Social commons headed for tragedy?

· The Power of Many

Anil Dash (An unkind community) wonders if the tenor of (at least) the political blogosphere has reached a point of no return in terms of loss of civility and mob behavior (as when a popular political blogger “sics” his readers on someone espousing an unpopular viewpoint):

I wonder if there’s any other steps we can take to raise the standards of the weblog community so that we can expect more civil behavior. It’s clearly an issue that can only be solved by cultural change, but I find surprisingly few people who even see this as a problem, let alone any who want to see change.

I was on NewsRadio 7000 WLW in Cincinnati today and was asked how blogs will affect politics in the long run. Despite the polarization evident in this national election, I actually think that as more voices speak up, the dialogue can become richer and more nuanced.
The host of the interview, Bill Cunningham flattered me by calling me a “great American” and seemed every bit as interested in the way blogs were both able to question the veracity of the CBS / Dan Rather / Texas Air National Guard documents and to offer counterevidence to Vice President Cheney’s claim in his debate that he had never before met Senator Edwards.
Asked to name some influential political weblogs I pointed Cunningham’s listeners to Glenn Reynolds’ Instapundit, Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, and Markos Moulitsas Zúniga’s Daily Kos.
He also asked me if weblogs lean left or right and I told him my view which is that they lean every which way and that you can find just about any perspective you go looking for.