Screaming to an Emptiness

Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot more regular traffic around here than we did at our inception. However, I’m noticing a trend — we have lots of people content just to drop in, scan around, and take off without commenting on anything. No new users, no interesting insights into the things that we like to prattle on about — frankly, it gets a little boring. I’m more than content to stand here, shouting my singular opinions from the digital soapbox that is Elitist Idiots, but, like sex, blogging is much more entertaining and satisfying when there’s other people involved. We’re not really just here with the intent of swaying minds, of convincing people that the things we yell about are true and right and good — we want to start discussions! I’m reiterating this fact now, as we’ve done before, in the hopes that some of our recent traffic will convert into regular users. Reading, commenting, discussing users that banter about with us, maybe even try to convince us that we’re wrong! There’s little good to be said about most internet debate, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to have some good discussion. Heck, if we find someone that’s interested, we may even be willing to let in another author to help keep our post counts up. Point is, we’re getting tired of feeling like nobody actually reads or digests the things we say.

All of us have our opinions. Everyone has things that they believe firmly and steadfastly to be true; things which we may never budge on. But we also, I think, all have those mutable areas. Those things which, when we consider them, we can see more than one side; those are where real ideas come from — debate and discussion amongst people who, reflectively, look at a subject and consider it together. From those discussions, people begin to think of things in a new light, one they’d have never reached on their own simply because their unique synaptic sequences never would have generated the same train of thought that seems so entirely obvious to another. And why shouldn’t we disagree? Why shouldn’t we bicker, debate, and flame one another for holding on to outdated mores or amoral convictions that fly in the face of what we, individually, seek in a person? Conflict breeds strength; by facing an intelligent argument against your stance, you’re forced to consider your stance intelligently — to whether or not you convince anyone else that you’re right, you’ve at least been made more firm in your own belief simply by putting yourself in a situation where you’ve had to think it through and really grasp the scope of your own mindset.

Wherein, I think, lies the crux. It’s not that people are afraid of having their opinions challenged — the internet is built largely on “you’re wrong”, so that just doesn’t follow through. No. People are, from what I can see, afraid to think. Afraid to construct a complete and comprehensive worldview, to forge a philosophy of their own. They’re afraid that they’ll be rejected, or that they’ll be accepted; they’re afraid not of facing an opinion other than their own, but of coming face to face with their own preconceived ideas and being made to reconsider them. Some, filled to the brim with concepts of political correctness and politesse, are afraid of offending people. Some, fueled by their own incessant disfavor for humanity, are afraid of not offending anyone. Some simply feel that they have nothing to add to a conversation. I couldn’t disagree more! There is nothing that can be said on a topic that does not have some value, if only because it causes those involved to think, “I never thought someone would believe that!”

So, another call to action. Another plea for some good comments. Another empty echo across the tubes. What is it that prevents you — yes, you there, the reader, specifically you — from joining our discussions?

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  1. drewflicker
    Posted 16 October, 2009 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Is it just me, or is pretty funny that they are (were) no comments to this post?

    For content: I think if people want and expect discussion, they go to a forum. Blogs are for journalistic entries, which means news, links, articles, essays, projects, and the like.

    Popular blogs will certainly get a lot of comments, but even then most of them are pretty short and relatively valueless. It’s the articles themselves that make the blogs worthwhile. If you want discussion, here’s my advice: start an associated forum. (Or just join one of the many good ones already out there. I’m fond of SA’s Debate & Discussion.)

  2. Posted 18 October, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Both forums and blogs have their place in the scheme of things. In this case, I would hate to see this as a forum, as it would degenerate the style. Blogging has a definite advantage here. It allows the owners to bring up a topic, give the information they have, and invite conversation and intelligent debate. If this were a forum, anyone could bring up any issue. Matter of fact, it would likely get flooded with so many issues that many would be lost to the crowd.

    Forums have a time and place, just not here and now. They provide something far more free form that what we see here, sure, but if you want the chance to start your own conversations, make your own blog, or feel free to start your own forums. They’ve got something great in the works here, and I personally don’t want to see its format changed at all.

  3. Posted 20 October, 2009 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve maintained forums in the past, with varied degrees of success. What it comes down to, though, is that I’d at least like some evidence that the things we’re posting are getting read, and being considered. Comments, by their nature of being short and to the point, more favorably allow this than a forum, where we’ll get entire chapters in response.

    Of course, having the blog as the “front page” with a forum to back it, now that could work — and allow more freeform discussion, as well …

  4. Posted 21 October, 2009 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    I’m biased against forums. Greatly. In my experience, they tend to either have absolutely no activity at all or degenerate into meaningless flame-wars. “ur m0m” is not a response that provokes thought or intelligent discussion on anything at all.

    The few forums I’ve seen that have succeeded have been due to a cadre of faithful posters who seeded the forums in order to provoke often short one line responses from a faithful cadre of responders while a less faithful mass of viewers enjoy their voyeurism. Frankly, I don’t see the difference in the two apart from the presentation of the blog style is cleaner than the presentation of a forum.

  5. Boy
    Posted 22 October, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    So you know, I got a profile so i could comment. I couldn’t before. You know, back when you first started this little shindig up

    Anyways, I’m all for free flow discussion, and i enjoy thinking. I’ve always enjoyed Cerias’s ideas, and xarexerax is also fun to read, but adding input here, from me, i feel is rather meaningless. At least, to the two of you

    Its for everyone else. More conscice ideas at a later date, a different posting

  6. Posted 22 October, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    If you think your ideas are meaningless to me, then one of the two of us has you pretty well fooled. 😉