Thursday, July 08, 2004

Comments on Comments

Eszter at Crooked Timber has some interesting thoughts on comments. She's in the pro-comment camp. She's not sure if a blog can even be considered a blog without comments. Comments are a way that someone can respond to post without having a blog themselves. She points out the value of the great comments at CT. She says that blogs that have comments are more democratic than others.

Well, I think a blog is blog with or without comments. Even with comments, each blog isn't its own democracy. The commenters are not on equal footing with the blogger. The blogger sets the agenda by writing a post and can even delete the entry of a troll. And often the comments aren't read at all. Maybe we could liken each blog to a representative democracy, with the blogger serving as the elected official. Billmon recently described his blog as a cozy neighborhood pub, and he was the bartender serving out drinks or topics of conversation.

But it doesn't matter. A blog doesn't have to be a democracy. Not everything has to work that way. In fact, direct democracies in real life are impossible to maintain. Read Madison in the Federalist Papers. The problems with comments that Dan enumerated are the same problems that occur in any large democracy. Just as direct democracies only work in small spaces, comments only seem to work on smaller blogs. Fascinating.

I do think that comments can serve an important function of allowing people to respond to statements made against them. It can serve on a check on outrageous allegations. Especially when you don't have a blog of your own.

I also like comments for the same reason that I like blogs. It is another way for average people to participate in politics. A blog without comments allows one person to speak his/her mind, which is great. A blog with comments is a mechanism for hundreds. I don't really care what they have to say. Liberal or conservative or whatever. I just like that people are talking and debating issues. Participation makes democracy stronger.

I never set up comments here at Apt. 11D, because this started off mainly as a personal blog. What could someone say about my story at the playground other than "awww?" But my blog has grown more political in recent months, and I have gotten a ton of e-mail. Sometimes more than I can respond to.

To help ease the flow of e-mail and because I'm persuaded by Ezster's post, I almost certain to add comments to the new blog (more on this tomorrow).

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

< ? Redhead Blogs # >

< ? Blogging Mommies # >