On the importance of conversations…

In several threads recently a number of commenters have wanted to talk about the relevance or otherwise of blogging and the kinds of conversations we get on Slugger. In truth, they run the whole spectrum from informed and erudite, to interlocking, but mutually exclusive, rants. But as the Cluetrain would have it, their real value lies in “language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked“. Further thoughts over at the Guardian.

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  • Jo

    All of human life is indeed there, and unfortunately quite a lot of the sub-human as well.

    Blogging can undermine, due to the lack of facetoface contacts, the fact that we are talking of real people and things that impact on real lives. It has long struck me that people use blogging to say things about others and to others that under NO circumstances would you ever say to their face. The result is, unfortunately, often dehumanising.

    I have read things said about victims of our Troubles that I have never heard anyone say in front of me or anyone I know. I find it incredible that such views are tolerated and encouraged as “free speech” when they evidence such a denial of basic humanity and empathy without which this species could not have attained the position that it has today.

    Perhaps blogging in its more extreme form is another step in downward decadence? I would hope that articulacy can, in some small way, show that it has a plus side as well. Lets talk as well as blog, eh? 🙂

  • Stephen Copeland

    One aspect of the ‘conversation’ which has bothered me a little for some time now is the anonymity with which some posters cloak their contributions.

    I know that anonymity allows some people to express their true feelings, and that it protects others who might be in sensitive positions, but it also allows the bully and the coward to launch their attacks.

    The issue has been raised on a number of occasions, and different technical solutions have been suggested – all have proved unworkable. Quite frankly, the latest ‘solution’ – to require us to fill in a random word, seems rather pointless.

    I think that the posters who post under one stable identity, whether it is their own or not, tend to be more civil than those who practice a kind of ‘hit and run’, using multiple identities to try to disguise themselves, and to try to give the impression that their point of view has more adherents than it really does. These ‘hit and runners’ cannot be drawn into any real discussion because they disappear behind another alias, and cannot be held accountable for nasty things that they have said because that particular glove-puppet can disappear for ever. This often reduces the quality of the ‘conversation’ to something worthless, and even when we try to ignore the ‘hit and runners’, the sheer number of posts that they post with their multiple personalities can clutter threads up entirely. It is, of course, impossible to prove who is behind any of them, or how many might be real.

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    The ‘Catchpa’ code is to keep out spam – believe me it works! There’s some sense in what you say. Although the latest serious complaint I’ve received has been about someone who comments under their own name.

    I do have the capacity to make people register first, but I’ve alway prized Slugger’s open door policy. Unless it is relatively easy to use and remember, it can have a ‘lock in’ effect – ie the conversation is dominated by a group of old familiars, and new blood is discouraged from coming in.

    Mind you the kind of hit and run artists you mention have a similiar deflating effect too.