Friday, January 20, 2006

What will I allow on my blog?

So I have finally dipped my toe into the vast sea of blogging, and it also immediately has raised very interesting questions for me.

I previously stated that I would not allow anonymous comments on my blog. A previously-anonymous commentator then signed himself or herself up with the name "Hater of Liberals" and posted a response, which I approved.

And I now find myself thinking that I am not going to allow any more posts from a person with a blogtag like "Hater of Liberals."

Yet when I ponder taking such an action, I then challenge myself with thoughts like this:
  • Am I afraid to hear views that are very different from my own, and very challenging?
  • Isn't that a form of censorship, which I generally abhor?
  • Why not let the, ahem, ideas flow freely, so that we can all learn from each other?
After thunking on it some more, I realize that my discomfort with "Hater of Liberals" comes down to this:

The world is full of brutal, hate-filled, and/or greedy people. They make the world a much uglier, harsher place. I can't stop them from existing, but I can keep them off my blog. haters on my blog. I will not accept comments from people with hateful tags. I will not publish comments that contain vile, spiteful, malicious comments.

So Hater of Liberals can now change his/her tag and then perhaps his/her comments will make it onto my blog. Maybe not.


mhthomas said...

A blog is like a car. 95% of people like to keep them clean, sometimes polished. There are only a few people that like to put bumper stickers all over their cars with loud comments. This is what I like about blogs, and they usually maintain value.

On the other hand, most open newsgroups are like slum graffiti where people abuse another's property with vulgar messages.

Do not let your blog be abused. :-)


Stewart Bryson said...

I've read two different editions of your PL/SQL book, and find your web page on Oracle Technology Network to be very informative. I did not; however, know about you political beliefs, or the controversy (real or otherwise) surrounding them until I read a recent posting on Mark Rittman's Blog, and the accompanying link.

I hold very different politically beliefs than you do; however, it’s fine with me that you believe what you do. I don’t have a problem discussing opinions other than mine, and as a matter of fact, I rather enjoy it.

I do have an issue with your use of politically charged examples in your books, but not because my skin isn’t thick enough, or because I am uncomfortable hearing the content of those examples. My issue is akin to the one I have with musicians and actors who proclaim their beliefs on stage and in the press. On the surface, such tactics may seem to add to the “free flow of ideas”, but they don’t, because the flow is not bidirectional. When a musician goes abroad and defames his or her country, she is using a soapbox that fame allows her which the rest of us don’t have. I don’t believe the use of such a soapbox is illegal or even immoral, but it certainly is unfair. So I sometimes do what other consumers have done in those situations; I use the soapbox of commercialism. The only way my whisper isn’t drowned out by the megaphone of fame is to vote with my wallet, so to speak. But my tactics are often depicted as censorship.

When you use these examples in your book, you have a captive audience, and that audience is forced to “hear” what you have to say, but isn't able to discuss the points you raise, or point out inaccuracies. It’s true that some people simply can’t handle opinions other than their own. But sometimes, what really frustrates them is that they can’t respond. That is the reason I think the “breath of fresh air” in your examples is misplaced.

Thank you for the service you provide to the Oracle community.

Stewart W. Bryson
President/Database Consultant
Transcendent Data, Inc.