Adam Kaswell is opining on comments:

“for the most part, comments suck. And here’s why – the audience is stupid. But actually, it’s not their fault (well, not completely).”

Since he linked to my pet the audience are stupid thread, I feel I ought to respond. :)
I’d be profoundly shocked if anyone posting to my thread cared about my existence, or even knew about it. Clearly they’ve missed the point of the whole thing, since the whole point of the post I originally made was to slate the sort of people who are posting their email addresses and pleas to be famous! (The irony of this is not lost on me; it’s one of the main reasons I keep the thread open.) Matthew Thomas has written about how humans have frequently demonstrated that they will try to converse even in areas where discussions are not wanted, and this is a prime example; I want to encourage conversations in my comment threads, but I can’t stop conversations drifting off-topic without using the blunt tool of comment deletion. Site creators can’t help that either; it’s very, very difficult to apply social pressures through ASCII (one reason why flames are so common on the net), and without social pressure on people to keep a comment thread reasonable and appropriate, all site owners can do is remove individual comments or posters’ commenting privileges.
Kaswell goes on to bemoan the essential emptiness of weblogging: “that’s what I think a lot of the web sites (this site included) have become – nothing but people shouting out to no one in particular“. As he says, this isn’t a new idea. Weblogs might be tales told by idiots, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, as old Bill S. himself might have told us, but I think not. The key words in Kaswell’s description are no one in particular. The writing I do here (with the occasional exception) isn’t written for consumption by one person, or even any specific group of people. In fact, I’d say that the person I write for most is the Googlebot. (Someone else wrote about doing this recently, but I couldn’t find the post. I wanted to search my browser history, but I need something to do that, and someone wrote about that too, and I can’t remember who that was either. Bah.)
Maybe we’re shouting empty rhetoric into the wind. Maybe no-one is listening. Maybe those that come to post don’t come to listen. Then again, so what? People who need to feel a real value on what they do don’t use computers anyway, they make clay pots and sell them.

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