The First SEO Republic Forumed from Jim Hedger at Search Engine Guide looks at the idea of search engine forums shaping up as an almost "horseshoe shaped congress" with black hatters on one end, white hatters in the other and some in the middle (including our SEW Forums). He finds the polarization ugly, political and producing negative repercussions for the industry.
My view is completely different. I think some forums can be assigned more "white hat" or "black hat" but not entirely. And if anything, I've felt many of the discussions on the issue of white versus black hat have been far more productive than in the past.
I know our own forums the best, of course -- and I know we work really hard to ensure people are getting along to respect each other even when views are different.
The main thing I've noticed over the past year is in my view, people do seem to be understanding other view points, at least around our place. The idea that things are all black or white does seem to me to be slowly going away, which I've felt is more a good thing. I've also seen plenty of people who have completely opposite views nevertheless agree to disagree, rather than friendships being torn apart.
It bears reminding that we've long had a wide-spectrum of political-like opinions about SEO and search marketing, as I covered way back in my Desperately Seeking Search Engine Marketing Standards piece of 2001. We even had this spectrum before the Google "monoculture" days Jim argues we're now emerging from. Yep, renewed attention is being paid to the other Bradys Of Search -- but we've always had them and did have them even more strongly in the 1995-2000 time frame.
Want to comment or discuss? Start a thread over in the Search Industry Growth & Trends section of our forums.. Want to read some past White Hat/Black Hat discussions? White Hat - Gray Hat - Black Hat has a bunch of them.