Comments rule

This blog has enjoyed tremendous success. That success – measured by the number of readers who visit this blog every day – is not just because of my posts. Instead, it’s driven mainly by your comments.

Many of your comments are informative. They are thoughtful. And they are insightful. In fact, many of them are better than the original post. That’s why they generate so much attention. And that’s why there’s such vibrant debate.

So naturally, I am deeply grateful for your comments.

That said, some of the comments have also been spiteful. They’ve been written with the sole intention of lobbing personal attacks at other people. Such comments distract our readers from the main issues; they compromise healthy discussions, and they suffocate constructive debate.

The prime minister and other public officials, including yours truly, have all been victims of abusive comments and personal attacks. Other prominent people and some commentators have also suffered. But, so far, I have not intervened; I have not moderated the comments. That’s because I did not wish to risk stifling any one’s views in any way. Plus, I strongly believe that, in the overall analysis, a free-for-all discussion space generates more good than harm.

However, the number of malicious comments intended to discredit people has increased sharply. Perhaps that’s because we’ve been discussing many more controversial issues. But then again, perhaps it’s the looming elections that is spawning the vitriol.

So I’ve decided to moderate this blog, more carefully, and more attentively. I am aware that I risk interfering in your views and how you express them. But I am also keenly aware that, left unchecked, personal attacks and vicious comments will crowd out other useful comments. And that the fruitful discussions we enjoy now will degenerate to meaningless noise.

That’s why I have decided to moderate all comments. But I will do so reluctantly. And with great hesitation.

Starting with this post itself, I will remove any comment that I think is abusive; that I consider to be a personal attack; or that is not directly relevant to the issue that I have raised.

On my part, I commit to actively engage in the discussions by interacting with you instead of just listening to you. If you would like to raise issues that are not directly relevant to my post, you may do so by emailing them to me – I’ll consider posting them as separate entries.

Thanks to your active participation, this blog has enjoyed tremendous success. Let’s work together, with dignity and mutual respect, to strengthen and build on that success.

 

I’m sorry

My blog has been giving me a lot of trouble lately. I haven’t been able to access my control panel. So that means that I haven’t been able to update posts or approve new comments.

I’m sorry if you’ve had trouble with this site. I’ll try to fix the problem as soon as possible.

On a happier note, it looks like my recent problems are due to the increasing traffic on my blog.

Lost

It’s been almost two weeks since my last entry. Some people have asked me why I’ve been quiet. On the other hand, “Linda Wangmo”, a regular reader, scolded me for spending too much time bicycling.

“Please do not waste time on our OLs blog….” advised Linda, “our dear OL is busy Bicycling and bicycling is every thing to him. It is now very clear that he will have no time for his blog and he would have no time to say what the government does….”

Yes, I have been cycling a lot recently, especially during the weekends. Last Saturday, some friends and I cycled to Lobesa and back. The Saturday before that, we cycled to Haa and back. And, we’ve already made it to Dochula and Paro several times.

Why this sudden interest in long-distance cycling? Because the people I’m biking with, plan to bicycle from Bumthang to Thimphu in one day. And I plan to join them!

But that’s not the reason why I haven’t been updating my entries regularly.

In fact, while I’ve appeared inactive, I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about this website – wondering if we’ve been constructive, questioning the quality of our discussions, and inquiring if we’ve made any difference.

Yes, I’ve been doing some soul searching … and in that respect, “Madman”, who asked if I was lost, is quite correct.

Monsters!

tashi's monster

You would have noticed that avatars of monsters now accompany your usernames. The monster IDs are automatically generated. And they are unique to you (as long as you use the same email address.)

I’ve unleashed the monsters because none of you were using avatars. I hope you like them. But I hope you eventually create your own avatars!

When it comes to usernames, however, it’s a completely different story…

Early followers of this blog will remember that on the original site, readers could post comments anonymously. You can still do that. But, whereas you didn’t even need to use a username in the original site, now, as you know, you cannot post a comment without a username.

There are two reasons for this: One, to allow you to create a unique identity, so that other readers can follow your comments easily. And two, to build a sense of community among our regular readers.

We have met our goal. We have a rich community of usernames. Many of you now apparently use your real names like Kinga, Ugen, Tashi, Tshering, Pema, Dorji, Drugda, Penjore, Tenzing, Thinley, Lobxang and Zekom.

And some of you even use your complete names: Dorji Phuntsho T, Sonam Tobgay, Dago Tshering, Abi Narayan and Tashi P. Ganzin are examples. While others, like Tchoden, Samdrups and SonamG, prefer to abbreviate your names.

Many of you have adopted interesting usernames. Here are a few, chosen at random from recent comments:

Usernames that give clues to where their authors hail from: Shingkhar, Tangba, Dungsamkota, Haap, Sombey, Phuentsholing.

Usernames that describe their authors: Wise Old Man, True Dukpa, Guardian, Critic, Observer, Keen Observer, Citizen Man, Seer, Pazab.

Usernames that call for specific values: Thadamtse, Truth, Ethics

Usernames that for action: Practicing GNH, Yes We Can

Usernames that communicate emotions: Amused, Fuse, Bull Chakpa, Hopeless, Yalama, Guluphulu, Twister

Usernames that describe their professions: Tashel Laglenpa, The Writer, Expert, Confused Civil Servant

And, of course, usernames that are used by the truly anonymous: Unknown, Anonymous, Guest

Why I’ve been lazy

Three reasons why I’ve been less than diligent with my posts recently:

  1. The National Assembly is in session;
  2. The World Cup is on; and
  3. My cough persists. It refuses to go away, and has kept me, and my family, awake for many frustrating nights. But, countless home remedies and two ill-advised rounds of antibiotics later, good sense eventually prevailed – I consulted a physician. The specialist ordered a sputum culture, identified the offending bacteria, prescribed the right antibiotic, and, just like that, I’m already feeling better.

Unrestrained Truth

Two readers – Truth and Linda – went “off topic” on a recent post. “Truth” raised an issue that was totally unrelated to the post. “Linda” suggested that we should have a way of allowing readers to initiate new topics for discussion. And I agreed.

I’ve thought about it. And rather than incorporating an online forum in this blog – we already have Kuenselonline and Bhutantimes.com for that – I suggest that you send, by email, a short written account of the topic that you’d like to draw our attention to.

But please permit me to review your contribution before posting it as a separate entry.

Most popular posts

You might have noticed a new panel in the sidebar. The new feature automatically identifies the most popular posts in this blog. The idea is to draw attention to topics that have received the greatest number of your comments.

And I’m already thinking of adding another panel, one that will highlight some of the important issues that we discuss in this blog.

Housekeeping

About eight months ago, after I’d moved this blog from the earlier site, and revamped its design, one man, a close family friend, complained about the new format.

For me it is troublesome that I have to change all the time to another page after reading only a few lines of your statement. And, to be frank, I am not much interested in what other people are thinking and telling to each and every thing. However, I know that I am “out” in things like that.

I know that no layout is perfect. But, I’ve accepted that my previous one was especially troublesome, particularly for readers who visit only once a while. To read my latest few entries, for example, one would have to navigate several times between the home page and the pages that carry the full article. Troublesome.

So, after eight months, I’m heeding my friend’s advice, and am going back to the old layout. Even I find it convenient!

But, this blog is not just about me. Please click on the “comments” button, at the end of each article, as often as possible. Please continue to share your ideas, and debate issues.

The bigger purpose of this blog, after all, is to know about “…what other people are thinking and telling each…” other.

Retweeting

twitter-birdI’ve added a new feature in the sidebar that allows readers to see my most recent entries on twitter. Though I’ve been tweeting for about six months, I haven’t been very regular. This feature will encourage me to post “microblogs” more often. I hope you’ll find it useful.

Our new address

Abi at work

Able Abi

Welcome to your new site!

As promised, I’ve added a little bit of colour to this site. And I’ve changed the format slightly to make visiting this blog easier and, hopefully, more meaningful. But the site is not final – it’s work-in-progress. So please let me know what you think of it. And I’ll try to incorporate as many of your views as possible.

Actually my friend, Abi Narayan, will. He’s the one who has put in many hours to improve my earlier boring site. And he’s done it all for free.

Thank you very much, Abi.