Hello, new followers + Why I don’t usually have comments open on this blog

G’day!

I noticed that there are several new followers on my blog this fortnight – welcome, and thank you! I appreciate every follow. For new and longer-term followers alike, I’d love to hear from you. Please jump over to my blog GUESTBOOK to say hello.

A few of you have communicated to me that you noticed I don’t have comments open on most of my posts. That’s right! After being a Geocities webmistress and then a Blogger since 2001 I have been visited by just about every kind of Internet troll I can imagine (and I refuse to imagine any worse).

I’ve received those horrendously long Bible bashing comments written in all capital letters that are copy/pasted onto every recent post. I’ve had angry Christian men from the opposite side of the planet comment about how my biological gender renders me a lesser being in God’s sight and therefore I ought not to write as if I am, like them, human (if they were being consistently logical they ought to address these concerns to my husband, rather than assuming that they could reason with me). I’ve had angry and lengthy Atheist comments about how, well, I’m not an Atheist (I am not unsympathetic to Atheism and Agnositicism and agree with many critical observations about the problems with organised religion, so please know I am not interested in being antagonistic towards my nonreligious friends and acquaintances). Please be clear that Christians, Atheists and Agnostics alike, and other worldview groups too, are welcome.

And depending on which parts of my blog you’re reading all that talk of religion might be entirely irrelevant. For example, I also sometimes blog about music, so in that vein while I am a lover of heavy music, I would like metal heads of all genre-preferences to know they’re welcome and that I’m not interested in the “whose genre is best?” debates.

And honestly, I am tired of the nasty discussion threads – I imagine many of us Internet users are. What could be a beautiful and helpful tool for unifying humanity, dispersing knowledge and diversifying our understanding, too often becomes a series of ideological trenches where angry commenters pop out to shoot at each other because, well, we’re different. Fearful of The Other. My concern is that the Internet appears to have the effect of causing us to fall further into our fear-driven divisions. I don’t want to add to that negative culture. So while I welcome positive and constructive dialogue with my regular readers, I no longer have the time nor the interest to devote to curating and moderating the comments section so that it is a safe space for readers.

In addition, there are several freely available blogging websites, so if you’re the kind of person who likes to copy/paste lengthy comments to other people’s blogs, please consider starting your own blog! It’ll be far more satisfying and you’ll be able to say whatever you want and the people who read it will have done so voluntarily.

On that note, as far as the GUESTBOOK goes, please keep it positive. I welcome readers from all ethnic, national and religious backgrounds.

Please also note that this blog is written from an Australian perspective – so if I’ve written an Aussie-ism and it’s not clear to you what it means, feel free to ask.

For example: I saw a huge comment thread debate on the National Geographic Instagram today about the meaning of “zebra crossing,” a term familiar to many English speaking nations as referring to a black-and-white striped type of pedestrian crossing usually without traffic lights, which had been misunderstood by several readers as being a racist statement. If you’re uncertain, sometimes it’s better to ask than assuming the worst!

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