If a forum is truly open, it will attract its share of blustering bigots....I appreciate Nichols's support for free speech... and for me, even as he says that I "tend toward the right edge of the ideological spectrum." Tend toward the right edge? I hope he means side. But if he really means edge, chalk it up to Madison, Wisconsin, where conservatism is right-wing extremism.
My view, for what it's worth, is that those of us who used to buy ink by the barrel but now discourse digitally should offer our views and then step out of the way and let our friends and foes have at it. As such, I've enjoyed more than my share of nasty comments about my sexuality, my mental health and my penchant for using the word "penchant." But what strikes me is that the crude comments invariably attract responses that check and balance them. Deleting crude or offensive statements may make everything neat and tidy, but it also obscures unpleasant realities and prevents enlightened readers from addressing them in bold and creative ways.