Main Menu

Moderation in all things

I have put the blog on temporary moderation because of persistent noncompliance with the published policy against personal attacks and insults. Any comment with the slightest hint of an insult against another commenter will be summarily deleted. I am not going to try to clean them up any more. You can call public figures what ever you want, but not the other participants in this community.

Personal insults and attacks include criticism of motives and grammar, and suggestions of lack of intelligence, diligence, patriotism, reasoning ability or sanity.

I’ll check comments as often as I can and approve those that pass the editorial policy.

If you folks clean up your act, I’ll remove the moderation. I hope this won’t take long.

32 Responses to Moderation in all things

  1. avatar
    NbC May 19, 2010 at 2:14 am #

    Sorry doc, I got carried away.

  2. avatar
    euphgeek May 19, 2010 at 6:40 am #

    Good idea. There’s no reason to insult people or call them liars when simply presenting the facts will demolish their claims.

  3. avatar
    Va Highlander May 19, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    I ran into this problem, recently, when arguing with birthers I’d come across while doing some genealogical research. I personally found it impossible to discuss their positions without using words like “moronic”, “silly”, “stupid”, “unhinged”, “ignorant” and the like. Sure, I could have probably used some other, more politically correct term, but if intent counts for anything I don’t see how that would make much difference, really.

    And I think it’s great that you would seek to shield the afflicted from the consequences of the choices they make.

  4. avatar
    Greg May 19, 2010 at 7:28 am #

    I realize you’ve made older posts non-commentable, but can you make the comments already there accessible?

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 7:35 am #

    Until I figure out why the older comments are not accessible, I’ve turned off the auto-close feature.

  6. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 7:42 am #

    Va Highlander: I personally found it impossible to discuss their positions without using words like “moronic”, “silly”, “stupid”, “unhinged”, “ignorant” and the like. Sure, I could have probably used some other, more politically correct term, but if intent counts for anything I don’t see how that would make much difference, really.

    It’s not a matter of language, but of subject. Ideas are the topic for this blog, not the people who hold the ideas, at least not those people who comment on them here. I understand the frustration of arguing with people who don’t play fair, who dissemble or are willfully ignorant. Nevertheless, pointing out these deficiencies does not advance the discussion and in general it makes your argument less effective, less serious and less credible. And since much valuable content on this site is found in comments, ad hominem arguments lower the quality of this web site as a whole.

  7. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 7:43 am #

    nbc: Sorry doc, I got carried away.

    It’s not just you.

  8. avatar
    DaveH May 19, 2010 at 8:03 am #

    I hope people aren’t getting to the point of Jane Curtain and Dan Aykroyd. Perhaps moderation is needed when it comes to arguments like this:

    http://www.break.com/tv-shows/saturday-night-live/point-counterpoint-lee-marvin–michelle-triola-626132.html

  9. avatar
    Scott Brown May 19, 2010 at 9:48 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I understand the frustration of arguing with people who don’t play fair, who dissemble or are willfully ignorant. Nevertheless, pointing out these deficiencies does not advance the discussion and in general it makes your argument less effective, less serious and less credible.

    I’m disappointed in your comment. You see that the name calling lowers credibility, but it would seem from your comment that you generally approve and hold the idea that those that have a different opinion than yourself are somehow less intelligent.

    I’ve been called a liar, idiot, and who knows what all on this site and apparently you agree, but feel it is in the best interest of your website to curb the verbal insults. How noble of you to do the right thing for the wrong reason.

    At the most basic level (not counting those from other countries that post) – we are ALL Americans. We are ALL on the same team. THAT should have been your reason for curbing the insults. The fact that this is America, where we are all FREE (at least for now) to have our own ideas and opinions and are able to freely voice them. Obama doesn’t give the American people enough credit. Most of us can separate the fact from fiction, the spin from the uninformed. Just because Obama doesn’t agree with some of what is being said, doesn’t make it false. Most Americans understand that too.

    I don’t think people are stupid or idiots or fools for believing in Obama or that he is eligible. Perhaps because I can see both sides of the coin. I’m not a die hard either way, in fact, sometimes I do waver, but there is something there that keeps bugging me, that when I look at all the evidence I lean more towards him, in my opinion, not being a NBC. I don’t understand why that makes me a fool or an idiot.

    I appreciate your attempt to run a civil site – I’m disappointed and saddened by your underlying reason.

  10. avatar
    G May 19, 2010 at 10:04 am #

    …and suggestions of lack of diligence?

    Dr. C – Please clarify that one.

    Surely you are not stipulating that telling others they need to do better research or look things up is now out of bounds?

    I understand what you are trying to accomplish by creating a more civil dialogue, but some of this sounds a little overboard.

    Not questioning their motives? Well, does that mean it is out of bounds to suggest that they are being insincere or calling obvious trolls and concern trolls exactly that?

    Would it be wrong now to say that what such folks are spewing is nothing but long rehashed and well-debunked nonsense?

  11. avatar
    Adelante May 19, 2010 at 10:09 am #

    Hi, Doc. Off-topic, but I wanted to say how nice your site looks. I really like it. 🙂

  12. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    G: I understand what you are trying to accomplish by creating a more civil dialogue, but some of this sounds a little overboard.

    I guess the central concept is to discuss ideas, not each other. If the subject of a negative sentence is “you”, then you’re probably on the wrong track.

    OK: I think your argument is incomplete. It lacks…
    Not OK: You need to do more research
    OK: Your assertion has been long disproved. It is old news. Its baseless.
    Not OK: You are a troll spewing nonsense.
    OK: That isn’t true
    Not OK: You are a liar

    Not OK: You are a fool, a coward, a traitor, etc.

  13. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 10:36 am #

    Scott Brown: I’m disappointed in your comment. You see that the name calling lowers credibility, but it would seem from your comment that you generally approve and hold the idea that those that have a different opinion than yourself are somehow less intelligent.

    That was certainly not what I intended to say.

    Your comment in general, which is an attack on my motives, is an example of the kind of things I want to purge from the site. However, I should have mentioned that you are free to attach me personally, just not the other folks. This is why your comment passed moderation.

    I’ve been called a liar, idiot, and who knows what all on this site and apparently you agree

    When did I ever say such a thing? Yes, you have been called lots of things on this web site, but not by me, and not by anybody going forward.

    There are reasons founded in virtue for being civil towards one another, but I am not your mother. I have no business telling you what is moral. However, I am responsible for this small web site. It was not my purpose in elevating the discourse here to make this a more credible “pro Obama” tool, but rather to make the site more credible period. What I am doing makes everybody who posts here look better.

  14. avatar
    Lupin May 19, 2010 at 10:57 am #

    FWIW I disagree with this policy — although its motivations are honorable — because I think it is stifling and also somewhat arbitrary in the practice.

    But it is your blog, and of course I will try to respect your rules.

  15. avatar
    Dave May 19, 2010 at 11:01 am #

    Scott Brown:
    … it would seem from your comment that you generally approve and hold the idea that those that have a different opinion than yourself are somehow less intelligent.

    I really have no foggiest clue how you got from what Doc said to this conclusion.
    Doc did call out a number of unfortunate behaviors — are you asserting that only people who disagree with Doc do those things? Perhaps you can clarify.

    In more positive news, I’m happy to see that Sen. Scott Brown is a co-sponsor for the President’s “Home Star” bill, that provides rebates for improving the energy efficiency of homes.

  16. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Lupin: FWIW I disagree with this policy — although its motivations are honorable — because I think it is stifling and also somewhat arbitrary in the practice.But it is your blog, and of course I will try to respect your rules.

    I disagree with my policy for the exact reasons you give. It is stifling, and cannot avoid being arbitrary in its implementation. This is why my sincere hope is that after a few days “practice” in expressing opposition with insult, that I can turn off moderation. I will not, however, allow the blog to become nothing more than a game of the dozens.

  17. avatar
    SFJeff May 19, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Doc, I have been guilty of what you are shutting down, but I agree with your motivation. When I think about it, if I was face to face with these people I would stand a foot from their face and call them disparaging names. Therefore I will attempt to make my comments in the way I would as if I was having a polite political disagreement with colleagues.

  18. avatar
    racosta May 19, 2010 at 12:05 pm #

    Dealing with birthers and right wingers is difficult [bleep]. We have seen people here, especially NBC, attempt to [present] factual and valid information. [Lack of success] often leads to “you are an idiot”. [Content deleted] So Doc, don’t be to hard on them, it’s out of frustration that the insults fly. Birthers [bleep] think they have a valid opinion (i.e. [bleep] scott brown). None of us mind people not liking Obama’s politics[bleep]. If you don’t like Obama, find and support a candidate for 2012, this birther stuff is a waste of time (as Lakin will soon find out). It was all started as a means to unseat Obama, that failed and continues to be a path to nowhere yet birthers don’t know it.

  19. avatar
    Va Highlander May 19, 2010 at 12:54 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    It’s not a matter of language, but of subject. Ideas are the topic
    for this blog, not the people who hold the ideas, at least not those
    people who comment on them here.

    Okay. That’s fair.

    I understand the frustration of
    arguing with people who don’t play fair, who dissemble or are willfully
    ignorant. Nevertheless, pointing out these deficiencies does not
    advance the discussion and in general it makes your argument less
    effective, less serious and less credible.

    Meh.

    Anything may be overdone, especially invective, but that does not necessarily mean that calling a moron a moron should be avoided at all costs. If one has the skill to do it humorously, I think it can be a devestating rhetorical device.

    The problem is that one cannot effectively argue into prejudice or insanity or serious ignorance. Sometimes a rolled-up newspaper, figuratively speaking, really is the best one can do. If nothing else, it sets an example for the others.

  20. avatar
    Scientist May 19, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

    Scott Brown: I’m not a die hard either way, in fact, sometimes I do waver,

    Dear Scott-Out of respect for Dr C’s policy I certainly don’t doubt your statement that you “waver”. Nevertheless, I think you will agree that your posts here tend to fall heavily on the “ineligible” side of the scale. So, perhaps, as a special favor, the next time you find yourself tipping over to the “eligible” side, you would be so kind as to hurry to your keyboard and pop us a quick post?

    With kindest regards,

  21. avatar
    euphgeek May 19, 2010 at 6:10 pm #

    Scott Brown:
    I’m disappointed in your comment.You see that the name calling lowers credibility, but it would seem from your comment that you generally approve and hold the idea that those that have a different opinion than yourself are somehow less intelligent.

    Scott, it’s not that someone who holds a different opinion is less intelligent. If you have a legitimate point of view gained from observing facts, that’s fine. But as many people have said before, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. [Content deleted]

  22. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 19, 2010 at 9:05 pm #

    Va Highlander: Anything may be overdone, especially invective, but that does not necessarily mean that calling a moron a moron should be avoided at all costs. If one has the skill to do it humorously, I think it can be a devastating rhetorical device.

    I have a lot of years in online forums like this, USENET groups, Internet Relay Chat and other interactive forums. I’ve even taught Internet communications for an online non-profit. What I have found is that sometimes, even among adults who would never act that way in person, a mob mentality forms, norms of social behavior fall away and the result is the online form of adult bullying. When that happens, the person in charge of the forum has to blow the whistle and impose a time out. I frankly think that things had gotten out of hand and the last thing I want is to make folks uncomfortable and to run people off.

    What I also know is that the referee can become a tyrant and a bully too. I am a firm believer in the adage that “all power corrupts,” which is why censoring comments goes against my character. The point of this exercise is to help commenters through constraint, find ways to express themselves without insults.

    Blowing off ones frustration may make one feel a little better, but getting past ones frustration to a reasoned response makes one (at least me) feel a whole lot better.

  23. avatar
    G May 20, 2010 at 2:07 am #

    For crying out loud, Dr. C! Can you please tell me just what is “so wrong” with a post response like this that it ends up in moderation?

    G: Dave Tincher: Why does the constitution have two types of citizens naturalized and natural born? Why does the constitution require a president to be natural born and not naturalized?

    SImple. The distinction is between those that have been citizens of this nation from the time of their birth and those that come to this country at some later point in their life and choose to become a citizen.

    The simplest explanation for the distinction of NBC in the role of President, as the highest power role in this country, is that it should be held by someone who has been always been a citizen of this country; not just someone who came here and decided to join the US later in life (with the exception made for those that fought in the Revolutionary War).

    *sheesh* Is the word “simple” now banned too?

  24. avatar
    Va Highlander May 20, 2010 at 6:56 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy:
    I have a lot of years in online forums like this, USENET groups,
    Internet Relay Chat and other interactive forums. I’ve even taught
    Internet communications for an online non-profit. What I have found is
    that sometimes, even among adults who would never act that way in
    person, a mob mentality forms, norms of social behavior fall away and
    the result is the online form of adult bullying.

    [snip for brevity]

    I too have extensive online experience and have seen for myself the mob behaviour you describe. In fact, much of my early online experience was in occult-related fora, so I feel like I could also easily write a dissertation on kooks and conspiracy theories for a PhD in Kookology, if someone cared to offer such a program.

    I love your work on this website and have followed you for months. Thanks to you, logically at least, I can swat-down birther arguments like so many flies, but all that swatting has never discouraged a single birther, so far as I am aware. I think this is an important point to emphasize, in the context of this thread: No amount of logic and reason will gain traction against the illogical and the unreasonable. I know of what I speak, here.

    Within the context of obamaconspiracy.org, I agree with you completely, though. Invective cannot serve any useful purpose in a forum truly dedicated to the free exchange and discussion of ideas.

  25. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy May 20, 2010 at 8:04 am #

    G: There is nothing wrong with your comment. All comments were currently in moderation. I am removing that now.

  26. avatar
    Northland10 May 20, 2010 at 9:07 am #

    I agree with your decision Doc. Though I have not heard the term in a while, ‘flaming’ was often mentioned as a do not do on various boards I was on. It is easy to ger carried away, now more than ever since you are nor limited in tying up a phone line with dial-up. Since I do most of my reading on a mobile device, it is slower and more difficult to respond. This is a helpful delay in preventing a rash response.

  27. avatar
    nbC May 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    A poster on ObamaConspiracy mentioned some interesting articles in early scholarly journals. Here you can find:

    Stoney, Citizenship, the American Law Register, 1886

    I. Children born in the United States of alien parents are citizens of the United States.

    II. Children born abroad of American parents are aliens.

    These are general rules subject to very few exceptions. And these exceptions rest upon principles which are in harmony with the principles upon which the general rules are based.

  28. avatar
    G May 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm #

    Dr. Conspiracy: G: There is nothing wrong with your comment. All comments were currently in moderation. I am removing that now.

    Thanks for clarifying & fixing that, doc!

    Putting everything in moderation seems to be a step too far, so I’m glad that won’t be the case for every comment going forward.

    I was also obviously worried that even the most harmless terms were being flagged, which would be way too stifling an environment too.

    I do appreciate this blog site and the work you put into it. I will try to keep my tone and words as appropriate as I can.

    It can be very difficult at times, because you and I know that some of these folks are not here for honest conversation and debate at all. Personally, I’ve never been one to shy away from calling out BS on the carpet when I see it, as I feel such needs to be done.

    But I will try to restrain myself or see if I can point such out in a better way. Thanks for listening and respecting our feedback too.

  29. avatar
    Saint James May 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

    here is the link to the Manning kangaroo Court press conference…

    http://www.examiner.com/x-37620-Conservative-Examiner~y2010m5d21-Live-feed-from-Pastor-Mannings-press-conference-on-Obama-trial

  30. avatar
    richCares May 22, 2010 at 1:28 am #

    Saint James:
    that link you supplied is a doozy, in the comments someone actually believes that the make believe Mikhail Kryzhanovsky is a real person, research seems to be beyond their capabilities.
    .
    Being a birther requires 3 perquisites:
    1. hate for Obama
    2. large index finder for pushing paypal buttons.
    3. suspension of reasoning and logic

  31. avatar
    Paul May 22, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Dr. Conspiracy: I guess the central concept is to discuss ideas, not each other. If the subject of a negative sentence is “you”, then you’re probably on the wrong track.OK: I think your argument is incomplete. It lacks…Not OK: You need to do more researchOK: Your assertion has been long disproved. It is old news. Its baseless.Not OK: You are a troll spewing nonsense.OK: That isn’t trueNot OK: You are a liarNot OK: You are a fool, a coward, a traitor, etc.

    Dr. C., I believe the above quote would be a worthy preface to the comments section of your blog.

  32. avatar
    yguy May 22, 2010 at 8:09 pm #

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation.”

    That message accompanies this comment, though two others have gotten through since. What’s the deal?