with the blogosphere. Why is it that people can’t leave bloggers alone? I was at home last night and the TV was on to some idiotic Barkha Dutt We The People show on blogs and some of the things people said were SO Stupid. “Blogs are dangerous and should be controlled by the government.” “Blogs encourage lies.” All nonsense. But ok, perhaps these are people who have never felt that feeling of being so alone, so bereft of kindred spirits that you could scream in a room full of people and it would echo dismally back to you because not one of them would hear it. Maybe these people have never known how it felt to know that somewhere, because someone like you read your blog, somewhere you were NOT a freak, somewhere you were just a normal person, somewhere, SOMEBODY NOTICED that you missed a day.
Bloggers, however, do have access to this feeling, even if they have not, personally, felt it. I agree that there are a lot of very irritating, bigoted, obnoxious, self-absorbed, just plain offensive blogs out there. But no one is making me read them. When someone makes me sick, I go to Google reader, feed settings and hit unsubscribe. When someone bores me, when someone annoys me, when someone offends me, I just stop reading. So why do people feel this need to obtrude themselves onto bloggers they don’t “approve” of, harassing them so much that the bloggers are forced to retreat into shells, make their blogs private and deprive a decent reading public of some fabulous writing?
I agree, that when one puts one’s thoughts etc into an internationally public forum like a blog, one cannot complain that people read one and don’t like one. But this is always bound to cause a problem. Just like some people in the colony park their cars on the street and jam it up. Or how people need to follow some conventions of etiquette while driving, imagine the chaos if everyone acted like they could drive anywhere, anyhow and do what they liked (er…or come and look at the traffic in Hyderabad!) What I mean is, in any largely and easily (or equitably) populated public forum, one can, theoretically, claim that one has the choice of not entering, and once one enters one has to deal with what one encounters. But, to ensure that the forum maintains some level of population without loss of life (metaphorical as well as literal), it is important to establish a code of conduct, leaving some leeway for indulging in obnoxious behaviour, but not to such an extent that there are casualties.
I admit, controlling commenters is very hard, the most you can do is block someone and all they have to do is get a new ID. Making a blog private or restricted is the only option. And, just as people consider themselves indignantly in the right when I yell at them for U-turning on a flyover, it’s a bit much to expect the commenters to change, or restrain themselves. The upshot is that I write this little post that probably 10 people will read, and they will all be like me anyway, and one of my favourite bloggers, Broom, will remain closed to me.