Sometimes I think "Hey, I should blog more."
The reason I've been thinking that lately boils down largely to this post I wrote on Brontoforumus the other night:
...there is a guy in the Ars Technica comments section right now who is arguing that Joss Whedon's behavior isn't anti-feminist, because if he were gay he would treat men just as badly as he treats women.
I need to stop reading the Ars Technica comments section.
Fellow Bronto Büge pointedly responded by quoting my post back to me in modified form:
I need to stop reading the [...] comments section.
She's got a point.
It's not an original observation that comments sections, by and large, are terrible. Even on a site like Ars, where most commenters are insightful, knowledgeable people, the minority who are obnoxious trolls get to dominate the conversation.
Part of why that happens is, people feed the trolls. And I'm part of the problem.
I'm not as bad about that as some people are. I've learned to make regular use of Ars's Block button. Hell, I even wrote a script to add block functionality to Techdirt's comments section. And yet, I still find myself engaging with people who I really shouldn't.
Sometimes it's an honest mistake. Sometimes it's not clear that somebody is a troll when I first engage with them, and it takes a few posts before I realize I've been wasting my time trying to engage in a good-faith discussion with somebody who isn't interested in good faith.
But sometimes, trolls are obvious, and I feed them anyway.
Take the other day, f'rinstance. A guy in the comments for an article titled News of Trump passing cognitive test may make it harder to detect dementia said this:
So we should defend the country by forcefully elimating Trump?
And I spent multiple posts responding to this guy. Explaining why democracy, despite its flaws, is preferable to a violent coup.
The conversation ended with me telling the gentleman in question to go fuck himself, and blocking him. Which was entirely foreseeable, from the get-go.
Why did I bother having a conversation with a person who was not only advocating the violent overthrow of the government, but couldn't even spell it correctly? Why didn't I save myself some time and just go straight to the Block button?
Certainly part of the answer is that my impulse control needs work.
Another part is, I really do enjoy writing stuff. I write stuff every day. The trouble is, these days most of what I write is in comments sections on sites like Ars and Techdirt. What I need to get better at is focusing my writing towards somewhere productive -- or, if not productive, at least somewhere that doesn't leave me thinking, "Christ, why did I waste all that time and energy on that?" when I'm done.
Maybe that can be the new tagline for the site.
It doesn't leave me thinking "Christ, Why did I waste all that time and energy on that?" when I'm done.
(Your mileage may vary.)