It has been more than two months since I have posted anything at The Daily Bell website. During this time, I have rarely visited the site even to read an article; however I would occasionally check on a Saturday to see what Anthony Wile has written, or on a Sunday to see if there is an interview of note.
Yesterday, I did just this.
Imagine my surprise when I noticed the following statement in place of the comments section:
Effective April 25, 2012, the Daily Bell will discontinue allowing feedback comments. We have left in place the large body of responses posted in the past, as we appreciate the valuable contributions made by some of our readers.
This is an end of an era…at least for me. It is significant enough that I feel I should memorialize it in some manner.
I don’t remember how I first came across the site – likely it was from a posting at LewRockwell.com. I remember enjoying the first post I read, and regularly made it a habit to read the daily articles. Fairly quickly, I began to post comments – many of my more substantial comments are also posted here at this site. The board was wide open, at the time not even requiring a registration to post a comment. I found the dialogue in the comments to be as worthwhile as the articles. This is rare in any such community, and likely unheard of in an open site. Many participants felt the same.
In this community, I learned a great deal: from what I read, in thinking through what I wanted to write, and in defending what I had written. Through the generosity of Anthony Wile, I had found a platform with reasoned and intelligent dialogue, and where I could stretch my ability to reason and communicate.
The host had a very difficult job – to try to find a path that allowed the most free-flowing conversation while still maintaining some sense of integrity in the community. Certainly, there was the occasional bad apple posting to the board – there was even one full-time troll! However, there were many wonderful, regular contributors: John Danforth, Lila Rajiva, Leonardo Pisano, NAPpy, and many others. There was more pleasure in the interaction and feeling of community than in the reading.
I mentioned earlier that I stopped posting over two months ago, and irregularly visited the site in that time. I cite April 25 as the end of an era at The Daily Bell, but it strikes me as just the concrete date to an abstract idea (at least for me). I had occasionally stopped interacting in the community before. Usually it was for the reason that the interaction was difficult in some manner. Once in a while, I found myself getting too engrossed in some issue, and I felt a break was necessary. More often it was because of my views about the dialogue, that it had become too abusive in some manner. This was certainly true two months ago.
Throughout this time I reflected on the likelihood of my continued participation. I would occasionally read the comments. While there was still the occasional great post, the discussion was nothing like what it had been in the past. In fact, many of the participants that made the site a worthwhile visit had long since disappeared.
This is why I view April 25 as the concrete date to an abstract idea. The comments section some time ago ceased providing the enjoyment to me that it did in the past – not that anyone owed me anything, however the flip side is I didn’t have to participate where I didn’t find the same value, either. But as of April 25, the comments section has gone away altogether. While I have no idea why Anthony Wile has made this decision, it seems a fitting end to an era that in some ways passed a long time ago for me.
Although I have not participated in some time, it still is a sad occasion for me. The Daily Bell offered to me, in some ways, a place for me to cut my teeth. If not for The Daily Bell, I likely would not have started this blog. There truly was an environment in which ideas outside of the mainstream could be discussed openly, within a community that was willing to explore.
For this reason, I feel its passing should not go unnoticed by me.