October 13th, 2008

Rules of the blog

Every now and then I decide to ban a commenter here. Sometimes it’s a no-brainer; the comment is so obscene and revolting it doesn’t see the public light of day for more than a few moments before I delete both it and the poster’s right to make more comments here.

Sometimes it’s not obscene, but so obviously of the “nah-nah-nah-nah-nah,” variety, merely insulting and taunting with no other content whatsoever. That’s an easy decision, as well; I’m not interested in that sort of discussion.

Sometimes it takes a bit longer to determine that it’s time to ban someone from commenting here. A person comes in and there’s some rudeness and taunting, but also a few substantive issues are raised. Some of these people end up staying here because, although I disagree with them and they disagree with me, in the main their comments are an attempt to engage in at least a somewhat respectful discussion of the issues.

Or there’s not a lot of nastiness, but it’s clear that the commenter is taunting in a different way: never answering a question another commenter asks, constantly moving the goalposts in an attempt to make everyone explain over and over but never listening, always misinterpreting and misrepresenting what I’ve said in a post. It’s easy to recognize, tends to emerge over time, and ultimately it often gets a person banned.

And of course, those who merely disagree with me and other posters but are here to actually debate the issues (fancy that) are always welcome.

After a while it usually becomes clear which sort of poster a person is: troll, or person truly interested in that supposed goal of so many liberals: dialogue. “Dialogue” isn’t a shouting match where you call your opponent an idiot or worse, especially when invited into what is the cyber equivalent of that opponent’s home.

That’s where free speech issues come in—or rather, they don’t. I not only have no wish to abridge anyone’s freedom of speech, I could not do it even if I did want to (unlike Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama, I have neither the will nor a team of lawyers attempting it). Go somewhere else and say whatever you wish. But here I have the duty and the right to make the rules.

Freedom of speech is the freedom to go out into the world and publish your views. The internet is a wonderful way to do so. Start a blog of your own. Get a webpage. Run for office.

But freedom of speech does not dictate that I must allow you to enter my cyberhome and spew abuse on anyone. In fact, I not only reserve the right to use my judgment to ban such people from my blog, but I reserve the right to ban anyone for any reason at any time. I have no duty—nor does any blogger—to provide people with a bully pulpit to spew out any garbage they wish. In fact, there is no duty to provide a comments section at all, although I happen to very much like doing so (see this), and I tend to be liberal (pardon the pun) in my rules about what is allowed.

33 Responses to “Rules of the blog”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    Hey, who do I have to flame hairless to get banned around here?

  2. Gray Says:

    I managed to get banned here on election night 2006 when the dirty, dirty leftists were winning the House and Senate.

    I was beside myself to see Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid become congressional leaders and the taunting of the dirty liberals sent me over the edge.

    That lefty congress hasn’t worked out so well….

    However, as Neo goes along, I think she’s allowing more feisty comments and she is becoming more feisty.

    The leftists aren’t just wrong, they aren’t just mistaken, or have a different economic, or social philosophy, they are wicked. The dirty leftists wish us ill.

    They like Obama because Obama hates me, and so do they.

  3. stphnd Says:

    Might I inquire, without intending any presumption on Neo’s perfect right to ban whomever she chooses, who was banned? Part of the reason I ask is that someone recently returned to Protein Wisdom comments propounding an awful line of hate talk and other nonsense, after hanging here for the last couple of months. I’m idly curious to know if my suspicion is correct.

  4. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    The dirty leftists wish us ill.

    Indeed. They see us as the enemy, which is why they’ll ally themselves with radical islamists like Ahmadinnerjacket.

  5. Scottie Says:

    Ahem…was it something I said – not that I’ve said that much?

    😉

    (still laughing at the flamed “hairless” comment above….lol)

  6. Tatyana Says:

    Fancy you wrote that, Neo.

    I’ll write an email to you, tonight – to ask your advice on a related issue.

  7. Foxfier Says:

    Doing your part for decent conversation, eh?

    (I subscribe to Gabe’s Greater Internet F*wad Theory. title=Comic, * is not in it, warning, obscene language)

  8. nyomythus Says:

    If this goes through, then it wasn’t me.

  9. Oldflyer Says:

    Testing

  10. Turfmann Says:

    vanderleun Says:
    October 13th, 2008 at 1:11 pm
    Hey, who do I have to flame hairless to get banned around here?

    Since I have seen fit to shave my (beautiful, bald) head I cannot offer myself up as a martyr to test your theory. Yet, not knowing if I’ve offended anyone I thought I’d see if I was the banned party.

    Drats, foiled again!

  11. Lem Says:

    Here, here Neo.

  12. Helen Says:

    Well, of course, this is your space, but I guess we all want to know who annoyed you to that extent. 😉

  13. Webutante Says:

    The First allows us all personal censorship for good reason, or no reason at all. It’s government doing the job for us that is so unconscionable.

    Come and tell us, was it Obama?

  14. Lame-R Says:

    The commenters that get themselves banned miss a fundamental observation: they aren’t winning anybody over.

    But I owe my change story to encounters with just that kind of people. Went from a left-of-center moderate to a solid right thanks to variously rabid/incoherent/dodgy lefties.

  15. s1c Says:

    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    keep those leftist rolling.

    Move em up, move em out. Rawhide!!!

  16. The Real Jeff Says:

    Looks like it wasn’t me either Whew!!

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    For someone who started out, and remains, reflective and calm, Neo’s been generous.

  18. Gringo Says:

    A while back, poster Glen discussed the banning issue, stating that he didn’t know why people got banned, and after I defeated the spam filter by using multiple postings , I was able to present a point of view on those who were banned. Richard Abrey read my postings, but I don’t know it Glen ever did.

  19. Gringo Says:

    Excuse me: Richard Aubrey read my postings, but I don’t know if Glen ever did.

    Need to proofread better.

  20. Gringo Says:

    Stphnd:
    “Might I inquire, without intending any presumption on Neo’s perfect right to ban whomever she chooses, who was banned?”

    I refer you to L###a and B#####b##### , and also to my comments in the following. ( written thusly to avoid spam filter. Seriously. )

    http://neoneocon.com/2007/11/26/political-posturing

  21. strcpy Says:

    Well, if having a discussion is all that is required to not get banned we can safely say Artfgor wasn’t the one (I can be long winded but even I bow down to some of those discussions).

    I rather assume I know some of the recent (say last few weeks) one that got the axe but I can’t think of any one that has been posting for any longer periods of time got it.

    As far as I can tell this site wields the ban stick quite infrequently.

  22. Rose Says:

    I find the discussion here to be remarkable civil and enlightening, and free of the vitriol that permeates many of the blogs in my area. Political blogs here are like knife fighting in close quarters.

    However you do it – you are doing it well. It’s a pleasure to stop in. Thank you.

  23. stphnd Says:

    Well, ok gringo, thanks for the pointer. Timewasters, L & B, feh.

    Ah, the spam filter got me awhile back, so I have a sense of the care one must take. It is severe, that spam filter. Remember the case of the fellow who copied whole pages of Neo-neocon’s blogfront, then posted them over and over and over in the comments?

    One of the handles that cretin made up contained a string of letters that formed my original nick here; I promptly found myself unable to publish any comment at all. Troublesome, that.

    I, on the other hand, was curious about this (apparent) latest incident of banning, if incident there was and who got banned?

    Just for fun if you like, wander on over to PW some time soon and see whether you recognize any missing poster here. You may well notice a voice there you’ll be glad to be rid of here.

  24. goesh Says:

    it was me – for a flash I wondered too – my rare comments and all, I shouldn’t have…….

  25. kamper Says:

    Um, testing, testing, 1, 2, 3.

    The only unforgivable sin is using ‘dialogue’ as a verb.

    Anyway, trolls aren’t so bad – it’s the goblins and the orcs you have to watch out for.

  26. csimon Says:

    My, my so much curiosity….and so many guilty (was-it-me) posters.

    This is one of the most dialogue-friendly blogs I’ve ever read — (which is why I’ve become a regular). In addition, almost all posters are either quite amusingly clever, and/or so well-read and knowledgeable that in addition to neo’s wonderful posts, there are always new “doors” to additional articles & info. I appreciate all and say thanks.

  27. bad haikumenter Says:

    Cold clouds blow over
    Moonlight gave proof through the night:
    Bad haikuments are still there

  28. camojack Says:

    No comment. 😉

  29. camojack Says:

    OK, just kidding; I understand perfectly well where you’re coming from. 🙂

  30. harry McHitlerburtonstein the Conservative Extremist Says:

    Rose:
    “I find the discussion here to be remarkable civil and enlightening…”

    Who the hell asked you?

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    That’s an easy decision, as well; I’m not interested in that sort of discussion.

    I remember back in the day when you were at blogger. A lot of trolls that needed to banned there but with no way to do it, neh?

    Nostalgic times, eh.

  32. Ymarsakar Says:

    Back in the old days, posses were formed and the names of criminals were sent by wire to all towns and cities. Faces from drawings were made as well.

    On the internet, it’s the Wild Wild West once more. If want to protect yourself against outlaws or enemies, it pays to be able to share information otherwise they can just skip town and try their hand at another place.

    This kind of social networking inevitably gets created if the threat is large enough or if the resources are present in the community to expend.

  33. Gary Says:

    humpf. I just now found this rule post .

    Well its your house, and I think you have the right to arrange the furniture anyway you want.

    Now back to the show!

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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