a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew


Posted by Thomas Nephew on February 15th, 2003

One of the interesting results of my “With regrets” post below was a dialogue with Mark Aveyard, of “Diablogger.” He picked up on my “respect” comments, asking

In talking with some of the anti-war folks, I’ve been asking them, “What if Saddam marched a bunch of missiles, nukes, or biochem weapons right down Bagdad Blvd, would you support war then?” … Do you think that anti-war folks are intentionally making such demands out of an a priori zero tolerance stance on war? Are they really looking for proof or simply setting the standards so high the proof is impossible to come by?

I answered, I hope interestingly and fairly, Mark continued with good points of his own; it was that all-too-rare thing, a civil discussion. Read the whole thing, as they say.

My main point here is to draw attention to the idea Aveyard is applying to blogging: carry out an e-mail dialogue with someone on a topic, then publish it. The gist of the idea isn’t new, of course, either historically or on the Internet.* I just really like the idea applied to blogs. Obviously, many blogs feature comments, but that seems a different kind of interaction. Interestingly, Mark’s blog doesn’t allow comments: I suppose that focuses the correspondent on getting it right via e-mail. Anyway, I may try “diablogging” out myself sometime.

* The online publication Slate does something similar (“dialogues: E-mail debates of newsworthy topics”); it’s usually quite enjoyable. The most recent one, by the way, is Gregg Easterbrook of TNR and Nathan Myrhvold, a former Microsoftie, debating “Does the space program have a future?” Note to self: resume reading Slate, just not sure at whose expense.

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