I have disabled comments.
The internet has engendered a phenomenon whereby people feel compelled to put in their two cents. It’s gotten so bad that even legitimate articles in online magazines that in another era could have appeared in print media are followed with hundreds of inane, bigoted, and mean comments by people who MUST tell someone what they think.
With print media, if a person wanted to say something to the magazine or author, they would have to go to the effort of finding the mailing address, writing or typing up a letter, putting it in an envelope and mailing it. And there is no guarantee it will be published. I’ve had two letters to the editor published in my lifetime. One was TV Guide, and the other was a feminist magazine, On The Issues, which is no longer published.
In the case of print media, one’s letter has to pass muster to get published. With the internet, one’s musings can be light years away from anything intelligent or germaine or conducive to a productive discussion and still get broadcast over the world wide web.
I’ve been in the grips of Must. Comment. Now. I’ve been utterly compelled to tell people what I think of what they wrote. Interesting how that happens much more often when one disagrees with the author rather than when one is in accord. However, I don’t think it’s healthy. It’s too difficult to disagree in a friendly manner. It’s so easy for things to degrade into sniping, name-calling, and flame wars.
If one wants to be offended, there is no dirth of things over which to be offended. Instead of immediately leaping into action at the keyboard, ready to “educate” the author as to the error of her ways, why not just overlook it. Or start your own blog.
The primary purpose of this blog is for me to work through my thoughts. It’s not to give others a soapbox. I am giving up a few perks. I won’t have people telling me how much they like what I write, or how much they agree, or putting a twist on what I write in a way that opens me up to new ways of thinking about it. But comments sections can degrade so quickly, and I am willing to go without the perks in order to have peace of mind.