Saturday, December 12, 2009

People in glass houses

It probably goes without saying that someone who has a blog has opinions they have a burning desire to tell the world about. And if you have opinions, you have to be prepared for people to disagree with you. As a blog owner, you have the right to allow or delete comments. However I have always believed that you should allow the dissenting voices to have their say as well as those that support you. The only comments I have ever deleted from this blog have been ones that appeared to be spam and did not relate to the subject of the posting.

I recently found a rather nicely produced blog called Radio & Other Interests by John Harper AE5X. In a recent post he describes trying PSK31 and feeling insulted that people were sending macros instead of typing a reply especially for him. One person commented to this post that he found the canned replies no more or less insulting than the rubber stamp reports in a contest. I added a comment in the same vein, saying that it wasn't an insult just progress, using the computer to save typing the same information over and over. That comment never appeared on the blog, but computers screw up and I didn't lose sleep over it.

Today I added a comment to John's post about 10 metres being dead for the ARRL contest, saying that I had noted one WSPR spot on the band so far and hoping that people over there had managed to work something. I also wondered why the ARRL scheduled a 10m contest now rather than during the Sporadic-E season. That comment was still "pending moderation" earlier this afternoon, but this evening it too had disappeared without trace. I think deleting comments from people who have taken the trouble to reply after reading your blog is pretty insulting.

In his post about Elecraft K3 demos John uses a clever word (which he doesn't even spell correctly) to denigrate my contributions to the Elecraft email reflector. AE5X may feel he is being insulted when people reply on PSK31 using a macro but that's a bit rich coming from somebody who uses his blog to insult a person he has never even contacted.


Paul Stam PAØK said...

Hello Julian,
This is a interesting issue. I blog because I want to share my wonders about radio experiences, the nice contacts I made. Why, at home nobody understands a thing of my radio hobby. When I tell something they are polite to listen to me, but I see in their eyes glimpses of 'what are you talking about'. I like the blogging to listen and read other opinions of my fellow radio amateurs. After a few months I started writing in English (sorry for grammatical faults) to reach more listeners. Some times I dropped a opinion on a blog. I tried to be friendly because most people don't like criticism. So I postponed as friendly as possible. But it happened that a comment was deleted or not show up anyway. I don't understand such a thing. If someone don't like critical comments, put the comments off on the blog. That prevents annoyance. I could be a voice in the wilderness. ;-) I never delete a comment, unless its is commercial spam. I like spicy comments because it keeps me sharp. I like my online, virtual friends, and they are becoming part of my life. Not only radio brings people together, Internet does it also. If we are not experimenting with new technology in ham radio, ham radio will die. So I like new techniques, I want to understand whats going on. But I like the old ham radio also. That's why I will sometimes use my straight key and the next day I use my computer for it. I like your blog because when I had my comeback in ham radio, I did fresh up with your articles on your blog. Very informative and instructive. Thank you for it. Have a nice Sunday, 73 Paul

PE4BAS, Bas said...

Hello Julian, I too made a comment on John's site and it did appear. I would be curious why your comment is dissappeared? I think the way blogger handles the comments is better. But even in blogger you can choose what to do. You made a interesting point towards the 10m ARRL contest being there in December. I think it's more challenging. I already made some QSOs on 10m this weekend which were surprising, more on that later today on my blog. 73, Bas

Steve GW7AAV said...

I am at a loss as to why anyone would delete comments that were not insulting, vulgar or spam. The fact that a blog has comments proves people are reading it.

Personally I like it when people disagree with me as I want a reaction to my posts even if it is rightous indignation. I do sometimes edit posts to correct spelling mistakes so my readers don't look stupid or to remove links to dumb things. However if someone is being a idiot I will leave the errors in so they look as dumb as they are.

By the way 8% the hits on CQHQ last week were refered from this site. I hope similar traffic is flowing your way from me.

QRP Station M6RDP said...

Hallo Julian, This is an interesting topic. I agree that if you write anything opinion-related then people will disagree with you and that if you don't like that, then you have to deactivate comments.

Deleting or deactivating them seems to me a bit like the prime ministers who surround themselves by "yes" men which means nobodys learns anything except the fear of saying anything in disagreement and how to nod their head!

I enjoy the comments part of blogging almost as much as blogging itself: I enjoy reading comments, leaving comments and speaking to my online friends in this way. It gives me a lot of pleasure.

At first, I was a bit unsure how I felt about macro key overs on PSK. It seemed a bit distant or cold, certainly not warm or friendly.

Then I thought about a typical SSB contact: you exchange RST, name, QTH, and sometimes shack equipment and weather. There is really no difference between this and macro-keying.

I have a "start QSO" and "end QSO" macro key and inbetween these I can type more personal messages and replies if I want to: but rarely get the opportunity to use it and it doesn't seem to matter anyway. Now macro-keying just seems a natural part of PSKing and I don't think twice about it.

After all, you can programme your macro keys to sound chatty and friendly in the same way you can change the tones of your voice in an SSB contact.

Like Paul, yours was one of the first blogs I came across when I got into amateur radio: reading your reviews and especially your QRP-related postings was a real inspiration and I often found myself saying up at the radio club: "well, on G4ILO's blog I read such and such.....".

Thanks for the great blog, the great website, and for leaving your comments well and truly on to enable us to contact you!

73 Adam

Jspiker said...

I just deleted my "first"...It was "spam" and to add insult to injury, from someone promoting "politics" without the courage to "sign their name" to their website. I find those to be the most objectionable....

I can take criticism but find "criticism for criticism's sake" not productive. "Constructive criticism" is ALWAYS welcome and means people actually "care". It's a good thing.

I really enjoy my "across the pond" friends. You, Paul, and Adam are interesting people that I would miss dearly if it weren't for the internet.

Radio has been a real blessing for me in my retirement years.

goody said...

Macros are the main reason I stopped doing PSK31. I wouldn't call it insulting for someone to use macros in a QSO with me, but it was annoying. I would take the time to type away a custom message and the other guy would hit a couple function keys and sit back while the computer sent boring information like model of his computer. But I digress.

I have commented on three ham blogs in the past where the comments never got moderation approval. The solution was quite simple - stop commenting and remove blogroll links on my blog.

I have comment moderation activated on blog, mainly to stop spam. I can't recall ever not approving a non-anonymous comment. I sometimes reject anonymous comments; I have had a few anonymous commenters who were just confrontational and I didn't feel like debating with.

I enjoy comments on my blog from both those who agree and disagree. I've been known to change my views and opinions. At the very least, debating with those who disagree with your views gives you an opportunity to test your opinions and hone your debate points.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the replies. Macros are a clearly a contentious topic and one that may be worth a blog post in its own right on a quiet day.

Meanwhile I too will not bother visiting or linking to blogs where my comments are not welcome.