I’ve been sparing about blocking. I don’t like blocking, and I resented the hell out of it when I’ve been blocked: Nick Nicholas’ answer to Which people on Quora do you believe have blocked you unfairly, and why?
I have blocked two people (separate from the only two or three people I have muted), and I forgot the first one already. I remember he called me a coward, so I unblocked and said, OK, give me your best argument. It still didn’t end well, but… *shrug*.
The second one has a bit of an idée fixe about English Spelling Reform. I had a couple of encounters with him, and he started lumping me in as part of the problem of why Spelling Reform wasn’t happening, and I should be ashamed as a linguist that I wasn’t contributing to the solution instead of the problem. I kept counterarguing that there are in fact some positives to English Spelling; that it would be utterly impractical to fix it now, we lost our chance to in the 17th century; that the diversity of English phonologies means a pandialectal phonetic spelling just would not work. Nothing doing.
In the last exchange, this individual started holding me personally responsible for all the colonialist evils perpetuated by the Evil English, and getting, in my opinion, unhinged and personal. It really didn’t help that he was throwing his credentials around for his arguments, and I had more credentials than him.
After three or four exchanges, I decided: You know, I’m never going to have a constructive exchange with this guy, he just shits me, and he’s lumped me in with his grand conspiracy theory and deems me the enemy.
I am such a swell guy though that, even though I refuse to read a word this guy ever writes again, I have recommended him to another Quoran I esteem highly (hi Irene!), who also happens to be a fan of spelling reform.
Like I say, I use blocking sparingly. The more popular you get, the more at risk you are of getting into nasty exchanges, so I’m likely to block more in the future; but to date, I prefer shunning. There’s a Greek Revivalist who I’ve had some unpleasant encounters with a few months back (though it was all very schizo—he complimented me in other encounters, and we followed each other). He’s back, and I really dislike his stuff; but I’m preferring to avoid him rather than get into a situation where I have to block him. (Aziz and Dimitra, you know who I’m talking about.)