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    Comments Are Disabled Until Further Notice

    I apologize to most commenters….

    I will have to end commenting until I can figure out how to ban them….

    But there are some who just enjoy sabotage and fragging.

    I don’t know how to fix it at the moment, so I’m going to possibly simply destroy the blog by letting it go dark.

    But I don’t know what else to do.

    Someone somewhere (I forget who or where)  linked to this Volokh Conspiracy post and image from January:

    In my experience, there are two basic conditions of strong comment threads. Here’s the first condition: Comments need to be relatively open and accessible to those using a pseudonym. If you make it too hard to comment, or you require real names, most will stay away. They won’t want to engage, for a range of personal and professional reasons.

    And here’s the second condition: There needs to be some way to moderate threads to delete inappropriate comments or ban commenters who are out of line. For every one Internet commenter who is consistently thoughtful and interesting, there are X Internet commenters who are either inclined to be or can be coaxed into becoming abrasive and obnoxious. Consider the well-known “Greater Internet fuckwad theory” from the site Penny Arcade:

    I haven’t seen it as a huge problem here, but tell me if I haven’t been paying attention (w/out naming names, please).

    Update: Reopened (h/t NC Mountain Girl).

    Also, I’ve noticed that blog posts about commenting get a lot of comments.


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    Grisham’s Law of Bloggers. Bad Bloggers crowd out Good ones.

    Thinker73 | June 10, 2012 at 1:52 am

    I read LI on a daily basis, but have never previously commented. One thing I have noticed here is that comments are generally civil and actually make a contribution overall. Professor Jacobson does a fine job of content management here at LI.

    It is one of the few blogs that I bother reading comments.


    Ragspierre | June 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Partly because the issue here lies solely with our host (“Too much advantage, your dojo”, as Mr. Miyagi says) as to who to ban, and on what predicates,

    and partly because I really held no opinion on the matter, I’ve watched, quietly, in the corner.

    I have some observations now—

    Free speech: I’m fer it. I think “banning” an absolutely miserable idea generally. There are, of course, exceptions on the “dirty, nasty, no contribution” fringe.

    Trolls: I think can serve a very useful purpose, depending on their character. If they are expressing the hateful, warped perspective of the Collective (using acceptable language), that can be useful. They can be used as foils. They provide a very illuminating exposition of the view from the Collective, which I have used to good effect by collecting their posts and showing them to my friends, neighbors, family, etc. Think Breitbart.

    Not everyone coming here with an opposing view would rightfully be a “troll”.

    Conflict: I once subscribed to the idea that conflict is bad, as is anger. That is silly. Anger is no more or less a positive force than is love. It all depends on how it is used. I think it makes us stronger, in the main.

    Criticism: Not pretending to speak for our host, or anyone here, but “Friends don’t let friends say stupid stuff”. I will vigorously bump heads with people here I generally like and agree with. That includes our worthy host. Speaking only for myself, there are very few things I would abhor more than having a bunch of sycophantic followers who mawkishly hung on my words and NEVER thought critically of what I had to say. Anyone I consider a friend knows they can…and are expected to…challenge me when I say indefensible stuff. I hope Prof. Bill would, on meeting me, consider me his friend. He could count on me showing him courageous support when he’s right, and gnawing on his head when I think he’s wrong.

    Culture: Different blogs have different cultures. That is interesting and to be expected. This blog’s commentary is appreciably more feminine than some on which I comment. That is neither good or bad. It is what it is, but that makes for a decided intolerance of conflict (see above).

    GroupThink: It is a “human nature” thing. Every group tends to engage in it, and it has to be avoided at great cost. It is alive and well here (we being human), and some attempt to rigorously enforce it, using the time-worn tools of their ilk. Again, I hope the last thing Prof. Bill wants here is a little echo-chamber for dominant views that PRETEND to match his own.

    dmacleo | June 10, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    what I find interesting is that THIS conversation has been EXTREMELY civil, non-confrontational in any replky, yet someone has taken the time to go through and do dislikes on so many of them.

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