After a blog career that goes back to 1999, it has come time for me to shut down comments on my blog altogether. Even in the early days the comments feature was often abused: strangers or ex friends and lovers loved to use the anonymous option to post sniping comments, thinking I was helpless to come back at them because anonymous equaled invincibility in their minds. Still, for the most part, the comments I got were sane, reasoned, continued a conversation – or, if the person was really worked up, s/he posted their own blog commentaries about what I’d written.
This weekend I sat through a Millennial Driven workshop on anonymity where these gems were dropped:
“My friend at Livejournal says that most trolls use a variation of their real name anyway ..”
1)it’s a variation 2)are they using that name on strangers or on people they actually know 3)there’s a 95% chance the person that said this is a liar, since Livejournal hasn’t had American employees/employees concerned with trolling since the Russians bought it, what, five years ago now?
2)Well, people are going to be jerks once in awhile. (Develop a thicker skin!)
My face cream isn’t so good that that wasn’t an insulting dismissal. Since this also came from the girl that dropped the Livejournal line of bullshit, which makes me suspect she herself enjoys trolling and harassing. Dismissive comments make enemies for a very good reason.
3)They were talking about anonymity LIKE IT’S A NEW CONCEPT. There was no discussion of or interest in why the Internet started with anonymity and then rolled it back. They even brought up some of the new apps – like Secret.ly. Notably no one seemed to know or want to acknowledge that Post Secret itself had an app, that they dropped, because it got abused in nasty, ugly ways – nor did they seem to acknowledge that happened in the last year. Seret.ly is worse because you can actually link it to your contacts list, thus making it possible to suss out who in your own circle feels the need to confess.
Reading comprehension, empathy or the ability to drop an agenda for the sake of context has not improved since 1999. It’s only gotten worse. This is why so many places have moved to Twitter and Facebook logins. It’s why I delete so many of the drooling pieces of coal dropped here.
Clearly, there’s a culture shift – and young adults with a lousy sense of history, i.e. a lousy sense of “why” at its deepest levels. Because history, recent or distant, is our answer to every “why” we can ask.
So I must respond to this cultural influence, as culture, like oxygen is unavoidable. In the last year, I have had to delete more comments on this blog than I have posted. The majority are angry, unreasoning and very self-centered/narcissistic, reacting badly to ideas that upend assumptions. I’m not an intentional iconoclast. What I write is intended to be as sensible as I can make it unless I say otherwise. If that comes off as iconoclastic, the problem does not lie with me. Still, since I am responding with dread to a comment on my blog field and it’s not like I owe any reader any money back for reading the blog, I am removing that source of irritation in my life. There is a difference between sick and crazy: I am fucking tired of indulging the crazy, especially the crazy who coopt the language of the legitimately ill to get away with their bad behavior.
My cultural response to this over-indulgent shift is to shut off comments. So at some point this week, all comments will be gone across all my blog platforms. If you want to discuss my ideas, or discuss them with me you’re just going to have to write your own responding blog post, find me on a social platform where you’ve already earned the privilege of connecting with me (earned by behaving like a civil human being) or talk to me about it face to face like a responsible adult.
You people already have 4Chan. I don’t owe you a goddamn thing.