Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Loose Thread


Have you ever found a loose thread on a shirt that you just couldn't resist pulling? (You should be hearing the voice of Andy Rooney when reading this.) Didn't it drive you crazy as it got longer and longer? And what about when you looked down and realized that continuing to pull this thread instead of just snipping it off has completely ruined the shirt. Didn't that make you feel silly? (OK, Andy voice off) You may be wondering where all of this is going, and that's exactly the point that I'm trying to make. OK, maybe I need to go back just a couple of steps here for those of you not already hip deep in the blogging world. 

  • Bloggers like myself put up postings on a variety of subjects
  • Most bloggers allow comments on these postings as a way of allowing the presentation of additional information, encouraging discussion, or just having some fun with the subject.
  • The list of comments after a posting is called a "thread".
  • Most people commenting do so intelligently, rationally, and politely.
  • Some people commenting do not. They either bring up extraneous information which diverts the attention of the readers from the original subject, use this forum as a soapbox for their own agendas, or in some cases just get mean, petty, and personal - commenting on other comments and the people who make them instead of the subject at hand.
While nothing is a sure thing, the odds are pretty good that the longer the thread of comments gets, the more chance that it will go off topic and get more than a little nasty. Add to the mix that because all are capable of posting comments anonymously or using a pseudonym for this purpose, people in the blogosphere often feel free to say things here that they would never say outside of this world.

This is not to say that rational discourse does not take place in blogging. I have shared intelligent, thoughtful and amusing exchanges with many out there; even those who I disagree with. Likewise I should say that I can only look at this from the outside, as postings on this site do not normally engender long threads of commentary and irrational discourse that I am talking about. I would like to tell you that this is because of my amazing ability to sway people to my opinion, but find it more likely that I simply do not have the volume of readership or take on the type of subjects in a way which inspires such vitriol and insanity.

I have been watching with interest and amusement, a couple of these longer threads on other blog sites in recent days. They are guilty of everything I am talking about: wandering off subject on a scale that would intimidate Johnny Appleseed, personal attacks that should make those involved grateful that the practice of dueling is no longer in favor, and naming calling that ranks right up there with one 4 year-old calling another "doo-doo head". Reading them is like watching a bad version of a TV reality show in which the residents can't seem to get along with each other and seek to draw attention to themselves through mindless misbehavior. 

While some might consider such things (and shows) entertainment, I simply find them further proof that civilized behavior is dying in the world. I will not try to delve too deeply into the background of misbehavior of this type however, as I have always found that such actions, and the children who commit them, should be ignored rather than catered to by attention (just ask my kids).

It's a shame that blogging has to be the beneficiary such childish behavior. It's a shame that many use anonymity to spread ignorance, stupidity, and vitriol. It's a damn shame that rational discussion on many issues in this country cannot take place without a breakdown of good manners and civility. Having said all of this however, I find that I should end this posting as well, before the thread of my argument gets away from me and begins to unravel as well.

Annoying things these loose threads; and the longer they get, the more annoying they become, and the more damage they do.


6 comments:

Hooda Thunkit said...

Tim,

I must say that I agree with you 1,000%, (doo-doo Head) :-)

Nothing personal, just blogging from behind My "nom de blog..."

(Remind me to apologize profusely, when we finally meet ;-)

Tim Higgins said...

hooda,

I understand the need for such electronic disguises in some situations, and at least you have taken the time to be clever about yours. But even behind the disguise, you choose to attack the issues instead of the people (with the exception of certain elected officials that need not be named). I am lucky enough to be anonymous even in a crowded room.

No apologies will ever be necessary, and I look forward to such a meeting one day.

livinginfits said...

Sadly, I don't think we can even label it as childish behavior when the majority of the people participating are not children. It is decidedly adult behavior, just of a useless and anti-social type. Personally, I can't get enough of it and take every opportunity I can to stoke the flames.

Roland Hansen said...

It is because of those very reasons you have enumerated that I no longer visit nor participate in several such blogs and electronic bulletin boards. And another blog is now on my "pretty soon you're ancient history cuz I'm outa here" watch list.
Having been both a serious commenter and a humorous commenter as the occasion may have called, I have a terrible taste from the trolls and the flamers. And while there are times when I may use sarcasm (admittedly caustic, at times), it is generally meant to bring home a point.

But now, I am rambling so it is time to just say:
Let's Ride!

--- OR
maybe I should say:
Let's fly and find El Guapo.



HT,
We're just going to have to get TH out of his smoke-filled room and into our own little back-room world.

Judy said...

May I be the first to raise a toast to the "Three Amigos"! I would love to be a fly on the wall when you three meet.

Tim Higgins said...

Roland,

I find some of what I have seen you and others experience on these threads almost beyond belief, while being amazed and amused by some of these characters.

I plead guilty as well to biting, pithy, and sarcastic comments, but I won't say anything on a thread that I woudn't say to someone's face (hence the damaged visage that I present).

As for getting out of a room, I will have you know that while smoke-filled, its dominant feature are the rubber walls; and I am let out on weekends and holidays (sort of). I'm with Judy though if it means raising a glass of something.