Well, that’s it…

By July 7, 2021History, Media

Dear All,

Fare you well,  commenters who do battle with each other almost every day, readers who simply read and have other lives to live, and occasional readers who write to me privately because they don’t want to be seen in public, so to speak. It has been fun writing the essays and not having to worry about what the editor might have felt. But it got to be a bigger and bigger job as the readership grew, and especially when tempers flared in the Comments. And it actually cost money to maintain the site, as well as an increasing amount of time and energy. I gave all the reasons why I decided to stop some weeks ago. That produced a small volley of requests from people who paid me lovely compliments, but wanted me to keep going. Sorry, people.

The site stats tell me that I wrote more than a thousand essays (averaging 1100 words) in the nine years the site has been up, and they produced more than 36,000 comments (my own responses numbered 1759). My estimate is that I wrote rather more than a million words in those essays, and that not quite a million ‘reads’ occurred over the nine years. I wouldn’t claim a readership of a million, because many people, especially the frequent commenters, went back to the same essay with further contributions as arguments developed. The largest number of comments occurred years ago — more than 2,000, over a piece about Aboriginality that was picked up by Andrew Bolt and effectively run again. He didn’t ask, and I didn’t have to approve his doing it. It was a surprise. But so what?

Three quarters of the readers have been Australian, with the USA, the UK, New Zealand and Canada providing most of the rest. When I last looked there had been readers from more than fifty countries. To my surprise, and this is old data (I can’t find its present-day equivalent) the readers have been about equally divided between those below and above fifty, while men have greatly outnumbered women. How my platform knows these things is a mystery to me.

When I wrote for The National Times(1971 to 1983) I received a couple of death threats over essays I wrote about abortion. You only have to receive one to have your life turned upside down for a while. I never received any such harassment from what I wrote on the website, though I was taken to court by an aggrieved reader about what he thought were personal insults. They weren’t at all, and the unhappy reader dropped the case anyway. On the contrary, the great majority of comments I have received about what I have written have been favourable, or at least positive.

So, to repeat, the site will remain open for the next month as a sort of public service. I’ll have to moderate what is posted there to stop it being hijacked. When I know how anyone can get access to essays and comments I’ll provide that information.

With every good wish to you all,

Don

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the discussion 26 Comments

  • Stu says:

    Farewell, take care of yourself and enjoy your leisure, it is time well earned. I enjoyed your National Times articles all those years ago as I have enjoyed the writing here in more recent time. If I have occasionally transgressed and offended you I sincerely apologise again. Keep warm in your Canberra bolt hole and stay away from Covid. All the best and keep up the writing of the novels if nothing else.

  • spangled drongo says:

    Thanks Don for all your wonderful essays that always accurately summed up this crazy world. We will all be the poorer for your departure. I hope I haven’t been too much of an embarrassment for you while I certainly have enjoyed commenting. All the very best for the future.

  • Mike Burston says:

    Don, many thanks for your commentary over the years. You’ve clearly moved in circles I can only dream about and become in my mind a valued mentor, yet the internet makes it possible to correspond with people such as yourself which makes up for my insular situation somewhat.

  • Grahame McCulloch says:

    Cheers Don

    Heterodox and contrarian. A simple prose style applied to complex issues produced clarity. Always enjoyable to read.

    And I disagreed with about 80% of it!

    I assume you are not now responding to comments.

    Good luck and best wishes

    Grahame McCulloch

  • Bryan Roberts says:

    Vale.

  • Grahame McCulloch says:

    Don

    Contrarian and heterodox. Simple prose applied to complex issues always produced clarity.

    And I disagreed with about 80% of it.

    Good luck and best wishes.

  • Aynsley Kellow says:

    Thanks for gracing the public square – and all the best for the future.

  • Boambee John says:

    Don

    Thank you for the thought provoking essays. They have been an education to me, to me, even when I didn’t agree with your position.

    Enjoy your additional time for relaxation and family.

    Best wishes.

  • John Nicol says:

    Thank you Don for being the great Australian that you have been. Your name has been in the forefront of much that I been interested for many many years. My working days at James Cook University I knew of your work in many fields related to education and research. You have been and still are, a great Australian to whom we are all much indebted. Thank you and good bye.

  • Thanks Don for all that you wrote even though I have not read all of it. Of late I have not been paying that much attention but I still appreciate that you were there. I wish you well and I hope you are able to visit the Kingston group.

  • Peter Bobroff says:

    There is always a place at lunch for you, Don.

  • Chris Warren says:

    Don – you have certainly helped me learn a lot about global warming and the tactics and quality of various participants in debate cum argument.

    So ‘the carnival is over’? Well, this may be appropriate. If trends continue this will be the fate of humanity.

    Even those who focus on Spencer’s LT data must now see a clear global warming trend.

    In 2017 Spencer cited global trend at 0.12. It is now [2021] 0.14. This in just 4 years.

    In 2017 Spencer cited SoPol trend at 0.00. It is now [2021] 0.02. This in just 4 years.

    In 2017 Spencer cited Aust trend at 0.16. It is now [2021] 0.18. This in just 4 years.

    Well, that is it … after all.

  • John H says:

    Thanks for everything.

  • Doug Hurst says:

    I endorse Peter Bobroff’s comment: there is always a place at lunch for you Don. All the very best.

    Doug

  • Neville says:

    Don I hope you have more time to fully relax and enjoy your friends and family and I’m sure you’ve made me think more clearly about climate and how lucky we are to be alive today.
    Sure their WOKE garbage + other L W delusional nonsense can be hard to stomach, but given enough time I’m sure most people will eventually start to wake up.
    All the best Don.

  • Aert Driessen says:

    Thanks Don. You might have left enough data for someone to analyse to determine just how effective common sense is in overcoming group think, on whatever topic. Might even lead to a PhD :-). Take care.

  • David Smith says:

    Thanks for your great vision on many subjects. The essays have been great.
    Take care.

  • Ian says:

    Don, I’ve enjoyed your measured, reasoned and conversational essays for many years. I’ll miss them now you’ve finally packed it in. All the best for the future.

  • Col Andrews (ColA) says:

    Always a pleasure to read your clear and concise thoughts Don, live long and prosper.

    Col Andrews

  • Wayne says:

    Don thank you for all your hard work and wonderful writings on this site. Certainly made me think, always enjoyed them., Loved the eloquence, clarity and perspective you brought.
    My best wishes and again, thanks.

  • Peter Kemmis says:

    Hi Don,

    We may well wonder about the impact we might have over our lifetimes, impact for good and ill and much in between. Maybe the bits in between don’t have much effect, but they are a part of our lives, and meaningful nevertheless. Your impact has been great and beneficial, through your career, colleagues, legions of friends, many hundreds of readers, and most importantly, family. Our sincere thanks to you.

    Aynsley Kellow’s quote from Pasternak is most pertinent to the question I have often wondered for myself: how much have I mattered? Thank you, Aynsley, and pardon my re-quoting it. “And what now? You have always been in others and you will remain in others. And what does it matter to you if later on that is called your memory? This will be you – the you that enters the future and becomes a part of it.”

  • DonA says:

    Thank you Don, you have been a point of contact that has been a stabilizing reference point in a world where so much is unsure. I could always return to you for the real truth. Goodbye live long and prosper.

  • Beth Cooper says:

    Thank you Don, for you fine essays and also what they have revealed about you, your departure leaves an empty space that can’t be filled. You are someone to try and be like in one’s own life. bts

  • Graham Young says:

    Dear Don, I will miss you. I rarely comment, but you are an old friend, and I’ve had much pleasure republishing many of your pieces when suitable. I feel a little as though I am talking to Bilbo Baggins. We will miss your cool commonsense and clear-sightedness, and despite the dry rationality of your prose there is a real emotional spirit and love lurking under it. Travel slowly to the Isles in the West. Middle Earth hasn’t done with you quite yet.

Leave a Reply