Tuesday, 6 July 2004

Civility and sludge

Dan Drezner ties together the twin themes of less-than-civil bloggers and bad comment hoodoo recently discussed in these parts.

One thing I will say, as a veteran of online fora in general (as an ex-MUD administrator and someone who’s been a part of Usenet since 1992), social problems rarely have good technical solutions. Technology can help—particularly when battling other forms of technology, like comment spam—but dealing with people and their idiosyncracies is a whole other beast.

As far as the negativity Dan has observed and been subjected to in academia, I have to say I’ve largely been spared it (although I will say I was deeply annoyed with the completely worthless one-line review I received for a manuscript once); I don’t know if that’s a function of one’s subdiscipline or perhaps just an example of my relative youth in things academic.

Update: More on this theme from Matt Stinson, who's strongly tempting me to join him in the media black hole that is mainland China.