On Recognizing the Medium for What It Is


Last night I wrote responses to two comments I had received in the course of the day.

Then I realized that while blogging is conducive to some exchange of information, all too often what is intended in one way may be taken another. What I could say in conversation with all of the concomittant body language and subtle vocal indicators cannot be said with proper inflection in a comments box. It sounds aggressive and rude. That is not the tone I wish to cultivate, so I hurried back to my blog and cancelled my two comments.

Often I write out a response at other blogs and realize that I just don't need to say this, that, or the other thing. Perhaps I needn't comment at all. And if I do comment there is every chance that the comment will be misinterpreted and possibly lead to hurt feelings. Is that really necessary in an exercise that is intended to be pleasurable? Is what I have to say so important that it is worth risking that someone may be harmed by it? I think rather not.

Further, I've discovered that even when you are trying very hard to follow a chain of thought, so many things intrude and so much time elapses between exchanges that the logic and coherence vanish entirely. We end up talking about six different subtle shades of things without ever realizing that we're doing so--which leads to some frustrating interchange. This confusion naturally works itself out in ordinary conversational flow. But in this medium it can lead to hurt feelings, odd suppositions, and caricatures of other people's viewpoints that can be hurtful. Once again, it simply isn't worth it for the exchange of a few words.

So these comments have gone to the comment graveyard and I await the opportunity to speak with those who wrote them (given that one is far overseas, that opportunity might not come). But I'd love to discuss the matters in person with the opportunity to hear the proponents' clarifications and reasoning.

And I suppose, lastly, one reason for writing this is that it may be even more rude to ignore someone's comments when they've taken the time and energy to "speak" with you. If ever you don't receive a response to something you have written (and expect a response to) do not assume that it has been ignored or is not welcome. Just assume that I could not come up with an appropriately worded statement that was truly reflective of what I wanted to say. In other words, I could not begin the conversation I wanted to have.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 29, 2005 10:02 AM.

Classical Pieces You May Have Missed--1 was the previous entry in this blog.

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