Commenting, debating, and the value of peace and time

So yesterday’s debacle got me to thinking…

Recap. I got into a debate over one aspect of someone’s comment on another site. The debate was going nowhere, so I gave my last word over there. I came here, to my personal blog, and wrote a post about whether or not discussion in comments have value, not realizing that WordPress was set to automatically send trackbacks to the other blog since I linked to it. Because the trackback appeared in the comments over there, the person I was debating with came here and continued the debate. In all honesty, this was warranted because I had mentioned some of his data on the other blog was flawed. We went back and forth, pointlessly, for a while, then I asked that we put an end to the debate. He posted again, continuing the debate. So I deleted the whole exchange, and edited the original post to remove references to his arguments.

Over on his blog, he continued the discussion I’d started, and made sport of the fact that I’d deleted the thread here.

So finally, my thoughts.
Continue reading “Commenting, debating, and the value of peace and time”

Blog Comments/discussions: Worth it?

[NOTE: Contents of this post have been edited heavily to focus more on the topic at hand, and less on the topic that spawned my consideration of the issues. Also derailing comments have been deleted.]

So this morning I was reading at post over a Pumping Irony where Scott was talking about LOTRO Executive Producer Jeffrey Steefel’s interview of a couple days ago. I thought Scott made some good points (which I won’t re-iterate here, but I encourage you to go read the post) so I left a kind of an ‘atta boy!’ comment.

But being a dumbass, I couldn’t stop there, and questioned some of what another commenter had posted. Which began a back and forth of us each spinning our wheels and getting nowhere. Now don’t get me wrong, it was a civil discussion, but ultimately pointless and a waste of both our times. He wasn’t convincing me and I wasn’t convincing him.

It’s not worth regurgitating the whole debate, which spilled over to this blog and devolved even further. There’s no structure in blog comments, no ‘rules of engagement’ and meanings of common terms are often not clearly defined. To take the time to define them is cumbersome when you don’t even know for sure the other party is coming back.

It was a frustrating discussion for me; it was like the other party was from a totally different culture and we had no common ground to base the discussion on. Some of his points made as much sense to me as someone saying “We have corn flakes when moon dust wallows green penguins irately. ” First he would say one thing then he’d say completely the opposite, or so it seemed to me. It got to the point where I could only surmise he was debating for the sake of debating, not worrying about reasoning or consistency, but just trying to be an irritant. Perhaps he felt the same way about me.

Anyway, my point about this, beyond just needing to vent my frustration, is to ask this question:

Are comments on blogs really of any value, or are they just a place to fritter away time talking to each other, but not listening to each other? I don’t mean to vilify this dude, because the fact is I was certain of myself too, and he wasn’t going to budge my opinion either.

So what’s the point? Have you ever been swayed by a discussion in blog comments? Or are they all just a waste of bandwidth? Should we all turn them off and save ourselves the hassle of combating the spammers?