Oh I KNOW you did not just say that! *insert snapping of fingers and head movements…here*

 

Ok so in case you haven’t noticed – I have zero comments on my blog. 

It feels like I’m standing in gym class (because in Australia we definitely call it gym class…) waiting to be picked for a team, but no one wants me… 

Only this team is like hundred of millions strong and growing by the day. And so long as people are rooting for that team – I remain comment-less :( 

 

My blog stands to counter the idea that ‘no blog is an island’. I have tried to network out a little, by commenting on other’s posts, but still…zilch. Despite what Geert Lovink says, “most bloggers would admit it is not their aim to foster public debate,” I differ. 

Please – if blogs were a social networking site, my Looking For status would read: Anything I Can Get 

Humans are social beings, and even if it means throwing in the politically correct towel, I would prefer heated discussion than none. PLUS in half my blogs I end with questions (which is theory blog code for please freaaakinnn comment!!!!). Due to the nature of my niche , most of the content is controversial – I am talking about race, and let’s face it, who hasn’t got an opinion on race? 

In a world where almost everything is politically incorrect (did you know Midget is officially a derogatory word, with people who are extremely short preferring to be called Little People?) I am surprised more people aren’t flocking to a blog such as mine to vent their rage, where anonymity is a blessing sent. 

However, I see it’s because I am not popular enough, and only the Queen B(logs) get that attention like The Urban Daily

Comments that follow rules of Netiquette?

Netiquette: It pretty much means don’t do anything to annoy or frustrate someone over the internet…LIKE APPARENTLY RIGHT NOW, I AM YELLING AT YOU…so feel free to write “Don’t type in that tone of voice to me!” 

A particular post on John Witherspoon (actor from FridayBoomerang and who voices grandpa from The Boondocks) aggravated some commenting from its readers. 

 

 John Witherspoon Like To Use The N-Word 

You would hope that a blog such as The Urban Daily (which is part of the BlackPlanet Universe) with a post like this, would stir up more than a mere glimpse from its readers. 

There are three areas where people debate the content of the blog: 

  1. The appropriateness of the N-Word
  2. Ice Cube and his money handling techniques
  3. Whether John Witherspoon was joking about getting paid $5000 for Friday

Then there was this: 

.....?

I’m sorry AmericanRose, but I do believe you are commenting the wrong post… 

Some of the more controversial comments include: 

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I’m not sure who Kam is, but apparently he is important – Oh, and he would beat down Ice Cube who is also his cousin. Either way, it doesn’t really matter, because people should be allowed to debate about any of the content on a blog. 

Why Debate?

Glenn Reynolds (aka The Blogfather) argues that blogging is blurring the boundaries between professional journalists and amateurs: 

Power once concentrated in the hands of a professional few has been redistributed into the hands of the amateur many…technology has made it possible for individuals to become not merely pamphleteers, but vital sources of news and opinion that rival large metropolitan publishers in audience and influence. 

So if blogging can be considered a form of citizen journalism, why should the content not be scrutinized? Relating this back to Geert Lovink’s stance on commenting, and hence why it limits blogging – I completely disagree. In a society where we have countless media “watchdogs” why should blogging be free of opinion? 

Today more and more blogs are written like newspaper articles, and more importantly they are not like a social network page, where if someone leaves a nasty comment – it could be taken personally. 

If the content is not about you (although I would argue if you are blogging about yourself, you should be prepared to take whatever comments are thrown your way) and is related to public matters, then people should comment away! 

A blog is to be read, by many (hence why it’s on the internet) and frankly if you haven’t got the balls to take a negative comment then you shouldn’t be blogging (Yes… my loner-ness in the blogosphere has transformed me into Blog Nazi). However, I do believe that there are some limitations to comment culture in niche blogging… 

Limitations of The Long Tail?

As Geert Lovink also states, “debates happen within homogenous webclouds” this draws focus to the problems with commenting in a niche environment. 

I am going to take a guess that most people reading that blog were either directed there from BlackPlanet.com or found it because they’re interested in urban culture. Therefore, if you have people with similar interests and (possibly) like views commenting on the same thing – you’re not really harnessing public debate. 

If people are reading these blogs and almost considering them as news, then go down to read the comments, they may not be getting a well-rounded view of the issue, or may take an opinion as fact or evidence. 

Unlike a news show broadcasted on TV which will reach many people from varying demographics, in the long tail on the internet, that scope of opinion may not be as varied. The author of the “news” is also not accountable like a professional journalist, and the “story” does not go through rounds of editing and fact checking, like in a normal newspaper. 

Privacy?

You have all heard of the shocking tales of poor individuals who have had their reputation partially destroyed thanks to the internet. Daniel Solove gives insight into the issue of privacy on the internet, in particular the ability to control our reputation online. 

In regards to comment culture, I think it would be rare for someone (with the exception of AmericanRose) to comment in a thread that wasn’t related to its attached post. Therefore if the post somehow breaches privacy or someone is defamed, more than likely it is from the original post and not the comments. 

But just because it’s already on the internet, here are a few of my favourite YouTube videos that had not-so-good responses from the people involved… 

Lady Falls Down Hole In Shop… 

Scarlet Takes A Tumble… 

Model Falls Twice – News Anchors Can’t Stop Laughing 

DO ME A FAVOUR AND PLEASE COMMENT!

Although here are some questions for those who weren’t stimulated by my riveting discussion…

In relation to some of the comment examples above, do you think fights between readers should be permitted? Or does this just add to the fun of blogging and allow for more upfront opinions?

Do you think anonymity helps immensely when commenting, or are there limitations to not seeing a face behind the mask?

4 responses to “Oh I KNOW you did not just say that! *insert snapping of fingers and head movements…here*

  1. Hey Tam,
    You’re not getting any comments because you’re blogs are way way way too long. I read 2 paragraphs and scrolled to the bottom to see how long it was, and thought F*k this I aint reading all that. I simply dont have the time.

    Reader Attention Span – It is pretty well documented that the typical web reader has a short attention span when it comes to reading content online.The average blog readers stay 96 seconds per blog (I’ve seen other more scientific tests that show similar results). What ever the number – it’s generally not long. As a result many web-masters purposely keep their content length down to a level that is readable in short grabs.

    also, your blog does not come up in google, and you need backlinks…I run a few blogs with lots of hits and feedback, and you’re going about it all wrong! let me know if u need a hand.

    In-fact, my comment will probably get read more times than your entire article (takes bout 96 seconds to read…) lol

  2. I have to say that i agree with your friend up there…
    I want to be supportive, I want to read your blog, I want to learn about your course work, and most of all I want to procrastinate… but it’s just too long.

    Maybe you should tell your tutors that their word limit just isn’t viable. They should just have fewer words, more entries.

    And sameh’s right. I couldn’t finish your blog article, but i could finish their comment.

  3. To all your questions, I answer ‘yes’.
    I should also like to note, that when commenting, don’t press refresh, because that gets rid of EVERYTHING that you have previously written.

    Question the first – fights between readers, and the author too, should definitely be permitted.
    If you bother with blogging and the option of readers commenting, how can you then censor what they’ve said? Or how can you stop a debate from raging?

    Isn’t the whole point of having commenting options for the readers to be able to comment and get their opinions out and heard?
    Sure there are people out there who probably have no idea what they’re ranting about – myself included – but these are the opinions of real people, not carefully selected from the masses to present a particular viewpoint of the author.

    It allows a much more wholesome debate, complete with misconceptions, lack of political correctness – ala “jetskibro”, and the average reader’s take on the issue!
    It’s fantastic!!

    Sure, it can boil down to lewd comments aimed at personally demoralising the opponent, but hey, if they can do it at question time, than why not on the internet – I mean, it’s not like we’re actually making important decisions, we’re just spicing up the blogosphere.
    I understand moderation of fights when they don’t result in further debate, but fights themselves with heat and fury are like a lover’s spat. Full of dredged up facts and sentiments from years of reading into things, full of opinions – turned up a notch at provocation, and which make everyone else want to turn around and comment. It’s stimulating and entertaining.

    Censoring the internet, blogs included, is like… yoga videos for porn:

    It just doesn’t cut it, it’s just the clothed foreplay, but where’s the rest?

    However, destroythismadbrute -while I agree that people should be “prepared to take whatever comments are thrown [their] way”, i think it also needs to be extended to public matters – because even if presented in a more formal format, people will still take comments personally. And that’s when the interesting stuff comes out.

    Internet users need to know how to navigate the cruel, strange world of the internet. As well as real life.
    When people argue with the socialist alternative at uni, no moderator turns up to censor what they say to each other… and while people may be offended, you just need to learn to thicken your skin.

    Take this parody site for example – caution: http://christwire.org/2009/02/i-am-extremely-terrified-of-chinese-people/.

    This has generated over 1000 responses, and it’s entertaining! Sure, the comment-ers are getting very involved and think it’s a real article, but it’s like Jerry Springer. You’ve got to love to hate it. And it can be amusing!

    Blog-o-fights FTW!!

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