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Mar 02, 2006


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Danny Wright

I'm sorry, Bubba.

Doug H

I liked your question: "Does anyone read, or do they just start typing." (not verbatim) I read the LTE comments a lot, mostly to get a sense of the various points of view that are out there. There is some intelligent discussion, but you are on the right track. A lot of it is just each person pushing their personal adgenda.

David Boyd

Classic rock. They don't like the term oldies.

Ed Cone

Now, Danny, let's not start trouble.

Bubba brings more to the table than that. I welcome his participation at this site.

Patrick Eakes

Well said, Ed. You point out one of the main reasons some bloggers have quit and others are seriously considering giving it up.

Here's to more intelligent, constructive conversations between those who agree and those who don't.


We plan to put a registration system in place under which people can post pseudonymously but we'd have a record of their real name and other contact info, so that if they violated terms of service, they could be held personally accountable for having done so. There are technical reasons why we haven't been able to do that yet, relating primarily to where the site is hosted, but that's the plan.

Ed Cone

Thanks for the info, Lex.

Still, the terms of service probably won't -- or shoudn't -- rule out a lot of the stuff I'm talking about.

Doug H

Could the terms of service come with an IQ test, or an "open-mindedness" test, or something like that? Is there a "critial thougth proficiency" test? If so, I'd liek to know a class where I could study it!


There is nothing I enjoy more than lively, political discussion, but it's true that it is becoming more and more distasteful as people verbally elbow one another out of the way as they compete to become the arbiter of public opinion (or even pop culture). If I could offer one bit of advice to EVERY commenter -- type it on a piece of paper and run it through a spellcheck before hitting POST!

Doug H

LOL I resemble that remark, jw!



You have made some astute observations about the LTTE blog on your blog. While I agree personal attacks are distracting, once made, sometimes it is proper to address the attacker, imho. To ignore the white elephant standing prominately in the middle of the issue is more distracting, for me, than to deal with it.

Usually I state my position and try to clarify it if there is a misunderstanding. Some may see this as being argumentative. I see it as trying to be clear about my position. Since the majority of us participating in this forum are not professional writers, being clear is not as easy for us.

As for side trips, they invaribly happen. Sometimes they are informative, interesting and necessary. Other times they suck, just to be clear. You may be able to, and want to, stay focused only on the topic of the letter. Again, as most of us are not journalist, we tend to wander in a thread.

It is my humble opinion, while you made some very valid remarks, the gist of your link was rather scornful. That is, of course, your prerogative. And, as I said, I agree with many of your comments. There is much room for improvement at the LTTE blog.

However, when I think back to the way it was from the very beginning, when folks said REALLY nasty things, I am thankful it is as tame as it is now. All in one's perspective, I guess.

David Wharton

Very nicely said, Ed.

But why do you hate America?

Ed Cone

Thanks for dropping by, Yvonne. I've enjoyed your comments at the LTE page for some time.

I agree that some remarks demand a response, and that some side-trips are well worth the ride.

Re the tone of the post: scornful? Sure -- but NOT of the people, just of the commentary style they've fallen into.

I'm mocking the weak, redundant, and unhelpful comments that drag down the debate.

I don't mind being disagreed with, or even criticized, but these reflexive off-thread generalized spitballs are scorn-worthy.

I've written several times to commenters that I'm sure we'd have a few laughs and find plenty to agree about over a beer, and that we could discuss our differences in candor and depth. Why should a print forum be different?

And I agree that the LTE has improved -- I argued early on against heavy editing of comments, in hopes that social norms would develop over time to raise the level of conversation. The commenters themselves would police the page.

I think that is happening, to some degree. And I'm trying with this post to push it along a bit.


You're forgiven,Danny.

To show my goodwill, I've arranged for a personalized autographed copy of my book, "How to Talk To A Blog Replier (If You Must)" to be sent to you. In addition, I've sent your very own personal decoder ring.



Thank you for your kind response, Ed. On second reading of your comments, I see where I missed the fact you were being scornful of the style of discourse, not of people. I apologize for my haste to chastize your observations.

I have ambivilent feelings about how best to handle the occasional out of control posts. I'm not big on censorship but I'm not into hate filled messages either.

I have resigned myself to accepting that all things have positive and negative sides. When the negative outweighs the positive, I speak up or back away for a while. Works for me most of the time.

Connie Mack Jr

Very nicely said, Ed.

But why do you hate America?*David

David! Which America? South or North America as you nicely said and in detail. Right?


"but NOT of the people, just of the commentary style they've fallen into."

How do you separate that? I'm not making a smart-ass crack (hee-hee, she said ass crack) or criticism. I really want to know HOW you separate the two. If a person comments or says something, in ANY arena, I find it indicative of them as a person. I take everything I read or hear at face value. If you say something, I ACCEPT that's what you believe and if you say something with which I don't agree, whether it's the opinion itself or the tone in which it is said, I'm going to be making some value judgements about you.

Tony Ledford

Damnit, Yvonne, you got to it before I had a chance to, so I'll offer a variation in hard-to-read dialect:

"Ayud, wah d'yew hate 'murka?"


Best regards,

Tony Ledford

Another idea occurred to me -- since we seem to be so good around here at creating straw men, maybe that could be the salvation of our dying manufacturing?

"Triad Scarecrows, Inc."

Best regards,

Ed Cone


The world is full of people with whom I disagree on issues important and trivial. Quite often I agree with them on other issues.

Our political culture is focused on differences. That makes sense in some ways, but it can also be terribly counterproductive. I try to bear that in mind.

Also, even when I'm just not at all in sync with someone politically, I may enjoy their company, appreciate their wit, agree with them on other important things like basketball or music, and so on.

In this case, it's not so much about disagreeing with people on politics, but in disagreeing with a style of argument, the ad whominen, Rush Limbaugh, blanket statement about fictionalized groups to which individuals are assigned in order to ignore them style.

Obviously when this style is used to counter my own arguments, it comes from people who disagree with me on politics, or on a particular issue, but people with whom I tend to agree use this style, too.

Sure, to some degree it is judging or scorning a person to judge or scorn their mode of argument. But it's hardly the same as writing the person off. I value the friendship and respect the thinking of many people with whom I disagree on this or that.

As for your statement, "I take everything I read or hear at face value" -- that must make communication and understanding quite a challenge in our irony-drenched culture.


Yeah, well, I do have a certain appreciation for sarcasm and snark!

Brenda Bowers

I have made some observations since beginning blogging last September on individual styles. Bloggers who use nicknames rather than identify themselves sometimes tend to be more abrasive, irreverent, sarcastic, silly or all of the above. The name serves as a mask that allows antisocial behavior without the responsibility or consequences. The same phenomena is found with people who wear glasses; they tend to stare and display other less civil eye expressions than those not wearing glasses. I began wearing glasses at 48 and was shocked to discover that I too was developing these same habits and had to make a conscious effort to curb this rude behavior.
And, please those of you who use monikers other than your Christian names don’t take offense! I certainly didn’t say ALL of you are guilty , and neither did I necessarily condemn the behaviors mentioned above. I simply made an observation.

The second observation touches on one already made above. Bloggers aren’t professionally trained writers and may have difficulty expressing themselves, and are therefore misunderstood. I have always been a lecturer with all the benefits of body language, facial expressions and vocal tones to convey my meaning. These are stripped away in writing. In other words, you can not write the same way you speak. It is so true that an old dog, or an old Broad, struggles harder to learn new tricks!

Woody Cavenaugh

Brenda, you almost took the words out of my mouth! However, I was going to mention it from my own perspective someone who blogs under their given name. For me I find that I am even more abrasive, irreverent, sacrastic and silly on my blog than I am in person. It is easy to write about some bozo or another, but its hard to call someone a bozo to their face.
That is probably a really good thing too, all things considered.

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Usually I state my position and try to clarify it if there is a misunderstanding, while coupons are here

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