This blog exists to raise the level of discourse available on the Internet regarding naval matters. Of late, the commentary associated with posts has often failed to do that. Comments have become factually challenged and argumentative. That is my fault for allowing it.
A typical example is if the statement is made that southern
cities have warmer climates than northern cities,
someone will, inevitably, respond with a comment citing some southern city
that, on some given day, was colder than some city in the north – as if that
disproves the general statement. This
kind of comment is simply argumentative and does nothing to further the main
Trying to find one example, somewhere in history, that appears to contradict a main premise is simply argumentative. Now, if you want to take that example and build a logical case for an alternative view, that’s fine – unlikely but fine. Just as the main premise is never built on a single example (single examples of anything mean nothing) so too, an alternative view can not be built on a single example.
There’s a famous saying that there are no dumb questions. As far as this blog is concerned, there certainly are dumb questions and, more to the point, dumb comments. In order to contribute to raising the level of discourse, you, the commenter, have to do your homework. I expect a basic level of knowledge about naval matters which includes a familiarity with naval history and an understanding of the basics of naval operations and tactics. You don’t have to be an expert but, I’ll be honest here, this is not the blog for amateurs who have no grasp of naval fundamentals. There are plenty of books and websites where you can go to learn the basics.
That said, I have no problem with someone asking a sincere question and trying to learn. I’m happy to respond to that. What I don’t want to do is embark on a long term educational foray spanning many posts/weeks.
I never delete a comment because it disagrees with me. I do, however, delete comments, whether they agree or disagree, when they’re based on stupidity.
What kind of comments am I looking for? I’m looking for comments that further the discussion. I’m looking for comments that address the main premise rather than try to pick apart some minor side detail. I’m looking for comments that build on the main premise. I’d love comments that have an opposing view and are supported with data and logic. “You’re wrong”, is not a productive comment.
Data and logic – those are mandatory in any comment. Given the short length of a blog post, I still try to cite data for my main points and I expect comments to make use of data and logic. “The LCS sucks”, is not a worthwhile comment. Offer some data to support the statement.
All of this should not discourage readers from commenting. Instead, it should encourage readers to put a bit of effort into their comments and try to become part of a conversation rather than part of an argument. I recognize that there is a fine line between discussing a point of disagreement and arguing. The difference is that the former is done with an open mind and a willingness to learn and further the discussion while the latter is a simple attempt to “win” and serves no purpose.
Of course, there is always the requirement for politeness and respect. Argue the points, not the person.
I’m sometimes asked why I don’t respond to a given comment. The answer is that I respond to comments that meet the above criteria – comments that further the discussion, raise new and valid points, and offer insights.
I expect my readership to be a cut above the typical blog readership. I’d rather have one good comment than ten pointless ones. With that goal in mind, I’ve started, and will continue, to delete comments that fail to meet the criteria.
I encourage you to be part of something challenging and worthwhile. Recognize, though, that means you may have to put a bit of effort into it.