Comments Policy

It is, unfortunately, long past time this blog had a comments policy. I hope that it doesn't require a detailed set of rules so much as a set of principles, but we'll see. Anyway, let's get started.

(1) The internet is a big place, and starting a blog is free. Linking to my blog? Also free. Hence, I don't see any particular moral obligation to give anybody other than myself an open mic. If I ban you, I'm not silencing or censoring anyone, I'm just managing my little corner of the internet. Go homestead your own plot.

(1.5) If you think what I write is typically (though not always) decently insightful, such that adding a comment -- whether it's laudatory, constructive criticism, a request for clarification, an expansion, an analogy or cross-application, or what have you -- will help push a conversation forward, that's a great reason to leave a comment! If, by contrast, you think this blogger is normally knee-jerk, irredeemably liberal, unsalvagably conservative, racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-Arab, anti-Israel, anti-Palestine, anti-Jamaican, or otherwise wrongheaded as a matter of course, and you comment on post after post to make that judgment known -- you are a troll. See #1 for remedies.

(2) I think it was Eugene Volokh who analogized comment sections to parties. You want a variety of people saying interesting things, and you don't want a bunch of sycophants or yes-men who all agree on everything (historically, not a problem for this blog). A diverse range of perspective adds life and vitality to any good party. On the other hand, some people have terrible party manners -- they monopolize the conversation, are obnoxiously contrarian, drive off other guests, mischaracterize what other people are saying, are needlessly disrespectful, and/or commit a variety of other faux pas which make the party considerably less fun. I subscribe to that philosophy, and thus will look harshly upon any violations of these norms.

(3) Racism, sexism, anti-Semitism, or any other related 'isms will not be tolerated. Historically, I've kept a very light hand even on many comments I've thought were racist, but I think I'm going to change that policy and start being considerably more free with my deletions.

(3.5) I have certain commitments regarding what constitutes racism and related sins. What qualifies as "racism" (or any of its cousins) is left to my sole discretion and judgment. If you think I am misapplying these principles, please refer back to #1.

(4) I have a particular pet peeve about commenters who exhibit poor reading comprehension skills, with respect either to other commenters or my own posts. Mischaracterizing another person's point to more easily beat up on a strawman is a very fast way to piss me off -- more so if I think the actual point being made was important and insightful, and now is being lost by the divergence. I will delete comments that do this.

(5) I don't like banning, as it feels very confrontational. On the very rare occasions I have banned people, I've actually been decently non-partisan about it -- possibly because I have both leftward and rightward buttons that can set me off. Nonetheless, because the moderation software here is very primitive, my options for banning people are pretty limited. I basically have to ask people to leave and hope they comply, or otherwise manually delete every comment they ever write. Both choices annoy me. Hence, if you do not believe you will be able to satisfy my Comment policy on a regular basis, I respectfully request that you refrain from commenting at all.

(6) Banning is permanent, and comments by banned persons (including those written under another alias) will be deleted without regard to content. Obviously, the "another alias" thing can be difficult to monitor, and I will use my best judgment for determining if someone is sock-puppeting (including trying to match IP addresses). There is, consequently, the possibility that I will accidentally ban someone "innocent" because I mistakenly believe them to be a sock-puppet. If this happens, I do (sincerely) apologize, but unfortunately it is difficult to avoid. The good news is, again, you can start your own blog. If you have been previously banned and wish for it to be lifted, you can email me to ask and explain why I should permit you to return -- but I will say flat out such requests are unlikely to be granted.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to comment or drop me an email [schraubd[AT]gmail[DOT]com].

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