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I have been reading The Piping Shrike for a few months now. He’s a blogger who writes mainly about politics, but in a way I find refreshing because he’s got his own opinions, they’re very well written and he doesn’t seem to be just ranting a party line, as so many bloggers of a political leaning are prone to do (maybe even me?).

Anyway, the other day, I asked Shrike why he had disabled comments on his blog. His response was to say he didn’t think the world needed another forum for wild political arguments. I guess I agree with him.

But the question of the day therefore is – why have comments? What do they add to a blog? To your blog? To other blogs? Leave feedback, preferably lots of it.

target.jpgI knew someone once who would often write blog posts and then delete them. The ones he deleted were the ones that were the most raw – the ones where his soul was on display to his readers. Of course, this was the very reason he’d delete them. Having your soul in the public domain isn’t an easy way to live. I told him “the ones that are the most painful are the best posts”. He interpreted my words as saying that I liked reading about him in pain. I didn’t. I just liked the vividness of his words when he wrote such pieces.

This highlights something that has been on my mind a lot recently – that how words are received is about the reader more than the writer.

In earlier incarnations of my blog, I argued constantly with various readers. I’d write something, they’d put their own spin on it and turn it into something it wasn’t, and then I’d be expected to defend their mis-interpretation. I never realised how much of what I wrote was caught up in this maelstrom. Last week, I was reading the archives of some of my previous blogs. I was surprised how much of a dominant theme it was. And how many times I was ignored when I said “I write, you read” or “Try only abusing me for what I wrote, not for the words that aren’t there”.

I realised though when I was reading the earlier posts (and more particularly some comments that have been left) on the current incarnation. When I wrote this post, I didn’t respond to the comments, and I just remembered the comments as critical of the idea. So I thought I’d put the idea away for a while, and think about it some more. But when I went back recently, I discovered the comments weren’t critical at all. So maybe at the time, I was misreading what the commenters were saying?