Sunday, January 25, 2009

Comments on blogs

Arnold Zwicky on Language Log:

I resent the idea that Language Log should not only be expected to provide blogging space to everyone who wants to write — if you enable comments, then the space belongs to the commenters, not to you, as any number of people have explained to me now, contemptuously — but should also allow commenters to conceal their identity, even from the bloggers.

I fully agree with Arnold here: the comments on my blog are part of my blog, of which I am the editor, and I decide which comments I accept and which ones I delete.

I am lucky, I guess, in that I have never had to deal with offensive comments, but if I ever get any, they won't make it onto my blog!


Donald Brown said...

I'm so tempted to leave an offensive comment, just so it WON'T appear!

JeFF Stumpo said...

Can I shout "fire" in a crowded blog?

Andrew Shields said...

Don, resist temptation!

Jeff, I think you can, but don't shout blog in a crowded fire!

JeFF Stumpo said...

Heh. So I'm at a conference a couple years ago, there's a reading taking place in the evening, and one of the organizers comes in to tell us that all the doors are being locked except for the front. From the inside as well. Resulted in a poem titled "In case of fire, the poets will die first" that only went through four or five drafts. Still unpublished, but is a good one for readings - gets the laughs. Now I'll have to work on the sequel :-)

Andrew Shields said...

Jeff, somewhere I read a comment on the line about "yelling fire in a crowded theater": as you perhaps know, the line was coined with reference to the handing out of anti-war material (I think it was stuff about the horrors of trench warfare) to people standing in line to register for the draft or sign up for the Army in 1917 or 1918. In the Supreme Court decision, Holmes defined the limits on free speech by saying that you cannot shout fire in a crowded theater.

The comment I read was that the handing out of the anti-war pamphlets was more like standing outside a burning theater and telling the people that they should not go inside because there was a fire in there!

I wish I remembered where I read that. In Menand's book on "The Metaphysical Club" perhaps?

JeFF Stumpo said...

I have no idea, but I'm going to take that comment and attribute it as far back as you. If I come across someone who knows the pedigree, I'll let you know. It's a great line.