The second biggest thing people do not like about my blog are the trolls: commenters who are not serious but just seek amusement or attention. While I do block the n-word and f-word ranters, I do let other trolls through. So I am repeatedly asked why I do not just ban them and be done with it. Here is why:
- The free exchange of ideas: Maybe I read too much George Orwell and Carl Sagan growing up, but I believe in the free exchange of ideas. Because bad ideas can only be fought and destroyed in the light of day. Because good ideas can come from unlikely places. Because White Americans try to control reality. Because in most of society the range of opinions – on television, in newspapers, at school and therefore even in private – is far too narrow, making people into mindless sheep. The Internet is so new that the powers that be have not yet worked out how to control it. So, like books in the 1500s or newspapers in the 1600s, we live in a time when the free exchange of ideas is possible.
- Comment policy: I started out with no comment policy at all, but bit by bit I have learned the hard way what comments need to be deleted and which commenters need to be kicked off to keep the threads of conversation at least somewhat civil and on topic. So far I have done that through a comment policy that limits behaviour not ideas. But as a side effect this blog suffers from civil trolls – those who are reasonably polite but are still maddening all the same.
- Useful idiots: How many times have I written a “white people do x” post and then some white fool gets on to prove me wrong – only to do x! Utterly priceless. Or some commenter says “white people do not believe x any more” and then some Heckle or Jeckle comes along and says x with a straight face. They make my case better than I ever could. It is like show and tell from grade school – with trolls playing the part of the pet lizard.
- Useful specimens: In the old days scientists studied the human brain by studying people who had suffered brain damage, like in a car accident. Racist trolls are like that. I have learned more about the inner workings of the white racist mind from running this blog than in my former life as someone white people would always guard their words with.
- I am a bit of a troll myself: You kind of have to be to be a good blogger. Growing up I told people the earth was flat – just to see what they would do. I would argue the case seriously as a devil’s advocate and found that most people could not defend their side, that their beliefs were based on “what everyone believes”, like some vast Ponzi scheme.