Sunday, August 31, 2008

A comment on the disappearance of no comments

I know I am a minor figure in the blogging scheme of things. I don’t break stories and my opinions are little noted. Which is fine with me. If I do come up with something or several things that are clever, maybe someone will notice. If I blog a lot more, perhaps everyday, I get more traffic, I know this. But I am content with my position in the order of things.

I do allow comments, albeit not (strictly speaking) anonymous ones. But Blogger and blogging in general have an interesting definition of anonymous. When you don’t allow anonymous comments, it means your commenters can not hit the “anonymous” button. I don’t know if that masks your IP address (probably not), but if you still want to remain anonymous on my blog or the other few blogs that don’t allow “anonymous” comments, you just choose a nickname for yourself when you sign up with Google. You could choose a new nickname every time you comment, except you have to give an email address, and having an unlimited supply of email addresses is beyond the abilities most people.

I decided not to allow anonymous comments because of Pat Dowd. He had expressed an irritation with anonymous commenters, feeling like their presence suppressed genuine debate (I hope I got that right). I tried to explain that anonymity is a tradition of the internet (I believe), but I also partly agreed with Dr. Dowd. Being forced to adopt a consistent persona, even if we don’t know who are, makes debate flow more smoothly, and more sophisticated arguments can be developed.

That’s why I think sites that don’t allow commenters are not really blogs. There are only a few; the Carbolic Smoke Ball and Teacher, Wordsmith, Madman are two come to mind. Actually, the Carbolic Smoke Ball is more like entertainment. Teacher, Wordsmith, Madman is Chad Hermann’s vehicle, which I have written about before.

Dr. Hermann has decided to hang up his blogging … er keyboard, apparently. In his second to last post he complained about an email he got where a reader told him it was not enough to not complain about Barack Obama, Dr. Hermann needed to actively praise him. Then Dr. Hermann posted this on Thursday:

(with this.)

The rest is silence.”

Now, my understanding is that Dr. Hermann is currently a speechwriter for Tim Murphy. I don’t have the faintest idea whether that is related, or if a commenter threatened him, or he wanted to vacate the stage to make way for Sarah Palin. I will say that I think the opportunities for comments are an important part of a blog. I know, I get very few comments, but I am ok with that. I could get more if I chose to stir the pot. And that would be a good thing. If you think that someone who writes things that other people may read is spreading falsehoods, it is actually a good thing to be able to argue with them, force them to back up their opinions. Dr. Hermann obviously did not do that, and if he ended up feeling mischaracterized on other blogs (hopefully not mine, but in fact probably on mine), he bears some of the responsibility. I liked some of the funny stuff he wrote. But I like pretty much all the funny stuff Dave Barry writes.

Just a quick, unfair note on Sarah Palin. John McCain’s first wife was a former model. McCain’s second wife participated in beauty pageants. And now he has picked as his veep candidate a former beauty pageant contestant. His first choice was said to be Joe Lieberman, but Lieberman tested poorly with Republicans (possibly because Lieberman is a Democrat). So McCain went with the adolescent boy choice. Meanwhile, since Palin is younger than Obama, with an equally brief resume, should we compare schooling? University of Idaho in journalism with a minor in Political Science, with no mention of class rank. Versus Columbia, BA in Political Science, Harvard Law – president of the Law Review and magna cum laude. Forget her being pro-life, she believes in teaching creationism. Our kids aren’t being educated now, and she wants to weaken the curriculum.


Bram Reichbaum said...

If there is a criticism of TWM, it was that it seemed at times to epitomize some of the very things it seemed to loathe.

Ah, that old thing.

I liked the concentration. I liked the breadth, and the depth, and I liked the grandiosity and the personalization. I liked the diction, I liked the rapproachment.

EdHeath said...

Yeah, your first comment does seem to hit the nail on the head.

I don't recall much sign of rapprochement, and the diction sometimes seemed stilted (pot calling kettle), but all the rest, yeah. I thought it was funny sometimes, as long as I didn’t disagree with the agenda.

Bram Reichbaum said...

Well, here is where my own English leaves something to be desired. What I meant to say is, I enjoyed the reproachment, believe it or not, but to an extent both apply.

EdHeath said...

Hmm, I'm not sure Reproach-ment is a word, but I take your meaning.

Anyway, the bloging community's loss may be my blood pressure's gain.