We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I visit Cafe Hayek regularly, though missed the past few days. I was shocked to see today that the Comments section had been closed. I had commented on a few topics there over the years, but generally avoided it because it frequently becomes a quagmire. In fact, I noticed this recently when I'd posed a question, only to find myself under attack for asking any questions that didn't agree 100% with the authors.
Strange thing is, the question I'd posed was a request for clarity by posing an example, not a statement of opposing viewpoint. Suddenly, however, I became a "two-bit moron" and an "uninformed boob". I'll cop to being both, though I think using these terms on people you're exchanging views with, in a somewhat public forum, is rude.
It's unfortunate the professors found the need to shut down their comments. Commenting on articles is a fine balance, not unlike sending emails. You can't properly convey emotion, and as a result sometimes meanings are misunderstood. Typically I try to employ the same courtesies I utilize in real life. I refrain from name-calling and will restate a point, if necessary, to add clarity. On comments (unlike email), you can't always pick up the phone and say "no, that's not what I meant".
I'm happy that I've never seen a comment thread on Maggie's become a name-calling mess. There have been plenty of disagreements, and that's healthy. But when you stop respecting others, you stop respecting the process.
Bulldog - you just haven't been a "two-bit moron" or an "uniformed boob" yet! But there's always time. :-)
Seriously, I'm disappointed by that sort of attitude. Mrs. Mudbug frequents FreeRepublic and she tells me that the can be pretty brutal to noobies. I don't understand caustic comments used against any honest question or disagreement, but especially against people of like mind.
I think some people get "drunk" with the anonymity of the net, but that's no excuse.
I became am a "two-bit moron" and an "uninformed boob".
There - I fixed it for you.
I think it is the nature of the Internet. Some things you would never say to somebody directly in person, you can say without having any actual contact and embarrassment.
Society has always been polarized - this recent acknowledgment of the unruly nature of ours is only because it has become prevalent and pervasive. It has always existed, but the Internet gave it voice and presence.
I was disappointed, but not surprised by the decision to close comments at Cafe Hayek. What do they say about academic discussions they are the most brutal because the stakes are so small.
In my not so humble opinion, you are either a free market believer or you aren't. I can argue with (attempt to persuade) someone who shares my free market ideals about whether tax rates on "the rich" should be 35% or 45% or if capital gains should only be taxed once. I can not effectively argue with someone who proceeds from the presumption that government must (and is capable) of righting most wrongs. That the law of unintended consequences is suspended in all cases when government acts.
I used to think that immanitizing the eschaton (sp?) was some kind of right wing "in" joke but the more I read, the more I am persuaded it's the fatal conceit of the liberal left.
As my father is fond of saying, "if you are willing to start from the belief that you and I both have the best interests of our nation at heart, then you and I can have a discussion. If, at some point, you belittle or demean my position regarding this, you and I will have nothing to talk about and you will undermine your own position, not mine."
I've found that using that tends to shut liberals up pretty damn fast, unless they are (ahem - breaking my own rule) monumentally stupid.
Having worked in media for 25 years, I am very familiar with not only the bias, but the double standard at work. John Stossel has discussed both at length. But when somebody is a liberal, they fail to see it because it conforms with their belief system.
When I fail to speak out against a conservative I disagree with, my friends tend to say "why don't you say something about them, if you disagree?" Usually I reply, "The fact I disagree with them won't make a difference whether I say it or not - the discussion about the problems with their viewpoint is well developed by the liberal media and doesn't need additional voices. On the other hand, we fail to see similar discussions regarding problems with liberals."
In fact, I used this very comment about Jon Corzine just this weekend. Anyone notice how the media coverage of MF Global has been minimized?
Have you ever read comments on You Tube? They are down right hate full. A simple comment or question brings out the very ugliest from people. Bitter backbiting and violent rhetoric are par for the course. There is but the slimmest of hope for America.
--spent a few hours in Vince Guaraldi youtubes awhile back (he's the 50s-70s Frisco jazzman who created the 'Charlie Brown sound' in those beloved TV specials). There's beaucoup Guaraldi URLs, and the comments on all are so smart and warm and generous, i felt that same 'this is America' emotion but in the opposite direction.
i guess the trolls don't stray far back into the pre-Eloi/Morloc culture --but as you say, they are vile on the contemporary sites. Shame, too --spoils the page and worse, it's depressing.
I would, except that my visits to the comment boards there before were so uninspiring I don't know if this mirror site will be an improvement.
I'm not a fan of censored boards, but monitored boards are useful. Sadly, small sites can't afford to utilize monitors.
I used to work in the kids' media business. It's a tough go for online kids' sites. But our site had a comments section and we had a professional monitoring site, as well as kids who acted as monitors. Having them engaged on the site helped remove the trolls and reduced the personal attacks, as well as preventing bad language and other nasty behaviors.
The sad part of all this is that the only option (like most other media) is to 'turn it off' when it gets bad. I mean that from a consumer standpoint, but also (as Cafe Hayek showed) from a publisher standpoint.