On blogging
0 comment Thursday, December 4, 2014 |
At SBPDL, Paul explains his banning of a certain commenter, who tended to dominate (and derail) most discussions on that blog. I've mentioned before that I thought the SBPDL blog would be better without this bothersome commenter and others of that sort, so I think this is a good move.
Predictably, though, a few commenters decry 'censorship' and bemoan what they see as a move towards having an 'echo chamber' or a boring discussion with no opposition to debate. There are always these schools of thought among blog readers.
It's possible to have a free exchange of ideas without tolerating obnoxious commenters or discussion-derailers. We've seen a few passing through the comment section here over the years, and a few of them have been IP-banned, without any appreciable loss to the discussion here.
I think it's more important on a blog to maintain a certain level of civility, and to try to keep things on a higher plane. Abusive or insulting comments degrade the discussion, and when I am visiting a blog that tolerates that kind of thing, I will just remove the blog from my list of daily reads. I am sure there must be others who react similarly to blogs with out-of-control comment sections.
Of course some people are attracted to that kind of rough-and-tumble atmosphere, and to each his own, I suppose, but that's not my cup of tea. It isn't my idea of debate. Maybe the blunt language and rough banter is more of a ''guy'' thing, but it's just not for me. Still, every blogger has his own philosophy of what a blog discussion should be.
I'm all for freedom of speech when it comes to expressing ideas and arguments and points of view, but there is a limit. I will let comments stand even if I disagree with the ideas expressed but I will ban for abusive or aggressive or hostile language, because I believe it's possible to get one's points across in a civil and respectful way. Generally I give people a couple of chances to make their points in a civil way, and if they can't, well, they are gone.
Some of the comments at SBPDL which took exception to the new policy stated the need to 'hear what the opposition is saying.' Personally I find that I can hear what the opposition is saying just about anywhere; read any mainstream news source or blog, and there is nothing else but the 'opposition viewpoint.' So dissident bloggers have no crying need to welcome the opposition; they offer nothing but predictable nonsense and falsehoods, so it's absolutely redundant to have such commenters on our blogs. Such is my opinion, anyway.
Recently on some blog I was reading, a commenter complained about a blogger joining in the discussion on the comment thread; this complainer thought that was very bad form, and should not be done by a blogger. I've noticed over the years that certain bloggers do not join any discussion in the comment section. Personally, when visiting others' blogs, I am put off by that. I remember before I started blogging myself, that some bloggers never came down from Olympus to interact with the readers who commented. I tend to take the opposite approach. I don't know the preferences of my readers, but I recall one reader a couple of years ago, who seemed new to the blog, who left a comment to which I did not, for whatever reason, reply directly to. The commenter took angry offense at my failing to reply, and huffily announced that he would not read my blog anymore and that I was not welcome in his neck of the woods. I was taken aback, because I had meant no offense to that person, but in any case, he took his leave.
I generally like to acknowledge comments and interact because I value comments -- most of them, anyway -- and especially value my regular, faithful readers. I understand, though, that others have a different approach, especially those blogs which have scores of comments on a given post.
There are many approaches to blogging and managing the discussion, so there's no one right way I suppose, although I think we should all be able to agree on rules of basic civility towards one another.

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