I have to say: Since we ruthlessly banned a lot of bad actors over the past week or so, discussions at the Intersection have been quite civil and productive. See, for example, this thread. Or this one.
And something else has occurred, too–I actually find myself commenting on my own blog again. I’d largely stopped doing it (and largely stopped paying detailed attention to most comments) because anything I’d say would be pored over, twisted, bent, attacked, and so on. So saying anything at all seemed a waste of time.
This has been a learning experience for me. My initial outlook in the blogosphere, and one I held for a very long time, was that I should err on the side of letting everyone who wanted to post do so rapidly, without hinderance. Only after the fact, and after much clear and undeniable abuse of the privilege, should I or Sheril step in and moderate or ban.
But I now see that perhaps this was not right at all. Moderating all comments here takes much more work, and creates more delay; but so far, it also ensures better discussion.
The ideal approach, I think, would be if some commenters could become “trusted” and get to post immediately, because they have developed such a good track record. I can already identify some such participants–like, say, Jon and Rob Knop and David Wescott on the latest thread–and I wish I could automatically give them this status, while continuing to moderate newcomers until they, too, become “trusted.”
However, on a technological level, Discover informs us that such an arrangement isn’t yet possible. But, it’s something we’re definitely going to push for. That is, currently, the state of affairs on commenting at the Intersection; and while I regret that there are delays in seeing your posts appear, I think the glass is still more than half full.
We will update if there are any further developments on commenting policies.