I have a policy about comments. I probably should put it somewhere. How about here!
Some weblogs are in the business of hits. Among the things they do to ensure hits, besides writing about subjects that Adwords says a lot of people want to know about, is to try to keep a good frothy conversation going. In the case of the wordpress/weblog paradigm, this means getting people to drop comments under your posts.
I don’t quite work that way; I write these entries as little essays, little columns in which I like to think I’m presenting a clear idea and a thesis, and that’s that. Some of my entries might be meta-discussions (like this one) or some might just be a link to another site with a bunch of commentary and thoughts on it. But generally, they’re kind of intended to be self contained.
Note I’m not saying civil, all-encompassing, or the last word, but I don’t generally write them like I’m waiting breathlessly for other people to come in and “finish” them. I consider this an approach I call lazy as fuck. If my stuff can’t stand on its own, then I’m not happy with it.
People then comment underneath. Some people use it as a jumping off point for their own sub-entry, i.e. talking about themselves for some paragraphs. Some people tell me they agree with me, and then explain why. Other people say I’m a pile of bunk and explain that as well.
In most cases, I don’t respond. If I do respond, it’s because either I know the person on a different basis (Flack and I are buddies, Trixter and I do work together, Chris Orcutt‘s my longest friend at a quarter-century plus, etc.) or because they have a specific question they’re asking.
I feel like the whole thing turns into a sniping match and degrades the worth if every other post in the commentaries are the original writer going “No, no, you misunderstand”, or, in my case, consistently deep and inappropriate personal insults. So I let it be, even if it looks like the person needs a whack with my 8″ of floppy disk.
So I guess what I’m saying is, ask me questions in the comments and I’ll generally respond. Rant at me and make fun of me, and I’ll let your position stand without trying to dilute or mitigate you with an immediate “but wait” afterwards. Deal?
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