Over at En Banc, a nice law-student-run blog, the authors are getting worked up about the idea that someone, perish the thought, might cite to a blog, which is ephemeral, off-the-cuff, and perhaps not quite as carefully thought out as the better student note. I can sort of see where some of this comes from, as I recall that part of law school pathology is the feeling that takes hold that citations are sacred, special, eternal. (The limits to that particular fetish become clearer in academe when you start trying to find stuff other people have cited, and it's not there; when you find that law review editors have mangled your footnotes; and particularly when you find an entire paragraph of your writing, sans attribution, in someone else's published article. But I digress.)
But whatever you may think this reflects about law student views of footnotes, this seems to reflect a very odd view of blogs, at least as compared to other web content. So, to the suggestion that there was something odd, revolutionary or disturbing about citing to a blog in a dead tree law review, I responded,
Those of us who write about high-tech stuff have been citing web pages in dead tree law journals — including both Harvard's and Yale's — for years now.
To me, a blog is just another web page.
That produced this reply:
Prof. Froomkin, I do, however, find it very interesting that you find there to be no difference between a blog and a Web page. Web pages are generally static or — such as in the case of newspapers — reproductions of off-line material. Blogs, on the other hand, are the wholesale creation of new material.
And that made me feel old. Web pages are generally static! Web pages are the reproduction of off-line material! Blogs are not web pages?!?
I'm sorry, but under the hood, it's all HTML to me. A blog is just a style of web page, produced by particular types of front-end tools. [Yes, there is a link rot problem, but that's common to blogs and other web pages.] Back in the day, I used to mutate my homepage all the time. By hand-coding the HTML. On a 386 chip. Over a slow phone line. To an unresponsive server. Barefoot. In the snow. But tell the young people of today that ….. they won't believe you.