spot as the MandM stats are basically an average of HalfDone and Tumeke's and if you had read the post Damian linked to on NZ Conservative you would see that their March Tumeke stats are going to be higher than ours. Given how close they were to us on HalfDone, their average will be higher than ours so I expect to be ranking them number 1 next time I run our stats, not us (we have never held the number 1 MandM ranking spot).

    There are a couple of other links that could be added to your list that would probably clarify where I was coming from more precisely but I have no desire to wage a war and it is not relevant to the point I am making; be assured that Damian's post was not the primary inspiration.

    Further, I doubt there is any jealousy betwen Bnonn and us. I think you are reading him utterly wrong in making that claim. Bnonn is someone I have a lot of time for, has very high integrity and if he had something to say to us he would do so directly (and frequently does - you should see the Thinking Matters internal debates LOL) likewise would we; his blog is one that I not only enjoy reading but recommend to others and I would not like our readers to form that opinion of him based on your comments.

    Recent blog post: The Foundations of the Alexandrian Argument against Feticide Part I

  17. Despite you getting me accused of sock-puppetry, some of what you had to say in your rant was on the mark, though you didn't need to get that heated on our behalf.

    The cartoon is cool isn't it? I couldn't resist when I found it.

    And yes it is a WAY COOL feeling being linked to by Doug Geivett and seeing our blog sitting next to Maverick - whose blog inspired Matt to blog - and The Prosblogion (now if they would just link to us too….).

    This week is off to a great start in terms of coolness. It is cool to have John W. Loftus visiting too; I have far more time for him than the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens. As Feyd says on Doug Geivett’s blog, “You know you’ve wrote a serious blog when both John Loftus and … arrive in your comments. Loftus easily ranks in the worlds top 20 most notable atheists.”

    I also really enjoyed being compared is to the McGrews - just need an invite to blog for What’s Wrong with the World to go with it ;-).

    Oh and I love that we are famous in Texas - of all the states to be known in we nabbed the reddest of them all! (Ok, we are not really famous in Texas)

    Positive feedback, in whatever form, really gives you a lift. I have had an otherwise crap week so far with mega stress coming in on all angles:
    ACC wanting to know my vocational skill set for my file, asking all sorts of details about my past employment reminded me of what I have lost career-wise and got me really blue;
    My injury, in terms of bad pain, bad drug reactions when trying to deal with pain - so bad that Being Frank's Filia Day's flatmate had to drive me home from the law library last week;
    My future prognosis - I found out yesterday my balance is seriously screwed due to the injuries which, according to my physio, makes the odds of my resuming competitive equestrian eventing that much less likely/further away as balance being evenly centred is essential;
    Our sons with Aspergers has had issues including phone calls and letters home from school (he is our only schooled child) as his Aspergers has gone completely out of control.
    Then there has been the usual money, being behind/struggling to keep up my law studies, Matt's lack of employment, etc.

    So in short, these little things have helped make me smile.

    Recent blog post: The Foundations of the Alexandrian Argument against Feticide Part I

  18. I can't understand why anybody wouldn't care at all about stats, if (as is the case with Matt), one is an academic trying to make a name for himself to improve professional prospects. Why anyone would think poorly of that is a bit of a mystery.

    Like a previous poster, I use the wordpress stats plugin. Stats aren't the only measure with a podcast as well, however. I like the fact that even when my blog stats aren't high through my site, I regularly exceed my bandwidth limit because of people downloading the podcast through the iTunes store.

    The celebration of your own success is nothing to feel bad about.

    Recent blog post: Dear John

  19. Firstly, no need to apologies for being good at something you do. Your blog is a nice mixture of varying topics and information. Tone of the reasons that people come back to it. (although to be honest some days Matt loses me in his first sentence!!! :) )

    As for the blogging advice I am at the starting point and wondering where to go; left or right. Should I start blogging first or become famous first????

    Recent blog post: Fat Jesus - disappointing

  20. Always go right is generally my advice - which do you think will be harder to establish first? Do you have a computer with net access or have you got an audition lined up for Shortland Street?

    Recent blog post: The Foundations of the Alexandrian Argument against Feticide Part I

  21. The mix was Madeleine's idea. She rightly pointed out what you alluded to that if the whole thing was dry, technical, high-end academic philosophy and theology my readership (especially as a New Zealand blog) might consist of Beretta's Glenn, me and our regular visitor from Blagoevgrad. We needed to find a way to sell the concept of a philosophy of religion blog to the mainstream without selling out and being popularist so we played around with ideas and continue to do so. Her general aim is to make us three dimensional, show our human side, some humour, present us as approachable people rather than come accross as purists with strict agendas. I am pretty happy with the compromise and I think it works.

    When we put up the more philosophical material, Madeleine normally goes over it for me and tries to ensure that the lay reader won't get lost in the first sentence, she sort of translates for me, but the nature of some of the material means that at times she is fighting a losing battle, that and sometimes her own familiarity with the literature - she is technichally a lay person in that she lacks a degree in the field but her knowledge is much higher - means she assumes things are easier to follow than they are, as do I; a problem any specialist in pretty much any field faces when trying to share his discipline with someone who is less versed in it.

    Anyway I will continue to work on those first sentences.

    Your new blog looks very nice btw.

    Recent blog post: The Foundations of the Alexandrian Argument against Feticide Part I

  22. OK, I am glad that Damian is not being attacked for his little bit of humour. And I did appreciate those comments which responded to his blog in the same humourous vein.

    You obviously have better idea than I do what is behind your reaction - I just thought it interesting that the only comment which could be construed as a personal criticism of you was that made by Bnonn (one of the very few serious responders).

    Otherwise this just seems to be a lot of heat about nothing.

    Recent blog post: Easter

  23. This was a tongue in cheek piece; note the /sarcasm> tag I used in the text and the cartoon to denote the humour in case the tone I was going for was not obvious.

    Yes there was a serious element to this issue and that is where the heat is coming from - and isn't there some heat? I am staggered at how "into" this topic everyone is getting, it must really have hit a nerve. Still, anything that gives you practice and analysis and forces you to think about what you think and why is all good for the brain!

    I thought Damian's comments, if he had any seriousness in them, were ill-founded like I openly expressed on his blog. Frankly any blogger that proudly refuses to have tracking counters and technorati accounts and check readership levels I view a somewhat foolish - given the effort we all put into writing our material, it seems silly to then not try to ensure it is able to be found by those who might be interested in it. This is not the same as claiming it is immoral of course to do this, if people want to waste their time writing and publishing material that won't be widely read or if they want to run a two-dimensional blog that will only appeal to those who share those same dimensions who am I to judge them for it. Readership doesn't have to matter to everyone. It suits MandM in fact if it doesn't because then we can then scoop up potential readers of other blogs and have them come here instead.

    As I said it was someone else's comments that were a lot more pious and self-righteous (and hypocritical) than anything linked to here that made me consider writing a sarcastic hole poking post making fun of the bad reasoning behind the claim.

    Damian's comments and others that turned up in comments here and Zen Tiger's post on NZ Conservative were all just straws but it was probably conversations I had off-line with EP and AM and finding the cartoon that tipped me over the edge.

    Recent blog post: MandM Best Religion Blog Nominee

  24. Madeleine,

    your post missed one essential element .. constant attention to your blog. Building readership back up again after long periods of quiet is hard work. But then, constantly being online gets a bit much after a while. Real life and all.

    Recent blog post: DPF's Annual Easter Trading Rant and Helen Clark

  25. How could I forget that? I was out just now microwave shopping (our microwave began sparking and smoking yesterday) and as I went from shop to shop not quite finding all the features I wanted for the right price and with a sexy exterior (it has to match my other appliances) all I could think about was the blog! I better hurry home in case there are more comments, I really have to deal to the stupid size of this stupid comment box, I really must edit by big lengthy thing on human rights law so I can post it as a series, has Matt remembered to write something for Easter or is he absorbed on responding to John W Loftus' criticisms of the Ethyphro... The poor salesman was trying to get me keen on this model v that model and I kept going '...what? oh microwaves...yeah, right ummm not sure... the blog...'


    I gave up and came home with the intention of getting on line and checking out various microwave models but guess where I went first...LOL

    The balance is definately off right now and needs attention but taking a break poses its own problems as you highlighted. When we did take breaks around my surgery in December we got berated everywhere we went "put up some more blog posts" "when are you going to blog some more" "I keep visiting and there is nothing new". When we went *ahem* surgery... they then said things like "don't you have a laptop?" We of course ignored this and went at our own pace but it took until mid Feb to get the readership we had lost back and March to exceed it.

    Anyway if I want to defrost anything for dinner tonight I better surf to a site that is not a blog... unless there are product review blogs with sections on microwaves...?

    Recent blog post: MandM Best Religion Blog Nominee

  26. It's easy to forget. It's one thing to get to a certain point, and it's another to maintain it.

    When I don't have the time to blog, I try to convince myself it doesn't matter. When I am blogging, I keep wondering if all the time and effort is really worth it.

    Recent blog post: "Fat Jesus" Competition in Auckland

  27. I so hear you! I think something in the middle is closer to the truth though. It does matter, I think what we, as in MandM and NZ Conservative, are doing on the blogosphere is important and is valued and so the effort is worth it but like all things in life when it interferes with the proper balance our lives should have then it doesn't matter.

    It is like balancing fatalism with works. God doesn't need us to do his will, its not like he won't be able to cope if we don't do our bit but neither is it correct to say that because he doesn't need us we shouldn't do anything.

    We are called to use the talents and opportunities that either come our way or that occur to us and seem sensible and in all we undertake to give it the best efforts that the other things in our lives can spare us to.

    Recent blog post: Belief without Proof: Is Belief in God Rational if there is no Evidence? Part I

  28. Matt and I regularly spend out evenings together reading for, researching and writing blogs and bouncing arguments and angles off each other trying to perfect our take on something


    I am so jealous!

    Recent blog post: A prayer and a pledge for real change

  29. We don't normally do threesomes but where in NZ are you?

    [I was going to say it gets old but it doesn't really, it is very cool]

    Recent blog post: MandM Best Religion Blog Nominee

  30. I mean I am jealous of the situation.

    My wife will discuss the occasional political issue and a variety of things Christian, but not for blogging or in the format or the depth of the Flannagans.

    Recent blog post: A prayer and a pledge for real change

  31. A man being wired that way is fairly common but a woman wanting to spend her evenings like that is a rare thing. I guess I’m lucky.

  32. This is a part of NZ culture, particularly, that I just don't get - maybe I live with too many aspergery types, maybe I myself am too left-brain but I don't get it.

    Aside from, every post? (You clearly do not visit very often) this line of thinking is dumb.

    If you gave someone gift, and it made their day i.e. you could see it in their face and in their words and body language, then you would rightly feel chuffed that you had made them happy.

    Our readers have given us a gift, they have valued what we have given them, we are simply trying to let them know that we appreciate their gift.

    Some bloggers treat their blogs like hobbies, Matt and I treat our blog like our brand. As previously stated, while it is not our primary reason (which should be evident from the passion we bring to what we do) a reason for us blogging is to promote Matt's ability so he can find a job so our family can stop struggling. We have 4 kids, we live on accident insurance money, Matt has been trying to find a lectureship for 3 years. Our situation cannot continue.

    To obtain work overseas people have to have heard of you. Publications take months to pull off; editors have to be navigated and rejections mean starting the whole process over again and usually hours have to be spent on changing the format and footnotes to whatever style the next publication uses. Then you have to hope that the people doing the hiring read the journal you have been published in. Blogging is much quicker and your work sits around longer and people get a better feel for something of who you are.

    Like any good marketing department we make sure that our successes, our market share and all our good points are clear to the public in the hope we might increase sales and gain more market share. If we were a company no one would bat an eyelid, because we are people the logic apparently doesnt apply.

    Like I said. Stupid. Why do we have a duty to pretend that we are not good at what we do? Why are we supposed to pretend we don't notice that we are good at what we do or worse that we don't really care that much? When we do well we are stoked. Should we not be?

    Like anyone, Matt and I are flawed people who have issues and things we personally need to work on but we know what we are good at. We are very good at what we do here and we have worked very hard to get very good but we are in no way complacent, because we are not remotely good enough for our own standards and goals yet, our flaws and weaknesses frustrate us. We are extremely driven, we are very self-aware/critical and we like that about ourselves. I am not going to apologise for having some self-esteem and not playing the stupid tall-poppy game.

    Recent blog post: With God Anything can be Permitted: Another Bad Argument against Theistic Morality

  33. Madeleine

    that is an eloquent response

    but my suggestion is ignore such anonymous trolls

    if they're that keen on what they say they can at least put their name to their comment

    and one of the beauties of blogs is you can choose what you read - he/she could simply stop reading your blog if it offends them so much


  34. Guest,

    "I did not say you had talent.. but why not let people discover it for themselves?"

    How are they going to do that? Telepathy? Perhaps this blog is here so that people WILL discover it?

    "Boasting that your page "showcases the academic heights Christianity can aspire to " is not only patently untrue - but also comes across as desperate. I say it is not untrue because Matthew (though doubtless a skilled doctoral graduate is hardly at the forefront of academic research!)"

    OK fine, feel free to point out someone else who has pre-empted Matt's research on abortion. Is it literally unthinkable to you that someone you've spoken to might be a world class expert?

    Recent blog post: I’m heading North

  35. "Guest," two words: Maximal exposure. I for one am not going to assume that everyone reads a particular journal, and decide not to promote my material on a blog for fear of looking like an attention seeker.

    Is there something wrong with people reading Matt's material here instead of a journal, and then looking up his published work as a result? perhaps you think that author's shouldn't have websites promoting their work - because hey, if they were any good we'd already have read their books, right?

    As for your false accusation against Matt, he has NOT claimed to represent the heights of research in any discipline. But I put it to you yet again: Do you know of anyone else who HAS pre-empted Matt's research on abortion? if not, then why do you (apparently) insist that it's not representative of the (current) heights of research in the field?

    This last question is important. You're asserting that this claim should not be made about Matt - not because it's false, but because it's immoral for some reason. I'm asking you to come up with a reason for thinking that it's false. If it's not false, then frankly I don't care if you object to Madeleine or I saying it about Matt's work. When the truth becomes poor taste, taste should be the loser, not truth.

    Recent blog post: I’m heading North

  36. Our site was established for, and remains aimed at, the New Zealand
    blogosphere. While we now have some international following and we
    now have an international focus, these were not original features of
    The context the statements on our About Us page come within the New Zealand
    context; a context where Christiandom does not yet fully appreciate what
    Christian scholarship is capable of at the higher level, particularly, what
    Christian philosophy is capable of or its practical use as evidenced by
    leaders within New Zealand Christiandom not knowing who William Lane Craig
    is or by statements such as "philosophy is something you can pick up," the
    failure to appreciate why one needs a PhD to teach it, and by the fact that
    no New Zealand Christian institution, to my knowledge at least, treats
    ethics or philosophy as compulsory subjects for anyone undertaking
    theological education. In this New Zealand context, within the New Zealand
    blogosphere, MandM is a leader in the field of Christian Philosophy, Ethics,
    Apologetics, etc and frankly I don't think you can credibly dispute that;
    the evidence and testimony is clear.
    We have never stated that Matt is a world leader in his field or that
    our blog dominates the world wide blogosphere, if you read our April with
    MandM post you will see that we report on the fact we are finally
    beginning to tap into that marketshare - this is miles away from what
    you allege we have said.
    Further, nowhere do we claim that Matt is at the forefront of academic
    research. We have always been clear that Matt is a somewhat recent graduate
    and is trying to establish his career. Further, as I said in my
    previous comment (which I assume was directed to you - it does help if you
    use a name) neither of us are anywhere near the capability in our fields
    that we aspire to - we wouldn't dream of claiming to be on par with those at
    the top of Christian Philosophy and Jurisprudence (I don't even have such
    aspirations myself). You misrepresent us when you say that we claim
    In New Zealand, one might be able to make a case for Matt being at the
    forefront of his field, and I believe he is one of New Zealand's top
    Christian Philosophers and again I believe that this is a claim that would
    be difficult to credibly dispute, particularly if you narrow that definition
    down to Christian Philosophers working in the resurgence or renaissance
    Christian Philosophy prominent in the US, but the reason one can safely make
    this claim is because so few people are working in that field in New
    As for argument that we should quietly wait for people to work out that our
    readership is high and our work is increasingly read, I am sorry but I don't
    see why we should. Do we not have an obligation to work, to not be on
    welfare, to provide for our children and to go out and seek these things and
    make them happen? Three years of providing for a family of 6, me now too
    injured to be in the workforce and the world wide recession, mean that the
    luxury of hoping someone might think "oh, this site is interesting, it just
    so happens I am technically literate enough to know how to calculate their
    readership - gee it is growing well, there must be a market for this stuff
    in New Zealand. Hmmm, maybe we should set up a philosophy department and
    hire Matt to teach ethics" just is not an option for us. We did precisely
    what you said for two and a half years, I only started treating MandM like a
    brand about 6 months ago when we faced the realisation that I was
    permanently injured, a recession was coming and was not going to be able to
    continue providing for our family while we waited for people to work these
    things out for themselves. We were a blip in the blogosphere before that, we
    sat at 7 million and somethingth most read website in the world back then.
    God does not expect us to blindly wander about waiting for opportunities to
    fall into our laps. Further, we should be able to make a living from our
    service to the church. We are allowed to make things happen, to take
    advantage of the culture and technology around us - the bible is full of
    people who got an idea and made a plan and actioned it in a culturally savvy
    way. Finally, since treating MandM like a brand, doors have begun opening.
    Matt picked up a 6 month, full-time contract last year purely from
    connections gained online as a result of MandM. This put food on our table,
    clothes on our children and kept a roof over our heads.
    Several other fixed-term opportunities had previously and subsequently
    arisen; we have picked up speaking engagements, we managed to land the
    opportunity to host William Lane Craig when he visited Auckland and Thinking
    Matters Auckland was born all either directly or indirectly from our work
    with MandM. We have made valuable and strategically important connections
    that are not just helping us personally but are helping the church to become
    stronger, all via MandM, and we have made many personal friendships that we
    treasure. We have had opportunities to form relationships with atheists and
    skeptics and have dialogued with them offline - these are people that would
    never have sat down over coffee with a Christian previously, and, most
    importantly (to us anyway) some people have come to faith, come to greater
    faith, changed their ethical positions or at least come to a place where
    they now respect traditional Christian positions and have radically improved
    their attitudes towards Christians and Christianity.
    If I had not told you any of this, could you have worked it out by yourself
    just by popping in?

  37. "May I respectfully suggest that this sort of forum - full of
    undergraduate level apologetic arguments is not the best vehicle if Matthew
    is trying to be taken seriously as an academic."
    You can suggest it but I will dispute on several grounds.
    First, that MandM is nothing but undergraduate level apologetic arguments -
    half the material comes from Matt's post-graduate research or from his
    publications in academic journals or from his conference papers from
    academic conferences.
    Further, having spent some time in Philosophy and Theology departments I can
    respectfully suggest to you that frequent conversations are had in both, by
    those running such departments, along the lines of 'how can we make what we
    do relevant to real life so that people will value these subjects as a
    discipline enough to enroll in our courses.' This questions or variations of
    it are frequently asked of candidates in application forms for philosophy
    and theology vacancies. Being able to answer, well actually I have had some
    success with that. is an advantage.
    Finally, and I omitted to mention this in my list of
    -MandM-as-a-brand Matt has had around a dozen requests for his CV and
    references since we began openly stating his availability and one of these
    requests has resulted in an offer being pitched, solely to him - it has
    never been advertised so he is the only contender - and we are in discussion
    at the moment as to how it might work and are considering it seriously.
    Until a contract is on the table we are still open to other offers, but it
    looks promising and I am confident that if it doesn't work out something
    else will.
    So like I said you can suggest it, but you'd be wrong.

  38. I agree, it would be "cringe-worthy hubris" ifMatt had said

  39. Good. And good luck to you. But I still don't think the site makes you look like scholar material.

  40. Why have you deleted all your comments? WOtago niversity is a big IP address, no one could identify you from that.

    Recent blog post: April with MandM

  41. Identified?

    I just thought it was a stupid argument over a throw away comment so I would get rid of it.

  42. Great content, I think your secret in coming up to the top is the time you all have spend for this blog and amount of knowledge you people have. And if I choose a route for becoming a famous blogger I think being a blogger then becoming a blogger is the correct way, otherwise if a famous person starts a blog it will be famous but will not last too long.
    Good graphic work on the cartoon strip too. All the best.


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