A Commenting Suggestion

by Don Boudreaux on October 15, 2008

in Cafe Conversation

Although real-estate in cyberspace is, in a way, free, in another way it’s costly: sifting through all that’s written in crowded cyberspace takes precious time.

So as a first step in reducing the cost of reading and commenting here at the Cafe, I suggest that comments that are merely gratuitous slams — comments that are backed up with neither argument nor data — be ignored.

Here’s an example of a comment, from this post, pasted below in its entirety, of the sort I have in mind; it’s posted by one “Noumenon“:

they don’t change the fundamental point that if worker Jones will produce $26 per hour for Acme Inc. and would produce $25 per hour for Megacorp, then Acme Inc. must pay Jones at least $25 per hour to get Jones’s services

Oh, man, you are such a moron.  I mean, “reality challenged.”

This commenter clearly disagrees with my claim (which he or she quotes in italics).  And it’s fine, even welcome, for commenters to disagree with anything that I, that Russ, or that other commenters say.

But from this comment we learn not a whit of a reason why Noumenon believes me to be reality challenged.  If in a comment a commenter merely accuses others of intellectual or moral deficiencies, without giving some substantive argument to back the accusation, then I suggest that such comments be ignored.  The most appropriate assumption, in these cases, is that such commenters have no arguments to offer and, therefore, content themselves with childish name-calling.  (I add that I appreciate Low Country Joe’s substantive response to Noumenon.)

One other example.  If, say, Muirgeo makes a comment with which you disagree, please do more than call him names.  Engage his arguments and assertions.  Calling him (or anyone else) names is futile; it contributes nothing to the dialog here at the Cafe.

Time is too precious to waste responding to comments that say nothing substantive.

I’ll not delete such comments and responses; I’m merely making a suggestion.


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