|cartoon reprinted from The New Yorker|
For about a year, this blog was being reprinted on another website. Not being a big star of the "interweb", as one of my young friends calls it, I appreciate the few readers I have, and every once in a while, someone comments on something I've written.
I was surprised that no-one ever commented on the reprinted blog entries, so I decided to check in and have a look to see if they were actually there. And I discovered that people were indeed commenting on them -- it's just that this particular site doesn't moderate comments, and I wasn't set up to receive them in any case. I've learned that this is a fairly common practice.
My biggest surprise, though, was the tone of the comments, nasty and confused, for the most part. And the writers were all talking to each other, not to me. My writing was a starting point for endless arguments about all things Dharma and Zen. Everyone who wrote in hid behind a fake name, so there was no way for me to respond without adding to the public hoopla.
Chagrined and disappointed, I asked the person who maintains the site to remove my blog, which he did graciously and quickly. But not before defending the style of the blog comments as a part of free speech, something he believes in very strongly.
As of course, do I. But I have to say that I'm a fan of open, civil and transparent discourse. Sometimes we strongly disagree with others, but we don't have to make a hobby of argument. Nor do we need to hide our identity if there's something important we want to say.
And as they say on the interweb, this is just imho.