Thursday, November 04, 2010

Comment sense

OK, I’ve got to put my foot down.

As long as I’ve been writing, I’ve had my critics. Any writer who’s worth a damn does. I’m sure at least one person told Dr. Seuss that “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” was a juvenile, nonsensical work. Not that I’m Dr. Seuss, of course. He wasn’t a blogger. And I’d never write a book where the moral high ground lies in eating moldy eggs and ham.

When I was a college columnist, I received a letter titled, “I’m calling you out, Ian.” It came from a blogger who was an early sparring partner of mine, but who gave up the blog ghost many years ago. In fact, most of the bloggers against which I sharpened my razor in the early days have long since vanished. Most got bored, I presume, though at least one changed his name and started a new blog about his supposed three-ways with his neighbors. When I told him that blog was far better than his old one, he pretended not to know who I was. Uh-huh.

Some critics, however, have gone the distance. Naturally, these aren’t the people who value civilized dissent, but single-minded purveyors of Why Ian Sucks. It’s a real fish-in-a-barrel type argument, which is why it apparently takes five years to make. If you’ve ever read a comment thread here, you know who they are:

Mr. All Day: “Ian McGibboney is a hypocrite! He calls tea partiers crybabies when he himself cried on the morning of June 14, 1983. I found a killer picture of it while trolling his mom’s Facebook profile for several hours. And he has the nerve to say the Republicans should work with Obama! Has he ever worked with Obama? Hypocrite. In Ian’s own words, ‘9/11 happened.’ Nutter.”

Galt Bladder, Ph.D.: “Ian McGibboney is an ipso facto elitist. He engages in reductio ad absurdum arguments whenever he suggests that the U.S. should have a government. Society is a myth. True utopian freedom lies in the people’s ability to purchase things on the free market and let businesses decide whether or not it’s good business to inject lead into their customers. If they don’t like it, they can shop elsewhere. When people shop for the lead they want, it’s the lead they get that solves the self-correcting burden of regulation. BAM. Problem solved, without such coercive measures as taxes or the tyranny of voting. And if you don’t agree, it’s because you are unable to grasp a fork to feed yourself, much less exhibit any sign of sentient thinking. Igpay atlinlay.”

The Joke Off: “Ian McGibboney is a LIBERAL! I owned him so long ago that now I just come on several times a day posting pointless links and snide remarks that I mistake for humor. Because I’m a clown. It’s right there in my name. I like when people have facts to back up what they say, which is why I never actually say anything. Well, I gotta get back to work. I have a job :)”

So it goes, day after day after day. And you know, it kind of sucks. I love connecting with like-minded friends and debating differently minded friends, but the kind of crap slightly caricatured above serves no real purpose. And frankly, I’m tired of dealing with it. I don’t blog on a regular basis only to have it bombarded by the same one-note trick ponies like so many cold sores. And I don’t really need hourly reminders that people like these are who keep us from having things like affordable health care. I thought I was past this juvenile bully blowhard phase (after all, I’m not 13), but it seems more alive than ever.

So I’m going to do my part to elevate the level of discourse by being more discretionary in the kind of comments I allow posted, and the level of conversation I allow myself to get sucked into. In other words, the guys above are right out. If you don’t like it, fuss on your own blog. Or e-mail me if you’re really desperate to get into the same circular-jerky arguments. I won’t guarantee I’ll play along, but I will save your messages for my amusement (and possibly a hilarious compilation mix later).

This won’t be an echo chamber, but neither will it be a vomitorium. And I hope that my new standards will make Not Right About Anything a more classy and smart place to be.

Just like the good old days.


rhonda said...

facebook has made me very lazy- where's the damn "like" button when you need one?


Nick Istre said...

Hey, it is your blog. And I think kicking the trolls out will definitely improve discourse here (Heck, it seems no discourse is better than what comes in the comments). And really, trolls are what they are; they have little interest in actual discussion but just trying to get a rise out of people. And yes, it gets old. I went through enough of that in middle school.

I really wish I commented here more often, but between working my ass off trying to keep myself ahead of my own debt situation just didn't give me much free time; time that I'd rather spend watching stuff or playing video games than spend any mental energy on the above mentioned riff-raff. I do read every post you put up, but often I'll just skip on reading the comments.

As you say, they can email or post on their own blog. No need for them to throw shit all over yours and expect you to have to clean up after them.

I'd promise to try to comment more, but really, I'm not sure I could even pull that off. But I will be continuing to read your posts. And maybe I'll read into the comments more from now on, too!

venessalewis said...

It's is ABOUT TIME Ian. Seriously, BRAVO. This blog was starting to play out like those dumbass Jersey Shore is amusing at first, but after a while, it is just the same ole, same ole (not your writing, the commentary) and it is mentally exhausting. Let's face it, Alday is just a smaller, less
tan Snookie. I also argue Snookie is a bit smarter.

I often thought before even checking your blog, do I WANT to get sucked in to this today? Is it worth my time?

Yes, it is high time you set some boundaries on here. Freedom of the press is all good, but hate speech is something entirely different. You are correct, you shouldn't and DON'T have to tolerate it. It brings you down....and probably upsets alot of your readers just as badly. I know it affects me to see this day in and day out.

Kick these clowns out for good. They bring nothing to the table and haven't for a long time.

Ian McGibboney said...

At first, I thought nobody had responded, since I always get e-mail notifications on comments. But then I get on the Blogger dashboard and see that I have five.

Incidentally, this was also why a bunch of comments were eaten in past weeks. Blogger has a new spam filter, and it's apparently pretty touchy.

I'll have to see if I can tweak these new settings.

I appreciate the support from you guys. The other guys responded as I expected they would.

Jenni said...

This was a long time coming, these guys knew it, and still pushed the envelope. Thank you for the change I believe in and here's to spirited dialogue in the blogs to come.

NOLA Progressive said...

Mother of all irony. I actually haven't logged in over a week because I was just spent from arguing with those guys day in and out prior to the midterms. I know I should have just let it go, but it's a fatal character flaw of mine.

Kudos on the decision. I think we will all be much better off for it.