Monday, December 19, 2005

Blog debate is not ugly

Blog debate is
not "ugly"

A new blogger, Trent Flood, recently complained about what he calls "The Dark Side of Blogging".

Guess who he mentions as the perpetrator of this "darkness"? Vaspers the Grate.

Trent states that a Ms. Jardins at Inc dot com posted an article on "When Blogs Go Bad" and that I responded with a hostile post, "Inc dot com sucks".

This is all true, so far. I do this. I seek out negative or faulty articles about blogging, and I counter them with my own opinions. I live in the USA, where we can do such things, and set an example (hopefully) for the rest of the world.

But then Trent says she posted comments on my blog, I responded to her comments, and it "got ugly".

He then talks about college classroom debates that fanatics got caught up in, while the rest of the students fled in disgust.

I believe the arguing fanatics, even when discussing obscure aspects of trivial items, are more American than the ones who left the classroom. They left to do what? Drink beer? Play violent video games? Get high and listen to music? Watch a Harry Potter movie? I doubt they left to visit the library and study. Or help a homeless person.

If you read the original post by Jardins at Inc dot com "When Blogs Go Bad", then my reaction post "Inc dot com sucks", and finally, the comments back and forth between us, I don't think you'll consider it "dark" or "ugly".

I even teased Jardins about being too nice and not combative enough. When Jardins said that my criticisms made her "look like an ass", I actually felt sorry for her, though I maintained my criticisms.

Trent did include a hypertext link to VTG. That was good. By doing so, his blog readers can go to my "ugly" post, entitled "Inc dot com sucks" and judge for themselves.

I could just ignore this newbie blogger, but actually I think I'll dignify his gross misrepresentation with a sincere response.

My point is this: blog debate is not "ugly", nor is it "the dark side of blogging". It's called democracy, free expression, search for truth, and defense of the core values of blogging.

If there is a "dark side" or an "ugly" blogging, it is cowardly conformity, trying to please everyone, mediocre incompetence, or...

...the dangers of personal blogging.

Putting personal details in a blog can be dangerous. Parents must protect their children and teens from online predators. Adults must guard against identity theft, and consider not engaging in any online financial or medical transactions, since corporations are not sufficiently protecting consumers (see the ChoicePoint scandal as an example of this).

"Ugly" or "dark" debate consists of insane statements, ridiculous lies, filthy language, unfair distortions, half-truths, racism, sexism, bigotry, deception, unkind mockery.

Sometimes I write things that later seem a bit too harsh. This usually happens when dealing with an individual. I don't want to ever hurt any person, but I'd fan the flames of many corrupt institutions if they were burning to the ground.

Any abrasive writing I've produced about a government, a corporation, or a religious institution is bound to be far less harsh than is warranted. Organizations have no feelings, but individuals do. Organizations are generally out of control and often escape the rule of law. Individuals are loaded with burdens, responsibilities, and rules.

So I can feel bad about being too sharp tongued to a person, but I have never felt bad about condemning any organization.

I have warned many times in the past about the Wimpification of the Blogosphere.

I see it happening. It won't happen at this blog. I'll continue to critique any blog, MSM, or corporation that I feel is evil, stupid, or just incorrect.

I'm just a little insignificant defender of the core values of blogging, democracy, and free expression. Yet, as insubstantial as I may be, it feels great to be living and writing for the Blog Revolution, and I will not stop.

[signed] Steven Streight aka Vaspers the Grate


Trent Flood said...

Thanks, Vaspers, for the response. Here are my thoughts on your post.

1. I disagree that the students that left the discussion are less American than the ones that ranted. (For the record, I stuck around until they turned off the distribution list.) Being American is about having the freedom to choose what you want to say and when you want to say it. Were the ranters in the wrong, heavens no! However, was their ranting productive? I don't believe so, because anyone that they might have wanted to talk to was driven away. To communicate you must have an audience. Those that left were simply fulfilling their God-given right to express their disinterest in the conversation by leaving.

2. You used the words "grossly misrepresented" both in this post and as a comment on my blog. I have to disagree with this as well. Blogs are opinion pieces (as you point out yourself). My opinion was that this "got ugly." Maybe I have a low pain tolerance. Okay, I'll accept that. But, I don't believe that gross misrepresentation is quite the right description. Maybe you could say "slanted viewpoint."

Overall, I believe this dialogue should prove that I am not afraid to join the discussion. So, I guess that makes me a full-blooded American.

steven edward streight said...

Trent: Okay, my friend, you are now a full fledged blogocombat buddy. Nice work.

I stand corrected in this regard: "it got ugly" is a subjective experience. If to you it "got ugly", you're certainly entitled to your viewpoint.

I meant to say, it *started ugly*, then became nicer in my comments back and forth with Jardins. I think her initial post "When Blogs Go Bad" was a tad ugly, and my reaction post was a bit harsh. I was just so sick of continually seeing Fictional Character blogs promoted and those who critique them being portrayed as some kind of "monsters".

I said that stuff about debaters being more "American" primarily to see what you'd say.

I agree that there are many pointless arguments. Strife in itself is not good, it is evil. But honest sincere debate is always good.

Thanks for linking directly to my post and hers, that was professional.

Best wishes on your new blog, Trent. And Merry Christmas, too!

Trent Flood said...

Vaspers: I'll concede the "started ugly" point. I think you are correct that the emotion was more at the beginning. Thanks for the clarification.

Also appreciate the nice comment on my linking to your pages. I see that as a must if there is going to be transparency. I know we definitely agree on that point.

Merry Christmas to you as well!