Speech in political blogs seemed reasonable enough for me

Posted: September 25, 2010 in Uncategorized

I’m responding to Maynor’s article and the two posts I chose from “Hot Air” were “Romney: Let’s face it, Obama’s going to be very tough to beat” (posted on September 24, with 205 comments at the time) and “The Pledge: the first steps forward” (posted on September 22, with 142 comments at the time).

The first post introduced and discussed the content of the speech given by the former Republican Mass. Governor Mitt Romney to address economic and political issues to capital financiers in L.A. The post reiterated and questioned the governor’s point of views that president Obama, without doing a good job, will at the end take the credit of economic recovery and will be hard to beat at the 2012 election.

The second post talked about the Republican’s “Pledge to America”. In the post, the author stated both potentials and weaknesses of the Pledge, with a general belief that the Pledge was a promising start.

Code of Conduct:

By looking at the comments of both posts, I found most people’s behaviors were adhering to the CoC. However, I felt that the idea of  CoC was hard to operate by blog owners. In order to the carry out the design of the CoC, firstly, website owners need to make the code visible and clear to all the participants of the forum. Then a website “supervisor” is needed to monitor all the discussions and see whether someone break the code. After that, the code breaker is either warned or banned, and his/her comments may be deleted. And just as Maynor pointed out, CoC was tantamount to censorship to some extent. So I doubt if it is the best practice to encourage democratic discourse.

Autonomy:

Maynor argued that the process of “give and take” is a vital practice of online autonomy. I found the embodiment of such autonomy within the comments of both posts. A few people quoted others’ comments or reply specifically to a previous comment. In the “quote and reply” process, I believe people’s opinions and preferences are exchanged, questioned/reinforced, or modified.   

The three V’s:

In Maynor’s article, three V’s (i.e., value, volume, and velocity) were identified to impede the democratic deliberation on blogosphere. But Maynor also pointed out that the problems brought by the three V’s may be neutralized with the assist of some internet features. For example, in several occasions, people who commented to the posts used information and arguments from other online sources, so that the accuracy and comprehensiveness (or value) of information was made up to some extent. The problem of volume and velocity is universal and does not just exist in blogosphere. And by looking through the comments, I didn’t find notable evidence that the last two V’s hinder people’s discussions more in blogs than in real life.

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Comments
  1. aflaten says:

    I’m impressed that you found a blog where everyone was on their best behavior! However, perhaps that was a result of the site’s CoC? In which case, doesn’t that give some credence to Maynor’s idea that blogsite CoC would facilitate useful democratic discourse? Of course, your argument regarding the cost of that facilitation is still valid.

    I think you brought up a great point with the fact that commentators will often quote other comments to validate or reply directly. It goes so well with the argument of online autonomy that I’m almost surprised that Maynor didn’t bring up it up. I mean, it’s true that through the course of deliberation people will be responding to each other, but there’s something about having one’s text singled out, with attribution given, that really sets it up for discourse. Or maybe I’m just reading too much into it?

  2. It was interesting to me to see that Hot Air has closed registration to the site, and you cannot comment unless you are registered:

    http://hotair.com/termsofuse/

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