Explore this blog by clicking on the labels listed along the right-hand sidebar. There are lots of interesting stuff which you won't find on the home page
Seriously curious about me? Click on ' What sort of person am I?'

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Something happened today that has made me change my mind about waiting long for comments on this blog each time after I write a new post.

I had activated a facility that gmail provides to mark anonymous comments (besides those from all sorts of weird pseudonyms I have come across over the years) as trash and send them directly to the trash can without showing them in my inbox first (unless the emails are from sensible names, I trash them from the inbox without opening them, too: a good way to protect my computer from viruses, I have been told, apart from other things!). The trash is automatically cleared every thirty days, but upon a whim I occasionally take a peek into it – and today I was amazed to find numerous comments there! It goes without saying that I clicked on ‘empty trash forever’ without glancing at any of them. And now I have decided that if more people want to write comments from hiding than otherwise, there’s no point waiting for comments to come in: I shall write as often as I please, and those who are interested will take the trouble to look up older posts (and read up and reflect upon earlier comments) and comment on them – as a few genuine readers actually do, whether they agree with everything I say or not.

This is a kind of sickness, this writing comments anonymously or from behind ridiculous assumed names, and on this I won’t hear different opinions. I have been writing letters and other things virtually all my life, and using the net for about fourteen years now, and I have said a lot of things to a lot of people, including a lot of harsh things, but I have never once felt the need to write anonymously. I will not deviate from the opinion that only someone dirty minded or weak-minded needs that kind of shield – and my reaction is that the opinions of such craven people do not count, so they do not deserve attention or acknowledgment, leave alone rejoinders. Even if they write words of praise: I have (until that filter was installed) deleted anonymous comments again and again which lauded something I had written fulsomely. At the same time, as any real reader will have noticed – and people who can truly read are few indeed, as I should know from thirty years’ experience of giving people comprehension exercises! – I accommodate critical comments too, just so long as the writers are polite, and sufficiently informed, and give evidence of having read my piece closely. Indeed, I often engage with such critics, trying to point out how far I agree with them, or stand corrected, or where I think they have not understood me, or have made some logical or factual error. That is what I call debating, and as I have lamented before, far too few either understand debates or can hold their own in the right spirit.

Judging by the difference between the small number of people who have enlisted as followers and the much larger number who keep visiting this blog, it is evident that a lot of people visit and maybe even read a bit, but cannot think of anything to say, no matter what I write about. I suppose I should accept that as okay, though a bit of a pity. And I suspect that it is a small fraction of that number who want to say things which deep inside they know are either foolish or ignorant or just plain irrelevant if not downright offensive, and these are the people who want to write anonymous comments. Chances are very high that these people will never dream of visiting me and saying the things they write as comments to my face: the security of anonymity that the net provides makes lions out of rats. Well, bad luck, folks. I have already told you how your efforts are wasted.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

I am happy to report that the trash box has remained unsullied by anonymous comments in the twelve days since I wrote this post!

Shilpi said...


Rather liked this article, and found it interesting - letter exchange and handwritten letters and emails. I was debating which post to fit it in...hope you like reading it. I wouldn't like to go back to the time of just handwritten letters, that's a 'dead cert', but the rare handwritten letter or something handwritten along with fast and easy and quick and nice emails is always a strange but lovely surprise.

I'm not so sure though why people think they can be rude in emails and blogpost comments and the like, although I remember only too well that I'd thought some letter-writing formalities/niceties could be abandoned in the electronic medium...
and so I'll beat a retreat for now.


Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thank you for sending me the link, Shilpi. A very balanced write-up, in which the author has conscientiously looked at both sides of the argument, and tried to make an impartial but fairly pithy assessment. "The most dramatic feature of electronic communication is surely its propensity to tempt us into dashing off a message in haste that we repent at leisure"... my sentiments exactly, except that I would wonder whether those who have made a habit of dashing off mails and replies to mails (or instant messages, or whatever) have either the time or the mental capacity or the degree of civilization needed to 'repent at leisure'. When all things, from love to messages, become use and throw, nobody really thinks or feels in the traditional sense any more. I set much more store by those for whom the net has not become an addiction. And yes, as you will admit, I myself try to maintain some common rules of old-fashioned good manners when I communicate via the net, and insist on my interlocutors doing the same, whether or not they like it or see any sense in it.