Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Note On Comments

StinkRock and I have been going back and forth in the comment section quite a bit.  For reasons I don't understand, he finds it bothersome that I respond.  The vast majority of comments here are just friendly back and forths about music and other things, but politics always brings out a much more intense reaction.  So, let me clarify some things about comments and this blog:

1) This is my blog.  If you want to disagree with something I write, that's what the comments are for and I welcome them.  I'm interested in hearing facts or solid arguments that contradict or support what I've written.  That's the benefit of this kind of forum.  One of the reasons I like talking to people on the other side of the political spectrum is that it makes me constantly review what I am thinking and hold it up against good arguments.  As a relatively conservative person (at least about the role of government) who lives in the relatively liberal Northeast and went to very liberal schools, I am very, very used to talking politics with people who don't agree with me. 

2) Don't be surprised, however, if I respond.  If you erect a bunch of straw men arguments (i.e., you post a comment arguing against something I didn't say), you should expect that I will point out that I didn't say what you claim I said.  This kind of argument is something I find intensely irritating as I don't like having words put in my mouth.  If you are posting on my blog, engage something that I actually said, not some argument you think I would make because I tend to be on the right side of the political spectrum.  We all have a tendency to say, "Person A believes in political view X, which party of this Party's view, so he must believe Y and I am going to call him on that."  I do it too and I try to be vigilant about stopping myself from doing it.

3) Don't be surprised if I try to poke holes in your comment if I perceive that it is not logical or doesn't respond to anything I actually said.  Presumably, that's what you are doing with your comments, especially if you say something like, 'I call bullshit.'  If I don't think you pointed out a flaw, I may respond and lay out my case.

4) Don't attack me for responding.  If you are posting here and get upset if I respond, don't post.  In debating, the use of ad hominem arguments is generally considered to be a sure sign that you cannot defend your position with real arguments.

5) Don't tell me how to run my blog.  It's my blog.  I can a do what I want.  If it bothers you that I reply, you shouldn't be posting in the first place.  I'm opening my arguments up to scrutiny by posting.  So are you.  That's the deal.  If you don't want responses, don't comment.