I'm hoping to diffuse a new social law, which I'd like to call "Bradley's Law," into the blogosphere. I'm hoping that nobody else has already articulated this law and named it after himself.
"Bradley's Law" goes something like this:
"If, in the course of commenting on any particular blog article, a commentator exceeds 600 words cumulatively in either defense of or rebuttal to a published article, that commentator must cease commenting and write an article in response to the piece that has provoked so many words from him, and publish his own article."
I think that a cultural acceptance of this law would do the blogosphere a great deal of good. Just imagine: Instead of commentators writing voluminous responses to thoughtful pieces (I've seen 1,5000-word comments submitted for approval on Ethika Politika...that's just wrong), commentators can begin their own blogs and gather their thoughts together in a coherent, responsible, non-anonymous way, and put their thoughts out for others to assess.
A friend once told me about a similar comments-law that declares, "The moment you compare your interlocutor to the Nazis, you de facto lose the argument." He also mentioned a corollary: "There is direct correlation between the length of a combox and the chance that somebody in that combox will liken a foe to the Nazis."
There might be names for these laws too, I don't remember. But I laughed when my friend told me about them because anyone silly enough to take time to read long comment strings knows how true these laws are.
So, help me spread Bradley's Law around the internet, and abide by it religiously. Pass this article along to friends. If somebody else has already claimed this law under his name, that's fine; I simply ask that you participate in restoring some meaningfulness to the exchanges that good articles ought to evoke.