Blawgers and the Inquisition

The Tribunal in the Inquisitor's Palace in Birgu, Malta

Is blogging an inquisition of a sort? (Photo: The Tribunal in The Inquisitor's Palace in Birgu (Vittoriosa), Malta)

Emotions appear to have been running high on Twitter and the Blawgosphere following publication of my last post. I managed to avoid becoming too embroiled in the Twitter exchanges over it as I was offline for most of the week holidaying in Malta.

Whilst I was in Malta I visited The Inquisitor’s Palace in Birgu (Vittoriosa). On one of the displays a panel informed that the Inquisition took it upon itself “to communicate the truth, fight ignorance and heresy”. This made me wonder whether modern day blogging was an inquisition of a sort.

Through comments to an original blog post and other blog posts written in response, an inquisition can take place where the reader (who can seek to draw out facts through the comments section) is perhaps left to judge where the truth lies.

Lawyers in the UK are used to an adversarial judicial system and this perhaps lends itself well to blogging. In any court case there are two opposing views that battle it out. You must become hardened to the fact that, as a lawyer, you will not necessarily win every argument and must be gracious in defeat.

As a blawger you must be prepared to be put in the stocks from time to time with other blawgers hurling comments at you that you may find to be rotten.

Blawger in The Stocks

Please... not another rotten comment! (Photo: Brian Inkster in the stocks at the Mdina Dungeons, Malta)

Like in a legal case you can lesson the chances of this happening by ensuring that there is as little as possible in your blog post to take issue with. In a civil court case proceedings commence with written pleadings (in Scotland we call it the Initial Writ). Sometimes that Initial Writ is produced hurriedly, perhaps to ensure that the action is raised before it becomes time barred and in the knowledge that the pleadings can be adjusted before a hearing date is fixed.

If the Initial Writ is produced hurriedly it will be less exact and more likely to be open to challenge when the Defenders lodge their written defences. If, however, time and effort is spent at the outset on that Initial Writ it will be less easy for the Defenders to immediately pick holes in it.

So lawyers should perhaps utilise their skills in drafting written pleadings when preparing a blog post and ensure that there is little for other blawgers to attack. Otherwise be prepared for criticism – you will have no one to blame but yourself.

p.s. If you get a DM via Twitter Saying “So I guess there’s a bad blog going around about you, seen it ?”, or similar, then don’t worry that you have been put in those stocks. It is a hacker trying to hack you. Don’t click on the link. Or am I missing seeing lots of bad blog posts about me? 😉

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