Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Blog Conversations

I just posted a book review of Anne Alstott's new book, No Exit. Meanwhile, Harry at Crooked Timber has posted his own review of it. Go there for the discussion. Blog book club!

- UPDATE: Brayden King writes, I’m not sure though that many Americans would respond well to a proposal that would pay parents for caregiving, even if the “allowance” was intended to improve the human capital of the caregiver. Americans seem extremely uncomfortable with the idea of offering incentives to have children, particularly if those incentives are decoupled from earned wages. All you have to do is look at the scare created by the fictitious “welfare queens” to see how deeply embedded in our culture is resistance to the commodification of children.

More talk about the politics of blogs.
- Blogging and the new citizenship by Tim Dunlop.

- I've gotten several e-mails telling me that usenet sucked. Here's a post by PZ Myers who explains why.

More talk about the civility of blogs.
- Great post by Dan Drezner who offers perspective and a ton of good links. I was especially interested in his comments about comments, because I'm going to start a new blog very soon.

- One of the commenters at Dan made this interesting point about blog comments: Blogs can't enable true two-way communication. They're broadcast mechanisms, with an owner whose primary interest is getting his own view out, not soliciting other views. Comments are a reassurance to the beginning blogger as evidence that someone's reading. Once you're important enough that comments are a hassle, it's time to stop pretending you care what others think. Commenters are the mini-mes of the blog world. Commenters might not have a two way conversation going with the blog author, but the good ones certainly add much to a blog (as CalGal demonstrates).

- [I should just shut my trap, but I can't help myself.] People often say, It's a free country. I can say whatever I like. Well, there are a lot of things that we're not allowed to say in this country. We can't cry fire in a crowded theater. We can't use racial slurs in a public school. Newspapers can't write slanderous articles. So, in the real world there are many checks on speech, because in certain circumstances, words have the force of an action. Anyhow, I'm not saying that there should be any checks on blog talk, but we should recognize that speech has consequences. And a little self-regulation isn't a bad thing.

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