Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Blogging in the Grudge-o-sphere

In the last four years I've learned a great deal about a host of topics, including my Catholic Faith, while blogging, reading other people's blogs, and participating in comment box discussions. And yet there are some notable dangers that come with blogging as well.

A few months ago, I did myself no great credit in a combox discussion on a friend's post. Someone against whom I carried paper left a comment I disagreed with, and rather than sticking with a basic refutation I went all out: questioned motives, brought up old arguments, put words in his mouth, the works. An hour or two later I got an email from my friend. "Wow. Next time tell us what you really think..."

But I knew I was right. I his reply and was pouring out the reason I'd been 100% justified in behaving that way at 70wpm. A year and a half ago, this other blogger and said such-and-such. And when I'd pointed out his obvious errors, he'd said that. And then there was that other time. And remember when over on that other guy's blog he's said this in the comments? And...

I took a moment to stare at the paragraphs I'd written and realized this would sound a lot more appropriate coming out of my six-year-old as an explanation for why she'd hit another kid than coming out of a thirty-year-old man who fancies himself intellectual.

As bloggers we sometimes live by the word in rather the same way that a duelist lived by the sword. And slights which, when explained to anyone else, would immediately sound small and petty, fester and become long term rivalries.

Given the source of my recent embarrassment, I've tried to make it a rule to think how I would feel writing an explanation of my behavior in any given conversation to a disinterested party. Given my pride, this is a strong incentive to charity, or at least calmness. Naytheless, the temptation remains. I suspect that it is a built in feature (or bug) in an avocation such as blogging.



Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

Blessing of a horrible memory.

I'm generally three replies into an argument before I realize I've argued with someone before. ^.^

John Farrell said...

I try now to be very wary of letting my Irish get "up" in comment threads.

I probably mentioned this once before, but a couple of years back I couldn't resist dropping a shell in a thread at PZ's blog--one Friday evening after a couple of cocktails.

Major mistake.

Erin said...

It's arguments like that make me afraid to comment on people's blogs sometimes, because I am argumentative at times, and because I know that brings out this sort of behavior both in myself and in others.

Good post though--and it reminded me to de-lurk too. :D

Darwin said...

I probably mentioned this once before, but a couple of years back I couldn't resist dropping a shell in a thread at PZ's blog--one Friday evening after a couple of cocktails.

Don't drink and blog. There's a rule to live by...

paul zummo said...

One of the reasons I've gone back to commenting under my real name is that it induces me to better blog behavior. There's something about attaching my actual name to comments that makes me a little more hesitant to post things that I will want to take back five minutes later.

This doesn't mean that it always produces more reasonable comments, or that blogging under my pseudonym is license for me to be a jerk, I just think that every little bit helps towards gentler commenting.

rhinemouse said...

Oh, yeah.

My personal rule now is to ask myself, before I post something, "What am I trying to accomplish? And do I really want to do that?"

It's amazing how often the answer to the second question is "No, not really."

LogEyed Roman said...


I am so impressed by this that I have awarded you the very first Logectomy Award, as per my own blog:

Congratulations. There is no money involved in this award; just Satisfaction. (Yeah, right.)

--LogEyed Roman