August 22, 2004

Requiem for the comments section

With a heavy heart and an annoyed head, I decided to shut down the comments section. It's sad but true that in a time of such wideranging confusion, of so much contradictory information, such rampaging cognitive dissonance and of such unleashed passions, the forum had started to generate much more heat than light.

Right now, we need to pull ourselves together and think anew. We need to reflect, to consider. We need to ask ourselves impossible questions, or questions with impossible answers. We need to open up our minds to think the country afresh.

This is very difficult to do when you're surrounded by ideologically hostile people who amuse themselves by hurling insults at you and mocking you for asking questions they find uncomfortable. You know who you are - and, in a sense, you won this one too, by shutting down a space for dialogue and common-understanding, having drowned it in an ocean of bile and rancour.

Technology permitting, the forum will come back one day, when I find software that allows me to exercise stricter control on abusive posting, and when the political atmosphere is more amenable to genuine, meant-to-enlighten debate.

I don't see any point in continuing to read posts where folks argue for argument's sake, argue as though it was an olympic sport, where the purpose is to hold on to one's ground while scoring petty points against opponents. There's no point. Today's a time to stop, reflect, and digest. To ask what comes next, given that reality is what it is rather than what we would like it to be.

One thing's for sure: you can't reflect deeply in the middle of a shouting match...