"Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he."
-- Proverbs 29:18, King James Bible (KJV)

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Above the Law" Blog Bans Comments: LawPundit Drew the Same Conclusion Years Ago

Debra Cassens Weiss at the ABA Journal reports that
Plagued by 'often offensive' comments, Above the Law bans them all.

LawPundit made that same experience already years ago, as have surely many other blogs and websites.

When people are able to post anonymously under aliases, many apparently no longer feel constrained by the finely set but unwritten rules of normal social dialogue, and things get out of hand quickly, leading to flame wars or comparable uncivilized discourse.

In those wars, commenting on the "substance" of things becomes secondary to what is in effect a textual "battle" for a given position in the commenting pecking order, thus reflecting the combative mentality of many blog posters. Mankind is a competitive being, and, without constraints, is on the warpath.

Of course, the fact of having online venues where would-be text-writing warriors can establish their place and prove their worth is perhaps a socially useful thing, but it wreaks havoc on serious blogs.

We found only two solutions to the problem: the first solution is to moderate all comments rigorously, which quickly proves to be a time-intensive waste of time, and the second solution is to dispense with comments altogether, which has the disadvantage that it can reduce the number of total readers and may even antagonize some of the most dedicated blog aficionados, who find themselves "chilled" by not being able to express their thoughts.

Well, that is why there are so many lawyers in real life. Things are difficult enough when there ARE laws, rules and regulations to uphold, and that can be enforced. In their absence, things become an inglorious free-for-all.