Question: What are the outer bounds of permissible lawblog snark?

I just started blogging, but I’ve already felt the cool feel of snark. What is snark? According to Urban Dictionary, the venerable source of web slang, snark is a combination of “snide” and “remark,”  or sarcastic remark.

From Professor Orin Kerr in the comment thread:

“I suppose if your views were on the other side, you would say that the Barnett cover focuses on just a very small part of the Constitution — it has only the preamble and the first few lines of Article I — while the Constitution in 2020 cover has the entire original Constitution on it.”

And from Professor Muller at Faculty Lounge

There’s an idiom that captures the essence of this post, but it eludes me,  just as it appears to have eluded Randy Barnett. (And Josh Blackman fails to note that the Balkin/Siegel tome is red.  Red!)

These comments are quite tame, and rather witty.

But, in anticipation for future, stronger snark, what are the outer bounds of permissible snark in the legal blogosphere? When is it too much? What are repercussions for crossing that line? And what is a good policy to replying in kind?

For example, while I am liveblogging the Constitution in 2020 conference, in the event a panelist mentions the text of the Constitution, would it be too snarky to issue a tweet reading “Constitution in 2020 LiveBlog Alert! Panelists Mentioned the Text of the Constitution.” Of course it is only in jest, and I only mean to poke fun at the fact that the actual book sparingly cites the text of the Constitution, but I don’t wish to cross the line.

To Tweet or Not to Tweet? That is the question.

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2 Responses to “Question: What are the outer bounds of permissible lawblog snark?”

  1. Kat Says:

    Snark sells. There’s a huge difference between snarky comments about an idea or political sway and snarky ad hominem comments about a _person_.

    I’d say snark away when you find a pattern that needs probing — namely, that the “2020” folks don’t tend to refer to the Constitution — and avoid it inasmuch as you’re tempted to attack someone personally, or to attack a specific poorly founded idea.

    • Josh Blackman Says:

      Kat, I agree. I would never launch an ad hominem. But in fact, this tweet, in my estimation, would be praiseworthy, as a panelist cites the very document the conference is supposed to be about; the Constitution.


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