Shabbat Shalom: The Voluble, The Silent, and The Folks in Between

As most of you are aware, last Sunday’s Age published an article about this blog. Our readership soared and keeping track of the comments became a mammoth task.

Instead of having the luxury of mulling over every comment, I had become the Mistress of Deletion.

On any blog, the plethora of overall reader numbers always far outstrips comment numbers. Our blog is no exception. We therefore have no way of knowing the sentiments of the great majority of our readers. All we know is that many are reading and they keep coming back.

During the post-Sunday Age article frenzy, a pattern emerged:
The well-wishers would write once, overjoyed that such a forum had been created.
The critics posted multiple times.

All critics, however, are not created equal.

There are those, like David Werdiger, MK, Goy Husband, and many others who present reasoned arguments. Their voices are crucial to keeping this site a place of genuine debate and discourse, rather than simply a club for like-minded people to waste time agreeing with each other.

Then there have been the trolls – people whose only aim is to disrupt dialogue through personal attacks or content-free diatribes. Some have been amusing or annoying, and a small number have revealed a very ugly side of human nature. It became necessary to delete anti-Semitic screeds, anti-Muslim/Arab rants and petty personal conflicts.

Last night, one genius was finally banned for actually inviting another reader to some sort of physical altercation in the real world. When he learned he was no longer welcome on this site, he informed Yvonne that she was a “slut” and that she should tell her daughter to “stop screwing Arabs.” Of course, we deleted the comment as soon as it was written, though we’ve kept the IP address just in case.

So what conclusions can we draw from all of this?

Firstly, those who disagree with us are more likely to post multiple times. Secondly, among those who both agree and disagree with us, most of the people who have come here, have come to discuss and debate in good faith. Only a small minority (both supporters of Jewish leadership and anti-Zionists) seeks to drown out debate with invective and destructive commenting practices.

To sum up, stifling discussion is not only pointless, but ultimately impossible. Intelligent debate is vital if a community wishes to avoid intellectual sclerosis.

Perhaps we would do well to look to Rashi, who wrote in far darker ages than these: “Anyone can say no… It takes a lot more effort to find a way to say – Yes, it is possible and it is my responsibility to find a way to make it so.”

Shabbat Shalom, and see you on Sunday.

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Related posts:

  1. Shabbat Shalom Redux
  2. Chag Sameach and Shabbat Shalom
  3. Sensible Jew in The Sunday Age
  4. The Big Sunday: Thousands visit and The Shtick
  5. SJ Signs off – temporarily

One Response to “Shabbat Shalom: The Voluble, The Silent, and The Folks in Between”

  1. michael says:

    deleted for making defamatory comments. You have been given a number of warnings on this site. If you breach our guidelines again, you will be banned.

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