Getting a comment on something I've written here is like opening an unexpected birthday present, even if the comment is critical. Perhaps my readers are particularly shy, or perhaps my arguments are so earth-shattering and airtight as to preclude further discussion. Far more likely, though, is that no one is reading. I feel like some of the things I post here ought to rile people up a bit more than they do, and I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I sometimes stoop to that level as much to find out if anyone's actually reading as to get something off my chest.
Spam comments don't count, obviously. I get a good laugh out of some of them, and perhaps even a tiny bit of the same excitement I feel about the legitimate ones. That little bit of excitement has turned to quite a bit of impatience, however, as I've now received over 100 of them within the month. Though I published new posts at a similar rate the first time I ran the Blog Month experiment, I certainly didn't attract this kind of attention last year. Nonetheless, I can't believe it's a coincidence that behaving like a "real" Blogger has earned me an e-heckler. That person must be crapping their pants with delight that I'm taking the time to mention this here. Why not? It's Blog Month, goddammit.
Blogger makes it easy to deal with such things, and while I've previously expressed regret over the need to enable comment moderation, it's more apparent than ever that I have no choice. This whole thing makes me think of Kyle Gann. Though I come from a different planet, I'm an avid reader of his blog, so much so that I've taken it upon myself to start reading it from the beginning. It's brilliant and fascinating stuff the likes of which I wish there was more of of floating around on the musico-interweb, but I can only be disappointed at the fact that not only are new comments disabled in his archives, but old ones are not visible. If you've read Gann, you know that despite his brilliance and his espousal of a "generous" composing style, he has little patience with his readers and can be far from generous when dealing with them. Nothing could be less generous than hiding previous comments, where blogs with an actual readership tend to get really interesting.
Do comment threads get out of hand? Absolutely. Do I really want to read every comment ever made on PostClassic? Probably not. I'd be a month rather than a year into the archives if that were the case. Nonetheless, my bullshit detector is not too shabby, and as the Libertarians among us might point out, the internet in some cases polices itself pretty well. I'd rather make up my own mind if the comments were valid or not. Any lengthy comment thread is bound to suffer from an imbecile or two, but there are more than a few heavies among Gann's readership, and it's too bad the rest of us no longer have access to their off-the-cuff reactions to his often thought-provoking posts. At the very least, current posts still seem to allow comments, though I seem to recall that he once flirted with the idea of dispensing with those as well. Perhaps I'll never understand what a chore it is to administer a blog with that kind of traffic, but from where I sit today, it's tempting to say that if I found myself in that situation, I'd feel that I'd finally succeeded with this project, and that I had a responsibility to see it through. We'll see if I ever get there, and if I feel the same when I do.
Gann's quality is that much more impressive in light of his quantity. I've seldom been able to keep up with his posts, hence the idea of starting from the beginning. I'm finding that to be a much more informative and fulfilling way to approach my favorite blogs, even though it goes against the very core principle of blogging. I've wasted enough time sifting through people's soup recipes and vacation photos in search of their one music-related post of the year. At this point, I'm content to focus on a few writers' entire body of work and miss out on the day-to-day rat race of link dumping and live blogging. I still find time for it occasionally though, and you can bet your ass I'll be leaving comments if I read something that I feel warrants it. I just hope those comments survive as long as the original post.