Comments and Community

Hell, there are no rules here, we are trying to accomplish something. Thomas Edison

My mother likes to tell people about how I went through a phase where I would introduce myself to other children and then hit them. Typically she follows up that nugget with a comment about how for a while I was also a biter and that more than 30 years later she still hears about it. I like to look at mom and remind her that in no short order it will be more than 40 years since these things happen. That generally ends the conversation. Mom really isn’t vain, but she is wrestling with a big birthday that is coming in a few years so she doesn’t like to be reminded of my age.

Some of you will read about my antics and shake your head in gratitude that your children never did anything like that. Or maybe you’ll nod your head and silently cringe because Sally/Johnny is a biter too. And if you don’t relate to either of those angles maybe the age thing will catch you and you’ll appreciate how some birthdays are harder than others. From my perspective it doesn’t matter which of those three grab your attention as long as one does. My goal is to write something that resonates with you and draws you in.

Ideally you’ll be moved/inspired to leave me a comment about the post. Maybe it will be a story about your children, your youth or some kid you knew. With a little luck you’ll be joined by others who will comment on my post and or your own comments. Perhaps if god smiles upon me and fortune graces me with her blessing you’ll start talking among yourselves- not just on that post but on many.

That my friend is a very rough outline of an idea and concept for building and executing the construction of an online community.

Comments and community make the blogosphere much more interesting. They are a big part of the reason why I continue to hang out and write. It is fun and educational and sometimes that is how I figure out what I want to write about. Posts like this make me think about why I write and what I want. They remind me that I consider myself to be part of multiple communities.

Here on my own blog I follow very simple rules. I write for me first and then for everyone else after that. I think of the comments here as being similar to a cocktail party or barbecue. I wouldn’t ever host a party and spend time telling people to shut up. That doesn’t mean that you can say whatever you want. This is my cyber home and if I feel you are violating I will grab you by the seat of your pants and the scruff of your neck and send you through the front door head first. Call that the intersection of graciousness and grumpy.

If you are one of the 17 long time readers you know that I write about anything and everything. Some people will be offended and I am ok with that. Doesn’t mean that I am going to go out of my way to offend you because I generally don’t. There is a good chance that I’ll engage in a discussion about it and do my best to be civil. But that doesn’t mean that I will let you write whatever you want either. Free speech only goes so far and in my home it is subject to my rules. But the comments and community that hang out here know these things.

It is long past time to end this but I’ll leave you with one more of  Edison’s aphorisms to ponder: The value of an idea lies in the using of it.