As alluded to the other day, I am implementing an official ‘Comments Policy’, and using this post to introduce it.
I highly value comments on this website. Indeed, while I initially created it purely as a means of tracking and analyzing what was going on in Europe, and because I could not quit reading/thinking/talking about it, since then the comments that the website gets and the emails I receive from people has become a source of equal importance in my continued dedication to it.
I have received emails from dozens of people expressing thanks for the site and discussing its various topics with me over email. Almost without fail, they are accomplished, successful, highly intelligent, obviously strong men. Individuals who I am proud to correspond with. This, as well as discussion in the comments section, has been immensely stimulating.
I had not thought too much about a comments policy until reading this excellent post on the subject by Vox Day. It also seemed appropriate because I have had to delete a number of comments in the last week.
These comments take two forms:
1) Comments that can be conceived as encouraging violence. These are problematic for liability reasons. We have far more freedom of speech as a website hosted in America than our compatriots in Europe, but there are still limits on that speech. This website obviously already pushes against those limits. The only time comments become a problem in this vein is when they have the word “should” before or after discussions of violence. An example would be “Someone should go find that guy in London and kill him”. While I don’t really think someone is going to act on such a comment, we still have to delete it.
2) Comments which attack the article, the site, etc in an antagonistic manner. There have been a few of these I have had to take down in the last week as well. Whenever this happens I try to email the individual in question to explain why the post was deleted, but often people leave a fake email address so it is not possible.
My thoughts such comments are as follows: This is my website. I created it, pay for it, and put a large amount of my time into it. The idea that I am going to allow some anonymous online commenter to attack or ridicule my writings on it is ridiculous. Furthermore such behavior is just not something I am even able to comprehend. If you care enough about the situation in Europe to be on this website in the first place, aren’t there more productive things you can be doing than attacking the websites and writings of people who are trying to be proactive about it? Right now as we speak European women and children are being raped by the thousands and hundreds of immigrants are landing on Italian beaches. Do you really seriously not have anything better to do than to leave insulting comments on a website?
We have even had one individual who clearly subscribed to the sites’ RSS feed merely for the sake of attacking articles and leaving negative comments as soon as they come up. This is not behavior I will ever understand so as a result, any such comments will immediately be marked as spam from now on, so that the user is unable to comment further. My comment filters are a little wonky and they automatically approve or not approve for reasons I don’t understand sometimes, so if you post a normal comment that doesn’t come up right away don’t presume I deleted it, it may just be awaiting moderation.
A caveat to add is that I am in no way opposed to disagreement. If you think I am wrong, or that another commenter is wrong, say so. But do it in the form of a man talking to another man.
Finally, one last item I put up just for perspective sake is that I write and edit this website under my own name. I have yet to conclude if this was a smart or dumb thing to do. The answer to that question hinges upon whether the good it does outweighs the trouble it causes me. Either way, I have to stand by every single thing I put on this website and every single comment I approve. There are few people in our movement for whom that is the case, and even fewer who do so without the benefit of already having great wealth.
In closing, as I said before I value comments greatly, and appreciate all those who strive to discuss on this site the grave issues that confront us.