Today I had the pleasure of skyping with a Civil War class at Marquette University High School in Milwaukee. Chris Lese and his class have made good use of my blog over the past few weeks so I offered to spend some time with his students to field questions. In addition to utilizing the blog the class has read a chapter from David Blight’s book, Beyond the Battlefield: Race, Memory and the American Civil War and they are making their way through a critical evaluation of Ken Burns’s Civil War documentary. It’s always nice to see high school kids engaged in serious study of American history and it made for an entertaining and informative 45 minutes. I am planning on visiting with this class in person during my trip to Milwaukee in April for the annual meeting of the Organization of American Historians.
This morning I awoke to a pretty nasty private email from a reader who was disappointed that I did not take the time to respond. I certainly understand the frustration, but while I do my best to respond to as many blog comments as possible, I simply cannot respond to each and every private email that I receive. On average I receive somewhere around 20 emails a day and on some days it can double and even triple. It would be impossible for me to get anything constructive done if I responded to each and every email. That said, I do read your email messages and I do appreciate you taking the time to write. Thanks for your understanding.
As many of you know there are certain people that are not allowed to comment on this site. You are free to disagree with what I write here, but I expect that you do so in a respectful manner. This is my personal website and I set the rules. You are free to use your language of choice on other websites or on your own. Now, it seems that I may have been too quick to dismiss a comment that I thought had been authored by an individual who is banned from commenting on this site. More on why I believed this later, but first I give you Mr. Carl Roden’s version of the events in question.
The last thing I want to do is alienate a young adult who expresses an interest in American history. I’ve spent the past 12 years working to make history both exciting and relevant to high school aged students. With this in mind I want to offer a sincere apology to young Amanda. I encourage you to share your ideas on this site in the future if you are moved to do so.
Two things before I close: First, let me suggest that you change your email identification to something other than dixibytch. It is not fitting for a young Georgia girl. And I wonder if you can explain why your comment and that of Mr. Roden, who has been banned from this site, have the same IP Address? I found it strange that your first and only comment on this blog, which references Mr. Roden specifically, includes the same IP address.
Well, I am sure that it was just a coincidence, but I truly hope that you understand why your comment was edited. Best of luck with the second half of the school year.
Update: Dear Amanda, — It appears that the post in question was deleted from the Southern Heritage Preservation Group’s page, but just to show how sincere I am in my apology I include two screenshots below. Here is a link to the edited comment. Looks like Amanda gets around.
I truly appreciate that so many of you not only take the time to read this blog, but leave comments as well. You leave a lot of comments. All comments are moderated by me and I do my best to approve them as quickly as possible. I also do my best to respond to as many as possible. I may not go into great detail with my responses, but it is important to me to acknowledge your contribution to the site. Fortunately, I spend most of my day in front of the computer, but over the past few weeks I have been bombarded with comments. Something has to give.
While many of the threads function as a natural extension of the post more and more are moving much too far beyond the content of the post and in some cases involve nothing more than the hurling of mild insults back and forth. I am even growing impatient with certain contributors and I don’t like how it feels. I think what I need to do is find a happy medium between letting go of the discussion and directing it through the moderating tools that I have at my disposal. Don’t be surprised if I disable the comments feature every once in a while on individual posts and don’t expect that your comments will be approved right away if things begin to deteriorate between individual contributors. Perhaps a cooling off period will help.
Like I said, I thoroughly enjoy taking the time to read your comments. Thanks for your understanding.