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My comment predictor doesn't work


crybaby.jpgRegular BS readers know that I appreciate and encourage comments on this blog.

But even after nearly four years of writing on a pretty regular basis, I'll be damned if I can predict which entries will result in an outpouring of reactions and which will create a resounding silence - or just a couple whimpers.

For example, I spent considerable time and thought working on the Miles's Library (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) series last week. I'd guessed there were enough things in the posts that would confuse or anger readers and that the reactions would be hot and heavy. Didn't happen. I did get one really good reaction (after complaining about the lack of reaction) from Libby Gorman who has given me persmission to post it :

...the scenario is SO different from today--and 2025 isn't that far away. Having looked at it a little more, I wonder..

  • Won't all this cost a LOT of money? Where will it come from (given how technology in schools often seems behind the times because of money)?
  • Will there be more teachers to meet the individualized student needs, or fewer, because of them serving less of a "babysitting" function, and because of tapping experts who aren't teachers? (This is somewhat tied to the first question, since teachers cost money.)
  • I notice that Miles has a "Dr." for an advisor? Will more teachers need doctorates? (On the up side, will more grad students have job opportunities?)
  • Ahhh, no physical books in the library...and also the ALA comment, although I imagine that was a well-designed jab at the problems w/ circulating the 21st century standards.
  • What about the students (and there will be some, if not many) who DON'T pass that required basic skills test? And what about pre-test education? Will all of elementary school be boring test-prep?
  • Will that "DataBank" make the digital divide into an informational divide, or will the public library make access work for everyone?
  • Will we librarians really be able to DO all that?

I have a one year old, but I haven't gotten around to imagining his high school yet (I'm just starting to imagine kindergarten). Some of the imagined changes do scare me, but some of them seem really neat. And I think your imagining is an important part of preparing for the future.

Thanks for sharing!

That one comment was worth the work it took to write the posts. Knowing that one has stimulate thinking and questioning is quite a buzz. Thank you, Libby, for writing.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, my post the short rant about how men can improve their dress was written in about 15 minutes, has so far elicited 22 comments, some sort of hostile, like thi one from Alex:


You're a jerk. Excuse me, but "Ask your wife's opinion..." is clearly a gendered comment.

(Which kind of confuses me. At the risk of drawing even more ire, one of my gay friends often refers to his partner as his wife. Is this non-standard practice in the gay community? It was, however, sort of refreshing to be criticized for something other than my traditional views on copyright and such by my friends Tom and Peter.)

The other recent post that drew a good deal of very thoughtful comment was about how AASL should approach copyright on its student standards. If you have not gone back and re-read the comments associated with this post, do so. They are far more insightful than the original post. I love discussions that tend to shed light, not just produce heat.

Whether it is one comment or a dozen, please know I appreciate anyone who reads this stuff.


Your "heteronormative" author

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Reader Comments (10)

You are not alone. I hvae written several posts recently which I was sure would bring in scores of comments but did not attract any. It is somewhat frustrating because getting a discussion going so I could learn from people was a goal of those posts. And yet my most commented on and linked to post of all time was one I tossed together because i felt like I just needed to post something.

July 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlfred Thompsn

Someday, eventually, it would be nice for people to imagine blog posts as if the writer was standing in front of them, reading it to them, and capable of clarifying what they mean.

"10. Ask your wife's opinion and then actually listen to it!"
"But I'm gay."
"Oh. Well then ask your partner."

Or maybe just imagine the spirit of how it was meant. If you are going to use your imagination when reading things into what is not expressly stated, you might as use it to put a positive spin on it. (And for those who wish to say something like "Well, it is a gendered comment. It can only be applied to heterosexual relationships therefore it excludes homosexual relations", you are pre-judging without actual clarity of intent. Or worse, you are projecting your bias against bias onto the comment.)

July 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAndyW

"I love discussions that tend to shed light, not just produce heat." Absolutely!

Boy, if my high school class listserv would only read that, when it comes to the political discussions that come up! (constantly) (The odd thing is the conservatives were not so conservative in high school and vice versa. Go figure.)

Isn't that really the point of discussions? (Shedding light)

As to asking your wife about what to wear? Forget gender/orientation issues I stopped telling him, because quite frankly, he didn't marry his mother. Would he look better if he asked? Probably. Would be feel better about himself? Probably not. What is really more important? (Unless you are Clinton and Stacy....)


July 24, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Although I plan to read those 4 posts, I haven't read them yet. This has a lot to do with minimizing computer time in the summer because I live in a house without air conditioning.

July 25, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJude not HeyJude

Hi Alfred,

Maybe a new "law?" The Blue Skunk Rule of Comments: The more trivial the post, the larger the response.

Good to know I am not the only soul that experiences this.


Hi Andy,

Reading the positive into a statement rather than the negative is great advice. I suspect such an attitude would make the world a happier place for both writers and their readers.

Appreciate the comment,


Hi Janet,

I find I have a hard time staying rational about political discussion myself and avoid them when possible. I've always defined politics as "core values in action." So I suppose one can be excused for being passionate about politics.

My wife (the LWW) snorted when she read this post since she claims that she's not offered me clothing advice since early in our relationship when I returned a tie she gave me as a gift. (Yes, I did.) I suspect she shares your view that saving my feelings is more important than how I look.

Thanks for the comments,


July 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

In my experience, "wife" in that context is very much a minority usage. "Partner" would definitely be better as it's more inclusive of not only same-sex relationships but also of other-sex-but-not-married relationships.

@Andy - There are times when I know very well that the author had the best intentions in the world, but I still want to point out to them that they've said something that will, despite their intentions, subtly reinforce existing cultural expectations; and suggest to them a way of speaking that will better conform to their intentions and make life subtly more pleasant for their readers. It's not about me taking offense or anything, it's about wanting to be helpful to all concerned.

July 27, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDeborah Fitchett

Hi Deborah,

A thoughtful approach that I will keep in mind for future posts. One commenter said I was "hetrocentric" which I guess I am.

All the best,


July 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hello, it really interesting, thanks

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May 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFooforieviemi

I think that the thing is to keep forward you know... To keep doing the things that you like if you like to post things that interest you or moves you it's okay cause makes you happy. I know that it's tired that you spend so many time on a library or on google to researching about something that the unique credit that you receive is a "hey good post" but hey there's people that do things without expecting anything so keep it up the good work with this blog!
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