26 Feb 2008

Some new changes to my commentbox policy

I certainly don't want to offend my readership but I'm forced to either strengthen my commentbox policies or be dragged down to the level of Wikipedia and Youtube debates where no distinction is made between a five-year-old, an educated adult and a mad person. "Neutral point of view" (i.e. Wikipedia's famous policy: see here and here) is really just a form of maoist control that undermines experience, knowledge, wisdom and respect for individuals (i.e. the very things that moved our civilization forward in the first place) and replaces it with immaturity, stupidity, shallowness and political correctness.

So at the risk of making it more difficult for anonymous individuals to comment nonsense on my blog, I will now only post comments from individuals demonstrating established identities. If you are a blogger whether on Blogger/Wordpress/whatever, naturally your blog constitutes an established identity and I want to see your identity visible through your name when you comment. Even a real email address is a better alternative to anonymity. If not, I will not post it for whatever reason. More honest identities will discourage anonymous vandalism and lack of accountability to one's actions and words. I hope readers understand my dilemma with online trolls but I think readers will appreciate reading more of the kinds of great input I've received up to now (coincidentally often from responsible and productive netizens with great blogs of their own) and less of the comments to the mentally numbing effect of "u stink and ur mother shud have aborted you, booooo!"

The recent number of trolls on my site has definitely increased since Language Hat made mention of my blog and this experience has informed my ever-evolving philosophy on blogging. Some bloggers focus more on publicity and quantity of viewers at the expense of truly thought-provoking content. A blog's content definitely includes the commentbox but it's often neglected by blogauthors to appear popular. Others prefer to use their blog to exercise their own power of free speech without coercion, cultivating quality content without it being tainted by marketing numbers. It's not just about cultivating quality of my blogposts as an author, but of the readership and of the comments of this readership. Everyone's interpretation of quality is different and so that's why there are so many blogs out there about as many subjects and in as many styles as there are stars in the sky.

My philosophy definitely sides with quality of speech over quantity and I refuse to compromise by threats of unpopularity. There are more important things in life than being loved by a bunch of anonymous people anyways (i.e. like being loved by your family and friends perhaps) and I figure that if I really wanted 85 000 subscribers, it would make more sense to make a porn site than a linguistics site! Lol!


  1. I have never myself been in such a position you are, maybe because vox is a difficult blogging system, and therefore most trolls don't bother enabling themselves to comment; Or maybe just because I'm not as interesting. Probably a combination of both.

    Nevertheless, if I would've been in the same position, I see myself doing the same thing as you would.

  2. Marijn: "I have never myself been in such a position you are, maybe because vox is a difficult blogging system,[...]"

    Yes, now that you mention it, maybe Vox is more strict that way. I'm sure though that some bloggers with high traffic and who are geared towards more casual topics like fashion, celebrity gossip or comedy may want to have a more open system like here on Blogger... although... There is always the danger of amoral psychopaths to use open forums as a means to attack someone anonymously and I'm not sure if I want to be held responsible for someone else's mental imbalances.

    For a blog about linguistics or some other academic subject, a completely free commentbox just doesn't seem practical or wise to me the more I think about it. So I'm sure I will come across as Mr. Grumpy Bear to some, but oh well. You win some, you lose some. :)

    "Or maybe just because I'm not as interesting."

    Every blog has its own niche. Don't sell yourself short. Do what you love and do it well. I wish that I could enjoy your blog but unfortunately ik begrijp het geen Nederlands (<- I had to use Babelfish to translate that) :(

  3. PS: It took me a while to clue in that "Marijn" on Blogger equals "Phoenix" on Vox. This whole issue of multiple online identities can be confusing, n'est-ce pas? :) Oh well, regardless of who any of us are, may Logic and Order prevail.

  4. Ah babelfish! How I despise you and yet love you.

    Babelfish is one of the reasons I passed my writing exercises for both French and German in high school (though, due to the use of it, just barely).

    It's funny, I used to hate learning languages in class, and because of a whim of pubescent stubbornness I picked up Japanese to show that it wasn't me, but the languages, that I kept on getting bad grades.

    And if I hadn't started Japanese I would have probably never gotten into Linguistics.

    It's bizarre how my disliking of those two languages actually triggered my interest in linguistics (And now I've learned German and French again, on my own, though my French is still far below the level I'd want it to be).

    But the translations it gives are truly terrible, the only truly good thing about the Babelfish is its reference to the Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy.

    "Ik begrijp het geen Nederlands"
    Should have been:
    "Ik begrijp geen Nederlands"

    Whatever possessed babelfish to insert a 'het' (it, or the (neuter)) in there is beyond me.

  5. Yes, I figured as much. I did in fact feel like taking out the 'het' but I figured, neah, I will just let Babelfish think for me as a Wikipedian would do, hehe. This is why I'm suspicious when linguists employ computer programmers to create fancy algorithms with dizzying names to analyse a language family. Programs are being designed far too often to replace human thought rather than enhance it. But then, what do you expect from a website named after an absurd science-fiction invention dreamed up by the same author who also gave us the Infinite Improbability Drive and The Answer to Life.