First off, I appreciate that so many people who leave comments have done as I asked and adopted some sort of moniker rather than "Anonymous." Using a name -- even if it's just an internet 'handle' - - is much better.
But I'm still unhappy with the tone of many, many comments.
I do know for sure that I am no longer going to post ANY comments that refer to people as "phonies," "crybabies," "whimps" or communists unless it is somehow part of an otherwise intelligent piece of writing.
But I'm kind of torn about what to do with someone like "Concerned Conservative" whose vitriol is often extreme even when he doesn't choose intrinsically inflammatory words. He's got an online identity, as I asked, but he simply comes across as hateful in so many ways. I don't really mind the constant jabs he has for me because, well, I put myself out there and I'm pretty good at considering the source. Yet I worry he's setting such a venomous tone that it drives away those who could contribute far more interesting and varied comments.
I'm curious to know what readers think I should do. I know I'm going to crack down further on the worst offenders, but how far should I go? Should I simply slam the door on comments from Concerned Conservative?
I have no obligation to let anyone comment on anything. But I like the feedback and I enjoy the give and take with people who have an interesting, different outlook (see, for example, the exchange I had yesterday with "Matt from Plymouth" in the entry on legal advertising in newspapers). What I can't stand are blanket denunciations of all Democrats, all Republicans, all media, everything that Ward does, everything that Cockayne does, everything that Colapietro does, etc. Those things, most of which I already kill before readers ever see them, just fill me with despair.
If you can't say something other than a stupid putdown, your words really have no place here.
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Contact Steve Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org