What's appropriate on the Planets?

My blog is syndicated on quite a few Planets:

During my recent exchange with Erik de Castro Lopo about Fred Nile and racism, I got a few emails from people asking us to "take it off the Planets". Janet probably put it best, and her comments were typical:

Might be worth thinking about having the full on religious debates on a
different blog than the linux planet, its a pretty sad thread to read
through for a group building collaboration and community.

Now I'm all for civility, and despise the scumbags who've got Kathy Sierra fearing for her life. If you read through the exchange with Erik, I think you'll find it was completely civil. In this world, we're allowed to disagree. In fact, it's incredibly important to collaboration and community. So I really don't see any problem with our discussion. Spirited, but polite, discussion and disagreement is a sign of a healthy community.

The next issue is the content. We were talking politics, and specifically state politics. I suspect this might be of little interest to readers of Planet GLLUG, Planet Linode and much of Planet Linux Australia's readers. But the thing about Planets is they're not discriminating. They take the feed and shove it up online.

I think this is actually a strength. It would be entirely possible to limit the feed Planets take to specific topics, for example by taking the geek category from my blog. It would make the Planets more efficient, perhaps, and certainly more focussed, but I think would also take away a lot of their joy.

I really enjoy learning more about the people I deal with on technical issues, experiencing them as full human beings rather than just geeks. I love hearing their opinions on random subjects, learning of their hobbies, their family life. It's great to see pictures of their lovers, dogs, kids, weddings, parties, friends and travels. It's what makes Planets great.

So I will continue to talk about whatever the hell I like on my blog. It's my blog and I'll crap on about beer and politics if I want to. If you don't like that, you might want to skip the Planets and subscribe directly to peoples' individual blogs, or at least those that focus narrowly on geekery. I think you'll miss out on something wonderful if you do, though.