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Friday, June 25, 2010

Blogging About Altercations Happening Elsewhere?

(Forgive the title. I couldn't think of anything else to call this post.)

A few days ago I had a kind of argument/altercation with another person on another blog. The story vaguely goes like this: I posted that I thought there was a problem something in the post, but that otherwise I didn't disagree; the blogger proceeded to assume I was attacking him/her because of an -ism and denied doing what was in the post; I pointed out where it occurred, reiterated that I didn't disagree and that it wasn't an attack; the blogger went off on me for something I never was doing and implied I was an -ist. Note that I'm using -ism and -ist here, because you can basically shove any sort of ism into this situation and it would basically be the same thing. A friend of mine did join in on the conversation in an attempt to point out why the blogger had basically gone overboard (he/she had) and then got banned for apparently being a troll (my friend wasn't, but apparently if you disagree with someone on the Internet, you're a troll).

So, the point of this post has more to do with my apprehension to post a more detailed discussion and critique of what happened. On the one hand, I think the situation is ridiculous and am tempted to post a scathing argument against the individual in question to point out that he or she has essentially gone off the deep end. On the other hand, I don't know if I want to continue with the discussion or bring up that topic on this blog again (for the third or fourth time this year), partly because it might open up a shitstorm and partly because I'm not entirely sure I can get enough distance from it to speak calmly about it (though I'm rather surprised at how calm I am while writing this, so maybe that isn't a real concern after all).

The question is: At what point does one subject become too much for one blog when that subject isn't the primary focus of the blog itself? At what point do we turn away and decide we're fed up and have no interest in engaging with a certain part of the community any more, even if what that segment is fighting for is something you care about too? Is it possible to disengage and shut out such a group of people, and is that healthy to do, not just for yourself, but for the community at large (isn't that the opposite of what should be happening)?

I guess what I'm concerned with here is that if I don't talk about it, then my only recourse is to stop paying attention to anything like it again, even when I agree with the discussions, because I am not the type of person who will not point out flaws when they exist. But maybe that's a weird way of thinking about all of this, and it's not like I'm giving specifics to make this make more sense.

So, taking into account the vague-ness of this post, what do you think? Is there a point where you feel you can disengage, even if those you are disengaging from are still using your words against you and others or making arguments that perhaps damage the community they claim to be a part of by participating in the same discourse they are attempting to fight?

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  1. Net arguments rarely seem to get anywhere. Most of the time they wind up with one participant responding inappropriately and getting themselves banned. I think the best way to handle it when it gets too heated is to think very carefully about what you post before hitting the submit button and if you can't do that then just step away from the keyboard.

  2. Well, it would be a critique of what was said, because the whole thing was kind of absurd and ridiculous. It went from being nothing more than a minor point of contention to this enormous thing about how my friend and I are evil trolls and yadda yadda. There's more to it than that, but, yeah.

    So, I think it would be easy to think carefully about it, but my only issue is whether it would be a good idea to continue the conversation, particularly because it is related to conversations I've had already this year, which were controversial and...caused a stir. I just disengage and stop associating with such people entirely, to the point of not even engaging with the same issues they are (because you can't engage with the issue and not also engage with the people)?

  3. It depends on the issue. I try to stay away and out of bloglandia kerfuffles. If you feel passionately about the issue that is bugging you, then go for it. But I agree with Elfy, such arguments tend to just devolve into pointless slogging matches. When referencing a kerfuffle, I tend to not link to it and not mention the participants (why cloud the issue being discussed by encouraging rubber necking).

  4. Dhympna: Thanks for your advice, by the way. I'm late in getting to it, but yeah.