Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Two Seconds on the Blogging & Public/Private Split

I'm starting to think more and more about blogs as being a replacement for the loss of common, public space in our communities. Certainly LT, and to a lesser extent this blog, have served as spaces for (some) people to have conversations about what's going on with the LCSD.... on the other hand, given that LT and I have veto power over comments (comments being a form of speech), it sort of calls into question how public the spaces really are.

For the first time, I'm tempted to compare myself to a mall: A pseudo-public space that only exists due to the largesse of a private individual or entity. While it might have the superficial appearance of a public space where people have equal access, it's clear that someone can enforce arbitrary rules that violate some longstanding norms about access to public space.

Don't get me wrong: I think both this blog and LT have added, not subtracted, to the ongoing discussion in the community by providing some sort of quasi-public space to communicate that didn't exist before. However....

Hm. I should think about this more, but I doubt I will.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't argue that you and LT bring something to the debate on the school system, and I don't have a problem with the rules as it is "your mall". However, as you both state you are very open minded, and trying to further the discussion, ANY thought that some comments are not allowed just subtracts from the honesty of the debate. Yes, I should not be allowed to speak libel, but frustrations, gripes, whinings, etc. should be allowed.

Dennis said...

This is precisely where it gets funky: Given that I control (to an extent, considering Google technically owns Blogger) my blog, I have the right to determines the boundaries of acceptable conversation/comments. I choose to print just about every comment, even if it's a direct attack (of which there are not many). LT has their own set of guidelines, which they've explained multiple times.

In a truly public place, no one person would have veto/executive power over the speech that happens in that place. This is why a blog is not truly public, but, at most, quasi-public, or temporarily public.... like a living room.

Of course, I suspect both my blog and LT's would be far less necessary/used if there were such a space in Lebanon wrt to the LCSD. Does that space exist, and if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

LT vetoes a good number of posts. I know that for certain.

Lebanon Truth said...

We reject comments that are intended to suggest our identity and we reget comments that are just rude. It would appear that anonymous 4:03 has repeatedly submitted comments that fall in these categories.

Lebanon is a community that operates more than most we've experienced on oral communications -- there are a surprising number of people who openly admit that they do not read the local press. Another word for some categories of oral communicaiton is gossip.

Is it true that blogs are imperfectly fair? Yes, they are operated by humans.

However, we find that the unfairness of this form of communication is less than gossip, at least as it has been practiced here. And blogs can serve to counteract some of the false information that circulates orally.

Once again we are confronted with our own humanity, both the flaws and the strengths.

Anonymous said...

If someone is really unhappy with either blog they can start their own blog.
They can stop coming to the blogs.
They can tell their friends they do not want to hear about it.
There are many ways of ignoring the blogs if one wishes to do so.
I think one of the bigger issues is that there are some people who do not want to allow others to have an ANONYMOUS place to discuss the issues.
I have had several comments that, were apparently perceived as rude and, were not published.
I can sulk.
I can reword my thoughts.
I can do any of the above options.
LT, RW, and any other blog has the last say and that is fine with me--once I am done sulking.

Dennis said...

They can stop coming to the blogs.

While this is clearly true, it gets back again to that lack of public space. As I see it, both RW and LT do serve that quasi-public space role, since there really isn't another forum quite like either blog. Given that, I can understand why people would both come here and be upset about the standards, as opposed to just ignoring it entirely - it's not like there is another option that I'm aware of, outside, say, Korner Kitchen.

On the other hand, yeah, I get the sense occasionally that some commenters not only disagree with the language used on this blog but my right to use it, or something.

Perhaps I could be charitable and just say they are questioning the wisdom of my choice of words, though I don't think that explains everyone.

Freedom of speech - even the limited version we have - does tend to mean that people are going to say things other people don't like.

Anonymous said...

"And blogs can serve to counteract some of the false information that circulates orally."

And in the case of LT, spread additional false information and/or explain away true information.

Dennis said...

Anon @ 5:45, care to provide evidence for that claim?

Anonymous said...

anonymous @ July 24, 2008 5:45 PM said: ...And in the case of LT, spread additional false information and/or explain away true information.
Dennis said: Anon @ 5:45, care to provide evidence for that claim?
Don't hold your breath Dennis, this is another in a long line of bottle rockets--designed to hit and run, not sit and thoughtfully discuss the differences and honestly held views and opinions.

 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.