Readers Respond

Well, it seems like leaving out the “Comment” link at the bottom of each entry gave the wrong impression — or, perhaps, we gave the right impression, and people don’t like it. Here are two samples from the feedback thus far — Simcha wrote:

Part of the joy of blogs is the ability to participate. When you take that away, many people will stop enjoying your blog. That’s my thought, at least.

And another reader:

Personally, I’d prefer if you left the comments section open, with a large number of qualified moderators who can remove/edit inappropriate posts. It gives the feeling of having a give and take, of discussing an issue, rather than reading a number of editorials on various topics, which is what a blog with no comments essentially is. The author does not have to respond to all or even any of the comments – his thoughts are outlined in the blog posting, and the comments section is for additional viewpoints.

I guess we need to clarify — the fact that comments won’t be immediately displayed does not mean that they won’t be read and used. We certainly hope to read everything, even if we won’t always respond — and usually we will! At least, that’s the hope.

So there will still be give and take, still be discussion. But we don’t want the author to feel either compelled to respond, or left out. We already tried editing posts after they appeared — and we were not happy with the result.

UPDATE: I’ve exchanged several emails this evening with J. Shawn Landres, author of the Religion and Society blog — that link sends you to his article discussing a “blogger’s code of ethics.” That’s the article that referred me to CyberJournalist, but he pointed out to me that he also links to a different form of ethics code developed by a blogger since the early days, Rebecca Blood. Her version focuses upon transparency as the baseline standard for ethical blogging. Be up front about who you are, what your biases are, publish only what you believe to be true, admit your errors… oh, and don’t go back and erase stuff later.

She’s right. Once something is publicized we shouldn’t pull it. Every rule has exceptions, and I think we met that standard last week, but certainly those who believe “freedom of expression” means “freedom of my expression in your journal, at your expense” did not agree. The new methodology of feedback — rather than open discussion — makes the rules of the game much more clear. Our aim is not to provide an open forum where (as someone famously said about the most open of Jewish open forums, the soc.culture.jewish newsgroup) “the loudest mouth wins.” Rather, we aim to provide a credible source of information and well-informed opinion. The comments will be read, and as we’ve already demonstrated, we will proudly own up to our mistakes. [Well, we’ll try.]

Speaking for myself, I do want your feedback — because you’ll tell me when I’ve got it all wrong, or make me re-check the facts to be certain I’m right. That is one thing touted as a great feature of the blogosphere, specificaly by blogs like PowerLine that rely upon reader information — but filter the information through the bloggers themselves. >> End Update

This is not a perfect science — please continue to submit comments, and we’ll keep thinking about how best to do this!

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3 Responses

  1. Gil Student says:

    I apologize for misunderstanding. I never feel obligated to reply to the comments people leave me, although I’ll sometimes pop in to remind readers that I’m can’t keep up with the discussion and that my silence should not imply anthing other than that.

  2. aryeh calvin says:

    “Part of the joy of blogs is the ability to participate. When you take that away, many people will stop enjoying your blog. That�s my thought, at least.” simcha is right. the participation fuels the growth of an issue or story. The author should be feel compeled to respond or its not a blog. thats why you post things. simcha will put up a post at hirhurim and then the issue will be discussed. that is what makes his blog interesting to read.

  3. Vanity says:

    I think you’re ruining an otherwise absolutely *great* idea by removing the comments. I, for one, have little desire to participate in a blog of this fashion. I can read news on my own… Comments and the interaction between commentators and posters and commentators and commentators is what makes blogs interesting (it’s sort of like newsgroups but without the filler).

    The comments promote a sense of community. There’s absolutely no reason that the author of an entry has to feel like they *have to* answer every comment fielded to them…they don’t. The whole idea behind this blog—at least that’s what I thought—was to have a *community* of posters. What you have now is basically a news, Q&A. You post something, people send you questions and you answer.

    Not so interesting or exciting in my opinion. :-/

    Shavua tov; all the best, whatever you decide!

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