Vantage point

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Hi Chetan!

Just read the comment Chetan has posted on Desipundit about the Mall Road debate about regulations. It is a comment written after a lot of thought and deserves a similar response. Have made this post to promise Chetan a response as soon as possible, because I am a bit swamped right now.

I'll make two points though -

1. I vociferously, loudly and vehemently disagree with Shivam and Mridula being termed anti-free-market. Terming them that is, if I may invoke another logical fallacy, building a strawman. Shivam and Mridula believe in some minor level of regulation which also incorporates accountability. That, by no stretch of imagination, makes them anti-free-market. No one has a copyright on the term "free market", and the position adopted by Shivam and Mridula may also be considered as free market by many. It is not as free as I would ideally like it to be, but that sort of set-up would still be a thousand times freer than the current set-up, and if in my life-time India manages to bring even that about, I would die by and large satisfied.

2. About my No-Comments policy which Chetan has spoken about it extensively. I've said this earlier but it bears repititon (maybe I should put a permanent explanation on the sidebar) - The no-comments thing started out as an anti-troll measure. And very frankly, the policy highlights my flaws. Ideally I would love to be a cool, calm and collected unflappable sort of a dude who brushes off abuse and insistent trolling. But I'm not. I am emotional and passionate about what I write. So abusive trolling affects me. At times even long debates which are not necessarily abusive, but extremely fallacious and stubborn affect me to an extent.

Now here's the thing. Blogging is a passion for me, but it is not my livelihood. In addition to that, my line of work is such that I can't multi-task blogging with it. If I was a writer by profession, i could view blogging as an extension of it. But I am not. So for blogging, I have to take out time apart from my work, and my personal life. That sort of time is simply not enough for me to write log posts, AND debate/defend them. Now the thing is, I have been debating since I was a kid. So it is ingrained in me to get my point across. And if my opponent is commiting a fallacy, I can't sit silent without pointing it out. So if during a debate, my opponent indulges in a lot of fallacies, goal-shifting and sophistry, even while not getting abusive, it takes a lot of my time and mental energy to respond to it. I HAVE TO respond. Can't help it.

Now here's another thing. We had a Prof at IIML whose favourite dialogue was "What business are we in?". The point of this dialogue was to remind us that in business, we should never lose sight of what our ultimate goal is. So if I ask myself, "What business is Vantage Point in?", i.e with what objective did I set up this blog? The primary objective was, me expressing myself, writing about things that move me, interest me, amuse me, infuriate me...... I make no bones about it.... this blog is all about ME. i don't describe my daily routine, but i do write about MY take on issues. Now if in addition to that, there was some debate happening among folks commenting on my blog, that was fine. But after a couple of years of blogging, the debate started affecting the primary objective. This blog is not in the business of debates. Some bloggers do think of their blogs as places where they can have debates on issues. I am not one who thinks of it as a primary motive. And if it was a primary motive, it had to go.

From my personal point of view, life became a lot simpler after I did away with the comments. As I said, the primary deterrents were the abusive comments, which I didn't have the time or the continuous connectivity to moderate. But this other point is what made me keep the no-comments policy in place.

As far as reader feedback is concerned, I still get it via email and believe me, it is of great quality. I often post a good piece of feedback(though not often enough...note to self - restart the weekly feedback round-up thing). So that is another front which I don't have to worry about. I am not losing out on feedback.

So from a personal point of view, "no-comments policy" was the best decision I took with regards to this blog. And hence I am sticking to it. However in the last few weeks, I have thought of starting a debate-only blog, where I will mirror the posts on which I would like to see a healthy debate. Maybe I will start it soon. So watch this space.

This post turned out to be longer than I thought, and so I need to run. Next post, I promise, a response to other points made by Chetan.