Can I ask you a question?
Why do you leave the comments open on your posts (if you do this sort of thing)? I'll share my reason. There are actually two reasons. First and foremost, I think of blogs as a skewed conversation just as I see therapy as a skewed conversation. One person does the bulkload of the talking, but it's still a conversation. Therapy without the other person is sort of like audio journaling. I mean, it's helpful to talk it out, even if you're only talking to the wall, but there is a reason people pay to speak to a live person or choose to call their friends for a vent rather than aiming their words at a sofa cushion. I think the questions other people ask or their commentary on your words brings you to a different level of understanding. So, that conversation is important.
I also leave the comments open on my blog because I often ask questions (as I am doing now) and would honestly like an answer. I'm the sort who likes the book club because I don't like to read in a vacuum. I like to talk about ideas that I've read--when I asked about robot sex and how it will affect the acceptance of treatments, I wasn't posing this hypothetically. I truly wanted to know what you thought about what I thought about when I was watching the Colbert Report. And one of the reasons why I started the Roundup over a year ago...more like a year and a half ago...is that I read these cool things and I wanted to talk about them. And I wanted to hear what you thought about them. So it's really cool when I return to a post (and feel free to do this on any of the posts below) and there are more comments and I get to read more opinions.
Here is my second question because I actually had a second one too.
Why do you leave comments? We all know why we don't leave comments--nothing to say, strapped for time, it's read more blogs or leave more comments and people choose to read more rather than write more. But when you do leave a comment, why do you do it? Again, I'll share my reasons. I do it because I want the person to know that their words weren't spoken into a vacuum. Because I have a question to ask. Because I think of an analogy or something that might (or might not) help them see their own words in a new way. Because I have an answer to their question. Because I want them to know that someone out there cares about them. Because I want them to know that they made me think, laugh, or cry.
I have been thinking about the comments section this week due to three separate incidents that appeared on three separate blogs, including my own. And several off-blog conversations I have had with people who were either directly attacked or read the attacks and were affected because they were either hurt by the words too or because they were upset with how another person was treated. And this is the thing, if I knew how to do it, I would rename my section a reaction section. Because, for me, that is what that box is meant to house. A reaction to the post. It isn't there as a space to cut-and-paste spam, though some spammers use it that way. It isn't a space to write about something completely off-topic, though some people use it that way. It is simply there as a pause in the conversation, where the other person can slip in their thoughts as a response to your own.
In this vein, is the reaction box owned by the readers or the person who owns the blog? On one hand, the reaction box is a space for the reader, therefore, it would follow that it would be like a freelance article. You give the magazine permission to print your own thoughts and house it on their pages, but the thoughts are still your own. On the other hand, each blogger owns their own blog and that includes every inch of space including what they choose to do with their sidebar, header, or font size.
I want to open this to debate, but I should probably clarify two things. I believe this space is my own in order to do as I choose and I view your space as your own. If I don't like you space, I probably won't visit and I hope that if you don't like my space, you won't spend time here either. Having people visit who don't really want to be here is sort of like the houseguest from hell. No one is really happy in that equation and life is too short to have people reading things that they get nothing from. Therefore, if you don't like my writing, I hope you don't come back. And if you do like my writing overall, but I have an off-post, I hope you stop reading it immediately (think of it like returning a library book that you didn't enjoy. No harm, no foul. Clicking on a blog should carry the same level of commitment) but come back on another day. And if you like my writing or I say things that resonate with you, I hope you stick around and keep reading and let me know that you're here so I can know about your blog if I do not already know about it.
So, that said, you may feel like something is appropriate to say, but if I don't think it's appropriate to say, it won't remain on my blog. I refuse to have name-calling take place on my blog. That's where I put my foot down. Disagreement, definitely. Disagreeableness, not so much. And it's a fine line. But, at the end of the day, it's up to me to decide what remains here. It's up to you to decide if you visit here. And if you want to call me names or someone else names, you can, but I've just outlined what will happen. And if you're not happy with this, I'm sorry. That said, my mind is never set entirely, and if someone were to make a strong argument for why they do keep each and every comment on their blog including the ones that call other commentors names, I would be open to changing my mind. But I do believe everyone needs to own their words and stand by their words when they say them. And to think before they hit publish--both on their blog and in the reaction box.
So, all of those questions posed, I would really like to focus on the blogs below. Because these posts rock. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on them in their reaction box.
JJ at Reproductive Jeans had an angry, raw post that literally pulsates in the wake of her negative. I loved this post because it is honest and brave and the words literally made me want to pick up a plate and hurl it against the wall. It's an amazing feat when a post can be cathartic for the reader as I'm sure it was (or I hope it was) for the writer. I'm incredibly grateful that she would share this piece of her heart because as you read down the comments, you realize how many people felt less alone after reading it.
MsPrufrock at BarrenAlbion had a follow up post to her recent break-in that I read three times through and I still can't find the words to summarize the incredibleness of this post. Again, the rawness. Really, all I can do is nod my head in agreement and throw a hypothetical plate against the wall for the laptop taken. But since you can't see my nodding head, please click over and read both posts because they will make you think.
OmegaMom had a post about how we misconstrue words in the flatness of the Internet as well as an ethical situation about the words we put out there. Honestly, both of these posts made me thinking so hard that my head hurt (and that was after all of the head nodding had already taken place over at BarrenAlbion). I would love to hear your answers to her questions so go over and join the conversation.
Lastly, at Still Passing Open Windows, she writes about the concept of moving on. She explains that impulse to get "rid of everything that reminded me of him and our almost two years together" when she broke up with a boyfriend and how that same impulse is healing her broken heart again after the death of her daughter. Like some of the posts above, I think I was drawn to her words because they were so raw and powerful. And because you care and want to throw the hypothetical china against the wall for her in solidarity.
A long roundup today--sorry about that--I'm a bit disillusioned by some of the things I've seen written about other people this week. I am around, but I'm just taking a step back to observe for a moment.