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A Brief Note On Comment Moderation

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Since there seems to be some confusion about this in comments, I suppose I should make the obvious point that there’s no principle of free speech or liberalism or even norm in the blogosphere that entitles people to a right to comment on someone else’s blog. I haven’t noticed any mass boycott of blogs — such as Instapundit — that “ban” comments altogether. Given this, it should be pretty obvious that a blogger can ban commenters under any criteria they see fit. Indeed, this is obvious even to bloggers inclined to selectively raise this complaint.

Nonetheless, in comments Johnathan Adler of the Volokh Conspiracy objected to our failure to extend Meade a platform. When I noted that our comments policy is materially indistinguishable from the VC’s, he responded:

It’s all in the implementation. Show me someone we’ve banned for similar stuff — and then show me someone who had all their past comments deleted once they were banned.

First, given the second argument I’m not sure how he could know what comments got Meade banned (and, frankly, I do wish that in this case Rob had left the old comments up to dispel the idea that Meade’s “contribution” to the thread was substantive comments Rob disagreed with, as opposed to repetitive typo corrections, evasions, and non-sequiturs designed to derail an otherwise good discussion.) I have no idea how the VC policy is applied — although I’m a pretty regular reader I almost never look at the comments — and nor do I think it’s any of my business what policy they apply (although if I recall correctly, some of their posts still close comments entirely, which is more draconian than anything here.) Obviously, we all have different standards for when commenters work as cross-purposes with carrying on an intelligent discussion, but so what? The blogosphere is a big place with no barriers to entry; if you don’t like our standards start your own blog or complain about us on another one that will have you.

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