"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, October 24, 2005

Comments Policy

A club is a place where people can comfortably discuss whatever they wish, in the company of others who share their delight in ideas and display good manners. To ensure that rotten cads do not tromp about our common room in muddy boots, scatter the newspapers all over, drink excessive quantities of our liquor, and spit tobacco juice on the furniture, we are instituting the following comments policy and have placed it in the informational sidebar for the site:

Comments

The Reform Club is a place where serious thinkers discuss crucial issues in a comfortable setting, with the maximum amount of wisdom, intellectual passion, and civility. Comments by visitors are quite welcome.

All commenters are guests and are expected to act accordingly. Comments not in a spirit of comity will be removed without explanation or apology.

We trust that this policy will make your visits to the Reform Club even more edifying and enjoyable.

14 comments:

Tlaloc said...

Rather than deleting a comment that is on topic and is not offensive "without explanation or apology," why not try a more effective tactic?

James Elliott said...

Your definition of comity appears to be highly suspect and subjective. I would appreciate, for my own edification, a definition so that I can phrase my comments properly. Apparently not being rude is no longer a threshold.

connie deady said...

It's their blog. They can delete all they want. They pay the freight for us to talk, we're only guests.

So quit yer bitchin. If you don't like the way they do it, there are gazillions of other blogs out there that you can post on instead.

Tlaloc said...

"It's their blog. They can delete all they want."

Of course they can, that was never in dispute. The question is whether it serves their purpose by supporting their goals. That is a perfectly legitimate question I'd say.

James Elliott said...

It's their blog. They can delete all they want. They pay the freight for us to talk, we're only guests.

So quit yer bitchin. If you don't like the way they do it, there are gazillions of other blogs out there that you can post on instead.


Yes, like I've said, they have every right. I'm simply wondering what the threshold is, since it was once rude or off-topic writing and now appears to be something entirely other. You're saying it's okay to have a blog about intellectual debate and then have vague and subjective thresholds that decide what it is? I would hope people would hold me to some sort of standard, or at least ask me to make my standards clear.

Tlaloc said...

"The Reform Club is a place where serious thinkers discuss crucial issues in a comfortable setting"

Not all thoughts can be discussed comfortably. Hence the term cognitive dissonance.

James Elliott said...

And now TVD's deleting comments that are completely reasonable, if contradictory to his premises, and locking threads. Heh.

Tlaloc said...

James, since you may not have seen my reply before Tom deleted it and closed the thread hers'

what I said:

I think it's just a phase they are going through. Sooner or later they will figure out that

they have two options:
1) let people comment and dealing with the cognitive dissonance, or
2) turn off comments in general.

I also said there may be a third option which would be to maintain this silly battle of wills

and hope they have more free time to delete messages than people like me have to repost them. I

think I know how that one would turn out.

Finally since Tom did give in and turn off comments for his thread I think my point is well

taken. The reform club has to decide whether they value real communication, with all the

annoyances that entails more or less than their comfort. The answer wil in great degree

determine how valid they are as an intellectual experiment.

Tlaloc said...

ugh, sorry about the formatting. Due to certain ecentriciteis around the club I've taken the precaution of putting my posts into txt files so they are easily repostable in case of... accidental...loss.

James Elliott said...

I'm more than willing to knock off the personal deconstruction if it means having a shot at honest discourse, myself. And hey, if they want to, they can dish it out. All I require is a little intellectual honesty and consistency.

Tlaloc said...

I think the problem is that they want to have it both ways. They want the reform club to be a place of genuine intellectual engagement, but at the same time they don't want to deal with those pesky contrary opinions.

Lets face it compared to 99% of the web this place has been as polite as a little girl's tea party. The only exchanges that really got even remotely heated were between me and Kathy and those were pretty mutual.

Other than a brief issue with spammed advertisements (fortunately fixed by the addition of the word verification) the Reform Clubbers have nothing to complain about regarding the incivility of the web.

And yet apparently for some this incredibly nice discourse has been beyond the pale of acceptable. Honestly if having me or JE deconstruct your thesis in the faux polite tones accepted here is just too much then you really don't belong on the web.

Open communication, as they say, means hearing things you don't like.

James Elliott said...

I imagine we'll see this blog go away once they have a backer for a magazine. =] I'd subscribe and write letters, so long as it didn't cost more than, say, my Harper's subscription. I mean, if I had to choose between The Atlantic, Salon, TNR, Harper's, Esquire, or Wired and TRC, well, TRC'd get the boot, know what I'm sayin'? And truth be told, I much prefer TRC to NRO or The Nation.

Tlaloc said...

By the way this is one of the things GNN got exactly right. They decided early on they weren't going to ban people or remove comments except for a handful of cases:
1) committing a crime
2) spamming the forum

and that's about it. As a consequence the site has had an amazingly diverse set of posters. It's not at all unusual to see posters directly criticize the owners, and yet not get banned. Compare this to say Redstate or DU and the difference is immediate. Redstate and DU can only simulate discourse because there is always the threat that if you don't say what the moderators like you can and will be instantly banned. As a result they can never serve the purpose they purport to serve. They have become insular populations causing a retardation of the ability of the members to actually think.

Of course there are downsides. There are a number of racist posters on GNN. But even that has an upside. Afterall by seeing their arguments first hand you are given ample warning of how they think and construct their skewed world views. This leaves you inifinitely better prepared to deal with them, and their arguments. Plus telling them off can be amazingly cathartic.

Matt Huisman said...

Lets face it compared to 99% of the web this place has been as polite as a little girl's tea party.

I agree completely. I don't mind having the nuc-u-lar option of censorship around, but I haven't seen that much here to warrant it's use.