Housekeeping announcement: comments open

By popular demand, comments are now open. (At least, that’s now the default; individual posts may be closed, and some of us may decide to close all our posts.)

Here are the rules I’d like to propose:

1. No naughty words. (They trigger all sorts of filters, and we can’t corrupt the minds of the youth if they can’t read our stuff.)

2. No insults to bloggers or other commenters.

3. No group defamation. Truth (as you see it) is not a defense. If you think fundamentalists are boobs, Republicans are bigots, or liberals are traitors, please say so elsewhere.

4. Don’t assume we’ve read your comment. If it contains something you think the poster needs to know, send email, as before.

5. Don’t assume we’ve read anyone else’s comment. Our not deleting it does not constitute an endorsement, or even a certification that we think it within the bounds of civilized discourse. None of us has the time or the inclination to play censor. By the same token, a poster’s failure to respond to an argument is not a concession of error; probably the poster either didn’t read the comment or didn’t think it worth responding to.

This is an experiment. We’ll see how it goes. Play nice.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

2 thoughts on “Housekeeping announcement: comments open”

  1. First. Post. Ever.
    Sorry, as a very long time reader of this blog and all-around semi-irregular commentor on many others I just couldn't help myself.
    I'm glad you've decided to do this. I look forward to the conversation. And may all your trolls be entertaining.

  2. Nothing good will come of having comments on this blog. Look at other popular blogs with comments: Eschaton, Washington Monthly, LGF, Kos, etc. All of their comment forums are cesspits. Personal attack, spleen venting, conspirizoid fantasizing. Kooks and cranks and bitter obsessives. Such places are a waste of time for people who want to calmy and rationally discuss issues.
    I've found that the best forums for discussion are found at smaller blogs. Get off the beaten path, where you can discuss things with at most a half-dozen other people, and you will often learn a lot and enjoy the experience. Unfortunately you can't get that experience at big, popular blogs, a category which I'm afraid does include the RBC.
    I know it's not fair to blame bloggers for the things that are said by their commenters. Kos and whats-his-name behind LGF have both insisted on that distinction, and it's easy to see why they would want to. But I do blame them for tolerating so much excrement in forums which they, after all, are providing bandwidth for. Washington Monthly, in particular, is disappointing in this respect: Drum's commentary is normally reasonable and level-headed, traits that are not at all in evidence in his forum. Why does he put up with that? I hope the day doesn't come when I have to ask the same question about the RBC.
    And no, the proposed rules won't help. Do our blog-hosts know how much time it takes to enforce such rules? Do they really intend to spend that kind of time deleting personal attacks and banning repeat offenders? I sincerely hope not – it would be a terrible waste of talents and energy better spent elsewhere.

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