I’ve been thinking recently about the different ways that bloggers respond to ideas they disagree with. What’s prompted the cogitation is two experiences with fellow bloggers over the past month.
- In late-August, after I posted on conflicts of interest, Andrew Norton politely disagreed in comments, and then wrote on his blogÂ “this week I questioned Andrew Leighâ€™s suggestion that Westpac CEO Gail Kelly had a conflict of interest when she was reported suggesting that the RBA would not increase interest rates again this year”. He then went on to say why he thought I was wrong… something he’s probably done a dozen times over the past couple of years.
- This week,Â after I praised US newspapers, Paul Frijters commented “there are some pretty extreme viewpoints in this blog… this from a guy that I believe can only speak one language, has never spent a significant amount of time in a non-Anglo country and has hence only experienced the top newspapers in less than 20% of the speaking world” (a friend emailed me about an hour later: “did you run over Frijters’ dog recently?”). Paul followed up with a posting on his blog. No link, and the patronisingÂ lead “A befriended blogger made a careless comment recently” (you might criticise my views on the US press forÂ many reasons, but given that I first wrote on this in 1999, “careless” is about the least accurate term one could use).
Reflecting on my own reaction to these episodes, what’s interesting to me is that because these two blokes are friends, it wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that Norton privately thought I was being sloppy, and Frijters thought I was making an interesting point. But what they wrote mattered. And as aÂ result,Â I was happy to continue the discussion with Norton, and had no interest in debating on with Frijters. It’s funny how style affects substance.