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Monday, November 24, 2008

With me or get out

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If I come to your house and disagree with you, you can at best throw me out. If I come to your website/blog and do the same, you can probably, technology permitting, ban me there. The problem is, your house is yours, but your blog is public space, unless limited to selected readership. You are owner of your blog to the extent of what to write and how to maintain and frame policies, subject to laws of civil society. Triggered by this, two things irks me about blog owners:

First, those who disallow comments on their blog. It’s like speaking aloud something in public, but closing your ears. You may not have time or interest to read comments but disallowing is just too rude frankly. It is implying that what I am saying is important but what you say I don’t care. I know that one wouldn’t listen to such speaker in real world, but many seem to read in virtual world. One of the most prominent blogger of Indian blogosphere falls in this category and there are many less famous ones who do that too. Blogs are supposed to be interactive communication and if one so absorbed in his arrogance then she should write a private journal. And his response to this comment is my second, and bigger, peeve.

Second, those who reply to disagreement with ‘If you don’t like what you are reading, why are you still here?’ Hey, I can shout and abuse you in public, but if you don’t like what you are hearing why are you still hearing and responding back it. Of course, reading blog is choice than happening to hear someone in public, though if it’s on web, much like words in the air, knowing them is inevitable and notion of choice is diffused one. And one has right to reply back if he doesn’t agree notwithstanding original intention of speaker, since words are targetted at public at large. Again, if one doesn't want people who disagree with him to read then he shouldn't write in public. As long as your blog is open, it's as much my right to read and respond.

I think it is related to domain of what is extent of blogger’s right over his blog. If it’s in public, does he still maintains rights for not hearing or throwing out others?


Deepak said...

I would partially agree with you and partially with the blog owners on this issue. While discussion and debate is critical for development of your thinking, if you go around some debates and forums, you'll realize that a majority of the people are not interested in 'debate'. I am yet to find a blog where purely healthy discussion takes place. You basically have people who do not want to change their views, who just want to start a flame war and even if enough counter points are presented, the maximum they do is disappear. That is really not what you want as a blog owner. And to address your issue, if you seriously think you want to debate with the author, more often than not you'll find their contact in the blog and I am sure they reply back. At least, I do. Of course, the debate won't be public but you are doing it to improve yourself, you should be more than happy.
Just my 2 cents on the issue. Not binding. Purely subjective [:)].

Ashish Gupta said...

I am not advocating debate but opportunity to state your opinion; author may or may not reply. This is because as his version is public, so should commentator's, so that future readers may be aware of other angle, if they chose to go through comments. I am with you about futility of debate and convincing someone about changing opinion.

Amit said...

Blogs are (in practice) usually glorified soapboxes, contrary to what writers may claim or readers/commenters may perceive. So in that sense, when a blog writer bars someone, that's him exercising control over his soapbox.

The other point is that most people have their ideology and look at events strictly through that one ideology, instead of willing to consider other points-of-view.

For there to be a meaningful debate, both people participating in it need to have some grounding in logic and argument, as well as equal knowledge of world events when referenced. That's rarely the case, as you very well know ;)

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