…to something Shelley wrote on Retrospectacle. Then it got too long, righteous, and tasteless, and a light went on: blog post!
I haven’t checked out the entry by Dr. Charles that kicked this into gear, but I plan to, just as soon as I’m finished frantically expelling an opinion about something that may or may not be relevant. What I’m writing now has nothing to do with how I feel about Edwards anyway.
We let anyone and everyone comment to Chimp Refuge posts and they can say whatever they want. But this is an easy call because the number of comments we get is small and they all come from human beings (or facsimiles thereof — what I mean is that we don’t have a spam problem at present). I suppose I’m opening the door for people to reach as far into their asses as they can and fling a mixture of chyme and poo at me, but so be it.
That said, I don’t have a problem with whatever standard people want to apply to their own blogs (must register to comment, comments moderated before appearing, etc.). People like PZ Myers and Orac and Ed Brayton (you know where to find them; I’m too lazy to link right now), who make a point of assailing all manner of scientific and political idiocy, deal with such huge numbers of visitors and commenters that, especially given the nature of their topics, it’s a statistical certainty that they’re going to be flooded with endlessly surging waves of mentally challenged visitors whose obvious goal is to chomp away termite-like, perseverating and waxing irrelevant in an attempt to piss off their targets using force instead of reason. We can all deal with it if someone occasionally farts in an elevator car we happen to be using, but no one likes a true litterbug. So even though I may strive to be a rake as well, my laissez-faire standard doesn’t apply to them.
|When sites require registration, it’s generally obvious that their owners simply want pulpits from which to shout bullshit sermons, hoping to attract acolytes while keeping dissonant voices at bay. This is a sine qua non when people assume stances that require a careful isolation from damning facts, a (formerly) surprising number of which — ranging from advocacy for alien-catalyzed creationism to “starving is good for longevity”– persist.
Big Fat Blog is a great example. There have been times I would probably have commented there if I’d had the chance, but it’s not set up that way, so I just scrawl responses on my own Internets chalkboard. No problem. Then you have the nutter blogs run by religious delusionals and extreme right-wingers (e.g., Stop the ACLU) who routinely delete comments they don’t like, however civil or pertinent.
I don’t bother with those, but will sometimes leave pingbacks or other electronic footprints just to make sure they know their bullshit’s being marauded in a nice safe place they can’t control.
In both of these examples the main idea isn’t to keep discussion civil or on topic, although this claim provides a plausible ancilary motive or a handy cover. The main idea is the opportunity to present opinions as facts with as little interference as possible.
Anyway, the John Edwards fan who was apparently so annoyed about Doc Charles closing his comments that he called for people to de-link from scienceblogs.com sounds like a complete douchebag. This call to action reminds me of any number of bad 1980s comedies featuring a beleaguered teen protagonist who was unofficially delisted from the school “in-crowd” by some hot rich chick who reckoned that her ideas about who got to be cool did or should determine the opinions of everyone else. This may be true if you have an adolescent mindset, as many adult bloggers do.