Stephen Denbeste has an interesting reaction to the responses he gets to his posts - they've made him tired of the whole blogging game. Now, mind you, I attract a small percentage of the traffic that DenBeste does - there just aren't as many people who are fascinated by my insights into OO/Smalltalk/marketing as there are people who follow politics. Still, I have a small idea of what he's talking about. Whenever I post something that is critical of Sun and/or Java, I get a number of comments and email along the lines of "you're just bitter that Java ate Smalltalk's market". And whenever I post something critical of Microsoft, I get a similar number of "you're just a Microsoft basher" comments.
Now, maybe I'd react differently if I started getting the volume Denbeste gets... but I don't think so. In my line of work (Product Management, and before that, Sales Engineer/Consultant) you tend to get flack. The job is to go out and convince people that your product (Cincom Smalltalk, in my case) is the best thing since sliced bread, and you're going to take flack for that message. It more or less comes with the territory. Yes, the kinds of attacks that come from political posting are going to be nastier and more vituperative - but so what? To be blunt, if you can't take the heat that comes from expressing an opinion, how do you expect to convince anyone?
A question that often comes to me in email at this point is "well then, why don't you have a separate blog where you post about politics?" People who know me well know that I have fairly strong opinions in that field, and I spend a fair amount of my time exchanging email with people who do post on politics. There's a simple reason I choose not to enter that fray - I'm purposely trying to limit my public persona to Smalltalk, OO, and the technology business. If I started posting on politics, it would distract from the message I try to put out here. I suppose you could look at that as a cop-out, but it's not. It's enough work to argue over static/dynamic, live debugging, and the whole Smalltalk "image" concept without having some readers immediately discount what I say simply because they think my politics are wrong. If I'm going to have an argument in technology arena, I'd just as soon have that argument stay in the technology arena.
I hope Denbeste comes back to the blogosphere - I enjoy his writing, and I find pretty much everything he writes to be thought provoking. There's a phrase covering this situation - "don't let the a******* get you down". It's a good way to think about blogging.