December 22, 2011

You may have noticed the new comments policy around here.

My new message above the comments composition window is:
I value all comments made in good faith. Try to understand this concept. It's not about your point of view or your mode of expression. We love disputes and diversity. But I won't allow bad faith commenters to leverage their destructiveness on my commitment to free speech.
Following this new policy and with Meade helping me, we've been deleting commenters we believe are writing in the comments with the purpose of wrecking the forum and driving away the people who enjoy the comments section as a place of free expression.

It's hard to draw this line, and it's possible that we're seeing some commenters the wrong way. The message at the comments window also says "If your comments are deleted and you don't understand why, write to Meade, who is helping me with this," but Meade tells me no one has yet emailed him, so I tend to think we've identified the "bad faithers." Meade says "There are about a dozen. Call them 'The Dirty Dozen.'"

Now, we can also err the other way. There might be a commenter who impresses us with a clever form of expression, even as he hurls insults. My orientation toward free speech has made me very tolerant of people like that, even when they attack me and the commenters here. I've gone very far defending edgy and harsh expression. That's part of why my new policy is about the good faith/bad faith distinction. That distinction depends on the writer's purpose, and purpose can be hard to discern, especially in clever writers.

In this context, there was a commenter who offended a lot of people, but he crafted his comments quite creatively. We delete him now as one of the bad faithers, but there are some ex-commenters who — elsewhere on the internet — excoriate me for leaving his comments up as long as I did. I'm not going to link to these folks whose idea of a good time is attacking me. I'm just going to invite them — and anybody else who's been following this dispute — to click "more" and see a comment that should take them aback.

This is a comment from Trooper York, written at 4:32 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (spelling and punctuations left as is):
Actually J is an acquried taste with a strong opinion and a unique way of presenting it. He has a point of view and is trying to find a way to express in his jazzy improv style. I know that the personal attacks can be annoying but who am I to critize that since I love personal attacks my ownself.

I like to hear someone who thinks so much differently than me. You need both sugar and mustard. You shouldn't get caught up in his name calling. It's just a motif like garage's idoicy and Cedarffords anti-semitism.

He brings a lot to the blog in my humble opinion. Another voice that we should here. Just sayn'
If you haven't been following this dispute but clicked "more" anyway, Trooper runs a blog devoted largely to insulting me, and his primary complaint seems to be my failure to delete J in the past. I normally ignore him, but I found his hypocrisy so amusing and interesting that I had to memorialize it. The trouble with a policy of silence is that you shoot it all to hell if you speak even once, but... whatever... I'll return to my policy of silence. If followers of this now-old dispute need something to chew on, chew on the question whether J was Trooper's sockpuppet, and Trooper was flattering himself.

359 comments:

1 – 200 of 359   Newer›   Newest»
Paco Wové said...

"...purpose can be hard to discern, especially in clever writers."

Yes, such a fine line there...

Mr. D said...

It's your blog, Professor. You can run it however you see fit. Commenting is a privilege, not a right, on anyone's blog. And respecting the rules is a reasonable expectation.

WV: cenca -- a portmanteau word combining censorship and caca

Paddy O said...

I remembered that quote throughout this whole kerfuffle.

Encourage the obvious drunk, then get mad at the owner for not kicking him out when he gets out of hand.

I know it's not joining in with the cool kids, but I want to say thanks to Meadehouse for this new approach.

I also appreciate that we don't have to learn a bunch of hand signals to show our intentions.

The trick, of course, will be to keep up the back and forth conversation while including humor. Humor, now, has to be focused, more wit than buffoonery. But I think that's possible.

TML said...

I have no problem with this. I'm comforted by the fact (fact, established over years, undeniable to those paying attention) that this is about eliminating sabotage not opinions that run contrarily (contrary?) to those of the proprietor.

GMay said...

J was a sockpuppet? Naw...ya don't say?

Anyhoo - I think the "good faith" thing is just way too subjective to enforce. I can't recall a forum that has gone from "relatively unrestrained" to "selective enforcement" that has managed to maintain its allure.

Perhaps a gentle remonstrance in the comment thread before deleting might be more effective and less time-consuming?

Jay Retread said...

Ann, you are so full of yourself.

Freeman Hunt said...

I didn't think the new commenting policy would make any difference, but the comments do seem to be better.

However, I do not think that Trooper York is J. J is his own thing.

Scott M said...

Validation is a form of praise. This is validation.

J is still here as Perezoso for those wanting to keep track. His writing style could be spotted in a pitch black room.

Levi Starks said...

I'll miss "J"

Paddy O said...

"J is his own thing."

So is Trooper.

I think Trooper always commented in good faith, it was just more like a different religion. Not entirely different, more people of the book than resurrection vs reincarnation.

By the by, this is likely among the more meta posts in Althousia.

Elle said...

Your blog. Your rules.

I have the "right" to hurl insults, but my parents raised me better than that. I wish more people would grasp the difference between A "right" and IT'S "right."

Peace.

Tank said...

It's too bad about AA and Trooper.

This is an internet thing. People would never get to this point in person.

Two bright people with much to say in a creative way, and they come to this.

Sad.

MadisonMan said...

Commenting on a comment policy is a little too meta for me.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)



WOW I can e-mail Meade…Just like the Zeks could petition Stalin…what’s the point? Althouse, what would a lawyer say if told, you can appeal the judge’s ruling, before the judge? Puh-leese…..

It’s your “house” your rules…I have no kick with that, but please don’t blow the smoke that there is an appeal or that we can “talk”…I can talk to the lion as he eats me, doesn’t mean it’ll have any effect.

Joe said...

(The Uncredentialed, Crypto Jew)

Levi Starks said...
I'll miss "J"


Well you ought to have aimed, better then…..

Paddy O said...

"Commenting on a comment policy is a little too meta for me."

Commenting on this comment blows my mind.

Scott M said...

Commenting on this comment blows my mind.

If you link to it in the comments section of another blog, it will rip space/time.

Mark O said...

Interesting. I prefer simply not to read posts that can easily be identified as homophobic or defamatory or merely insane rather than have someone save me from them. I object to long cut and paste comments that simply waste the resource of the thread.

It is a private wall on which we write. No right/privilege issue here. No Free Speech preening needed. Those things never did apply here.

I hope the policy, which in the age of Obama's hate of real free speech, does not detract from a full and open commentary. It is harder when one worries if we might annoy the owner. Something I expect to do with continued regularity.

campy said...

Only a dozen? There are a lot more than that whose handles I Scroll On By

timmaguire42 said...

Prof., for your next Cafe post, can we have a list of the banned posters to argue about in the comments? I'd bet anything there are a few I'll be sorry to see go.

Instead of bad faith, how about deleting the thread hijacks and banning the habitual hijackers? And otherwise just return to your sometimes habit of lecturing us for feeding the trolls.

Jay Retread said...

Earlier this year Ann bragged that she never deletes posts. I guess consistency is not her strong suite. No one as thin of skin as Ann can be a true champion of free speech. Ann is extremely thinned skinned.

Now that Ann is editing her blog's comments it is safe to assume that any racist bigoted comments left up has her blessing.

MadisonMan said...

Only a dozen? There are a lot more than that whose handles I Scroll On By

If you see posting on althouse
And you start to cry
That I'm a louse
Scroll on by.....scroll on by

Make believe that you don't read my
words,
They make you grieve, in althouse,
So though it makes me sigh (sigh, sigh, sigh)
Just scroll on by.

Sincerely,
MadisonMad Warkwick

MayBee said...

What ever happened to "I miss you. What can we do to work this out?"

Joe said...

One the of the curious phenomenon I've noticed on several blogs is when certain commenters lose it. Typically, though not always, such commenters straddle the line between sharp and insulting, but then something happens and they lose it; their attacks become extremely personal even while they deny they are such. In many cases, they become incoherent--their comments become just a hateful stream-of-consciousness.

The most bizarre place I've seen this was on a forum pertaining to dealing with spouses with personality disorders. It became readily apparent that whatever condition their spouse had, the commenter had serious issues of their own.

Incidentally, one blog where the comment section blows up on a periodic basis is Dr. Helen. Militant anti-mysandrists become militant mysoginists, alienate everyone, people leave, they get bored, leave and then it settles down for the next round. It actually can be comical, at least until it becomes really annoying and offensive. Kind of like J.

Salamandyr said...

I'm confused. Trooper York used to be one of your most prolific commenters, and dare I say biggest fans; what exactly happened to change that.

Personally, I've always preferred it when you took a hands off view toward commenters. J (is it confirmed he was some of our previous trolls?) may not have contributed anything but evidence of his own idiocy, but even that's useful information.

I'm grateful to many of the lefty posters who write here, Garage, Freder, and the like. I don't necessarily agree with you, and sometimes I think you are preemptively hostile, but you're outnumbered and you come in for a lot of abuse (by sheer weight of numbers, probably more than you could dish out), but you still come back to fight the good fight. That's a gutsy move, even in the relatively staid field of internet commentary.

Writ Small said...

Remember the Ann / Bob Wright free speech kerfuffle?

Bob Wright said Roger Ailes should kick Glenn Beck off the air for his noxious views. Ann said this meant that Bob was against free speech. Bob said that, no, Fox News was not the government and that their private decision to take Glenn off their network was not an infringement of his free speech.

Ann had this to say in an email exchange with Bob:

"Free speech is a value that extends beyond the right that people have against government, just as privacy and autonomy are larger ideas than their corresponding legal rights."

Ann also argued that the answer to speech you found offensive was more speech - not the elimination of the speech you didn't like.

Can we now say that Mr. Wright was, you know, right?

MadisonMan said...

Wow, I screwed up those lyrics.

If you see ME posting on althouse...

Freeman Hunt said...

I think some people look at commenting as being on teams, who is friends with who, who likes who, who has the blogger's favor, etc.

But that only makes mountains out of molehills.

It's just commenting. It's intellectually entertaining and engaging. It's fun to read the wit and insight of others.

But it's probably not a good idea to allow oneself to get emotional about it. It's the Internet, not face to face interaction. Most of the dysfunction and flouncing seems to come from having face to face emotional expectations for people one knows only online. Emotional interaction over the net is often nothing more than two people projecting onto each other's online identities.

I think dysfunction also comes from looking at the blogger as a sort of authority figure. If you get caught up in that and are the rebellious sort, you'll end up resenting the blogger. But what real authority does any blogger have over a reader? None. To resent the imagined authority of a blogger is only to waste one's time.

John said...

Reason has been nearly ruined by griefer trolls who just come there to crap on everyone's post. It is a common tactic. You have to have registration and moderation to stop it.

Joe said...

Earlier this year Ann bragged that she never deletes posts.

False memory syndrome isn't becoming (neither is sock puppetry.) As I recall, she said she rarely deletes posts and doesn't edit her own without making note of it.

DADvocate said...

All I can say is                and Ann can              . Plus, Meade         his      .

Anyone who doesn't like it should            .

John said...

Ann,

Does this mean we can no longer talk about Jessica Valenti's breasts?

Pogo said...

All the trolls come out at night - blog-whores, internet tough guys, anti-semites, drama queens, global warming fairies, truthers, hate junkies. Sick, venal.

Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the blogs.

Some trolls go all over. They take over Althouse, Firedoglake, they take WaPo. I don't care. Don't make no difference to me. It does to some. Some won't even take bots. Don't make no difference to me.

Sorun said...

You're doing just fine, Althouse. And I don't miss J one bit.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm comforted by the fact (fact, established over years, undeniable to those paying attention) that this is about eliminating sabotage not opinions that run contrarily (contrary?) to those of the proprietor."

Absolutely. And thanks for reminding me of the word "sabotage." That's exactly what I'm trying to get at.

"Anyhoo - I think the "good faith" thing is just way too subjective to enforce."

But we've been doing it for the past few weeks and I'm saying we're succeeding. You're seeing the results of the policy on this blog. You may not notice when things run well, but we do. We're cultivating the garden here, and we're putting in a lot of work, work that has a real effect, and we know what it is. If you don't notice... that reinforces my belief that we're doing it right. Again, no one is emailing Meade asking why they were deleted. We have identified the bad faithers, and you are enjoying the new comments policy and not noticing it. That's great!

"Perhaps a gentle remonstrance in the comment thread before deleting might be more effective and less time-consuming?"

Only a good faither responds to that. We delete bad faithers, and these are people who would feed off "gentle remonstrance." They leverage themselves with it. Seriously, we know what it is, and we have tried other methods. It only seems too severe to you because you are in good faith, and maybe you're afraid you'll express yourself too sharply and get deleted. I really don't think that can happen. But if it does, please click on the "write to Meade" link and talk to us about it. We haven't gotten caught mis-detecting bad faith yet, and we eagerly invite it.

Freeman Hunt said... "I do not think that Trooper York is J. J is his own thing."

I tend to think J has a kind of intelligence that isn't congruent with the kind of intelligence manifested by Trooper. But I notice that Trooper's antagonism dates to something he calls "Bloody Sunday," when I suddenly deleted a whole slew of comments. Discussed on the page called "You've come to the right place." That was a day when, if I have reconstructed my memory correctly, J started going on and on accusing people of being sockpuppets, and Trooper went back and forth with him. (There were screenfuls of accusations about sockpuppetry that I didn't think any normal reader would care about, and I called it clutter and took it out.) Now, I'm thinking that ridiculously long back and forth could have been Trooper craving recognition for clever sockpuppetry work and decided to persevere until he got it, but I cut him off, because he/they made a godawful mess of the comments, and I cleared out the mess. Thereafter his blog became a monument to the injury to his narcissism (ironically, drawing in commenters of mine whose feelings had been hurt by J). Anyway, it's just a theory, and I'm not going to obsess over conspiracy theories... at least not ones relating to people who are currently getting deleted as bad faithers. There's nothing worth delving into (unless it's about getting back to good faith).

"J is still here as Perezoso for those wanting to keep track. His writing style could be spotted in a pitch black room."

We know. And we delete him.

Paddy O said... "I think Trooper always commented in good faith, it was just more like a different religion."

I was very forgiving for a long, long time, but Meade and I have been reading and analyzing this more than you have -- unless you've been over-the-top obsessed with this blog for years -- and we arrived at the decision that he is one of the bad faithers. Sorry to say that.

Pogo said...

The Fifth Labour of Meade was to clean the Althousian stables.

Scott M said...

And I don't miss J one bit.

You don't have to. He/she/it is still here writing as Perezoso which, funny enough, has a closed profile. This after repeated, ad nauseum, accusations against other commenters of being sockpuppets themselves and not having the "balls" to link to a "real blog" in their profile.

Truth IS stranger than fiction.

Ann Althouse said...

"Earlier this year Ann bragged that she never deletes posts."

An assertion like that requires a link to the the statement you claim exists.

I am certain it does not, so... you need to eat your words.

Paddy O said...

"Earlier this year Ann bragged that she never deletes posts."

Hence the post on a changed policy.

And someone can be a racist bigot sincerely arguing their views, it doesn't mean everything is agreed upon.

Here's my perspective on all of this, as a more reasonable social conservative. I disagree with Althouse on a number of very important issues. She has made it pretty clear what her attitude is about religion, which is fairly representative of continental postmodernism. Yet, I find this to be one of the better forums for talking about social issues and religion.

There's a wide diversity of views, as long as someone is able to handle real nuance as opposed to black and white thinking.

Good conversations develop between commenters who agree on some issues and disagree on others.

The trouble comes when intentional trolls take over a thread, not just adding a comment but seemingly spending a whole day here responding to everything. It's like the crazy person yelling on the bus. It's amusing in a way, but it entirely undermines any developing conversation.

Eventually, all you have are the people who yell and everyone wishing for more nuanced conversation is gone.

Meanwhile, all the thin-skinned people yell and scream about Althouse's thin skin because they can't handle any push back.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

It is good to censor comments. I used to hang out in forums a good deal, and one's without a leader deleting the worthless ones tended to become merely a place for graffiti. But it is true also that it is very frustrating to write a bunch of posts somewhere only to find out that the censor is foolish in applying his editorial privilege, resulting in getting banned. People with original ideas will shy away from places like that, so you could end up with boring people if people have doubts about what constitutes the kind of posts you censor. The ideal situation would be for there to be a public trash folder or blog where all censored comments go--that way people could judge you for your censorship (and people who disagree with you could argue there).

What's really vile is when you are in the middle of disagreeing with the powers that be in a forum about something, and then they insult you or your ideas and ban you so you can't respond, and then they don't make it clear to people reading your posts that you are banned, so it looks like you could not come up with a rejoinder. If you ban people, it is in my opinion cowardly or underhanded not to make it clear they were banned if it is at all convenient to do so, and preferably you should explain why they were banned. Admittedly a publicly available trash folder or a blog dedicated to explaining your bans might be harder to set up in a blog than analogous places in a message forum, but that would be ideal, imho.

Ann Althouse said...

"Now that Ann is editing her blog's comments it is safe to assume that any racist bigoted comments left up has her blessing."

That is absolutely a false conclusion if you have read what I said with any understanding of the good faith/bad faith distinction.

You're getting very close to bad faith yourself with that.

BTW, "eat your words" is what I demand now instead of apologies.

You need to read more carefully, understand the relevant distinction, and come back and eat your words here publicly.

Pogo said...

Demanding that Althouse live up to a ginned-up code is pure Alinsky.

Paddy O said...

"unless you've been over-the-top obsessed with this blog for years"

Well, I'm seeking counseling about it.

Can I say, then, that one major change is that simplying being a good character and amusing is no longer a welcomed criteria?

That seemed to be an expressed "good faith" participation here. If not on topic, be amusing. Trooper and Titus qualified in that respect.

Ann Althouse said...

"What ever happened to "I miss you. What can we do to work this out?""

Think of a person to whom saying that would exacerbate the problem and you'll have a better grasp on what we mean by bad faith.

Joe said...

Writ, this is Ann's forum for free speech and we are like ex post facto screened callers.

What Bob was advocating was akin to someone demanding that Google remove Althouse's blog.

The freedom of speech doesn't extend to hijacking others medium of free speech for your own. Nobody is stopping you from creating a blog, or simply standing on a street corner, and saying whatever you will and screening your commenters or not.

(FYI: waiting from megabytes of installs to get done, hence commenting more frequently right now.)

Jay Retread said...

Challenging Ann now gets you labeled by her as a "Bad Faither" with the order to "eat your words" or else.

Please ban me Ann.

EDH said...

Following this new policy and with Meade helping me, we've been deleting commenters we believe are writing in the comments with the purpose of wrecking the forum and driving away the people who enjoy the comments section as a place of free expression.

Althouse brings in the muscle, Meade, as her enforcer.

Ann Althouse said...

"Can we now say that Mr. Wright was, you know, right?"

No, because the bad faith problem is different. Let me repeat: "It's not about your point of view or your mode of expression. We love disputes and diversity. But I won't allow bad faith commenters to leverage their destructiveness on my commitment to free speech."

That is, people who knew about my commitment to free speech used it as a trick to do something that was about destroying the blog. Think of the Alinsky rule: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity."

The bad faithers were using my rule against me like that.

Joe said...

Is deliberately seeking to be banned a form of masochism or narcissism?

Henry said...

I'm good with the new policy.

My policy has always been to ignore the dreck. But there were posts where it was too much work to even skim over it.

We'll still have the finger-pointers and point-scorers, I suppose, but hopefully their word count will go down.

muddimo said...

"Now that Ann is editing her blog's comments it is safe to assume that any racist bigoted comments left up has her blessing."

I typically only read Ann's posts, not so much the comments, but even I know this statement is BS. It appears to me that she still welcomes a diversity of opinion, if it's truly opinion and not trolling.

Ann Althouse said...

"But it's probably not a good idea to allow oneself to get emotional about it. It's the Internet, not face to face interaction. Most of the dysfunction and flouncing seems to come from having face to face emotional expectations for people one knows only online. Emotional interaction over the net is often nothing more than two people projecting onto each other's online identities."

You're being charitable in assuming that these bad faithers are people who are good at social interactions in real life.

Pogo said...

"Please ban me Ann."

For being boring? That just gets you an auto-scroll-by.

John said...

I don't really understand why people have a hard time seeing this. Leftist trolls who think no one but them should have a voice on the internet troll boards like this putting up offensive comments. If Ann doesn't delete them, they use the comments as evidence she condones racism or such. If she does, they say she is against free speech.

It is a sad game. But not a hard one to understand. The only choice is to delete the trolls and not worry about it.

traditionalguy said...

The Bona Fides standards are a good thing; they make Althouse into a safer place to think and comment without continually wondering where a J is coming from or whether a harsh accuser is sincere or playing with us.

I need to purchase an indulgence for my bad grammar and spelling. Thanks for your patience.

The Crack Emcee said...

I'm rambling here:

I don't know what to make of the new comment policy. And, since I was away when whatever happened with Troop, I can't speak on that - except to say he's questioned my posts about you, so I have a hard time understanding how he can be J. On the other hand, there's been a commenter on my blog, named the "Evil Blogger Lady," and Troop's the first follower on his/her blog, so anything could be happening.

What I can say is this:

I've challenged you on several grounds - ethics being one of them - because, when you're all over the board ethically, anything ugly is possible to happen. Letting standards slip, in that manner, is what makes neighborhoods into ghettoes and then killing fields - I've seen it. Some applaud you for, say, defending a pro-life position in posts, knowing you're pro-choice. I'm not one of them. Such a scattershot approach invites anger because there's no clear through-line and, in our society today, we desperately need one. And, yes, being a law professor doesn't help, making you appear to either denigrate (or at least not appreciate) the position as loftily as we may see it:

You're pretending to be some chick who's a law professor when, in reality, you're a law professor acting like some chick.

I see it as the Boomer/Hippie/NewAge thing - the ethos, that comes with those roles, to mischievously question even those things that, once mature, you should know are important (and settled) enough to be done questioning. A fetus is a baby - and we don't kill babies. That kind of thing.

Anyway, I don't know if any of that makes much sense, but, just off the top of my head, that's what I'm seeing/feeling. YMMV.

Also, I liked the blog better with Troop (and Shouting Thomas) than without him, but I understand that may be out of your/Meade's hands. One other thing, though:

You and Meade (and Glenn) never apologize for fucking up. But you're human - you do fuck up. Admitting your lapses in judgment can go a long way towards humanizing you in this clearly distancing format. You have power, however limited. This blog, like Instapundit, doesn't exist in a whatever-I-want-to-do vacuum - it affects lives. Copping to going off the rails occasionally is helpful. You don't lose points for it, but gain them. It may not seem like it, immediately, but some things don't.

I guess that's all I have left to say,...

muddimo said...

What John just said.

Every garden needs to be pruned and weeded now and then. It's a form of destruction but ultimately produces desired growth.

Scott M said...

I need to purchase an indulgence for my bad grammar and spelling.

While you're there, can you grab me one for obscure references?

Pogo said...

It sounds like there's waaay more to the story than I want to ever ever know.

Merry Christmas, Althouse and Meade.
God bless.
Thanks for all your work, year in and year out.
Thanks for a place where I feel like Norm in Cheers.
Thanks for a daily serving of that's interesting.
Thanks for the hillbilly regulars, old and new, rare and plentiful.

Despite my crankiness, this is a good place to talk.

John Foust said...

Speaking of blogs about Althouse, why hasn't altmouse.blogspot.com been updated in ages?

Kirby Olson said...

J is not a sockpuppet for Trooper. He's been commenting at my blog for at least seven years. He went to the University of Colorado and majored in philosophy. He has a pretty good understanding of the history of philosophy, and has other interests, too. He was raised a Catholic but now is seemingly devoted to reason whatever that is. He lives in Los Angeles but commutes to a city about twenty miles north of Los Angeles where he works as a computer programmer. He has girlfriends (he's not a loner thank God!), and he's an atheist. He's a real person. If he chooses to use his brain, he can, and does. I've sometimes deleted him for three years at a time, and then let him back in when he's more productive in tone. My commenting policy exists solely on account of him. We used to have freewheeling brawling comments that went on for 200 or more but he wrecked it by derailing the discussion. Managing J is a full-time job. But aside from a drone strike (ask Obama, as he specializes in those) I don't think we can get rid of him.

DADvocate said...

You're being charitable in assuming that these bad faithers are people who are good at social interactions in real life.

LOL.

I have no problem with any of the censorship I've seen so far. The comment she took down in the feminist kerfluffle generally supports Ann. The uppity feminist professor n question (I'm too lazy to look up her name right now) censored liberally based on agreement/disagreement with her point of view. (Pun intended.)

Pogo said...

"why hasn't altmouse.blogspot.com been updated in ages?"

Because I ....oops.

Ann Althouse said...

Pogo: "Demanding that Althouse live up to a ginned-up code is pure Alinsky."

I quoted Alinsky before reading that. Obviously, I agree with you.

By committing myself to something, I gave the bad faithers something to use against me, but that doesn't mean I have to let it work. I need to stay on top of the game. I'm not going to be an unsophisticated dupe.

Pogo said...

Alinsky's 4th rule uses the word enemy, which is key.

Bad faith means you perceive another as the enemy to be vanquished, by whatever it takes.

Discussion is not desired.

Old Dad said...

If I understand the new policy, it amounts to a reasonably liberal enforcement of good manners. What constitute good manners, of course, depends on the company you keep, and that's what makes this blog interesting for me. I like a good dirty joke, a rough and tumble argument, or a high flying debate, creative name calling. It's all got a place. I suppose what we're after is to be informed and to inform, to be entertained and to entertain. I think most of the commenters here, have a pretty keen sense for that. J clearly didn't.

kwood said...

It's about freekin' time. This forum could be of real use to students and young people, but allowing folks to muck it up with potty-mouth rants or idle but highly-detailed musings on their sexual appetites and endeavors is anything but 'tolerant' or 'fair'. I don't let house guests paint or draw on the walls, and if their mode of self-expression involves pooping on the floor I show them the door (or in some cases the changing table).

"Censorship!" they'll cry, and whatever other key-words they think a rational, civilized mind might respond to.

There's no more meaning in those words coming from their mouths than there is in the barking of dogs.

From Inwood said...

Actually this is quite, er, nuanced.

Maybe I'm just old & gray & nodding by the fire, but I can't get to this blog every minute & it seems that by the time I do there are already a zillion comments on whatever post I'm on, some covering my thoughts better than I could but some just robotically repeating propaganda, but, more important, some with good insights that neither you or I had thought of on the particular subject, &, most important, some referencing other articles of value I might otherwise have missed.

As for me, some might see me as simply propagandizing my beliefs.

There's no easy answer except that it's your blog & you get to decide. Then, in the free market of ideas, your blog will last or it will go under.

Commentary, for one, stopped accepting comments & I still read its blog. Volokh blocks comments on some of its posts also.

Over on Volohk, some commenter said (I paraphrase Mark Twain) that never before have so few facts owed so much to so many speculating lawyers.

But if lawyers remain silent here, then it's: never before have so few facts owed so much to so many speculating partisan hack journalists proclaiming one side's evil & another side's goodness.

I would say that for the MSM it's always pre-Rathergate, where never before were so few bloggers able to produce so much evidence & commonsense against so many thought-free MSM folks that the MSM could only engage in hissy fits & personal attacks.

So even if you zap my brilliant comments, I will continue to read your posts & those comments of value. I think that I can spot trolls or what Rush refers to as serial responders & move on.

And no one can thank you enough for your work on the Wisc riots & recalls.

Writ Small said...

Ann - Just so we're clear, I agree with your current policy. I'm sure Bob Wright would agree, too.

What Mr. Wright was right about was that a private citizen removing speech he or she doesn't like from a forum he or she controls (a TV network or a blog) or encouraging a person to do so is not being anti-free speech in the way that people commonly understand.

I don't think you're now being anti-free speech, although the woman arguing with Bob on that old diavlog might disagree.

Dose of Sanity said...

For what it's worth, Althouse does a decent job of moderating rather heated debates.

This is the internet people, flame wars happen on threads of "what's your favorite color", and this is a blog on actually controversial subjects. You best be prepared for the fire.

Now, there are those who show up just seeking attention. This are your rickrollers, your plot spoilers, your general asshats. They come and go, no big deal.

But there is one group, the arsonists who flame not to make their small points but just to burn the whole place down. In order to save the house, sometimes you need to get rid of them.

Props to the professor for trying. The sheer number of comments alone would make me give up.

Kirby Olson said...

Oh, J works in LANCASTER, Ca. It's where Captain Beefheart lived in his teens. Most of his messages emanate from there. His IP code should be simple to find using that city as the locus. He doesn't generally break the law, however. He used to threaten my kids, but when I told him to stop, he did. Like I said, he has a brain, and can use it. He has had very civilized conversations with some of my commenters who are much further to the left than I am (they're Marxists, but they don't know it).

Sue D'Nhym said...

Bad faith commenters? On Ann's blog?

It's more likely than you think...

AJ Lynch said...

I will add my thanks to Pogo's. Alhouse and Meade have a very interesting place to spend quality time.

And since it's Christmas, I nominate Paddy O, Henry, Freeman Hunt and Pogo to be the blog's wise men & woman [perhaps it should have a Board of Advisers] because they never fail to sound smart and reasonable and wise with some humor mixed in.

Kirby Olson said...

Well, I should say that they are Christian socialists that he has respect for on my blog.

bagoh20 said...

I don't care anymore. I have a browser and I'm getting very close to knowing how to use it.

I will say this: At this point in the development of cyberspace, sites with a minimum of crap are the real gems now. There is enough crap out there guys. We really are not deprived of it. No, really, I'm stuffed, full, satisfied, contented, happy, filled, supplied, fulfilled, paid, requited, compensated, appeased, convinced, gratified, sans souci, sated, at ease, with enough of, satiated.

Scott M said...

You forgot "lengthened".

Patrick said...

One thing about this whole commenting kerfuffle that puzzles me: Why do they care so much if their comments are deleted? Now, I'm hardly a big time commenter, but I add my two cents from time to time, and on occasion, something I write merits a response. But I just would not care if one or more of my comments were deleted. How can it be so important to have a comment there for all of time, especially if it is a snarky, sarcastic response to a snarky sarcastic comment by a snarky, sarcastic commmenter? Really, is it that important?

I guess if it is, you need to leave better comments.

Hoosier Daddy said...

".. Please ban me Ann..."

You seem more than a bit obsessed with her.

Bob Ellison said...

I like "Please ban me, Ann". It could be a follow-up to "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys.

Please ban me,
Please ban me, Ann

Scott M said...

The plot just thickened up a bit...

knox said...

I enjoyed caplight's diagnosis of “Blogger Wannabe Syndrome” in the You've come to the right place post. I couldn't agree more.

There was a really great period of commenting in the year or so before A+M got engaged. Then, for some bizarre reason, people took sides. People who only knew each other through Althouse started criticizing the blog--and the person--on a regular basis. Flouncing ensued, etc.

Like PaddyO said, the "cool kids" probably don't agree with me, but the scales fell from my eyes on that one a long time ago.

edutcher said...

As one who was deleted on Bloody Sunday (and, yes, I understood why), I've always thought some of the people who objected needed to get over themselves a little since some of the comments that day were pointless in the extreme, although I could also see how J getting away with murder, so to speak, angered them.

If J is being treated the same as everyone else now, hopefully some will come back.

I guess this is the difference between freedom and license.

Pogo said...

".. Please ban me Ann..."

It has a vibe of, oh, discipline about it.

NTTAWWT.

kwood said...

A typical Althouse trick: use an intellectual phrase out of context--"bad faith"--to justify censorship and moderation for political ends, ie, Meade's pro-Romney campaign at any cost. Thus dissent is purged. And most of the flame wars here are initiated by the rightists-teabugs. J called some of them klansmen and tweekers. Connect the dots.

A superb example of a barking dog, but at least this dog is barking politely.

Freeman Hunt said...

A typical Althouse trick: use an intellectual phrase out of context--"bad faith"--to justify censorship and moderation for political ends, ie, Meade's pro-Romney campaign at any cost. Thus dissent is purged

I have never seen viewpoint discrimination carried out here. Ever. And I've been here a long time.

knox said...

Kirby Olsen, thanks for the insight! Who knew...

Mian said...

"Now that Ann is editing her blog's comments it is safe to assume that any racist bigoted comments left up has her blessing."

That is absolutely a false conclusion if you have read what I said with any understanding of the good faith/bad faith distinction.

You're getting very close to bad faith yourself with that.


Ann, you must appreciate the problem with this. I have seen you (wrongly) accused of racism/bigotry, etc. by other blogs in the past because of comments made on your blog, which you hadn't censored as that was your policy at the time.

Don't you think you will be slimed by these critics in future if anything controversial/not p.c., etc. gets through in your newly "moderated" blog?

Your critics are not going to be very understanding: they're ruthless.

(PS - "bad faith" is an incredibly subjective accusation and I'd use it only in the case of a nuclear attack if I were you.)

PatCA said...

Wow, I missed this whole thing. But my philosophy is that it's not my blog, and Ann can do whatever she wants, and if I want to skip comments from whoever, I will.

Robert said...

Trooper York has a blog?

Freeman Hunt said...

There was a really great period of commenting in the year or so before A+M got engaged. Then, for some bizarre reason, people took sides. People who only knew each other through Althouse started criticizing the blog--and the person--on a regular basis. Flouncing ensued, etc.

... the scales fell from my eyes on that one a long time ago.


This.

You know it is sometimes very pleasant to take offense, isn't it? A man may know that nobody has insulted him, but that he has invented the insult for himself, has lied and exaggerated to make it picturesque, has caught at a word and made a mountain out of a molehill--he knows that himself, yet he will be the first to take offense, and will revel in his resentment till he feels great pleasure in it, and so pass to genuine vindictiveness.

-- The Brothers Karamazov

kwood said...

Waitaminnut. He (?) said 'teabugs'.

Make that, 'sort of politely'.

wv: 'bounsi' - a popular Japanese laundry detergent with fabric softener

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Things are getting way too Junior High School. People should just comment on the posts that interest the, and ignore the obvious trolls.

Unless commenters become personally threatening and abusive like "J" we should just ignore it or move on. Unless you like poking sticks at hornets' nests there is no point. (I admit that I am sometimes tempted to use the stick) The internet has been ever thus.

While it is also tempting to remove all of the chaff from the wheat, I think that makes for a sterile and boring comment thread. Often, even among the dumbest comments or from the most idiotic commenters will arise a thought that is worthy of consideration.

Your blog, however....so do what you want.

And Trooper is not J. Trooper leaves thoughful and nice comments on my blog. J has posted threats and sexual threats, which I have deleted and basically consider not worth my time to worry about. Just annonying.

William said...

There's something in nature that wants to post graffiti on the wall.....Plato had some reservations about finding a Platonic ideal of dust or mud. I don't think there exists an ideal comment thread. It's the colon and codicil where your blog posts get digested by the collective unconscious. One man's pathogen is another's nutrient, and in the end it's all just a huge pile of whatever.....You might want to rethink a comment policy that results in the exile of Trooper York. J. is a subversive presence and has to some extent succeeded.

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't you think you will be slimed by these critics in future if anything controversial/not p.c., etc. gets through in your newly "moderated" blog? Your critics are not going to be very understanding: they're ruthless."

Trying to satisfy those people is crippling. I could not blog if I tried to do that. I'm 60 years old and I spent too much of my life trying to live up to the phony, repressive standards of people like that. This blog is a monument to my defiance of them.

kwood said...

'Bad faith' is very simple. It means that the sole purpose of a posting is to hurt and drag things down, rather than add to a conversation.

Someone can disagree rabidly with the subject at hand, post accordingly and in Good Faith.

Someone else might not really give a hoot either way, but will post a lengthy diatribe on his sexual encounter of the day, purely for the purpose of expressing contempt for the site, getting some attention and perhaps even getting the site on the nanny filter lists.

That's 'Bad faith'. You know it when you see it, but any attempt to codify it in a legalistic fashion will fail.

Fortunately, Meade and Althouse are willing to use their heads (and hearts) and go on instinct and delete posts which are clearly (to them) in Bad Faith.

Both clearly enjoy arguments and discussion, so to assume that they're just going to delete every post they disagree with is childish.

Henry said...

@Freeman -- Touche.

There are several valuable forms of comment. One is when people react to a topic from their own experiences. You can learn something, even if it is just about how another person sees the world.

Another is people making brilliant connections -- like that one.

Scott M said...

Yr the threat. and the perp, and the useless illiterate wicca garbage here.

Someone please pass the popcorn. And make more...we're going to need it.

buster said...

I read this blog regularly but rarely comment. I think the new policy is mistaken, and in the case of Trooper York badly mistaken. It reflects poorly on the judgment of Althouse and Meade. Perhaps Althouse ought to put herself in constitutional scholar mode and start thinking about the policy's long term implications.

I can't be sure, but I suspect that I'll be spending less time here in the future.

kwood said...

Got that white trash klan ho?

Yr the threat. and the perp, and the useless illiterate wicca garbage here.


Bad Faith. Almost all of the posts by this person fail to directly engage anyone or say anything in an even remotely intelligible way. They exist only as frameworks upon which to hang 'naughty words' upon like little secular Christmas Trees.

I would not hesitate to 'censor' these on site.

Browndog said...

I have to say I'm a tad disappointed Althouse had to go this route-

I hope my comment about "J" had little to no consequence.

Like I said, I felt he could say the things he said, and I had the right to exit the blog when I see it.

I kinda like this cesspool of free speech.

That said, I have in the past gotten mad at Althouse and fired up on her-

Always mindful to be respectful, sometimes one can get caught up in emotion..er...momentary lack of sanity.

I suspect under the new policy, I would have been banned on my very first Althouse post-

Meade said...

The main reason I want people to email me if they have questions about having a comment deleted is because I might have erred on the wrong side and deleted something by mistake or misunderstanding.

The other reason is because I believe that people can move from good faith to bad faith and back again. If you've been found to be in bad faith with this blog and want to make a correction, write to me. We'll talk about it and I will listen to whatever you have to tell me.

If anyone knows obsession with Althouse, it would be me, right? And although I've at times been distracted from the comment section here, I'm sure I'll always have a special place in my heart for many of the commenters, old and new, good faith and bad.

I took on the challenge of protecting and providing when I asked her to marry me and she said yes. It's a commitment and a pleasure and frequently it's a joy. So I just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped make this place interesting and entertaining. Don't hesitate (privately) to let me know how I'm doing and if you have any hints for improvement.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Leftist trolls who think no one but them should have a voice on the internet troll boards like this putting up offensive comments. If Ann doesn't delete them, they use the comments as evidence she condones racism or such. If she does, they say she is against free speech.


This is where a rating system by "Registered" commenters could come in handy. First of all you have to have taken the time and effort to register so that might eliminate the drive by or rick roll types of commenters.

Limit the voting or rating to one vote per commenter so we don't get the Acorn type of voting. Vote early vote often and stuffing the ballot box.

This way the approval or disapproval of the community of commenters is shown.

Jose_K said...

[T]he fact that society may find speech offensive is not a sufficient reason for suppressing it. Indeed, if it is the speaker's opinion that gives offense, that consequence is a reason for according it constitutional protection. [p56]
FCC v. Pacifica Foundation, 438 U.S. 726 (1978):

Mian said...

Trying to satisfy those people is crippling. I could not blog if I tried to do that. I'm 60 years old and I spent too much of my life trying to live up to the phony, repressive standards of people like that. This blog is a monument to my defiance of them.

As they say in Australia, 'good on yer!'

Mark O said...

"I'm 60 years old and I spent too much of my life trying to live up to the phony, repressive standards of people like that. This blog is a monument to my defiance of them."

Of course. But, something I'm sure the good prof has considered is the potential publishing liability that attaches once one becomes an editor of a blog. It's an invitation to be sued for defamation. She's created an impossible duty for herself. It's one of the reasons so few edit. But, such is the law.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... The other reason is because I believe that people can move from good faith to bad faith and back again. If you've been found to be in bad faith with this blog and want to make a correction, write to me. We'll talk about it and I will listen to whatever you have to tell me..."

Bless me Father for I have sinned....

;-)

Meade said...

knox said...
"Kirby Olsen, thanks for the insight! Who knew..."

Ditto and thanks, knox.

Btw, it's a big help to me when commenters just ignore trolls rather than quote them and reply to/about them. And by "trolls", I mean you know who, who, who, who, and who.

Thanks.

Jose_K said...

there was before a and M ... so it is all about jelousy

Chip Ahoy said...

Every garden needs to be pruned and weeded now and then.

That is lovely expression, muddimo. It put me right back in the sunny warmth of the garden, it did. That was always my favorite part about gardening; grabbing those weeds by their scrawny little necks and ripping them out of the ground, tossing them into a pile, stomping them with a heavy boot and grinding them into the ground, as gardeners do, then spraying the pile with fierce squeezes of lighter fluid and setting them all ablaze, and then dancing around the fire while singing paeans to Demeter. Why we would carry on all …what?

Wait a second. Someone's been deleted? Have I been deleted? Am I still here? Can you see me? *panics*

Scott M said...

J wasn't the first.

Why do you keep referring to yourself in the third-person?

Perezoso said...

You're the troll J Edgar Meade. And still known as such--forcing your way into protesters' faces with cameras, etc, defending Walker, Prosser, etc. You're the problem here, little man

27183 said...

"I value all comments made in good faith. Try to understand this concept. It's not about your point of view or your mode of expression. We love disputes and diversity. But I won't allow bad faith commenters to leverage their destructiveness on my commitment to free speech."

Hey, as I wrote at another blog, I often find your blog posts nonsensical, but I also find many of your blog posts funny and insightful.

And I do appreciate what seems to be your defense of free speech by allowing much offensive speech to remain. (And I say that as a person you banned a trillion years ago.)

I actually appreciate the trouble and thick skin it must take to allow comments made in good faith even when they are otherwise insulting, offensive, whatever.

Perezoso said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sorun said...

Btw, it's a big help to me when commenters just ignore trolls rather than quote them and reply to/about them.

Meade, I doubt that's ever happened in the whole history of the Internet.

BJK said...

In this context, there was a commenter who offended a lot of people, but he crafted his comments quite creatively. We delete him now as one of the bad faithers, but there are some ex-commenters who — elsewhere on the internet — excoriate me for leaving his comments up as long as I did. I'm not going to link to these folks whose idea of a good time is attacking me. I'm just going to invite them — and anybody else who's been following this dispute — to click "more" and see a comment that should take them aback.

I can't be the only one who thought this was going to be about Titus...

(...not that I would accuse him of saying things in bad faith, but...)


If there's anything less interesting than heated debates in blog post comments, its separate blog posts about heated debates in blog post comments.

Ann Althouse said...

"Of course. But, something I'm sure the good prof has considered is the potential publishing liability that attaches once one becomes an editor of a blog. It's an invitation to be sued for defamation. She's created an impossible duty for herself. It's one of the reasons so few edit. But, such is the law."

No, there is federal law protecting me from defamation lawsuits based on what other people write here.

But actually I do take out factual statements about nonfamous people who are not present, when I happen to see them. But I can't find everything like that. There couldn't be comments without that law.

If the Digital Millennium Act were repealed, I would probably have to undisplay the comments.

jeff said...

I slowed down my commenting quite awhile back, the place seemed to be full of people with no particular point other than to insult. I missed this bloody Sunday. I dont see why people cant disagree and still use the same language and phrasing they would in person as opposed to hiding behind a keyboard. I also enjoyed Trooper, and if he is also J then he is a genius as the writing styles are completely different. J wasn't completely troll, about 5% of his comments were intelligent. The problem was the other 95%.

Ann Althouse said...

"If there's anything less interesting than heated debates in blog post comments, its separate blog posts about heated debates in blog post comments."

And yet... if it's not interesting, why are there over 100 comments after 2 hours?

Jay said...

Off topic but FYI:

The Badgers' offensive coordinator took the Pitt head coaching job.

Press Conference at 3pm.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Don't you think you will be slimed by these critics in future if anything controversial/not p.c., etc. gets through in your newly "moderated" blog?.."

Why should she care? I'm not speaking for her but a regular reader here sees the poo flinging directed at her on a regular basis as is and that is clearly cause she won't toe the liberal line. She's a moderate at best. Heck she has some views I think are batshit crazy but I don't get all Jay Retread on her cause I disagree. The liberal commenters on here really give a good look at how they treat someone who deviates from the Party line.

TML said...

Meade said

I took on the challenge of protecting and providing when I asked her to marry me and she said yes. It's a commitment and a pleasure and frequently it's a joy. So I just want to say thanks to everyone who has helped make this place interesting and entertaining. Don't hesitate (privately) to let me know how I'm doing and if you have any hints for improvement.

Rock on...damn straight.

Quaestor said...

Bob Ellison wrote:
I like "Please ban me, Ann". It could be a follow-up to "Barbara Ann" by the Beach Boys.

Here's a start on the lyrics:

Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann.
Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann.
Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann!

Please ban me, A – aa -nn...
I'm not your ma - aa – an.
While commentin' on the Plan
I'm sittin' on the can.
Please ban me, Ann.

Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann.
Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann.
Ban, ban, ban, ban, ban me, Ann!

Please ban me, A – aa – nn...
Sockpuppet I a -aa- am...
I'm lugubrious as treacle
And my words are often fecal.
Please ban me, Ann.


Your turn...

DADvocate said...

I spent too much of my life trying to live up to the phony, repressive standards of people like that.

Same here. I have three sisters. One is a overbearing progressive/feminist, one not quite as over bearing and the youngest is a lesbian who is actually the only one enjoyable to be around. Haven't spoken to the overbearing one in about 5 years, not even at family gatherings. The primary reason I speak to any of them is that my mother is still alive, 86 years old, and I don't want her suffering through any family feuds. After she passes away, it's quite likely I'll disappear from their lives.

When it comes to men, it's all about men giving proper deference to the godess of feminism. That godess is allowed in schools, btw.

Chip Ahoy said...

There's over 100 comments? I'm only showing 18. Meade must be deleting them.

Chip Ahoy said...

I lied.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Why do you keep referring to yourself in the third-person?.."

I think its called schizophrenia.

Martin L. Shoemaker said...

I would've liked an Ignore button, letting each individual reader decide which commenters comment in bad faith. But I don't think you have that option as long as you're on Blogger.

Old RPM Daddy said...

"Things are getting way too Junior High School." -- Dust Bunny Queen

Indeed. Now, I don't comment here all that often; usually, if I actually have something to say, somebody else has already said it, and better, too.

Maybe this is a useful parallel: If you're in a bar, and you're acting like a noisy, drunken jerk, the bouncer can toss you out onto the street. It's not a matter of free speech, it's a matter of carrying on like a jackass in somebody else's place.

Here in Anne's Cafe, if you're making a scene, threatening the other patrons, etc., the proprietress will nod discretely to her bouncer, who will give you the bum's rush. Maybe you can come back in after you've sobered up.

Meade said...

"I lied"

Chip Ahoy, I'd like to have a word with you in my confessional, young man.

Meade said...

Kidding!

Hoosier Daddy said...

"J wasn't a complete troll. 5% of his comments were intelligent. The problem was the other 95%.."

That's like saying 5% of the time it doesn't stink when I take a shit.

Hat tip to Titus.

Carnifex said...

I didn't like J's personal attacks. but I did get that he was well educated , and had a point that he wanted to make however esoteric it was. But because I didn't like it, he would be one of the few I would let post. It's not easy hearing the things we don't want to hear, and it's not easy being ethical all the time. Being human, I think we should air on the side of caution to limiting anyone's right to be heard.

On the other hand, this is Althouse not J blog, so if the Professor decides to excise someone that is perfectly within her rights.

If you don't like it, start your own blog and invite J there.

BJK said...

And yet... if it's not interesting, why are there over 100 comments after 2 hours?

I feel like I need to borrow a device from Norm McDonald:

"No, no, not this separate blog post about heated debates in blog comments....I meant other people's separate blog posts about heated debates in blog comments."


...which I actually did, since the thought of going to another site (even a site that person operates themselves) to complain about what someone else wrote in a comment section feels terribly thin-skinned. It is quite possibly the Internet equivalent of "let's take this argument outside," but still without the actual threat of violence because of the whole 'Internet anonymity' thing.

If I didn't think this site was interesting, I wouldn't come back to read it as frequently as I do.

bagoh20 said...

There are neighborhoods absolutely spoiled with graffiti and there are neat clean neighborhoods run by tyrannical home owners associations. I don't want to live in either.

The balance is having a place where freedom is not ugly because the people who live there respect their neighbors enough to avoid both types of assholes.

This is a tough challenge, and I don't envy Althouse the task.

Freedom is not enhanced, but diminished by either extreme. It seems clear to me that it flourishes best with a minimum framework of rules, but absolutely
requires some. I think the new standard is closer to the ideal filter where the commenters will understand that they can make any point they want if they do it with at least a modicum of respect for having a place to do it and the effort it takes to maintain that.

Mica Vim Toot said...

"And yet... if it's not interesting, why are there over 100 comments after 2 hours?"-Althouses.

Or, as in my case, much of the interest in this thread is based in trying to determine who's been banned.

So, I can't be more pleased to see that the execrable alinskyist titus is not here now.

Good riddance to his pollution.

Vim Toot!

Chuck66 said...

Good policy. Other blog hosts/hostesses have had to deal with the same thing.

You offer a very wide latitude in the comments, but at some point the discussion gets poisoned.

MadisonMan said...

And yet... if it's not interesting, why are there over 100 comments after 2 hours?

Beats working :)

Scott M said...

Beats working :)

HOWARD JOHNSON IS RIGHT!

kwood said...

Btw, it's a big help to me when commenters just ignore trolls rather than quote them and reply to/about them.

(sigh, grumble)

Point taken.

wv: 'glowl' - facial expression indicating a sort of angry self-satisfaction, like when Meade bans a particularly virulent offender.

Pogo said...

The J neologisms weren't worth it.

Reminded me too much of my med school rotation through the VA psych ward.

The first conversation was somewhat fascinating, but then becomes annoying or frightening, depending on the content or context.

james conrad said...

I am guessing that all Blogs that have significant readers/commenters has this problem of policing foul, hateful comments. It's the anonymous nature of the internet i guess, a text based medium that misses the most important human emotion, intuition. That gut feeling one gets when you look directly into someones eyes for the first time, the web totally misses this contact. To bad, people who live in this fantasy world i suspect would NEVER, in person, say some of the stuff they post online.
Remembers PowerLine from years ago, had this very same troll problem and banned commenters altogether, to much work to police i suppose. Theres a down side to that however, the blogger doesnt get any feed back directly from the folks that read their blog. So PL starting allowing commenters again this year however, your comment is posted to your facebook home page along with a link to the blog post. I just assume this was done to control troll traffic and as a bonus offers a link to potential new readers.

Palladian said...

May I just say that it's wonderful to have avoided this whole affair.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

I've noticed the difference and I applaud your work, Meadhouse-- and I can imagine how much real work it has taken.

There are some great commenters here on every side, and great topics, too. It was the saddest thing to see thread after thread get hijacked by vile scatologists like J and attention-hungry exhibitionists like Allie. The greatest value comes from reasoned back-and-forth spiced with a few honed insults. If it is a subjective call on Althouse's part, so be it. She has good judgment.

bagoh20 said...

"I didn't like J's personal attacks. but I did get that he was well educated , and had a point that he wanted to make however esoteric it was."

Then he can make it, so why does he need to do the other?

Just because you have an idea doesn't mean anything. This is a venue for communicating. You need to use a computer, a browser, English, syntax; all kinds of things are required to comment, because otherwise it's gibberish.

Nobody is prevented from expressing ideas, unless that expression unnessessarily diminishes that of others. This includes diminished by dilution in my opinion.

The silly Chinese spam at least has a purpose, and it gets deleted.

Meade said...

Palladian, you do realize this all started with you, don't you?

Palladian said...

And as a queer, a direct descendant of an important figure in the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and a lover of Biro pens, I'd just like to say: thank you!

Palladian said...

"Palladian, you do realize this all started with you, don't you?"

Don't blame it on me!

Patrick said...

Thanks for that Palladian. I've been wondering what all of that "byro" stuff meant. Now I know.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

To bad, people who live in this fantasy world i suspect would NEVER, in person, say some of the stuff they post online.

I know what you mean.

However, everything "I" say on line, I would say IRL....and actually more. I tend to moderate myself when on line becuase I have time to re read and reflect on my words and edit.

Tact is not my middle name.
:-D

Scott M said...

However, everything "I" say on line, I would say IRL....and actually more. I tend to moderate myself when on line becuase I have time to re read and reflect on my words and edit.

Ditto. My online persona is pretty much me. Plus, in person, I don't have to worry about spelling errors.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Except for being unable to spell 'because' correctly.

DOH!

:-(

David said...

Luckily for me, this all flew over my head at the time, though J--whoever he/she is--is beyond annoying.

It's the Althouse blog. She gets to make the rules. It's an interesting place and she expends a lot of effort to keep it that way. So please no whining.

Roger J. said...

What David and others said.

bagoh20 said...

What's a Biro?

jeff said...

"That's like saying 5% of the time it doesn't stink when I take a shit."

I suppose. If, in addition to not smelling, it is also an intelligent shit, with a recognizable viewpoint.

Otherwise, its nothing like that. The question for me was "is the 95% of trolling worth the 5% of content". I would say No.

Henry said...

@bagoh20 Not this?

Njall said...

I support this new policy. I read this blog daily, comment rarely, and enjoy most of the comments (and commenters) greatly, but there are some ("the Dirty Dozen") who I just scroll on past...Not because I disagree, because I read Garage, etc. and others with whom I disagree, but because I think their comments typically add nothing, and life is too short.

FWIW, My favorites are Scott M., Synova, Freeman Hunt, Pogo, DBQ, Shanna, Maybee, and Crack.

Lovernios said...

I'm a regular reader and infrequent commenter. I very rarely address trolls and when I do it's only once. I skip over most comments from these people because they're boring. It's the same old leftist cant, or absurd posturing and name calling.

I want to be informed, amused, or entertained by the comments here. In fact, I think that's what Ann is looking for, too. I've seen posts where no one gets Ann's point and the thread goes off on some tangent. Some times this is interesting other times not so much.

Anyway, I don't much care how Ann polices her comments as long as the blog remains interesting, amusing and informative I'll continue reading and posting occasionally.

Scott M said...

you will email me

Can we get Chip to crop in a picture of Meade's face on an old man in a robe sitting in a speeder?

These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Jess said...

@DBQ:
I tend to moderate myself when on line becuase I have time to re read and reflect on my words and edit.

OMG! I wish you had said this a few years ago. I could have been making sense all this time.

Quaestor said...

Someone here has compared Meade's purge of the "bad faith" sinners to a Labor of Heracles. I hope it doesn't end up becoming the Labor of Sisyphus.

rcommal said...

Is everyone agreed on who "The Dirty Dozen is"? Do all of them even know who they are?

Meade said...

"I hope it doesn't end up becoming the Labor of Sisyphus"

Heh. So do I! But I don't think it will. Good comments drive out bad just as bad can drive out good. So all of you good commenters can really help me in two big ways: 1. Don't feed the... (do I even need to say it?) and 2. keep up the good comments.

It really is that simple.

Thanks and Merry Christmas!

yashu said...

Now that you mention it, I have noticed an improvement-- or, more specifically, experienced less irritation-- reading comments here lately.

Good/ bad faith seems like a good criterion-- though in practice can be somewhat tricky to determine. I imagine what's at issue here is chronic bad faith-- which is patent over time-- and not the occasional ("acute") flare-up.

Ultimately the more relevant criterion is "destructiveness"-- the sabotaging of conversation & discussion (including good heated arguments).

I do miss Trooper, though. Never saw him as coming from a place of bad faith. Missed the whole Bloody Sunday thing, though, so can't judge on that. And his grudge against the so-called EBL (not the "EBL" on this thread) since then strikes me as an overreaction. Anyway, I'm hoping for a reconciliation someday between you crazy kids.

ricpic said...

Joe said...

Is deliberately seeking to be banned a form of masochism or narcissism?

Both?


Since only Trey could give you a definitive answer, I added the question mark. ;^)

Meade said...

"Is everyone agreed on who "The Dirty Dozen is"? Do all of them even know who they are?"

If you have to ask, you might be one.

Half-kidding.

Seriously, email me, if you've been deleted by mistake.

rocketeer67 said...

I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I find this all very enthralling. I don't know why. Why I'm embarrassed, I mean.

rcommal said...

That seems high to me. This no doubt means I am missing something, which also means that I probably am not fully understanding how "bad faith" is being defined.

For all I know, I could be one of the ones considered as posting in bad faith. And yet I can honestly and truthfully say that I have never intentionally posted a comment in [what I would define as] bad faith in all the years I have commented here, either as rcommal or as the many-months defunct reader_iam, or even before I got on blogger in 2005, in private e-mails under my real name to Althouse (same real-life emails I use now).

While there may be some obvious bad-faith-ers, I wonder if there are fewer than perceived. Am I the only one wondering this?

As always, and from forever, I do believe that blog proprietors have the right to run their blogs as they see fit (and when I participated in blogging, my policy was that I would not hesitate to delete--or even ban, when I was on a blog that utilized haloscan--a comment/commenter if I felt like it, for whatever reason; I did that only rarely, but that still was my philosophical stance).

Lem said...

I just hope Christians are still good faithers.

wv subdula

Sigivald said...

It's just a motif like garage's idoicy and Cedarffords anti-semitism.

Huh.

What an "interesting" point of view.

One I reject, in its implication that idiocy or bigotry should be tolerated if one can view them as a "motif".

Content is content. You get judged for all of it.

Suck it up, as they say.

(Me, I've always been for less tolerance in online communities for trolls and/or lunatics.

[See McArdle's blog and 'tstev'.]

Yes, people always wail and wail about pretty much any standards at all, to which my reply is that they can start their own damn place and enforce the standards they want, over there.

Not that that's totally relevant here, since here I'm the guest, not the rulemaker. But then, if I didn't like the standards here, I'd bugger off.)

rocketeer67 said...

Fascinating.

MadisonMan said...

These aren't the droids we're looking for.

Not sure why I wrote that.

Daniel Fielding said...

177 comments about commenting. WOW!!!

Christopher in MA said...

"Is everyone agreed on who the Dirty Dozen is?"

I think I remember Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, but after that, it gets a little hazy.

Now, I'll be the first to admit I leave some intemperate comments. But, like DBQ, I tend to just let fly when I get irritated, and usually Freder or Garage irritate me. So I should get a thicker skin. I did at least learn, after long, sad experience, to scroll right past Carol Herman, and I find my teeth are whiter and hair silkier as a result.

I see J is back, though. Speak of the devil, and all that. . .

Lem said...

I was happy with the original policy believing that fad faith would and allways fails.

But.. Given the new realities of the Obama economy, I cannot spend as much time here as some so I really cant say with any certitude how much damage these suckpuppets/badfaithers are reeking.

In total, I believe the new policy (while good intentioned) its our loss.. isn't that what the badfaithers want?.. to have an effect.. any effect?

Again.. maybe if I spent more time here, I would have better meta.

Methadras said...

If trooper york is suckpuppeting as J I would be shocked. I don't believe it frankly. J was as transparent to spot as a dog pissing on a fire hydrant. He was the dog and this blog was the fire hydrant. J's style was like a stunted stream of gat9 thought. More misfire than autofire. Even then, he was never right, never accurate, and frankly lied most of the time anyway. If he is gone good riddance. If he wants to come back and show off again. I'll be right here to out him the first time he showed up.

がんこもん said...

I comment rarely, but I think that a comments policy is the sole decision of a blog's main owner. As Mr. D and many others have said, it's Professor Althouse's blog and she can do whatever she decides is best for that blog. Period.

Let's remember that many of the big blogs (e.g. InstaPundit) don't permit comments at all (except of course when Professor Althouse famously opened comments for a day). So I for one am grateful that the Professor encourages reader participation.

Ann Althouse said...

"I've seen posts where no one gets Ann's point and the thread goes off on some tangent."

Thanks for noticing! It makes me sad sometimes. But when I do feel sad, I'll think of you Lovernios.

rocketeer67 said...

I think I remember Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, but after that, it gets a little hazy.

Oh, sure. You would forget Jim Brown, wouldn't you?

Paddy O said...

Lem, I've always appreciated your meta.

Quaestor said...

Daniel Feilding wrote:
177 comments about commenting. WOW!!!

And more than a few comments on comments about commenting. And this one comment on comments on comments on commenting.

MadisonMan wrote:
These aren't the droids we're looking for... Not sure why I wrote that.

The Force can have a strong influence on the weak minded. He can go about his business... Move along.

Ann Althouse said...

"Don't blame it on me!"

Check out the first link in the text above the comments window, Palladian. Meade and I were talking good faith/bad faith, making it into our central idea, and then I ran across that old comment of yours, and you had already said it all, planted that seed in our heads a while back.

Jose_K said...

I think I remember Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, but after that, it gets a little hazy.
sir, how could you forgert Jim Brown and were are in every single movie ,Kennedy and Borgnine

Ann Althouse said...

Those of you saying that 12 seems like too many... remember: "if your comments are deleted and you don't understand why, write to Meade" and no one is emailing Meade like that. So I say we're applying the policy right. We know what we're doing. And if you are requested to email about it and you don't do that, it is evidence of bad faith. If you've gotten a personal request from me or Meade and your response is to flout it, for example, by lecturing us about somebody else who you think is worse, that's quite telling.

Original Mike said...

I just didn't read J. I miss Trooper.

AJ Lynch said...

J sounds a lot like Jeremy. If J is from Lancaster, CA, I seem to recall someone [maybe Palladian or Fen?] had said Jeremy was a community or junior college teacher in CA. I forget the college name.

Jo said...

Trooper's departure is a great loss. I'd often come here just to see if he had anything to say -- I think he was the only commenter who could make me laugh out loud. Still interesting here, but not a lot of laughs.

Just sayin'.

rcommal said...

I do not for one second believe that J is Trooper, by the way. I would bet money on it, and I'm not someone who places bets as a general rule.

FWIW.

Ann Althouse said...

"If you've gotten a personal request from me or Meade and your response is to flout it, for example, by lecturing us about somebody else who you think is worse, that's quite telling."

It's quite telling because the idea of good faith is that you care about this blog and you want to add value. I'm fine with people disagreeing with me. I want all the debate. What catches me is people who are here to hurt this forum, to try to destroy it. These are the people who don't appreciate what I am doing here. And I really believe that if I or Meade says, directly to you, that you need to email, and then you don't, then you are not with me about the big project of maintaining a forum here. You have a bad motive. You are not giving us that very basic level of respect that says: I do value this forum. That is the sine qua non of good faith.

Scott M said...

J sounds a lot like Jeremy. As annoyingly self-aggrandizing as Jeremy was, he was capable of coherent thought and legible writing. Plus, J/Perezoso doesn't say "duh" enough to be Jeremy.

Ann Althouse said...

"J sounds a lot like Jeremy."

Not to me. J had a distinctive style of expression. Jeremy's invective was pedestrian.

shiloh said...

yada yada yada but please, let the blog moderation minutiae continue.

Original Mike said...

Jermey/Lucky/and_I_forget_his_other_names is no loss at all. Did he get banned or did he just go away?

rcommal said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Lynch said...

Scott:

Jeremy did say "Duh" a lot. I think you have a very good point.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Jermey/Lucky/and_I_forget_his_other_names is no loss at all. Did he get banned or did he just go away?

Those types of commenters are like quicksilver. The stuff we used to play with as children before it was considered dangerous.

When you smash a blob of quicksilver (liquid mercury) it breaks into many smaller blobs. Eventually, if you swirl it around enough in the palm of your hand, the blob will coalesce again. (Really cool stuff!)

It doesn't seem to be able to be destroyed, just made into smaller blobs for a while.

shiloh said...

But on the bright side, judging from # of posts, pointless moderation threads are very popular. :-P

Lem said...

There's over 100 comments? I'm only showing 18. Meade must be deleting them.

I lied
.

I wanted to make a joke about Meades new powers.. something about who would have more power in NK the son or the generals.

but I dont want to test him.. in his honeymoon phase ;)

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Begging the question, is commenting about J the same thing as feeding the troll? Doubtless he gets the same sick jollies either way.

DADvocate said...

I think I remember Lee Marvin and Charles Bronson, but after that, it gets a little hazy.

Telly Savalas as the homocidal psycho.

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