Saturday, December 06, 2008

really helps balance everyone's sorrow and brings love into tomorrow
the next days emotion the previous day had to borrow
with winter coming the farmers have to break out the farrow
to prepare the earth for next year's yield

if its not the cold weather that's getting you down
then for what reason pray tell does your face wear a frown
there is a carnival on the edge of town
crooked games and cotton candy.
[Written on 10/12/08]

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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

fates consternation
nona, decima, morta
destiny's agents
[Written on 3/4/08]

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Points to Ponder:

The essence of bigotry is refusing to others the rights that you demand for yourself. [Dr. Thomas Sowell]

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There has been a lot of events on the world stage in recent weeks we intend to touch on at some point but feel we cannot do adequate justice to until the post election commentary we mentioned we were working on is completed. It was started on November 14, 2008 and worked on bit by bit as time allowed for it though we had not prior to today (when we worked on it some more) done anything on it since prior to Thanksgiving. And when we were working on it, the draft tangented off into another subject connected with it but at the same time different that we felt the need to segregate the two and tackle the latter one first.{1} So this we did in the days prior to Thanksgiving and want to recall that offering for you the reader at this time:

Revisiting the Subject of the Underlying Weltanschauung of "Language Control" (circa November 25, 2008)

Between that and our recent philosophical revisiting of the subject of comments boxes and the principles behind our longstanding refusal to have any at this humble weblog{2} that should suffice as far as expository style musings on this weblog until we finish the commentary itself which is about 90% completed as of this writing and we hope to have it finished for publishing on Friday of this week.

Notes:

{1} We did after all promise to be briefer in this treatment than any other post election commentary we have written but without losing an overall sense of relative completeness.

{2} On Reiterating Anew Our Comments Box Policy (circa December 1, 2008)

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Monday, December 01, 2008

On Reiterating Anew Our Comments Box Policy:
(Musings of your humble servant at Rerum Novarum)

It is rare that we are at a loss to know what to blog at a given time and now is such a case. Part of the reason is that we have in some respects too much to do and not enough time to do it in and the window of time will be slamming even tighter in the coming months as we take on additional responsibilities for putting into action goals we have gone over before and indeed touched on anew late last month.{1} With these factors being a reality that cannot be evaded, it seems opportune to revisit a subject that we return to from time to time and that is the subject of comments boxes; ergo the purpose of this posting.

In starting this subject off, we will readily concede that our position is a minority one in the blogosphere and even on the internet in general. Most people who blog have that feature at their site and of course those who want to do so can of course do what they like. And often the treatments we have covered on this in periods of greater contention were defensive in nature -circumstances at the times lent themselves to that admittedly. But we also would be less than truthful if we did not own up to regretting some of the manner in which we expressed ourselves in those postings even though the substance of our positions remains the same. So while we will categorize previous treatments in footnote form on this weblog{2} and even perhaps borrow from some of them in covering this subject again, we intend to do so with a greater focus on being less deliberately provocative and treating on the subject in a briefer way than previously.

Readers with an interest in all the details pertaining to our view on this can review the other posts from years past with the aforementioned deficiencies of approach taken into account. But without further ado, here is why we do not have nor will we barring certain technological breakthroughs on this forum{3} change in our principled position one iota. But the substance of it all can be boiled down to something we said in our last extended treatment on this issue; ergo we refer to it now:

[T]hey are not strictly speaking required for interaction with others as there are many ways to get feedback. I interact with some of the more interesting emails or discussion list stuff on this blog -interesting to me that is and if I am not interested in the subject, it is not going to get dealt with here. Sometimes I get emails from people that they want posted as guest editorials and generally I am willing to do that too -even if I do not agree with viewpoint on the subject matter being posted. There are also times where I will interact with others on discussion lists, in chat logs, on message boards (occasionally) and in the comboxes of other weblogs: virtually none of which I have editorial control over and that is of no small significance.[...]...

Before I started blogging, I perused various weblogs and observed the manner in which comments boxes were handled by their participants. I came to realize after a period of observation that they cause more problems than they are worth most of the time and therefore decided to find other avenues for interaction with others when I got around to starting a blog of my own. This is why I never have had and never will have comboxes at Rerum Novarum of a general nature...

The primary reason I do not use comments boxes is because combox stuff is rarely up to snuff and I do not want to take the time to dig in the coal mines to find the rare diamond or two there may be. Someone who is moved enough to send an email is usually (though not always) going to put some thought into what they send. And I only use the cream of the emails I receive because I have no interest in playing "erect the strawman and knock him down" which much too frequently is what many of those of an "apologetics" mindset do.[...]

There is a serious lack of interest in logic and rational thought out there and I do not want to contribute to it either explicitly or by implication. For that reason, my interest is in taking the best possible argument shots people want to throw my way. There is also the part where I discuss only what I want to discuss at a given point in time. Emails may sit for a while unresponded to until I want to respond to them -usually my stock response to emailers if it is something that I intend to respond to is that I am "working on a response." That lets them know that they will be taken seriously when I do get around to responding to them and not infrequently they send a follow-up email expressing gratitude for that.[...]

In the end, it is quality over quantity and I will take the former any day of the week. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 26, 2007)]

We could delve deeper into the subject than that but there is no need to. It has always been essentially a matter of equal parts concern for quality interactions{4} and a lack of time on our part to police such endeavours which in our experience (observing them on other sites) can descend into the nastiest of invective unworthy of reasonable beings.

Of course those who want to use comments boxes can do so as they wish and that is fine with us. However, the idea that they somehow need to be used in order for there to be interaction with the points of view as propounded on this weblog or anywhere else is of course not true.{5}

And though we could also cite our diminishing time for blogging as one reason to not want to take on additional duties of combox monitoring, that takes a backseat to what we have long believed are rational and substantive reasons for our stance which hopefully this post serves to illustrate -both for those who misunderstand our reasons for this stance and also for others who (like us) believe they can be more hassle and produce less quality material than they are worth to endure most of the time.

Notes:

{1} On Thanksgivings Present and Past and What We Are Thankful For Now (circa November 27, 2008)

{2} In order from earliest to most recent on the matter and excluding any postings that did not to some extend extend or amplify previous comments on this subject:

Unlike major media outlets the contents of this blog are not a result of intense focus group testing nor Zogby-like polling data mind you; Rerum Novarum does not function that way. (So those who wrote about adding comments boxes, nada as I do not have the time to police them and besides: most of those who inquired about the comments boxes are not the sorts I would long tolerate posting in comments boxes at my blog.) The reason I have the occasional "guest editorial" policy is to bridge the gap if you will in that regard. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa September 30, 2002)]

I also blog and interact with emailers if (i) it is a subject I have not blogged on before (ii) it is a subject that interests me (iii) the emailer is polite and (iv) the emailer asks challenging questions. If the emailer is not polite, then their piece becomes fodder for potential fisking in accordance with my mood at the time.

I also interact with stuff on discussion lists, blogs, and the message boxes at other blogs and all of that is potentially bloggable as well. (And usually I email the link to the person so they can read and respond to it if they want to.) [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa August 24, 2003)]

On the Comments Box Subject Revisited (circa June 6, 2005)

Briefly on Comboxes Again With Jonathan Prejean (circa June 10, 2005)

The Comments Box Subject Revisited (circa January 26, 2007)


{3} Now it is possible when I am able to transfer my blog to the new beta that I may have targeted comments allowed as that can be done on a post by post basis with the new software. But at the present time, I have too many posts for my archive to be moved to the new platform. We shall see when the time comes if a selective use of comboxes on a post by post basis is feasible to do or not. But that is as close as I will get to the comments box zeitgeist for reasons I noted in the text above. [Excerpt from Rerum Novarum (circa January 26, 2007)]

Ultimately that was not possible with the beta format but should that circumstance change, we would strongly consider making those kinds of occasional exceptions to the rule as noted above.

{4} By the lions share of those involved on the sites but (obviously) not everyone.

{5} See footnote two and the quote from the 2003 posting for some details.

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