An etherealgirl's Adventures in Cyberland

Monday, May 16, 2005

the (dreaded) comment box

I've had some inquiries by some really wonderful people as to why I don't have a comment box. So here's the absolutely unvarnished truth and a tentative foray into what feels to me to be frankly utterly frightening territory.

I am a control freak of epic proportions. I am also a Pisces Rising. If you wonder what either of these things have to do with not having a comment box, I'll try to explain. Once upon a time, like most every good little girl of my age group, I was taught and utterly believed in the idea that "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything." Over the years I have outgrown that notion, at least with those who know me best; I still believe in civil discourse and I would never hurt anyone intentionally if there is any way to avoid it. I have found, however, that civil discourse has largely become a thing of the past in our society, particularly where the admittedly hot-buttoned discussions are concerned.

For a very long time, whenever possible, I would try avoiding engaging in those kinds of discussions; but in last several years I have become alarmed enough about where our civilization is headed to believe that to keep silent about the more outrageous things going on in our world and particularly in this country would be be far a much bigger sin than speaking out about them.

As a result, my blog has become a major outlet for airing some of my concerns over many of those often sensitive and very touchy subjects. All this preamble is for the express purpose of explaining that my Pisces Rising's desire to continue looking through the world in lavender coloured shades has been forced to face a more disillusioning and frightening worldview ~ and believe me, as a Pisces Rising, if I could get away with not having to face that worldview I absolutely would try to do so; unfortunately, that is one luxury that none of us can afford to indulge in at this point in time.

Now back to the control-freak thing. This blog is my place to share what is important to me. If I remember this correctly, and I honestly believe that I do, blogs came along well before comments became a regular feature within them. I will admit that this may not be an accurate memory but that is how I remember it. So when I recently read somewhere that a blog without a comment box is merely commentary, (or maybe it was merely an editorial; I can't exactly remember how it was worded but that was the basic idea) and the unspoken therefore is that a blog is not a legitimate blog without participation by others' via a comment box, I was rather surprised.

I do realize, though, that whether comments were an intended original feature for blogging or not is pretty much beside the point, as most everybody with a legitimate blog seems to have one. Those who do not have one are usually considered not to be legitimate in some way and it has been written that the people who most often do not have comments or who mercilessly censor the comments that they do not like, tend to be people on the other side of the political fence from me (i.e. rightwing) and who really don't believe in freedom of speech; and I haven't had much desire to be lumped into that category but the sad fact is that it is probably true that the reason many of that group do not have a comment box is for the primary reason I don't have one.

The truth is that what I write here is not something that I wish to have critiqued, relentlessly debated about and most especially trolled over. When I see that kind of nastiness on other people's blogs, I really get disgusted and angry. When I'm outraged about something, I really want to be able to do say so without having to endure Mr. Neocon's insulting remarks or strawman arguments clogging my comment box. Mr. Neocon has a right to his very misguided opinion to be sure, but I really don't have any desire to have to read it right here on my own blog. The truth doesn't have to be pretty... it just has to be the truth. And the truth is that this place belongs to me and I'm frankly not interested in giving equal time on my personal space to someone who spouts stuff that I detest.

So... I guess that means that what I'm interested in doing here within my blog (among other things, of course ~ not everything here is political discourse, not by any means) is in fact, making my editorial, or commentary here. I don't want to play point/counterpoint. I don't want to have endless loops arguments with people who are never ever going to get it and don't have one snowball's chance in hell of indoctrinating me into their misguided worldview. And I especially do not want to give space to anyone who wants to use it to be abusive and insulting.

The hot-button subjects I write about in here are for the purpose of venting my spleen over them and educating those who might not be aware of them yet but are open-minded enough to look into what is really going on and follow up on learning more. Those who happen to drop in and don't agree about it and/or don't want to know, are going to move along without any glimmer of enlightenment but there is always the possibility that someone may come along who might not have known anything about it and will be interested enough to look into some piece of information or consider an idea in a different way than they originally would have, if they hadn't seen it. I'll be the first to admit that this is probably a fairly unlikely (or in all probability a fairly infrequent) occurance but even if it happens only once in a blue moon that would make the effort so worthwhile to me. That infrequent happening doesn't require a comment box nor does the desire to air my very real concerns over the more controversial things going on around us every single day.

I've also noticed that spamming becomes a major issue in comment boxes and that is another thing I don't really want to have to deal with.

But... having said all that, I have heard from enough really nice people asking why I don't have a place for comments, to make me reconsider it. And so I have taken a deep breath and stilled my shaking hands and done so, but with this caveat: if I find that having the comments box turned on results in the things I don't want to deal with, and especially if I find myself either self-censoring or engaging in long and endlessly drawn-out and utterly pointless arguments with others because of the comments, I'm very probably going to wind up turning them back off again.

And, if there is a way to censor yucky comments I absolutely will do so ruthlessly and without a single moment's regret over it. I've seen many a troll cry "freedom of speech" while they destroy forums, newsgroups and blogs with joyous abandon. Freedom of speech is guaranteed in this country; but this blog is my home on the internet and anyone who posts here is a guest. If someone came into my home and was abusive, they would not be asked to come back. If someone came into my home and only unpleasantness ensued, they would not be asked to come back. If someone comes into my home and doesn't like what he sees or hears, I would assume that he would make it his business not to come back. The same thing applies here.

So with all that out in the open, I have turned the comments on; and that reminds me of the other reason I never had much desire to see a comment box on my blog. Not only the fear of all the things I mentioned above but also that sad little feeling of having no comments left on the blog at all. However, considering this little rant of an explanation I would understand how it might put people off of the idea of bothering to comment at all. My apologies for doing this, but I thought an explanation was in order and, along with that, an honest explanation of my expectations.

So bottom line; the comment box has been turned on and I would love hearing from anybody who wants to share their comments here; I will even welcome differences of opinion if they are respectfully and earnestly submitted. But I'm not going to tolerate unkindness, spamming or trolling. My home, my rules. Thanks for listening, now it's your turn. ;-)

Posted by etherealfire :: 3:24 AM :: 8 Comments:

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