There. Now that I have your attention…
While I’ve always run a forthrightly ideological conservative blog (that also covers music, history, and pretty much any other subject I want to cover), I’ve also always sought to facilitate a lively discussion in my comment section – one that crosses the proverbial aisle. That has been my policy since I first figured out how to add comments to this blog, back in 2003 or so.
I italicize the word discussion because that is literally what I’m shooting for; people from all different angles of a subject, going at it, pretty much untrammeled. Let’s face it – vigorous agreement is just another term for “echo chamber”; a good donnybrook is a chance to convince others. Or even me – lotsa luck. Some of this blog’s most celebrated commenters – I’m looking at you, Angryclown – could be fairly called “the opposition” in this space.
And that’s a good thing.
A good discussion is kind of a rare thing in the world of blogs, these days; most blogs either farm their comments out to a turnkey service in which they participate only rarely (like Hot Air or Powerline), or control access veeeeeery carefully (Sally Jo Sorenson at Bluestem Prairie, who blocks many/most critical comments, and holds most all comments until she can respond), or just block everyone that annoys them (pretty much name any left-leaning MN blogs).
For over a decade, I’ve tried, and succeeded, in focusing my comment section on being a discussion. In all that time,I’ve rolled out the welcome mat to all, pretty much without exception; I’ve kept to my policy of only blocking people who write things that could get me in legal trouble (two commenters, ever) or people who feel like exercising personal pissing matches with me – three of them bordering on stalking – to an extent where there was no redeeming value to the “conribution” they made.
But while I feel no desire to change my policy, I’m going to say this; I did not start my comment section as a place for people to do the rhetorical equivalent of leaving a bag of flaming dog poo at my door, ringing the bell and running.
If you make a continuous practice of dumping contentious comments and running, week in, week out, then you’re treating the comment section more like your personal blog.
And since a blog takes literally two minutes to set up, there’s no real reason for you to do that – or for me to host it.
I don’t care if you refer people back to your personal blog (or facebook page, or twitter feed) as much as you want. Go for it! That’s how all of us created traffic when we were getting started! But if you’re dumping a bunch of content here without actually discussing it with, at the very least, me – the person hosting your little outburst – then we’ll need to have a word.