Some problems with running an atheist blog

19 Oct

In the almost two years I’ve been at this, I’ve noticed a couple of very irritating things that go with writing an atheist blog:

  • There is an insane amount of different religions. Some estimate that there are as many as 38,000 different sects within Christianity alone! The sheer number of different faiths makes it a necessity to generalize while talking about religions. The problem is that while your depiction and arguments against faith X might be valid, a person from faith A,B, or C will inevitably come along and say you’ve got it all wrong and that’s “not what they’re about.” It’s even worse when faith X and faith A both claim to be the same faith! The whole thing erodes down to “Well, they’re not true Christians, so your generalization is wrong and doesn’t apply to me!” With religion meaning whatever the believer wants, to that particular believer, it’s impossible to avoid this. I cannot and will not avoid generalizations. If I spent the time needed to figure out “Ok, this group of Christians here fit this description, and so does this small group here, and here, but not those Christians there”, I’d never get anything done! (And I’m sure they’red be some that’d love that)
  • Drive-by commenters.  I hate these people with a passion. You spend all the time writing up a post, forming ideas, putting them to words, only to have some idiot jump all over it, spewing nonsense and platitudes, and then vanish never to be seen again. It’s infuriating. You don’t want to delete their comment because they might actually want to engage in some meaningful exchange of ideas; yet deep down inside you know they just wanted to shit all over everything and leave. So what do you do? In order to not seem like a tyrant you approve the comment, write a lengthy response on the off chance they do wish to have a discussion, only to have your suspicions confirmed when they never bother to return.
  • Size hurts. I’ve written hundreds of posts in the past two years. The problem is that people only read the most recent couple of posts. I might have a post a couple pages back that is very relevant to some current event, but nobody is going looking and comment on it. Furthermore, I don’t want to do a repost on something I’ve already covered, so I’m stuck with wanting to discuss something recent but unable to do so because of a related post I wrote a while ago that nobody reads.
  • Past posts will haunt you. This is tied into the bullet above. In an attempt to be honest to myself I don’t delete old posts that I no longer agree with. I might have held position X at one point in time and written a post on it. Later that position might have changed to position Y, upon whence I write a new post about it. Nonetheless, people find the post from when I held position X and attack me for it, completely unaware that I’ve changed my views. (Often they’re drive-by commenters and don’t bother to look any farther than that one post)
  • Trying not to take things personally: This is a tough one to learn, and I don’t completely have a grasp on it. My blog is the digital embodiment of me and my thoughts. When somebody, especially drive-bys, come and shit all over something I’ve written, it really hurts and puts me in a sour mood for the rest of the day.

That’s pretty much all I can think of for the moment. These thoughts have been stewing for a while (mainly just the first three) and I wanted to get them out there. Does anyone have any similar/different problems they’ve come across?

6 Responses to “Some problems with running an atheist blog”

  1. John Barron Jr. October 19, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    I tend to share your sentiments on this. I will preface this by disclosing I am a Christian Theist and agree with your irritations. Unfortunately far too many Christians will make mountains out of molehills when it comes to non-essential doctrines. Believe it or not (I’m sure you do) churches will split over what type of bread/wafers to use for communion. Because of pettiness such as this, some form new churches, and with every variance from 100% agreement with a current denomination, a new denomination is formed. So unfortunately while the number 38k may be technecally true, it is highly misleading, and the membership of denomination A takes very seriously that they are not the same as denomination B.

    The way I have solved the “old dead post” problem is by adding footnotes to “related articles” in order to gain traffic to older posts, it seems to work.

  2. godlesspaladin October 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Hey John, thanks for the suggestion. And yeah, I know all about that, I was a European history major in college and had to learn about groups that fought wars over such similar trivialities.

  3. Ruth October 19, 2010 at 11:17 pm #

    I hope you don’t feel discouraged. Many of us, I’m sure most, value your writing immensely. Personally, I especially appreciate your views on feminism, as it seems incredibly rare for men to engage in the feminist conversation with deep and critical thought. If you’re going to take anything personally, please remember that, while ninety percent of your readers smile, very few of us happy faces write comments, while the vast majority of those who disagree with you see fit to express that disagreement.

    Please don’t let your completely legitimate frustrations mean the end of your blog! It’s far too valuable for that.

  4. godlesspaladin October 20, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Hey Ruth, thanks, that made my day. 🙂

  5. thisisnessie October 20, 2010 at 3:37 pm #

    Hey dude. Unfortunately the “They’re not a true Christian” jobby is one we’re gonna have to live with (at least, it’s something I don’t think is going to ever change). It is bloody irritating though! I’m always like, do we really have to work through this whole concept before we tackle the issue I was addressing in the post?
    It reminds me of when my Christian friends are trying to convince me of who God is/might be when we haven’t even yet discussed the possibility of God’s existence. Cart before horse much? The good news is, that if the aim is to get someone to think about things more, then these are opportune moments to do that (as frustrating as it can be to have the same convo over again).

    Drive-by commenters – I’m so glad someone else mentioned this, haha. I also don’t want to delete what appears to be a footless tirade on my blog, but the last thing I want is for the person to actually come back looking for discussion and discover I haven’t posted their comment, or have deleted it (and assume I am a liar for saying I would post all comments). I’ve now just included in my policy that any comments which don’t contribute to the discussion directly, or provide any debate/example value, I delete.

    I have a suggestion about the issue with the posts – whenever you see that a post comes up on which you’ve already changed your opinion, add an update that says so and perhaps links to a later post that expounds on this change of opinion. And when the opportune moment arrives for discussion on something you’ve posted a long while ago, perhaps a re-link and some information on the current situation would be a good idea.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A political blogger’s pledge « The Godless Paladin - January 10, 2011

    […] mentioned the problems with generalizations in an earlier post here, though that post was focused on religious generalizations. In order not to be paralyzed by […]

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