Thursday, January 03, 2008

Comments   posted by Razib @ 1/03/2008 10:22:00 PM

Overcoming Bias has a post up about good comment boards. I think one's premises/ends matter on these sorts of things. What are comment boards about? What do you want to get out of them? We've run this weblog for quite a bit longer than Overcoming Bias has been in existence. I would say two specific issues crop up:

1) Stupid people. If you don't have a base of knowledge or the ability to think deeply then there is going to be a problem (a fair number of "elite" comment contributors came to this blog without much knowledge but their aptitude meant that they had no issues picking up the material over time).

2) People whose premises vary so sharply from your own that one can never have a fruitful conversation in regards to the primary issue at hand (that is, all debates devolve into explorations of alternative axioms and whether the axioms are valid or not).

A third general issue

3) The modal comment contributor (as opposed to the value added elite comment contributor) has little invested in the system. They don't police, they might never read their rant or check follow up responses. It's like someone shitting in a swimming pool for fun. It happens. And their happiness function is maximized at the expense of the health of other human beings.

I think the comment which praised ./ is spot on. I have considered implementing Slashcode, but I don't have the inclination to enter into that much work for a hobby like this. As it is, as long time readers know, I along with the other posters keep a very close eye on the comments. We prune those with little reputation on the slightest pretense and we allow those with more capital built up more freedom of expression (in substance and delivery).

Note: for those who wonder why have the crappy haloscan system, it is because it is off site. In previous years GNXP's comments were the primary reasons why we overtaxed our servers.