Simon Reynolds: Momus, announcing the retirement of his Click Opera blog (not immediate but soon), mentions a downside of online discourse:
Momus: Sure, Click Opera has been a sort of karate course, and its comment facility has taught me to be more dialectical and -- above all -- the skill set of prolepsis, of anticipating reader objections. But is a more moderate, accessible and dialectical me really what the world needs? Doesn't the world need an immoderate, outrageous and concentrated me, just laying out things that only I could think, no matter how wrong they may be?
Reynolds: Yeah I agree prolepsis sucks, it seems to have taken a lot of the categorical oomph and thrust out of writing, unless you're just utterly bullheaded you will inevitably find yourself riddling what you do with qualification and nuancing... [para break] Strangely, prolepsis rarely seems to afflict comments boxers... but i guess they can shelter under aliases or "anonymous," they don't have to own their utterances in the same way.
Moody (thinking out loud): I guess I was prolepsifying all those years I had comments. I know there were broadsides I was going to post that were loaded with anticipatory arguments where I said "Whoa, maybe I should wait till someone raises this point." I have since moved my "comment boxing" to other venues (AFC, Rhizome - but not lately - I don't like being called a troll by trolls, Schwarz) but I always post under my own name so not much has changed. Ultimately prolepsis only plagues if you consider yourself primarily a writer--it's a craft issue. If you are an artist or musician who cares how much you hedge your words? You are just trying to learn something from the comment process. In any event, Momus wants to shut down his blog for other reasons besides prolepsis:
Momus: Because the LiveJournal platform I'm using is being wound down (it has a skeleton staff of 8 right now, I'm told). Because there's a kind of tumbleweed feel to my Friends List these days, as people migrate to Twitter (and "ship" their inconsequential tweets back to the old haunt as if to place a big "Nothing to see here folks!" sign over both locations) or Facebook. Because I don't feel that blogging either can or should be as big a part of the next decade as it has been of this one. Because I wonder what would happen if I put the energy I pour daily into this blog (and I've established a great working routine!) into something like a book, or something else. Because I think it's good to force yourself to change, just for the sake of change. Because I don't want to be a fifty year old man whose life revolves around a blog. Because I don't like some of the conflicts Click Opera has engendered, the hurtful battles that spiralled out of control when I crossed swords with people like Marxy, Alan McGee, or the ILX messageboard. Because I've probably said everything I have to say about my opinions and worldview, on a certain level (which isn't to say that the positions I've adopted have won or been accepted; many will never be). Because switching to another medium (fiction, for example) will be a way for me to put those views and hunches and feelings into new and fresh relationships with each other. Because it is possible to over-expose yourself, and popping up somewhere on the internet every single day is definitely one way to do that. Because I now have other forms of visibility: lectures, panel appearances, conferences, interviews in the press, performance art interventions, concerts, columns, books, records, journalism; enough to satisfy even the most rabid attention-hound.
Moody (still thinking out loud): I've dialed it back from my blogging heyday of 2004-2007 but have no plans to retire. Losing comments was part of a general drift of making the blog less chatty and more of a vehicle for other kinds of content besides writing. Blogging is still an ideal forum for a visual artist if you can adapt your work to the medium. Less ideal for musicians, in that there is an extra stage of content delivery--clicking an mp3 link--which is a leap of faith many aren't willing to take in a busy day. "Giving up blogging" is all the rage right now--many of my 20-something friends who were vomiting out work three years ago have gone into a kind of reverse-satiety hypersleep. Some of it is economic doldrums, some is that wall you hit in your 20s when you come out of school and your teachers and friends aren't around you anymore and it's just you and a cold and indifferent world. Moving into your 30s is a process of finding out whether you're one of those people like Philip K. Dick who work out of sheer need...or not. The people who keep blogging (or producing on the internet without "official" sanction or encouragement) will be driven, incorrigible individuals and it's up to readers to figure out who are the Melvilles and who are the nuts churning out rants on photocopy paper.
Update: Am also prolapsing at Sally and L.M.'s
Update 2: Fixed a mixed metaphor.