The joys of not posting

Yes, it’s metablog time again–sort of.

Twice this morning, making the usual morning sweep of Bloglines, email, and LISNews, I wrote responses to something I read. Once, I considered copying a link and writing a discursive response here.

The first two times, I finished writing what I had to say, looked at it, and clicked away from the comment page–not posting or submitting the comment. In the third case, I didn’t even bother to prepare a draft, then delete it.

Details of the situations are unimportant. Suffice it to say that, in one case, I caught a whiff of “poor, poor, pitiful me” in the response, laughed at myself, and moved on. In the other, I realized that I was responding to an anonymous coward who was doing a good job of trolling–and just moved on.

There’s a lot to be said for responses not posted, and blog essays never blogged. Writing it down is great as a safety valve. Submitting it for anyone else to see is frequently pointless (and sometimes dangerous). Back before ubiquitous “communications” paths, the safety valve was just writing down something and crumpling it up, and the danger of overcommunication was limited by the difficulty of reaching beyond your friends.

Geez, I’m getting philosophical for a Tuesday morning. Time for some good old California contemplation, I guess (which is a vague hint at the topic of one of the unposted responses).

5 Responses to “The joys of not posting”

  1. Seth Finkelstein Says:

    Hmm … after I’ve done the work of writing something, I find it very difficult to just throw it away. Though it can certainly be argued that I’d be better off if I did that more often!

  2. Donna Wentworth Says:

    Lovely…thinking before posting is certainly the path less traveled.

  3. Blake Says:

    I wrote a great response to this but decided not to post it.

    (someone had to do it)

  4. Daniel Says:

    Sometimes I write and delete page long responses twice before deciding there are some postings I just don’t need to respond to.

    In addition to the reasons you gave, another for me is that I find that I’m picking on one point in a posting that I otherwise agree with 95%. I wind up deciding that I don’t want to waste time jawboning over another four or five comments that a posting on the 5% I don’t agree with.

    This is turning out to be a very good and dare I say “thoughtful” blog. Thanks for having the extra writing energy.

  5. walt Says:

    Thanks for the kind words, Daniel. (And your first two paragraphs are also reasons I suppress posts frequently. At LISNews, I always ask that last question after previewing a comment: “Should I hit Reply, or should I hit the Back button?”

    I think this weblog is turning out to be just what the name implies: Random thoughts that don’t really fit elsewhere (for one reason or another). But I do try to make them thoughts, not just links and reactions, not always successfully.

    What impresses me, as I’ve noted before, is the extent, thoughtfulness, and creativity in the comments I’m getting. If I deserve the readers I seem to have, maybe I’m not quite as much of a tired hack as I sometimes think…

    It does mean my LISNews journal is withering away little by little, but that’s OK.


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