The essence of a catch 22

So, Ann Althouse had comments, and got rid of them.  Then she asked people what they thought of her decision.  She apparently didn’t like the answers she got, so she wrote:

Those who voted in the bottom 2 categories [hate the absence of comments]— more than the ones who voted in the top categories, the supportive answers — reinforce me in my decision to go it alone here.

Shorter Althouse: “I asked you what you thought of my decision.  Telling me you don’t like it makes me more invested in keeping to it.”

Some other thoughts:

The poll is radically unscientific. Those who have stopped reading because the comments are gone should not be here to take the poll. Everyone choosing the last option — “Without the comments, this blog means nothing to me” — is confessing to lying.

Wrong.  Some of those people could have stopped reading the blog, heard about the poll, and come back just to participate in the poll.  Others could be people who visit your blog to flip through and see if comments are back, but don’t bother reading anything other than on that issue.

Telling me what I write doesn’t matter except as a jumping off platform for commenters doesn’t work as an argument, directed at me, to bring back comments.

The pronouncements of people I can not respond to rarely interest me.  If you say something thoughtless, ignorant, or just logically suspect, can I respond, and point this out? No?  If you say something brilliant, can I cheer?  No?  Then what you’re saying, by virtual of that, immediately becomes less interesting to me.

Shorter Greg: Ann, you’ve become Eric Holder.  You’ve said you want conversation, but what you’ve instituted is a lecture.

The 345 people who voted to say that they “feel aggrieved” and see what I did as “wrong” also fail to speak appealingly to me.

Excuse me?  We’re not “speaking”, we’re picking among the words you’ve allowed us to have.  If you don’t like that answer, perhaps you should have offered a different one.  First you turn a discussion into a lecture, then you complain because you don’t like the words you put in our mouths?

I would have phrased it as “The lack of comments makes your blog less valuable to me.  If it continues that way, I will drift away over time, visiting less and less until one day I just stop coming at all.”  But that option wasn’t available, because you chose not to offer it.

See, that’s the kind of response that you can get when you have comments, rather than just a lecture.

Sorry, Professor Althouse, but you can either pick the allowed responses, or legitimately get offended at people’s responses.  Doing both is a failure of logic.

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