Saturday, February 04, 2012

On Filtering From the Comments Section

There's a particular kind of commenter on sports blogs who's got a very clear idea of what posts do and don't belong on a given blog. (We don't have any of those here, of course. We barely have any commenters at all, but we love the ones we do.) They'll carefully read stuff that, by title alone, is guaranteed not to interest them, just so they can then comment that this particular post doesn't belong. Advanced cases will generally phrase these posts with "Normally I love your work, but-". Hardcases prefer, "I thought this was a [name of sport] blog, not name of thing they disapprove of]". Often there are proud announcements that because of this one post which they perceive to be off-topic, they're leaving the site (most of whose content they appear to like) and never, ever coming back.
The latest incarnation of this particular sort of bloggy puritanism is over at Hardball Times, where bloggers are getting roasted for following the Brian Cashman pajama bottom story. They feel, and they may be right, that it's not a baseball story; Craig Calcaterra and DJ Short and the folks who write for the site feel that since Cashman is the GM of the Yankees it's baseball-related and they'll put it out there for folks to see, which is also a reasonable position. What's not reasonable, though, is the attempt by a few people to deliberately work themselves into a lather as an excuse to try to dictate content.
Hey, kids, here's an idea instead. See the title of a post you don't like, don't click through and read it. Then, you don't feel morally obligated to point out how offended you are by it, and the folks who are interested can read and discuss it in peace. You get to concentrate on the part of the site you like, and everyone wins.
Or, to put it another way, if you've got six things on your plate at the local Chinese buffet but you hate seafood, there's absolutely no reason for you to go get a double handful of crab rangoon and then bitch about how since you don't like 'em, they shouldn't be served. Your reaction to any given bit of posting is appreciated, not required, and the choice not to read something is just as the choice to read it.
And really, everyone ends up happier that way. Even Brian Cashman.
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