Steven Baxter is semi-retiring his excellent blog Enemies of reason. If you've never read A day with the Daily Mail
, now's the time! He's giving up the blog for the now-familiar reason of exhaustion and exasperation in dealing with comments
What isn't as positive is when people just read the headline, and decide they'll fly down to the comments box and tell you you're a cock. Or when people read a sentence or two, then tell you they only read a sentence or two, and didn't read the rest, but they've decided they know what you've written. Or when people just tell you you're scum. Or a cunt. Or whatever. That's not so much fun, in my experience, but your mileage may vary. Or when people so wilfully get the wrong end of the stick of what you're saying that you face the choice of ponderously explaining the same tonal shift to 100 different people in a row on Twitter, or you just go out for a long walk and leave your phone off. Christ knows I try and do the first thing, but I want to do the second one so much.
Interestingly, Baxter says that the quality of his writing has suffered from having to read and moderate comments, and then justify himself on twitter. I get the impression that many other good bloggers are giving up or getting bogged down in the endless, circular, entry-level arguments he describes. That's a shame and has to be bad for so-called internet democracy. Baxter's conclusion sums up the problem:
If you like, you can just say that I'm a stupid privileged liberal elite arsehole who thinks he's above criticism. I don't have a problem with that. But I do have a problem with discussing it for hours afterwards. I don't have the energy, and I don't have the time, and it's not for me. I'm sorry, but there it is.