Not being a regular here, I have no idea who is and isn't causing trouble, or on what political side they hang their hat(s) but, having read the Comments & Registration page, it seems like Dana has a pretty good policy... in theory, anyway. No matter how good the policy, one does have to use it when necessary for it to be effective, of course.
There is no reason that any blogger should have to put up with verbal abuse, spam, or bigotry of any kind in their comment sections. If that is the nature of the poison in question, the only argument for keeping it posted (as I often do on my blogs) is to let it stand as a monument of the bad behavior and thus shame the person posing it. Those who don't wish to do that should feel no guilt in removing such posts.
Once you get beyond that into ideological territory (like "the same tired arguments" or "fact-free commentary,") removing comments after the fact gets more sticky. I know in my case, it does get tiresome to see the same individuals make the same generalizations about the same social or political groups, and I'd imagine that they (and perhaps others, not involved) find it tiresome to read my same rebuttals to making such generalizations. Whether their generalizations or my rebuttals therefore deserve to be removed from the comment stream is another matter, however.
Removing commentary before the fact (running moderated comment sections, and only allowing "approved" comments to appear) is cowardly. It is possible to edit or remove offensive (or even simply tiresome) commentary after the fact in just about every blogging software, so to do so before the fact, just in case, is evidence that one is not willing or able to address dissent, and prefers to create the illusion that everyone agrees with whatever it is the blogger is selling.
In the end, the blogger is God, and can run his blog any way s/he sees fit, whether that means taking on all points of view, banning all points of view other than his/her own, or something in between. And whatever a blogger chooses to do, folks are going to judge, and some will be critical of the decisions the blogger makes. It's impossible to please everyone whatever blog/comment philosophy one chooses, and you win some and you lose some... As others have said, it really does come down to one's ideological makeup and the kind of blog one wishes to run. I'm on the side of diversity, but have little issue with taking a firm hand when diversity leads to namecalling, threats, and other unpleasantness, as long as one is open and evenhanded about it.
(Sure, I could address the allegations levied against me, but there's little point. Some folks potentially reading this (including at least two of the folks on the list of authors, here) were witness to what did/didn't happen between Dr. Douglas and I over the course of the last several years, and for those uninformed but interested, there is a plethora of archival verbiage available on our blogs and elsewhere on the web for folks to read and judge, should anyone's interest be piqued. 'nuff said, I think.)
6:01 PM: 2:40 PM comment still not posted. After noticing that blog owner posted a comment (& presumably, cleaned out any/all comments held for moderation at the post, as well), submitted/successfully posted a link to this comment at original post.
6:30 PM: Original comment was caught in spam filter... Just my dumb luck... (New comment from Dr. Douglas over there, too. Same old tired and song and dance, right down to the "Bwahahahaha!".)
Donald Douglas' 26 April 2011 at 21:26 comment:
I’ll be perfectly honest: A few trolls aren’t gonna kill the traffic to the blog all that much. What’s gonna matter the most is high-impact content and networking with folks who can send readers and increase traffic numbers. Glenn Reynolds has no commenting feature. I’ve never asked, but obviously it’s not worth the time. I used to get well over 50-60 comments on blog posts routinely, but many of the commenters were left-wing radical progressives who later participated in reprehensible attacks against my livelihood. Repsac3 in particular is a well known troll around the blogosphere who sponsors intimidation campaigns against me. He’s banned. But I had to go to comment moderation in order to do it, since he refused to stop commenting, and that ruined the spontaneity of my community. It’s never been the same, but RacistRepsac3 isn’t the only one. Now by moderating I find a lot of comments that would get through without pre-apporval, so in some sense it’s a wash. So, decide what you want: Do you folks want a blogging and commenting community free of “poison” or are you looking to have a high impact on political debates, and thus high volume traffic? That latter’s going to take way more work than running a community of like-minded bloggers, and I doubt the return will be better.