The Difference Between Reporting And Discussion
from the this-is-a-discussion dept
On a daily basis we tend to get a couple comments here or there from people who insist that I shouldn’t have written a certain post. Some of them are from the small group of folks who make sure to complain about every post here (what a life they must lead). Others are from people who like some of the stuff I write, but get upset if I venture into a particular topic area. A common refrain on some of them are that I shouldn’t comment at all on certain topics because I’m not an expert in those topics or because they don’t fit into the categorization of what those people think this site is about. I have to admit, I’ve always found these comments slightly amusing and slightly perplexing. As I’ve said before, I view the posts on this site as a part of a larger conversation, not as any sort of “reporting” or journalism. When you have a conversation with friends/colleagues/strangers, you will almost always express an opinion on something perhaps without “fact checking” every last bit of it. And from that you learn.
Fred Wilson did a great blog post recently, where he discussed the same basic concept, pointing out how people complain whenever he dips into politics or healthcare — outside of his official realms of expertise. But he points out that it’s his blog and he sees no reason not to speak his mind:
I am not an expert in everything I write about. But that is not going to stop me from speaking my mind about things other than venture capital and web startups. It might annoy or piss some people off. It could even hurt our business because those people are less likely to do business with me or our firm.
But I’ve made the decision to put myself out there, speak my mind publicly, and say what I think. And I am going to continue to do it.
There are plenty of regular readers of this blog who don’t agree with me on most of my political views. People like Andy Swan, JLM, Dave in Hackensack, Steve Kane and many others. But they’ve never suggested that I shouldn’t speak my mind. They leave comments arguing that I’m wrong. And you know what? They’ve opened my mind to other viewpoints and I have to say that I am more open minded about their views than had they not taken the time to articulate them sensibly and articulately.
If you really think I am full of s**t, let me know in the comments, but please don’t suggest that I don’t have the right to speak my mind. We live in an open society where everyone has this right.
And that’s exactly how I feel as well. I really enjoy the discussions held on this blog, and hope to actually expand them in the near future. At the same time that people complain about some of the topics I pick, others complain that we’re sometimes too narrowly focused on certain other topics. We’ve been discussing how to balance all of this, and I’m hopeful that we have some useful solutions coming up that will allow the topics under discussion here to expand, while still being engaging. But, no, not all of them will fit into what some people think this site has to be about — and most of them will be an effort at further discussion, rather than what people decide is “reporting.” But, just as we suggest that companies adapt to changing times, so too, do we hope to adapt and grow as well — all with the goal of adding more value (and not taking away value). We’re always looking to connect with fans, and we’d love to get your thoughts in the comments here on how best to cultivate more discussions.