How Does One Deal With Smart Sounding But Ultimately Thoughtless Comments?

One of the dangers of posting things dependent on prior knowledge of a subject – i.e. poetry – is that every moron who thinks he knows something comes out and says stuff that sounds very smart, and when you try to reconstruct their argument you realize it’s nothing but the insinuation that you’re wrong.

For obvious reasons, such comments get under my skin, even though I know full well the commentators have no real knowledge of how to be intellectually honest. What we’ve “learned” from this media-saturated age is that however you make an impression doesn’t matter, as long as your impression is effective.

Being “intellectually honest,” then, is reduced to mere participation in debate, and the possibility that someone else might make you look bad for saying something. The truth is that being intellectually honest is really putting forth an argument where you publicly assess other arguments that might defeat yours, and keep open the possibility that you yourself might be wholly wrong, not just the guy you’re railing against.

I guess I’m asking for practical advice here. There are two comments on my work that just flat out offend me because of the lack of argumentation and thought, and I want to delete them. This is my blog, not theirs, and the two commentators in question left no way of getting in touch. But the comments didn’t mean to offend, and quite frankly, only a total idiot would buy their “argumentation.” I guess I can’t be petty that I didn’t persuade wholly.

The big question: Generally speaking, how can we encourage comments that respond thoughtfully and openly, not merely cleverly? For my part, I’ve just decided I don’t really care about the comments people leave. My work stands on its own, and those who read enough of it will see how to object properly, and not just nitpick.

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6 Comments

  1. So what? If somebody leaves an annoying, or ingratiating comment, I say leave them out – or call them out. Any way, it is for you to decide what is intelligent and what isn’t in regards to this journal. Part of the problem is, and I’m not kidding, is that so many children have grown up being coddled and pampered, always being praised for any thing near an intelligent remark, that they themselves cannot any longer notice true intelligence let alone superior intelligence. Think about how many kind get trophy’s for just showing up.

  2. Part of being smart is sounding smart. Sometimes speculating is easier than commenting based on prior knowledge or doing research before you to it. Consider going with the flow and respond with some over the top crazy nonsequitor just for fun.

    In addition to being more fun, speculation is far easier than doing the research.

    (oh, and you asked for help with the site – the test is this post is VERY TINY. Is this one of those that might need adjusting for your new theme?)

  3. I managed to miss this post, it has to have been on the other site.

    I agree with Josh 123%. I hate myself for noticing it, but if you sit in a classroom long enough (and by long enough I mean about 10 minutes), especially one full of 20-somethings, you are bound to hear a full-fledged (fluffy and nonsensical) discussion evolve over some fluffy bit of nonsense a student has thrown out that the instructor validated and/or praised for… some reason.

    I know I put my share of fluffy nonsense out there, but I’m pretty sure I recognize it for what it is. I don’t think they do.

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