Inviting discussion

One of the neat things about the web is the way that (almost) instantaneous communication can take place. Someone makes a statement, and you can not only find out about it on the other side of the world but you can say your own thing as well. Here at The Briefing we value the input that many of you make to critique, sharpen, and refine the thinking presented in our articles by way of feedback, in all its kinds.

At the same time, you may have noticed that a couple of articles recently have had comment threads turned off.

This is for a number of reasons. Some Many of our authors simply don’t have the time to interact in the comments, and feel like not being part of this would be worse than having no interaction in this manner. Tony has already mentioned how the mental burden of taking part in the discussion stops him from writing in the first place. Mark’s current series on New Atheism has no comments due to a combination of the above reasoning, plus the (perhaps) heightened potential for a discussion that, shall we say, dives towards the depths.

It’s worth noting that we’re not alone in this. Many writers around the web have made the decision to turn comments off on their sites. Many of these people have found that the quality of discussion about the ideas they present is actually better than it was before. I’m not convinced that this will be the case for us (especially as we’re only doing this selectively), since as I said at the outset the “vast majority of comments are bile” maxim doesn’t apply here. On the other hand, there’s those who argue that comments are worth the effort.

(As a bit of a sidebar, it’s an interesting point that many people in the technology community talk about the ‘religious wars’ that go on in comment threads. Think about the Mac vs. PC ‘discussions’, or iOS vs. Android, or… I could go on. For some time. I find this fascinating, because ‘religious wars’ don’t often surface here, a site that much more a site on religion than, say, Mac OS X.)

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that we’re going to be generally open to comments at the bottom of an article, usually for a period of several weeks after the article goes up. But sometimes, for different reasons, you’ll have to contact us in another way to give us feedback.

Yep, comments are off for this one too, just to prove the point. But if you want to interact with us about it, hit up @TheBriefing on Twitter (or me personally: @freney), or find us on Facebook. Email and regular mail are good too. Or write a response on your own site and let us know about it.

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