I've kind of taken my blog-reading habits for granted at work. Sure, I procrastinate, but so what? I get everything done in the end, and my bosses have complained to me about some problems when they have come up, so if they haven't said anything about deadlines recently, I can assume they don't think procrastination is serious. I suppose waiting until it gets to the point of being a problem is the wrong attitude, but that's life. Sometimes I see the seasoned professionals reading sports news, or the eager rookie (admittedly, only slightly more junior than me) reporter writing e-mails on a personal account; if they can do that, I certainly can read political blogs at least a bit.
That's my attitude towards blogs as a procrastination enabler, buuut earlier today I got a wake-up call about a different problem. I was reading a comment thread on the Magic: the Gathering Web page responding to an article previewing a card from the upcoming set*. And some of the comments just blew my mind. They** were calling the writer a sellout for uncritically hyping this card. A weekly columnist for the company that makes these cards writes about the impressive aspects of a certain card on the company's Web site... and for this, he's a sellout. What the hell did those children expect? Some others were quick to pronounce this card far too overpowered and therefore bad for the game, within an hour of first seeing it***, but that "sellout" comment is what really stood out to me.
Stupidity is no surprise, of course, online or off. But I've been commenting on blogs less recently, partly because of how the threads go on the blogs I read most often. On some blogs, almost everyone agrees, so there's not much fun. On others, there are plenty of people who disagree with me, but they never change their minds or have good arguments of their own, so arguing with them is little more than looking for an opening for zingers. Except for on some blogs, where they are better at it than me. So I've slowly been losing interest in most of such discussions on blogs, and seeing a columnist get called a sellout for writing a column — "He's not being true to the art of what it really means to play the game!" — wow.
"Hi, I'm Cyrus, and I'm a textbook case of that joke about arguing on the Internet." Thankfully, I don't think I'll ever have to go to a Commentariat Anonymous meeting, but let's just say that a month ago it was more likely than it was yesterday, and yesterday it was more likely than it is today.
EDIT: Hmmm. This is the preview article and this is the comment thread, but I only see one ad hominem attack on the author, and it's accusing him of laziness, not a lack of integrity. The only sign of what I thought I saw was this comment by a moderator saying that he has deleted "many" posts that were not "polite, respectful, and on-topic."
Well, not that it matters, and for all I know, the commenter(s) is(are) perfectly nice in real life, or I may have imagined the whole thing. At this point, it's only worth the update in case any of my Magic-playing friends are curious about the card that set this whole thing off.
* I'll try to remember to link to it after work, but that seems too non-work related for even me to go to while at my desk.
** I think I remember at least two people saying something like this on that thread, though it might have been only one with this specific complaint.
*** Forget theory, how does it play? It is indeed similar to a famous and powerful card, but there's a big difference; exactly how important is that difference? What is the rest of the set like? Hell, what is the set following this one like?