Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bloggingheads to Downsize

Robert Wright announced today that he is scaling down his site, in part because as a business it clearly has no potential to make money. The basic problem, he found, was that his site tried to have people on both sides talk about issues, as opposed to what is much more popular, having people who agree with each other talk to each other (MSNBC, CNN, Fox):

Too bad, because I'm a big fan. It's rational to listen more to people you agree with because you think what they saying is more correct than others, so I don't find this a bad faith equilibrium. But on the other side, I do like listening to those I disagree with more on the radio drive time because invariably the host, and especially the callers, will come up with a horrible argument for their side. I much more enjoy listening to this when my intellectual adversaries are speaking than when someone says something stupid as an argument for something I agree with. That is, many (most?) people I agree with on taxes, abortion, affirmative action, war, etc., agree with me for reasons I don't think are correct or relevant.


Ken said...

I like bloggingheads too and am sad to see they're not doing well.

I think their problem is that their debates are too long and unfocused. No one has time to watch a one hour video anymore. They need to edit, and cut it up.

Also, video is unnecessary for what is essentially an audio debate. The people are not attractive (sad that it matters but it does), and they don't put up figures or tables or anything that requires video.

Ben said...

Well, I agree with Ken. I like bloggingheads but I don't have time to watch it.

Partly it is the "too much good stuff" problem. I hardly watch any TV these days - but if I wanted to I could easily fill up the rest of my life doing nothing but watching well written, well produced, TV programmes.

There is plenty of stuff worth watching - it's not that I don't watch because I think it is rubbish.

Also it would be nice to have a transcript so it can be skimmed and searched.

Anonymous said...

Transcripts! There is no way I want to spend a sig amount of time watching a debate. Reading it is much faster.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of which -- is there a good, free on- or offline tool to transcribe video clips? I've looked around before without much luck. Would be great to boil 1-hour vids down to 5-minute reads. Thanks.