The results are in for the 2007 Weblog Awards and the boys win — and they win big. Nowhere was that more evident than in the vote for the “Best Online Community.”, a news-portal for the posting of so-called “politically incorrect” headlines, received a whopping 50 percent of the vote, tallying up a count of just over 29,000.

The question is, is the biggest community necessarily the best? Fark does have a lot going for it when it comes to gathering up numbers. Not only does it cater to both sides of the political aisle with its nihilistic tendencies, allowing it to bury Daily Kos by a three-to-one margin, it’s ultimately apolitical being that you can just click on the news-links without ever involving yourself in the discussions. Fark also has a host personality who has been engaged in book tour, with radio and television appearances to stoke his fan base, and enough participants to guarantee a good showing at Fark parties in just about any metropolitan area they choose.

Fark is the undisputed Best Online Community according the awards. Let’s then, take a look at what that community entails, in a posting from the year it won, on  Sun, 13 May 2007 at 9:39 AM:

[Tag: Ironic] Ho killed by hoe

That headline linked to a story by CBS:

“(CBS) NORTHRIDGE Police say a 50-year-old man living in his mother’s home killed a transvestite prostitute with a garden hoe after bringing him back to the house, police said Wednesday.”

That link was clicked by visitors at Fark 24,581 times, and nearly one hundred comments were posted in response to it. A few examples from that discussion:

CheddarPants   2007-05-13 09:36:53 AM
But was it a nappy-headed ho?moulderx1   2007-05-13 09:47:27 AM
Apparently you DO bring a hoe to a tranny fight.

miltoncharles   2007-05-13 04:01:59 PM
Because he’s a transvestite, and therefore possibly a father, does that make him a PAPPY headed ho?

hypercoma   2007-05-13 11:11:12 AM
You can’t beat a ho with a belt. They like that shiat…
(+5 if you get it. +10 if you get it and laugh.)

boonfarker   2007-05-13 11:36:58 AM
Maybe “she” just wanted a ho-cake

DateGrape   2007-05-13 02:31:10 PM
Homonyms ≠ Irony

According the promoters of the contest, this is the best community on the internet. While one could hem and haw about their methodology that would allow such a cesspit to rise to the top, the fact that it won — and is capable of putting up such numbers — is still meaningful.

Radical feminists are usually the ones taking flack, mostly from other feminists, for being anti-prostitute (rather than anti-exploitation, against both sexism and capitalism) and transphobic.

I doubt anyone could picture a conversation like the above at Fark ever taking place amongst radical feminists. Yet one did on the Best Online Community. This will go unchallenged. It will go unremarked upon and will be forever forgotten. The people who created the contest and the parameters that enabled Fark to claim the title will also go unchallenged. The most popular of feminist bloggers, frontrunners who placed in the top 500 — or even 1000 or 2000 blogs — will not boycott the Awards next year because of its glorification of violence against sex workers and its transphobia. Many of those same feminist bloggers, however, will be boycotting the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival, thinking them guilty of the same thing.

The Fark and feminist communities are not totally unknown entities to each other. While many of the intersections of the two groups have been explosive, there have been exceptions.

Ginmar, of, received a prime link on Fark for a recounting of her military service in Iraq. Biting Beaver, another radical feminist (who no longer operates a public blog due to a campaign by men to harass her at her home and in her neighborhood), also had one of her posts linked to without engendering controversy.

Biting Beaver’s posting was about how she, as a grown woman with both a long term partner and several teenaged sons, was denied emergency contraception. She wrote elegantly and at length about her experience and painted a dire political picture. While her longtime readers were supportive and helped her come up with funds to aid her, later, when the story gained traction and was quoted at some of the more popular feminist blogs, Fark picked up on the post too. Farkers were nearly unanimous in their anger over what Biting Beaver experienced.

While Biting Beaver was a momentary feminist celebrity, she received only two of her fifteen minutes of fame: it didn’t take long before she was back to her regular duties of critiquing sadomasochism and pornography. Just as before her emergency, she couldn’t have been more invisible to the popular feminist bloggers, people who have every interest in courting both sides of those debates. They need to run up their numbers the same way that Fark does to beat Daily Kos. Indeed, adding insult to injury, one feminist blog nominated for the “top 501-1000” award this year even gave additional space to the men who would chase Biting Beaver from the internet to share their opinion of her.

Many of the top feminist bloggers claim that their feminism is about attracting newcomers and building a bridge between longtime feminists and — well, the rest of humanity, with whom longtime feminists are apparently unequipped to converse. In exchange for that bit of condescension, these bloggers promise to make the rest of the movement palatable to the outside world. Did they help “break” the stories of Ginmar and Biting Beaver, bringing them to the sausage party that is Fark? Maybe. It’s hard to say, conclusively.

However, this bridge building only seems to take place when it suits male interests to begin with. Biting Beaver was a near pariah in the grand scheme of the feminist community for her anti-porn activism, up until she became the stand-in for every woman that any man wanted to stick his penis in without becoming a father. Then, and only then, was a bridge built in her honor.

Fark is the Best Online Community. What that truly means is up to you. One certainly can dispute the ruling. One can dispute the entire contest. What one can’t dispute is that none of the popular feminist blogs could exist in their current incarnations without Fark: the same news articles linked to at those blogs are all typically posted a day earlier at Fark. Feminists can write angry headlines (or quirky angry headlines), rather than celebratory ones for the same material, but it’s still the same material. One needn’t involve oneself in the community at Fark to get at those links to CBS et al.

What is one to think when the leaders of the so-called feminist blogosphere can’t compete with the big dogs and are forced to chew on their scraps, hours or even days, later? What if they are unable to serve as the bridge builders they tacitly promised to be in exchange for being entitled to make certain concessions? What if they are unwilling to promote all aspects of feminism to the outside world — dismissing those that don’t make feminists seem more fun or sexually desirable for “doing it better?”

Well, one might as well just go and read Fark instead.