Tuesday, August 17, 2010

R.I.P. FilipinoVoices.com?

The corner of the Philippine blogosphere that I am aware of is a small place. It is that part where ideas to do with "local and foreign issues" is the dominant currency, covering a scope closely approximated by that PinoyExchange.com section appropriately named with the same phrase. In that small space there is a big elephant in the room whose presence nobody seems to want to acknowledge. That elephant is the festering shell that was once the venerable blog site FilipinoVoices.com (FV). This is a blog that was voted into the Top 10 Emerging Influential Blogs for 2008, a writing project organised by noted Digital Filipino Janette Toral.

I suppose FV is not really dead. I'd describe it more as an abandoned derelict site for now considering that it is only the lack of updates -- or any new comments -- since mid-July 2010 that can be construed as "evidence" of its demise. For one thing, it is still online (as of this writing at least) and, for another, its founder Nick simply remains silent about the status of this once grand enterprise of his. I suppose the esteemed Editor-not-Chief of FV is just busy at the moment.

Hopefully, it does remain online. After all, I've got more than 200 articles in its archives that I refer to every now and then.

I write mainly for AntiPinoy.com (AP) now and the most recent reference to AP in the context of mine and a few of my AP colleagues' background as FV inhabitants came from Mr Joe America's little rant on what he perceives to be our "thuggery" in AP. But it is really this comment I made that captures the essence of the irony surrounding AP's relationship with what was once its closest rival in that part of the blogosphere that I know best...
AP comes across as thuggery if you are unable to put up a strong and well-articulated argument. If you care to notice, Joe, we pick the unpopular position in an argument much of the time. We went up against Noynoy's candidacy despite his overwhelming popularity. We point out hairy cultural issues in the face of a huge tide of triumphalism. We sided with Adam Carola, and raised uncomfortable points about "heroes" such as Efren Penaflorida, Manny Pacquiao, and even Cory Aquino.

If there is anyone here that is in a position to be shouted down by a far louder voice, it is us. So where is that big loud voice that represents the bigger majority who hate our message, Joe?

I don't know how quickly you could forget how we were once small voices within FV and yet managed to hold up our own against far more established, well-liked, and better-networked bloggers such as Nick, Abe, DJB, and Lila. Indeed, many of us in AP were once small voices as well in forums such as PinoyExchange.com. We were also threatened, bullied, insulted, and ganged upon. What did we do? We got *better organised* and *elevated our game*. Where is that same kind of stepping up among those who our [sic] outraged by our message? You yourself observed it in FV. The mainstays there could not even unite themselves around key ideas. Indeed, despite most of them being pro-Noynoy, they do not have much in common with one another -- not enough to keep FV alive and healthy enough to be a big enough challenge to us.

Mr Joe America continues, "[AP] has gotten richer and deeper and less shrill with maturity, while rival FilipinoVoices has dwindled through lack of commitment and passion."

Commitment, or at the very list a bit of transparency as to what happens next with it is the least we could expect of FV's Editor-not-Chief. The many readers who once made FV a part of their daily reading regime perhaps deserve a bit of more courtesy.

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