The signs have been around for a while now that what I would call “community blogging” has been on its death bed. There’s no greater evidence for that than the fact that The Volokh Conspiracy has decided to move over to the Washington Post, and will in six month go behind their paywall. As a regular reader who learned a whole lot from 10 years of reading The Volokh Conspiracy, I would be more inclined to pay the Conspirators for a subscription directly than I would to fork over my money to the enemy, which is the Washington Post.
I certainly don’t think that anyone owes anyone else content, but it’s sad to see what’s been happening to blogging. I would classify community blogging as that done primarily for the purpose of civic engagement, with profit being an ancillary purpose at best. There have been plenty of blogs and bloggers who have made the transition from community blogging to either commercial blogging or professional writing. I have no problem with people deciding to do what’s best for them.
Maybe I’m just being an old fuddy duddy but I miss the days when bloggers thought themselves an insurrection against institutions like the Washington Post, and other commercial interests that didn’t give much of a crap short of making a buck. Maybe in the end we’ll gain something from the transformation, but I do have to say I miss the good old days.