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Best Threads of 2008, Pts. 1 and 2

I just read Kottke’s self-assessment of his best posts/threads from 2008. One in particular — a loooong comment thread on the intentional mispronunciation of words — was a surprise to me, since I don’t usually read comments on JK’s blog (often ’cause he doesn’t enable ’em).

But! This reminded me that Snarkmarket has probably got thousands of readers who hardly ever look at the comment threads after they digest the nice juicy post or link elsewhere. So I thought, as Snarkmarket’s long-time commenter-in-chief, I would put together Snarkmarket’s Best Threads of 2008.

To make this managable, let’s do one for each month and just the first half of the year to start.

January: “The Ideas! The Ideas!” No contest. Robin advances The Thompson Thesis (Clive, not Matt) that science fiction beats literary fiction for the strength and number of its ideas.

February: “Echo From Last July.” This one clears the bar on the sheer number of meta-points, since the post itself links back to one of the best comment threads from 2007. Also, the nearest competitor is also mostly just a digression about Radio Lab.

March: I’ll give the title to “A Mystery Begins,” particularly for Saheli’s thoughtful interrogation of alternate reality games, marketing, and gift economies.

April: “Alligator Blood Beats Supergerms.” Where Robin’s unconscious perfectly remembers the costume and origin story of a Spider-Man villain.

May: “Restau-rant.” Sooo many good things about this thread. For example, the universe implodes. We discover that Dan is a “Benevolent Fascist Strongman.” And SnarkTrek is born.

June: It’s tough, but “Newspaper Eulogy: A Footnote” wins, because or in spite of the fact that Matt’s original post distinguishing between saving the newspaper and saving journalism is just too good — a sign of things to come.

July: A tie, between “Life: Rich With Metaphor” and “Lifehack of the Month: Truly Generic Pills.” From the mating habits of anglerfish to the nuances of chemistry lexica, science brought out the smarts in the home and away teams.

August: “How Is YouTube Not The Greatest Art Project Ever?” Or “Embarassment Manifest.” This is getting hard.

September: “Towards Engagement.” Might be a contender for most words-per-comment in the site’s history.

October: “Improving the Debates“: Good ideas here, some of which I’d forgotten about. Good skepticism, too.

November: “SNARKMARKET ALERT: Snarkstruct 2019.” Um… yeah! Enough great specific sub-thread visions of the future for six or seven posts on the same theme. A must-read — and a foundation for things to come?

December: “Abandon Objects.” Another great reading vs. books / journalism vs. newspapers thread. (Also: I still want that Aldus Manutius T-shirt. Wouldn’t this make a great design?)

And that’s it! What a great year for Snarkmarket — and if I may say, a pretty great, surprisingly representative range of posts AND comments. Give yourselves a hand, Snarkmatrix.

January 3, 2009 / Uncategorized


This is awesome! God, it’s amazing how quickly this stuff recedes into (and out of!) memory — so spelunking trips like this are invaluable. Thanks for taking the time, Tim.

I love September’s “Towards Engagement” — I mean, Matt’s comments have *bulleted lists* in them. They’re mini-posts! Not even mini! They’re posts!

The “How is YouTube…” thread was fun to re-read now that you’ve met “Andy” Fitzgerald.

Currently meditating on how we can build on this effort to better preserve & present great threads like these… even continue them after hiatuses? Like, could new links or thoughts “rekindle” old threads?

We could in principle build up a monthly or quarterly review of these kind of threads. The annotations could be projective (rather than just descriptive).

Another idea is to try to keep stock of recurrent themes, like the relationship of processes (e.g. journalism, reading) to objects (e.g. the newspaper or the book).

Or (slicing the same thread a different way) reading — what is reading, what does reading mean now, what could it mean tomorrow?

I endorse both of these schemes. Let’s get this thing redesigned and running on a sleek new WordPress(tm) blogging engine and do it!

This was wonderful. Sucked me in for a good hour and change. I totally forgot how many rounds we went on that “Towards Engagement” post, Tim. That was fun.

It was fun, wasn’t it? You brought it on that one. And I was extra-contentious.

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