Lets talk... please!

About 2 months ago, I started an Afrikaans blog on Blogger, but then moved it to Wordpress as that seemed to be more popular amongst fellow Afrikaans bloggers. 

I immediately noticed the different attitude and habits of the bloggers in this Afrikaans environment.  Suddenly I was getting the "strangest" comments on my posts.  People actually disagreed with me on certain issues.  Comments became discussions.  Following comments on posts often became more interesting and entertaining than the original blog.  There is a vibrancy amongst the Afrikaans bloggers that I never experienced on my English blog.  I was quite taken aback in the beginning, but I soon came to enjoy these lively discussions and arguments that ensued after every blog. Admittedly, there are not so many comments on my posts yet, but discussions on the more established blogs sometimes last for days.

On Just I and Myself I am used to much more reserved comments.  Everybody is so polite and invariably agree with whatever view I post.  Compliments galore... and I am grateful for every one of them.

Yet I would not mind if people would disagree with me every now and again.  I live in a small town with a very conservative lifestyle and basically a very narrow outlook on life, and I know that there are other people out there with other lifestyles and cultures and outlooks and visions and I have a longing to interact with them to learn from them.  However, if everybody agrees with me all the time, I will never be challenged to think wider than my little pinpoint on earth.

Surely a person's intelectual and emotional growth starts at birth and only stops with death.  This kind of growth can only sprout if it receives enough nutrition in the form of healthy debate. If we only communicate or interact with those who agree with us and thinks like us, we will never be challenged to consider other possibilities and will become stagnant in our growth.

For myself, I want to be exposed to other ideas.  I want to know how people differ from me.  I want people to be honest if they disagree with my opinion.  I want to test new ideas against other people's ideas.  You might just know something that could change or enrich my perception or understanding of a matter, situation or incident.

This however does not mean that I want to fight or become angry with people, no, not at all.  What I want is to learn from other people's experiences and their more advanced knowledge.  So come on guys, if you think that what I wrote is nonsence, tell me.  If you have any additional ideas on what I wrote, tell me.  If you have a similar story, tell me.  If you disagree, tell me. Lets talk about it and learn from one another, and enjoy one another's differences and eccentricities.


Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

If I ever disagree with you, I'll let you know. I usually politely let people know my opinion.

Interesting finding you've made! Very interesting.

Deborah said...

Do you think the different dynamic in the Afrikaans' blogs is due to cultural factors, or because of the personalities involved? It's my observation that many bloggers tend to flock together with others of similar interests and personalities. Is the blogging circle you're part of a diverse one or a meeting of similar minds?

I'm all for discussion/diverging points of view if the topic is interesting and stimulating to me, but many blog posts are not really geared to discussion. Relatively few blogs that I've come across invite a open-ended discussion as they are either anecdotal, informational or diary-type blogs.

It's true that many of us (me included, often) tend not to comment in a way that is other than simply affirmative, but it very much depends on the tone and content of the blog, more than who is doing the commenting, I think.

I'll check back for your response!

DUTA said...

Quite often I find that comments are more interesting than the post.
I like blogs where there's a flow of ideas and even a debate.

I've noticed , however, that to write on politic and economic issues is problematic.
It's because people are 'touchy' about these matters and get easily offended in which case you'll feel hostility or they'll stop following your blog.

A human kind of human said...

Hi Sandy, I will have to find something that you disagree with, something like chocolate is bad for you (lol), just to experience your polite disagreement.

Hi Deborah, your comment has just proven my point. I think it is the longest comment that I have ever received on a post - thank you. (Oh dear, maybe my posts are just so boring that they do not call for longer comments).
Cultural sounds right to me, but I am not sure about the personalities. We have from very serious to absolutely sille personalities all pitching in. It is not only when we differ that discussions happen, sometimes someone would just tell a funny story and it turns into a "you know something similar happened to me..." kind of discussion. Sometimes someone will obviously "misunderstand" some or other statement and it will turn into a hilarious play of words. It is all very relaxed. The content of the posts definitely has an influence. In fact what first brought the difference to my attention was when one of my daughters told me that I sound like two different people in my blogs! I am not as relaxed when writing in English, partly because it is my second language and partly because I write for a different readership (is there such a word?). Oh my soul, I am busy writing another post here it seems. So let me give someone else a chance now.

A human kind of human said...

Hi Duta, Politics and economy? Those are specifically two of the subjects I'd like discussion on. Believe me, politics and economy in Israel differ completely from that in SA, or the USA, or Canada, or wherever. Discussing it will teach us more about the living conditions and lifestyles in other countries, communities and cultures. We do not have to critisise one another, we can just tell how we experience these things in our environment. If I am not mistaken, the two of us have already disagreed on a thing or two, but I have no plans of staying away from your blog and you are still with me, after all this way we are widening our understanding of two very different countries and cultures.

Argent said...

I think Deborah made a good point when she said that bloggers of like mind tend to flock together. That being the case, there is a little less room for disagreement. I think there is a strong cultural element here: no one wants to give offence by saying something argumentative or disagreable. I myself will stay silent rather than say something contentious, partly becuase I don't have as much time as I would like to follow up all these interesting debates. I often wish that commenters would say something other than "I agree" or "what a nice post" type things. But then I should do the same, eh? Sorry for rambling on.

A human kind of human said...

Oh Argent, not sorry but thank you for rambling on. I agree that time plays a big roll. I often wish I had more time to spend on blogging, especially on reading comments and replying.
"no one wants to give offence by saying something argumentative or disagreable" Don't you see, this is just it. How will I know that I am giving offence if I do not understand the other person's culture, circumstances or outlook. I won't mind if you ask if I feel this way or that way about something or if you tell me how you react to something in the UK if it differs from the way we do it here in SA. In fact, I would love to know how you feel. I do not mean that we have to be argumentative in our responses, just interested, or am I being naive and hoping for the impossible. For instance, I am not a Terry Pratchett fan, but my son is and I would love to know why you find his books fascinating (I also enjoy his writing, but normally get a bit bored halfway through the book, because I am such a serious old prune, just ask Smoke). Talk about rambling on...

Kirsty said...

Where is your Afrikaans blog? I left SA before I started it in school, and have never had the opportunity to learn it properly as my family is predominantly English, though I have a Tweetalige woordeboek on my desk, and a whole CD set for learners, so no excuse! Perhaps if I had some regular reading to do...! Do send me the url! (kirstyjean@googlemail.com)

JD said...

I just wrote about a similar topic in Chapter 28 of my Proverbs study! Although the topic our both of posts is a bit different, I agree with your thoughts wholeheartedly.

I learn so much from interaction and conversations from others, and I seek growth -- I am uncomfortable with debates, but I appreciate opportunity to learn wisdom and to see through the eyes of another for a different perspective, a fresh point of view.

My blog posts have become very dry to my readers in the past few months, perhaps because of the intensity of my spiritual journey, perhaps for another reason, I don't know... and while I miss the conversation, I write about what's on my heart... I wouldn't be me if I didn't.

I am not afraid to disagree with others, provided it's done with kindness and love -- but often, the blogs I read are from people whose hearts sing a similar song, so there's little chance of a disagreement taking place!

Love your post... so glad you shared.

A human kind of human said...

JD, I know I did not leave comments on your Proverbs posts,but I read them all and some really gave me new insight into what they are actually saying. Your blog is pure inspiration to me in my own walk with God. Your growth in Christ is amazing if one reads some of your first posts of (I think) around 2005 and then you read the posts over the last couple of months. I wonder if you realise how few people ever manage to reach the level of forgiveness that you have reached. I am not sure I could ever do what you did. But oh dear, there I go again, writing and writing about everything but what this post was about. Just one more thing, have you ever considered publishing your story?

Deborah said...

I had to laugh when I read your response to JD's comment - when once again you apologized for going on and on. But dear human, this is exactly what you seemed to be asking for! Your part of the discussion is every bit as important as ours, and your going 'on and on' as you call it, is just the natural continuation of the conversation.

I very much agree with what Argent said about holding back partly because of a reticence to contentious, and partly because there isn't always enough time to follow up with things. Lately I've seen this kind of sentiment expressed in other places, how people would like to have more than the 'Lovely post! Enjoyed that!' comments, which are what people say when they don't have more time or just don't know what to say.
So because of your post I will take this to heart, and not let myself be bound by niceness.
Had you not said English isn't your first language, I would never have guessed it. And yes there is such a word as 'readership'.
I was also glad to have a bit more light shone on what your Afrikaans posts are like. It gave me a better picture of what you'd like to see happening here.

Dimple said...

I like this. Sharing different points of view is wonderful, even if there are disagreements aired. What I can't stomach is when it turns into a fight (I remember you said you didn't want that!). And after reading these comments, I think perhaps you are achieving your goal!

PhilipH said...

Maybe we 'disagree dimplomatically' so to speak.

Or perhaps some prefer not to comment adversely and thus make no comment.

I contribute to the BBC website 'Points of View' which discusses BBC tv programmes.

Some people on that site make such idiotic statements that my response is bordering on agressive. A few of my offerings have been blocked by the moderators because I was so inflamed at times. I am now more careful, but still argue my corner.

A human kind of human said...

Deborah, you are right, I am a bit silly aren't I?

Hi Phillip, thanks for joining this conversation. I cannot tell you how much I am enjoying it. As for your comments on the BBC programs, it is a good thing I do not know of a site where we can do that on our own SABC programs or I would have been in deep trouble already. I also sometimes tend to make comments on the spur of the moment and then I have to go back and apologise later (lol). I have found that humour can be used very well to get your message over, but oh dear, sometimes the person reading your comment has no sense of humour and then, Hiroshima all over again - a big explosion(hahaha).

leilani said...

I think you have found the difference between HOME and a friends HOUSE! we say what we feel to family... we watch what we say to friends because of their feelings! Its not bad.. its just a form of respect and caring. How wonderful your new blog considers you family!!!

Nicole said...

Your post makes me laugh because I will never comment on someone's blog if I disagree with what they have written. I don't want to upset them if my opinion should differ so I just don't say anything at all. I can only think of one time I wrote something that differed and that was because what was written was grossly false and almost delibrately so.
From now on if I disagree with you I'll let you know!

And has your grandbaby come yet?!

A human kind of human said...

Hi Leilani, I like the way you use HOME and HOUSE to express it. I think it has a lot to do with the way you comment. I find that even when I am writing posts, it also plays a role.

Nicole, I am looking forward to our first "disagreement" - lol. I am sure I can learn a lot of new ideas from you. Grandson has not arrived yet. I wonder if he knows how impatient we all are. If daughter-in-law does not go into labour by Tuesday, the doctor will do a C-section. Acoording to sonars, Baby already weighs 4kgs and she is quite a small woman. So by Tuesday evening at the latest, he will be here.