Friday, January 26, 2007

SWNIDish Advice for Comments

SWNID welcomes comments on our seldom-wrong posts. But as in all areas, SWNID has advice for commenters for means of improving comments.

We urge that these not be taken as discouragements from posting comments. We welcome all comments, even bad ones. But for the sake of gentle readers who lack the time to read through comments that are less than the commenter's best, we suggest the following:

  • Avoid anything that sounds like a slogan or pat phrase. That's what soundbites in the mainstream media are for. We've heard all that today on our radios and TVs. Folks read blogs like this for fresh expression of a fresh point of view. Freshen up!
  • Distinguish between evidence and logical argument from evidence on the one hand and repeated assertions of opinion on the other. Saying the same thing over and over doesn't make us agree with you, even if in your head the words are louder each time you repeat them.
  • Is a viewpoint more convincing because it's expressed in a rhetorical question? So why bother?
  • We'd guess that many gentle readers would appreciate your using the comments to share links to related web sites that you find stimulating on the subject at hand. Do that. And if you just can't find anything interesting that isn't already linked by SWNID, you need to get around the Internet more.
  • Insults are fun, but be deft, light and witty, like Oscar Wilde or Winston Churchill, not heavy and boorish like Bill Maher or anyone who worked for Bill Clinton. If you needle someone, consider it a success if the person needled would consider it an honor to have been the object of such wit and style.
  • And remember the house rules: insults on this blog can be aimed only at public figures or SWNID.


Anonymous said...

It's always better to ignore comments and questions than to address them.

Nick the Eloquent said...

In much the same way it is better to post anonymously than to log in.

Anonymous said...

It is the blogger's choice to allow anonymous posters. I find it hilarious that it is allowed, yet scorned.

Further, the debate isn't personal. It's about ideas. Ideas exist independent of personalities. And it's much easier when ideas have to stand on their own, that they can't be labeled as male / female, black / white, Republican / Democrat, etc.

Of course, if one thinks this is like Dungeons and Dragons, and the whole point is to advertise oneself (gain hit points), elevate oneself, or impress others, I guess logging in is the jim shoe that fits. Of course an Eloquent one already knows that.

Nick the Eloquent said...

I will not pretend that I have a working knowledge of Dungeons and Dragons, however I think that my previous comment speaks for itself regardless of my WASPish background. As for what I do or do not already know, I eloquently offer a curt "no comment."

Logging in to comment is no more of an attempt "to advertise oneself . . ., elevate oneself, or impress others" than demanding to be adressed. Advertising oneself would fall into the "blatant rear-end kissing" and the "disagreeing to be different" groups.

In addition to all this, I would dispute your statement that debate isn't personal for one very important reason. True ideas originate within your person (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt that you think for yourself, and do not just mindlessly regurgitate rhetoric as so many do), thus they are personal ideas. I agree that the race, religion, sex, creed, etcetera of the originator should not be taken into account when evaluating an idea, strictly the merit of the idea should be evaluated. However, when ideas are presented with identity they gain credibility, because the originator is willing to attach his or her own image to the idea.

Anonymous said...

anonymous, everything on this blog gets scorned, or haven't you noticed?

Bryan D said...

The fact that the anonymous blogger is the one who claims that ideas can exist independently of personalities is the most ultimately amusing thing I've read since Voltaire.

The problem is this, if it were true that ideas could be exchanged and evaluated objectively, this would of course be the most preferable way of debate. However, humans cannot speak extra-personally making the third person (or anonymity) a myth. For instance, an idea doesn't post itself on this blog, a person does. The writer would like others to believe that he is not involved in the composition of that particular text, when in fact he is.

This leads us to write autobiographically. Why? Because at least it is honest. However, it depends on just that particular value to be effective as well as the ability to accuretly introspect.

What is even funnier that the "anonymous objective" is the pseudonymous subjective person who is not writing actually as he is but as his character of writing personality actually is.

The human ability to adopt alternative personas and yet maintain a semblance of inter continuity is itself quite fascinating. It certainly is useful in helping individuals to navigate variform environments with less difficulty, but again, the question is to what ends is this being used.

For instance, a thoughtful reader might ask to what end is the character SWNID being employed as an inflated, self-proclaimed dispenser of truth. Is it a mechanism to entertain the readership while still challenging assumptions or is it simply an excuse for the biographical owner of this blog to release his id?

Hopefully those who make it to the end of this comment realize that I wasn't repeating Nick out of stupidity but because I actually had a fun place to go with that specific line of rhetoric (yes, fun. Like Virginia Beach or Maui).

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Bryan D's Question:

Is it a mechanism to entertain the readership while still challenging assumptions or is it simply an excuse for the biographical owner of this blog to release his id?

SWNID's Answer: yes.