Thursday, December 11, 2008

Ombudsing Clarifications

Very late update: Bumped down and edited; see this post for the final word.

The following concern/complaint has been expressed about the commenting system we're trying to get going round these parts:
I don't like a) have to have a new account to leave comments and b) holding my fucking tongue on the internet. Graduate students in philosophy are a profane, petty bunch, and it has been nice to have a place to exhibit this without having to have some silly account to do so.
Rest assured that we want discussion, rants, and engagement in the comments, whether civil or profane, gracious or petty. Four points.

First, the point of usernames isn't to have anyone hold their tongue about anything, nor is it to stop profanity (I fucking love being profane; fucking love it) or discourage the petty from being petty. Say what you will in the comments, we just ask you to attach an online identity to it. You don't have to hold your tongue, but like most things in the profession of philosophy, nothing is guaranteed until you get tenure. And getting tenure here involves getting yourself a username and a small (tiny, minuscule) amount of civility of which I think we are all capable.

Second, the "silly account" seems pretty inoffensive to me. It requires nothing other than coming up with a username and a password (no e-mail address, or identifying information required). Besides, you can choose a username that's named after your character in World of Warcraft, references one of your favorite TV shows, or both (e.g., Carlos the Dwarf).

Third, having people assume usernames allows for a community to develop in the threads. In this community: comments and commenters can easily be referenced and responded to, commenters (most likely the prolific and good) will generate their own personalities, followers, and (fake internet) relationships with one another, and trolling will be kept to a minimum (through moderation and extreme ostracizing by the community).

Fourth, to be honest, you'll have to be a huge asshole to not get your comment approved. So, get your goddamn account and stop bitching.


1 comment:

Ben said...

Those of us who already have a blogger ID don't need to sign up for anything new anyway.

To be honest, I think it will make life easier than referring to what 'anon 5:32' said above and make it easier to tell whether comments are by the same person or not...