While remarking on how nice it is to see edublogs engage with one another This Week’s Russo takes a minute to whine that “real blogs have comments.” Boo hoo. We’ve discussed this before but it’s worth airing.
First, contra Russo’s assertion, isn’t the fact that three edublogs can have an ongoing debate evidence that you don’t need a comments feature to foster discussion rather than evidence you do?
Second, with a few exceptions, I don’t really see much value in comments. Sorry, I know it’s not bloggy PC to say that, but they tend to be (a) pretty scarce* in the eduworld and overall (b) a lot of “me tooing” (c) often factually challenged on all sides the issues and (d) name calling and howling at the moon.** And, for all that, they’re a lot of work to maintain, particularly on higher traffic blogs and if you carry an organizational brand (the quid pro quo for organizational tech support) so you have to monitor them.***
Finally, this whole standard that Russo and a few others**** seek to establish is unserious and undemocratic. It’s unserious because having comments makes something a “blog” in the first place? Tell that to Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit, etc…It’s undemocratic because what makes blogs interesting as a medium is their diversity. My blog is no more or less bloggy than some random person blogging about their personal life or an organizational mouthpiece blog and we all ought to resist this “bloggier than thou” temptation to start drawing lines. It’s human nature, but still our better bloggy angels should prevail. Frankly, this whole thing strikes me as typical and marginal whining about process over substance anyway.
*Let’s be serious, not infrequently Russo pastes emails and posts from other blogs into his comments so I don’t see some flourishing orgy of public expression being extinguished here.
**By the way, I reserve the right to change my mind about all this as time goes on but I don’t see the great value lost right now.
****I seem to have an adorable little edustalker named One-L following me around the edusphere whining and harrumphing about this very issue. See, for instance, here and here. It’s kinda cute and flattering and all that but at the same time a little creepy, too. Just in case, do they have edurestraining orders? It does make me wonder how on earth NCLB will ever get “fixed” if this is how One-L spends her, apparently scarce, time…And, by her temporal logic, the AFL-CIO’s fun blog, isn’t a blog after all either…hmmm…Coming Next: “One L” says Eduwonk isn’t a real blogger ’cause Eduwonk isn’t his real name. Dang! That one won’t work either…