I have been asked buy a few people why FoL adheres to an open policy in its comment sections. Here's the answer:
First, it is not entirely open. I have deleted some comments that were actually fake advertisements and I also deleted (at least one) comment that was maliciously aimed at someone other than me. I can tolerate stupidity and malice and rudeness when I am the butt, but will not tolerate it when others are. As you may have gleaned already from reading FoL, I am happy with vigorous discussion, but there is a line. Who judges when it is crossed? Well me. Why me? Because I ran this blog and so the buck stops with me.
Second, I do not respond to every comment that gets made (though I do mix it up quite a bit). There are several reasons for this. The first is that it would take too much time. The second is that sometimes I have nothing to say in reply. And the third is that there are some comments that I consider not worth responding to.
Let me say a word about the third. There are some who comment extensively on this blog that I do not respond to at all as a matter of policy. CB is the most prominent among these. I decided to stop responding to CB's comments over a year ago (it may be longer, I cannot recall) for they have consistently struck me as ill informed, silly and more than occasionally bizarre. However, I have not prevented CB from posting on the blog for three reasons. First, just because I find CB's comments a waste of time does not mean that others will or should. Second, just because I don't want to respond to CB does not mean that others may not find it useful/amusing/invigorating/charitable to respond and I don't want to stop consenting adults from amusing themselves on FoL or developing their critical skills by tackling incoherence. Third, and this is the most important reason, CB's views are, sadly (very very sadly), not unique. There are many in the great wide world out there who say (and I assume believe) the stuff CB articulates so tirelessly. That I find it so deeply misinformed (which it is) and so obtuse (which it is) does not mean that CB's views are idiosyncratic to CB. Like I said, sadly (very very sadly), they are not. So, I consider CB's participation on FoL as a kind of inoculation program for the reasonable. Exposure to these views in raw and uncensored form I hope suffices to prevent reasonable informed people from succumbing to them. Indeed, reading CB's defense of these views generally suffices to expose how uninformed, silly and bizarre they are (ah, the wonders of self satire!!). So think of CB as FoL's vaccine program against ignorance and silliness in our little corner of intellectual life (IMPORTANT: if you know anyone showing signs of taking these views seriously send them a selection of CB's comments and I can guarantee almost full recovery).
I have no doubt that this clarification will call forth a response. I will most likely not delete it. Some may find it amusing to read. Some may not. Some may may wish to respond. Some may not. For the former group, enjoy yourselves. For the latter, remember, you can always agree to ignore it. I do. It's easy and to date has had no deleterious effects.