« November 2009 Misc | Main | Everything Has a Price »

My Audience & Editorial Policy

Road closed sign 


I got an interesting comment on a post I wrote a year ago.  Goes to show how things live on once posted to the Internet.   The commenter said that I was delusional, full of myself and a con artist.   I admit that I was a little taken aback.  I can understand the delusional and full or myself accusations, but con artist just doesn’t make any sense.  The guy didn’t like what I wrote about nature and how I mange my forest lands.  You can read the original post and his comment at this link.  I admit that I chose a provocative title and I guess it provoked ... eventually.   I invited this guy to write 500 words rebutting me and I promised to post it. I doubt anything will come of it.

People sometimes send comments directly to me, which I don’t publish.  I publish almost anything else anybody sends in, but I don’t get too many complaints or comments in general.  

My Audience & Editorial Policy

The “delusional” comment made me think about my “editorial policy”.  I don’t really have one.  I write the blog mostly for my friends and relatives.  I know I have acquired some “online” friends and I am grateful for their continued support.  The statistics tell me that we get around 600 visitors on a good day, but most are just from search engines hitting on some of the pictures.  I figure only that only a couple of dozen people regularly read what I write.  During my time in Iraq I know that some families of the PRT & USMC colleagues read the blog for general information about the situation their loved ones faced in Anbar.  I am glad that I could provide that service.  I suppose most of them have wandered off now that I am out of Iraq.   Given the personalized, idiosyncratic nature of my interests and all things considered, I don’t have a “general” audience.

But let’s get to the question of editorial policy.  There is a valid question about how comprehensive, balanced or fair any writer should be.  Some people worry about this, but it is not something I struggle with.  I am honest and try to be as accurate as I can.   But I feel absolutely no obligation to be fair, balanced or comprehensive.   Mine is only a miniscule contribution to a very large whole, one piece of a very large puzzle.  Presumably those looking for a variety of views will gather mine along with a lot of others and make up their own minds.   

I think that is a good policy for a blogger who writes for nothing and doesn’t promote his blog.

I believe in pluralism.  We need to have a lot of ideas put forward and tested against each other.  Our goals should NOT be to achieve consensus or hold each other accountable, beyond the basic imperatives to be honest, remain reasonable and stay reasonably civil. We should also not try to clip our ideas to fit the sensibilities of others.  That is the good thing about pluralism.  You don’t have to be inclusive. Those who are offended can go someplace else where they feel appreciated, not merely tolerated.  That is all I can offer.  

Do Not Block the Way to Inquiry

We need to express our idea AND be willing to accept criticism.   Everybody is entitled to his/her opinion but nobody is bound to respect them.   Too much respect won’t help us find useful truth. Conflicts, corrections, experimentation and restatements are how we come closer to truth. We never get to possess THE truth, BTW, but we will get closer to useful knowledge.  (THE truth has no meaning outside religion.) Building knowledge is an iterative process.  We try something, learn something, adjust and try again.  This goes for individuals, organizations and societies.   “Do not block the way to inquiry,” is what the philosopher Charles Saunders Pierce said and he was right.

Hosting by Yahoo!


Your blog is fine just as it is. I find the forestry stuff particularly interesting.

My only criticism is of your habit of writing "w/o" instead of "without".

Often I would like to have links to bigger versions of the photos.

Thanks Don:

I am not surprised that I get a few critics. My understanding of nature is different and maybe a little offensive to some urban-ecologists.

Truth be told, I think it is important to explain how man and the environment work precisely because so many people grew up on nature cartoons and have contact with the environment only when they hike or visit parks.

I know my perspective changed when I became a forest land owner with responsibility for a small patch of North America.

IMO the environmental movement is maturing too, many for the same reasons. The Nature Conservancy, for example, really knows how to manage land.

Passion and "commitment" cannot substitute for day-to-day observation and work.

BTW - thanks for all your comments over the years. Let me know if you come near Washington. I will buy you a beer.

Generally speaking, I appreciate diversity of thought and opinion. I particularly appreciate ideas that cause me to challenge my own beliefs.

Aristotle was attributed with saying; "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

I appreciate your blog.

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)