Friday, July 04, 2008

Those Darn Blog Readers


Jim Lindren references an Ann Althouse post on blogging, adding,
I share Ann's affection for bloggers who are trying to observe and understand what they are writing about, rather than always writing op-eds with a thesis they are trying to prove (which is one reason that I enjoy reading her blog). Unfortunately, I find that many blog readers prefer strongly thesis-driven posts, which they can either echo or attack point by point.1
Spare me.

If you're truly trying to think through the issues, you should be grateful to have commenters who, whether they're right or wrong, try to take your arguments apart. If your arguments don't hold up, you can rethink them for another day. If they do, congratulations. But don't go whining to me that blog readers challenge your ideas, particularly your bad ones. At least if you're pretending that blogging is an exercise in thinking.

This line of thought brings to mind the power imbalance in law school, and how some law professors relished a power imbalance that forced students to conform to their ideas (no matter how bad) in order to get a good grade. Being a law school professor is a great job for a glass jawed "intellectual". But blogging takes place in the real world, where even law professors occasionally have to take their knocks.
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1. (Law professors tell their students, "I'm teaching you to think like a lawyer." Most practicing lawyers are familiar with motion practice in which one lawyer submits a motion and brief to a court, strongly arguing a point of law, and opposing counsel tries to take it apart, point by point. Appeals work in a similar manner. And if you've ever had a "hot" panel when you've argued an appeal, the judges on the panel can make bloggers who try to "Fisk" your arguments look like pikers.)

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