Wednesday, August 13, 2008

To ban or not to ban?

Our comments’ policy has come under attack. I’ll make a few general observations before addressing the specifics.

Most every blog ends up banning some commenters because some commenters abuse their privileges.

Indeed, many blogs don’t even allow comments to avoid having to moderate the meta.

Of course, the person who’s banned will naturally disagree with the policy. How many convicts admit their guilt? “You’ve got the wrong man, officer. It was the one-armed man!” If you were to interview the prison population, you’d discover that nobody behind bars is guilty. They were all railroaded in a gross miscarriage of justice. The only men behind bars are innocent men.

DC also bans commenters whenever it sees fit. Loftus defends this policy on the grounds that he only bans a commenter when it’s justified. But, of course, every blog administrator will make the very same claim. What blog admin is going to say that he unfairly banned someone?

Sorry, Loftus, but you can’t be a character witness at your own trial.

Tblog comes in for two contradictory criticisms. On the one hand, if we spend a lot of time critiquing an opponent’s position, he complains that we don’t have a real life. We’re chained to our keyboard.

On the other hand, other commenters complain if we’re not on call 24/7 to respond to their very latest comment.

Well, you can’t have it both ways.

Commenters are on probation. We give them a lot of rope. If you go through the archives, you seen that those who eventually got the ax were first allowed to comment for months on end. They were ultimately banned for their incorrigible behavior.

You don’t get to have the last word on our blog. We can’t make an open-ended commitment to an open-ended debate with an irrational troll—month after month and year after year. If you start repeating yourself, or become evasive, or make no effort to be consistent, or habitually misrepresent our position, then you’re wasting our time. We’re not paid to entertain you.

If you want to have the last word, start your own blog. It’s a free country.

Sometimes a houseguest outstays his welcome. You know the type. Invites himself to stay a week. After a week, extends his stay another week (without asking your permission). Then extends his stay indefinitely. Raids the fridge without ever going to the store to restock the fridge. Co-ops your TV and telephone. Plays loud music. Invites his friends over to your house to throw a party. Expects you to wash his dishes and do his laundry.

He then regards it as a grave injustice when he comes back from a walk to find his luggage on the porch with the door locked. What kind of friend are you to treat him that way?

Moving to the specifics:

Touchstone said...

“Jon,__Yeah, the Triabloggers are cowards. Easier to deal with uncomfortable criticism by huffing, puffing and banning.”

Ironically, it’s this is the sort of flagrant misrepresentation that got T-stone banned in the first place. What he says here is an outright lie. If you go through the archives you’ll see that various Tbloggers sunk enormous amounts of time in answering him point-by-point.

John W. Loftus said...

“Jon, Touchstone and I have all been banned from Triablogue (me, with regard to Paul Manata's specific postings), not because we were belligerent or offensive or rude, but because they hate apostates and skeptical questioners, just like their Calvinist God does, or so they claim.”

This is demonstrably false since many commenters are apostates or sceptical questioners, but few are ever banned.

With respect to Manata, Loftus chose to drag Manata’s family into the public arena. Not surprisingly, Manata zapped him. I’d do the same thing under the same circumstances. If Loftus is too sociopathic to realize that he was crossing the line with that tactic, then it’s his funeral. I’ll send flowers.

“Evan's posts were simply deleted from Triablogue.”

That’s a complete and utter lie. You only have to check out a number of posts, such as the following, to see that they are loaded with Evan’s intact comments:

I deleted one irrelevant little comment by Evan. When he repeated the same irrelevant comment, I repeated the process.

Loftus isn’t even a good liar. If you’re going be a liar, at least be clever about it. Don’t make claims that are so easily falsified by the public record.

And if you're asking Touchstone to answer you, then I think it behoves you to state below that he can comment here.”

He can comment at DC if he wants to. He has his own platform. And he ran a couple of his own blogs in the past. It’s not as if he lacks a public forum in which to respond.

“None of the T-bloggers are banned from DC.”

Even if that were true, so what? What would I post a comment DC? I have my own blog.

“Oh, one last thing. I challenge Triabloguers to consider the respectful way we at DC treat our opponents to the way you treat yours.”

Here’s a recent example of how respectfully one of their opponents was treated at DC. I’m giving a cleaned up version:

Ty said...


you're an a**hole.

On your f***ing website you wrote, "My views on this section ar fairly liberal" in refering to your views of the canonical gospels. I was merely quoting your website and you write me back about your own words the following bullsh**, "No it' not. Real liberals tell me I'm neo Orthodox."

Well, f*** you and the horse you road in on. Debate is about honest intellectual discussion, not the bullsh** you're tyring to pass off as debate.

why don't you go to college, take some literure clases and ask the teacher how to read?

Again, you're an a**hole.


  1. I'm surprised to see you repeat a false accusation about me and Manata's family. But since you did, here is the story in context. The only thing I ever said about Manata's father is that Gary personally contacted me to apologize for his son Paul's behavior toward me, and that his son was not telling the truth about him.

    This took place two years ago. I suppose the same thing will come up again and again an again, maybe in ten years? If Manata and you want to get beyond this, which is what he asserts, then let's get beyond it. Otherwise, why bring it up repeatedly?

    I do not bring up his lying role as the discomfiter, unless you bring these other accusations against me. But when you do I do.

    Can we move on...or not?

  2. ...and for your information, Ty is not on staff with DC. There are several admins who use their own judgement on which posts to approve. I didn't approve that one.

  3. Speaking of "claims that are so easily falsified by the public record", Jon Curry recently wrote:

    "What's really silly is that Jason and I have to debate across two different blogs because (from what I can gather) I cited Wikipedia and performed a google search and was therefore banned. Or maybe the problem is here where I talked about some of Clement's silly opinions? Who knows."

    We explained why we banned Jon here, and our explanation doesn't match his description of our explanation. Ironically, Jon's attempt to dismiss our banning him as unreasonable provides more evidence that we were correct in our judgment about his unreasonableness.

    Did we say that Jon was being banned because he "cited Wikipedia and performed a google search"? No. Rather, we referred to "Inordinate reliance on Google searches, the use of Wikipedia, and other such methods of research." We were referring to a lengthy pattern of behavior, not just "citing Wikipedia and performing a Google search". For some examples of Jon's abuse of sources like Wikipedia, which he was criticized for many times before the ban, see here and here.

    And did we criticize Jon merely for "talking about some of Clement's silly opinions"? The relevant thread is here. In that thread, did we criticize Jon merely for "talking about some of Clement's silly opinions"? No.

    As I said above, Jon's criticism of our banning him is another example of his unreasonableness. If his description of why we banned him is all he can "gather", then it doesn't speak well for his gathering abilities.

  4. These fellas should work for John edwards.