Thursday, May 3, 2007

Why I Don't Accept Comments

This is probably a post I should have written a long time ago. So, to make sure visitors will understand and ensure that they can get an answer to this question, I will place this in the "Suggested Reading..." section.

There are actually several reasons why I don't accept comments, and I will try to remember/mention all of them:

1) The way this blog is set up.
There are some posts I'd like to accept comments on but not others. Because I'd kept a blog at blogspot before, I came back here to start this one, not really realizing that blogspot has more limitations than some other blog hosts. For that reason, I have fleetingly considered on various occasions moving to another blog host, and that might happen in the future so that I can arrange to accept comments on some posts. If I remember correctly, blogspot used to have a feature where you could select whether or not you want comments for each post...or maybe I am confusing it with Livejournal. Either way, if there's a way to do that here, I haven't discovered it yet. One thing I'd definitely like to do is pose questions and have people comment with responses, so I do anticipate moving elsewhere someday.

2) Readership.
Since I just started this blog in March, I was kind of thinking there would be no need to accept comments, at least not at this point, because I didn't think anyone would be reading or linking to me this soon. I don't know how many people read this blog--I don't check stuff like that, it's not important, and I don't write for popularity...or else I'd censor myself more. I read and comment on other blogs, and, apparently, sometimes those people click back. Because I tend to get the sense that many bloggers, particularly ones I look at, treat their space as if they are big celebrities, then I didn't think many of them would "have time" to check their lowly readers' blogs.

3) Candor.
I need to feel free to write what I want to write how I want to write it, and I believe that allowing comments and putting my e-mail address up will take away from that. I started this blog precisely to write about issues and viewpoints that other bloggers don't write. And the bloggers who do write some of these things, I can see how people respond to them. I originally had my e-mail address up and, after reading about how threats, racist comments and so on have made other bloggers either quit blogging, blog less or alter the way they blog, I decided to take it down. Getting the viewpoints out there is more important to me than interacting with visitors or seeing how they respond.

4) Response.
In conjunction with #3, I feel that I do know how people will respond because I read other blogs. I look to other blogs in order to know what is not being written about in the blogosphere, to know what the popular viewpoint isn't and to know what people think about certain issues, statements and comments. And then I simply pick up the slack. Therefore, I feel that my vision and my voice are too important for the possibility that I might be bullied into quitting. I know that I say things that will make some people angry, and I think that's important. I need to be controversial by telling people that I have XYZ prejudices so that people know they exist and to encourage others to acknowledge their own prejudices, and by showing people that not all blacks think the same, not all gays think the same, not all women think the same, etc. So, in addition to responding on other blogs, I use this blog to respond, as well.

5) I wouldn't read them.
I'm sorry, but it's just true. I think there are a few blogs out there where the bloggers don't read their comments. So what is the point of allowing comments? People have taken the time to visit your blog, sat there typing out their thoughts and're either not going to read them, not acknowledge them or not reflect on them and take what they have to say seriously? One of the reasons why my blog is a reaction/response blog to others is because I am tired of the typical viewpoints expressed on other blogs. So, frankly, I don't want to come to my blog and read those same viewpoints in the comments--I already know that viewpoint, and this is the space for mine.

Also, my experience is that when you write the kind of views that I write the way I write them, many people ignore them. This happened to me all semester in my class about race. I just don't think people know how to handle it. If I were allowing comments, I bet my posts about stuff like "American Idol" would get more comments. Or people would latch onto one part of a post, taking it out of context or getting mad about the the prejudice rather than the reason its being expressed, and comment on that. So I would either have people commenting with threats, ignorance and anger, or they wouldn't comment. Or both--some comment, some don't.

There are some blogs where the bloggers read all the comments and comment back. If I accepted comments and read them, I would be this kind of blogger. But, for me, that's just not a good thing. First of all, it would take up too much time, assuming I get comments. Second, I don't like to "argue" enough to engage in back-and-forths, but apparently I like to make my opinion known enough to do so...which is why usually when I have any sort of dispute with someone online I say what I want to say and then press delete when they respond. Similarly, when I go to blogs to comment, I usually never check back on the post on which I commented.

In all cases, I know that if I read what they say, I will want to respond. Sometimes the back-and-forth just goes on and on and on, which usually means it gets ridiculous and/or personal at some point. It's as if some people like to hear other people's viewpoints to sharpen their minds enough to be able to cut down anybody's argument--that's a hobby for some people...for a lot of law students and lawyers, in fact. Well, this is another way in which I depart from the typical law dork. I like to say what I have to say and leave it alone, because all I need is for you to know my viewpoint, not to agree with it or to change your mind. And, as I said, I've already spent the time checking out what other people think. So, this is simply me letting you know my viewpoint and that there are other viewpoints out there.

There are people in the blogosphere who firmly believe that bloggers should accept comments, and I've read reasons such as learning from readers or interacting with readers. But with some of these people's blogs, I have a hard time believing they read what everyone writes, and with some of them I am pretty sure they don't comment to comments most of the time...which, where is the interaction? And, to me, a lot of these blogs write the popular, PC viewpoints and attract comments from people who basically say "Amen!" Where's the learning in that? Again, neither learning nor interacting are the purpose of this blog, although I do interact with some readers either through their blogs, other websites or IM.

6) If you wanted to get in touch with me, you could.
I'm not going to say how, because I don't want the "wrong" people contacting me. But I'm usually on various GLBT or black sites and blogs. For those who do have my e-mail address, I don't mind receiving e-mails. I just don't want to be flooded with hate mail, or flooded with e-mail, period, because I don't want to sit with my lap top all day looking at e-mails. Those of you whose blogs I comment on should have my e-mail address, and others of you who have found me might have done so through one of the other sites I visit. Some of those sites have e-mail and IM for each member, so you can contact me that way. Okay, so I guess I just did say how. ;)

I have also been thinking about setting up a MySpace or something similar for this blog. I hate MySpace, so it might not actually be a MySpace page. This might happen when I become a "blog celebrity" like some other people. ;)

7) This is not a diary.
I read an interview Pam Spaulding did in which she says that if you don't accept comments, you're basically keeping a diary. Well, except a couple things--you don't show diaries to the whole world, and diaries tend to be mundane personal accounts of one's day and life. I tell personal stories, but there are reasons behind that other than just entertaining myself. They help express viewpoints, to explain why I'm not out and show people why others might not be out as well, to show how someone can be from a certain background and not think like "everyone else" from that background is "supposed" to. It's a teaching blog, in some sense--I teach you things you didn't already know, or this is what I hope I'm doing anyway. I try to shake you from those "plain" views you have just a little bit, even if I don't change them, and help you say, "I see why some people might think that now" or "I didn't know some people think that" or "Nobody says this." Some of the e-mails I've gotten and some of the attention I've gotten from other bloggers have demonstrated that I have been doing this for some people. I don't sit here and bring you GLBT news or black news or discuss typical stuff, not that there's anything wrong with that, just that there was a void to fill--as I said--and I aim to fill it my own way.