On the AutoAdmit case, he says:
[I]t is indeed quite a spectacle to watch law professors with established reputations and prominent spots on the Internet — both of which they can use to counter any unjust criticism of themselves — labeling as oversensitive fledgling lawyers with no established reputation and no platform for responding to scurrilous allegations.I agree that law students are in a very different position, and I understand the great anxiety these things cause. I am continually aware of the benefits I enjoy because I have tenure and a high-traffic blog. These two things do also attract special attacks and make people feel especially free to say whatever they like about me. But I am not losing sight of the fact that the law students are in another position. I have a lot of empathy for law students -- much more than for law professors! I've devoted decades to working with law students, and to say I don't care about what happens to them is to attack my "established reputation." That matters to me. But, of course, obviously, I'm in a different position and I always keep that in mind when the subject is law students.
You may not notice it, but I almost never write anything about law students. Unless there is actually a newspaper article raising an important controversy involving them, I am extremely unlikely ever to say anything negative about them. Often law student blogs say very nasty things about me, and I say nothing. I don't fight back, because they are law students. It just doesn't seem right. With respect to this AutoAdmit controversy, I'm trying to keep my distance from it -- believe it or not -- because I don't want to say anything negative about law students.
I concede that I said something dismissive in response to the original Washington Post story, to the extent that it characterized a student as claiming that she lost out on job offers because chatboard guys talked too much about how pretty she was. I don't think being beautiful and causing sexual desire in others is that harmful to your reputation. That said, I do acknowledge the anxiety caused by the over-the-top, outrageous writing when it crosses the line and makes it seem as though someone will show up in real life as a stalker or a rapist.
I am trying not to write too much on the subject, but at the same time it's frustrating to see a complex set of events and individuals jumbled together and discussed in a highly emotional and extremely ideological way -- not only in blogs and news articles, but in the complaint itself. Patterico criticizes me for not putting more effort into untangling the jumbled complaint. This conflicts with my preference for staying out of it for the most part, mainly because I don't want to criticize law students and or to give raw material to the ideological extremists who are eager to use anything I say that doesn't toe the line to trash my reputation as a law professor.
So I'm really conflicted about this. I can see that ideologues are not only viciously attacking me but also trying to frame the debate in a very skewed way that puts a low value on free speech and a high value on using lawsuits to enforce politeness of the internet. It's mostly done by stressing the great danger of violence against women and trashing anyone who doesn't see that (admittedly worthy) concern as trumping anything else. So since I do have tenure and a high-traffic blog, I feel I need to stay in it and counter some of that. Believe me, it's no fun.