Success is hard to define. We think we know it when we see it. But we seldom do. In fact, more often than not we actually misidentify things such as material abundance, popularity or power as “success.” They can in fact be correlative with success, but they are not success or even necessarily proof of success.
Thankfully as we get older this becomes more and more intuitive to us. We learn to focus our inquiry when thinking about success. The old maxim that “no man is a hero to his valet” reminds us that we are all ultimately only human. The march of mortality as well prevents any illusion to the contrary from lodging with sustained firmness in any but the most unsuccessfully matured mind. So we come to realize there are a lot of ways to define to success, to measure it, and to weigh it in terms of the overall picture of what or who it is we’re considering.
We also, it is to be hoped, stop fearing failure, and learn what it is there for, and how there is no success without it.
Now, this blog’s title is an allusion to one of the criteria used by courts to decide whether or not to issue a preliminary injunction in a civil litigation matter. Typically the elements weighed by a judge are (a) a balancing of harms as between what will happen if an injunction does issue, compared to if it does not; (b) whether the harm sought to be prevented is “irreparable harm”–meaning the relief sought is the only way to compensate the party seeking it or whether plain old money will do the trick without too much guesswork or speculation regarding the harm done; (c) a consideration of whether the issuance of the injunction will be in the public interest and (d) whether the party seeking the injunction can show its likelihood of success on the merits of the underlying legal claim.
This last element requires a judge to do a quick once-over of “the case” presented to him and evaluate whether the party seeking the injunction has put forth a plausible and appropriately authenticated prima facie factual set of claims which, in the framework of the applicable legal doctrines set out by the plaintiff, looks like a winner. Typically along with the issuance of a preliminary injunction, a court will require the plaintiff to post a bond, so that if something material turns out to have been misrepresented or misunderstood and harm results to the enjoined party, the court knows that party has recourse to the bond for compensation.
Blogging, however, does not require such profound undertakings. I liked the name Likelihood of Success for this blog because it seemed like a nice assertion of confidence in light of my having been, albeit as it turned out temporarily, made to feel very unwelcome at Dean’s World, where I did all my non-legal blogging at the time. It also made a nice twin to my law blog, LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®, and, well, I owned the domain name already.
But it’s just a blog, after all; I don’t have to post a bond if I’m wrong about whether it will be a success.
I will for a change limit the extent of the self-indulgence here and say that very few bloggers not named Michelle Malkin would be dissatisfied with the speed with which this blog received decent respect from established bloggers, meaningful and frequent link love that sometimes drove traffic to silly heights, raised the blogger’s name recognition to a level that I was in the mix for a coveted Pajamas TV gig for a few months, and more or less qualified as a successful undertaking—whatever on earth that means for a blog. So what turns out is I ended up having a pretty good little run of success, at least the way I defined it when I first thought about it.
What I didn’t figure on was that I, the blogging party, would be the one seeking relief.
Two blogs are too much for me. And this one can’t really be justified as a demand on my time—call it a balance of harms, or benefits, or something. And let’s not even talk about the “public interest.”
Continuing to advance this blog “further” up the “curve” of whatever it is I was doing with it would have required a sustained, intensive investment in time I am no longer in the position to make; a commitment to hewing to pretty clearly delineated political and topical positions that I happen not to be interested in assuming just to please certain power brokers in the blogosphere; and the kind of blogging you do when you’re really interested in traffic per se, which is not usually such good blogging.
Really, to have more “success” with Likelihood of Success, I would have to figure out why the world needs just another general topic blog by another clever loudmouth and, after realizing it doesn’t, do the things people who want to be big-shot bloggers for some reason do in order to constantly draw attention and traffic and whatever (we know it’s not money) to themselves.
And yeah! What exactly do you get if you achieve this “success”? It’s like the joke they tell about the person who supposedly turned down the offer of a partnership in one of the elite law firms. “No thanks,” he said. “This is like winning a pie-eating contest where the prize is just more pie.” I’m full, too.
Then there’s the fact that blogging may be peaking, or perhaps has already peaked. Comments on blogs and links from blogs are in serious decline, in favor of Twitter and other ways of having topical conversations. Combined with all these other factors, and the serial failure of a number of would-be co-bloggers to come through on their ambitions or promises to contribute, the serious question of whither general interest blogging is one more reason not to continue the dispersal of focus, energy and time that Likelihood of Success would represent.
So I am retiring this blog from the active roster. Legacy posts will stay up. But I am focusing my efforts as a blogger almost exclusively on LIKELIHOOD OF CONFUSION®. I still have posting privileges on Dean’s World and Right Wing News if I think there’s a reason to say something else. I’m out there. But the successful run of Likelihood of Success is over.
Thank you very, very much for it. A little piece of me dies… but that is life.