Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Repeat after me

I will not post any more comments to this Samizdata discussion, even if someone calls me a communist.

Update: It's actually hard. Someone called my arguments "ridiculous", and I want to keep defending myself. However, it is a good thing to withdraw from slanging matches fairly quickly, and I have now done that. To be truthful, I got a little further into that one than I perhaps should have. (People who have blogs that I read know that I have an almost pathological compulsion to post comments. This is kind of good, and I have both readers and friends who have encountered me through reading comments. However, I really comment a lot). On the other hand, I was talking to Gabriel Syme (the author of the post that started the thread) over a beer last week, and he said that it is possible to pay too much attention to commenters. When it comes down to it they are not your readership. Lurkers are more numerous and collectively more important, and if you pay too much attention to commenters, you can sometimes miss your real audience. You therefore shouldn't be too bothered by what commenters say.

This is no doubt true, but of course the trouble is you do not know what your wider audience thinks. There's the rub.

Comments anyone?

Further Update: Someone did call me a communist. I took it to e-mail, which may or may not be a good thing. The trouble with this type of discussion is that I find participating to be something of an emotional roller coaster. On the other hand, I find it hard to resist the temptation to keep participating, particularly when something I say is badly misconstrued (like, for instance, when someone concludes I am opposed to all intellectual property law). My strategy of retreating to this blog, where I am among friends, was not such a bad one. (Actually, I am among friends on Samizdata, too. However that has a somewhat robust discussion forum).

Even further update: I'm actually struck by the increase in the number of comments on this blog lately. Until a few weeks ago, I had never had a thread of more than 10 comments. Now they seem quite common. However, the number of hits is not up by anything like that amount. I suppose this indicates that my readership has improved in quality :-)

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