I am creating a new category of EphBlog author called EphPundit, someone whose posts to EphBlog are required to have only a nodding connection to “All Things Eph” but who would volunteer to try to supervise and direct the conversation which follows. Recall one of our three goals for EphBlog.

EphBlog is not simply a place for you to get your daily fix of Ephery. We’re that, of course, but we aspire to greater things. Many of us who live beyond the Purple Valley have discovered that life after Williams does not provide nearly as many opportunities for honest, informed and open-minded debate as we might have hoped. A wise Eph does not argue about foreign affairs with his boss. A sensitive Eph does not debate economic policy with her staff. A sensible Eph does not argue about controversial issues of the day with the other parents on the sideline of a childrens’ soccer game.

So, where should an Eph who misses the intellectual thrill of the back and forth discussions that make a Williams education so magical go? Where can he find smart people who completely disagree with him but are open-minded enough to listen to his arguments and patient enough to point out his errors. To be honest, we don’t know. But we hope that EphBlog might one day be the answer.

Perhaps the biggest current flaw of EphBlog is that it is too much me and too little everyone else. Despite my constant recruiting efforts, we do not have enough other authors (although I am thankful for the authors that we do have). I hope that having a category like EphPundit will make recruitment easier, will make it clear that you do not need to follow events on campus as closely as I do to make a valuable contribution to our conversation here.

Moreover, the constant improvements to Eph News, Eph Planet and our Eph Blogroll, make it much easier than it has been in the past to connect random topics that you might want to blog about to some aspect of “All Things Eph.” For example, almost every newsworthy item is mentioned by one of the Ephs in our Blogroll. So, it is easy to post on, say, the latest news from Iraq while linking to Dan Drezner’s entry on the same topic.

Why might an Eph blogger want to become an EphPundit? Why not just start up a new blog and post there? Well, that is one option. And, as our FAQ makes clear, we encourage crossposting by our authors. But the main reason for being an EphPundit is that we provide a largish audience, a community of regular readers interested in what you have to say. In most cases, it will take years for a new blogger to develop this sort of readership.

If you’re interested in being an EphPundit, contact me. I will also be reaching out to a couple of candidates who I think would be perfect fits. Top of the list is Derek Catsam ’93. See here for an example of just the sort of EphPundit post that I am looking for.

Is this a good idea? Let me know your opinion.

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