Monday, December 19, 2011

Cafe Hayek Blog Closes Comments Section

In October 2007, Greg Mankiw closed the comments section on his blog with this message "Why Comments Are Gone."  

Now Don Boudreaux and Ross Roberts have just announced that they are indefinitely closing the comments section of Cafe Hayek, with this message "Comments to be Closed."   

In both cases, the economics bloggers expressed frustration with the lack of civility among some commenters, and the "e-food fights." I've also experienced those same frustrations, along with concerns about the additional time it takes to moderate some comments, check the spam filter on a daily basis to free some of the comments stuck there, etc.  But for now, the comments section on Carpe Diem will remain open! 

156 Comments:

At 12/19/2011 9:36 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

This is the same blog that frequently opposes government controls?

 
At 12/19/2011 9:42 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

It's not a blog without comments. It's just a one-sided article. You might as well read a newspaper or magazine.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:23 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

i have read cafe hayek for some time and i have to say that i have seen the comments section there disintegrate over the last several months to the point where i have long since stopped participating in it.

for wherever reason, it just devolved into name calling and general bullying without much substance.

i'm not sure this is the correct response though.

blogs like coyote just flat out do not moderate comments at all, yet seem to remain quite civil.

i agree with walt that it is not a blog without comments.

i fear that russ in particular is terribly thin skinned.

who cares what some internet poster thinks? on the other hand, russ also seems to get really upset about a great deal of what seem like legitimate criticism/disagreement to me. if you are going to post ideas, people will disagree. to the extent that they can provide evidence for their positions, one ought to listen and use it to sharpen his views. seeking to run unopposed and not be subject to criticism is the sign of a weak mind and a poor position. that is not how you get smarter/better informed.

comments can work like peer review (to the extent that they are useful). the problem arises when they are just informationless attacks for whatever it is people get out of doing that.

i find hydra's point "This is the same blog that frequently opposes government controls?" to be meaningless for this reason.

supporting free speech and a lack of control does not mean that you have to reproduce the speech of others or even give them a platform to use it.

if you own a radio station, my right to free speech does not allow me to force my way onto it. why is a blog any different? it's theirs. they may do with it as they like and are the ultimate arbiters of content.

a number of online communities like that are invite only and have specific standards for behavior (stay on topic, be polite, cite sources, etc) which make them, in my opinion, more useful.

you do not have to sift through all the trolls and mud slingers and the conversations tend to be more focused and better supported.

i would urge don and russ to consider something like that.

they post some interesting and debate worthy things, but seem to be infested with comment trolls.

perhaps that might be a way to get around it.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:29 AM, Blogger DoNotSwallow said...

"This is the same blog that frequently opposes government controls?"

It amazes me how many people lack even the most basic understanding of the differences between public and private institutions.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:33 AM, Blogger Stephen said...

Worried about not having time to moderate comments? How about outsource the task to a willing volunteer you respect (if one is available).

 
At 12/19/2011 10:36 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: "it's not a blog without comments"

I agree.

and for my own view:

folks ought to be able to debate as fiercely as they wish - ON THE ISSUE but NEVER attacks on persons.

when they cross the line into Ad Hominem... and I include those who use sneaky back-handed attacks such as "if you knew how to read or understood" or " only an idiot would"... or " your idiot buddy"...

NOW - if the operator/moderator allows these initial attacks to happen then don't be surprised when the favor is returned.

can't have it both ways.

if you want a blog that you really want to be civil - establish guidelines ... and enforce them.

Many blogs provide a button for "report abusive comments" and they warn that those who engage in them will be dealt with.

so my view on this is ... Mr. Perry has to decide how he wants his blog to operate and if it is going to be hands-off then so be it but I learned a long time ago not to let bullies rule...

you rebut them right away and you keep doing it every time they try to return to that tactic...


again.. I support strong debate ... make the points but keep it on the issue ALWAYS and refrain from personal attacks - and that includes the sly backhanded ones.

my 2 cents.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:54 AM, Blogger Seth said...

The trolls on Cafe Hayek have won for now.

And they won b/c people stoop to their level and respond accordingly, rather than politely pointing out their fallacies and then ignoring them.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:55 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"This is the same blog that frequently opposes government controls"...

Well that blog isn't a government agency hydra and what's really nice when you think about it is that you can vote with your mouse on whether to visit a site or not...

Personally I think Boudreaux is worth reading though...

 
At 12/19/2011 10:58 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

i find hydra's point "This is the same blog that frequently opposes government controls?" .........

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I was merely pointing out that when people in power don't like what is going on, they reach for more power, not more freedom.

Sorry you didn't get it.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:02 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Well that blog isn't a government agency

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++

True, but the organizational behavior is exactly the same. Maybe instead of sticking it to just government, we should consider our complaints about government in the light of all organizational behavior.

Whether it is federal government, local government, HOA or PTA, the behavior is much the same, apparently.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:04 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

I think Boudreaux is worth reading too, although his fiddle seems to have but one string.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:05 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

"governance" is the word and no it's meaning is not just with regard to big G Govt.

if you want to belong to a group - any group - the group usually has "rules".... and you agree to follow them in return for being a member.

and when you violate them.. you know that you are and you know what it usually means.

rules are nasty things for some folks.. they just hate them.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:05 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra is a blithering idiot.


There, I saved you the trouble.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:29 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Hydra, in my own home, I am a dictator. It's my property and that's where being a dictator is appropriate.

Time and place, dear. Time and place.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:31 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

if you want to belong to a group - any group - the group usually has "rules"....

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I am pointing out that the rules of governance seem to have built in problems.

If we were really smart, we would object to organizations whose rules of governance follow patterns that we know are likely to lead to either stasis or abuse.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:32 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I was merely pointing out that when people in power don't like what is going on, they reach for more power, not more freedom."

despite generally agreeing with that sentiment, i still don't think your point is valid in this case.

if you host a party, and someone come and insults all your guests, you ask them to leave. if you cannot stop such people from coming, you stop the party.

russ and don are hosts, and if they find their guests cannot behave as they feel one should, then they are free to stop hosting. they are not trying to control anyone, in fact they are doing the opposite.

if they stepped in and censored comments, kicked people off the site, etc, then they would be exercising power.

in this case they are just saying "we don't like how this is going, and rather than act the tyrant, we're just going to shut it down."

implicit in your argument is that they somehow owe you the right to use THEIR blog to speak.

you have no such right.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:33 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Hydra, in my own home, I am a dictator. It's my property and that's where being a dictator is appropriate.

Time and place, dear. Time and place.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You think that in your own home you are free to do as you please, even if it affects others?

 
At 12/19/2011 11:38 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"You think that in your own home you are free to do as you please, even if it affects others?"

she is certainly free to ask others to leave if she does not like the way they behave (as don and russ did).

that is hardly an undue exercise of power.

it is not tyrannical for me to tell you you cannot come in my house. what is tyrannical is for you to insist that you be allowed to do so regardless of how you behave.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:39 AM, Blogger Jon said...

Thanks Mark for putting up with us left wingers. I certainly hope comments stay open, but I don't pay any of the cost of time, moderation, aggravation, etc. So I'd respect your decision if you closed comments. But I do appreciate the effort you put into it because it allows me to learn, which is why I'm here.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:45 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"she is certainly free to ask others to leave if she does not like the way they behave (as don and russ did)."

Not exactly. They asked everyone to leave, even those guests behaving themselves, which is certainly their right. But what distinguishes a blog with no interaction from the readers from a static Website with just the host's viewpoints? In other words, what makes a blog a blog? Can a host be both host and guest at the same party?

Mark, I second what Jon said.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:47 AM, Blogger Earl said...

I come to this blog for your points on economics, something I know not enough about. I am not smart enough to comment, but do thank you for leaving the comments open. Free Market, Open Society and for sure:
LIBERTY & RISK

Thank you again.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:50 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

I must say, there are mud-throwers here now lamenting the lack of civility.

Yes, by all means, no more personal attacks, but political parties and public figures should remain fair game.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:03 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

I have to disagree, Morganivich.

I'm not sure Russ is so thin-skinned. I don't know Russ, but I've disagreed with him and he's never taken offense. True, I don't disagree with him often and I haven't called him a Koch whore, but he doesn't strike me as particularly thin-skinned. What makes you think he is?

Comments have long been rough and tumble. The blog has recently fallen victim to what appears to be an organized attack by people whose sole purpose is to destroy it. Russ has been campaigning in favour of ignoring the obvious carpet bombers. Those campaigns rarely work.

The bombers stepped up their game by posting as regular commenters. It was a mess. I can't blame Russ for trying to reduce pollution by asking people not to respond to the bombing campaign.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:04 PM, Blogger Buddy R Pacifico said...

"Hydra said...
Hydra is a blithering idiot."


Maybe. So what. Yes, it is the personal attacks that degenerate the commments section.

Cafe Hayek had some very intelligent commenters, but a lot of them gave into a mob mentality. Insults lobbed and beatings put down. Antagonists responded with anarchist glee that they would destroy the forum.

A very sad situation, because for a long time the comments added reasoned and racous, sharp debate to Russ and Don's essays.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

You think that in your own home you are free to do as you please, even if it affects others?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do. I am Queen of my home. The King and I (we are joint rulers) decide who comes onto our property and who doesn't. We also decide what constitutes acceptable behaviour and who will be banished. It's a rather authoritarian regime that certainly affects others.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:11 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

"The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." -- Sigmund Freud

“Daily life is governed by an economic system in which the production and consumption of insults tends to balance out.” -- Raoul Vaneigem

"The only gracious way to accept an insult is to ignore it; if you can't ignore it, top it; if you can't top it, laugh at it; if you can't laugh at it, it's probably deserved." -- Russel Lynes

 
At 12/19/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

In the case of Cafe Hayek, no harm is done to the commenters who were cut off. The Blog owner has every right to make his blog a magazine if he likes. The commnetors can easily open their own blog and do the same, responding to him on their own turf and trying to dra readers.

Both blogs will likely have fewer readers.

Alex payne takes a different view of this, however:

(and his view is not different from Morganovich, the commenters are now free to do as they please)

The main reason I don’t allow comments is that I want to inspire debate. I think people do their best writing when they’re forced to defend their ideas on their own turf. It’s one thing to leave a comment on someone else’s blog, but quite another to put your argument in front of your own readers. It forces a level of consideration that, without fail, results in a higher quality exchange of ideas.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

You think that in your own home you are free to do as you please, even if it affects others?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I do.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Have fun with your home lab, because if you believe that, you must be smoking crack.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Che is dead said...
"The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization." -- Sigmund Freud

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That is a pretty depressing collection of quotes.

I suppose the next human to advance civilization is the first one who managed to have a conversation without an insult.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:20 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

walt-

"Not exactly. They asked everyone to leave, even those guests behaving themselves, which is certainly their right. But what distinguishes a blog with no interaction from the readers from a static Website with just the host's viewpoints? In other words, what makes a blog a blog? Can a host be both host and guest at the same party?"

well, the way i see it they had 3 choices:

1. go on as they were
2. shut down comments
3. start moderating comments heavily and kicking people off.

they were clearly unhappy with 1. they had tried aspects of 3 before and kicked out the worst of the trolls only to see them immediately reappear using new names and e-mails which can be created instantly and costlessly.

thus, actually implementing 3, which would allow them to keep "good" guests while keeping out those they did not want would take a huge amount of effort and technical sophistication. that's a bit time commitment and was likely beyond what they were willing to commit.

that leaves 2.

personally, i would advocate their going to an invite only structure with members being subject to a code of behavior (the way many financial sites work). if you are not willing to put that effort in, well, i guess it's not really a blog, just sort of an editorial site.

as they have done this before though, i suspect they are just trying to do a "cleansing" and will repoen comments down the road once they feel the trolls have moved on.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:24 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I must say, there are mud-throwers here now lamenting the lack of civility."

did you, of all people, just say that benji?

 
At 12/19/2011 12:27 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Have fun with your home lab, because if you believe that, you must be smoking crack."

and, bingo, unable to respond to a quite valid point by methinks, hydra resorts to insults demonstrating that he has not made the next step toward civilization that he himself laid out.

"I suppose the next human to advance civilization is the first one who managed to have a conversation without an insult."

so, it's smoking crack to think that you are allowed to determine who is allowed in your own house and what sort of behavior you find acceptable there?

wow.

can i come over to your house then? such fun we'll have.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:32 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Actually, it's not at all illegal to have a lab in your home. Why, I can mix household chemicals together any time I want and nobody can do anything about it.

That said, only you could equate the right to decide who is allowed in your home and who isn't with building a nuclear reactor in your back yard.

In fact, the comments were hurting someone. Those someones were Don and Russ.

And, I quite liked Che's collection of comments. They're spot on. But, of course, I have exceptionally thick skin.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:35 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Mark, I don't bother reading liberal blogs, so your comments section serves an important purpose - it help remind me just how confused the left is! I am always surprised how some people really don't understand our point of view.

On the other hand, those trolls from the other site are going to be looking for a new home . . . so watch out!

Personally, as a reader, I can edit on my own. If I see someone who routinely makes what appear to me to be stupid posts, I skip the posts of that person (unless I want to indulge in that particular form of entertainment).

Oh and Hydra, your comment about being against government controls and therefore it being hypocritical about being for private controls (and your subsequent defense of that) is a great illustration of what I mean about getting into the mind of people that disagree with our philosophy. Your comment seems to me to be so stupid, but you are obviously not a stupid person, and your defense seems so sincere (and yet illustrative of your misunderstanding) that I would not want to give up reading it. Thanks!

 
At 12/19/2011 12:39 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"What makes you think he is?"

i have seen russ repeatedly get really snippy with people who question his methodology and assumptions. he seems to take real personal offense with those who take issue with the way he (often very badly in my opinion) uses statistics and draws conclusions that are either not in the data or are mere correlation mistaken for causality.

i can remember a specific instance of trying to debunk one of his claims on household income because he did not account for changes in the size of households and having him get very nasty about it because it made his whole argument fail.

don seems far more gracious and willing to change his mind. russ seems very dogmatic and touchy about even valid criticism.

i completely agree that the comments section there was totally hijacked and that when the trolls start using the names of regulars, it gets bad, fast. this is the problem with having the sort of open sign on they use.

i also agree that campaigns of "ignore the trolls" pretty much never work, as the trolls just get more and more aggressive and insulting and someone always gets goaded into taking the bait.

maybe i am bring too hard on russ, but i have to say his handing of comments has not impressed me.

i'd recommend that they move to a verified format, check IP addresses etc and allow only those they deem to be valuable contributors to the discussion to comment. there seemed to be some interesting folks over there, but it all got drowned out in the barrage of flung troll poop.

they should take a look at how sites like value investors club or even zero hedge do it.

if you know them well, you might want to suggest that to them.

 
At 12/19/2011 12:47 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

morganovich,

Actually, there is a fourth choice: Shut down the blog, which is what they essentially did. Maybe you define blog differently than I do, but a one-sided discussion seems very narcissistic or magazine material to me. Of course, I am not completely anonymous here, and I am held accountable by numerous people who follow me at the places I work. No one should write anything they don't want to own.

Note: I don’t read those other economic blogs, so I don’t know how much the problem posts might have deteriorated the discussion.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

walt-

i'm not so sure about your "shut down the blog" idea.

sure, it's an option, but why would they allow themselves to be silenced and unable to present ideas they think important just because some others cannot play nice together?

i agree that it's not really a blog without comments, but it's still a set of articles presenting ideas that don and russ view and worthwhile. it seems to me that that is better than nothing from their perspective.

it also seems to me that it makes it easier to reopen comments at some later point, perhaps with more effective screening.

lots of website present views and news without comments. i don't think that necessarily makes them valueless or narcissistic. (sure, they could be, but it is not automatic)

 
At 12/19/2011 1:01 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Huh, I must have missed that exchange, Morganovich.

They did use discuss for the comment section for a while, but it blew up last March. I'm sure they're working on it and the team at Mercatus has much better ideas than I do.

Zerohedge - talk about a comment section not worth reading. I once tried to correct Tyler's post about a Nanex report claiming the bid/ask bands weren't enforced by the SEC (they are - vigorously. Not that they are of any use, but being useful is not in the SEC's actual mandate). I was quickly accused of being an "HFT bitch" and a debate ensued about which orifice I can fit "12 inches" into. Very productive.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:02 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

"Discuss" should be "Disqus"

 
At 12/19/2011 1:04 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Walt,

Let's hope they don't stop blogging and I doubt they will. Don and Russ's posts are invaluable.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"No one should write anything they don't want to own.

Note: I don’t read those other economic blogs, so I don’t know how much the problem posts might have deteriorated the discussion."

CH got pretty bad. it was bad to the point where you were lucky to get 1 substantive response to a comment and half a dozen troll assaults. also, a lot of trolls were stealing other people's names to comment, which really makes a mess as you have no idea to whom you are speaking, or, worse, see comments with your name on them that you did not post.

this intersects with your notion of not writing anything you don't want to own.

to some extent, bloggers get held responsible for comments. comments get quoted.

don boudreaux himself has lifted my comments from this site to use on his.

so you need to take a bit of care, and this gets hugely magnified when commenters start taking your name and using it as if they are you.

sometimes, the best way to save a party is shut it down, kick everyone out, then invite a few back inside.

i'm not sure they really had much of a choice, but i hope they find a way to repoen comments with some sort of screening.

allowing people to just type in a name and post is tough. it basically leaves you no way at all to deal with trolls. kill a logon, and they are back in 30 seconds, possibly with your name.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:14 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

of, yeah, i forgot, they opened zero hedge up a ways back and it is now a real toilet. it used to be a pretty good site.

VIC is still good though, as are a couple of salons i cannot name on an open thread.

it seems the trick is to positively identify commenters and perhaps screen them as well.

but just allowing me to type in "methinks" as my name and call other people names is just not a great policy. there are clearly many who cannot handle the anonymity of the internet without acting up, and it does not take many to wreck a blog.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:20 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I think we are spoiled at Carpe Diem with the quality of postings even if they do get a bit personal at times. We have a small enough group of regular posters that we accept each other's criticisms even if we don't always like them. You don’t always get a preference of which finger someone uses to tell you that you are number 1.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

You're right, of course, Morganovich.

ZH is still worth reading, but the comments are worthless.

Sad, really. The comments have the ability to broaden the discussion and inform in ways the original post doesn't. They allow you to throw your ideas upon the jagged rocks to see if they hold up. If you ever feel like sharing the the other salons, my email is methinks76@gmail.com.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:32 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Zerohedge - talk about a comment section not worth reading"...

Agree with that methinks, the only thing I like about ZeroHedge is their occassional first to spot a noteworthy news item...

Consider today's posting about Jon Corzine which I've not seen in other news media outlets...

 
At 12/19/2011 1:42 PM, Blogger Bill said...

One word --- muirge0

 
At 12/19/2011 1:49 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Zero Hedge will often post news long before either Fox Business or CNBC picks up on it. That makes the site valuable.

Bill,

Muirgeo has been a regular troll since 2006. He's annoying, but he's not in the same league as the bombing brigade.

 
At 12/19/2011 1:58 PM, Blogger marmico said...

One alpha numeric word - Methinks 1776. A phony former SFU "pussy". And her half brother, morganovich.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:05 PM, Blogger Jason said...

There was a fourth option… turn off moderation and let automatic spam checking take care of the spam and if someone's post gets caught as spam, let that person report it.

This is how things are at Reason's Hit & Run blog.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ah marmico, speak of the troll, and in he walks.

in all seriousness, how could you possibly expect to be taken seriously in accusing others of being a troll when writing a comment like that?

i doubt there is anything further i could say to make you look any worse than you have already made yourself appear, so let's just leave it at QED.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:10 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

jason-

"turn off moderation and let automatic spam checking take care of the spam and if someone's post gets caught as spam, let that person report it."

i don't think that works very well if you are just trying to stop flame fests. it may block adds for objectionable websites etc, but it does nothing to stop the abuse apart from maybe getting people to switch up their vocab a bit.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:22 PM, Blogger NormanB said...

Keep them open but 'junk' the guys that go back and forth at the rest of our expenses. Don't let them comment on each other, only you.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:28 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Bad move, but certainly their right to do so. The great thing about blogs is that I can not only read the original blogger's post, but the debate by all the commenters batting back and forth the various issues involved, like Morganovich and Methinks say. This is fundamentally a new form of communication, where the piddling letters section in a newspaper is put on steroids online, and I'm grateful that I can be much more informed as a result. Of course, that benefit has a cost, time spent by the blogger weeding out spam. Since these bloggers aren't paid anything, it's certainly their right to not waste their time offering this extra discourse.

I've long thought it was a mistake that this blog went from allowing you to just type in a name and email to requiring registration with Google or OpenID. There are many readers who don't use those services and can't comment now. I myself would have stopped commenting here, as I generally avoid places that start putting in such restrictions, but I remembered I had already received a free OpenID account for something else I did and used that, but how many people even know what OpenID is? In any case, I know how big a problem automated spam can be, particularly during the brief period I started my own blog, so I'm not sure I can blame Mark for requiring registration like he does now, given how much time it probably saves him from flagging spam comments. The alternative is to let commenters flag spam, which I think would be a better approach: crowdsource it. :)

 
At 12/19/2011 2:30 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

But Cafe Hayek wasn't closed because of spammers, it was closed because the debate didn't fit Russ and Don's standards, which I find silly. Is there anyone these days who doesn't know how to use a scroll button to skip the dumb arguments? Like Jason says, Reason allows almost anything and while there's a lot of crap comments there, you never know what you'd be missing if you start blocking stuff. I have long thought the ultimate solution to this problem of unruly behavior is online reputation systems, where other commenters can vote your comments up or down based on how good or bad they find it and such votes form your online reputation. That crowdsources the problem and gives commenters the same incentive not to go nuclear as they have in real life, their stake in their reputation.

Long-standing sites with comments, like Slashdot, have long had this voting feature, though I don't think they've taken the next step to aggregate it into an online reputation. A silly way that some sites try to solve this is by making people use their real name, like Facebook does or by using Facebook logins, but that can chill people's real opinions too. One of the great benefits of online forums is that people can say the truth that they may not be willing to put their name to, so you could let them say it under an alias and just make a separate reputation for the alias. :)

 
At 12/19/2011 2:34 PM, Blogger Che is dead said...

Should Christopher Hitchens have been banned from posting at Greg Mankiws blog, Cafe Hayek - Carpe Diem?

 
At 12/19/2011 2:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:50 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"If we were really smart, we would object to organizations whose rules of governance follow patterns that we know are likely to lead to either stasis or abuse."

We would object by merely resigning our membership in such voluntary organizations, or, as juandos says, voting with our mice.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:50 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

norman-

that seems pretty counter productive though.

if commenters cannot go back and forth with each other, there is no discussion.

you want them to go back and forth to elucidate viewpoints and debate them. so long as it is on topic, civil, and backed up by facts and logic, then it's useful debate.

we learn by having our ideas challenged, and no blogger is going to be able to respond to every comment or have the specific expertise that some of his commenters may.

i feel like half the point of comments is so the commneters can talk to one another.

 
At 12/19/2011 2:54 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

implicit in your argument is that they somehow owe you the right to use THEIR blog to speak.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That is a good point, I had not considered. Is this another way of saying that it is not a BLOG if it does nota llow comments? Does putting yourself forward as a BLOG imply a social contract of use?

If you want to hold forth an expert opinion you can hang out your shingle as a speaker or author and see if you can sell your ideas. Nowadays, you can easily self publish, and see if your books fly off the shelf or not.

But a BLOG, it seems, is inherently different. It is a place where you can point out an event or compilation of data and say here is what I think this means, with the expectation that there will be other interpretations:

Fish count is down.
1. The fish are dying off or overfished.
2. The fish have moved.
3. Government has restricted fishing days.

To shut off the other interpretations depreciates the blogginess, and what people expect of the blogosphere.

Certainly Methinks can deny other people the right to come to her house and do bad things, but that is different from claiming she can do anything she wants there. And, her house is a private abode, it is different from a private establishment open to the public. She cannot cloe her lunch counter to certain people just because she thinks that will cause bad things.

So, is a blog more like a private residence, or more like a public lunch counter?

 
At 12/19/2011 3:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

sprewell-

"I've long thought it was a mistake that this blog went from allowing you to just type in a name and email to requiring registration with Google or OpenID."

i totally disagree.

getting one of those registrations takes 2 minutes. that is not a hardship for anyone.

it also provides significant benefits. i don't know if you have ever had the misfortune to be on a site where people start stealing each other's names and posting false comments, but it is unbelievably annoying and difficult to sort out. it also makes it totally impossible to ban anyone.

i also disagree with your notion that piles of nasty, trolly comments are somehow harmless and easy to just scroll past.

they aren't. they are annoying and provide stacks of clutter, dropping the signal to noise ratio and making it more difficult to have actual conversations. they take the tone of the whole board down and make it more difficult and less pleasant to read and participate in.

sure, you CAN still read it, but why would you WANT to? what good purpose does it serve to allow me to lie and pretend to be you while saying terrible things about some other poster?

is that really the sort of conversation you want to participate in? ad hominem, identity theft, and obscenity?

i certainly respect peoples right to have an open comments board if they want to, but i find that few of them create communities in which i would want to participate.

sounds like don and russ had a similar experience.

why is it you feel they should not respond to the tone on their own website and work to make it the community they want?

isn't that the whole point? they want a forum for civil, on topic discussion not a mud slinging fest. do you really feel like that is such a bad thing?

 
At 12/19/2011 3:03 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

We have 59 comments so far that I think enriches the original post of five sentences. Does the discussion seem to add value to the original topic to you? Turning off the comments would have eliminated these various viewpoints.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:04 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

She cannot cloe her lunch counter to certain people just because she thinks that will cause bad things.

Oh, yes I can!

Certainly Methinks can deny other people the right to come to her house and do bad things....

Yep. I can also deny entry to anyone even if they're not doing "bad things". The only way to get past that is to get a warrant.

Don Boudreaux is under no obligation to let me comment on his blog and I am under no obligation to let you onto my property (let alone my house), even though I'm quite sure you won't be up to any "bad things".

 
At 12/19/2011 3:04 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Have fun with your home lab, because if you believe that, you must be smoking crack."

Surely you don't believe that I can come into your home and do or say whatever I want without your having any authority to control it, or to banish me if you choose.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:12 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

hydra-

if a blogger has an implicit social contract, then what about a commenter?

if i comment on every thread by calling the blogger and idiot and making barnyard noises, where do i fit in that contract?

if i am never on topic, never provide evidence, but instead just insult others, what right do i have to be allowed to continue such behavior?

in general, a social contract has 2 sides. if the commenter fails to live up to his, why should the blogger be bound to indulge him?

you cannot hold only one side to a social contract.

i also think you are overstating methinks views. i do not think she intended to claim she could do ANYTHING like light you on fire or some such. but she does have the absolute right to control your entry or ask you to leave. she can do this based on your behavior.

why is a blog or a lunch counter any different?

if i come into your diner, blare a radio, insult other customers, and behave in an obscene manner, of course you have the right to ask me to leave. why would you possibly not?

you do not even need to let me in in the first place, depending on what sort of establishment you run. there are lots of private clubs. you can't just walk into he olympic club (my old club) in san francisco and use the pool. you need to be a member. any gym works the same way. pay to play. misbehave, and get asked to leave.

that is how the whole world works.

you get tossed out of a movie or a library if you keep talking loudly and disturbing others.

why is a blog different? places have purposes and standards of behavior that go along with it. why should a blogger have this unlimited requirement to put up with the bad behavior of others just because he is a blogger? no one else does.

this social contract you imagine sounds awfully one sided selective in its application.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:24 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

also:

you have to consider what behavior is appropriate for a venue.

things that would be perfectly OK at a raiders game are totally unacceptable at the ballet.

things that owuld be fine in a honky tonk roadhouse with sawdust on the floor are not going to fly at an upscale hotel bar at the oberoi.

seems to me that just as a bar owner can decide what kind of bar he want to have and therefore what sort of behavior is acceptable, so too can a blogger. you are free to approve or disapprove at reflect such with your patronage, but to walk into the bar at the ritz and claim that the barman social contract allows you to dance on tables and spit on the floor because billy-bob's roadhouse lets you seems like a pretty poor argument.

social contracts vary from place to place. some restaurants will require you to have a jacket and tie. if you don't like that, you eat elsewhere. why must a blog be some sort of one size fits all?

aren't we better served by allowing them to specialize and find different ways to handle comments, thus creating consumer choice?

instead of 10,000 blogs with totally moderated comments, you have a wide variety to chose from and can make up your own mind on what is important.

but trying to hold one blog to a "social contract" that you deem important is like walking into the ritz and demanding they act like the bar at a hockey game.

it's not your call. you don't get to tell them how to run it any more than you get to tell the dancers of swan lake how to go en pointe. you just get to decide if you like the proposition they have put forth and whether to participate.

they need to strive to be attractive to those who would read a blog, else they will be irrelevant, but they need not cater to any one in particular.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "well, the way i see it they had 3 choices:

1. go on as they were
2. shut down comments
3. start moderating comments heavily and kicking people off.
"

Jeff ID at the Air Vent, running Wordpress blog software, uses a variation of #3 by "snipping" portions of comments he finds objectionable, typically for being off topic. The commenters name remains, but portions of, or the entire comment may be missing, replaced by the word "snip".

Not sure how much time such moderation requires.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:26 PM, Blogger AIG said...

I'm not happy about it because there were some really worthwhile discussions to be had there. Although, the level of conversation certainly dropped off in the last few months...and not necessarily just from the leftist spammer side, but also from the rabid libertarian side.

It just got too political, and not enough economics.

Ultimately, they could have just instituted a system where the poster would have to sign up for an account.

Pretty easy and simple.

Instead, you get a blog with pretty uninteresting posts (lets face it, Don's letters to the editor get pretty old after the first couple of...hundred thousand). The highlight of that blog were the comments by the, overall, intelligent posters.

Now there's very little reason to visit that blog.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

re: " you have to consider what behavior is appropriate for a venue."

purposeful insulting behavior will have the same effect no matter the venue IMHO.

if you insult others it's not going to be received well...

and most folks do know when they are purposefully being insulting.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:28 PM, Blogger AIG said...

Plus when you have a sign-up account, you moderate yourself because you know you can be banned or your posts deleted.

Simple incentives guys :) Two econ professors should be able to figure this out ;)

 
At 12/19/2011 3:30 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

part of this goes back to what Mr. Perry's expectations are in the first place.

as the host.. he certainly had some expectations when he put the blog up initially.

and if I knew what they were... I would respect them.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:32 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

larry-

"purposeful insulting behavior will have the same effect no matter the venue IMHO.

if you insult others it's not going to be received well...

and most folks do know when they are purposefully being insulting"

ever been to a NY rangers game or the bruins?

there are places where insults are a part of the expectation.

ever seen a rap slam?

the whole point is to insult the other guy.

i'm not saying i like it, or that it makes me want to go, but i don;t think you can make a generalization as broad as the one you just made.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:34 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

what works for the air vent would not necessarily work for cafe hayek.

air vent gets what, 15-50 comments a day?

CH gets 500-1000. moderating that by hand is a much bigger task.

i sure wouldn't want to do it.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:35 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" i'm not saying i like it, or that it makes me want to go, but i don;t think you can make a generalization as broad as the one you just made."

point taken...

at MOST venues where insults are NOT expected..they will not be received well...

better?

 
At 12/19/2011 3:46 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Sprewell: "I've long thought it was a mistake that this blog went from allowing you to just type in a name and email to requiring registration with Google or OpenID. There are many readers who don't use those services and can't comment now. "

Those IDs are easy to sign up for, even if only used for commenting on blogs.

Perhaps at some point the urge to comment before one's head explodes becomes so strong that it overcomes the cost in time & effort involved in acquiring an ID. :)

 
At 12/19/2011 3:51 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Let us suppose Methinks anaysis is correct: that a certain group has conspired to carpet bomb the blog in order to suppress certain ideas they do not like.

One of the values of BLOGS (or google searches, or Twitter Commments, or hits on various sites) is that by looking at all the comments or hits we get a sense of what ideas are prevailing or currently a topic of discussion.


But, if there are groups big enough and persistent enough to carpet bomb an idea, in hopes of making THEIR idea prevail, then all we can think is that such people are not interested in the truth. Their tactics will undermine the utility of the net: no one will be able to trust anything: opinion, or even data about opinions.

 
At 12/19/2011 3:53 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

2. shut down comments
3. start moderating comments heavily and kicking people off."

=================================

Shutting off all comments is probably more democratic than editing out comments they disagree with.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"But, if there are groups big enough and persistent enough to carpet bomb an idea, in hopes of making THEIR idea prevail, then all we can think is that such people are not interested in the truth. Their tactics will undermine the utility of the net: no one will be able to trust anything: opinion, or even data about opinions."

and this goes on all the time.

try changing a wikipedia article about global warming.

i'm not really sure i see your point.

i do believe that such groups of people are out there and active seek to disrupt/destroy sites with which they disagree.

so what, you just say "oh well" and let them take you down?

why would that be preferable to just preventing them from doing it and keeping your site up for those who do want to use it to discuss ideas?

 
At 12/19/2011 4:00 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

note that Mr. Perry DOES turn on Moderation on some comments....

he always has that option... and if he chooses.. to invoke it.. he could also essentially let further comments zoom into the ether.. never to be heard from again.....

;-)

 
At 12/19/2011 4:06 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

so... if Mr. Perry was so disposed.. when a thread got out of hand.. he could essentially NUKE it by turning on moderation and letting it die.

solution?

 
At 12/19/2011 4:06 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Shutting off all comments is probably more democratic than editing out comments they disagree with."

why is "more democratic" a good standard to use here? further, i think you are going a bit too far in calling them "comments they disagree with". this is not censorship of ideas.

it's a culling out of those comments that are either not on topic or are deliberately insulting, which is not the same thing at all.

sites like real climate are notorious for deleting all comments which disagree with their views, but i do not believe that CH was/is doing that nor do i believe that banning those who behave badly from a site is the same as censorship.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:09 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Hydra,

I think the carpet bombers just wanted to destroy the blog, full stop. I don't think they wanted to drown out opinions they didn't like in the comment section.

This is, as someone pointed out on the CH blog, the Alinsky tactic - overwhelm the system to shut it down completely. I've only ever seen these attacks from the militant left. Perhaps the militant right has done the same, but if it is has, I haven't seen evidence of it.

Don and Russ could have taken many different steps to remedy the problem. All of them imperfect.

But, have you considered that they just got sick of the entire enterprise? It's not costless to write a blog. You have to come up with posts and then you have to at least know what's going on in your comment section. Meanwhile, you have to live your life. Perhaps, as the comment section decayed, they just didn't want the agony anymore!

 
At 12/19/2011 4:25 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Oh and Hydra, your comment about being against government controls and therefore it being hypocritical about being for private controls (and your subsequent defense of that) is a great illustration of what I mean about getting into the mind of people that disagree with our philosophy.

================================

I think you are misreading me.

You assume that I am opposed to some philosophies presented here, and by extension on Cafe Hayek as well.

2) That I mean something negative by pointing out the hypocrisy.

I meant to point out the hypocrisy only in passing, the real message being that all organizations seem to act the same way, so all are equally hypocritical.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"One of the values of BLOGS (or google searches, or Twitter Commments, or hits on various sites) is that by looking at all the comments or hits we get a sense of what ideas are prevailing or currently a topic of discussion."

Wow! Do you really read every Google hit you get?

When you find that 95% of the comments on a blog are of no value to you, and you can only make that determination by tediously sifting through them, at some point you might decide it's not worth the effort.

If you read CH comments regularly, you will understand the problem.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:29 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Don pointed out a few weeks ago that the vulgarity and insults of Cafe Hayek reflected badly on the Cafe Hayek owners, Don and Russ. He wrote that economists they respected had visited, and were rudely insulted by commentors.

IMO, Don and Russ did the right thing by suspending comments until they can agree on and implenemy a moderated solution.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:34 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I think the carpet bombers just wanted to destroy the blog, full stop. I don't think they wanted to drown out opinions they didn't like in the comment section.

==================================

I am not sure I see the difference. If you shut down the blog you shut down opinions you do not like.


Re the Alinsky tactic:

Maybe the militant right has not got enough support to overwhelm the system and the militant left has. ;-)

 
At 12/19/2011 4:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Shutting off all comments is probably more democratic than editing out comments they disagree with."

But then, democracy isn't an issue with a private blog, or at Methinks house, or at her public lunch counter.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:36 PM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Walt, I think a blog without interactive comments is still a blog. To me, a blog is simply a regular listing of one's thoughts, sometimes focused and sometimes not. It is certainly a format for making information available to millions of readers at a very low cost.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:41 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Maybe the militant right has not got enough support to overwhelm the system and the militant left has. ;-)

I think this doesn't make sense even to you. It only takes one or two unsupported people to bomb comment sections. It's quite cheap.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:46 PM, Blogger Bruce Oksol said...

I had the same problem/dilemma with my blog.

My solution. Close comments.

Then re-open when I missed the give and take.

I moderate comments to my blog pretty tightly; over time the "drive-by" folks dropped away and folks who had something positive to say stuck around.

I use comments to my blog a) to improve the quality of the blog; and, b) to get my message out.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:53 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"You assume that I am opposed to some philosophies presented here, and by extension on Cafe Hayek as well."

Nope.

"2) That I mean something negative by pointing out the hypocrisy.

I meant to point out the hypocrisy only in passing, the real message being that all organizations seem to act the same way, so all are equally hypocritical.
"

There is nothing hypocritical about being in favor of private control and against government control.

I can control your speech by forbidding you to shout "fire" in my theater, but the federal government cannot abridge your freedom of speech.

 
At 12/19/2011 4:57 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Wow! Do you really read every Google hit you get?

===============================

Of course not, nor would that interest me, but there are all kinds of hit counters that are of interest to various people.

I think NSA makes a career out that sort of thing.

There is a website that (purports to) calculate the value of your blog. It might have been interesting to calculate that value before and after they turned off the comments.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich: "sites like real climate are notorious for deleting all comments which disagree with their views,"

And that is the exact reason we don't read RealClimate.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:08 PM, Blogger Marko said...

Hydra, I think I have diagnosed your "problem" (acknowledging that you don't think you have one) - and that has something to do with private ownership. It seems like something you don't get. I hope I have made it clear I am not intending this as a put down, but if you can't tell the difference between government regulation and an individual regulating a blog they own, and if you think that allowing comments is more democratic, then it seems that you have a different sense of private property, as a concept, then I do.

Government regulations are different because they involve coercive power and the government is funded with non-voluntary tax dollars. A blog is owned by an individual, and they can basically do whatever they want without using money you were forced to give them and without the ability to send the policy to make you do what they want.

Without comments, I would not be exposed to Hydra's frankly odd arguments, and that would be a loss. I feel that I become a better person for trying to figure out what the heck she means :)

 
At 12/19/2011 5:09 PM, Blogger Marko said...

oops, I am mean he.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:09 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Jet Beagle,

Maybe a blog is a blog without comments, but is the original post more valuable with or without the 93 comments that have followed it so far?

When the answer becomes "without" to Mark, he should can the comments. It's his blog and has his name on it.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:22 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

There is nothing hypocritical about being in favor of private control and against government control.

I can control your speech by forbidding you to shout "fire" in my theater, but the federal government cannot abridge your freedom of speech.


+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Cmon, Ron. Is there an argument that makes sense in there?


My original point was only that organizations appear to have the same behavior across the spectrum. Why then should we be surprised (or dismayed) when government acts the same way?

It is what organizations do, and government is an organization. This suggests that it is wrong to think that government is somehow more evil than other organizations.

I think you have the idea that government is (almost always) bad, and therefore any evidence that it is similar to other organizations upsets your value system and must be rejected.


Concerning your example, it is apples and oranges. We don't outlaw free speech esecially opinion, because for the most part we cannot know the truth.

You would not prohibit someone from shouting fire in your theatre if it was the truth. In that case you would prohibit himm form saying sit down and relax. The difference isn't so much whether it is your place or the governments place, but whether or not the truth is in evidence.

Right now, you are free to voice the opinion that global warming is a fraud of the intellectual left, and if the temperature goes up 20 degrees you would still be free to voice that opinion, but the comments you get back would likely be more on the the order of "Hush, you idiot." than "Hear, Hear".


All I am saying is that it looks as if organizations operate the same way in this regard: maybe there is a granule of truth we can agree on (there is a fire or not).

You apparently prefer to make this an ideological battle, with sides drawn, regardless of how the truth eventually turns out.

Government will not silence opinions on global warming. One way or another the truth willdo that.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Cmon, Ron. Is there an argument that makes sense in there?"

Apparently not - to you. I believe most people would understand the distinction I'm making.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:41 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

morganovich, you act as though requiring a name and email isn't a form of registration in itself, which allows all the same measures that you want openid/google registration for. The difference is that name and email is much more usable for most people, rather than the usability clusterfuck that is OpenID or allowing Google to spy on me if I register with them. I could debunk every one of your claims about how openid registration is necessary instead, but I'll elide that technical discussion and instead simply assert that name/email are enough to accomplish everything you want. I agree with you that there was probably a lot of noise in the comments at Cafe Hayek, but barring the technological solutions I listed, that's not the question: the question is what to do about it. Given that Russ and Don are not going to waste their life moderating comments without pay and commenters won't change their behavior otherwise, the only workable solution is the low-cost one: let readers wade through the muck and decide for themselves.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:41 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I would rather participate in a discussion where we are free to use ad hominem and obscenities and therefore also make controversial comments, rather than have some nanny silently deleting what she finds objectionable. This is not merely a theoretical objection, as I have been banned from Econlog and as a result stopped reading that blog years ago. Regardless, I'm not saying Russ and Don shouldn't use whatever rules they want, but merely acknowledging the reality that they will never be able to enforce it, just as you admit. We all want civil discourse but that is ultimately subjective, and I've found that blogs that try to hand-moderate inevitably do a bad job at it. Let me reiterate that there are technological solutions to this problem, the reputation systems and the like that I mentioned before, I just don't think the blogger wasting his time moderating makes any sense. As to the definition of a blog, the first blogs probably didn't have comments, but it's commonly expected that a blog has comments now, since most do. Semantics in any case, as a few blogs do shut off comments eventually.

 
At 12/19/2011 5:53 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

" I would rather participate in a discussion where we are free to use ad hominem"

you're always FREE to use Ad Hominem but when you do you're inviting an equivalent response and in effect you are saying you really no longer want a discussion or debate.. you just want to whack on others... and ...you really don't care if it turns into a food fight...

my view is to treat others like you would want to be treated and if you cannot agree - agree to disagree and move on...

Morg is a person who seems to practice this most of time IMHO.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:06 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

My original point was only that organizations appear to have the same behavior across the spectrum. Why then should we be surprised (or dismayed) when government acts the same way?

But, the organizations are different with different powers. Government has a monopoly on violent force.

It is what organizations do, and government is an organization. This suggests that it is wrong to think that government is somehow more evil than other organizations.

It is more dangerous and prone to more evil because of its monopoly on violent force.

No, Hydra. Marko has you pegged correctly. You don't understand the difference between private action on private property and government force.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:15 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Government regulations are different because they involve coercive power and the government is funded with non-voluntary tax dollars.

=================================
Beside the point.

Even if we agree that they are different by virtue of coercion, how they get the way they are is no different. It is more important to understand how they occur, than it is to win or lose the fight over what they are.

Government regulations are differnt (maybe), but how the organizations act is no different.

Within Cafe Hayek there existed a kind of economy, in which people traded ideas and the energy they were willing to invest to sell them.

Cafe Hayek closed that market because "they" wanted something that "the market" wasn't providing. Pretty much like government, and like government, they gave their commentators no choice in the matter.

I don't see that much difference. And we claim government regs are a failure, because he market will do what it does anyway, Government is doomed to fail in its effort to control.

That CH market still exists and those commenters will take their ideas and energy someplace else. CH will fail in their efforts to manage the truth (as they see it).





You claim the government acts coercively, but at least in our government we have an opportunity to agree or disagee, to work for or against, the level of coercion.

The coercion therefore comes from US, north the U.S. If someone in your theater was shouting fire when there obviously was none, there would be a lot of coercion right away, in the form of "Sit Down and Shut UP!".

Probably long before the theater manager arrived on the scene.


If you do not like the coercion here in the U.S. or how the rules are made by US, or if you get shut out entirely, you can go to some other national BLOG, or try to. But yu will probably discover that other organizations act pretty much the same way as this one, which is the same way CH acts, on its own scale.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:18 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

That CH market still exists and those commenters will take their ideas and energy someplace else. CH will fail in their efforts to manage the truth (as they see it.

Since the hosts don't seek to do that, they will undoubtedly delight in their failure to manage it.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:26 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

It is more dangerous and prone to more evil because of its monopoly on violent force.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++=++

We put up a lot of money to make sure it has a monopoly on violent force. A global monopoly. Both parties supported this goal.

Civilization may have been started by the guy who hurled an insult instead of a rock, but civiliztion is still measured against barbarism, and that is measured by who has the most rocks to throw.



Suppose instead of a central government that contrlols most everything and has a monopoly on force, you had a whole bunch of little governments that control very little but have some force to spend.

Does the idea of warlord spring to mind? You really think that is less dangerous?

 
At 12/19/2011 6:27 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"My original point was only that organizations appear to have the same behavior across the spectrum. Why then should we be surprised (or dismayed) when government acts the same way?"

Blogs aren't organizations, although organizations obviously can and do have blogs. Private blogs, such as CD and CH are not organizations, as we understand the meaning of the word, so comparisons to government are meaningless.

"It is what organizations do, and government is an organization. This suggests that it is wrong to think that government is somehow more evil than other organizations."

Most organizations, other than government, as usually defined, are voluntary. That makes all the difference.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:30 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Since the hosts don't seek to do that,.........


+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

What makes you think not?


They took some action to control or restrict nformation. They must think their informaton is better or closer to the truth.

The commentators will take their version of the truth someplace else. The efforts of CH to control that market will fail, just as the government fails to control markets.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:35 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

CD and CH are not organizations, as we understand the meaning of the word,

=================================

CD an CH are senators on the floor of the blogspot parliament. Commentators are those offering the cheers and jeers from the gallery.


The senators are not organizations (unless you count their PACS and funding sources) but they are part of an organization that is larger than them.


I'm not sure I see the difference, or maybe we need to re-understand what an organization is, and how they coerce us.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:43 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Most organizations, other than government, as usually defined, are voluntary.

=================================

My teacher came and told me I had been made a meber of the national honor society, and I told them no I am not,they did not ask me if I wanted to be a member.


I think we voluntarily created this government, but member ship is not voluntary. we can create a new one or you can go someplace else, but the answer will be the same.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:47 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I would rather participate in a discussion where we are free to use ad hominem and obscenities and therefore also make controversial comments, rather than have some nanny silently deleting what she finds objectionable."

and many of us would prefer not to have you around if you think that obscenity and ad hominem are effective ways to communicate ideas and not have our time wasted by name callers who cannot stay on topic or offer meaningful commentary.

thus, we will seek out sites that block such behavior, and you may go in search of site that allow/encorage it.

choice is a wonderful thing.

but as soon as you go further and attempt to force your views on others and dictate to them what the standard of behavior should be in their comments, well, at that point you are the guy who walks into the library and demands to be able to yell like it's a hockey game.

your argument seems internally contradictory.

you espouse a desire for freedom and controversy by railing against the freedom of others to demand standards in the conversation.

you seek a right to behave as you will while denying it to others.

you notions about being able to make up a name vs needing to register strike me as totally hollow.

it's the work of 2 minutes to register. you open an e-mail account (as i did) that you will never use and use it to pick a name that can no longer be used in that forum by others.

that's hardly a major hurdle, and it has significant advantages as you know to whom you are speaking.

if i began using the name "sprewell" on this thread and saying things with which you strongly disagree, you might find that quite objectionable. it would also make the thread much harder to follow. i have seen entire blogs destroyed by that sort of coppycatting (and we can likely add cafe hayek to the list)

this:

"the only workable solution is the low-cost one: let readers wade through the muck and decide for themselves."

is totally untrue. they could go to invite only comments as many very successful site do (VIC). they could allow for group moderation like slashdot. there are loads of in between steps and ways to get rid of folks whose interest is in disruption, not discussion.

i am all for being inclusive in terms of views and ideologies, but not for time wasters and people who are just trying to be disruptive and uncivil.

many of us do not want to wade through that.

as a great many of the folks guys like don and russ want to be engaged in conversation with feel that way, i think they are right to try and find a way to manage that.

these guys have professional reputations and busy lives. for their peers to be treated rudely on their site would be like me inviting you over and all my friends hurling obscenity at you and chasing you out the door.

who wants to have a forum like that?

the right to express your views and be listened to does not include the right to be a jerk.

this goes back to the idea of social contract that hydra mentioned.

there is a social contract in any given forum and such a thing as situationally appropriate behavior. the world could not operate otherwise. blogs are no different and do not owe anyone the right to be an ass.

they can set standards just as a library or a restaurant or a ballet can.

 
At 12/19/2011 6:53 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"They took some action to control or restrict nformation. They must think their informaton is better or closer to the truth."

i think you are distorting the situation quite badly hydra. what evidence do you have that they were suppressing a viewpoint? i do not think that was the case.

i think they were striving for civility and reasoned discourse that stayed on topic, not a running obscenity laden hate fest that was embarrassing them in front of their peers and driving away those whose commentary was most germane.

certainly, they likely did not do so perfectly, but when you are assailed by invective all day, anyone's temper can get a little short and perhaps judgment gets a bit frayed.

i'm really not sure what you are trying to argue here.

you failed to respond my whole point about social contracts above, and i think it's a question you really need to answer:

why should bloggers have some sort of social contract but not commenters?

contract have 2 sides.

if you fail to hold up your end, i am generally released from mine as well.

 
At 12/19/2011 7:02 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Concerning your example, it is apples and oranges. We don't outlaw free speech esecially opinion, because for the most part we cannot know the truth."

Federal government - and since the 14th Amendment, the States, don't outlaw free speech because it is unconstitutional to do so, as it is an illegitimate infringement on the rights of others.

In a private setting, the property owner can dictate whatever terms they wish.

"You would not prohibit someone from shouting fire in your theatre if it was the truth. In that case you would prohibit himm form saying sit down and relax."

In my theater I can prohibit whatever speech or activity I wish. You don't know what speech I might prohibit, but If you entered my theater with my permission, you would abide by the rules I had established, or you would leave.

If I sold you a ticket to attend an event, you would be entitled to experience that event as long as you observed my rules, which would probably include not disturbing other theater goers. So, you couldn't jump up and shout fire, or anything else that would disrupt the performance, unless your license to attend included that right.

I might forgive your disruption of the performance if there actually was a fire.

"The difference isn't so much whether it is your place or the governments place, but whether or not the truth is in evidence."

The truth has nothing to do with it. You might jump up and shout "Inflation is coming! Inflation is coming!" the truth or falsity of that statement is irrelevant. The entire difference is that government cannot limit your speech, but I can, as can any private property owner, including blog owners.

 
At 12/19/2011 7:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"They took some action to control or restrict nformation. They must think their informaton is better or closer to the truth.

The commentators will take their version of the truth someplace else. The efforts of CH to control that market will fail, just as the government fails to control markets.
"

The objectionable comments at CH contain no information or "version of the truth." Taking troll poop somewhere else isn't a loss to CH.

Disallowing people to throw trash in your yard isn't equivilent to limiting information.

 
At 12/19/2011 7:33 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Private blog owners should able to ban what they find objectionable the same way private UAW parking lots should be able to ban "Japanese" cars they find objectionable. I guess the question is who defines "objectionable".

 
At 12/19/2011 7:35 PM, Blogger bob wright said...

While comments often add an interesting POV, my main interest in reading blogs is for the information from the author [opinion, analysis, charts, links, etc].

I read Mankiw's blog for this reason.

I would miss the input of some commenters, but I would not stop reading a blog that turned off the comments.

 
At 12/19/2011 7:37 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

"but I would not stop reading a blog that turned off the comments."

But you would stop reading the non-existent comments :)

 
At 12/19/2011 9:13 PM, Blogger Mark J. Perry said...

Walt:

1. Would you likewise support banning Japanese people from the property as well for being objectionable to UAW members? If so, what if they were only 50% or 25% or 5% Japanese?

2. Would the #1 car for domestic content in 2011, the Toyota Camry, built in Kentucky, count as a "Japanese" car and be objectionable? Or would it have to be built in Japan to be objectionable? If that's the case, what about a car built in Canada or Mexico - objectionable? What if it's built in Canada by UAW workers, objectionable "foreign" car or not?

 
At 12/19/2011 10:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

you seek a right to behave as you will while denying it to others.

++++++++++++++++

Bingo.

Golden rule.

Everything else is just embellishments.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:25 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

morganovich, you seem to make a habit of willfully "misreading" and omitting information that you then use to criticize others. I am obviously not saying ad hominem is worthwhile- I obviously don't care about obscenity :) - I was saying that the same freedom that allows negatives like ad hominem allows positives like controversial statements that need saying. You are free to ignore "name callers who cannot stay on topic or offer meaningful commentary," but if you are looking for a blog where it's all cleaned up for you for free, I encourage you to keep looking because it doesn't exist. ;) Other than Russ and Don, nobody's forcing anything on anyone, don't get your panties in a bunch. Instead, we're all talking about our ideal of what we look for in blog comments and what it would take to get there.

There is nothing contradictory about freedom to comment as you like, as there is no such thing as "freedom of others to demand standards in the conversation." That's like saying that censors want North Koreans to have the freedom not to hear bad things about Kim Jong Il, or the familiar dumb leftie argument that socialized medicine gives people the "freedom" not to care about how they will pay for their medical care. At that point, you have so debased the meaning of the word "freedom" as to be meaningless. Nor am I seeking a right to anything, merely pointing out that it's better and much more practical to let people alone, rather than expect to have Russ/Don curate the comments for you.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:27 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

As I said before, everything that you like about Google/OpenID registration can be replicated with a simple name/email combo, but the latter is more usable. If you really don't know how the latter suffices, I suggest that you don't really know how this tech works. I would have no problem with outside registration if there were better services to do so, but google/OpenID don't clear that bar. I'm not sure what you mean by invite-only comments, but I already mentioned slashdot in the past and made it clear that I was only suggesting leaving things alone if that tech wasn't feasible to bring over. You seem to have trouble reading or keeping track of these points.

Ultimately, my point is that you can have all the fantasies you want about weeding out "time wasters and people who are just trying to be disruptive and uncivil" or "setting standards" but these are all volunteer endeavors and that moderation is never going to happen. There are only two options: the technological solutions I mentioned, that tend to crowdsource more, or barring that, since that will take some technical effort, an open online agora. You seem to want something more restricted but offer no practical solution to get there, or at least nothing different than what I already mentioned. ;)

 
At 12/19/2011 10:31 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I have said before that one problem with " citizen participation" in government is that it often gives special interests the right to disrupt other people's work and livelihood at no cost to themselves.

In a similar way commentators can disrupt the creative work of bloggers at no cost to themselves.

I can see the time coming for pay blogs. You want to comment, you have to contribute.

Or, I can see the time when a Watson like tool monitors a blog, searching for ad hominems, bad data, etc. Watson would assign a score, based on published criteria. The fee for posting would rise as the score for the post falls.

You can say whatever you like, but it will cost you.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:41 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

morganovich, you seem to make a habit of willfully "misreading" and omitting information that you then use to criticize others.

++++++++++

Yup. It is a cheap rhetorical stunt, that anyone can recognize. It is no more effective at advancing your argument than ad hominem. Watson could recognize either, and raise the price for publication of such comments.

At the same time, "troll poop" or dumb lefty arguments might go on board for cheap, if they are constructed without faulty argumentation.

 
At 12/19/2011 10:48 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Private blog owners should able to ban what they find objectionable the same way private UAW parking lots should be able to ban "Japanese" cars they find objectionable. I guess the question is who defines "objectionable"."

The private owner.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:13 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

and, bingo, unable to respond to a quite valid point by methinks, hydra resorts to insults demonstrating that he has not made the next step toward civilization that he......

+++++++++++

In case you missed it, the crack example was meant to point out the difference between " I can do anything on my property including beating my wife and children", which I am sure she did not mean, and the ability to order others off her property, which is more like what chits did.

It was deliberately set to appear similar to an ad hominem attack, in order toi make a point about how objectionable such forms are, and how weak as well.

Strictly speaking it was not an ad hominem at all, which takes a specific form. Rather it is an allegory, which presents a message by use of symbolic fictional actions, in this case cooking crack as an example of being allowed to do "anything" at home. Obviously not intended to be taken literally.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:14 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:19 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"CD an CH are senators on the floor of the blogspot parliament. Commentators are those offering the cheers and jeers from the gallery."

That's sheer nonsense. CD and CH are private properties where guests are allowed or not at the property owner's whim.

"I'm not sure I see the difference, or maybe we need to re-understand what an organization is, and how they coerce us.}"

No, I don't think "we" do. do you understand that most organizations are voluntary, and have no ability to use force to coerce us? We are free to join an organization and are free to quit the organization when it no longer meets our needs.

Government, which we cannot freely quit, and which has a monopoly on the use of force, isn't like that.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:35 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Civilization may have been started by the guy who hurled an insult instead of a rock, but civiliztion is still measured against barbarism, and that is measured by who has the most rocks to throw."

So, your preferred solution is to give all the rocks to one group?

 
At 12/19/2011 11:40 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

The question was " Do you really believe you can do anything you like in your home, even if it affects others." And the answer was "Yes, I do.", subsequently modified.

All I did was point out one thing you will wish you had not done if you get caught, even if it affects no one else. Same goes for mixing some household chemicals.

Nuclear reactors would have been a better example.

 
At 12/19/2011 11:50 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So, your preferred solution is to give all the rocks to one group?

+++++++++++++++

I said nothing about my preferred solution. The fact is, the American government pretty near has a monopoly on the ability to throw rocks, and that monopoly was created by both parties over many years.

To then complain about government power seems silly to me.

 
At 12/20/2011 12:05 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

do you understand that most organizations are voluntary, and have no ability to use force to coerce us? We are free to join an organization and are free to quit the organization when it

++++++++++++++++++

I think you are wrong on this, or you have a theoretical view of choice and coercion that does not fit the practical realities.

At one time I could easily change a headlamp for a few dollars. Now, the practical respite's is that I will be forced to join an organization that changes headlights and pay them $300 in dues.

Theoretically we all have choices, but in practice those choices are seriously curtailed, circumscribed, or deliberately put off market.

The difference is one of degree in my view.

 
At 12/20/2011 1:05 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"I said nothing about my preferred solution. The fact is, the American government pretty near has a monopoly on the ability to throw rocks, and that monopoly was created by both parties over many years."

It is your constant claim that government is desirable, and preferable to any other arrangement of society, so your preference must be that the group of people called "government", with a monopoly on throwing rocks, should have all the rocks. How else could I take it?

 
At 12/20/2011 1:10 AM, Blogger gadfly said...

Actually, there are many degrees of comment permissions going on around us. From Warren Meyer's policy of non-response to his Coyote Blog posts to interacting bloggers like Ann Althouse who accepts about any kind of comments as along as she deems them to be adult.

Leftists have a way of only accepting leftist views and they often cut off comments after a time period and/or number of posts.

Powerline cut off its blogging response for a long time, but I always believed it had to do with their software -- but their new Facebook-based blog responses exclude purists like me who will not enroll on the social network.

Commentary Magazine has just opened up response capability with their new format --- and the beat goes on and on and on.

I will say that I am amazed that Professor Perry has time to comment as often as he does on this very busy blog.

 
At 12/20/2011 1:28 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"At one time I could easily change a headlamp for a few dollars. Now, the practical respite's is that I will be forced to join an organization that changes headlights and pay them $300 in dues."

What a silly notion! In any case you won't be forced at all. It's entirely voluntary, and you have many choices. If you want the service, you must pay the user fee. when that voluntary transaction is complete you will have no trace of membership left on you.

You can also choose to repair it yourself, as you have done in the past.

Do you join an organization and pay dues when you get a tooth filled? How about a chest x-ray? Is that another organization you must join?

I was forced to join an organization today for about an hour, that charged me $12.46 and provided me with a meal. When I was finished I resigned my membership.

"Theoretically we all have choices, but in practice those choices are seriously curtailed, circumscribed, or deliberately put off market."

We have choices among those things that are available to us. One of those choices is to do nothing.

 
At 12/20/2011 7:05 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

Mark,

I believe private property rights would give the person who owned them the right to decide what is objectionable whether it is a private blog or a private union hall. Banning a "Japanese" car from a union hall is really no different than you telling me I cannot park my fifth-wheel trailer in your driveway or that I have to take my shoes off to come into your house.

The signs banning 'Japanese" cars from the union halls are there because the majority of the membership/owners seem to want them there. A parliamentary process was used to make it happen. A parliamentary process can get them removed, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

I suppose union halls and blogs would have to follow all current laws concerning any type of discrimination, but the law is probably a bit murky on blogs. I am not aware of any discrimination laws that have property such as cars a protected class.

For the record, I do not support banning any cars from any parking lot, and I agree with you that the current domestic-made "Japanese" car is actually mostly "American" now. People should buy what they want, and companies should supply that.

It's time we stop blaming others for our own shortcomings whether it is illegal aliens or “Japanese” automakers. Time is a finite resource. The time spent on knocking others down is much better spent building yourself up: too many complaints not enough action.

 
At 12/20/2011 7:36 AM, Blogger Walt G. said...

I can only speak about UAW 659’s sign. That sign banning “foreign” cars cannot be seen without binoculars from the road because it is in the back of the union hall and blocked by the Wooden Keg Bar building. That means you have to have a reason to be in the parking lot to see it, and mostly union members are in the parking lot. I think of it like a sign on your refrigerator at home telling you to clean your room. I consider the sign rather childish and detrimental for a union that wants to organize those same “foreign” automakers, but that’s just me.

 
At 12/20/2011 8:19 AM, Blogger bertly said...

I understand about the vitriol that some ooze towards an opposing viewpoint and sometimes the person. It is silly and childish to attack a person on a personal level for a differing viewpoint. Honest disagreements can be a learning experience for all. Good post on your part and thanks for posting it, It needed to be said.

 
At 12/20/2011 12:01 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Strictly speaking it was not an ad hominem at all, which takes a specific form. Rather it is an allegory, which presents a message by use of symbolic fictional actions, in this case cooking crack as an example of being allowed to do "anything" at home. Obviously not intended to be taken literally."

hydra-

oh come on.

it was an obnoxious personal attack. trying to wrap it in "i was being obnoxious to make point" actually makes my point for me.

i note you still have no response on whether or not commenters are part of a social contract.

 
At 12/20/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger Cafe Hayek Comments said...

A mirror blog of Cafe Hayek that allows comments is now up and running. Give it a try.
http://cafehayekcomment.blogspot.com/

 
At 12/20/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

sprewell-

i completely disagree with your characterization. in fact, it is you who are misrepresenting my views to score cheap rhetorical points while trying to accuse me of doing the same.

that is called hypocrisy.

let's look at what i said:

"and many of us would prefer not to have you around if you think that obscenity and ad hominem are effective ways to communicate ideas and not have our time wasted by name callers who cannot stay on topic or offer meaningful commentary.

thus, we will seek out sites that block such behavior, and you may go in search of site that allow/encorage it.

choice is a wonderful thing."

i have not accused you of anything nor put any words in you mouth. all i said is "if you believe X, many of us would rather not have you in a discussion".

if is conditional. i have not none you to prefer obscenity etc, and i get that you may just be pointing out that you prefer freedom from blogger control, but again, read what i wrote. it was written carefully.

you are the one making wild and deliberate mischaraterizations.

regarding you notions of freedom, i think you are absolutely wrong.

you do not have the freedom to engage me in any kind of conversation you want. you can try, but if i find you rude, dull, or whatever, i can walk away and leave you talking to yourself.

that is my freedom to demand standards in a conversation. i may not get what i want, but i can sure vote with my feet and not listen.

i'm honestly baffled that you feel such a freedom does not exist.

blogs are a form of private property. the authors have every right and ability to seek out a tone of dialogue they desire and every right to ban those commenters who fail to live up to it. you may or may not like that idea or the way it is put into practice and can participate or leave based on that, but it's THEIR blog. you want your rules, start your own.

this is how the entire world works. libraries, restaurants, public transportation, private property all have standards of behavior. violate them, and you will be made to leave.

you point about "there is no such blog" is just grandstanding devoid of facts. value investors club has very high standards (and is free). wattsupwiththat works well, for free, with moderators that i think do a good job of letting debate go on, but keeping it civil and on topic.

alternately, sites like calculated risk, which posts excellent articles, have utterly useless (and unmodertated) comments, ditto places like zerohedge.

sites like slashdot used to do well with reader moderated comments that got moved up and down based on who liked them and how good the reputation of that liker was. 9though i have not sued the site in years, so have no idea how it works these days)

so, it would seem that your comment is baseless. there are lots of successful counter examples.

far from "never happening" it has, does, and will happen. you are just making up dire pronouncements to try and create evidence for your argument.

 
At 12/20/2011 5:24 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

morganovich, I think any reasonable observer would find that you are the only one mischaracterizing, which is particularly ironic considering how you rail against such time-wasting. ;) You can try to weasel out of what you said by noting the qualifier "if," but who is it exactly who seriously thinks "that obscenity and ad hominem are effective ways to communicate ideas?" You are clearly implying it is me, when my whole point was that the freedom for some to use such negative tactics also comes with positives like truth-telling. I have had comments deleted from blogs a handful of times because I stated uncomfortable truths that the blogger disliked.

My ban from Econlog was simply because I said that those who lost a lot of money in the recent real estate bust were dumb, which to be fair was claimed by their comment nanny to be the last of a pattern of such "negative" comments, however mild I may find them. That is certainly their right to enforce such draconian rules, but I decided that any blog that imposed such censorship was not one that was likely to have a debate worth following and as a result I went from reading that blog daily to not reading it in years. This is precisely the kind of "choice" you and I both espouse.

Haha, now you're saying that I think I "have the freedom to engage [you] in any kind of conversation you want?" That's rich, when I started off my comments by saying you are free to use the scroll button and ignore the stuff you don't like, which you now accept you "can walk away and leave you talking to yourself." For some reason that easy solution didn't suffice for you earlier in this thread. I am honestly baffled that you keep changing your position and arguing things I once did. :)

 
At 12/20/2011 5:25 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

And it gets even more ridiculous that you then say the blogger has the right to do what he wants, when that's what I said from my first comment! All I've been saying is that while the blogger can do what he wants, some choices are better or less practical than others. The fact that you keep trying to push this ridiculous argument that I'm imposing my views on them again goes to show you have trouble grasping what is written.

Obviously I cannot prove a negative of whether or not there exists a free blog with unpaid moderators who spend hours curating the comments, but I think you grasp economics enough to know that such a model isn't workable or widespread. Not sure how you think slashdot is a counter-example to what I said, when I pushed such crowd-sourced technological solutions before you ever did. :) If you think my saying that whatever model your favored free sites like VIC or WUWT are using is uneconomical and therefore unsustainable is "just making up dire pronouncements," I don't know what to tell you other than you seem to have taken leave of all sense and your knowledge of economics simply because you are butt-hurt because of what some meanie on Cafe Hayek said to you, therefore all of us who argue in any way that such insults are difficult to moderate effectively must be shouted down with illogical arguments. I have now decided that you are wasting my time with your dumb arguments that go round and round without even reading what I wrote, so I won't bother responding further.

 
At 12/20/2011 6:50 PM, Blogger Larry G said...

here's a typical agreement at another blog:

" You agree, through your use of this forum, that you will not post any material which is false, defamatory, inaccurate, abusive, vulgar, hateful, harassing, obscene, profane, sexually oriented, threatening, invasive of a person's privacy, adult material, or otherwise in violation of any International or United States Federal law. You also agree not to post any copyrighted material unless you own the copyright or you have written consent from the owner of the copyrighted material. Spam, flooding, advertisements, chain letters, pyramid schemes, and solicitations are also forbidden on this forum."

Here's another:

" Blog Rules and Etiquette

We request, though we don’t require, readers to use their real names when they comment. For those unwilling to reveal their real name, we ask that they use a consistent pseudonym so others can more easily track who is saying what.

We have managed, so far, to avoid posting elaborate rules for participating in this blog. We simply urge contributors and commenters to maintain a collegial atmosphere. Direct all the fire and fury you want at another person’s argument, but do not engage in ad hominem attacks. The publisher reserves the right to delete any comments that violate this basic rule. Additionally, blog contributors have the right to delete any comments on their own posts only that they feel detracts from the quality of the dialogue."

and another:

" Comments guidelines

1. Be respectful. No personal attacks.
2. Please avoid offensive, vulgar, abusive, hateful or defamatory language.
3. Read and follow THE RULES.
4. We will block violaters and ban repeat offenders"

here's the New York Times:

We are interested in articulate, well-informed remarks that are relevant to the article. We welcome your advice, your criticism and your unique insights into the issues of the day.

Our standards for taste are reflected in the articles we publish in the newspaper and on NYTimes.com; we expect your comments to follow that example. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence and SHOUTING."

many blogs have rules for basic civility ..not unusual.

what goes on here in CD is an exception to many blogs...

Mr. Perry has to decide what kinds of guidelines he wants because unfortunately there are those who will see no guidelines as carte blanche for rude behavior.

 
At 12/20/2011 8:21 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Larry,

"Vulgar", "abusive", "profane" are all subjective terms.

What is acceptable to some is completely unacceptable to others.

There is no bright line, and therein lies the problem.

 
At 12/21/2011 5:06 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

" There is no bright line,"

that's true but many blogs say no Ad Hominems and that's less subjective judgement ..

but in general.. if you feel insulted and words like idiot, stupid, etc are used... I don't think quibbling over it is beneficial.

basically don't do to others what you would not like done to yourself.

as one blog said:

"use all the fury and fire - on the issue not on each other".

there is a small group in CD that are basically hit and run types when it comes to this kind of behavior.

they make one or two comments and if they don't like or believe what another commenter says..they unload on him,

it's the same ones... and they are predictable...

in other blogs, these guys would be given a warning then banned.

I understand Mr. Perry's reluctance to take a more hands-on approach.. he's got better things to do with his time than babysit but unfortunately there are folks that if you don't watch over them..they need supervision ...or they need people to get right in their face about it.

 
At 12/21/2011 9:00 AM, Blogger Zachriel said...

Fortunately, our patented {not really} DeSnark® desnarkification field suppressor (remark desnider) limits the amount of trolling emissions before viewing. Here's an example.

Quote
Ilíon (no filter): Of course! How trollish of me to help the "Darwinists" demonstrate to one and all that they do not reason.

Quote
Ilíon (filtered at 70%): Sorry. I'm not following your argument.

 
At 12/21/2011 9:26 AM, Blogger Larry G said...

filter or food fight.. pick your poison

 
At 12/21/2011 4:35 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

What is acceptable to some is completely unacceptable to others.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Yes but, if you had a Watson style program designed to create a fair argument, the rules would be well defined.

All of the usual logical fallacies are pretty well defined and easy to recognize as a matter of form, that is pretty much independent of topic.

My idea is not one of censorship, but one of scoring. Juandos might be scored low by frequently using ad hominems, or Morganovich for changing the subject. Their posts would still show, but get a low score for argumentative value if they are laden with named fallacies.

Since it is about style and form rather than subject, any party to the argument would be scored the same way.

You could then argue about whether the "bright line" as described by the computer program is in the right place, but you could not argue that the ruels are not clear. Nor could you argue about the results anymore than you can argue that Watson did not win the Jeopardy game.

 
At 12/21/2011 4:47 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

What a silly notion! In any case you won't be forced at all. It's entirely voluntary,

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

It is not voluntary to have working headlights.

The volountary choices I have are to pay the outrageous price to fix the headlamp, or dispose of the car and try to find one in which the headlamps can be repaired at a similar price to the old style lights.

My casual observation suggests that there are none.

The next best option is to buy some auxiliarly lights and just bolt them to the fender, which wil devalue the car.

In short thare are not good options available, and that situation was created deliberately.

I think the distinguishment between that and being forced to do something is vanishingly small, for all practical purposes.

Theoretically yuare correct: there are choices. In the real world you are an idiot. Probably, someday, enough people will be as ticked off as I am and they will get a maintainability bill passed.

We get big stupid government because of big stupid businesses, for the most part.

 
At 12/21/2011 4:55 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

but as soon as you go further and attempt to force your views on others and dictate to them what the standard of behavior should be in their comments, well, at that point you are the guy who walks into the library and demands to be able to yell like it's a hockey game.

================================

I don't see that is the case at all. If you cannot make your case in a civil manner, you probably cannot make your case.

Dictating a standard such as avoiing the named logical fallacies, in no way dictates the argument or the result thereof.


The problem around here is that one already knows the result of an argument with people who are unwilling to ever admit of a weakness in theirs.

When the argument is defense of territory rather than a search for truth, not very much will be learned.

 
At 12/21/2011 5:00 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

what evidence do you have that they were suppressing a viewpoint?

=================================

Isn't shutting down the comments suppressing a viewpoint?

It is certainly suppressing a viewpoint on this venue.

They will likely fail in their effort to suppress that viewpoint, because it will go someplace else.

It is no different from government suppression, just less effective, and that is going some, considering the governments effectiveness in suppressing alcohol, prostitution, and drugs.

 
At 12/21/2011 6:19 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

I agree contracts have two sides, but it seems to me there is an issue of prior rules, and who th contract is with.

The blogger enters an arena controlled by Blogspot or Wordpress, or whatever. That arena is (originally) set up to support bloogers and responses by commentators.

I think the usual expectation is that comments will be allowed, otherwise we would not be having this conversation of the unusual situation of seeing comments turned off.

The blog venues may have brought this on themselves by building the swithch that ALLOWS comments to be turned off.

Suppose that had not happened: all blog venues require you to allow comments, there being no way to turn them off. If that was the case, there would be no question as to what a blog is or what the bloggers contract was: he entered an arena whe comments are allowed and he knew it.

There would no longer be any question as to what a blog is if the commnets are off, because there would be no such thing.


Suppose some venues had no way to turn comments off and others let you turn them off. We would find out pretty quick which type of venue drew more people. We might discover there are more bloggers on one kind but more Total People, meaning audience on the other kind.

The arenas, not wanting to lose EITHER part of their audience take the easy way out and build the switch that allows comments to be turned off. It is a race to the bottom and we get the lowest common denominator, rather than the "best" product, maybe.

 
At 12/21/2011 6:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

So, who broke the contract first, here? I suggest it is the arenas. They create a tool for this new thing called blogs, which are a kind of two way editorial. In doing so they create a certain expectation.

Then they change that expectation by building the no comments switch. It is as if a newspaper kept its editorials, but turned off letters to the editor. If letters to the editor are part of the service you pay for whn you buy a newspaper, then clearly the newspaper has violated your contract by reducing service and not reducing the price.

It is the arenas that first created a product with certain defining attributes, which created expectations. And it is th earenas that changed those attributes.


Be that as it may, the bloggers choice is no different than if he had to go to a different arena in order to turn off comments. The arena has kicked the decison on its product downstairs: now it is the blogger who has to face the fact that he will probably lose customers by turning comments off.

He has to decide whether he wants to preach his ideas in a vacuum where he is infallible, or whether he wants his ideas heard. And debated.

This goes full circle. Suppose ALL the bloggers on Blogspot elect to turn off comments at once. Trafffic to Blogspot sites falls precipitously, so Blogspot responds by taking away the off switch.

Either way, the FIRST ontract is between the arenas and the bloggers, and the second contract is between the bloggers and their guests.

It is a matter of property rights. I build a blogging arena and I have the right to include the comments on off switch or not. I culd build in the on off switch, but eep access to it myself. As part of the bloggers condition of use he would have to agree to possible censorship by a higher power - the arena.

But,if I build the switch and make it avaialable to the bloggers,then they have the right to use it and the right to expect it won't be taken away without compensation.

Fianlly you get down to the commentators. They come to a site that advertises participation, they invest in developing their Juandos persona. They have certain expectations, and that is part of the contract, unless, the blog makes it clear from the outset, you act up and you will be banned.

(There are pratical aspects of how that happens same as there were practical aspects to Prohibition.)

As a comentator you, too, come on board one way or the other, and you tacitly accept the rules as presented: that is the contract. If the blogger changes your rules then you have reason to complain.


The best way out of this is for CH to just shut down. The contract was that if I write posts, then you get to respond. If I do not write posts then you cannot respond and no contract is broken.

Then CH can start a new sight, CH REDUX that accepts no commnet from the start.

Whether anyone reads it, is another question.

 
At 12/22/2011 4:05 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Since it is about style and form rather than subject, any party to the argument would be scored the same way."

So a blog would become an arena where commenters competed for style points, and content didn't matter?

"Yes but, if you had a Watson style program designed to create a fair argument, the rules would be well defined."

A fair argument? Do you mean that well written and intelligent comments would be dumbed down, and idiotic comments smartened up to make the argument fair?

 
At 12/22/2011 4:21 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"It is a matter of property rights. I build a blogging arena and I have the right to include the comments on off switch or not. I culd build in the on off switch, but eep access to it myself. As part of the bloggers condition of use he would have to agree to possible censorship by a higher power - the arena."

Based on this, and most of the rest of your last 6 comments, I can only suggest that for any coherence at all, you might consider publishing before you take your evening meds.

 
At 12/22/2011 11:26 AM, Blogger Michael said...

Russ Roberts. His name is Russ, not Ross. By the way, Mark Perry, you should contact Russ Roberts and tell him you would love to be interviewed on EconTalk. EconTalk is an astonishingly great 1 hour a week podcast he does, you'd be perfect for it.

 
At 12/22/2011 7:47 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Hydra, not sure you're thinking about this stuff right when you mention contracts, implicit or not, as no contracts have been written here. Since there is no money involved, these blogs are all completely informal and voluntary with no written contracts, so all parameters can be changed at any time by the blogger, since he controls the software.

But you do say something important when you say the blogger "has to decide whether he wants to preach his ideas in a vacuum where he is infallible, or whether he wants his ideas heard. And debated." As AIG notes, Cafe Hayek was never a very interesting blog: I never read it as I wasn't interested in their reprinted letters to the editor, which is what most of the posts seem to consist of. It's almost as though Don doesn't realize that he has a potentially much more powerful medium at his disposal with his blog, so he continues to focus on writing letters to the editors of newspapers and merely reposting them online. Now, he will probably never have as big an audience on his blog as those newspapers have- although given how few people bother reading letters to the editor in newspapers, maybe not ;) - but he can have a much more influential audience on his blog, if he manages to attract them with good content. In any case, most of his current readers are probably more interested in the comments than his posts, so he will pay the price with fewer readers if that's the case.

Even for a great blog like Carpe Diem, the posts themselves are only about 60% of the value for me, the rest is in the comments. And however much the commenters here may disagree with each other, it is a testament to Mark that there are so many good commenters here, who have congregated on this blog for their comments.

 
At 12/28/2011 1:50 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

I'm sure this has been said, and I know I am a few days late to this party, but as a regular of the Cafe, I can attest to the behavior of some.

This went beyond just regular trolling. It was borderline libel and outright offensive. Worst of all, it was purely obtrusive. Whenever a rational conversation would be going on, this guy (I am convinced it was just one person with multiple names) would interject his own agenda and ruin everything.

I don't blame Russ and Don for the choice they made. No one wants his hobby to become a breeding ground of hate speech.

Ah well. C'est la vie.

 

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