More on the increasing influence of blogging in the religious world today.
Gil Student, author of the highly successful Orthodox blog Hirhurim, writes:
In the old days, before blogs became more mainstream, you could express your opinions freely. If I thought a rabbi wrote an article demonstrating ignorance and dishonesty with sources, I showed that it was the case (albeit with nicer words). I can't do that anymore. The old blog crowd had thick skins. The new blog crowd includes people who are highly sensitive and will complain.
Instead of criticizing ill-conceived articles, I usually just ignore them because otherwise I will get an angry e-mail from the author or one of his students. Then I will get an e-mail from one of his colleagues asking me to reconsider his arguments with a more open mind. Who has time for those discussions? Even if I am wrong, people are allowed to be incorrect every once in a while.
While I could ignore the e-mails, sometimes they come from people who are too important to ignore -- people I respect highly for one reason or another. And some people even call me at home or at work, trying to make me squirm until I change my post. Who wants that? (For the record, I find those calls so off-putting that I usually become entrenched and refuse to budge. A phone call is the best way to get me to refuse your blog-related request.)
But what are we complaining about? The success of blogs in general and our blogs in particular. What all this really means is that blogs have become a part of serious conversation in the community and we have to reflect that new circumstance. If people are complaining about your writing, it is because they are reading it and taking it seriously.
...and know that other people are reading it and taking it seriously too.