More on comments

by Russ Roberts on November 7, 2008

in Weblogs

Ken, a reader here at the Cafe, writes about the two week moratorium on comments:

While this is your blog, you’ve chosen to voice your opinion in public.
So for better or worse you should let those who would tear you down
try.  If they succeed, then you need to spend time fleshing out your
arguments or changing your mind.  If not, your ideas stand out and you
can be proud.

Closing comments is tantamount to saying you can’t stand the criticism
and you don’t want those that read your blog see that you too have
flaws.  I stopped reading Greg Mankiw’s blog because he closed off
argument on his blog.  Comments add more to a blog than bloggers
imagine, I think.  When you close off comments, you’re essentially
saying you’re above criticism.  Or at least in public, even though
you’ve voiced your opinion in public.

I have no problem with negative comments about what I write. I enjoy them. I enjoy positive comments, too. The annoying comments and commentors are people who use our posts to go off on tangents and destroy the interest of others in making interesting and thoughtful and negative comments on what we actually write. In the last few months, a handful of people have used the comment section as a forum for airing grievances about each other rather than about the ideas in the posts.

The atmosphere appears to have driven away some of the more interesting people who used to comment here.

So we’re just taking a break. We’ll be back soon with hopes of a better culture here at the Cafe. I’m sure there will be plenty of criticism and that’s just fine.

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