How to punish with a petty past-tense post

Blogs are, fundamentally, about writing in the now, embracing the 24-hour news cycle, and keeping everything up to date, right? Wrong. Not, that is, when you can dredge up an incident in the past, dress it up as news, and pawn it off on your readers to score points. This week, both TechCrunch editor Michael Arrington and Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg dug up old stories to relight the flame on old feuds.


Arrington, of course, is famous for his bitchiness and his long memory. But his recent post about Feedlounge was over the top, and readers called him on it. Arrington has a long-running dispute with software company 37signals, which makes, and charges for, Web-based software. 37signals' founders loudly advocate for the paid model, while Arrington believes Web companies should give away their services.

In his post, Arrington blames 37signals' evangelism of charging for Feedlounge's shutdown. One small problem with that: Feedlounge's founder announced in April that he was shutting down the service, not because the subscription model had failed, but because an injury in his family required his attention. That's pretty cold, even for Arrington — bringing someone's injured family member into an argument just to score academic points.

Less personally cutting, but equally puzzling, is the timing of Mullenweg's post about the shutdown of SplashBlog, a mobile-blogging service acquired last year by Six Apart. The shutdown, however, happened a week ago. Six Apart's Movable Type, of course, fiercely competes with Mullenweg's WordPress. And Six Apart just released a new version of Movable Type. Coincidence? Or the motivation for Mullenweg to post a negative item about his competition? You decide.

Oh, and while we're at it, it's worth noting that a source says SplashBlog had "literally dozens" of users before Six Apart shut it down, something Mullenweg failed to note — and something which makes the value of his blog post all the more questionable.

No matter. Bloggers everywhere, take notes from Arrington and Mullenweg, masters of the art. If you're looking to score points, it doesn't matter how stale, or small, the news is. All that matters is that you channel your pettiness into prose, and spin a tempest in a teapot into a full-on gale. Go forth and blog.