As the administrator of an online blogging community I read quite a few posts a day, as well as posts from the dozen or so blogs I subscribe to. I also cruise the net just to read different blogs. So, I read a lot.
As far as commenting goes, I see everything from no comments allowed to full out flame wars, but the best of what I see is engaging back and forth conversations that are debates.
From a blogger stand point, I always welcome opposing views, as long as they aren’t outright torch sessions that border on name calling. Maybe it’s my argumentive nature, or maybe I just like the entertainment. But what is more likely the truth is, I understand that when I write a post, it is my opinion or viewpoint. That doesn’t make me right in anyone else’s mind but my own.
I will debate my stand until the other side gives up, or I relent and agree they are correct. I am comfortable with admitting I am wrong or that there are two or more sides to every issue.
Sometimes I’ll write a post just to piss some folks off, and I’m disappointed when everyone who comments agrees with me. This means I’ve tuned into the a community that thinks like I do (not all together a bad thing), but it also means that my blog isn’t getting much in the way of new traffic.
I know when I read some other blogger’s post and scan the comments afterwards, if I see a disagreement, I’ll stop and reread the post to see what I missed.
When I comment, if I disagree, I will write my point of view in a civil and maybe fun manner. Never degrade the blogger or any other commenter, this is a sure way to get people to quit commenting or even reading the blog. I would never want to be the cause of damaging another bloggers blog, but that doesn’t mean I have to agree with everything they are writing.
There are deeper issues at the core of all of this. Issues of censorship and prudence. Some believe that to agree even if you don’t is the just and right approach. I see that as a lie. If to no one else, you lie to yourself. You sell yourself out in name of socially acceptable good form. You become a sheep.
Now, I can hear someone in the back say that if you don’t agree, then don’t comment. That to me is another form of censorship. If you can give your opinion in a civil and exacting fashion, then you should be allowed, and I support anyone who wishes to educate or open our eyes to another point of view on the same topic.
My opinion is important to me, but it is not infallible. I know this and am comfortable with this. I also know that if I am brave enough to write my opinion, I had better be damn well brave enough to defend it and not be hurt because not every reader thinks I am all seeing and all knowing. By god I don’t want THAT onus in my life.
So tell me, am I all daft when it comes to blog comments, or do you honestly agree with me?