The two main focuses of this blog are to analyze meaningful questions about existence and to dissect harmful aspects of modern (usually American) society that I believe are holding humanity back. Most of the topics I choose (and the conclusions I come to) are novel, controversial or (to some people) offensive such as my stance on Christianity being mythology and the United States military being a cult. A lot of readers have commented on these (and other) blogs telling me exactly what they think of me and my ideas.
That’s fine. It’s great even. And not because I’m trying to rile people up like a shock jock or troll so I can take joy from watching them lose their cool I’m trying to push people out of their comfort zone and make them look at the world from a different point of view. If they get emotional in the process it just means that my writing is poignant enough to make an impact even if I don’t succeed at changing their perspective.
I don’t expect to change people’s minds, and experience has taught me that if I can’t convince someone to accept one of my theories after reading one of my essays then I’m probably not going to convince them by arguing with them through comments. Experience has also taught me that the angrier a reader’s comments are the less likely they are to even consider what else I have to say. Angry commenters usually aren’t arguing for truth. They’re arguing to tear me down. So there’s no reason for me to participate in the argument. Therefore, I don’t.
I still approve most angry comments but don’t respond to them. However, I do delete comments that insult me personally or are just rude to the point of being dickish. I do this for three reasons. Firstly, I don’t want to encourage asshole behavior on the internet, and I hope that deleting asshole comments will teach assholes to change their tactics if they want attention. Secondly, this is my blog. This is my house. I wouldn’t let someone come into my real home and treat me like dirt and expect to stay. Finally, immature comments degrade the integrity of my blog. Admittedly, I don’t take myself too seriously. The name of my blog is “The Wise Sloth” after all. I don’t aspire for my blog to have the same level of integrity as The New York Times. Still, I’m not going to let assholes wipe shit on my doorstep and then just leave it there to pile up. This also applies to pointless, asinine comments that don’t add anything the discussion such as, “LOL! Whatever, bro!”
Sometimes I delete comments on my blog that don’t contain profanities or personal attacks but they ask straw man questions or are snide and sarcastic. Experience has taught me to recognize these as signs of trolling. Someone is baiting me into a pointless argument with the sole purpose of riling me up for their personal amusement. That or the reader is an unintentional troll, usually a smug college student who thinks they’re the smartest person in the world and are on a mission to prove anyone wrong about anything they can for the sole purpose of justifying their smug sense of superiority. I’m not going to play that game, and it wouldn’t add any useful content to my blog if I did. So I delete or approve and ignore those comments. Theoretically I suppose it’s possible I’ve misinterpreted and consequently deleted a well intentioned person’s comment. I hope not, but it might have happened. If that does happen then hopefully they’ll comment again or contact me on my Contact/About page and I’ll reconsider.
There’s at least one individual who is subscribed to my blog who has left so many smug, dickish, trolling comments and straw man arguments on my blog that I now delete 99% of their comments automatically regardless of the content hoping that they’ll stop commenting all together. The only links of theirs I’ve left is when they’ve simply dropped a link to a book that adds to the subject of the blog they’re commenting on… because that’s legitimately useful.
Sometimes I’ll intentionally leave exceptionally rude comments to let the world see what an asshole the commenter is, especially if they mention that they’re a Christian. Sometimes I’ll approve comments that ask me direct questions in a more or less civil manner but won’t respond just because I don’t want to get in a big long conversation where I explain every obvious exception to the generalizations I’ve made in one of my essays. It’s daunting and there’s little point. I said what I had to say when I wrote the essay. Take from it what you will and do with it what you will. Sometimes I just don’t respond to comments because I don’t have the energy at the time and I forget that they exist. It’s an unprofessional faux pas I know, but I’m not getting paid to do this. So… yeah.
I also don’t usually respond to positive comments that simply agree with me or compliment me. Doing so just feels like stroking my own ego. I accept and appreciate compliments. Do know that they make me feel good and encourage me to keep writing when I’ve had so many people take the time to tell me how terrible they think I am.
Even if I delete or ignore a comment I still consider every commenter’s point of view. I’ve edited and even entirely deleted many blogs after considering someone’s comment regardless of how politely worded their post was. If I do edit a blog after considering a comment there’s a chance I’ll delete the comment, not because I’m trying to cover my tracks, but because the comment is no longer relevant and could cause future readers confusion.
If you really want a response from a comment be polite and ask specific questions that add useful content to the conversation. If you take the time to E-mail me using my About/Contact page there’s an even higher chance you’ll get a reply.
I really don’t delete that many comments. I’m not a comment Nazi. I certainly don’t want to discourage commenting (unless you’re a troll). I didn’t write this explanation of my censorship policy as a threat. I wrote it as a courtesy to the few people I do censor so they can understand why it happened and hopefully try again.
Thank you for reading.