John Scholvin

John Scholvin

still can’t fit a half-stack in the trunk

Written by jks

03 Feb 2021

metacommentary

My good and wise friend Chris Carfi1 had a novel thought about my commentary dilemma yesterday:

There’s another path, too. For the past twenty-plus years, we’ve all had our own printing presses (and for the last fifteen of those years, they’ve been in our pockets). We all have our “own little first amendment machines.

We don’t need “commenting systems” in order to respond and elaborate and collaborate.

We can do it on our own websites, just like this.

Unquestionably true! There are so many great tools out there for setting up your own shop. Wordpress, Substack, Medium, I think even good old Blogger is still around. Hell, start a Tumblr! You don’t have to be insane like me and try to build the whole enchilada. All those sites can have you up and running in less than 30 minutes, for free, and I think it’d be lovely if everyone got on that.

For better or worse, blogging in this format has an undeniable heft as you sit behind the keyboard. Feels more like carving into a tree trunk than writing in the sand before the waves. There’s something to be said, maybe, for having to think for a second before you hit the “publish” button. Especially if your name’s on the masthead.

That’s for the win, though. Kinda gets to something I was railing about yesterday: while there’s a place for anonymous speech, to have that be the default mode in which we share leads to very bad outcomes. A lack of accountability rarely brings out our better angels.

Like Chris said,

The tools are here for thoughtful, civil, interactive discourse, if we choose to use them.


  1. fun fact: back in 2000, I bought a house on the northwest side of the city that turned out to be two doors down from the house Chris grew up in. Mind blown. ↩︎

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