Since going live in January, 2014 theBillyLeePontificator blog-site has been attacked twice, once by bots and once by people upset about some essays we posted.
My intention is to keep theBillyLeePontificator public. Anyone should be able to read an article or post a comment on theBillyLeePontificator.com. That’s the fun of open discussion, isn’t it?We can argue with one another in a safe place, where we are respected and hopefully appreciated, if not loved.
Regrettably, experience has shown that not everyone can tolerate the controversial nature of some content published on the Pontificator. For me to continue to write from the heart and with truth, I can’t be looking over my shoulder every time I write an unusual sentence or paragraph. I want to write with the excellent tools WordPress provides, so it’s not really possible to move controversial content to another site.
Because of my affiliations outside this blog, on certain subjects (like religion) I’ve learned I’m not free to present just any content I choose to the general public. I have obligations to people that transcend my constitutionally protected rights of free speech. And some content, based on personal experience, has upset some people.
It seems wise to password-protect content that is likely to annoy certain sub-sets of internet viewers. In this way, I can continue to write with enthusiasm, knowing that my family and close friends have access to controversial content while protecting others from their perceived obligation to police me. Think of the password-protected content as my private journal, not available to anyone but trusted confidants.
Having said all this, it is, nevertheless, upsetting to post password-protected articles on a public blog-site. It is unseemly, un-democratic, and distressing, at least for me. It saps the joy out of pontificating. It makes me want to never write another word. So much for writing with enthusiasm.
So, after a lot of thought, I’ve decided not to post password-restricted articles. If that means I never publish another article, so be it. No one is ever going to miss an article they’ve never read or even know exists. No one is ever troubled by what they don’t know. It’s like television—hundreds of channels but nothing on you care to watch. Who ever thinks, gosh, a lot of good stuff is out there, mostly in people’s heads; it’s just not produced on television?
Then again, I can foresee circumstances—like giving viewers I don’t want to offend a password-protected first look—where I suspend my policy against password-protected articles once in a while. Reasons to violate my own policies always seem to present themselves. The stress of making rules and then ignoring them is diminishing my ability to write well. I am experiencing fear.
I thought writing a blog during retirement would be fun. It hasn’t turned out that way. Not yet.
So what is it going to be? Will I publish password-protected articles, or not? I don’t know.
I wish people would leave me alone and just let me write. But traveling that route can lead to writing needlessly offensive articles. It can lead to broken affiliations and fewer friends. I don’t want that. Who does? Well… enough hand-wringing. Let’s move on.
Many readers will be happy to learn that the Pontificator does not publish last names or e-mail addresses unless you happen to be a public person, like an author or politician, for example. We respect your privacy, but we hope you will include your full name and email address when you post comments. Our avatar program assigns unique icons to your posts using this information. Once approved, we remove all personally identifiable information, like last names and email addresses, unless you make a point to ask to include them.
Practically speaking, this site is for family and friends. It has a tiny readership by internet standards, and I’m fine with that. We aren’t trying to change the world, though it may seem like it at times. We are trying to come to terms with it—the world and all its apparent shortcomings, its wonders and joys.
If you are not family or friend, I hope you will enjoy your status as a welcomed visitor and behave as you might expect those who visit a site you built for your family and friends. I believe everyone wants to be polite, considerate and tolerant of idiosyncrasies. We forget sometimes, when we feel strong emotions provoked by unfettered opinions. We’re human, after all.
Yes, we like to pontificate. We like to express our opinions about things we sometimes know nothing about and wax eloquent on the human condition, politics, religion, philosophy, science, whatever. Nothing written on the Pontificator is written in stone. Everything changes as we grow in knowledge and refine our understanding of whatever is before us.
You may find yourself in disagreement with a post or comment found here. We invite you to pontificate about it by posting a comment of your own. We review all comments to make sure they’re from humans and are written in English or French, the two languages I can read. If you are a human writing in French or English, we will post your comment.
Keep in mind the Pontificator has a PG rating policy. And yes, we ourselves have violated the policy once or twice. Speak freely. We encourage it. And permit us to speak freely, as well. It’s how we organize our thinking, achieve new insights and move forward to become better human beings.
Editors Note: on July 1, 2015 Billy Lee resigned his membership in the organization that tried to take control of his blog-site.