Modified from a comment on the Times Standards’ recent opinion piece.

Some people who comment anonymously on blogs misuse the option. Recently Richard Marks on his Samoa Softball blog wrote a beautiful piece that made my throat ache. Most people commented thoughtfully but a few made such inane, mean-spirited responses that I was disgusted.

I would prefer bloggers to remove comments like that. They shouldn’t delete statements just because they disagree with them but, in the same way a muralist would remove senseless graffiti splattered on her art, I would get rid of outright slander and pure nastiness.

However, the meaning of the blog is not destroyed by a few poor comments. Eric’s SoHum Parlance for example is extremely informative on local and larger political issues. Many of his readers add to the conversation his posts offer. Yes, there are rude and senseless comments. I skip them. I would prefer he deleted them but, it is better he leave them rather than not allow comments at all or, worse, only allow ones he agrees with.

The Times Standard’s editorialist made the statement that if “you don’t [know what a blog is], you aren’t missing much.” He is mistaken.

Blogs quickly respond to the news in ways that most traditional sources aren’t flexible or timely enough to do.

Blogs allow conversations on common ground between widely divergent groups so that Rose’s WatchPaul might be oriented very politically different from my own views but her appreciation of Rambling Jack’s photos echo my own feelings. This creates respect and understanding between groups.

Blogs provide a venue for writers to reach readers on a wonderfully intimate basis.

And, finally, blogs provide a voice for small groups within communities that might not otherwise be heard.

So if you don’t mind a little muck, check out the Journal’s Pipes. I guarantee you’ll find at least one local blog that impresses you!

Tip of the hat to Heraldo for pointing out the Time Standard piece.

Also, if you have lots of time, Myrtletown has a wonderful compendium of 130 local blogs!