Friday 15 September 2006

Brawlers with keyboards

Those rotten comments
Hardly three months ago, had I written about how the blogging world was getting infiltrated by brawlers with keyboards and now I have had to entertain some on my blog.
These are people who usually have no blogs of their own but squat in the comment areas of other people’s blogs placing comments that are strongly worded, poorly delivered and generally incoherent.
What grates me is not that they disagree with the main thrust of the blog, but rather than deal with the ideas expressed like intelligent and reasoning people they use personal attacks to try and convey they points.
Don’t get me wrong, these people probably do have good thinking heads; it is only that they lack good writing skills such that their “so-called” reasoned ideas are lost under a cloud of diatribe, vitriol, abuse and disconnected generalisations.
Such people are also fouling up the blog space that the freedom to express ideas is suffering aspects of censorship lightly called moderation; I have seen at least three blogs I visit consider moderation, two of which have already introduced it.
Communication for the globe
I can understand that language like “I respectfully disagree” or “With all due respect” may sound archaic, but even when we meet strangers we do try to present ourselves in the best light and not like riff-raff; why should that be different when you comment in other people’s blog space?
I live and work in an international community with people from all around the globe and where my language of communication is English; expression, tone and delivery play a great part in communication, persuasion and convincing people of your point of view – for me, shouting out expletives would not bull-doze walls and boulders, rather, that would close all doors and I speedily lose respect for that person.
Let us have a good time
When, months ago, Tom Peters had to introduce moderation on his blog because brawlers with keyboards were having a field day, the guide to placing comments could well become the gold standard for accepting comments on any blog space.
I quote verbatim from Tom Peters’ blog those points for clarity sake.
Are there ground rules for posting comments?
We want to have our community commenting on our posts. We like your comments. We want your comments. But we ask you to please follow a few basic rules so that we all can have a good time here.
No personal attacks, please. Disagree with ideas, but don't attack people.
Please keep the foul language to a minimum. Damn is okay. If you must be more graphic than that, please make liberal use of asterisks.
Please refrain from going on at length. Succinct is a good word to keep in mind. Please don't cut and paste posts from your or someone else's site into our comments. If you feel others would like to read something you've posted/read elsewhere, please link to it.
We will edit out comments that run afoul of these rules, though we'll let you know by email if you've done us the courtesy of leaving a valid email address. If you prefer to keep your email address private, and we support your right to do so, then, sorry, you'll be edited without notice.
Thanks for visiting our site. (We really do like having you here.)
The polite challenge
I have highlighted in bold-italics the most important part of the advisory, “so that we can all have a good time here”; it might be a challenge for some to try and place their comments in that light, but when writing for what might be a global audience, it is not too much to ask.
He does accept that foul language might manifest itself, but damn is the limit, beyond which asterisks make the point quite clearly, he has not used the word polite or temperate where people like me will find that quite important.
I generally do not receive that much comment traffic, so, I have not reached the point where moderation might yet be necessary, but NaijaBlog who introduced moderation very recently could only be commended for having endured so much before some brawlers forced his hand.
My challenge to those people is, launch your own blog and let us see if you are capable of inspired originality rather than common fare and heckling.

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Comments are accepted if in context are polite and hopefully without expletives and should show a name, anonymous, would not do. Thanks.