Play nice, g*dd*mm*t!

The rules for commenting on the RBC are clear and not very complex:
1. No insults directed at posters or other commenters.
2. No naughty words that get us banned by nanny programs. Use asterisks.
3. (Special rule for drug-policy posts) No generic ranting.

In the past week I have had to delete four comments and ban one commenter. The banned commenter accused me, falsely, of changing my opinions for money.  Two of the deleted comments were insults directed at commenter Brett Bellmore; one was directed at Matt Kahn; and one was a generic anti-prohibition rant. Other comments have been zapped by other posters.

I don’t do this with any pleasure; becoming a censor was never among my ambitions. But I value the active and intelligent discussion that characterizes (non-drug) posts here, and a certain amount of curation seems to be necessary to maintain that discussion.

Really, folks:  Having demonstrated the factual inaccuracy, logical fallacy, or moral enormity of a statement, it’s not necessary to add that the person making it is a liar, a fool, or a scoundrel. And it’s generally more constructive to look for an interpretation of a claim that makes it plausible rather than jumping to an interpretation that makes it transparently false or monstrous.

Footnote Brett, you could help out by reducing the fraction of your comments containing claims demonstrably contrary to fact, and by moderating the hostility of your tone.

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:

6 thoughts on “Play nice, g*dd*mm*t!”

  1. <>

    Trade names only . . .?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist it. No criticism of your posting policy intended.)

  2. The drug rant policy is not defined. Keith seems to think it applies to any post that rejects drug prohibition or attacks his beliefs, even if there is no rant at all.

      1. those who never disagree with him wouldn’t know. comments do disappear. sometimes weeks after the fact.

  3. Somewhere in his vast tome, Master of the Senate, Robert Caro talks about advice given to LBJ early in his career. It was something like this: “If you think your colleague is an idiot, refer to him as the distinguished and learned Senator from Nebraska. But if you are absolutely sure that he is an idiot, refer to him as the very distinguished and learned Senator from Nebraska.”

  4. one thing about mr. bellmore is that his comments on most posts certainly drive up the number of comments and likely the number of page views as well. if it’s been a few days since i checked in and see a post that has 100+ comments the probability is high that mr. bellmore has made one of his remarkable assertions.

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