I must admit, that as a blogger, it is nice to get feedback on posts (both positive and negative that demonstrate what the readership thinks of one subject or another), so I understand on the more popular posts why the discussion seems to go on….and on….and on…until cut off by the blogger or ‘the next big discussion’ occurs.
Typically though, casual observation of the comments on many, many, many blogs and websites, depending on the ‘group think’ leanings of the blog or website’s ‘regulars,’ will be either down right kiss ups or nitpicks in an article or post’s purpose, complete with a lack of common courtesy and respect for the writer or the point he or she is trying to make. Interesting to note that whether or not the blog or website is ‘left’ or ‘right’ or in between, the comments typically employ the same Alinsky-like tactics to differ with any idea or other commenter that might be in opposition with another commenter or writer: Demonization; Conflation; Ad Hominem; Poisoning the Well (a type of fallacious attack), and so on, while not providing reason or logic to dispute an idea.
I believe it drives those who might be like-minded away from not only well-meaning and very instructive/entertaining blogs and websites, but more importantly from the ideology of Freedom and Self-Determination, especially those who may be on the other side and questioning their indoctrination. It is my opinion that those who don’t moderate the commentariat on their own blogs or websites add to the problem. But, truth be told, it’s their BBQ, and they can do as they wish, no matter how much of a disservice to the objective of restoring freedom non-moderation becomes.
My own suggestion?
Be polite; be courteous, and back up your comment with logic, reason, and your purpose.
If it were up to me (and it decidedly is not because I’m not in charge of anything but my own blog), I’d universally limit comments to those adding to the conversation. Gone would be the ‘I agree and you rock’ comments (because these don’t add to the conversation, either) as well as the rugged individualist contrarian for the sake of contrariness comments. The general ‘fuck you’ comments would not be deleted provided they demonstrated why the writer disagreed, and even if wrong, were logical and well constructed, and were not ad hominem in nature. If they were a basic flame comment, well, then, ‘Bye’!
There’s a reason for this mindset: First, too many people use the keyboard to vent their spleens without accountability or consequence and call it, “Freedom of Speech,” without actually understanding that ‘freedom’ doesn’t mean license to say whatever one wishes without consequence. My perception is that many people see a blog comment section as a ‘chat room’ placed there for personal entertainment. Maybe some are, but the more relevant blogs and web sites cause me to doubt it. Secondly, the right commenters seem to scream about, ‘freedom of speech’, ensconced in the Bill of Rights deals with government infringement on that right, not private individuals exercising authority over a private blog or web site.
Hence, the rules here when one decides to comment:
In other words, add to the conversation, or your comment won’t be published. Yes, I understand. That’s not what some commenters are used to….but when you get down to it, it’s very similar to ‘control measures’ on a shooting range. Everything within the bounds of the controls ensures that the chance for an injury/casualty are minimized to as low degree as possible.
So, commenters can disagree, debate, argue, criticize, but anything submitted must add to the conversation. Personal attacks don’t qualify. Saying, “you suck” doesn’t qualify. Be constructive in any criticism. Constructive criticism is not simply saying, “You suck,” or “fuck you,” and leaving it at that. Rather, it’s explaining why the writer sucks by providing reasons or information that proves the writer is in error, and then providing a way for the party being disagreed with to gain some understanding.
It’s impossible to convince people that ‘our’ side is better than ‘the other guy’s’ when ‘our’ side seems to be a slightly different side of the same coin when reading typical statements from the commentariat…we have a choice: Do we use the blogosphere to help and ‘force multiply’ or stroke our own egos by becoming a ‘fuck you’ chorus?
I think the choice is clear. What are your thoughts?