I do not moderate the comments for anything other than spam. While I have banned a couple of folks over time, I am not sure you would even need two hands to count them. My reasons:
- I don’ t have time. Period. If I had to spend the time to moderate comments here, I would have to give up blogging. This is a hobby, and in fact real life has been unbelievably busy of late. An example here.
- I have little inclination to do so. If I wanted to constantly monitor the behavior of a couple of hundred people, I would have been a 7th grade teacher
- It is strategic (part 1). I find that the silliest people whom folks most want to ban do much to undermine their own arguments. Why not let them? To paraphrase Napoleon, why interrupt someone you disagree with when they are making a mistake? I often get asked to ban troll X who opposes everything I write, but frankly I am far more likely to want to ban commenter Y who is doing a bad job of representing or supporting my positions
- It is strategic (part 2). Many alarmist websites like RealClimate ruthlessly moderate out dissent from their comments. I purposely try to position this site in contrast to that policy. If you are an outsider, and see two sides, one of which clearly allows open debate and one which does not, which might you trust more?
- I am learning. Apparently unlike most everyone else on this issue, I admit that I make a lot of mistakes. My writing and position on climate change has evolved a lot since the beginning of this blog. I treat this blog as a voyage of discovery, and many times my commenters are providing me free education.
- At least trolls are visiting sites they disagree with. A lot of blog readers stay in the echo chamber.
If you really find something absolutely offensive, you can email me and I will (maybe) do something about it. But in general, the best way to deal with trolls is to ignore them. Really, when you see someone posting every third comment making condescending and unsupported statements with all the social graces of a 12-year-old, is your first thought, “wow, that guy is someone to be reckoned with!”?
Let me end with an example from current alarmist uber-troll Rajendra Pachauri. If he was a commenter of mine, why would I possibly purge him? He’s doing so much damage to his own position that even Greenpeace wants his head:
The U.N.’s climate chief dismissed “nefarious” global warming skeptics this week by insinuating that they are deep in the pockets of big business — and suggested that they go rub their faces in cancer-causing asbestos.
Rajendra Pachauri, the besieged head of the U.N.’s International Panel on Climate Change, told the Financial Times on Wednesday that he is the victim of a “carefully orchestrated” campaign to block climate change legislation.
“I would say [there are] nefarious designs behind people trying to attack me with lies, falsehoods,” he told the paper, swatting away allegations that his India-based climate institute, TERI, has benefited from decisions made by the IPCC, which he also chairs.
Climate change skeptics “are people who deny the link between smoking and cancer; they are people who say that asbestos is as good as talcum powder,” he said.
“I hope that they apply it (asbestos) to their faces every day.”