Laura of Apartment 11D is understandably quite annoyed at the public response that at least one (presumably prominent, although I haven’t seen the post in question) blogger gave to her survey.
I generally agree that, ethically, a good blogger will provide readers with an opportunity to have opposing views heard, at least in the form of trackbacks. It is disappointing that many “big boys” of the Blogosphere like Glenn Reynolds, Josh Marshall, the Volokh Conspiracy, and Andrew Sullivan don’t use “real” Trackbacks—Volokh relies on Technorati, which isn’t a proper pingback/trackback service, while Reynolds, Marshall, and Sullivan don’t even go that far; Sullivan accepts “reader mail,” but much of it is buried and all is stripped of any way to tell how authoritative the response is.
Laura cites Usenet as a more “democratic” medium; it is, in the sense that it does facilitate conversation more readily, but there are significant drawbacks to it—most notably, no inherent ability to enforce strong identities of participants in the discussion, which leads to the sort of trollish behavior that one finds at the comment sections of some prominent weblogs (or inmate-run asylums like Slashdot and K5), not to mention issues of spam, off-topic discussion, gratuitous vulgarity, and other vices large and small. The “decline of Usenet,” mind you, has been a staple of Internet discussion since at least 1992, when I was first exposed to it, so it has proven to be more resiliant than one might have thought.