I've adopted a hands-off policy towards comments at the Belmont Club because the vast majority bring valuable insight to the discussion. Occasionally I'll get mail complaining about offensive comments; and fair enough, there are some which are pretty tasteless and a few which are downright offensive. Since I'm ultimately responsible for maintaining the 'tone' of this site the choices open to me are:
- To appeal to everyone to avoid making comments which a reasonable person may consider to be anti-Arab, anti-Semitic etc. or comments of a scatological nature.
- Confine posts to "safe" subjects which are unlikely to generate controversial comments.
- Disable comments.
I've decided to try #1 for a bit and to see how it goes. Failing that, it's on to numbers 2 and 3.
Comments contribute much, perhaps even most, of this site's value. Threads at their best are very good indeed and that vitality needs to be protected. Often the best part of the discussion comes in the first 70 or so comments and the quality of the thread seems to depend on how well the first 20 do. But sometimes the discussion gets hit by an early "thread killer" and never reaches its potential. One way to prevent this, I think, is to try to keep from commenting more than twice on the same thread (myself included) and making a conscious effort to stay civil.
The choice of post topic may in some way be related to ensuing discussion, as Geraldo and Rikki Lake doubtless knew; and it is the only variable I can directly control. All I'm saying is I'll do my best to keep the Belmont Club and its threads at the level its commenters deserve.