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August 17, 2014 / JayMan

Stupid Comments

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There are many comments I get that, while not necessarily being disrespectful or mean-spirited, nonetheless add little value, are egregiously wrong and ignorant, and would waste a lot of my time and energy to address. Fortunately, many of them are by first-time commenters and get caught by the moderation filter. I have deliberately left many of those comments there. While I’m not certain whether or not that’s fair or wise, it has been expedient. For now, I will continue to do so, and institute a de facto policy of denying hopelessly stupid comments from getting through. If you have a comment that’s been sitting in moderation for a long time, that’s why.

I would like input on this. What do you think? Is this a fair practice? Suggestions?

With that, I announce that I have returned! Comment moderation has been lifted, and things are back to the previous policy of requiring approval only for brand new commenters.

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33 Comments

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  1. strongsloth / Aug 17 2014 7:50 PM

    In a perfect world what you need is a neutral third party, who is not a complete idiot, to read and weed the comments section. Failing that you can hopefully resist the temptation to use the idiot criterion as a proxy for reasonable disagreement.

    • JayMan / Aug 17 2014 8:06 PM

      @Strongsloth:

      I’d like to err on the side of letting things I think are erroneous through, so it appears I am making an effort to let criticism be heard. But the longer you do this, the more you get experience with what roads simply don’t lead to good places. And when you’re as pressed for time as I am…

      That said, I don’t want to be seen as going the censorship route. That’s used for nefarious ends in too many places.

  2. Tank / Aug 18 2014 8:35 AM

    Your house, your rules. Do what you feel comfortable with.

    • X / Aug 19 2014 3:44 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. Being allowed to comment on a private blog is a privillige, not a right.
      I have ZERO problem with bloggers limiting comments for any reason.

  3. Staffan / Aug 18 2014 3:36 PM

    I find stupid people easy to ignore. It’s harder with those professional debaters who will troll or argue for the sake of it. I don’t know how to get rid of those other than to make a blacklist. They will naturally insist that they’ve been unfairly censored but that’s just part of the game.

    • JayMan / Aug 18 2014 11:59 PM

      @Staffan:

      I think you encapsulate the problem almost perfectly.

    • Sven / Aug 30 2014 12:19 PM

      I think it is your blog and you should continue with any moderation style that makes sense to you. I think running a blog is exhausting and you should do what you can to make it bearable

  4. grey enlightenment / Aug 19 2014 3:22 PM

    I’m kinda curious what such a stupid comment would be. Is it something that could be answered with a simple google search like: What is race? Or what is IQ?

  5. sinij / Aug 19 2014 11:48 PM

    No matter how certain you are in your correctness, the worst effect moderation could impose is to encourage creation of an echo chamber. Even mostly correct echo chamber is a bad thing.

    • Toddy Cat / Aug 20 2014 12:26 PM

      True, but J said “stupid comments” not comments he disagreed with, and I think that Jayman like to argue too much to ever create an echo chamber. I’m sure that if James Flynn or Brian White shows up and wants to dispute the hereditarian position, Jayman won’t censor them. Some guy who wants to call J a “race traitor” or some such BS – maybe not so much.

  6. Live-Evil / Aug 24 2014 5:24 PM

    Hey,

    Do you have an email address that we can email you at?

    • Live-Evil / Aug 24 2014 5:25 PM

      I’m a real person btw.

    • Live-Evil / Aug 24 2014 5:26 PM

      Did my first comment disappear? What’s you email…

    • JayMan / Aug 24 2014 5:26 PM

      Jay Man HBD at hotmail dot com. No spaces.

  7. MawBTS / Aug 25 2014 6:00 AM

    The only drawback with tough moderation is that trolls will claim you blocked them for their opinions, not their behavior. I’m sure you’ve seen that happen before somewhere.

  8. Brian / Aug 29 2014 10:08 PM

    After a blog as popular as this one (deservedly) is has been running for a while, I assume that the central limit theorem will kick in. That would indicate that about 1 comment out of 6 pulls its weight, and 1 of of 40 is pure gold. At the other extreme, 1 commenter out of 6 is worth blocking or warning, and 1 out of 40 should be slathered with honey and left to the fire ants. That’s the the easy part. The hard part is what to do with the the 4 out of 6 in between. Guess that has more to do with personality/character of the host. Sort of like making a call during doe season… no one can do it for you.

    • JayMan / Aug 30 2014 10:13 AM

      @Brian:

      Most of those 4 out of 6 I simply let speak. They may be saying something useful, or they may not be, or they may be something with which I don’t agree or have no opinion on and hence doesn’t require a response from me, but should just be left to stand.

  9. Live-Evil / Aug 30 2014 1:30 AM

    To what extent is happiness genetically determined?
    Answer me fast please

    • JayMan / Aug 30 2014 10:11 AM

      @Live-Evil:

      Asking for a fast answer around here is like challenging a Mormon to a game of beer pong.

      See my post The Son Becomes The Father for a discussion on that.

    • Live-Evil / Aug 30 2014 3:49 PM

      Hello thank you for your response.

      Another random question……..

      Was reading about HEXACO personality inventory…Is it possible to be low Openness to Experience but high Humility-Honesty? Or vice versa? Since both scales are correlated with less clannishness, it seems like it would be hard to be both. And how much could Openness and low Humility-Honesty be correlated with “creativity,” whatever that may mean.

      I know you’re not a personality testing expert just wondering your thoughts.

    • JayMan / Sep 4 2014 6:20 PM

      @Live-Evil:

      Was reading about HEXACO personality inventory…Is it possible to be low Openness to Experience but high Humility-Honesty? Or vice versa? Since both scales are correlated with less clannishness, it seems like it would be hard to be both.

      The above suspected relationship would apply primarily to the group level, and not individuals. All six of these dimensions are independent, so it’s quite possible for a given individual to have any mix of these.

      That said, there is some research into a “general factor of personality.” This would mean that these personality dimensions would tend to correlate with this underlying factor. Of course, the problem of measurement error (especially social desirability bias) makes it hard to know if this factor is real.

      And how much could Openness and low Humility-Honesty be correlated with “creativity,” whatever that may mean.

      I suspect openness is the primary (but not only) correlate with creativity. But the relationship seems shaky, considering certain groups that are high on one but not the other (e.g., Blacks).

    • Live-Evil / Sep 5 2014 9:21 PM

      @JayMan

      Thanks for the response.

  10. Fred / Sep 4 2014 10:49 AM

    I find stupid comments remind me of how hopeless the project of human improvement is and helps me shift my attention to my work instead of the web, so I like seeing them.

    Einstein said only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and he wasn’t sure about the universe. Natural selection is the main thing that will improve the human lot, very few are educable, and natural selection is a cruel, messy thing, best left to the world’s god.

    “The world’s God is treacherous and full of
    unreason; a torturer, but also
    The only foundation and the only fountain.
    Who fights him eats his own flesh and perishes
    of hunger; “

  11. Brett Stevens / Sep 8 2014 2:46 PM

    I think you should filter out low value comments.

    This is actually my primary rule in moderating any forum, after 25+ years of experience going back to the BBS days.

    A comment which has informational value — factual or argumentation — should always be let through, even if it’s from the other team.

    A comment which has no informational value, including spam, duplicates, spurious one-liners, obvious television talking points, etc. serves no value and decreases the experience of the reader. Kill it with fire.

    • JayMan / Sep 8 2014 2:50 PM

      @Brett Stevens:

      Well, some comments that I filter out contain “information,” it’s just bad information. It’s always something outright wrong, and often something I’ve argued over 1,000 times before and have no interest in rehashing.

  12. Brett Stevens / Sep 8 2014 3:45 PM

    @JayMan:

    I would most definitely filter those. It’s why I included the category of duplicates; even innocuous duplicates condition the audience toward repetition. Fallacious duplicates (or “talking points” from hostile drive-bys) are even worse and seek to actively drive people away by injecting stupidity into the debate.

  13. Martin / Sep 8 2014 7:09 PM

    I’ve left a comment talking about my life, and I knew it didn’t serve much purpose in terms of advancing discussion. I am guessing those are the type of comments you’re not fond of but don’t attempt to censor. So from now on I’ll refrain from doing so.

    • JayMan / Sep 8 2014 7:38 PM

      @Martin:

      Your comment got approved, did it not?

    • Martin / Sep 8 2014 7:44 PM

      Yes. I think I misread this post. So it’s not comments like I described above that annoy you, but the ones that muddy discussions either by using bad arguments or repeating arguments that you’ve addressed before?

    • JayMan / Sep 8 2014 8:59 PM

      @Martin:

      Pretty much. In addition to the abusive, insulting, and other usual irritating comments.

  14. Kevin O'Keeffe / Oct 4 2014 10:44 PM

    I’ve always been a firm believer in what we used to call, at another website, “the Eugenic Posting Policy.” Meaning that while free speech is an ideal to be cherished and upheld, its not only not censorship (at least not in the ugly sense of the word), its actually quite necessary (even a duty!) to limit the amount of sheer idiocy permitted on any given website that is open to public comment. Otherwise, its just too easy for the Imbecile-American Community to drown out interesting discourse.

  15. Stan Mute / Oct 23 2014 11:03 AM

    As others have noted, it’s your blog. Do with it what you will.

    But my opinion is that it comes down to your mission for the blog. If it is to “find Truth” (capital T Truth) then comments that couldn’t lead in that direction should be scrubbed. I suspect though that the mission may be somewhat fluid depending on the topic of any given post. If that is the case, I’d scrub ad hominems first and then the sort of comment that adds nothing (ie off topic, simple congratulatory or condemnatory, repititious, etc). You are organizationally limited by format and I think given that some comment moderation is very necessary to create value. Something like Disqus would let you open things up a bit and still maintain high value discussions, but with this format you could easily see things devolve into a Saileresque comment section where readers must plod through huge volumes of garbage to find the one or two gems. The downside is that commenters who find their remarks unpublished will be deterred from trying again when they may have an important observation or thought. Plus, we put much less effort into comments posted anonymously than we do into work published under our own names so there is a lot of chaff in the wheat even with the brightest commentariat. Again, without opening it up too much, I think you must examine your priorities for the blog and make snap decisions about each comment as to whether or not they advance your priorities.

    How much time is involved in your comment moderation efforts? My concern as a reader is that I’d rather have you developing content than spending time lost in the weeds wondering if “Jane from Peoria” is presenting a salient idea somewhere in her 500 word comment.

  16. Maciano / Dec 5 2014 7:01 AM

    Donated some BTC, keep up the good work. (&Happy Holidays)

Comments are welcome and encouraged. Comments DO NOT require name or email. Your very first comment must be approved by me. Be civil and respectful. NO personal attacks against myself or another commenter. Also, NO sock puppetry. If you assert a claim, please be prepared to support it with evidence upon request. Thank you!

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