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October 28, 2015


EcoLogic Lee

Sully didn't have comments, and I thought that was fine. The Rude Pundit "doesn't give a shit what you have to say" (I love TRP)

On the other hand Daily Kos (where I hang out - also under the name of EcologicLee) thrives on comments and user contributions and there are a fair number of disagreements. I have posted articles from The American Conservative with being banned or even HRed

I have participated in debates regarding GMOs and other issues. There are limits - The site exists to promote "more and better Democrats" so you can't promote republicans, but that's about it.

Raven Onthehill

Ah, the inalienable right to troll.

Peter G

Now I am become Superpatriot298, destroyer of orthodoxies.... Ah for the good old days when I used to drive by the right wing sites like Redstate and ask inconvenient questions. I'd occasionally get in four or five increasingly troubling questions before someone cried Troll! and that persona was banned. They've got me permanently banned now. On the flip side I may proudly boast that I am likewise banned at Crooks and Liars for essentially the same offense, pointing out orthodoxies that don't work when questioned. Some places like being bubbles. But I like to prick bubbles.


I've never bothered to comment on huge sites or conservative sites. It seems too much like spitting in the ocean and there really are too many ill-tempered illiterates that lower my faith in humanity. If that's elitist, so be it. On this blog all the other commenters consistently make interesting points and are worth reading. There should be more of them. Maybe when the presidential campaign heats up people will feel more like expressing opinions.

The Breitbart piece states "Psychologists have long been aware that political extremists have the most negative reactions to contrary information." This contains a false equivalence. There have been studies to distinguish between "ideological extremism" and the "rigidity of the right." While it's extremely difficult for humans to avoid "confirmation bias," liberalism and left wing extremism are not linked to psychological traits like inflexibility, close-mindedness or intolerance of uncertainty. Those are conservative traits. The term "authoritarian progressives" is hilarious because it's an outright oxymoron. The New York Times makes a similar mistake, no doubt in the name of "balance." Again, I'd recommend anyone interested in the psychology of politics read 'The Republican Brain' by Chris Mooney for an excellent overview.

Bob Puharic

Yeah I've been kicked off National Review online and Walter Russell Mead's pages for daring to question those who said Obama is a leftwing communist Jewish homosexual pornographer, or something.


The decision to have a comments section or not is up to the discretion of the sites owner. As Lee points out the Daily Dish was notable for its lack of a traditional comments section but had 'curated' reader comments selected from readers email. It was a nice system for thoughtful focused discussion. At the same time I visit other sites that have open comments sections edited only for frankly abusive or inappropriate comments, and that can also be a good platform to prompt discussion amoung readers over a long comments thread.

Depending on what the site is going for either format is valid. The only thing I have an issue with are sites that edit/censor their comments sections not for abusive/trolling comments, but just for ideological heterodoxy. The most aggregious I ever encountered was an anti-vaccine blogger who scrubbed her comments section clean of any dissent, no matter how civil, even when it was simply links to PubMed for relevant clinical studies. It resulted in a comments section filled with nothing but a herd of credulous comments.

It would be unsurprising if certain partisan websites left and right would demand similar ideological purity. And those comment sections are universally worthless.

Another Matt

The American Conservative and their writers generally have an open (but actively moderated) comment policy. Lots of liberals have found it a welcoming place.


Yes, TAC is a model for a well run comments section, quite lively as well.

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