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Comment on Comments

Every once in a while, I think we need to clarify our policies on comments.
Various blogs have various policies on comments.  Some don't allow comments at all.  We at C&C believe that comments add additional perspectives and enhance the overall value of the blog, so we won't go that way.

Any blog that allows comments has to have some way of keeping out the spammers.  Some use the "captcha" method where every commenter, every time, has to type in a code displayed in a way that a spammer's robot can't read it.  We dislike that and don't want to go that way.

Some blogs have a laissez faire approach to content, where anybody can say anything about anyone, and it is up to the target of slander to defend himself.  This attitude seems to us to be based on an inappropriate equation of management of a blog with First Amendment restrictions on government censorship.  A blog is not public park, open to anyone.  It is a private home, where anyone unwelcome can be asked to leave by the owner.  Our party, our rules.  If you don't like them, go somewhere else.  Start your own blog.

A few blogs require commenters to use their real names.  The theory is that people will be more civil if they know that rudeness can be traced back to them easily.  We haven't gone that way yet, but it's a possibility for the future.

So the happy medium we have settled on for now is to require commenters to sign in through some authentication mechanism.  We have made a variety of mechanisms available, and the mechanisms provide varying degrees of anonymity.

Individual comments have to be approved by the author of the post unless the commenter has been designated a "trusted" commenter, in which case the comments appear right away.  We are pretty liberal (in the nonpolitical sense of that word) with the "trusted" designation.  Just a couple of substantive non-rant comments, and a commenter will be "trusted" until he gives a reason to "untrust" him, with one exception.

Some of the sign-in methods identify the commenters with a recognizable user name, while others just have a random string of characters.  The latter provides more anonymity, but frankly it's a pain.  We would rather have all commenters identified with a recognizable, consistent handle, so we and the readers can easily see that these comments are all from the same person.

So, to be designated a "trusted" commenter, use one of the authentication methods that provides a recognizable handle and your real email address.  Otherwise, your comments will not appear until we get around to approving them.

All of these policies are applied in a viewpoint-neutral manner, BTW.  It makes no difference whether you agree or disagree with the post you are commenting on.

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