Friday, May 8, 2009

Comment Comment

I feel like a guy who put a pool in his backyard and invited the neighbors. And then found a bunch of turds floating in it.

As I've said before, this blog is more for my own mental health than anything else, as opposed to Surgeonsblog, which was, I'd offer, valuable at least in a small way. The difference in readership tends to confirm that -- numerically, if nothing else. I do enjoy getting comments here: many have been thoughtful, humorous, helpful. When there are actual conversations about issues, I find it tremendously pleasing. I'd even go so far as to say that applies to some of the more negative inhabitants: what goes better at a ball game, after all, than a frank and a beer? Only a still unwilling anonymous or two are consistently unable to produce anything useful at all, or of a higher level than "neener neener."

For some reason, a couple of recent posts elicited a back and forth among a few commenters that eventually devolved into a pissing match of epically unpleasant character (I'd have cut it out earlier, but I was out watching whales). Reading them was like a slap. I cut off comments on those posts only.

I guess there are several options: 1) continue as is, on the theory that eating sh*t is better than starving to death, 2) return to comment moderation, 3) discontinue all comments, and invite direct emails to which I'll respond as the spirit moves me, 4) discontinue comments, and remove my email from my profile page, 5) hang up the whole blog, in recognition that it's become like masturbating with sandpaper (not that I've ever tried).

None is ideal. For now -- and who cares, really? -- I'll do this: nothing. Except to request people consider commenting here like going to dinner at someone else's house: if there are people you disagree with -- especially me! -- feel free to have a discussion, but keep it civil. I don't want to send everyone home or call the cops. I enjoyed sending out the invitations and making the meal. I'll stop serving booze to anyone who gets too rude, and offer coffee.

To those who used to comment and who still drop by but find the party out of control, I apologize and sincerely hope you'll not leave. I enjoy hearing from people.

To those who aren't reading this: I don't blame you.


  1. Message understood - I got into it as the outrageous comments escalated.

    When that happened I was unwilling to let stupidity speak for itself.

    I will work on this.


  2. Thanks. I do understand the urge, and have, on occasion, yielded myself. So I admit there's a bit of pot/black going on from this end.

  3. I moderate comments, with a fairly heavy hand. I reject all anonymous comments, and I reject everything stupid.

    I get far fewer comments than I used to, and moderation lag makes "lively" debate impractical, but I can live with that. Reasoned debate is rare enough anyway on any blog, and I started blogging to avoid the chaos and bullshit of message boards.

    You don't have any obligation whatsoever to publish anyone else's opinion.

  4. sid,

    can you offer some theoretical examples to illustrate what constitutes unreasonable commentary?


  5. egomosperfico.... Well, I suppose it's like the Supreme Court decision regarding pornography, that said something like "it's hard to define, but I know it when I see it."

    When I got home last night at there were about a dozen back and forths all at once to read, it sort of took me over the edge. Too much personal insult, too little attention to the point of the post. Like the last half-dozen or so here. Or the last two or three here. Maybe it was having to read them all at once. I can't claim either consistency or absence of guilt. I'm fine with back and forth between commenters, and I often enjoy just sitting back and watching. But when it becomes just name calling and repetition, or stupid anonymous barbs with no hook, where's the fun in that?

  6. ok, thanks, sid. i will try to keep that in mind.

  7. I vote for screening the comments. Actually, I've hesitated to comment on this site because I don't want to draw attention to myself from some of the (mentally ill?) regulars. But I like reading the blog! I'm assuming I'm not one of the "floaters" in the pool. ha ha.

  8. I'll be honest. I rarely see the comments because I read through Google Reader; and it's mostly because I enjoy Sid's writing. So, I rarely comment, but I am an avid reader. Of Sid.

    I admit that I am a bit envious at the number of comments that you get compared to what I get at

  9. [Weepy and anonymous (of course) GBCW post eliminated.]

  10. Sid,

    I'm sorry. On the gays in the military post, I had an intelligent point, I think, but I shouldn't have poked fun at pillpusher. In the NDOP post, I posted the first comment. However, it was said in a satyric, albiet vulgar way. My intent by using quotation marks was to infer that what I typed was the secret feelings of the far right over at the Christian Coalition. Ie, despite what they show on the outside (reading to us from the good book, love and peach to all), they are really racists and gay-haters on the inside. However, I didn't think about it from the dinner party point of view. Sometimes some of us get carried away with ourselves on the internet and say things we wouldn't otherwise. I truly think the far right are ridiculous in most of the crap the proliferate, but I do see I went too far in my attempt.

    My sincere apologies.


  11. "they are really racists and gay-haters on the inside."

    Do you actually know any Christians who are like this? I don't. If I ever meet any, I will shun them...and every one I know will shun them.

    You have displayed your own ignorance and bigotry.

    I apologize to you, Sid--this is not an attack, but I can't let this kind of bigotry stand. I don't care who Mike is--he might be a Republican for all I know. But his comment in the earlier thread was beyond the pale.

  12. Raise your hand if you "aren't reading this." Keep your hand up if you want unmoderated commenting.
    See? Since no one in this reliable, representative sample has retracted their hand, I validly conclude that everyone wants free commenting.

  13. BB,

    My sister and brother-in-law are evangelical Christians; they are kind and caring people; many is the time I saw my sister take food and offer assistance to an afflicted member of the congregation.

    They are both caring and loving people, but only to their own kind.

    You will not find hateful attitudes on their website, or in the homily.

    My brother-in-law, prior to tearfully exhorting me to accept Jesus as my personal savior, had spoken to me at length about how much he "Hated Queers."

    He wasn't kidding.

    I replied, that I understood that Christians were said to love the sinner and hate only the sin.

    That angered him.

    In vain I spoke of the love and forgiveness of Jesus; it only hardened his heart and rendered his attitude implacable. We parted under a cloud.

    This was in Idaho, and, possibly because I was visiting and dressed California casual, I noticed that several congregants would not even look directly at me, even when I was introduced as family.

    In the bible class, prior to the service, I spoke of the way, the bible said, Jesus dealt with certain sinners; this was met with resentment.

    The words: Bleeding Heart" were mentioned; when I pointed out that the "Bleeding Heart" they were mocking was the heart in their hymnal "That Bled and Died for Me"
    open anger ensued.

    I tell you for certain, that there is a strain of virulent hatred running deep in their congregation that is accepted and echoed by most members of that congregation.

    Bigotry, and fulminating hatred is in the air these people breathe. I am not certain why they are that way, but I know what I saw, felt, and heard.

    I offer, as an opinion, that their ability to believe in gospel, without proof, has rendered them susceptible, to accepting cynical political manipulation, again without proof, that actually turns them against the values they claim to believe in as Christians.

    I think this began with Nixon and was fully exploited by Rove and Bush.

    I can supply statements, made by Bush, to support my theory.


  14. Not all people who call themselves Christians are Christains, which you have just proven.


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