So YT has been under a fair bit of fire here lately, mostly to do with my alleged inability to take criticism, and also the moderation of comments on this site, which really seems to get up some people’s noses.
First of all to the accusation that I’m unable to take criticism. It seems to me that my critics reach that conclusion based on the fact that I sometimes actually respond to criticism that is levied at me. Does that make me “unable to take criticism”? Is it all right for anyone to write anything they want in the comments to the posts here, frequently under a pseudonym, but when I respond in kind, that is not OK? – As far as I can tell, that’s how some people see it.
Then there is the frequent complaint that I can’t handle comments that don’t present me, or Iceland, or Icelanders, in a flattering light, or comments that don’t agree with me. Anyone who takes the time to read through the comments on this site can see that this is absurd. The plain fact is that I delete very few comments – and I’m not so juvenile that I cannot handle opinions different from my own. Plenty of comments on this site reflect opinions different from my own, and that’s perfectly fine – as long as they are respectfully presented.
However, when people want to rant in a boorish, belligerent, ill-conceived manner, that’s a different story altogether. Confronted with comments like those it may just depend on my particular mood whether or not I want them to appear on my site. Sometimes I feel they add something to the discussion even though they are borderline offensive, and I’ll approve them. And sometimes I won’t. Sometimes they’re just heckling, trolling, whatever you want to call it, or re-hashing a point that has been covered time and again, or just arguing for the sake of arguing, or because they just can’t let go of it, or because they like to provoke. And usually it’s those people – the belligerent, boorish types – who shout their indignation the loudest when they don’t get their way in the comments.
One such commenter recently went so far as to shout his indignation on another site on which I was blogging at the fact that I didn’t allow his comment to appear on this site.* That same commenter went on to rant very indignantly that if I wanted to be running an “open forum” I should allow all comments to appear, or else I should state in the blog’s posting rules [his term] that “this blog does not tolerate other points of views than the ones expressed by the administartor [sic]”.
Interesting point. Because, apart from the absurdity of that statement, who the hell said this was an open forum? This is a BLOG. Yes, it happens to appear on this thing called the Internet, but it is a blog owned by ME, stored on a server paid for by ME, the template is paid for by ME, the pictures are taken by ME, the content is provided by ME, the design customization is done by ME … in short it is MY forum, put up here on the Intertubes so that I can write what I want, when I want. And, hey, I make the rules – which incidentally are NOT that stringent, despite what some people would like to believe. If people don’t like it, well, they can feel free not to visit this site. THE END.
I am running this website in my spare time. Spare time that I don’t have a lot of. In fact, this blog and everything surrounding it has, over the past year, gradually been taking over my life. I spend many hours a week maintaining this site – responding to emails and various requests, dealing with comments, keeping the design fresh, doing research for posts, and finally writing the content that the disgruntled commenters nevertheless show up to read. A lot of time and effort goes into running this website, and here’s the deal: I DO IT FOR FREE. Advertising revenues from the site are measured in pennies per day, and donations, generous as they are [and some of you have been enormously generous – in fact ALL of your donations are deeply appreciated] – only manage to cover a fraction of the time I spend working on the site. I’M GIVING THIS CONTENT AWAY.
In fact, I wonder if those with the greatest feeling of entitlement, those who shout the loudest about my alleged censorhip and who criticize my conduct, have ever considered making a donation to help cover the cost of running this site? I wouldn’t know – since they usually hide their denigration behind pseudonyms, but my hunch is that they haven’t.
Sometimes I think that to be a blogger today, you have to have a streak of masochism. Why else would anyone spend their time and energy putting their stuff out there for free, laying it bare for anyone to tear into? I suspect that’s a question that a lot of bloggers have asked themselves lately, since so many of them have thrown in the towel. The perception of blogging has changed a drastically since I started this blog – but that is another discussion altogether.
Finally, the guidelines for commenting on this site are – and have been – available here, so the moderation principles for the comments shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
* Which only served to get him blacklisted.