About comments

I have tried to make this blog a place where people of differing opinions can have a civil conversation. Until now, except for profanity, I’ve pretty much allowed comments to be posted without any intervention on my part.  Unfortunately, a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch. After three and a half years of blogging, I find it necessary to post a comment policy.

The policy is effective immediately.

18 thoughts on “About comments

  1. If you required people to post using their own names, then the rest of the civility issue would become much less of a problem.

    I have met employees of both Republican and Democratic lobbying groups who openly laugh about agitating with inane and snarky quips on the blogs.

    Civil discourse is between real people, using their real names and are accountable for what they say/write.

    1. I may very well end up going to a real names policy. The problem is how to police that. How do I know, for example, that your real name is J. Tyler Ballance? Could someone else use your name and it not be detected? Absolutely.

      Sometimes, people have a real reason for using a pseudonym. (Although I suspect the number of people doing claiming that far exceeds the number of people who really have an issue.)

      We’ll see how this goes. The policy isn’t engraved in stone and I’m happy to change it in any way that encourages civil conversation.

    2. Those of us who work for or with the government, really cannot use our real names. Those of us with unique names also put ourselves and our families in greater jeopardy when we use our real names to discuss controversial topics.

  2. Actually, there was a staff member at the WAPO who posted a few times using my name about a year ago.

    I contacted the FBI about the impersonation and they made a phone call and that, was that.

    In my case, I use my real name, give my real email and offer a website URL where I have an email account.

    I counsel against recording or publishing home addresses, since I have had an instance where an individual, who disagreed with an editorial that I had written, did some vandalism at my home, because he was able to find my home address. However, the presence of a few idiots should not be allowed to silence voices for liberty. and good governance.

    I would support the idea of having an email link included with the name of the person making the post.

    You won’t be able to completely eliminate the use of false identities on the web, but use of real names puts into place incentives to address one another in a mature, civilized manner.

  3. When one thinks of all that our founders risked to win for us this Republic it is disgusting to hear someone claim that they MUST remain anonymous because they fear for their job or the safety of their family.

    What idea is so heinous that it cannot be spoken in today’s America? There are no banned words or thought crimes, and we shall only fall to such a level, if citizens refuse to have their voices heard in the public square.

    If you are afraid to stand by your words and ideas, here in America, then we have already lost our Republic.

    Stand-up, speak-up and let FREEDOM ring!

    1. If you’ve seen Anon E. Mouse’s comments, you’d know why.

      OK, that was a joke.

      My only comment is: Gee, Vivian, you’re no fun anymore.

      OK, I couldn’t help myself, here’s a second comment: I agree with you, J. Why should anyone who works for the government fear that speaking his mind would harm him? In fact, if there’s any employer who would respect free speech, it is our government (OK, except when Republicans are in power). If someone thinks that his gov’t. job restricts him from speaking, then quit the job. It seems a little hypocritical to suckle at the government’s teat and then complain it is denying him his rights of speech. If one feels constrained, then constrain oneself from blogging or quit the job.

      1. Gee, Vivian, you’re no fun anymore.

        I take offense at that 🙂 Seriously, I have a good time – most of the time. But if you could see some of the stuff that I’ve edited out, or simply sent to spam, you’d know why I had to do this.

        And I agree with both of you on the anon stuff.

      2. If it were only that simple. While “the employer” may respect free speech (not that we can believe that with the campaign finance laws we have and the “fairness doctrine” that is again rearing its ugly head), the individual bosses or contract managers may not. Office politics in the government are far worse than in private industry, because without that profit motive, the motive becomes power and prestige. Discrimination can be very subtle — a contract not awarded, a raise not given, a choice assignment given to someone else, etc.

        You use the phrase “suckle at the government’s teat,” as though we provide no service in return for our pay, as those on welfare. I take offense at that. The work that my department does is most certainly constitutional, spelled out quite clearly in Article I, Section 8, and indeed makes everyone in this country safer.

    2. “I have had an instance where an individual, who disagreed with an editorial that I had written, did some vandalism at my home, because he was able to find my home address.”

      My point exactly.

      “When one thinks of all that our founders risked to win for us this Republic it is disgusting to hear someone claim that they MUST remain anonymous because they fear for their job or the safety of their family.”

      And yet, that is the case.

      1. Anonymity and pseudonymity have their places. I have to agree with Anon E. Mouse on all of his/her points. Anon/pseudonymous commenting allows some folks to join the discussion that otherwise might be quiet for fears for themselves, their families or their business, or have potential problems with employers.

        To go a step further if an employee of a government agency wishes to personally comment about a policy they disagree with, but not become fodder for the news cycle as a supposed unauthorized spokesperson (for non confidential information) or whistleblower (for non-public information), full disclosure of the commenters’ or bloggers’ information might prevent civil discussion.

        Vivian, may you wield your comment policy wisely and effectively.

    1. There’s a difference between WordPress (the self-hosted version) and WordPress.COM, which is where this site is located.

      And I have absolutely no desire to moderate every comment on this blog. If it comes to that, I’m outta here.

        1. I know about getting an email every time there is a comment. Again, I have no desire to deal with my blog in that manner.

          And no thanks on the self-hosted site. I’ve got several already – and they are more work than they are worth for me.

          Flexibility is in the eyes of the beholder 😉

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