Blogging as Conversation
The reaction to last night’s post Pre Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc has brought into focus something that has occurred to me about this blogging thing once or twice. The author of the post I was commenting on responded here (as well as on her own site) and another commenter chided me here for not fully explaining a tangential point in an argument where I was calling into question someone else’s argument.
A while back, Stephen Green wrote something to the effect that he blogged as a conversation with his readers, working with the assumption that they had read enough of his stuff that he didn’t have to start over from ground zero each time. I do the same thing here, as do most of the more prolific bloggers, I think. Indeed, I’m not sure how else to do it without becoming incredibly tiresome for blogger and reader alike.
But this approach has its drawbacks. We often wind up entering the conversation in the middle, seeing only a particular post that’s being linked to–or just the part of a post that’s being quoted somewhere. (We also often do that with print journalism columns–reacting only to the quoted portion rather than bothering to read the whole thing as Glenn usually instructs.) Irony out of context often looks a lot like a silly argument.
I’m not sure that there’s a solution to this problem–which, if Don Rumsfeld is correct, transforms it from a problem to a mere fact. But it’s at least a fact worth noting.