What Can Blogging Do?

Alan Jacobs on blogging’s limits:

A blog-with-comments is a piss-poor place to debate matters like the existence of God. It’s not even a good place to debate whether Obama’s stimulus bill is likely to be successful. Blogs just don’t do complexity and nuance — which, I think, is why they’re so popular. As everyone knows, the less complex and nuanced the positions on a blog are, the more comments it gets. This is an Iron-Clad Law of the Internet. Blog posts are just too short to deal with the Big Issues, and too likely to be fired off in short order, with minimal reflection and no pre-post feedback from wiser and cooler heads. Andrew Sullivan may think this is a good thing, but I’m not inclined to agree. And of course comments are usually even worse than posts in these respects. Some wonderful conversations happen in blog comment threads, but they happen in spite of the architecture, not because of it. The architecture is fighting thoughtfulness with all its might.

But that’s why this blog tries to air debate by reading and editing the smartest reader contributions and trying to moderate them a little to provoke and advance or clarify the conversation. No one’s going to resolve these questions today any more than at any previous point in human history. But I worry about these questions being relegated to professional theologians or free-for-all comments section spats. A little dorm room conversation in one’s later years is worth doing – and blogs, if they’re edited and curated well, can help.