Friday, July 12, 2013

Bad Faith Commenting

I've long liked Ann Althouse's blog. Althouse is a law professor at UW-Madison and while her impulses tend to run toward conventional wisdom-style academic liberalism, she's often been willing to buck that trend. She and her husband, Laurence Meade, also did an excellent job of on-the-ground reporting during the protests in Madison back in 2011.

Her blog had one feature that was always especially interesting -- in general, her regular readers often were far more conservative than she is, and because of that her comment section tended to be very, ahem, lively. It apparently got a little too lively last week and Althouse turned her comments off, because of what she termed "bad faith commenters." There was always a bit of performance art going on in the Althouse comment section, but now the show is closed. She's entitled to run her blog as she sees fit, of course, but it has changed the nature of her blog considerably.

I've never had this problem, of course, because I don't have nearly as many commenters and those who do comment here tend to be civil for the most part. Her experience does raise a question worth considering -- what would be a "bad faith comment," to you? I'm still taking comments, so let me know what you think.


jerrye92002 said...

When I was moderating on-line discussions, the one rule of thumb for a "bad" comment was use of the word "you" or "your" in a comment. That was almost universally a sign of an ad hominem, intended or not. Now, a "good" comment is one that does more, adding to the topic or information on the subject at hand.

Bike Bubba said...

I would agree with Jerry that bad faith commenting generally contains personal attacks. If it doesn't, you can generally ferret out such comments by the gratuitous profanity.

In the rare cases you cannot do either, you can figure it out because they're referring to absolute junk sources and tend to take them out of context.

Brian said...

I don't know where I'd draw the lines around "bad faith" except in a Potter Stewart sort of way. But I'd go a lot further and say that not every argument is worth having, or entertaining. Which, of course, one has to sort for him or herself.

Christal said...

This is cool!