Dear patient readers,
I know it has been really hot in the East. I know a lot of people are cranky about the state of affairs, such as the failure to take measures to stop employees of major capital markets firms from blowing up the global economy for fun and profit again, the ongoing horrorshow of the Gulf oil spill, obvious corruption in high places, public and private, and legitimately lower levels of optimism about the future.
While it may be fun for some of you to vent here, there is a difference between vigorous debate and nasty bickering. It’s inevitable that people might lose sight of that boundary now and again, but it’s becoming more prevalent than I like. More important, it reduces the value of the discussions for everyone here. Certain styles of argument (persistent straw manning, dogmatic denials of verifiable information, passive aggression, other forms of intellectual dishonesty) seem almost designed to elicit an angry response, and those are also detrimental.
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted Barry Ritholtz’s comment policy, which I view as web standard and to a fair degree hew to here (in fact, when I’ve pinged Barry and other bloggers for their take on whether to take action against certain troublesome characters, I find almost without exception that I have cut them more slack that anyone else would).
There are elements of Barry’s policies I have NOT implemented, but given the decay in quality, I am considering seriously. In particular, Barry deletes and edits comments on an ongoing basis:
Lazy one sentence or one word comments typically get deleted. (Posting First! gets you banned for life). Rambling 1000 word comments also get edited or deleted (GYOFB!) or disemvoweled.
And he does more than that, as you will see below.
So if you want to have NC remain an open commons, you need to do a better job of self policing, or I will start doing it myself (or have a regular collaborator or two who has the stomach for this sort of thing take it on).
Right now, if you try to post a comment and it doesn’t appear, it is either a weird glitch (WordPress has its erratic moments) or you have misbehaved so badly that you got your IP address blocked.
As indicated, save the caveats about editing and deleting reader comments (right now, only spam and a very VERY few others get expunged, either exceptionally abusive ones, or those of parties that have been banned using other IP addresses to post, some people refuse to take “no” for an answer), I pretty much hew to Barry’s standard:
A lot of thought goes into what gets posted here; If you want to comment, I suggest you do the same.
I take the comments and feedback seriously, and attempt to read every comment that goes up (‘though that is becoming increasingly difficult). I read all email, but make no promises about responding.
Email addresses on comments are not published, but I see them. Comments with legit email addresses get priority. Cowardly “anons” are mostly ignored. If I am unable to respond to you privately due to a bogus email address (“[email protected]”) don’t be surprised if you get a snarky edit in your posted comment….
Fear my wrath, mortals! I will ban anyone whom I choose from posting comments — usually, for a damned good reason, but on rare occasions, for the exact same reason God created the platypus: because I feel like it.
I encourage a broad range of perspectives, philosophies, sexual orientations. Dissent is good. I want to see a debate of views, a battle in the market place of ideas. (Thomas Jefferson wasn’t so dumb after all). You can post on nearly anything, so long as it is at least tangentially related to the topic at hand.
On occasion, I will “unpublish” a comment if I feel it is too impolite, harsh, ad hominem, inappropriate. Off-topic posts have been rising, and I have taken to unpublishing them en masse. Please do no publish 10 comments out of 30. (It takes ~10 seconds to un-publish em all). If you find yourself publishing way too many comments, consider this: This humble blog is my forum for expressing my ideas. Get your own damned blog.
The fastest way to lose posting privileges is to misrepresent your host’s complex and nuanced views in some inane bumper sticker comment. Other fast tracks to getting banned:
- Knowingly posting false or malicious material;
- multiple postings under different names;
- generally engaging in troll-like behavior;
- misquoting your host/overlord;
- being impolite in the extreme;
- using fake/mislabelled URLs;
- ad hominem attacks;
- being an asshole.
Right now, someone is reading this and saying to themselves “What does he mean, being an asshole?” If you wondered that to yourself, well the odds strongly favor that you yourself have sphincter-like qualities. Thus, you should consider it likely that you will be banned as a rectoid from posting comments sometime in the near future.
5C: Assignments: There are few things that I find more annoying than disingenuous rhetoric. “Why are you ignoring X? You must post on this NOW.” This alerts me to the fact you have a small willie.
I do not accept homework assignments. They will be deleted, and your troll potential score increased. Instead, you lazy bastard, do some homework yourself. Then, post a clever observation and URL. Perhaps you will stimulate a conversation. Of course, you could always write your own blog, (‘cepting your constant masturbation makes for exceedingly slow typing).
Worse still are the emails asking for my opinion on this, or would you comment on that. In 94% of the cases, I have already covered the subject extensively (if only the emailer bothered to look). My apologies to the remaining 6%, but that’s how it goes: That’s the tyranny of the ignorant majority.
5D. URLs in Comments: I encourage people to link back to other sources and sites in comments. Feel free to put your own blog/site in the URL space when entering comments. However, link whoring is frowned upon in the body of comments. If you are merely posting comments in order to enhance your Google score, I may leave the comment — but delete your URL above.