Any person who has ever commented on a blog has experienced this : You read a post that makes your react, write a long comment, you re-read yourself, and decide that itÃ¯Â¿Â½s ready to send. But when you click SEND, nothing happens. Your post doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t show up. You realize that for some stupid technical reason the comment is gone and youÃ¯Â¿Â½ve just lost some precious time in your life.
Technology can be infuriating.
I had that experience yesterday, only to find out a few minutes later that my comment had intentionally been deleted by the blog author because he didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t want to deal with the debate that my comment might generate on his Web space.
People can be more infuriating than technology.
Yesterday was a strange blogging day for me, full of irony and slaps in the face.
IÃ¯Â¿Â½m a regular reader of JosÃ¯Â¿Â½e BlanchetteÃ¯Â¿Â½s blog, from Le Devoir. JosÃ¯Â¿Â½eÃ¯Â¿Â½s beloved grand-father just died and the posts sheÃ¯Â¿Â½s been writing about him have been very touching. When I read her latest post yesterday morning, I found a ridiculous comment from a female reader. The woman basically told her to get over it, stop talking about death and change subjects.
I know that JosÃ¯Â¿Â½e had hesitated at first to allow for comments on her blog, and I had told her in a previous conversation that for me, commenting was an integral part of blogging. I told her that stupid comments were generally the exception and that comments generally enrich a blog.
The comment made by JosÃ¯Â¿Â½eÃ¯Â¿Â½s reader got me so mad that I had to post a comment in reply. It basically went like this (but in French):
« This is the kind of comment that makes you regret having enabled a commenting system. As a rule, I am against deleting comments from blog readers, but you could easily have parted with this one.Ã¯Â¿Â½
How ironic that a few hours later, another comment of mine would get deleted on someone elseÃ¯Â¿Â½s blog!
So what happened? Was I rude? Was I stupid and insensitive, like JosÃ¯Â¿Â½eÃ¯Â¿Â½s reader? I donÃ¯Â¿Â½t believe so, but you can judge this by yourself.
Click here for the original post I commented on.
Since my comment has been deleted from that blog, IÃ¯Â¿Â½m making it available here:
« Ridiculously anxious about protecting « their culture »?
Wow. There’s a lot of heavy stuff in that statement. Why would it be ridiculous to feel anxious about wanting to make sure that there’s another language than English in Northern America? Why would « their culture » be put between quotes as if that culture didn’t really exist?
Your argument about the love of youth for American culture doesn’t do it for me. It’s true about all youth in any country. It doesn’t mean that these cultures don’t exist or that they shouldn’t be preserved just because the kids like American music.
While I agree that balladodiffusion is not a great word and it’s not likely to become part of daily use, I think there is something to be said about trying to get a language to evolve by including new technology terms. Is everybody in the world supposed to use the English terms to talk about technology? And podcasting is such a limited term anyway, as if it only referred to iPods. It tends to confuse people.
Saying that the French mock the OLF is not saying much, since they tend to laugh at everything. C’est pas une rÃ¯Â¿Â½fÃ¯Â¿Â½rence, as we say! They all thought « courriel » sounded funny and ridiculous and now a lot of people throughout the francophone world use that term instead of e-mail or the painful « mai-leuh » that the French love to use.
Isn’t that debate over? Haven’t we figured out that diversity is good, especially when it comes to language, and that sometimes one has to be pro-active to ensure that diversity survives in America? People only talk about the OLF when one of its officers does something stupid (and I agree that they do, sometimes) or when a certain new word makes them giggle. Maybe we should look at the bigger picture once in a while. »
Yeah, you could say I cared about this issue. ;-) But I didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t feel I was out of line.
HereÃ¯Â¿Â½s the answer I received from the blogger after he deleted my comment (which he at least attached in the e-mail he sent me):
« Sorry Martine, I am deleting this comment and disabling comments on this post. I do not in ANY WAY want to be political about this. It is all super funny and ridiculous to me and the last thing I want or need is some political debate/diatribe in my weblog comments. »
When he first sent this I thought: Fair enough. HeÃ¯Â¿Â½ll delete the comment I made but also the original post, since he realized that he doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t want to debate about this.
Then I realized that I was wrong. His intention was to keep the post, but get rid on my comment. He was basically telling me to go take my views somewhere else (which is what IÃ¯Â¿Â½m doing here, on my own blog.).
I told him I didnÃ¯Â¿Â½t agree with his method and I got another e-mail from him:
« I have deleted your comment and disabled commenting on that post. Debates on Quebec politics are anathema to my health. I am sorry if my words regarding Quebec language policies/etc bother you, and I can well understand how they might, but I rather not debate it. »
Before I go any farther, let me explain that I understand peopleÃ¯Â¿Â½s choice of not allowing for comments on their blogs. I think it doesnÃ¯Â¿Â½t quite fit the spirit of blogging, but itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a choice I respect and can understand.
What I have a problem with is people who enable comments, only to delete the ones that do not please them, or that could provoke a debate. To me, this is contemptuous and itÃ¯Â¿Â½s a clear lack of respect for readers who spend time reading their blog and commenting on it.
I had a conversation with journalist FranÃ¯Â¿Â½ois Cardinal recently, just hours before he wrote his editorial in La Presse about blogs. I was telling FranÃ¯Â¿Â½ois how I believed blogging could make people reach out for alternative sources of information, therefore enlightening their point of view on a given subject, and perhaps making society evolve as a whole. FranÃ¯Â¿Â½ois wasnÃ¯Â¿Â½t so sure he agreed. Ã¯Â¿Â½DonÃ¯Â¿Â½t people tend to only read blogs that already agree with their own point of views?Ã¯Â¿Â½ I thought his view was too reductive and negative. IÃ¯Â¿Â½m frustrated to have been caught in a situation that might just prove him right.
The blogger who booted me out of his blog aspires to an international readership. The way he defined certain terms in his post (francophone = French speaking) is obviously geared towards non-Canadian readers. He has a point of view on language law and Ã¯Â¿Â½QuebecÃ¯Â¿Â½s cultureÃ¯Â¿Â½ that he is willing to share with his international readers, yet heÃ¯Â¿Â½s not willing to leave any room for a different point of view. He claims that he does not want to be political in any way about this yet his post is full of comments on politics and laws.
Is this why we blog? To find like minded people, to the exclusion of others? To never see our opinions challenged? God forbid we should launch a debate! Somebody could get hurt!
Yes, debating takes time and sometimes we already know that the debate has no issue. Yes, sometimes all we want is to have a little fun with our opinions, without having to explain them over and over again. Yes, everybody is the boss of their own damn blog and can do whatever they want with them.
Or can they? I tend to believe there is a responsibility in putting your words out there for the world to see. If you make a statement, you should be willing to stand behind it and deal with the reactions it brings. Otherwise why bother publishing it at all?
If that blogger had simply never enabled comments or did not allow them for that specific post, I would have automatically taken the Ã¯Â¿Â½debateÃ¯Â¿Â½ that his health feared so much on my own Web territory. It would have been a bit frustrating not to be able to comment directly under the post, but I would have respected his decision. What I cannot agree with is his selective methods. ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s just pure censorship. ThatÃ¯Â¿Â½s not what the Web or blogging is about, at least not by my standards.