Off-topic ranting off-site
After the whole Transformers thing, and considering the problem of topicality in general, I’ve posted my latest thing on debate and belief (about how weird it is to see unreasonable opinion arise out of complicated questions, w/r/t this week’s CBS report) elsewhere. However in extending on my point about how the stathead debate uses a particular kind of triple-attack that generates hostility, I’ve moved off baseball entirely, so I moved the piece off. I don’t know if this is going to be the start anything.
I mentioned in the Transformers post that I was opposed to posting it and allowed myself to be talked into it. I’m still not sure that was the right choice. I think fundamentally there’s a point where off-topic stuff interferes with on-topic stuff (I could write a long story about why I have an emotional reaction to the word ‘interfere’ for instance).
I want people to read USSM because they think we’ve got something interesting to say about the Mariners. I think some amount of short off-topic rambling is perfectly fine (“I’m not posting because my computer’s on fire”). I also think it’s cool for us toss in random stuff while talking about something M’s related. If my criticism of the Mariners is tied into my larger concerns about the state of Seattle politics, that seems fine to me.
But I’m worried, probably more than is reasonable, that someone’s going to come by because they heard there was good M’s discussion here, and be turned off because I’m rambling about how Robotech was the best childhood cartoon I got to see, or… or whatever. There are blogs I actively avoid because the posts run:
Pinstriped Bible: Sheffield greatest RH power bat in Yankees history
Bush 0wn5 Kerry: 40 point lead in latest poll by NRA
Crazed man bites dog, voted Democrat in 2000
Where I think “that’s an interesting baseball point… you’re clearly wrong, that poll was discredited.. what does that have to do with anything?”
However… true objectivity is a myth. As much as I try to keep any post on an even keel, my conclusions are the product of reasoning and perceptions that are tinted by my belief and background. It’s reasonable for someone reading a long piece on how I think the Mariners abuse the public trust to know that I oppose public stadiums in general, that I hold certain views about what the government should be involved in anyway, and sports isn’t on that list. Or that my criticisms of local media and their coverage of the team comes from a larger belief in the ills of modern journalism and beyond that, media consolidation. Without putting up a brief bio with “relevant political and social views” the only way that a reader would learn any of that would the off-topic stuff.
Maybe then it’s worthwhile to provide a background. If you think I’m a nut to worry about media consolidation, maybe you’d decide what I had to say about the Mariners wasn’t worth your attention. It’s exactly the choice I’ve made with other sites: if your posts are examples of your thought process, then I can at least tell from them that you’re not open to debate, much less the complexities good analysis requires.
And now I’ve produced an off-topic rant of exactly the sort I’m worried about.
I don’t know. I’ll leave commenting open, or you can drop me a line.