Starting tomorrow, comments are going to be policed and deleted. With the election coming on, the signal to noise ratio has gone from about 50/50 to about 10/90. My old commenters miss the civil discussion that used to take place at my old website, and so do I. So with the help of an intern, we're going to start removing comments that don't lead to productive discussion.
I could lay out all sorts of rules, but the rule I'll mainly be using is really fairly simple: if you wouldn't say it to my face, or the face of the commenter you're addressing, don't say it here. Imagine you're at a debate tournament, or a cocktail party. If what you're about to say would get you thrown out of either, can it or I will. And repeat offenders will be banned.
I'm also going to delete/ban commenters--you know who you are (and if you don't, you're about to find out) who drive things in circles by getting into long pointless arguments about trivia where they refuse to concede any ground.
For the first time, the comments that simply communicate the commenter's deep hatred and/or contempt of me are also going. I am sure I will be accused of stifling debate, of suppressing criticism of me. So be it. A significant fraction of the comments now consists of some variation on "You stupid, ignorant bitch, why aren't you writing what I want you to write?" I am now fully conversant with two facts:
1. Many lefty commenters think that I am a stupid, ignorant bitch.
2. I am not writing things they want to read.
Still not clear on why they're reading the things they don't like to read, but hey, to each his own. Anyway, I don't think there is any further value to be gleaned by repetition of these sentiments. And they destroy the thread when other commenters respond.
I am also going to delete flame comments from my supporters, even if they are merely responding to the trolls. Dealing with trolls is my job.
I'm not trying to wring the spirit from the debate--you can be as vicious as you like about peoples' ideas. But the minute you say anything that even smacks of rudeness about the commenters themselves, I'm going to delete it if I see it. (And if you think I've missed one, please point it out). I also reserve the right to delete comments for any other reason. I am going entirely on my judgement, and there is no appeal. I encourage those who cannot live with this to start their own blog, where they can spout bile to their heart's content.
Update (Liberal) commenter Brad L asks me why I accuse my trolls of being lefties. Well, because I know what blogs they came here via, and the most persistent ones clearly have a left political agenda. I get a lot of crap from the right, but with a few exceptions (there are a few), it has nowhere near the level of obnoxious vitriol I get from the left. But of course, many of my best commenters are also liberals. I don't think they're trolls because they're liberals; rather, I think I attract liberal trolls. Presumably the conservative trolls are out on some left-libertarian blog make life unpleasant for its owner.