Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blogging Casualty

A spat between two bloggers resulted in the death of a blog here in South Florida.

Stuck on the Palmetto has slammed to a halt, disabling its archives and covering the keyboard after some 5,800 posts in its two-year existence. South Florida’s blogosphere, as varied and lively as the real world here, lost one of its most popular sites.

Why? Its author worried he’d be outed by a fellow blogger who knows his full name and job.

Those details are still shrouded, but “Rick” says the damage is done and he’s not going back to his weblog, where readers could expect to find multiple posts a day opining on news and life in South Florida.

“The blog is done and I’m moving on,” Rick wrote in an e-mail to The Miami Herald.

Bob Norman, a Broward-Palm Beach New Times journalist who writes The Daily Pulp blog for the paper’s website, had taken umbrage at a post on Stuck on the Palmetto Dec. 6 about gay inmates at the Broward County jail.

Rick fired back in Norman’s comments section and on his own blog, and this went back and forth until Dec. 9, when Norman wrote something that spooked the other blogger out of cyberspace:

“By the way, Rick, who pays your salary to blog all day?”

Others chimed in, speculating Rick could be a government employee, possibly a police officer, who was spending hours blogging during workdays, on the taxpayers’ dime.

Rick wrote that he needed to take a hiatus. A few days later, he signed off for good.

“I’ve been the reader of blogs that have closed down suddenly for any number of reasons and it’s never a good feeling,” he posted Sunday.

I’m sorry to see him go, especially for that reason.

For the record, I use a “blogonym” out of habit. I got into blogging the way a lot of other people do — by commenting on other blogs. When I started this blog, I kept the nickname I’d chosen so people would connect my dry humor and wit with the comments, and it stuck. I have no problem telling people my real name if they ask; I’ve just never done it on the blog, and I have no problem standing behind what I say whether it’s as Mustang Bobby or my real name. (And as I’ve said many times before, I do occasionally blog from the office when I’m not on the clock. My boss knows about it, and my former boss has been a frequent commenter.)

Whatever the reason, I’m always sad when a good writer leaves the scene. Take care, Rick, and I hope to see you again on line.