Hello, all! I’m still alive. Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, but I have a good reason–I promise!
The reason I’ve been away from the computer for so long is that I recently purchased my first house. It’s a real
fixer upper diamond in the rough. So every weekend my girlfriend and I have been going out and making it a little more diamond and a little less rough. All of the major rennovations will probably be complete in the next month or so, after which I promise I’ll post pictures.
Some of you may have noticed a couple of months ago that I disabled comments on some of my posts. I wanted to state that this will be my policy on most posts going forward and offer you all a rationale. Looking around all over the internet, I think it’s clear that comments sections have turned social media from places to share ideas into debate forums. Nowadays, it’s not uncommon for someone to usurp or highjack a post, to completely disregard the author’s information or intent, and to put their own spin on things.
I’ve maintained this blog for about 4 years now. I’ve written about a lot of different subjects, talked to a lot of different people. And there are two things that social media has turned into that I want to avoid with this blog: an echo chamber, and a place where rather than aborsbing new ideas people instinctively defend their own biases. Neither situation is really beneficial to me as an author or you as a reader. But I think it’s very clear that allowing comments really tends to exacerbate those two facets of social media, to the point that everything else is lost. This isn’t really a dialogue–it’s a place for me to share ideas with you. If you agree with them, great. If you don’t, it’s my fervent hope that you’ll at least digest and think about the information or opinions I’ve presented even if you ultimately reject them.
Either way, it’s okay. We don’t have to spend all of our time either patting likeminded people on the back or proselytizing to “the other side.” I think it’s safe to say that arguments on the internet have never really changed anyone’s mind about anything. And that’s because when we argue with someone, we reflexively throw up walls and try to protect our own biases.
I want people to read what I have to say and let it soak in. I know there are people out there who never read past the opening paragraph before they start to form a rebuttal. That isn’t a dialogue. It’s like the internet has turned us all into sharks, predators lurking in the dark corners of comments sections just waiting to sink our teeth into anyone who disagrees with us, without ever really knowing why.
And I want that to stop. I don’t want to have to block people, I don’t want to have to approve or delete comments, and I don’t wan’t to censor other people. If you really feel strongly about something I’ve written, feel free to drop me an email–I think you can do that with wordpress.
Now, I can hear people out there already. “Well how will you ever hear information that runs counter to your beliefs if you wall everyone off?” The same way people got that information before the advent of the home computer and the internet: by seeking it out on my own. But that’s my responsibility as an individual and an author, to seek out and read dissenting opinions. It isn’t the job of the reader to force that perspective upon me or other readers.
“Why can’t you just ignore comments that aren’t productive?” I’ve done that for the last 4 years and not much has changed. Quite frankly, I’m tired of doing it. When I started this blog, the intent was to perhaps cause others to reflect on their own beliefs–not to turn every instance of putting thought to paper into a Thunderdome-style debate where two viewpoints enter and only one leaves.
I guess my ultimate point is that somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten that it’s okay to disagree. We’ve forgotten that it’s okay to read information and thoughts that are different than our own without attacking to protect our own cognitive biases. It’s okay to not get a word in or to not have the last word.
It’s okay to just listen to someone else.