A New Year in Blogging

I’ll be blogging a lot more this year but I think it’s probably a good idea to cover some quick ground rules on comments. I am always ready to discuss issues, and there is strong evidence in this very blog that I can handle being wrong and recognise it, but when the comments veer into spaces from which discussion is impossible, it’s of no use to anyone.

A lot of people confuse their right to state their opinion with some necessity for their opinion to be recognised as fact. Opinion is both subjective and is defined as being different from certainty. I share opinion here a lot and it’s possible that we’re going to differ (of course we will) but this doesn’t actually mean one of us has to give ground. But, in the same way as opinions aren’t facts, some opinions are not as strong as others. Some opinions can be shown to be wrong if they are made in a space where they are based on false premises or can be disproven. One hundred years ago, “the moon is made of green cheese” was just an unlikely opinion. Today, it’s so incredibly unlikely as to not be considered a valid opinion at all. Evidence, to any degree, combines with subjectivity and perception and changes the way we view the world. (Perry’s work on advancing beyond Dualism is fascinating here.)

As I have done on one other post from a couple of years ago, if the comment thread becomes useless, I’ll delete it, summarise it (insults to me and all) but lock it off. Disagree with me, please, where I’m wrong, vague or we’re in the realm of opinion, but don’t expect me to let you define the terms of discourse in a way that makes discussion impossible. It’s not helpful. It’s not a sensible use of anyone’s time.

Hey, even if you’re just writing in to tell me how stupid I’m being and why I’m a terrible teacher (the thrust of the last insults), at least base it in fact rather than making impossible demands to support your argument that, well, don’t. If you can show me how I’m being awful, I’ll probably try to change. Read through the previous posts in this blog and I hope you see as much striving to improve and recognition of my own limitations as pompous pontification. What constructive advice can you give me?

Seriously un-constructive people will be ignored and marked as spam. I’ve done it twice in many years of blogging and I really hope I never have to do it again. Let’s hope for fascinating discussion and scintillating discourse!

Ok. Ground rules down, let’s hope I don’t need to use them! Play nice, talk lots, have fun, be awesome. Another year in blogging commences.



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