Blog Tending as the New Zen Garden

This is an interesting article about Ta-Nehisi Coates’ approach to blogging.  I’m only an occasional visitor to his blog, but I’m always amazed at how deep and learned the conversation is.  A little bit of guidance from the blogtender goes a long way to weeding out the obnoxious pests that infest thought-gardens Internet-wide.

At the time, Coates liked Matthew Yglesias’s blog. But he hated that comments always turned to issues of race. A blog post about as something as mundane as a parking garage would easily attract racist comments. That felt like grafitti on a work of art. Coates decided that on his blog, he would try to pay attention to community. Over time, community has become the great strength of his blog.

Coates wants his blog to be a place where people feel safe — not that they won’t face hard arguments — but that people wouldn’t feel a pariah status while reading. He compares a blog post to a dinner party. A good host simply won’t allow some things to be said, and a blog conversation is much the same.

“Once you take out the rubbish and clear away the weeds, flowers begin to grow,” he said. There’s a lot of rubbish out there, Coates told us. People who don’t normally comment will come forward if you cultivate a good garden. Now, his readers will often offer new information and helpful insights that he never knew. Great commenters offer interesting ideas that offer the advantages of peer review without its downsides.

via MediaShift Idea Lab . The Atlantic’s Ta-Nehisi Coates on How Writers Can Nurture Civil Commenting | PBS.

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