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  1. I’m sorry to have “pained” you. I thought it was a fruitful discussion and worthwhile. You have no idea the time I had to free up to participate in it. Some of us are not paid to read and write, and our time spent doing so isn’t gleaned from our work nor are we able to use it to organize or produce or stimulate ideas for future projects.

    We lost something with Web 2.0. I cut my teeth on the Internet before the WWW explosion with USENET using SLRN under Unix, and I still use Linux. It’s threaded discussion format allowed you to actually share in thoughtful discussion–to get to know the minds, the personalities of diverse people from anywhere in the world.

    Then it was taken over by spammers, porn hounds and pirates. Now we get the comments section of blogs where we have to comment on a particular article and the comments sections are mostly unthreaded, and comments get closed or unwieldy. Or, we get social networking sites where we use primarily visual tools to snoop or stay on the surface of others’ lives.

    I long for the days when I could have real, vital discussions with diverse people as an equal. Instead I am forced to “leave comments,” which are usually seen as a nuisance by the blogger who isn’t really interested in engaging with other minds but rather hopes everyone actually cares what music he is currently listening too and just wants praise and applause.

  2. Bo, I didn’t say you pained me; I said that the discussion did (and it sounded rather as though it pained you too, though of course I may be as wrong about that as I have been about other things), which involved extensive very careful (and unplanned-for) research and checking. Some of us are not paid to take hours answering comments; certainly I doubt that the University thinks that blogging and responding to comments counts (for instance) toward promotion. If I were unwilling to converse with you, I wouldn’t put so much time and effort into it.
     
    You may have noticed that I have not closed comments or edited what you wrote.
     
    I don’t know how to go about having a conversation with you (at your initiative) other than by your leaving comments here and my answering them. You didn’t offer to buy me a cup of coffee, or invite me over to sip lemonade on your porch. If you wanted to have a word with me, I suppose you could have emailed. But even then, I’m not under any obligation to offer you hours of my attention solely because you value conversing with me. I do it freely, because I want to honour the time you put into commenting — but it feels a bit odd for you to leave comments here, for me to write careful and laborious answers, and then to hear that you feel hard put by. And candidly, I don’t care whether you like the music I’m listening to; I know that some readers do, and if you don’t, you’re not under any obligation to read what I write. Indeed, if the whole reading-and-commenting experience is so distasteful for you, I’m sorry that you felt moved to go to the trouble of leaving these comments.
     

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