Comment policy

By Megan McArdle

A number of my old commenters have written in to complain that it is impossible to have a discussion here because of the new commenters hurling verbal brickbats.

I'm very happy to have more left wing commenters these days; on any blog, there's danger of things turning into an echo chamber. I'm not happy to have commenters, left and right, derail threads with escalating name-calling.

Hence, for the first time, I'm going to start aggressively moderating the comments.

The rules:

1) No name calling. You may make fun of your opponents ideas as vigorously as you like. Be funny, sarcastic, bombastic, whatever. Call him a "Moron", "Fascist", or a four-letter word, however, and I will delete you. Likewise if you accuse people of secretly longing to [see the poor starve/impose their quasi-communofascist philosophy on freedom-loving people everywhere].

2) No derailing threads. This post was meant to be a bit of fun, reminiscent of the famous 2003 Thomas Friedman essay contest. Several commenters, however, are apparently unable to recognize fun . . . or else they don't think other people are entitled to have any. I'm deleting the off-topic comments, and future such.

3) No posting copyrighted content. I make my living by IP; and this blog belongs to a big media company that could get sued. Fair use is fine, but reproducing an entire article from behind some pay barrier is not.

4) No profanity. This is a family blog. Specifically, my family. When launching your nasty attacks, try not to say anything that you wouldn't want your mother and father to see written about you.

5) No referring to anything as "Fascist" or "Communist" unless the people involved are actually adherents of the 19th- and 20th- century political ideologies thus described. These words are not synonyms for "mean people" or "people who disagree with me".

I will not delete people for any other sort of content. There are blogs out there who delete reasonable comments in order to make the blogger look as if there is no good opposition to their ideas. This will not be one of those blogs. If you disagree with me, please stay and argue. Just do it respectfully.

One more note: if you put links into your comments, the spam filter will catch them. I'm trying to make those comments live as quickly as possible, but I've been rather busy.

Update Obviously, I'm not perfect. If you see something you think I've missed, email meganmcardle@theatlantic.com to let me know.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2007/08/comment-policy/1820/