‘Deleting your Blog is a dick move.’

A while back, -C posted On Blogging: A Selfish Message on his blog, Hack & Slash. Among other points, -C asks bloggers not to delete their blogs if they decide to give up blogging. He says, “Is it your right to do what you wish with your blog? Well, if you buy and own rare copies of books and then set them on fire, it may be legal, but it’s still a dick move.”
Thinking of specifics, well known bloggers like Chgowiz recently decided to get out of blogging. Chgowiz didn’t delete his whole blog, just some of it. I’m not going to speculate on his reasons for doing so, but everyone and his brother chimed in with an opinion over whether or not a blogger ought to delete their blog if they decide to leave the scene. I respect -C’s opinion, but feel differently on this issue. I think if a blogger decides to nuke their blog, for whatever reason (ranging from, “I’m sick of being criticized by strangers for some remark on my blog,” to, “I just don’t want to be bothered anymore“), we ought to just admit to ourselves that it is the blogger’s decision. If they want to come back, they will. If they don’t, well, enjoy it while it lasts and don’t forget to save a copy if you want to reference it in the future.
The advice that “if you put something up, you ought to leave it up because deleting it is a dick move” feels somewhat in conflict to the other frequently given bit of advice about life on the internet, which is, “No one is really your friend on the internet.” When I’ve gotten pissed of because of being trolled or harassed or annoyed by the behavior of other netizens, people have always been quick to point out, “Well, it’s your own fault for getting bugged because no one is really your friend on the web so that’s what happens.” The unspoken rule zero of the internet seems to be, “If you can’t stand the heat, you are too much of a pussy for the world wide web.” That might be true, but I still don’t like it.
If no one is really my friend on the web, then it shouldn’t matter if I yank my contribution anytime I feel like it, dick move or not. If, on the other hand, I owe people continued access to content I might have once made available, then I am being required to be ‘friend-like’ to other cyber people who are not my friend anyway — which seems like setting myself up for exploitation and disappointment.
So, which is it?

5 Comments on “‘Deleting your Blog is a dick move.’”

  1. Peter says:

    I have internet friends. And you can just turn off all commenting if you abandon a blog, too. So in general I'd rather see people leave stuff up.

    I was disappointed with ChigaoWiz's decision to nuke some stuff. I had only just found his blog and started reading, and now much of it is gone – including stuff I read once and meant to go back to again. So that's sad to me . . . one of his play examples was something I linked to for my players to read and now it's gone, and down too fast for me to find it and copy it.

    That said I've taken stuff down from the net, but mostly passively – my Geocities webpage went down, and I never put that stuff back up. I used to maintain a GURPS 3e page, and it went down and I didn't put it back up.

    I get annoyed by people on the web all the time, but if even one person is still getting some use out of my material, I prefer to leave it up. They may not all be my friends, but some are (in “real life” even, if that distinction is still important). If the troll-to-friend ratio gets too high, yeah, turn off the comments and don't look at them.

    Just my opinion, and you can quote this back to me if I ever threaten to delete my crappy blog.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Web archives makes all the crying one way or the other a moot point.

  3. Limpey says:

    Yeah, well, one of the reasons I am thinking about it is that I currently have 2 blogs and that is one too many (and, according to some of my detractors, 2 too many. I'm thinking of moving all content to one or the other, which will probably deprive the people who follow only the blog that gets shut down, but such is life… we all have to make sacrifices.

  4. Matt Finch says:

    This is the sentiment I agree with, which is also why I didn't have much to say during the discussions about deleting blogs. I think the blog belongs to the blogger. I see -C's point, but I would phrase it much, much more lightly: it's NICE to leave your blog up, but it's not a dickish move to take it down, either.

    Possibly the one exception to this in my mind would be a blog that has been used for a long time like a discussion forum where many people have posted long and well-thought-out comments. At this extreme end of the spectrum I'd have some hesitation as the blogger — not about deleting my own blog, but about deleting the comments along with it. Even there, though, we're talking about a courtesy to the commenters rather than to the internet at large. There's no duty to the public at large to keep a blog available, IMO.

  5. Telecanter says:

    While it may be true that the obnoxious, mean, and trollish are the loudest most common denizen of the internet it seems like a bleak, exhausting proposition to live as if it were true.

    Some of us out here are interested in your art and what you have to say. We might post on our blog about something you've said or made. We might make comments on your posts. Once you've gone past a certain amount of involvement in our little community conversation, deleting your stuff affects more than just you, it leaves lacunae in our whole conversation.

    I think Americans are too fixated on individuality and owning things. My ideas didn't spring from a vacuum. I should take responsibility about what I say but do I really own it once it's been said? If you've heard my idea can I force you to forget it or pay me a royalty every time you think of it? I think only Americans have the audacity to try and make this a reality.

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