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As I noted a couple of months ago, I've been trying to block a commenter who goes by the unlikely name of ReVonna LaSchatze; the commenter has personally insulted other commenters, and in a vulgar way. Unfortunately, LaSchatze's posts come from different IP addresses, and don't use a fixed comment account that I can block. (To make things convenient for commenters, I don't require people to set up comment accounts, though I may have to change that.)

My solution to the problem has been to delete LaSchatze's comments; this kept LaSchatze away for a couple of months, but now this unpleasant person is back, commenting up a storm. I have therefore deleted LaSchatze's recent comments, but this has at times either required me to delete or edit other comments that respond to LaSchatze, or has led some of those comments to be hard to understand. I'd rather avoid either result, because those responses come from valued commenters and took some time for them to post. So the request: Please don't respond to LaSchatze's comments.

By the way, just to remind people why I take the view I do about the need to maintain civility in comments, and the propriety of deleting commenters: Comment threads (unlike, say, all the videos on YouTube or generally even books in a bookstore) are a coherent conversation; for the conversation to be readable and pleasant to participate in, people have to maintain some minimum level of politeness. The analogy I give is a party that I host -- if people are rude enough to other guests, they won't be invited back, because that's how one keeps parties pleasant. I generally don't try to exclude people for their viewpoints, though I reserve the right to do that if the views are nasty enough. But I have and will exclude people who express their viewpoints in needlessly offensive ways, for instance by personally insulting fellow commenters.

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Comments
Comments on SSM posts:

I fully share Eugene's thoughts about civility in comments. Up to now, I've had a very hands-off approach to comments in response to my posts and have allowed the maximum time (5 days) for responses.

But I've noticed the comments in response to SSM posts have been especially repetitive, inflammatory, and personal in nature. There have also simply been too many of them. All of this discourages people with useful and original things to say from entering the discussion or from continuing to contribute when they do. SSM is an issue about which people on both sides have especially strong views and emotions, but there should be a forum for civil debate about it. I've thought about altogether closing my SSM posts to comments, but I'm not yet ready to do that. There have been some really good comments on both sides and I would not want to lose that.

So instead I've decided to do the following on SSM posts: (1) Limit comments to no more than 2 days (frankly, most of the useful things are usually said in the first 20-50 comments anyway); (2) more aggressively delete offensive, inflammatory, and personally abusive posts; and (3) ban commenters who repeatedly violate the civility requirement.

I hope this will make for a more constructive debate.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Comments on SSM posts:
  2. Deleted Comments: