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17.5.04

Comment Anxiety

It's frustrating sometimes to think about the fact that, once you take out all the search engine hits, I get less than a dozen readers each day. I won't claim that my posts are so insightful or well-written that I deserve a larger readership, but it can still be disappointing that, for all the time I spend writing here, my opinions don't register on the world's radar screen.

But on the other hand, I'm often afraid that people will read my blog. One of my major goals is to keep a record of my thoughts, so I post some pretty half-baked stuff. Whenever I scroll through my blog, I fear seeing a number next to the "comment" link. It usually means someone is challenging me on something, calling me out on the stupidity of what I've written and forcing me to defend myself (an expectation not helped by knowing that two people who semi-regularly stop by are of the intelligent conservative persuasion). My relief at seeing a "0" in the comments doesn't say much for how I'd handle being even moderately successful, especially since I'm not partisan enough to attract a comfortable echo chamber.

But maybe when you're more successful you get used to it. For me a comment is a big deal because I get so few of them. Maybe if I got a dozen on each post, I wouldn't be concerned about them, even the critical ones.

The strangest thing is that this is a relatively new phenomenon, at least in its intensity. I'm more anxious about readership and comments now than a year ago. You'd think that as I got more experienced as a blogger, became better educated (and thus better able to make good arguments), and developed more of a philosophical commitment to discursive democracy, it would go the other way.

(Note that this is not a "please comment more" whine or a "please be gentle" whine -- it's just me noting what's on my mind. Do not let this post affect your commenting habits.)

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