10 Years

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

A reader pointed out to me that I missed my 10-year blogoversary. It was either sometime last month or sometime in mid-February, depending on whether you measure from when I started blogging, or when I started blogging on something resembling the site you see now.

It’s a bit hard to believe. But thanks to all the regular readers, commenters, and those of you who send leads and tips from day to day. I do still plan to do an e-book of favorite posts and articles from the last 10 years. I just had to push the project back for a while when someone offered to pay me to write an actual book. But that will still happen. Eventually.

Also,  I guess this is a good time to let you know that the site will soon be making the switch over to Huffington Post I mentioned about a year ago. We’re still working out the specifics. But I hope you’ll all continue to participate over there.

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73 Responses to “10 Years”

  1. #1 |  Steve | 

    Congrats Radley,

    I’ve been on the bandwagon since 20-dickity-7 and for a long timne have considered you the best blog on the web. Keep it up.

  2. #2 |  Andrew S. | 

    Congrats, Radley. Been reading you since 2005 or so.

    I admit that the move to HuffPo for this blog scares me. Hopefully it works out.

  3. #3 |  Abhishek | 

    Congrats Radley. Have been reading you every day for the last 5 years. This move to HuffPost worries me, but this is your blog to do as you will. Moreover, I trust your judgement.

  4. #4 |  H. Rearden | 

    I second Andrew’s apprehensiveness on your move of The Agitator to HuffPo. Judging from what I see there, I fear that your comments section will be unreadable and unenjoyable. Isn’t writing for them and frequent links to their site enough? Regardless, best of luck.

  5. #5 |  Bronwyn | 

    Add me to list of worrieds about the move.

    The Agitator has been a daily stop since September of 2012, and I’ve loved reading every word, even when it made me furious.

    I’m proud to know you, Radley.

  6. #6 |  Bronwyn | 

    Um. Hi, timewarp. Since September of 2002. Durr

  7. #7 |  a leap at the wheel | 

    Congradz Radley. I haven’t been reading as long as many who’ve posted, but that’s my loss. I hope that the comment section retains it’s standard of high quality over at HuffPo, but I too trust your judgement.

  8. #8 |  K | 

    Congrats!

    -since 2003

  9. #9 |  MH | 

    Happy blogoversary. I feel like I’ve been reading forever. I can remember Jim Henley anointing The Agitator as the best weblog, period. But I can’t remember how long ago that was; it feels like ancient history. Nor can I remember disagreeing.

  10. #10 |  Brandon | 

    Congratulations, Radley. You and Pete Guither turned me on to libertarianism in about 2005, and I’ve been a regular reader and obnoxious commenter ever since. I’d follow you into the very fires of Mordor, and I’ll wade into the swamp at HuffPo with you. Hell, maybe we can change some TEAM BLUE minds, although the echo chamber is pretty strong over there.

  11. #11 |  (B)oscoH | 

    Radley, I don’t worry about the comments as much as ownership of your blog when AOL/Huff/TW goes into the toilet. Know your exit strategy that preserves your brand and your archives. These Internet destinations come and go. 10 years from now, you won’t be there.

    Periodically since 2006 or so. Regularly for a couple years.

  12. #12 |  Eric | 

    Congrats, Radley. You have been a daily stop since your first e-mail announcing that you were starting a “weblog.” (I started just after I searched AltaVista in my Netscape browser for the word “weblog.”) I’m proud to know you, man.

  13. #13 |  EH | 

    Congratulations on a job well done! I won’t be following you to the HuffPo, whose advertising and layout policies simply offend me much more than their editorial choices, but we had a good thing while it lasted. We’ll still have Twitter.

  14. #14 |  Greg Carroll | 

    Congrats, Radley. This site has been my go to website for as long as I can recall. Keep up the great work, wherever your site is hosted.

    Thanks for all your hard work; I think we all recognize how important it is and how much of an impact it can (and has) had. It’s not every “Blog” that can honestly claim it has participated in changing lives (Corey Maye among them).

  15. #15 |  Brian Garst | 

    Huffington Post routinely bans people for expressing anything other than the standard leftist point of view. It’s one thing to write for them to reach another audience, but bringing your site into their fold just seems like a terrible idea. I can’t imagine the comment section as we know it today surviving the transition.

  16. #16 |  RobSmalls | 

    Congrats Radley. In another 10 years, I hope to still be enjoying the music you recommend, and disgusted by the realities of everything else you post.

  17. #17 |  B | 

    Congratulations!

    I haven’t been with you since the very beginning, but I’m pretty sure I started reading you about the time I started blogging myself, which I think was around March of ’03. Yours was one of the first blogs I put on my blogroll, and quite possibly the only one that has been there continuously every since.

    Keep up the great work.

  18. #18 |  Windypundit | 

    Radley, be sure to save a copy of this site. At least generate a WordPress export file and (if you can) download a copy of the WordPress database. Also, never give up ownership of your domain name. Some day the Huffington empire may turn against you, and you’ll want to be able to hit the ground running.

  19. #19 |  Rob S | 

    Radley – you ROCK! Thanks for all of your hard work; it is very much appreciated!!

  20. #20 |  Radley Balko | 

    Just FYI, I will maintain ownership of the domain name and all of my archives when the blog moves to Huffington Post.

    I’ll also get to keep ownership of everything blog-related that I post over there should we eventually part ways.

    I know some of you are worried about comments. I’ve been assured that if I ask, the editing will be hands-off. So you needn’t worry about being censored. But there will be more of you, and it’s a safe bet that most of the new crowd will be to the left of most of you (and me). But I’ve always thought this was one of the smartest comments sections in blogland (no bias!). Might take some work at first, but I hope we can work to keep that tone at the new place.

  21. #21 |  nobody | 

    Congrats, Radley! I’ve been reading your work since you started at Reason. I wish people more frequently asked me if I have a favorite journalist because I give them your name with pride.

  22. #22 |  Angie | 

    I’ve enjoyed your blog tremendously. I’m sad to see you go over to Huffington Post tho. I don’t care for the commenters there or most of what I read over there. But I’ll continue reading. My commentings been down alot anyways.

  23. #23 |  Bee | 

    Thanks for everything. EVERYTHING.

    And thanks for the reassurance about commenting over there! New/different points of view can be stimulating, and I hope you can do even more good with a wider readership, but I’d be horrified if you lost control over who is or isn’t allowed to post.

  24. #24 |  Difster | 

    I started reading you way back when you were at Fox.

    Congratulations on the longevity of your blog and writing career.

    You should take some advice from Vox Day though, he manages to get paid NOT to write books; that would free up some of your time if you could pull that off.

  25. #25 |  KristenS | 

    Congrats on 10 edifying years!

    And thanks for addressing the concerns re: comments. Hopefully it will work out the way you outlined.

  26. #26 |  Leah | 

    Congrats! 2003-er here – thanks for being so great at what you do!

  27. #27 |  Bart | 

    Congratulations Radley.

    You deserve all the success you get from 10 years of honest, committed work.

    Sorry to say, I won’t be following you to HP. I won’t give them any page views – even if its for your stuff.

  28. #28 |  Ted S. | 

    I’m also apprehensive about the move to Huffington Post, although for me it’s more because I’ve always found their site to be terrible in terms of computer memory allocation. It always brings my browser to a screeching halt.

    (They don’t use horrid Disqus commenting, do they?)

  29. #29 |  Radley Balko | 

    Sorry to say, I won’t be following you to HP. I won’t give them any page views – even if its for your stuff.

    I’m mystified when people write things like this.

    What is the principle that compels you to refuse to read even articles you think are important, solely because of the banner at the top of the page?

  30. #30 |  Radley Balko | 

    You should take some advice from Vox Day though, he manages to get paid NOT to write books . . .

    I don’t know anything about Vox Day, but as a writer, I’m not sure why I would want someone to pay me not to write.

  31. #31 |  Difster | 

    More money for less work. It’s kind of a running joke actually, he’s gotten advances on a couple of books that he was later asked not to write.

    Vox is a noted libertarian author/blogger who has written such books as Return of the Great Depression, The Irrational Atheist and several others.

  32. #32 |  Michael | 

    congrats on the blogoversary, followed you since your weekly(??) articles on foxnews.com When you no longer wrote there I changed my home page to this blog.

    Enjoyed it over the years, can’t say I always agree with what you write, but I’ve learned a lot, thought a lot and changed/tweaked a few positions over the years based on writings here, links, comments, etc.

    Hope the future is bright, look forward to more great things and wish you well.

  33. #33 |  Sallie | 

    Huge congrats, Radical. I’m proud to be your friend, and a regular reader. Here’s to 10 more years of you changing people’s minds and, often, their lives.

  34. #34 |  OBTC | 

    Radley:

    Happy Anniversary!

    I’ve been a huge fan of yours and your blog since I stumbled upon you back in 2008. The first thing I ever read from you was your paper at Cato regarding police militarization/drugs raids. I was forever hooked!

    I have to agree that moving The Agitator.com over to HuffPo causes me some anxiety but it is your decision to make and yours only.

    I will continue to read you no matter where you go.

  35. #35 |  David | 

    Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. This changes everything. Everything.

    Radley answers to “Radical”?

  36. #36 |  picachu | 

    I started reading this blog a couple of years ago right after college. I have gotten way more of an education here than I ever did in college. The stories and issues you post on are hugely important and almost never reported by the regular TV news.

    Most of the posters who comment on here are way smarter then any professor I ever had.

    I try to promote this blog everywhere and to everyone I talk to about serious issues.

  37. #37 |  Wade Preston | 

    Congrats and Happy Anniversary as well!

    I haven’t really posted here, though I have been following you since you were at Cato, and maybe since 2008 here. This is a very unique place on the web and you (and the rest of the commenters) should be proud.

    I also have some trepidations about the move, but am willing to give it a go, and hopefully to add my own voice to the fray as well.

    I take it that their promise to allow you to run your comment section differently is tacit admission that they do usually censor their comments, and even ban posters from breaking with the orthidoxy? Not to pry, but have they even tried to justify that policy to you in your talks with them?

  38. #38 |  Mario | 

    What is the principle that compels you to refuse to read even articles you think are important, solely because of the banner at the top of the page?

    I don’t go this far, but I had “friended” the Huffington Post on Facebook so I could see their stories in my feed, even though I knew that they were quite a bit to the left politically, and eventually had to “un-friend” them. I just could no longer stand the histrionics and slanted nature of some of the articles they put up. They’re not adding to any meaning discussion when they do that, and it always amazes me when people complain about the Fox News bogeyman and yet give a free pass to something like the Huffington Post.

    If someone is loathe to add their page view to a site’s marketing database, for fear that they are contributing to their being able to command higher revenue from advertisers, I can understand that. I, for one, will try to scrupulously limit my page views to your articles—and maybe those leftist kooks will get the message.

  39. #39 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    I don’t know exactly how long I’ve been reading The Agitator, to be quite honest. I believe it has been about three years though. Radley, I also read your stuff in Reason before that, and I own a copy of “Overkill.” So I do consider myself a “fan,” if that is the correct term ;). Congratulations and keep up the great work, no matter where that work may appear. Your work, in my opinion, is more about humanism than it is about libertarianism. So when people toss aside their ideological blinders–as I think I have over the last few years–they are bound to respect the importance of your journalism. Thanks.

  40. #40 |  billb | 

    FYI, for those who are primarily RSS feed readers of this site, it appears that a dedicated feed of Radley’s posts at HuffPo will be available, and i should presumably be at a link like: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/author/index.php?author=radley-balko.

    I was afraid for a moment that I’d have to subscribe to the whole HuffPo blog or not follow The Agitator any more. I’m glad to find a reasonably setup site over at HP.

    Congrats to Radley on 10 years. Well done!

  41. #41 |  Radley Balko | 

    I take it that their promise to allow you to run your comment section differently is tacit admission that they do usually censor their comments, and even ban posters from breaking with the orthidoxy?

    Not from what I’ve seen. There are some pretty awful conservative commenters on my articles in addition to the awful liberal commenters.

    To be honest, I really have no idea what criteria they use. But I doubt it’s overtly partisan. And it probably varies depending on who is doing the comment editing.

  42. #42 |  Aresen | 

    Congrats on 10 years of Isolated Incidents, Radley.

    As for the move, I confess my queasiness about wading through the cesspool of Hufflepuffle commenters, but I will still take the time to drop by.

  43. #43 |  J-Man | 

    Congrats, Radley! Your valuable contributions not just to the true freedom-loving community, but also to intellectual discourse in general, is greatly appreciated.

    I have you primarily (and Reason and Cato) to thank for being a 4%-er! (meaning the 4% of black Americans who did not vote for Obama in 2008. And if anyone still has a lingering question about whether ‘the black community’ will vote for a black candidate just because of race? The answer is yes, IF the candidate is also a Democrat.)

    (And yes, family gatherings are a bitch, especially since my conservative, Ron Paul-loving father passed a year ago. Now all I do is stay silent while aunts, uncles and cousins misrepresent facts and agree that ‘Government = God 2.0′, and, ‘Free Markets = Beelzebub’.)

    Though your daily links anger the blood and temporarily turn me suicidal, the Comments page always does wonders to keep me sane for another day. Again, thank you.

  44. #44 |  Personanongrata | 

    10 Years

    Thats almost a decade.

    Congrats

  45. #45 |  EH | 

    What is the principle that compels you to refuse to read even articles you think are important, solely because of the banner at the top of the page?

    That banner, and the other banner, and the popup “sign up for whatever” overlay, and the “download our mobile app” when viewing on a phone, and the other banner, and the flashing ads, and the intercalary (inter-paragraph, really) selflinks, and the sidebar, and the side-sidebar, and the sidebar on the other side with all the “12 ways to…” stories…okay, that’s a bit much, but you know what else is a big turn-off? “Comments: 1348″ There’s just no way to have a conversation that way, you’re just throwing your sentences into a big pit. No wonder people drift to the extremes there, it’s the only way to have any effect, even if reactionary.

  46. #46 |  JSL | 

    “Might take some work at first, but I hope we can work to keep that tone at the new place.”

    A sweet sentiment but will depend on which type of folks bother to comment more or who is more numerous. My guess is the huffpo mindset will win out.

    Congratulations on 10 years, been a fan for 4-5 years when I’m not so cheesed off at the stories you report on that I have to take a break for weeks/months.

  47. #47 |  Other Sean | 

    I first discovered Balko’s work back in 2008, when I was trying to convince a police chief to abolish his SWAT team, and I thought “maybe someone has done some research in this area”. Turns out someone had.

    I think it’s interesting that, among all the concerns expressed about the move to HuffPo, no one feels the slightest need to fret about Radley selling out. Usually that’s my first concern when someone I like teams up with something I don’t. But this time the only fear I or anyone else seems to feel, is that he might somehow be cheated in the transaction.

    That’s an amazing testament to his integrity.

  48. #48 |  Linda | 

    I am confused, are my newly purchased Agitator.com t-shirts soon to be obsolete?

  49. #49 |  144 | 

    I discovered Balko’s work as a budding libertarian a few years ago. Read an article he wrote titled “What Michael Phelps Should Have Said.” After removing the singed hair from my eyebrows, I knew I was a fan. Thank you, Mr. Balko, for helping me see a side of law enforcement that I never knew existed.

  50. #50 |  marta | 

    weren’t you in high school ten years ago?

    congrats radley. my only concern at huffpo is i just HATE the layout there. small price to pay to have you bring your thoughtful journalism to a wider audience.

  51. #51 |  marta | 

    other sean: i agree totally. integrity is a great word for radley.

  52. #52 |  Radley Balko | 

    There’s just no way to have a conversation that way, you’re just throwing your sentences into a big pit.

    Fair enough. You might try reading through an RSS feed.

  53. #53 |  MH | 

    @Michael #32

    “congrats on the blogoversary, followed you since your weekly(??) articles on foxnews.com When you no longer wrote there I changed my home page to this blog.”

    Man, you must have nuts of steel.

  54. #54 |  MH | 

    I’m not clear, is this blog to be taken offline after the transition or remain an archive?

  55. #55 |  MH | 

    “A sweet sentiment but will depend on which type of folks bother to comment more or who is more numerous. My guess is the huffpo mindset will win out.”

    Perhaps so, but if commenters here write off the Huffpo blog from the outset, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  56. #56 |  Kris | 

    Radley,

    I started reading you when you were still with foxnews.com, and was (at least one of) the one who let you know the links/attribution to this site were complete crap at the time. I cannot stress enough how important your vigilance and writing has been for me to reveal such deep flaws in our law enforcement and judicial proceedings.

    From you I learned about LEAP, about the Innocence Project (to which I now donate monthly), about the odious Dr. Hayne and equally vile Dr. West, about the jaw-dropping extent of prosecutorial misconduct, and so on.

    In a better world, the news would be filled with your kind of reporting, and our justifiable outrage would be mainstream. Full stop.

    You have my admiration and my thanks.

  57. #57 |  Belle Waring | 

    Hi Radley, Happy Anniversary! I think you may be the only person in the history of blogging to actually do anything useful. As a card carrying lefty…I’m afraid of your move to HuffPo. It’s really a wretched place. They just have too many commenters, and you couldn’t possibly have the stamina to shut them all up, all the time, nor could your loyal cadre of original commenters downvote them fast enough or whatever.

    Sorry, this is lazier than emailing you, but…You see trackbacks so you would probably notice but I posted something that commented on your post here, at Crooked Timber. I can’t remember if html’s enabled, so:
    http://crookedtimber.org/2012/05/03/thats-racism-everybody/
    I also saw a birdhouse I know you would really, really like (no really, you should all check it out.)
    http://www.manufactum.ch/nistkasten-wolfgang-s-p1443292/

  58. #58 |  Other Sean | 

    About #45…There really is a Goldilocks problem with comment sections: it’s no fun posting on the really small sites where replies range from 5 – 10, and it’s Godwin city once you get into the 200+ range. Even an otherwise great site like reason.com has an absolutely miserable comment culture now; nothing but trolls, troll-chasers, and a never-ending arms race in the development of irony and inside jokes.

    I know a few sites have tried having separate VIP comment sections, or systems that reward long-term reputation building, etc. I guess no one has quite found a reliable scheme that works from site to site.

    In this case, it would be really cool if there was just a special icon to mark out people who came over from The Agitator, so they might know each other, in hoc signo.

  59. #59 |  Iced Borscht | 

    Good job! I’ll add that I like the comments and the whole interface here a lot better than the HuffPo site but I will continue reading your work there, and I’ll continue drawing others’ attention to it there.

  60. #60 |  Johnny | 

    Congratulations and thank you! Nothing else is worth saying, HuffPo or otherwise. You’ve done a good service and I would expect you’ll continue to provide it.

  61. #61 |  Pi Guy | 

    Been a daily follower since c.2005, back in the old Reason days.

    Yes, HuffPo’s left-leaning. Time to start tipping back. Let’s take it to ‘em, Radley!

  62. #62 |  MassHole | 

    Radley,

    Regardless of where you hang your hat, you will always have my respect and attention. I’m excited to hear more about your book and look forward to reading it. One of the best side effects of your reporting is that it has taught many of us how to argue effectively against the drug war and the status quo of the police/legal/prison systems.

    I would say many of us here are unlikely to participate at Huffington Post. In my case, I don’t comment as much as I once did as there comes a point when one doesn’t have much more to say about the latest nut punch. In addition, I don’t usually comment where you have to register. However, it’s much more important that your ideas and reporting be introduced to a new and larger audience than for me to be able to occasionally vent. I sincerely hope a speaking gig or BOOK TOUR! will bring you to Boston soon. Like most here, I would like to shake your hand and sip some bourbon with you.

  63. #63 |  A Critic | 

    “I know some of you are worried about comments. I’ve been assured that if I ask, the editing will be hands-off.”

    I’ll believe it when I see it. So far as I can tell their poster-moderators will still be able to delete comments based on prejudice or based on nothing. About 60% of the comments I get back are censored, not counting the ones that violate the rules. Makes it difficult to have a conversation when both sides are randomly censored.

  64. #64 |  Bart | 

    Radley – “What is the principle that compels you to refuse to read even articles you think are important, solely because of the banner at the top of the page?”

    The principle is that when a Banner regularly puts out slanderous content, I choose not to support them in any way. IMHO, the responsibility is not on me to sift through their crap to get to the one or two solid pieces.

    Too much good content elsewhere and too little time.

  65. #65 |  CyniCAl | 

    Reader since 2004, commenter since 2008. I follow no other blog as religiously as this one. I firmly believe that this blog is important to the future of our society, as a bellwether and as an influence on policy.

  66. #66 |  Ben | 

    Congrats Radley, reader since 2005 myself. And I will definitely be following you over to HuffPo. I’d say I’m definitely to the left of you and most of your commenters, but that doesn’t mean that I particularly agree with the average HuffPo commenter (or writer, for that matter). However, I always felt that the left was a more natural ally for most of the stuff you write about than the right. So I think you’ll get a friendlier response for most of your stuff than most other people think. The only thing that will really get the Hufferati up in a snit will be your more libertarian-based economic posts/comments.

  67. #67 |  Steve Florman | 

    HuffPo makes me more than a little nervous; if I were you I’d definitely rethink keeping this site as an independent foothold for when those lunatics become too loony for you. However, do what you think is best. Just make sure you’re still around for us to say “we told you so” when Arianna and Co. go off the deep end.

  68. #68 |  Darth Cuddly | 

    Congrats on the anniversery. Been reading since 2002 but haven’t commented in years.

  69. #69 |  Other Sean | 

    Ben #66,

    I also used to think the left was a latent ally against the drug war, until I realized that they just want to turn the prisoners and parolees of today into the court ordered mental patients of tomorrow.

  70. #70 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    No, sorry, I won’t post on Huffpost after they edited my posts there to change their actual meaning quite radically, multiple times.

    @69 – Funny, Portugal’s scheme works.

  71. #71 |  Tim C | 

    –Sorry to say, I won’t be following you to HP. I won’t give them any page views – even if its for your stuff.

    -I’m mystified when people write things like this.

    I’m mystified that a person who espouses one set of principles would move to a site that clearly espouses another (perhaps with some minimal overlap, but that is insignificant compared to the essentials).

    It’s examples like this, that, unfortunately, concretize Objectivism’s issues with libertarianism, when seemingly the two should be fairly well aligned.

  72. #72 |  Radley Balko | 

    I’m mystified that a person who espouses one set of principles would move to a site that clearly espouses another….

    Not sure how you expect libertarian ideas to spread if libertarians are only allowed to write for libertarian publications that are primarily read by other libertarians.

  73. #73 |  Other Sean | 

    Leon #70,

    Fair point about Portugal. I guess you could say I’m just really afraid of the aristocratic, Bloomberg wing of the American Left. Once the elections are over, they – and not the OWS kids – always seem to end up calling the shots. And I find it very hard to imagine drug freedom coming about by alliance with a faction that is now moving to control salt, fat, and tobacco intake.

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