A Thinking Audience

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Software developer Reginald Braithwaite writes a thought-provoking and surprisingly optimistic post about Internet discussions, taking a rather depressing-sounding debate -- about therapy for depression (!) -- as his point of departure.

And that's really my response to people reading these comments and arguments on the Internet: Read the original books and material for yourselves.

I am especially leery of reading anything by people who are certain it works or are certain it's bunk. Any time nerds start discussing hiring on the Internet, we revisit the subject that sometimes the most confident people are the ones who don't know what they don't know.
Braithwaite shows genuine insight into a matter that has always amazed me and has, especially over the past few years, given me pause about the usefulness of the Internet as a means of promoting good ideas. On one level, his insight is a reminder that, in a war of ideas, it is not the loudest or most vocal or most numerous (apparently or not) who really count, but the sincere, and often silent ones, who  think, carefully, for themselves.

But that is hardly the only lesson one can glean from this thoughtful and sincere piece. Read the whole thing.

-- CAV


mtnrunner2 said...

I do struggle with the idea of comments, even on my fairly non-ideological, now mostly trail-running-oriented blog.

I'm lucky to have a philosophically varied, tiny but very civil audience yet sometimes even I consider turning off comments. I don't want to blog for the reaction, pro or con. I want to blog because I hope to have something worthwhile to offer (whether it's photos of our beautiful world, or ideas), and its value is seen by individuals by themselves and for themselves.

Either way, people will be able to read it and think about it, and it's the readers who think who matter.

Anyway, I still allow comments, just moderated :)

Gus Van Horn said...


Thanks for leaving your comment: It occurred later in the day after I posted that I might be coming across as unhappy with the discussion at my own blog. Nothing could be further from the truth! (I don't think I caused offense, but I'm taking the chance you have given me to be clear.)

Like you, I am fortunate enough to have a value-oriented audience for whom ideas matter, facts that show through in the form of civility. I have also, from time to time, been corrected about errors of various types and gained new information from commenters.

There is indeed a high value to intelligent discussion, and it is possible to foster it on the Internet. Thanks for demonstrating this and for the reminder as well.