Reader Notice 2: Comments Policy

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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 (“”) 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.

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  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Barry no like haiku, methinks.

    No pithy one sentence or one word comments?

  2. Francois T

    Completely agree with Barry’s approach. Make it yours, enforce it, and the GAFC (General Assholery & Fuckwadism Coefficient) shall register a significant drop, bringing back the ethereal bliss of a truly adult and civilized conversation. :-)

  3. koshem Bos

    1. Sometimes a single word is better than a sentence.

    2. I use a fictitious name because I teach and I don’t want to make my students uncomfortable if their opinions differ from mine. Students deserve respect, not in your face attitude.

    3. Skip long and rambling comments should be a rule of thumb for everyone.

  4. bob goodwin

    I personally don’t mind long comments, even though I can have trouble staying with them. If someone is trying that hard to say something, I try hard to understand their point of view.

    I find the ad-hominem attacks the hardest to take. How hard is it to simply say “I disagree with you on X” rather than say “you must have a small willie to believe in X”?

    second on this list is misrepresentation of others opinions or statements (“libertarians hate government”, “you said all bankers were sociopaths”, etc.)

    But overall there are some *great* comments and debates on this board, and I do think that the debate is overall high value.

    Thanks Yves!

    1. alex

      “I personally don’t mind long comments”

      I agree. If you don’t want to read a long comment, just skim it or skip over it entirely. Unlike paper and ink, electrons and photons are cheap. Also text is small and fast to transmit, so even on a dialup the bandwidth effect is minimal.

    2. Transor Z

      Sometimes you’ll see a long-time lurker “erupt” in a really great commentary that happens to be on the long side. I’d recommend taking those on a case-by-case basis. You know in a couple of sentences whether it’s crap or not.


    3. Bruerr

      I agree with posters above who do not mind long posts. As for longer posts, I would simply invite you to find the script or plug-in that enables you to highlight from the third paragraph down, and hotkey that length into a little word that says “more” or “continued” or a phrase that says “read more,” or the comical “…But wait, there’s more!…”

      Some people simply cannot say what they need to say in one paragraph, or five paragraphs. They need a sixth or seventh paragraph. Barry’s take is for those interested in making excuses for bad censorship. Rather than cite them for a 1000 word over-run or “too long,” just use your script and go on.

      It can be coded into a hot key combination, so it will save you precious time and help you avoid controversy or petty arguments. Also it is about 400 percent more professionally considerate. Your regular readers can move beyond a couple paragraphs. If they are interested in what a commenter has to say, they will (click) know (click) what to do (click). If not, let them be their own discerning censor.

      Elegant and yet … professional.

      If there is one thing I have observed in reading your blog, you appreciate both qualities. If you can get elegant and professional with a turn of ease, hey, you will have been successfully upgraded woman. Not bad. Not bad.:) (Ooo that looks good on u.)

      Sample of what it looks like:

      You might dig a little further and find three or four scripts for this. Careful scrutiny will yield one that is less intrusive and works-with-no-gimmicks-like-you-want-it-to-work.

      Path to more professional blog administering … read more…

  5. brazza

    I find NC a wonderfully stimulating resource – in part because it includes significantly diverging views … albeit at times expressed with a degree of intellectual chagrin that borders on the petulant. And yes … some fail the litmus test distinguishing fierce intellectual integrity from personal axe-grinding. Yet … these comments are self-evident, and largely auto-disqualify themselves and their author’s authority. NC faces the conundrum of all societies – what is the minimum amount of government required to create a safety net that encourages self-expression (even for the more timid!), yet maintain an edgy, explorative debate? On the whole, Yves, this blog does it well – I suspect reflexive of your progressively fierce approach. It is an asset worth safe-guarding – whatever rules might be needed!

  6. psychohistorian


    I give you a lot of credit for engaging the broad range on contributors to your site.

    I find value in the comments and most of the textual conflict that stirs thought rather than emotion. The comments are generally additive to your postings depth and breath and would be a loss to your site if they went away entirely.

    That said I expect to hear from you if I am out of line and expect others will as well. Its your web site and we all appreciate your letting us chat about your views and those of your other contributors of our world turning. The online community that you talk to, for the most part, want you to be read and listened to more in our world….there is comfort in numbers…or at least know that others might think similar to you.

    I think this should have been shorter….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  7. bob goodwin

    It looks to me like you over posted in both quantity and message length, and that you seemed to expressing theories without bringing new facts to the debate.

    How is it that you posted from a blocked IP? Or is it possible you weren’t actually blocked?

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      I don’t recall the particulars, I normally limit banning to persistent trolls, but direct attacks on guest bloggers (unwarranted ad hominem) will get you blocked pronto if I see it (I must confess I have trouble keeping up with comments on my own posts) and if someone has gotten into a protracted argument with me and it includes persistent distortions (as in continuing to straw man) and they then progress into a frontal attack, they go. It basically says they have no interest in an honest discussion, for some reason they are out to score points at my expense. Plus they are energy and time sucks.

      I think that was the issue in question, note how he did the exact same thing again. He is not welcome, he found a separate IP address, and he insists on trying again, and in an obvious way to see if Mommy will enforce the rule. Childish.

      1. bob goodwin

        As someone who guest blogged twice (thank-you Yves), my wife read through all the comments and asked me to stop. She was turned off by the vitriol, and felt that energy sap was not worth it.

        You take 1000x more, and should set limits for your own benefit. I really appreciate the debate, and your effort to keep the discussion relevant and alive. I disagree with you frequently, but take away a tremendous amount from the conversation.

  8. Jamisia

    Hear, hear!

    First: I must admit that “Jamisia” is an ‘alter ega’. I once made three email addresses, simply because I liked back-up and didn’t want overload on one address. My bad..

    Second: why not make your own blog? Gonzalo Lira is now on blogspot. Personally, I find Tumblr way easier.

    Third (and last): are you (readers) familiar with Clusterstock & ZeroHedge? Have you ever read comments on pieces of, say, Marshall Auerback on Clusterstock? The first comment may or may not be polite, but after that things usually get vitriolic. Comments on ZH are more cynically nihilistic or vice versa. I mean: if you appreciate Yves, her work & this blog, you will know that this is a different place. Don’t let it descend into Clusterstock-hell.

  9. Bates

    I enjoy reading the articles and comments posted on NC and many other economic and historical sites. I post infrequently but when I do it is because I have a genuinely different take on another posters comment or, in some cases, a different point of view of a posted link. I do not assume that because a link/article is posted that you agree with the opinion of the link, but perhaps I am wrong about this? Two catagories of posts that I will seldom respond to: 1) Those that refuse to realize that governments have no money other than that raised from taxes, fees, etc (QE aside). 2) Those that want to introduce (any) religion into discussions about economics.

    Thanks for providing this forum.

  10. aet

    I hope my lame attempts at humor don’t get me banned.
    I apologize again for my horrible grammar and weird spelling mistakes: a combo of my computer’s settings and the monitor I use prevents me from effectively bediting my comments: I can’t scan the right 50% of what I write.

    My point today: have you considered using the moderation tool called “disemvowelling”?

    See here:

    The sites where I’ve seen it used show that it’s effective at wrong-footing the trolls, and it ticks them off, too.

    1. aet

      Hmmm…from the linked article in my above post, it would seem that Albany lawyers think that bloggers may not edit their comments section.

      Maybe the lawyers are better in Schenectady.

  11. grumpyoldvet

    Yves……glad you’re thinking about setting some guidelines. NC is one of the better sites and most of the commentary is interesting but when the crap begins to fly……well it begins to resemble a children’s playgound.

    It’s your webste and if the nasties don’t want to play by your rules then they always go somewhere else and spew their nonsense.

  12. the.Duke.of.URL


    This is a wonderful post – I look forward to it. I wish I could write like you. Yours is one of the more intelligent and insightful blogs around. Mine is more conservative, unfortunately. But I’m trying. Academic writing can destroy your mind, in addition to that of any reader, if you aren’t careful. No more so than in economics and general social science.

    I hope you have a really pleasant vacation.

  13. Bill

    Thanks Yves, I think this is sane and rational considering the internet atmosphere these days.

    As a good example of deterioration in quality of posts, I’ve been reading ZeroHedge since it began, for its fiercely knowledgeable posters as well as the articles.

    But recently, so many of the posts are political snark, much like I saw on MarketWatch before I stopped reading those posters.

    I still read ZH multiple times daily, and have commented on the deterioration in quality of comments there, but they keep so busy just with articles I’m sure they don’t have time to enforce a policy like this, which would be very salutary for the site.

    Anyway, your comments section is still high quality IMHO, even with increase in snark, but I’m sure it’s best to stay ahead of it, and your notification is typical of your admirably meticulous attention to the details of proper and respectful social process.

  14. i on the ball patriot

    It is interesting to note the similarities and parallels of banning Free Speech on line in a blog (the ‘commons’ to the degree of the tolerance of the host), and the now wholesale banning of Free Speech in the ‘public’ commons, of the now so many homeless, who seek to solicit help from their fellow citizens. It is a reflection of an uncivil and disrespectful government creating an uncivil and disrespectful populace (by top down design I believe).

    The angry, dispossessed, fucked over, hungry, and those with poorer coping skills, now need permits to speak in psychopathic scamerica …


    “Permits — It shall be unlawful for any person to ask, beg, or solicit alms (money for the needy) upon the streets or elsewhere in the city without first obtaining a permit from the city. Persons may apply for permission to ask, beg or solicit alms, which such permission shall be issued annually upon application and review by the Department of Licensing and Inspections. The permit shall be valid at for a period not to exceed one year and available at no charge or fee to the applicant. A photo ID is required with the application. A warrant check will be conducted before a permit is issued. At the time a permit is issued, the guidelines relating to the activity will be explained to the permittee.

    Prohibited Acts — No person may ask, beg, or solicit alms, including money and other things of value, in an aggressive manner in any public place. Acts authorized as an exercise of one’s constitutional right to picket, the right to legally protest any acts authorized by permit or parades issued pursuant to the code of the City of Atlantic City shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.”

    More here …

    Can we all say in unison now … Scam rule of law — selectively enforced!

    Constantly reflecting off of this scam government, and dignifying it and legitimizing it with your attention, will only get you more of it.

    Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  15. Siggy


    It’s your Bat & Ball, tend to it as you see fit. As you do so, I am indifferent to your choices.

    Your opinions and analyses are generally very good. I disagree with your favoring MMT. It is my opinion that MMT is flawed in the belief that the US can create credit money at will with no regard to amount and the necessity of repayment.

    If credit money is created and there is no repayment you have debasement and in that you have loss in purchasing power. A government that persists in simply creating credit money is a government that is deflating its standard of living. Is that what you want?

    Now it may be that a current effort to approach a balanced Federal Budget would further impair the establishment of a base for a recovery; nonetheless, at some point it will be necessary that individually we must spend less than we earn. The Federal balance sheet needs to be held constant at some deficit level for a some relatively short period of time. The problem is made difficult because the Federal Debt will continue to grow even if entitlement programs are held constant in their rates and degree of coverage.

    MMT fails because it ignores the critical role of money that it function as a store of value as well as an equilibrator of value between disparate goods and services. The little tautology that is used to support the argument for MMT ignores the fact that the creation of credit money sequentially alters each and every component. That alteration is not constant but it varies. In my view, MMT is more an excuse than a theory.

    Nice little forum here, tend to it as you will. It is your Bat & Ball.

    1. briareus

      Siggy, I too share your thoughts on MMT, and I find it a bit troubling that so many have so quickly tossed their hats into its ring of support. It’s as if, given the understandable confusion and shake-up with economic theories lately, people (especially economists under more scrutiny than they ever expected) are casting about to for another one, and MMT seems at first blush to fit the bill.

      I would add to your concerns one of mine, namely that without championing or perhaps even intending it, MMT may deliver us quickly toward a communistic state. Why would I say that? Well, consider the Job Guarantee. If manufacturers and service providers realize that they can shed workers at terrific rates by pursuing automation and outsourcing respectively, and can do so without concerns of distortions in price levels and purchasing power, why wouldn’t they? We might soon see a system in which the great sea of people all work for government while a small sector works managing huge private automated/outsourced colossus industries. Talk about too big to fail. Essentially communism without the revolution. Of course, the sea of people working for government will all have to submit to miles of byzantine regulation of all kinds. It might be easier than ever to control what people do in their daily lives when you can control them more directly through individualized tax schema; The War On Behavior will be managed by the IRS.

      As for MMT and its view of the role of taxation, a blunt point can me made visually:

      1. traderjoe

        I’m with the MMT skeptics above. One thing not seemingly acknowledged by the MMT proponents (but aptly referenced in the linked picture) is the moral hazard created by the concept of “free money”. Second is the idea that inflation, etc. would be considered in the aggregate, which very much does NOT solve the problem of resource mis-allocation, and would continue the externalities of converting private loss into public loss (if an industry fails, unemployment would go up, so money would be created, thereby diluting all the existing money of the successful industries). MMT is essentially a form of wealth re-distribution – money is created to pay for certain benefits for some, while the money of others is diluted. The first person/corporation to receive a “new” MMT dollar benefits at the expense of the person not receiving this dollar.

        Not that wealth distribution isn’t a good thing, per se, or that the current system is working so well. Just that MMT seems to concentrate further the power of the state, and the MMT’ers don’t seem to be discussing in frank terms the wealth re-distribution aspects or the likely moral hazard issues (money is “free”).

        1. ChrisPacific

          As one of the readers who was initially skeptical but has now accepted the MMT concept of how currency works (if not necessarily some of the conclusions drawn thereby) let me see if I can answer.

          You’re correct that there is no free money. You might think of the government as simultaneously creating massive inflation (via public sector spending) and massive deflation (via taxation). If those two things stay balanced or nearly balanced, they cancel out and we end up with a normal economy with modest or no inflation. This is why spending without taxation wouldn’t work: we’d get rampant inflation and currency degradation (so the linked picture is not an accurate representation of the theory). It’s also why taxation without spending wouldn’t work, as if anyone needed convincing of that.

          The issue is that public sector spending and taxation are not the only things that produce inflation or deflation, and treating government budgets like household budgets is tantamount to pretending that they are. During a period of deflationary recession/depression, it may be appropriate for government to tilt the balance in a more inflationary direction (run a deficit). Note that the same argument suggests that the government should run a surplus during periods of bubble-fueled speculation and inflation, for example, so MMT doesn’t always mean printing money.

          Hopefully I have represented that accurately – if not then no doubt our resident experts will correct me.

          1. traderjoe

            @ChrisPacific – thanks for your comment. I think I get the operational/accounting aspect of MMT, and the fallacy of the household method. But, in some ways you kind of referenced my point – that’s what people talk about with MMT, but they don’t go into the implementation/policy issues:
            1. If you inflate one person and deflate another – that’s wealth re-distribution. Not that this is bad, but there seems to be a lack of honesty in MMT about that.
            2. Inflation/deflation are measured in the aggregate. But micro-eonomics suggests that some aspects of the economy (tuition) go up, and others go down (housing). So, in some ways MMT will exacerbate capital misallocations, because right now no one wants housing and everyone wants tuition. So you’ll be ‘stimulating’ the hot parts of the economy. Until people don’t want tuition anymore, they want iPhones. And then tuition has excess capacity, rinse and repeat.
            3. Who decides when to inflate and when to deflate? How, when, WHOM? The central planners?

          2. ChrisPacific


            Point #1: True. But so is taxation, on a massive scale. The government is in the business of wealth redistribution. I agree that using inflation/deflation to do it tends to separate cause and effect more than normal.

            Point #2: True, and the million (trillion?) dollar question as far as I’m concerned. All stimulus isn’t created equal.

            Point #3: Given the usual context in which we discuss it (government deficits/surplus) I’d say it’s Obama and Congress – but it’s also only one of a number of contributing factors.

      2. stf

        Again, that picture you linked to just demonstrates you have no actual understanding of MMT, even as you claim you do explicitly or implicitly via your critique. Understanding what’s wrong with that sign in the link is MMT 101.

        1. traderjoe

          My trouble with picture isn’t that it’s not true, it’s that people will THINK that it is true. The states could roll up big deficits and then ask for a bailout and use the “there’s no interest because it’s not debt” argument.

          It’s a version of moral hazard. If people/groups/corporations/etc. think they may get bailed out, they will act differently, more recklessly. I understand that MMT doesn’t advocate unlimited money creation, but look how little restraint we have now (with the supposed bounds of the gold standard/household model). That Senate candidate talking MMT, there’s not a whiff on his site about the cost (inflation) of money creation. He’s selling the Utopia, the promise. Not the tradeoffs.

          See my questions about about the policy/implementation of MMT. It seems to be a monetary operation masquerading as a political ideology.

          1. stf


            Warren’s said probably 1000s of times that “the cost of too much deficit is inflation.” (Which, if anyone criticizing MMT on NC actually bothered to hear it when we repeated that over and over, would make it clear that MMT’ers don’t think you can run deficits without consequences–it’s precisely the consequences that matter to MMT’ers.) If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t looked. That’s at the absolute core of MMT. And, no, don’t expect a Senate candidate to put his theory of inflation on his senate campaign site. Go to his blog.

            Also, your questions 1, 2, and 3 are mostly just strange, in my opinion. Specifically what have we been trying to hide about inflating one group and deflating another? I don’t even know where that question came from. Name a macro theory that doesn’t concern itself mostly with inflation in the aggregate–I can’t think of any. And regarding who decides, the same people that decide now, who else? And they are the same people who decide in every other mainstream school of economic thought. I mean, seriously, if those are your problems with MMT, then you would seem to have problems with most schools of macroeconomics. If not, then you’re being inconsistent.

    2. stf

      “It is my opinion that MMT is flawed in the belief that the US can create credit money at will with no regard to amount and the necessity of repayment.”

      And as long as you think that’s what MMT “believes,” then you and others will not be able to understand MMT. The idea that “the US can create . . . . with no regard to amount” is absolutely antithetical to MMT. It’s so obvious that so many commenting here at NC don’t even want to understand MMT, that they just want to argue against it because it doesn’t “sound right” to them. If you’re ever willing to actually honestly ask what MMT is about without making such claims that have been continuously been refuting by MMT’ers, then we are very willing to have that discussion.


      1. stf

        And that’s not to suggest that I think everyone should agree with MMT. Far from it. Though I am an MMT’er, I’d be shocked if when all is said and done at the end of my career I still thought about MMT-related things the exact same way I do now. All I ask is that those that do disagree stop making false claims.

        1. traderjoe

          @stf – thanks for the response. I do actually have problems with most schools of macroeconomic thought. I’m being a bit dramatic here – but it seems to me to be a variety of theories offered as facts but without proofs (with some fancy equations to try to link to math and science). And that most if not all end up with a bunch of drunk politicians and banksters playing tootsie with their friends on the backs of the middle and lower class. Which is where we are now in our evolutionary life-cycle. And that much of our current paradigms – especially debt, giant tax structures, and consumerism – are really a means for us to become indebted and beholden to the mega-corporations. Our privately held Fed is a bastardization of a central bank, if one is even needed. So, I just think MMT would centralize power even further in the elite, and not really solve any of the current problems. So, I’m a bit surprised that the ‘progressives’ on this site like it so much. One advantage of course, is that you don’t have to pay interest, and it would hopefully abolish the privately held Fed, but that’s exactly why it will never happen.

  16. AndrewBW

    Yves, I strongly believe bloggers should be ruthless about editing and/or deleting comments whenever it becomes necessary. I’m all in favor of free speech, and the more the better. But when it comes to blogging I also think the Golden Rule is important. Nothing ruins a blog faaster than an out-of-control comment section.

    You might look into adding functionality allowing users to report abusive posts. I don’t know much about WordPress, but I’d be shocked if someone hasn’t already come up with a widget to add such functionality to comments.

  17. Ishmael

    Yves, I am in the Siggy camp. I find your blog a nice piece of fresh air even though I do not buy into MMT and since the last posting spent a little more time researching it and even believe in it less.

    I use a fictitious name because I consult for mid-size and large public companies with a large amount of interaction with the CEO. Some comments could go counter to US business thinking (through all the banksters into prison and strip them of their assets is one of them) even though when asked I will give my opinion even to the CEO.

    I apologize if I have ever violated your rules! It was nonintentional.


  18. charcad


    Within Comments I think excessive and repetitive quotation of a third party writer is a form of abusive spam and should be banned. For instance, Lenni Brenner has been more than adequately regurgitated here. Some threads have had 15-20 paragraphs of Lenni Brenner copied and pasted as a substitute for original rational argument. And maybe more.

    If people are lacking their own coherent thoughts, or are unwilling to invest the time needed to cogently express them, they should contribute to a peaceful decorum by remaining silent.

  19. Dan Duncan

    Yves, why are you ignoring the precipitous decline in the Baltic Dry Index? You really need to direct your attention to this important development and post on it ASAP. If you could get this done by 2:00 pm it would be most appreciated. [I’d blog on it myself…it’s just that…I’m only typing with one hand today.]

    As for the heat making people a bit testy…many readers should consider taking a little vacation. Check out the best travel site on the web: for the best rates anywhere!

    If you can’t get away, consider some pharmaceuticals to get you through the day. This site has the best pharma prices on the web: [P.S. Free delivery for orders greater than $50.]

    BTW: What exactly do you mean by the phrase…”being an asshole”? I’m confused by this.

    Oh, and one more thing: The 2:00 time reference for the post on the Baltic Dry Index: That would be Eastern Standard Time. Thanks.

  20. colinc

    Yves, I applaud and fully support your decision on this matter and I concur that Mr. Ritholtz’s outline for moderation is more than acceptable. If and when I start my own blog, which may be soon(?), I will probably go even further.

    Personally, I am certain that perhaps the “most urgent” problem of our time was stated by Paul Newman in “Cool Hand Luke,” but in a different context. He said, “What we have here is a failure to communicate.” The Madison Ave. “wizards,” politicians, and most “journalists” have “abused,” warped and debased the English language (and probably others) to such an extent that it has become almost “useless.” I am incessantly annoyed by article authors and commentators who continually exhibit poor word usage (if not outright “misuse”), poor grammar and inconsistent (and often contradictory) “arguments.” It seems to me that too many people are staring at their keyboards while they type and never read what they’ve typed before hitting the [Submit…] button. To me, this indicates that they really don’t care about what they are saying. Reason thus dictates that if they don’t care, why the hell should I do anything other than dismiss their comment as nothing more than abject ignorance or outright “assholery.” In my blog, these comments will be promptly deleted and the IP blocked… permanently. Of course, that will be after one, and only one, warning. In my “book,” 2 strikes and you’re out… permanently! This blog and most others have a spell-checker enabled in the comment-box and anyone “ignoring” those squiggly, red underlines is exhibiting “careless” communication or abject stupidity. (Yes, there are “exceptions,” but those are minimal and obvious.)

    I fully support the concept that everyone has a “right” to say whatever they want, with a few caveats. However, by the same token, I have the “right” to deem any comment ignorant, irrational or merely inflammatory and therefore not worth publishing or reading.

    Otherwise, Yves, I sincerely hope you have a wonderful and extremely relaxing and revitalizing vacation and know that I’ve enjoyed your guest bloggers’ articles as much as your own. I’ve also greatly appreciated the comments made by more than a handful of those submitting but, as you noted, there seems to be an increasing number that are just “annoying.” Regardless, relax, enjoy and I look forward to your return. This is one of only a few blogs I read regularly and frequently. I also appreciate the fact that you and some commentators here appear to understand that the categories of “finance” and “economics” are intrinsically linked to many “other” aspects of our lives and willingly and reasonably bring those aspects to light.

  21. MarcoPolo

    Think I’ve been following NC for about 3 years. I’ve watched it grow. I usually enjoy the comments as much as the posts themselves. I remember the jump in the number of comments following a post in which you used the word (debt) revolt the first time. That kind of – some would say inflammatory – post seems to encourage radical ideas – some might say trolls – to come into the open. Though the post itself was none too radical and the comments didn’t seem too trollish to me. Question of degree. Further, nothing inherently wrong with inflammatory posts nor inflammatory comments.
    I hope you will consider, Yves, just how difficult it is to write a comment – 1 or 2 paragraphs to either further a discussion or debunk something in what can be considerably complex issues. I marvel at those who can write so concisely. That said, I find myself time constrained too. Those posts which run to >100 comments are hard to follow. Best that those remain focused. Maybe there should be some other place for the chit-chat. A place that was more tolerant of the off topic. “Links” posts? I think there is value in it. It helps that we learn to recognize each other. Comments might be simply moved, not deleted.
    Ritholtz’ comment policy is not necessarily right for you. I for one never see them. No time for it.

    1. EmilianoZ

      Readers’ comments are half the attraction of this blog to me too. I find them more interesting here than anywhere else. The trick is to spot commenters that are worth reading. For instance I would read anything from Kevin_de_Bruxelles (where is he? I haven’t seen him here for some time).

      Applied blindly, Ritholtz’s rules would probably lead to a loss of quality. For instance, will DownSouth’s lengthy quotes of Niebuhr or Arendt be deleted?

      Trolls are an unavoidable evil. As Deng Xiaoping once said, if you open the window to get fresh air, you’ll get the flies too.

  22. bob

    I mostly lurk here, but i agree with the moderation.

    posters who aren’t interested in having a fair discussion get away with far too much imo.

    People should have an option to leave them behind.

  23. ray l love

    For periods lasting several months each, I was once a regular blogger at ‘Economist’s View’,’Angry Bear’, and at ‘Beat the Press’, and I have found the interactive process at least as interesting as the content of the articles.

    What destroys the quality of a site though is not the “lazy” short comment, nor is it the lengthy rant, nor do ad homonym attacks have any serious affect(these are in fact entertaining at times), what erodes the quality of a site is a form of cultism.

    The process is subtle, but over time these sites attract a core group of like-minded contributors who form a consensus that is within a range that is tolerated by the host[s], and by the commenters themselves (commenters will in fact resort to mob tactics in an effort to drive away ‘undesirable’ participants). Eventually, as this ‘cult’ sorts out its differences an accepted norm emerges that is exclusive to ‘their’ forum. Their accepted norm might be the belief for example that governments do not depend on taxes for revenue. But when someone unfamiliar with ‘this’ ‘accepted norm’ comes along, someone who knows that the ‘actual’ accepted norm regarding tax revenues is the opposite of that which is being claimed to, those ‘unfamiliar’ people are frequently replied to disrespectfully. But the disrespect is not always explicit, these newcomers are sometimes simply ignored but more importantly they are nearly always held to a higher standard by the core participants. The ‘outsider’ is commonly subjected to unsupported claims regarding unorthodox theories, often times posited in the counter-factual, claiming for instance that a sovereign government can simply print what it needs to meet its obligations, which, would be a claim that in most circumstances which would demand a good deal of explaining, but as these sites become ‘cultish’ it is the ‘actual’ accepted norm that must all too often be supported… illogically. This then becomes a subtle tactic that makes arguments tiresome for those who exist outside of the congregation, and this becomes a dynamic of censorship as the conversations are made less than enjoyable for the outsiders. A process of elimination is thereby always in play.

    Combine that unavoidable attrition of cultism with blatant censorship and even the most unsupportable ideals can avoid the criteria of empirical references or supported claims. In economics this is especially shortsighted due to the propensity of unintended consequences, and, for that reason alone these conversations need to be as open as possible to expansion. But most of these economic sites become little more than ‘preaching to the choir’. Although, ironically, sound and supported argumentation does not need protective measures… yet poorly defined positions seem to always rely on arbitrary standards:

    “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.”

    Tyranny can not exist without censorship nor without “collaborators”:

    “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).”

    The truth is, there is nothing to “start”, here is the process at work from a recent thread:

    jennifer says:
    July 5, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    For the last few months, Naked Capitalism has been coming ever closer to jumping the shark with increasingly trite political tirades, rather than the usual smart articles on economics. With this “article” (America is a great ideal, but we have turned it into Hell, we compare extremely unfavorably to rats, let’s do better….), NC has not only jumped the shark, it has pole vaulted over the shark.

    I shake my head in wonder. What happened, Yves? Are you okay? I hope so….

    Yves Smith says:
    July 5, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Your condescension is not welcome. If you don’t like the blog, no one is holding a gun to your head to read it.


    Anyway… here in Texas we don’t let a little heat affect our mood, and the news of late is placid if anything… so with your presumption notwithstanding, who is “cranky”?

    1. Yves Smith Post author


      I am sorry, that comment is PRECISELY the sort that Barry and others in particular recommend deleting. If someone does not like the the turn a blog has taken, they should go elsewhere. Barry says, repeatedly, embrace the churn. No particular reader or type of reader is indispensible.

      Economics is political. It was originally called political economy. ECONNED discussed at length how its attempts to position it as a science have distorted it and allowed it to be used as a Trojan horse for political ends.

      I’m sorry you see it that way, but that remark WAS an attack on me, it amounts to thought police tactics on the blog. You don’t like NC, you are free not to read it. Readers ought to be adult enough if they don’t like particular topics or guest posters to avoid them.

      You may think that comment was OK, but it isn’t. It’s condescending, and an exercise by someone who does not have a blog, did not go to the considerable effort to build and continue one, to censor my content. It may be dressed up in pretty packaging, but it is utterly unwarranted. That sort of thing is emotionally draining to me.

      The world has changed. We are not in the aftermath of a global financial crisis, and a lot of very bad political decisions were and are being made. We’ve chronicled them consistently, the hypocritical, misguided, expedient decisions of Paulson (and the way the Fed played along), many of the policy errors that led to the crisis (here some, at considerable length in ECONNED) and now with Obama and in the EU.

      Jennifer’s remarks amount to an effort to censor me. It’s thought police tactics adeptly presented. You object to a “mob mentality” here, and yet you endorse efforts to restrict what I say. It’s called “projection”, accusing others of the very sort of behavior you engage in. I suggest you Google the term.

      1. ray l love


        Whether you allow Jennifer’s comment to censor what you have to say is up to you, she has a right to her opinion, as do you, naturally.

        My contention was never that Jenifer’s comment was something other than an “attack” on you. It is instead that this forum needs opposing views to be interesting and honest. It is dishonest for example to differentiate between what she said, and what you have said about her. You contend that her comment was “dressed up in pretty packaging”, but you drop terms such as “adult enough” and “thought police”. So, essentially, what you are saying is that the standards which are expressed in your words only apply to you. Is that “adult enough”?

        And what does your book (twice), and the state of the world and your emotional condition have to do with any of this. Are you hinting that your position on censorship is compromised by the possibility that you need a vacation?

        And why should I care what “Barry says”, he strikes me, from what is in this post, as someone with an anal fetish, that does not seem the best type of person to emulate in regards to freedom of speech issues? Or maybe the fact that he is so vocal about his distraction is all the more reason to take him seriously, but name-dropping falls a little short of convincing for me.

        1. Yves Smith Post author


          First, to be blunt, you have no “rights” here. This is my private domain.

          Second, you fail to deal with the points I raised, and instead seek to portray me as emotional and by implication unbalanced.

          Third, you also made an ad hominem attack on one of the very most successful prominent and successsful bloggers.

          You’ve made your position clear.

      2. Otto

        Since I keep on referring to mob mentality I assume you will censor me. You have every right to do that. But before i depart please feel unrestricted to tell us what turn this blog is taking , are you a socialist and who sponsors you.BTW I have read your book :-)

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You’ve just demonstrated:

          1. You need to get make use of a dictionary more often

          2. You make completely unwarranted and erroneous assumptions.

  24. Dirk

    Would it be possible to display prominently your comment policy near the top of the blog? Say as a “Please Read First” menu item in your subheader [Subscribe | Blogroll…] or something? Thanks.

  25. Joseppi

    While taking note of the Baltic Dry Index, I too have noticed a degeneration in the digital democracy on the comments section of this blog. Almost daily I check into what you have gathered and created and hold your work in high esteem, sometimes confused with infatuation.
    Hopefully, your stern words to the class will remind them that to learn one must have civil order in the classroom and the a fear of expulsion if they become an agent of disorder and disrespect.

  26. Fachtna Midwest

    I on the ball patriot and Ray I love, I am writing to express my disappointment with both of your comments.

    After reading this Reader Notice, my understanding of what Yves is trying to say is that she would like civility in the comment section – more educated discussion, less mud-slinging.

    Yet, as far as I can tell, the point of both of your comments is that Yves demanding more civility is a path down “slippery slope into Authoritarian Rule in the United States.” My statement may be a little glib, but nonetheless, your gloom and doom don’t seem appropriate here.

    Your free speech rights are protected from unreasonable governmental restraints. Yves is not a government (correct me if I’m wrong). This is a private blog.

    Your posts are not the equivalent of speaking on a public lawn in the middle of a parade. Your posts are the equivalent of coming into a stranger’s private home and demanding to be heard, no matter how much furniture you break to make your point, or whether you choose to relieve yourself on the living room carpet.

    Is a little courtesy really so much to ask?

    1. ray l love


      It goes unsaid that Yves is free to censure as she deems appropriate. But, using your analogy, I would prefer that guests at my home feel free to speak their mind, without hesitation. But that is of course me, and I enjoy arguing, and I deplore religions and their adherence to superstition and presumption. That said, using your analogy again, what you are advocating is not the rule in all homes:”coming into a stranger’s private home and demanding to be heard,” is not what is happening here unless one’s home is a forum open to the public; what is happening here is more like a church where the doors are always open. But the faithful are calling for the non-believers to be shunned. Yet words are harmless unless one allows them to be otherwise.

      1. Facht na Midwest

        I am more than happy to change my analogy if you like yours better.

        You said:

        But, using your analogy, I would prefer that guests at my home feel free to speak their mind, without hesitation. But that is of course me, and I enjoy arguing.

        Setting aside for the moment that Yves probably does not consider all of her commenters “friends,” let’s say that what you have stated above is exactly the situation I had in mind for my analogy. Now I have some questions for you.

        What if your friends advance beyond arguing? What if one of your friends gets sloppy drunk and vomits on your new couch? Do you feel you have a right to kick that person out of your house?

        What if one of your friends starts threatening one of your other friends? And makes that other friend frightened. Do you feel you have a right to kick that person out of your house?

        Of course you do. If you ask a person once nicely to behave, and she continues to act like an obnoxious boor, you kick her out. Because it’s YOUR house.

        Yves has asked us nicely to behave. The fact that she had to write this second post means that some commenters (and I sincerely hope I haven’t contributed to the issue) didn’t get the hint. Now, she’s giving us a nice, but pointed, warning.

        Behave, or get out of my house.

        1. ray l love

          Facht na,

          Again, your analogy is weak because in this forum there is no chance of anyone vomiting on anything, nor is an act of violence worthy of concern. You are distorting the possibilities to serve your argument, and by my standards… that is dishonest and ‘worthy of concern’. But, as I am showing here… your indiscretions are easily dealt with, no censure needed.

          There are sites which adhere to an invitation-only policy, and those would serve as an analogy to your ‘home’ scenarios.

          There are also sites that openly advocate their affiliations, ‘Billyblog’ for example is openly advocating the MMT, but a blog being presented as an ‘open’ forum is treading on deceptive ground when it censures potential participants. “Impolite” is difficult to define while words are easily ignored, and indiscretions are of course also easily righted, and these ‘rightings’ are sometimes informative.

          1. Yves Smith Post author


            I’m sorry, you’ve got this one wrong. Go read Bob Goodwin’s comment above, on how his wife had to tell him not to read comments on his own posts, they were too nasty. And when I point uninvolved parties to sections I find troublesome, they agree over 90% of the time with my take.

            I often get drained by reading the vitriol and the willful ignorance of some comments. And I do mean willful ignorance, readers are told (sometimes nicely, sometimes not so nicely) that they are either misconstruing what the other party said, missing or choosing to omit key considerations that change the picture, straw manning. It’s one thing when people interact and deal with each other’s remarks. But I see too often one party simply thumping on his pet issue, engaging in broken record, and arguing in an intellectually dishonest fashion. Some due it crudely, some are more adept, but it usually breaks down into a fight because one party is not fighting fairly, he is untimately trying to dominate the conversation by outyelling the opposition. When an argument devolves into snark, I find it a drag.

            And this isn’t about me and my viewpoint. For instance, I get very upset on pretty much every post by Tom Adams, because inevitably someone will come and make abusive remarks about the fact that he was a senior guy at a monoline. Pure ad hominem, they never deal with his analysis. Look, Irving Fisher, who was spectacularly wrong about the economy in the 1920s thought long and hard about his mistakes and came up with the theory of debt deflation, a critical insight. Tom has provided insight into CDOs and the working s of the structured credit market generally, yet all some readers do is piss on the insights he provides.

            From my perspective, this IS vomiting on the couch.

            And it saps my time and energy and has SUBSTANTIALLY reduced the time I spend on writing posts. No joke, I spend hours on the comments section, and I am increasing thinking I need to be more ruthless in intervening. because the comments often make me not want to blog at all.

      2. Bates

        To Ray I Love… I agree with your comments about blogs in general and how they evolve into cliques that will brow beat any newcomer that holds an even slightly different point of view to the clique until said newcomer goes elsewhere.

        On some sites this is to be expected because the name of the site is a give away. For instance if the site is titled ‘Peak Oil Yesterday’ (I made this up), one would not expect to receive a friendly reception if one disagreed that every blip in the spot oil price is due to peak oil.

        However, on a site that proclaims itself open to discussion of all topics of finance and economics (and I am assuming that this is such a site) I don’t believe that conversation should be limited to, say, only ‘approval of Keynesian Theory’, or only approval of The Austrian School or The Marxists, et al. The sites that let themselves become dominated by cliques do not fair well in my experience, as there comments section dwindles over time along with their number of readers. What happens is that the conversation is eventually only between members of the choir…and, very stale.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I NEVER proclaimed this site to be “open”. I have repeatedly pointed to Barry’s policy, although admittedly not recently. I have simply been too busy focusing on writing new posts to intervene in comments as much as he does. I pointed out that this is how it has operated, but it is due to my NOT enforcing policies I have articulated from pretty early on. People were well behaved enough I could leave things alone for the most part. That is becoming less and less true.

          I’m ALSO disturbed by the counterfactual claim that we have an insider group that crushes outsiders. The nastiest comments by far have been on MMT posts, and they are in opposition to the views expressed by me and by the MMT guest bloggers, and too often involve ad hominem and persistent straw manning (for instance, “MMT = government debts as large as you want” which is simply untrue). So you seem to charge though policing by the MMT crowd, when any reading of the thread on those posts will show the reverse.

          1. ray l love

            Yves ~ “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.” (the post)

            Yves ~”I NEVER proclaimed this site to be “open”.” (the preceding comment)

          2. recaldo

            Ray –

            I would just back down and apologize. You really have it wrong. You can not deny that some of the comments have been out of control when someone’s wife can’t look at her husband’s work because the response to it is so personal and nasty. You can’t deny that these types of comments have had an overall negative effect on this terrific blog(with Yves unable to write all that she wants to for us or making her not want to blog at all!)

            I think what Yves is saying is that comments should remain on target..that they should be about the issue at hand, about the content of the post. Any argument or discussion that devolves into personal attacks will result in nothing getting accomplished…this is true in real life as much as it is in cyberspace. As true in cyberspace as it is in any place where rational debate has to ensue. So why not join the rest of us in talking about the economic/political issues presented on this blog.

          3. Bates

            Yves, I don’t know if you were responding to my post or to some other’s post. One of the problems I encounter is the structure of the posting here. Sometimes there is no ‘reply’ available to answer a post. Sometimes it is unclear which post is responding to what other post. Perhaps we should all start our posts with a heading; ie, Joe Blow, I think blah, blah, blah? Just a thought.

            At any rate I have never read ‘Barry’s Rules’…and did not know that you favored his rules. I will make a point of reading them. I did not make a counter factual claim that an insider clique existed here. I did say that insider cliques WILL FORM if the blogger/moderator favored certain opinions or economic hypothesis over others and that would lead, eventually, to a situation where the choir members are left talking among themselves. If that situation develops then the blog is basically reduced to a propaganda site for whatever flavor of economics that the blog owner/moderator prefers. I feel from your comments that you want to avoid that development, are doing a good and balanced job, and are succeeding where many others have failed. Congratulations.

          4. Transor Z

            Yves, I truly feel bad seeing such a valuable person so obviously discouraged. I’ve noted a few clues here and there in things you’ve written in the past month or so alluding to feeling tired and being discouraged. The content has changed and has embraced a more activist political stance. Seems to me these are outward signs of someone who has been affected by what she’s been writing and is finding an appropriate orientation to change within herself.

            I “know” you only from what you write and from clips I’ve seen of you on financial TV. I think the essential difference for purposes of present discussion between you and Barry is that you’re female and he’s male. Barry’s rules and attitude work well for Barry and for those of us who he tolerates to hang out and offer opinions at his place. He uses and tolerates salty language and you do so less frequently. Big differences in personal style. I really believe that gender is part of the equation.

            What percentage of influential financial bloggers are female? Percent female commenters? Point being that the tone and style of discourse on the financial blogs tends to be more from Mars than Venus and I think this might be weighing on you.

            My diagnosis: Madame, you could benefit from having more female compatriots in the blogosphere and from setting (and enforcing!) house rules here that make you feel comfortable with your readers. I was going to suggest you make like Odysseus, bolt the doors, grab your bow and start slaughtering the suitors/commenters who have been disrespecting your hospitality and wooing your wife while you’ve been away — but see, I’m a guy and that’s how we think.

            I wish you the best in sorting this out. It would be a terrible loss to not have you on the job.

    2. i on the ball patriot

      Fachtna Midwest I am extremely disappointed with your powers of perception. You misread my comment and as a result you now chastise me like a petulant three year old scolding an adult for not believing in Santa Claus …

      1. I didn’t say that, “Yves demanding more civility is a path down [a] “slippery slope into Authoritarian Rule in the United States.””

      I said quite clearly that we are already well down the slippery slope and noted some similarities in laws that prevent the homeless from exercising their Free Speech in the ‘public’ commons. I also noted that a blog is a ‘commons’ to the degree that the blog owner wants it to be. Of course it is privately owned and subject to the control of the owner. I believe that Yves would like to have it open to all and unfortunately that is not practical and so she calls for restraint. It is a shame that she has to do that. And yes, I think that her having to do so is a reflection of our intentionally coarsened culture. Scamerica is now a well oiled ignorant psychopath producing machine.

      2. But the fact that you can say this …

      “Your free speech rights are protected from unreasonable governmental restraints.”

      … after reading my comment, the quoted material in it, and the linked article, is what really makes me think your powers of perception are severely lacking and you are living in a Santa Claus level fantasy land.

      The law quoted is patently unconstitutional on its face, will more than likely not be challenged, and WILL BE SELECTIVELY ENFORCED — you can bet your ass on it!!! — by low brow scum bag cops who should know better.

      The reason the law, and the many others like it, will probably not be challenged Fachtna, is because the homeless do not have any money for lawyers, and even the kind and gentle, ‘give back’ pro bono lawyers do not like to take these cases because they are now all pretty much appealed to the supreme court (its known on the street as ‘the four year trail of tears’). And also Fachtna, having a homeless person as a client is a real crap shoot for a lawyer as most homeless do not leave stable lives and often die by the time a decision is rendered. You know, like all of those folks affected by the Exxon Valdez spill — who were relatively stable individuals before the spill — that died while waiting for a ‘scam rule of law’ judgment that took twenty plus years.

      Can we all say in unison now … Scam rule of law — selectively enforced!

      Constantly reflecting off of this scam government, and dignifying it and legitimizing it with your attention, will only get you more of it.

      Deception is the strongest political force on the planet.

  27. Jennifer Hill

    Hey Yves – I really got a chuckle reading this post – rules of engagement as it were. Good one.

    About your blog – awesome, intelligent, cogent, authoritative and compelling. Thanks for that, I look for it every morning so I can better understand how the plutocrats are stealing our commonwealth. Plus the fact that you are a woman with all this going on f-ing rules.

    On the subject of discourse. Yes the internet makes for some interesting interactions. The anonymity allows trolls to dispose with normal social convention and deride others for their ideas without any boundaries. Unfortunately they reflect the state of discourse in our culture in general, untrained, self indulgent and often misinformed. Its a bit like Jerry Springer meets Wikipedia. But I don’t want to generalize about your readers because I assume they are more like me – intellectual, thoughtful, and a true reformer at heart.

    A Big Thanks to You – Keep it up – we need you out here.

  28. Bates

    “The anonymity allows trolls to dispose with normal social convention and deride others for their ideas without any boundaries. Unfortunately they reflect the state of discourse in our culture in general, untrained, self indulgent and often misinformed.”

    Perhaps the current state of discourse on the internet is an improvement over concluding debates with dualing pistols? :)

    What may happen if the internet crashes and we have to discuss issues face to face again?

    I have posted more on this ‘rules’ link than I normally post here in a week! LOL

  29. Fachtna Midwest

    I am afraid that by registering my disappointment, I have sparked exactly the type of debate this post warns against.

    Therefore, I withdraw. If you believe your arguments have won the day, so be it.

  30. readerOfTeaLeaves

    Yves, I’ve found your blog to be a tremendous asset and read it almost daily (sometimes multiple times). I hope that my comments have not offended.

    To me, this blog has a great deal of value, and part of the value comes from the comments.
    With that in mind, in order to protect your own sanity — as well as the resource that you’ve created these past years in building NC — I appreciate this post.

    Per your comment about people being snotty over Tom Adams’ posts… I’m absolutely appalled. I have read his posts with admiration; he writes with authority and expertise.
    I sense that his writing is sharpened by the comprehension of what has been lost, or squandered, or stolen, these last few years.

    Assuming FinReg is only the first salvo of a longer war, the kind of information on this blog will only increase in value going forward, IMVHO.
    When the time finally arrives for real, rather than Potemkin, solutions it’s going to require that a lot more people are far better informed than is the case today.

    If trolls and pests diminish the caliber of conversation on this blog, that will only make the job of educating the public tougher. And it’s already tough enough, without having trolls suck energy from a focus on what went wrong, and how to rethink ‘political economy.’

    Enjoy your vacation.

  31. Yosemite Steve

    Yves, i used to find the discussion stimulating, more recently i don’t bother reading any replies at all. I appreciate you work & this is best blog i read every day.
    Thank you!!!

    With regard to administering the comments, if you have time to do so i heartily encourage you to do so! Basically you should exercise your judgement of who is trying to be constructive. Some idiots will claim that amounts to ‘censorship of free speech’ or ‘shutting down opposing points of view’ or whatever. That’s just nonsense. This is your blog and it’s actually great if you can spare the time to stop the immature, the rude, those whose agenda is to disrupt or grind their own axes until the whole discussion is dull. I strongly encourage you to do so.

    Alternatively, for your own sanity, at least as far as what replies you read, you should filter out and completely ignore replies from folks you have identified as not worth the time to reply to. It is not fair to you to have to even read relies from those who are not fundamentally constructive (according to your own totally subjective judgement. if they disagree, who cares.).

  32. kirk murphy

    Yves, thank you for NC: y’all learn me, daily.

    I hope you’ll pursue the best possible commenter policy – as you see it. It’s good of you to provide a space for comments. Yet the space is here because you created NC. We commenters are guests, and you’ve every right to decide what is and what isn’t OK.

  33. jest


    I, like many others, feel this blog is a *fantastic* success.

    Even with the snark, the comments section on NC is by far the best around. I suppose you’re a victim of your own success.

    It’s sad to see a vocal minority cause so you so much distress, but trust, you *are* greatly appreciated by a great many of us. I just wanted to give some well deserved thanks & encouragement!

    (The book is a great read, btw)

  34. Conor

    Ms. Smith… *blush* I know I’m guilty – some of my rants can sometimes be a little weird. And for that, me siento mucho!

    Your econoblog is really wonderful! There’s others I enjoy too, but this one is my favorite. Obviously, your political perspective is probably very close to mine; the links you provide are simply fantastic; and the commenters are always invigorating, even when they’re rude and obnoxious… I kinda’ like that. On the other hand, it’s a tough call and it is your blog – things can digress to such ugliness that it really does defeat the purpose of generating dialog; and that really is the ultimate goal of communication in the first place.

    Freedom of speech – like any other “right” – is a bit of a conundrum. In my opinion, rights are relative and not absolute… (Uh,oh…those relativists, again!) Like any right we hold dear, it is solely implied and only relevant to the current social mores. Once upon a time if a woman exhibited a naked ankle she would be arrested. Say certain words today, and not only will you be shunned, but fined and even arrested. Yes, even in America. *eh,hem* That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in freedom of speech, because I do!! I believe it was Thomas Jefferson who said: “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance”. Same goes for the first ten amendments to our constitution.

    (blah,blah,blah)… I digress… Again.

    Anyway, if I or any of your commenters become inappropriate… *chop, chop, chop* Well, it is your blog.

  35. anonymous

    Anonymous writes…ALL ANONYMOUS posts. I’d argue a large amount of the bickering and low value commentary stems from individuals trying to define the defects and virtues of other, rather than responding to content and arguments.

    Omniscient Yves, or one of her trusted co-bloggers, has access to our email and IP addresses. These are really the only folks who have a ‘need’ to know anything about us as individuals.

    If we all posted anonymously, we’d all be the ‘same.’ Only the content of our posts would have value.

    Isn’t advancing the argument the point?

    1. emca

      “we’d all be the ’same.’”

      Now that’s one of the problems with anonymous, isn’t it?

  36. emca


    Unfortunately it is not your duty to provide space for every and all viewpoints.

    If you find yourself spending too much time arguing a topic, and that certainly is my observation, you need to take appropriate action.

    As Barry R says:

    “The goal is to provide a steady stream of relevant information — leavened with my perspectives”

    Editing comments to facilitate that ‘stream of information”
    is a necessary task. You’ll be being sucked into the vortex of endless argumentation and nuance otherwise, not good for your sanity or readers of this blog.

  37. MichaelC


    I think there are a few serial abusers who regularly post here who seem to think this is their blog. They should be asked to control their contribution a bit, or be sent to a second comment room if they insist on posting every day.

    Think Siggy, Downsouth and Iontheball. Although they purport to provide a dose of skepticism they and the string of commenters that engage with them are generally a distraction from the main post.IMHO

    I propose you provide 2 comments rooms for each post. The default for all comments would be the main comments ‘room’, Serial posters get defaulted to room 2 to conduct their discussions with other readers. You can choose to engage (or not) at that sidebar site.

    Getting sent to room 2 signals your willinnes to provide a forum for their ideas, but your unwillingness to engage in comments that are not germane to the post or that potentially violate your comments policy.

    Since you’re reading the comments anyway, it may be a minor administrative task to redirect the comment to the appropriate forum.

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