I can sympathize somewhat with Joan Peterson here, because I remember when I first decided I needed to implement some basic ground rules for comments. My one paragraph ground rule basically amounts to, “Don’t be a jackass,” and those of you who have been around for a while know I probably tolerate a good bit more jackassery than could be classified under my guidelines. I probably only remove or partially redact, at most, ten posts a year, and the majority of those are rambling nonsense from people who I think found me on Google and have mental health issues.
But Joan’s comment policy reads like a Hammurabi’s Code of blog commenting. What’s more, my, and most of our default is to allow comments generally, and only remove or redact ones that cross the line. It’s hard for me to understand how facts that are in dispute can be corrected if they aren’t published and discussed. There’s an old saying that you’re entitled to your own opinion, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. One thing I’ve learned from observing Ms. Japaete is that she often thinks she is, in fact, entitled to her own facts. Common Gun Sense has been much more open to dissenting ideas than many other blogs run by folks on the other side of this issue, and she deserved credit for that, but it seems as time has worn on, there’s been more and more Reasoned DiscourseTM going on. One of the other side’s greatest weaknesses has been not forming a credible response to our grassroots new media efforts, and their unwillingness to engage in open debate has been one of those.