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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