Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Best Blogs for Commenters

The Canadian Blogosphere has been a bit list-crazy lately, and I thought I'd put forward my own.

Instead of a "Best Blogs" list, I decided to list the top blogs for commenters: the best places for discussion, where you won't get your head bitten off for stating a contrary opinion (at least by the blog owner). Generally the atmosphere at these blogs is conducive to discussion: not name-calling, bashing or immaturity in general. There are exceptions, so don't call me on it!

This list leans a bit left because I placed a higher value on blogs where dissension was not discouraged. I've had an abortion discussion or two on many of them, and I got to hand it to them, they kept it fairly sane.

I also attributed more value to blogs that have a decent readership, and a regular host of commenters.

So here's my list, in no particular order:

Neil McKenty.

You may remember Neil McKenty from his days as a talk show host in Montreal (He used to host McKenty Live on CTVin Montreal). Or maybe you've read one of his books.

But perhaps you haven't seen his blog. It's not a regular on the political blog circuit. It's an interesting place to drop by. He runs it like an open line show. He'll bring up a subject, put forward an opinion, then ask a question, just like in his days in broadcasting. So comments are not just welcome, but encouraged. They also deal with my favourite topics.

The Prairie Wrangler.

Olaf's blog is such a pleasure to read. Not only is he not blindly partisan, he can see both sides of an issue. And if you disagree with him, he won't treat you like the devil incarnate. There's often a lot of measured and thoughtful discussion there. I like the fact he's not especially liberal, especially conservative or especially anything, ideologically speaking. Apart from my social conservatism, I think of myself as not being anything in particular.

Werner Patels

Another generally non-ideological blogger. I've never seen him post a rude comment to any poster. I don't usually drop by for the read-- more for the atmosphere. On occasion, he can be blind to his own partisanship all the while claiming to be "independent"-- but it's one of his quirks.


Okay, so they've skewered me on more than one occasion in the Cornucopia Series. That notwithstanding, I've had some interesting discussions at that blog. Not all the commenters appreciate a right-winger over there, though, but the StageLeft and balbulican are decent folks.

Joanne's Journey

Joanne is nice to a fault. She'll bends over backwards to be nice, even to commenters who don't deserve it. If you're a nice commenter, and you like discussion, pay Joanne's Journey a visit.

Small Dead Animals.

The comments section of SDA is a bit of an unwieldy place. Not for the faint of heart. However, Kate is very tolerant of comments, and only censors in very extreme cases, so you can freely make your point. That's more you can say for a lot of blogs.

Abandoned Stuff.

Saskboy is a such a sweet sensitive boy. The worse they'll do to you over there is ignore you. I can't say I've ever seen him post anything the least bit abrasive,even if we disagree on just about everything.

Jason Cherniak.

Jason Cherniak has his flaws, but he keeps a fairly temperate comments section, at least the times I've been there. It's also very busy, which is nice. His writing style is also very readable.

Bow. James Bow..

I can't say that I've read his blog a lot, but the times I have been there, I've come away with the impression that James is a very pensive man and can take disagreement in stride.

Les idees de J.H.

Perhaps it's a bit unfair to list JH because he doesn't get that many dissenters to begin with. But his prose is very neat and precise, the kind you'd expect from someone who respects people with divergent points of view. J.H. doesn't vent, emote or froth: he coolly refutes: with logic and statistics and occasionally by the force of his own opinion. He doesn't get pissed off. He shows you why you're wrong.

Dawg's Blawg

He's very opinionated, but all-in-all respectful. I think his sense of respect comes from being conscientious of the flaws of those who share his ideologically left-wing stance. I also briefly met the man. He seems like a very nice guy.