Bleacher Report and Quality Control—How Many Is Too Many?
As I write this article, I see that there have been some 40 articles written in the FIFA strand of Bleacher Report in the last 24 hours. This is a very impressive statistic that shows how the Bleacher football community has grown in the last few months, but in my opinion it also leaves us with something of a quandary.
My theory is this: With the current level of 40 articles a day likely to increase as more members join over the coming months, the chances of any of our articles taking on more than just a passing interest will decrease dramatically.
It will become all-important to get your article on the front page, and in the headline position if possible.
If you are not on that front page, chances are that your article will fall by the wayside, with just a few comments from your devoted fans to sustain interest. Our articles will become increasingly repetitive, as we all fight to have our say on the issues of the day.
Some may think this is all fair and square, that only the best articles will make it onto the front page. If you want to be there, then you have to be the best.
However, I doubt that this will be the reality. More likely is that a prolific selection of writers will repeatedly get on the front page, regardless of the quality of their articles. Many of the more prolific writers are merely reporting the news of the day, news that is already freely available from umpteen other sources.
Is this a display of untrained journalistic quality—which is surely the essence of Bleacher Report—or just an easy way to write a quick article and keep yourself at the top of the (in my opinion, meaningless) writers' rankings?
This article in itself will be a test of Bleacher's reach. It should be in the interests of every football writer to read this article. This is not because I think it is superior in quality to anyone else's, but because it directly discusses what we do.
Will it make the FIFA front page? What does it prove if it does? How many reads and comments will it get if it doesn't?
My theory is that Bleacher Report needs some kind of way to limit the number of articles published per day. Some may find this idea abhorrent and completely opposed to the core aims of free-journalism that the site encourages. I welcome your comments and opinions.
I see it as the only way that any of us will be able to enhance what we do, and ensure that an article we might spend a long time writing gets the maximum viewing potential over more "throwaway" articles that simply re-hash reports from Sky Sports News or BBC Sport. That's the kind of news that, let's face it, the vast majority of us as football fans will already be well aware of.
I have no plan about how such "quality control" should or could work, but I think such a plan will become increasingly necessary if the FIFA strand continues to grow at its current rate.
Association Football is the biggest spectator sport in the world, and lots of people want to write about it. But how will the compulsion to write survive if the waters in which our musings float become so diluted?
Is it better to have 10 articles a day that get 20 comments, or 200 articles that get one?
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?