And incivility, maybe?
First observed how civility in public discourse in the blogosphere appears headed for the wayside, in Bloghopping: Uplifting or Unraveling?
And now, read who the first casualties may be:
James Joyner of OTB voices his concern and provides some details and recommendations:
Wizbang’s Paul has hung it up, I think for good this time, saying “It just ain’t fun anymore.” The last straw was a recent flamewar he got into with Ace but he’s been tired of the travails of blogging for quite some time. Coincidentally, his colleague, Jay Tea, is taking a hiatus having just helped a friend get through his father’s dying days.
My least favorite part of the “blog job,” though, is the incivility in comment threads and the occasional cross-blog flamewar. While OTB’s comment threads are quite civil compared to most blogs of comparable traffic, there are a handful of regulars who forget the number one rule of our site policies: “Remember that the people under discussion are human beings.” The follow-on — “Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.” — is something that I’ve largely refrained from enforcing, since it’s a lot of work and I hate to alienate regular visitors. (Underescoring mine)
Professor Bainbridge agrees we should have civility:
James Joyner balances his desire to avoid offending regular readers of his blog against his desire to avoid having his "comments section be an unfriendly place." I've tried to let my comments section be a free speech zone and to date have banned only three posters whose nastiness proved intolerable. Long live civility!
Bruce of Gay Patriot agrees, too, and does more: (Immediately deletes the first comment for his blog entry)
Commenting and Trackbacks: Commenting and trackback/pingback capability is provided to encourage thoughtful discussion of the ideas posted on this site. We welcome open debate and viewpoints that differ from those of the post authors. That said, we wish to keep the conversation civil and the following policies, subject to change without notice, apply:
Remember that the people under discussion are human beings. Comments that contain personal attacks about the post author or other commenters will be deleted. Repeated violators will be banned. Challenge the ideas of those with whom you disagree, not their patriotism, decency, or integrity.
The use of profanity stronger than that normally permitted on network television is prohibited. A substantial number of people read this site from an office or in a family environment.
The several comments on James Joyner's blog entry appear in agreement that ad hominem or personal attacks have no place, even in comments; on the other hand, being too stringent may inhibit open discussions.
But bloghosts have to make this delicate and at times difficult choice:
"....balances his desire to avoid offending regular readers of his blog against his desire to avoid having his "comments section be an unfriendly place."
"Just remember that by “making a few folks mad” you’re also making the majority of your readers and commenters much happier."