Greetings and Salutations!

Welcome to the longest-running* yet least-read** blog on the internet! Here you'll find me writing about all the things that I write about, which strikes me, just now, as somewhat recursive. In any case, enjoy :)

* not true
** probably true

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sticky Issues: "A Dream Deferred"

Too small? Can't see? Click on pic, then click on 'all sizes'. That should do the trick.


The Legal Janitor said...

wow, I don't know what to say, but that was really powerful.

valkyrie said...


AmourArmor said...

You know what I think stinks? Not being invited to any secret blogger meetings. It's like high school all over again.


The Screwy Skeptic said...

ouch. that was so deep it hurts.

also, i like the hat.

jseng said...

Its funny the first time. It is silly the second time.

First, it is XX issue. Then it is Editors issue. Then it is the integrity of Tomorrow. Next is the future of Singapore. How about making it bigger about the human race next?

Editors or not, are as human as anyone else. There are only a handful of things which is interesting to the editors given human limitation. In other words, there are more things they are not interesting in then they are. Most of us are just not interested in blog politics. Just because you are interested in them does not means we are.

MercerMachine said...

Hi James,

That's one way to look at it. It's not my way. If you'll cast your mind back to the post 'Tomorrow's Troubles' you'll remember that I talked about these same issues then.

Then, I supported Tomorrow because (and I said so explicitly if you'll recall) I believe Tomorrow has an important role to play in the liberalization of singapore.

Now, I'm trying to get you guys to realize that by not having an open discussion on this topic, you are not living up to the important role you have to play. And it's not as though I'm some lone voice, crying out in the wilderness. Trying to belittle my point by making it seem as though I'm being absurd is the same as belittling everybody else who holds the same or similar opinions.

I know the editors are human. I made that point in 'Tomorrow's Troubles' if you'll recall.

You certainly don't have to agree with me. Recognize Tomorrow's potential or refuse it, that's your call. Either way, I've been speaking my mind as honestly as I know how the entire time. I hope you would want me to continue to do so, as I continue to want you and the other editors to.

Is this an issue that's 'bigger than the human race', or is it merely an issue about 'blog politics'? The truth is, James, it's neither. And if you think that I go too far in talking about the importance of this issue, then I have to tell you plainly, you don't go nearly far enough.

Sincere, best wishes,


Agagooga said...

Unfortunately, not all the editors share the vision of Tomorrow that you (and indeed, some other editors) might.

Daryl said...

I'm sorry, mm, but it sounds like you're trying to make Tomorrow out to be something that it's not. (I say 'sounds like' because I'm not quite sure exactly what it is you want open and honest discussion about.) What you are in fact saying is, "I want a cause to be fought, and I wish these particular people would fight it". Well, you may want it to play a role in the liberalisation of Singapore, but not all the editors agree. When we started it, one of the first models cited was BoingBoing, which is hardly the most crusading of sites. If you don't like Tomorrow's identity, it's not as though Singapore is lacking in blogs with political discussions or other 'serious' discussions that you can turn to. So the Langston Hughes reference is all well and good, but please, if it's your dream we're deferring, then you should be the one working on getting the danged raisin out of the sun.

More than that, the "no policy" thing is more than just a way of saying "no comment". It is a recognition of the fact that we will not create a policy that any editor objects to. Consensus-based structures can often be very frustrating (it's why a lot of people get frustrated by the UN, for instance), especially to people who are certain of what the right position should be. It may also not lead to a lot of action. But that is the nature of the structure we have chosen. If you want a more efficient, organised structure that sets a central strategy... well, that's not what you'll find.

And, please, spare me the censorship cries. Censorship, to me, is what happens if I go to another site and force it to take down what it says. You know, I belong to a lot of American-based forums and every now and then posts in those get taken down for various reasons. Is that really impinging on any sort of freedom of speech? Not really, since the people have the freedom to go and say the same things elsewhere. For that matter, as your own entry shows, we're not stopping anyone from discussing what Tomorrow 'should' be like. So unless you're saying there's a fundamental right to publicity of views (as opposed to expression of views), I don't know what you think exactly is being censored here, since all points of view can still be expressed.

AmourArmor said...

And what also stinks is not understanding at all what's going on with Tomorrow.


MercerMachine said...

Hi Daryl,

A cogent argument.

Okay, let me roll up my sleeves and light a cigarette.

1)To say that you don't know what i want an open and honest discussion about is to say that you don't know what policy it is that you editors can't agree on. More than a little disingenuous, no? But for the record, here it is:

What is the policy of Tomorrow's editors on the deletion of trackbacks and comments? I'm less concerned about what thepolicy is than the fact that you guys can't even get together and decide what the policy is.

2)"What you are in fact saying is, "I want a cause to be fought, and I wish these particular people would fight it". "

Sorry, not quite right. I do inded want a cause to be fought, and i wish you particular people would se that you are in an excellent position to fight it. Whether you fight it or not is entirely up to you--but first you have to be honest enough to admit that by virtue of what tomorrow is and who its editors are, you *do* wield a species of power and influence over the opnion of the public at large. If you can't do that, then the rest of it is moot.

3)"if it's your dream we're deferring, then you should be the one working on getting the danged raisin out of the sun."

What do you think I'm doing here, Daryl? Baking cookies with 'em?

4)More than that, the "no policy" thing is more than just a way of saying "no comment"...

That's like debating the definition of the word 'is'. I take your point about the UN, but how do you have any sort of discussion when no discussion is allowed to be had? Circular logic like that makes me motion-sick.

5)And, please, spare me the censorship cries....

Well, the fact that trackbacks and comments were deleted is a form of censorship, but I don't wish to get into the motivation for those deletions, so I'll concede that point in service of expediency. Specifically in reference to the 'dream deferred' cartoon, I was making the point that if you guys won't discuss a very real issue in regards to editorial decisions, it's tatamount to self-censorship. I thought that was pretty clear. But hey, maybe I didn't draw the stick figures well enough.

Anyway, I still think you rock.

Daryl said...

Heya mm - I really didn't get that you were specifically talking about the deletion of trackbacks and comments (as opposed to, say, the revocation of a vote). But now that that's clear:

It's not that we don't discuss these very real issues at all, or don't allow these issues to be discussed. We do discuss these issues, and we note people's comments.

In the absence of any consensus on the issue, the current system stays i.e. there is no official policy. Yes, many may feel it is a good idea not to delete trackbacks and comments. But even among those who do so, some might think that for reasons of principle (you shouldn't ever delete comments/trackbacks), others for reasons of practicality (you have the right to do so, it's just often a futile exercise). Having a specific policy would mean 1) actual work! and more seriously, 2) invalidating another point of view.

As for power, I think the power of the blogosphere is overrated, to be honest. And I personally think even if we thought Tomorrow had any sort of power, trying to "wield" it is like one of those Heisenberg uncertainty things: once we adopt a certain view or position, we become preachy and lose the momentum. And in any case, we all have fairly different points of view, so it would be hard to find a cause to unite on.

As individual bloggers ourselves, we are of course free to fight for whatever causes we want on our own blogs, and many of us do. So if you are saying "we particular people", it would probably be easier to reach out to those editors more simpatico with a point of view on an individual basis, because that strikes me as a lot easier than trying to get the full complement of Tomorrow editors to agree on anything.

So, yes, there have been discussions, albeit ones without a conclusion. Perhaps you might think this is an issue on which some definitive policy must be made; apparently the editors disagree. (As James noted, some of us may not see these issues as that important. To be honest, self-censorship is one of those terms I think gets bandied about too easily as a means of criticism. If I don't talk about something because I'm afraid it'll get me into trouble, I think that's self-censorship. If I don't talk about something because it doesn't interest me, how is that self-censorship?)

And thanks - yes, I rock :)