It was brought to our attention on the post by iantimothy on ian.onthereddot.com with regards to the post titled "What DK, Simplyjean & Cobalt Paladin Tell Us About Ping.sg". In particular, we find a statement in his post misleading. The paragraph, reproduced without prejudice is as follows:

  • Yesterday I met up with Ridz at the Starbucks located at Raffles City opposite Chijmes.
  • DK was there and I think Jean from simplyjean was also there.
  • I witnessed ( wah..make it sound so dramatic ) DK asking for a little back-scrating from Ridz to get Jean a pong for one of her entries.

The first 2 statements provided the context for the third (3rd) statement, where the misleading statement lies. Whilst it may be true that DK was asking for a little back-scrating (sic) from Ridz, but the objective was not "to get Jean a pong for one of her entries".

Simply Jean does not solicit the service of others for pongs in Ping.sg. While Simply Jean may publicise ping URLs corresponding to posts on Simply Jean, we do not encourage nor persuade others to propagate a mandatory pong. The provision of a pong should always be in the freewill of the respective readers.

A reply is made in iantimothy’s blog and is awaiting moderation. The reply is reproduced below:

Jean | 22-Apr-08 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi there!

Nice observations, and I agree with krisandro that it’s very well written. Just that… there’s a minor correction here (due to some confusion over construction of the sentence =P ):

DK was there and I think Jean from simplyjean was also there. I witnessed ( wah..make it sound so dramatic ) DK asking for a little back-scrating from Ridz to get Jean a pong for one of her entries.

I thought it sounded like:

1. DK asking for a little back-scratching from Ridz… (which I think was what the statement meant)

2. … to get Jean a pong for one of her entries (DK asking Ridz to give Jean a pong? i.e. DK asking Ridz to click on one of Jean’s post?)

Heh heh… I wasn’t involved in the entire discussion between Ridz and DK yesterday, but I think DK was asking Ridz to give him a pong on a post which was about me (”Simplyjean is a Power Blogger“?).

Yup yup. That was all I wanted to clarify. But yes, interesting observations you have there – gives me a little food for thought with regards to what’s happening in the real world.

The entire post is reproduced without prejudice below:

wanted to comment on this for sometime. Cobalt Paladin highlighted something which was part of what I wanted to say in his post DK is Power Blogger! Sometime ago, I wrote a post – Is There A Need For Ping.sg?

For those who might not remember the earlier days of Ping.sg and the leaderboard, entries entered the leaderboard based on the number of Pongs they got, just like now, except that then, anyone could contribute to a Pong. Now, you need to be a member and logged into the site to make your Read count as a Pong.

I’ve tried to look for stats on the site to see whether under the new system, the entries with the top Pongs are also those with the most Reads ( ‘Reads’ is the count of the number of people who click on an entry ). I couldn’t. If anyone knows of where these stats can be obtained, do leave a comment.

The earlier system gave rise to the practice of link-baiting to get the attention of the wider group of users who either are not members of the site or don’t log on when using the site. Link-baiting is definitely still going on but under the new system, they seem to rise less often to the leaderboard because the members of Ping.sg seem more savvy.

Based on my totally unscientific observations, the leaderboard has been exhibiting the DK-effect after the new system was implemented. What is the DK-effect? Simple really – it is where a core group of members pong each other entries until they get to the leaderboard and let the public (non-core group) take over. This is natural. If I know who you are, if we hang out, if we chat, if we msn, if we basically get social with each other, it is probably not presumptuous to say I’ll read your posts and more often than others.

This isn’t pong cheating in the sense of setting up multiple accounts and using them to pong entries of your own blogs.

However, this current state of affairs definitely reduce the effectiveness of the leaderboard being a filtering mechanism at least in the wider sense of what interests the readers of Ping.sg and probably more importantly, what are the posts worth reading. What the leaderboard has become then is a reflection of who the core members of Ping.sg are, maybe even who is the most popular people in this core group and their interests in the context of blog posts they read.

Which of course is perfectly fine.

Ping.sg never had any pretensions of being the community meta blog for ALL Singaporean bloggers nor was its main aim ( at least from what I have read about Ping.sg ) to be a tool for discovering and filtering. From the earliest post I can find on the blog, the aim was to build a thorough database of blogs and allow the bloggers to build communities.

Would like to digress and say there is nothing contradicting about the two aims of NOT building a community for ALL Singaporean bloggers and at the same time building a THOROUGH database of Singapore blogs.

Now, I’ve gone on a rather meandering path to get to this point. Ping.sg is now a place where a core group of people come together to play and the rest of the people are allowed to participate either as casual observers, people trying to join the core group or individuals trying to contribute to the community if not rise to prominence in the wider community without actually being part of the core group. This seems to me to be a natural progression of any type of group.

Yesterday I met up with Ridz at the Starbucks located at Raffles City opposite Chijmes. DK was there and I think Jean from simplyjean was also there. I witnessed ( wah..make it sound so dramatic ) DK asking for a little back-scrating from Ridz to get Jean a pong for one of her entries.

Back-scratching among a core group of people from any community is natural. In politics, more specifically, in Singapore politics, we call these core group the elites and a subset of that group is people affiliated with the PAP. When we talk about back-scratching happening in other countries, we use the term nepotism.

So, here is the thing. If we do it at our level, why should we expect any different from the people above.

Just because of the stuff they say and the stuff they do? Just because of how they police us in what we can say and do. If you trace past discussions on Ping.sg, you would notice at least one case where the core members of Ping.sg were up in arms against explicit pong cheating.

Same difference.

So back to the actual point of this post. Ping.sg to me is an interesting example of how communities progress. Not that it is unexpected. Just that it is rather ironic, that bloggers, not necessarily those in the core group of Ping.sg tend to be more vocal about the government yet the two main aggregaters of content online which are blogger community powered seem to exhibit the same attributes and tendencies as the very thing we seem to be against.

You only hate power when you don’t have it.


I will make the concession that yesterday was a one-off. That no other member has ever or will ever pong a post just for the sake to register a pong instead of it being a result of being genuinely interested to read the post of a friend/fellow member. However, this only means Ping.sg might not be a convenient example to use.

Once again, we would like to thank all our readers for supporting Simply Jean.



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