I’ve made the decision to disable comments on future posts. I’ll still be allowing open TrackBacks from other blogs, but not including comments.
The primary reason for this is that there are so few comments of any substance that it’s just not worth having any. So far it’s the same cast of characters making the same diatribes without any real intelligent discussion of the issues. People who have had intelligent and thoughtful things to say have been actively turned off by the caliber of comments on this site. That isn’t acceptable to me.
A worthwhile comment is something like “You failed to note the implications of X, for reasons Y and Z, and here’s why X impacts your argument.” A comment that is not worthwhile is something like “all Republicans are evil, and cannot be trusted.” The former is a intelligent, thoughtful criticism based on a good-faith reading of the argument. The latter is just mere cant grounded in bad faith. If I had more comments like the former, even ones that were challenging and contradictory, I’d be fine with leaving comments open. Sadly, those are few and far between.
Secondly, I have my own personal professional interests to look out for. I don’t blog under pseudonym specifically because it forces me to be more moderate in my tone and more thoughtful in my analysis. (And even then, sometimes my tone is more strident than it should, and my analysis been less than perfect.)
There’s a difference between being a partisan advocate and being an unthinking partisan, and sadly 99% of the political debate is being advanced by the latter. If I’m going to spend my time looking at contrary views, I’d rather read Kevin Drum, Joshua Micah Marshall or Andrew Sullivan, then go through the fever swamps of The Daily Kos or Eschaton. (For that matter, that’s why I don’t read a large number of right-wing blogs as well.)
Finally, managing the torrent of spam, while not as hard as it was in old days, is still an annoyance, and I have no desire to spend what little time I have not researching legal matters with commenting issues.
As a compromise, I will occasionally create “open threads” that will have comments enabled from time to time. I’ve never been a fan of the concept, but I’m willing to give it a try. If the level of rhetoric on those becomes such that I feel comfortable enabling comments on a more general basis, I will do so.
This site is and always has been my personal project, paid for by my own money and on my own time. To paraphrase Reagan, I paid for this mic, so I can set the rules. This isn’t a step I take lightly, but I’d rather not allow the signal to noise ratio on this site become such that people are actively discouraged from participating. If that’s going to be the case, it’s better to step back and re-evaluate whether it’s worth it to have comments at all.
Comments will be enabled on this post. Consider this the first “open thread.”