Sunday, July 13, 2008
Megan McArdle develops a diagnostic checklist for the identification of comment trollery. I agree with it completely. We are delighted to engage on the issues with all reasonable points of view and welcome all perspectives in the comments, but leave the name-calling, bad words (unless they are deployed in a genuinely funny way), and actual emotionalism out of it.
And what happens when people use terms which are 1) poorly defined, 2) commonly abused for lack of better descriptors, or 3) thoroughly uninformed, while still carrying a negative connotation as one of its primary meanings? Examples of what I am thinking of: rightist, leftist, liberal, neocon, extremist. I have yet to see compelling and clear definitions for any of these words, but I do see them slung like mud on a regular basis. Are these words frowned upon too? Does their usage constitute an ad hominem attack to be removed by moderation?
Fair point, Larry, and I am doubly ashamed insofar as I thought about linking directly to your comment but did not out of laziness. It was so high in the thread I rationalized my way to thinking that people would see it anyway. Sorry about that.