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Comments are Gone [Blog Update]

I want to issue an apology and a goodbye to many frequent commenters, who I consider my intellectual mentors. Comments are now turned off on the blog. Many will see this as a cowardly move, as censorship, and so on. It is precisely these kinds of irrational reactions that I am no longer tolerating. (I predict Facebook commenters will have a field day as they usually do) As someone with too much to read and write, on already very difficult topics, I cannot keep having to clarify views that I’m usually putting in the clearest way I can.

What I want to urge is rational debate and civil discussion on these topics. I want replies, I want to be told where I’m wrong since I don’t want to hold the wrong viewpoint. I urge readers to write up reasonable replies, in blogs, in emails to me, should they feel the need. No one is stopping you from doing this. Where possible, I’ll usually reply and publish correspondence (with your permission) and put good ping-backs in updates. What I no longer want is someone arriving at my posts and seeing comments calling me sick, perverted or someone who enjoys being raped by my family.

Despite this quite strong reaction, and one or two moments in recent months of blowing up to my friends and colleagues over certain comments, I’m generally unmoved by such comments – but I do not want to create an environment that even allows for such stupidity to fester or grow. I have simply too much to read and too much to write to react to every comment, which, given my nature, I will usually do. I can’t keep engaging with comments that:

-       equates reasonable argument suggesting proper conduct with free speech violations

-       thinks my defence of consensual incest means I defend or like rape

-       claims my parents are terrible people

-       asserts that I’m barely a person

And so on. I’d rather create posts that readers can engage in, fight about, and discuss in reasonable ways. I don’t need to be partisan to that and I no longer wish to be for most instances, since much of those discussions are not about trying to reach conclusions based on reasoning or evidence, but trying to prove the other person wrong and oneself right; we all know that it is impossible to write anything online that will be met with universal acceptance, unless it involves pictures of small kittens in people clothes.

I want to write and think and construct in the best kind of way I can. I cannot do that over the gunfire of trolls and offended misogynists, over reactionary religious people or those who claim to know my entire life’s history. No more. I want to operate in a place as serene as possible, not one where I’m constantly worried about the field of landmines beneath it. Even people who agree with original posts get attacked on blogs for no good reason – or themselves can descend into namecalling, etc. That’s not helpful to anyone.

So to all those who have commented, thank you. And I mean all of you, even those I would never want to meet in person. And, especially those who have aided my thinking and been supportive, I do hope you contact me via email, write replies to my posts, and so on since I do not wish to lose contact with you. Strangely, it is precisely because I care about what my readers think that I’ve made this decision.

I do not claim this is a decision others should emulate; some blogs really are mostly communities, fostering solidarity rather than engaging debates and discussions to follow through on conclusions. That is not this blog, nor has it been my goal. I’m strictly focused on producing articles on topics I think important and that I hope you do, too. Furthermore, I hope that this decision allows for more people to write longer, better, more rational replies and manages to do away with nonsense ones.

Anyway, back to business tomorrow…

Image Credit: plastique/Shutterstock

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