Tuesday, July 15, 2008
(11:39 AM) | Adam Kotsko:
Meta-Blogging: Or, On being an assholeThere seems to be a widely shared misunderstanding of precisely what makes me an asshole. That I am an asshole is well-known, and I will not dispute it here. The problem is that people seem to believe that I am an asshole who:
- does not countenance disagreement and
- wants every comment on this site to be laudatory.
The real triggers for my annoyance, however, are as follows:
- Boring comments: This includes things that I've heard a billion times before, so conservative and religious right talking-points all fall under this category. Stating boring conventional wisdom in general, especially without acknowledging that it is boring conventional wisdom, is also objectionable, even moreso when I have stated and rejected the conventional wisdom position in the post itself. In the latter case, the appropriate response is not simply to assert the conventional wisdom position, but to produce a novel and convincing argument in its favor. (Referring to irreducible facts of "human nature" does not fulfill this requirement.)
- Misreading my post: Nothing in blogging bothers me more than people's apparent sense of entitlement to respond without carefully reading what they're responding to. I don't object to people disagreeing with me -- just make sure you're actually disagreeing with me. As a blogger, I obviously like to know that people are reading my stuff, so including simple clues can help you avoid conflict. For instance, if you wish to defend a conventional wisdom position that I have rejected in the post, don't just assert it as though I didn't think of it. Instead, you can say, "I know that you reject this position in your post, but..." or "Even though it's conventional wisdom, I think in this case it actually is simpler just to assume that X is what's going on...." See? It's so easy.
But if you want to come to my blog that I pay for and talk to me, maybe you should learn how to deal with me. Maybe you should cut me a little slack and realize that I'm human, too, with actual human faults and some less than desirable behavioral triggers -- rather than, say, idealizing me at first and then lashing out at me when I turn out not to be perfectly affirming of you. Weird, I know! I have such strange ideas of how human interactions should go, sociopath that I am. Still, I thought it might be helpful to people for me to put this out there.
UPDATE: I am going to be more aggressive in comment moderation from now on. No current regular commenters are in any danger of running afoul of my new policy, which will basically include deleting comments that fulfill the above criteria rather than getting into pointless arguments with the people. At some point, I may also decide that preemptive moderation of some kind is necessary -- that would be a pain, but comment volume is not super-high on this site anyway.