Comment moderation policy

Because of some recent rude ad hominem attacks on various individuals and unfounded rumors about various organizations in comments on this blog, I’m instituting a policy for moderating all future threads. Now, I’d like it to be known that I will still allow any and all comments, even those that are sharply critical or polemical, so long as they are relevant to the topic at hand. You don’t even have to be polite or feel like you’re walking on eggshells in writing in. The aim here is not to censor voices of disagreement, but rather ensure those comments that do go through meet basic discursive criteria that make them conducive to meaningful debate.

Of course, since no such policy existed before, it would be unfair for me to go back and retroactively enforce a screening process that I’ve only established after the fact. Just as with the blog controversy several months back, when some of my own personal views were conflated with those of Platypus as an organization, I issued a disclaimer but decided against going back and sanitizing various opinions I expressed at one time so as to avoid criticism. This did not mean that I still held these views; it merely meant that I was not looking to exempt myself from critiques ex post facto. Likewise, all past comments on this blog, whether authored by myself or others, will be left intact.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have, at times, made remarks that fall well beneath the threshold of the kind of commentary I’m advocating here. This has led some to point out the hypocrisy of my request not to baselessly attack certain individuals or organizations. Such an observation is, of course, warranted, but it in no way weakens my resolve to enact this moderation policy henceforth. In a similar fashion, I will make every effort to refrain from writing posts or comments that violate this norm. Self-regulation is not always the best way to go about this, though, so feel free to write in if you feel this standard is not being met.

Finally, I’d only like to add that no one is forcing anyone to read the contents of this blog. If you find something offensive, upsetting, or even embarrassing in the views or opinions expressed here, please consider reading other blogs or visiting other sites that don’t vex you so. Nobody’s sticking a gun to your head. This goes not only for things I write, but things other people write in comments that appear on this site. Unless you feel that a warrantless personal attack is being made, or believe that someone is perpetuating a blatant falsehood, it’s unlikely that there would be grounds enough for the comment or post to come down.

Obviously, libel will not be tolerated. If it’s something that’s demonstrably, factually false, it’ll be easy to correct. If it’s something where one person’s version of events doesn’t line up with somebody else’s, it’s much more difficult to rule one way or another unless overwhelming evidence is presented. Beyond this, I’m afraid that complaints about what’s written here will not result in any revisions or alterations on my part. Here I’d simply urge individuals to frequent other websites that upset them less instead of obsessively checking for updates (either on their own behalf or on behalf of others) out of fear that something posted might offend their sensibilities. There are plenty of other pages on the Net.

9 thoughts on “Comment moderation policy

  1. First let me say that I love your site. I contacted you about two years ago asking about your work on Soviet architecture. I was, and am still, working on a similar topic.

    This sounds like a wise policy, but if I can ask, why is your reason for creating it now?

    • Thanks for the support, Isabella. Here were my reasons:

      First, an anonymous commenter had been repeatedly insulting me for having belonged to a certain organization many people dislike and for having dated someone in the past who he doesn’t like. He (anyway, I assume it’s a “he”) took exception to the fact that I reposted an interview from a publication of which he didn’t approve, and so took it upon himself to publicly shame me. From now on, I’ll be deleting comments that have no other purpose than to insult various individuals. This goes not just for comments about me but for even more so for others who might be named.

      • I see and am sorry to see this person bothered you. Please do not discourage. The internet can be a very cruel place. Keep up the great work and stay focussed.

    • Don’t worry; I’ll forge ahead. Really, I’m just hoping to leave this nonsense behind and move on. I’ve already had to block that anonymous commenter. He couldn’t contain himself.

      Still, it was a hard decision, creating this policy, since I’ve been very publicly critical on this blog of various websites that have similarly block commenters for dubious reasons: Corey Robin’s blog, On Nonhuman Slavery, Green is the New Red, and Levi Bryant’s Larval Subjects.

      • uhhhhh……..You do know that just ‘cuz you ban ppl and delete their meanie comments doesn’t mean they’re not still thinking them anyway, right? comprendes? Sad, sad boy — still in denial about so many thingz

  2. And I so much enjoyed the mudslinging!!! It was educational too, offering us a glimpse of what goes on behind the pompous facade of marxist intellectualism.

  3. Pingback: A threefold apology | The Charnel-House

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