I’ve been blogging since early November 2005 and have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. In December I posted a notice to my readers on the content and lack of sophistication of many of the comments that were both posted on the blog and/or sent to me personally. If I sounded a bit frustrated it was because many of the comments and especially private emails were both poorly written and exhibited very little basic knowledge about the Civil War or an ability to engage in a written dialogue. Apparently some of my readers saw the comments option as a way to voice the more emotional side of their interest in the war rather than anything that would offer me a chance to respond.
Over the past few months those comments have almost entirely ceased. This is a development that I both welcome, but did not anticipate. At one point I was actually considering getting rid of the comments option, but decided to stick it out. I’m glad I did. I’ve been keeping track of referrals to my blog and have arrived at two conclusions about my readers. A large number are college and university professors and students. I can also surmise that the rest of my readership is both college educated and/or well versed in American history. This means that narrowly-defined blogs such as mine are self correcting. My guess is that less sophisticated readers have little patience with the kinds of issues discussed on this blog. As I’ve stated before most Civil War enthusiasts do not approach this history in a critical way but instead tend to fall back on and enjoy the standard stories and faces. While I did engage a few of these readers early on, I tried to do so in a composed manner that gave them a chance to more carefully critique my posts. Most never responded.
Simply put, the overwhelming number of comments on this blog and the older blogspot site ( I do wish that I could have transferred the comments from that site) are written by well educated and intelligent people. That this site has proven to be attractive to such an audience is a pleasant surprise.