Update to the Comment Moderation Policy

Comments should be directed to the topic of the original post, and commenters should restrict themselves to civil discussion of the substance of comments. In addition, racist, misogynistic comments and use of profanity will not be permitted.

Effective immediately, failure to adhere to this policy will constitute cause for editorial action.

Per James Hamilton and Menzie Chinn

110 thoughts on “Update to the Comment Moderation Policy

  1. Moses Herzog

    For whatever it’s worth I have no problems with this as long as the policy is clearly stated (as it always has been). Still the re-emphasis, “re-set” or “heads up” is appreciated.

    Reply
  2. Dr. Dysmalist

    I’m bearing in mind that I use only my phone to interact with this blog but I’ve looked from top to bottom for published terms of service and/or commenting standards, and I can’t find any. Is this an artifact of my mobile-only accessing of it?

    Reply
  3. Baffling

    Fair enough. But where does intentionally misleading commentary sit with regard to the policy? That is what usually leads to the off topic problems on this blog.

    Reply
      1. baffling

        Fair enough. it is unfortunate this will probably place a greater burden on Prof. Chinn and Prof. Hamilton. I admit to being one who drags the conversation off topic, usually in response to misleading commentary. it will be good to give greater voice to strong contributors like 2slugs, who are generous to share their knowledge of economics on this blog. and a big thank you to both Prof. Chinn and Prof. Hamilton, for hosting a blog that has been effective at educating the public on economics and its implication for quite some time now.

        Reply
  4. Bruce Hall

    This is a fair policy. There are many who disagree with what I have to say and that is fine. If I am incorrect, explain why and provide a link to backup your contention. I always try to provide published support for what I say, but in the world of economics and politics, I accept that conflicting interpretations exist… and appreciate Menzie’s effort to stop ad hominem attacks. I admit that, occasionally, I will respond in kind to the many comments directed my way and that simply detracts from good discussion.

    The only caution should be that differences of opinion should not be automatically seen as “lying”. A position may be demonstrably in error, but demonstrating the error should be the objective and done objectively, not rejection without comment. If every issue were simply a matter of “the data say this”, then there would be no competing interpretations among economists, much less commenters on this blog. To the extent that the issues raised are of a political nature rather than “ivory tower” economics, it should be expected that disagreement and differences of perspective are normal.

    Reply
      1. Bruce Hall

        Menzie, I’ll admit, that’s a gotcha.

        Sometimes things are not what they seem and I appreciate a better understanding. But that’s why I try to reference either the data or the source of my comment perspective rather than ad hominem responses. If that makes me less credible, okay then.

        For example, I recently respondent to 2slugbaits remark (and your post’s reference) to a 1900% increase in attacks on Asian Americans assumed connection to the phrase “China virus”. My response was roundly panned, even by you. So I went to the NYC crime report for 2020, linked to that, and pulled out sections I believe refutes, or at the least brings questions to, the assumed connection for everyone to challenge by making their case how the connection was still valid. If I’m shown to be wrong, then that’s okay. But I consider ad hominem responses to be an admission that the person has no real response.

        After all, isn’t part of the purpose of your blog to put forth ideas for discussion? You’ll notice that there are many posts where I don’t comment because I am simply trying to learn and I find the exercise of reading your post and the comments instructive.

        Reply
        1. pgl

          On Lord – your 1900% increase babble just shows you mouth off without any consideration of the real world. NY recorded 1 hate crime in 2019 and 20 hate crimes in 2020. That is your staggering percentage increase.

          Of course StopAAPIHate, which has been doing serious tracking note that these reported hate crimes are a subset of what Menzie was talking about. Hate incidents — which can include verbal racial slurs and attacks that do not include violence — has tallied 2,800 since last March.

          But of course Bruce Hall never does a lick of research before making his usual ill informed statements. I just hope none of what I just pointed out offends any one. After all, I would hope we would have at least a few minimum standards for honesty here.

          Reply
          1. Bruce Hall

            pgl,

            Thank you for making my point.
            On Lord – your 1900% increase babble just shows you mouth off without any consideration of the real world. NY recorded 1 hate crime in 2019 and 20 hate crimes in 2020. That is your staggering percentage increase.

            You do realize that the 1900% increase came from Menzie’s post: The NYPD reported that hate crimes motivated by anti-Asian sentiment jumped 1,900% in New York City in 2020.

            and reiterated by 2slugbaits? https://econbrowser.com/archives/2021/02/on-the-consequences-of-inflammatory-language-use-on-social-media#comment-249712

            I simply referred to that while pointing out that based on the mix of crimes, the victims, and the likely perpetrators, that the phrase “China virus” was highly unlikely to be the cause.

            “If you cannot answer a man’s argument do not panic. You can always call him names.”
            -Oscar Wilde

  5. pgl

    I will do my best to capture this rather disturbing reality without cursing the Big Four accounting firms:

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/coke-whirlpool-keep-tax-court-losses-off-the-books-11614168007?reflink=desktopwebshare_linkedin

    Coca Cola lost a major battle with the IRS over the royalties paid by their Irish affiliate on their lucrative European business. Think $10 billion in sales generating $4.5 billion per year. Making and selling concentrate is not exactly a capital intensive business so the IRS reasoned that the European operations deserved $0.5 billion which implies royalties back to the US of $4 billion. But the actual intercompany policy was a royalty rate = 15% not 40%, which allowed $250 million in European profits to go to a tax haven.

    Now this ripping off the US Treasury is common but publicly traded companies are required to disclose to shareholders any material transfer pricing exposure. Coca Cola did not and this discussion suggests a lot of other multinationals are misleading their shareholders. Point in fact E&Y has audited Coca Cola for the past 30 years at least and they were responsible for this aggressive but flaky transfer pricing. Can you say conflict of interest without being banned?

    Reply
  6. Steven Kopits

    Well, this is long overdue.

    I am curious to see how it applies in practice.

    I think the principal issue is ad hominem attacks. I find this degrades the quality of the debate. And in this, as I have said numerous times, pgl does this more than anyone else. Let’s see what enforcement with respect to his behavior brings. For me, that’s the litmus test.

    A means to enforce such policy is to compel people to use their real names, as does the Wall Street Journal, and I think that tends to promote civility. On the other hand, I worry that it would cost us Slugs, Baffs and Joseph, with whom I often disagree but whose comments I personally value. Our debates have historically been civil. I have said before and continue to contend that Peak’s banning on its ostensible basis was wrong, and I certainly miss Risk Stryker, who almost always had something to contribute prior to the ad hominem days. I think Bruce often contributes meaningful points to the ongoing discussion and as a practical matter now anchors the conservative side of the debate.

    I personally believe that ltr’s and Ivan’s behavior is consistent with paid employees of some Chinese government agency and that they are commenting in a professional capacity. I actually welcome these comments (but could ltr be a bit more compact and on point?) as I find it useful to see what the official line is, and frankly, because trolls are also sources of information going up the line into the bureaucracy. Thus, they represent both advocacy outward and intelligence upward. I personally think this is useful, as the Chinese government does actually appear to reads their briefs. Dialogue has value.

    Should you want to get rid of ltr or Ivan, it’s not particularly hard to do. Imagine if someone were commenting here from, say, the Heritage Foundation. Were their comments attributable, they would be tightly constrained in the scope of their statements. This is no less true in a Chinese or similar bureaucracy. Indeed, I think life would be a lot easier commenting for Heritage. (And keep in mind that the freedom of this debate is aspirational for people like ltr. That’s not the world they inhabit in China, and they would like a better society and greater freedoms, too.)

    I will be curious to see whether we can discuss policy with national or racial implications, ie, the potential role of the Chinese government and the Wuhan lab in the pandemic; and also questions like the racial impact of the minimum wage, which is not too hot too handle over at the Wall Street Journal.
    https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-minimum-wages-racially-discriminatory-roots-11613517678

    Time will tell.

    I would note that there is a mid-point between total freedom and banning. And that is sending people for a ‘time out’, a banning for a relatively short period, say, three days. That should keep the conservation a bit more civil.

    Reply
    1. Johannes

      Moses Herzog uses lots of profanity, will he be banned ?

      And will Menzie Chinn ban Menzie Chinn for his biased views ?

      I am afraid, I know the answer.

      Reply
        1. Johannes

          Evidence for the Moses Herzog profanity :
          “Moses Herzog
          February 1, 2021 at 2:47 pm
          Someone isn’t paying attention. I’ll give pgl shit about a lot of things, but he knows what Drum is writing and where I think. He’s now over at
          bagglyloo, or wagglyloo, or mugwamp…… er something. I got the RSS feed a couple days ago. It has nothing to do with illness Drum is going to go
          where he smells the money, he must think the subscription model is going to get him more the Mother Jones salary”

          And there is even worse evidence in the interaction of Moses Herzog with Steven Kopits and others available on your blog, and you know it, but you do not care, because you are biased.

          Yes Menzie, you are treating Steven Kopits worse than Moses Herzog, and the reason is that Mr. Kopits is not willing to follow your left-wing party line. You are politically biased. You should ban yourself from this blog. Econbrowser.com would be better as a James Hamilton blog. Why don’t you open your own blog and call it Menzie-Chinn-blog, writing all day how great Joe Biden is and how horrible Trump was ?

          Reply
          1. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Johannes: To the best of my recollection, I have never deleted or edited a Steven Kopits comment; on the other hand, the other person you refer to has had comments edited. How in the world do you *know* the relative stringency of the treatment accorded commenters, without the relevant information.

    2. pgl

      Risk Stryker? Well I have referred to THE RICK as the Rickster so maybe it is my fault you cannot spell his name.

      As for Bruce Hall making “meaningless” comments, I guess that is a polite way of saying getting every single thing wrong every single time.

      Reply
    3. pgl

      One has to wonder how Princeton Steve treats comment on his blog except for the fact that NO ONE read his blog. Hey Steve – you get to criticize only when you have a blog that the rest of the world takes seriously.

      Reply
    4. Rick Stryker

      Thanks for your kind words Steven.

      Yes, I agree this policy is long overdue, but I think it may be too little, too late. I got sick of the continued ad hominem attacks and lost interest in commenting on or reading this blog. I’m sure a lot of people have.

      I don’t think you can require people to use their real names though without losing a lot of commenters, especially conservatively-oriented ones. The cancel culture is very real and getting worse and worse all the time. I’ve been attacked personally quite a bit on this blog but there are no consequences in the real world since I don’t use my real name. It’s annoying but that’s about as far as it goes. You, on the other hand, have been perhaps the most significant victim of these personal attacks that go after your professional competence, your motives, and your ethics, the effects of which are all the worse since you use your real name. I’m amazed you keep trying given all the abuse.

      By the way, are you still in Princeton? I go by there occasionally, so maybe we can meet up one of these days if you are still there, Covid willing. But you’ll have to promise not to reveal my secret identity. Poor Menzie is caught between the Scylla of Type I error and the Charybdis of Type 2 error and I’d like to keep it that way.

      Reply
  7. Ivan

    So if I were to write a comment right here about this Junk Yard dog from Newsmax who commented on the look of Biden’s beautiful German Shepard – would that be out of bounce?

    Reply
    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Ivan: No, as long as no racist/misogynistic views, and no profanity. On the other hand, if there were 20 comments on the Biden’s dog (or 20 other comments on one single unrelated topic), then yes.

      Reply
        1. pgl

          When I spent a year at Yale, one of our mates was from your neck of the woods. We would always hand him a copy of the New York Times holding it upside down so he could read it properly.

          Reply
    2. pgl

      In my view, only big dogs should be allowed in the White House and the older the dog the better. So have at it with that clown who attacked Biden’s elder dog.

      Reply
  8. pgl

    Speaking of people making mean comments and getting banned – Neera Tandem may not become OMB director because DINO Senator and perhaps all 50 Republicans do not like getting criticize on The Twitter by a woman. They do not hold men to this standard apparently.

    But Hugh Hewitt came out with a strong oped saying she should be put on the OMB. Now I generally just about every word uttered by Hewitt so I may have to change my mind in one way. Either decide Tandem must go since the dreaded Hewitt endorsed her or admit that Hewitt might actually make a decent point once in a blue moon.

    Reply
  9. eConned

    What were the initial policies? Additionally, what prevent their being enforced or need to be enforced? I’m interested how this has suddenly become a problem of such concern & particularly for a blog that has been in existence for such a long time. Is it due to a slew of new guests/commenters? If so, is there a particular post responsible for the uptick in guests? I’m wondering if there might be correlation. In any case, I’m glad this is being addressed as reading comments on (mostly Menzie’s) posts is often a display of mudslinging from the blog’s guests and host.

    Reply
  10. ltr

    1) I personally believe that ltr’s and Ivan’s behavior is consistent with paid employees…

    2) Should you want to get rid of ltr or Ivan, it’s not particularly hard to do…

    3) And keep in mind that the freedom of this debate is aspirational for people like ltr. That’s not the world they inhabit in…

    [ Unfortunately, I noticed these wild and crude and threatening remarks. I have never ever mentioned this writer and never will. However, the writer is repeatedly wildly and crudely insulting and threatening and I would much prefer that this writer never ever mention me again. This writer is intensely prejudiced and calculatedly frightening. I trust this writer will never again mention me. ]

    Reply
    1. Steven Kopits

      One of the things not being enforced is civility. You cannot have a discussion without civility. Menzie sets a low bar: “no racist/misogynistic views, and no profanity.” But unwarranted ad hominem attacks are ok.

      Reply
      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Steven Kopits: In the post, you can see (verbatim text): “commenters should restrict themselves to civil discussion” and “failure to adhere to this policy will constitute cause for editorial action.”

        Recall this text, characterizing another commenter?: “someone with a serious mental disorder.” You wrote it.

        “Put up or shut up.” You wrote that.

        “But I have to wonder why you even teach economics. You don’t seem to believe in it at all.” You wrote that of me.

        Gee, and you’re the civility police?

        Reply
    2. Steven Kopits

      “I noticed these wild and crude and threatening remarks”

      And keep in mind that the freedom of this debate is aspirational for people like ltr. That’s not the world they inhabit in…

      I had no idea that free debate was ‘crude and threatening’.

      Reply
  11. ltr

    Donald Trump was in my mind above all frightening or threatening. Being openly threatening this president set a tone and example that we will be long in showing express disapproval of and limiting. This influence of this purposely crude president however will steadily fade and be viewed increasingly as an anomaly. Lesser crude political figures have lost influence quicker, but the influence of this president is already fading.

    Reply
  12. Not Trampis

    Menzie what was the point of saying ‘ Comments should be directed to the topic of the original post’ if you are going tp ignore it.

    Reply
    1. baffling

      he will ignore it if it is only a minor inconvenience. if the off topic comments take over the thread, he reserves the right to take action as needed. he maintains the right to keep a gray area in how he implements the policy. this is good. fair enough. it is his blog.

      Reply
  13. baffling

    off topic, but a suggestion. especially since i am in the middle of it. would be interesting to hear some commentary from Prof. Chinn or Prof. Hamilton regarding the market failure in Texas last week. from an economics perspective, this is a wonderful economic experiment that was closed off from external influences-ie other states had little impact on the market failure run texas. it shows limitations of free markets and regulations. interestingly, the WSJ even noted that over the past two decades the retail electricity users lost billions of dollars to this deregulated marketplace. this will probably serve as a case study for years to come. lets get past the politics of the event, and examine what happened from an economics model perspective.

    Reply
  14. Manfred

    I am assuming that the policy also holds for the owners of this blog. I am assuming that the owners (or one of the owners) will not act like King George III (or Joe Biden for that matter) issuing decrees and executive orders against commenters, but not be subject to them themselves.
    As a very, very hypothetical example, say one of the owners accuses a commenter without any foundation that “he or she aided and abetted the use of a term that spurs violence”, so that implying that the commenter (hypothetically speaking) spurred violence; this sounds very inflammatory to me, and probably subject to harsh penalties under the restatement of the policy.
    Or, again, very hypothetically speaking, suppose one of the owners of this blog accuses a whole group of people of “being insane” for supporting a certain candidate to the Federal Reserve Board. This is a very hypothetical example, but such blog entry could for example include the whole editorial board of a major newspaper in this country – a newspaper that could be known for not being insane. So, hypothetically speaking, is this a violation of the policy, calling names to a whole group of people just for supporting said candidate for a hypothetical position on the Fed Board? Because this sounds like a normal difference of opinion to me, without necessitating the word “insane”. But again, all of this is very hypothetical.
    Or, as a final hypothetical example – this is only very hypothetical unrelated to reality – suppose one of the owner of this blog shows a picture of the members of the Senate Judiciary committee of a certain party only – when a certain candidate to a very high position in the Judicial Branch was being considered and accusations against said candidate were leveled. This is very hypothetical, but such entry in the blog could be construed as very inflammatory, because the members of the Senate Judiciary committee of the party in question are all of a certain ethnicity (in this hypothetical example) so that the blog entry could imply racism and mysoginism and oppression of a certain gender. Such blog entry would sound very inflammatory to me; but again, this is a very, very hypothetical example, unrelated to reality, so I guess I do not have to worry.
    All of this is very hypothetically speaking, not that this actually happened or will ever happen in reality.
    Otherwise, sure, I agree with the policy.

    Reply
      1. Manfred

        Menzie: just for the record – you called the whole Republican Party anti-science, because they questioned some aspects of climate change.
        So much for civility. You forget that in many instances Democrats also are anti-science, but you conveniently forget that. So yes, very partisan.

        Reply
        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Manfred: Could you do me the favor of quoting me correctly? “…the anti-science faction has dominated the Republican party for a very long time.” Logically, if I were asserting the entire Republican Party was anti-science, I would not need to mention the “faction”. Hopefully, that logic is clear to you.

          Reply
    1. baffling

      “I am assuming that the owners (or one of the owners) will not act like King George III (or Joe Biden for that matter) issuing decrees and executive orders against commenters, but not be subject to them themselves.”
      a blog is not a democracy. the folks who host the blog run the blog. their roof, their rules. a commentator is simply privileged to monitor and have some conversation in the blog. it is not a right, and you are not entitled to say whatever you want. menzie goes out of his way to permit folks i certainly would have banned previously. if menzie were to be too strict in his editorial enforcement, there may be a loss of visitors to the blog. since that is not what he wants, i would assume he takes a reasonable approach to editorial oversight. on the other hand manfred, his topical choice is his own. if you think the blog is too biased or inflammatory, my advice would be to find a blog more amenable to your views or not be so sensitive. i think you have a very grave misunderstanding of the first amendment.

      Reply
    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Manfred: I am unable to locate a post I have written where I indicate that people who support Judy Shelton for Fed governor are “insane”. Please provide a URL and/or date-of-post.

      Thank you in advance for your time and attention.

      Reply
      1. Manfred

        Menzie –
        you said that the nomination and support for Judy Shelton was an astonishment to all “sane people”.
        Which means, by applying cold hard logic, that support for Judy Shelton is insane.
        That would include the editorial board of the Wall Street Journal.
        I cannot look for the link now, it was in post with different comments (one comment was were you laughed about people believing that the
        multiplier is zero, no matter what some research says, but that is another story).

        You see Menzie, you like to dish it out, but you cannot take it in.
        You dish it out, but then when somebody dishes it back, you whine “so much for civility”.

        Reply
        1. 2slugbaits

          Manfred (one comment was were you laughed about people believing that the multiplier is zero, no matter what some research says, but that is another story).

          Can you explain how it is even mathematically possible for the multiplier to be zero? Please show your work. And if you can’t, then wouldn’t you agree that people who claim it is zero are not playing with a full deck?

          Reply
          1. Barkley Rosser

            2slug,

            Think US economy 1943-44, smack on the production possibilities frontier, not the essentially meaningless “potential output” that gets so much attention here (how many times have we been above such a measure with no uptick of inflation?). That was the world of Rosie the Riveter and Blacks being employed doing things they never had done before, a world of rationing and no civilian automobilies (or tires) being produced. the world of the Principles textbook “guns vs butter” ppf. In such a world, a decision to spend yet more on guns may well have to come at the expense of reducing production of an equivalent amount of civilian goods (oh, now we need to shut down building houses because too much steel is going to build more tanks). In such a world the multiplier can most certainly be zero.

            Or do you need some math for that?

          2. 2slugbaits

            Barkley Rosser Well, it looks like we’ve wondered off topic (viz., the comment moderation policy), so I hope Menzie forgives us. Anyway, you’re the economist, not me, but my understanding is that the PPF refers to real output whereas the fiscal multiplier is a creature of nominal output. I can certainly agree that a reallocation of resources that lowers productivity could shrink the PPF; however, if that shift occurred because of fiscal stimulus in the context of an economy already operating at the PPF, then presumably that lower productivity would manifest as inflation.

          3. Barkley Rosser

            Yeah, 2slug, we have gone off topic, and this is not at all any defense of Manfred’s comments on the topic, regarding which I think Menzie is handling things just fine.

            In its original formulation the multiplier was posed in terms of employment by Kahn, which implies real output. It has since been formulated in both real and nominal terms. Certainly one could have a multiplier that is indeed not only greater than zero but greater than one in nominal terms but is zero in real terms. OTOH, if it is like the temporary command capitalist economy that the US was in 1944 there price and wage controls, which if absolutely enforced could have the outcome be a zero multiplier in both real and nominal terms.

            Oh, and the case I presented is not one of the “ppf shrinking” but of moving along an unmoving ppf, the classic textbook trading off butter for guns, no net change in aggregate real output (and if strict price controls no net change in the price level either).

          4. 2slugbaits

            the case I presented is not one of the “ppf shrinking” but of moving along an unmoving ppf,

            Right. I was sloppy in my comment, but I knew what you meant.

        2. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Manfred: I see that you didn’t address any of the examples I cited.

          By the way, the folks at the editorial board of WSJ could have still been astonished even if they supported Shelton’s nomination. Do we know? Do you have an inside line to the editorial page writers? In other words, one could be astonished because (1) the nominee is unqualified, (2) it is surprising they tapped this individual for other reasons, and/or (3) they did not think the nomination likely to pass.

          Reply
  15. macroduck

    Seems to me, the proprietors of this blog have two choices:

    1) Skinner
    2) Non-Skinner

    Menzie, by engaging with complainers, you are adopting option 2. As an operational choice (sorry), you might do better with option 1. Quibbling over squishy notions like “meaning” and “intent” and “ambiguity” can go on and on without ever improving behavior. On the other hand, “cookie/no cookie” will get the message across with a minimum of fuss. Godlike authority is not to be abandoned lightly, and you’ll be spared the need to refresh complainers’ memories.

    Reply
  16. EConned

    My prior comment isn’t showing show I’ll try again…
    I’m interested in the site’s prior policy and anything prompting such a long-running blog to adopt new policy. Has there been a recent influx of new guests and if so can their arrival be attributed to a particular blog post? It does seem that Menzie’s posts and comments both attract and accommodate banter that is pretentious and juvenile – it could be the much more subjective and overtly partisan nature of Menzie’s posts (relative to JDH and other econbloggers). This also seems a lesson for Menzie in engaging with the commenters. The company one keeps…

    Reply
    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      EConned: Historically we have asked for readers to allow 24 hours for moderators to approve comments. I am sorry to have inconvenienced you.

      I’ve been accused of being too concerned about budget deficits, too concerned about under-resourcing our military efforts in Afghanistan, too pro-free-trade. These used to be “conservative” perspectives. I would suspect you are one of those newfangled conservatives who is happy with budget deficits, wanted to quit Afghanistan early on, and loves tariffs.

      Curious – just what is the set of econbloggers you consider me more subjective than? Names appreciated.

      Reply
      1. EConned

        It is not so much an inconvenience but considering there isn’t a readily accessible list of policies and no disclaimer when commenting, how could I know if it was an error on my part, or censoring, or a 24hr policy, etc…? It seems the lack of clear policies is a recurring source of inconvenience within this blog. As such, will this be post be pinned or will a list of policies be explicit in the sidebar? To what level do you believe markets should be free and what form of efficient markets do you believe in? As a trained economist you should also be aware of the literature supporting market design. Maybe a little more application of these concepts within this blog could help foster the environment that you seek.

        You suspicions of my policy stances are wholly unfounded and also completely irrelevant to the topic at hand. Both making baseless assumptions of others AND not keeping to the topic at hand are very nice examples of how you’re specifically driving the behaviors you’re seeking to prevent from your guests. Also, it should be noted that categorizing individuals into blanketed stereotypes with zero support is, if nothing else, a subjective act. While certainly of a vastly different magnitude, is it much different than your (justified) concerns of targets against Asian and other groups? Moreover, your gripes regarding complaints against your policy concerns are impossible to assess without proper context (context that is neither the focus of this post nor my comment). These types of comments often lead to unnecessary escalations and obfuscating tangents. I’ve noticed that the tenor of blogs typically mirror the behavior of its hosts with very few exceptions.

        Your blogging is more subjective than James Hamilton, Scott Sumner, Tim Duy, Alex Tabarrok, Bryan Caplan, David Beckworth, and Bill McBride to name a few.

        Again, any reason why you find that this new policy needs to be enforced now? Is it new commenters? It’s certainly “interesting” that a blog of 15+ years is suddenly implementing a seemingly fundamental policy.

        Reply
        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          eConned: Your assertion that my blogging is more subjective than Alex Tabarrok and Bryan Caplan is interesting. That statement speaks volumes, for me.

          I have no views on *your* policy stances. I stated *my* policy stances as documented on this weblog, and observed that these were traditionally (in the American context) conservative views – so why am I partisan?

          Now, if you want to write that being concerned with, say ethnic/racial/gender bias in who gets to make policy, is “partisan”, then I can’t stop you. From my perspective, I’ve substantially limited the discussion of ethnic/racial issues a lot, given the importance of such issues in the economy/society at large. However, your discussion of “partisan/nonpartisan” speaks volumes as well.

          Reply
          1. EConned

            First… You absolutely did state your views on *my* policy stances in stating you suspect I am “one of those newfangled conservatives who is happy with budget deficits, wanted to quit Afghanistan early on, and loves tariffs.” And you made this claim with absolutely zero support whatsoever. None. Are you sure you don’t want to amend your response(s)? That you’re denying your very own comments on this weblog speaks volumes.

            Second… I haven’t suggested that I “want to write that being concerned with, say ethnic/racial/gender bias in who gets to make policy, is “partisan””. This is another unfounded and baseless claim against one of your guests which speaks volumes as well.

          2. EConned

            Menzie…
            So, do you care to retract or amend any of your assertions or assumptions or will you continue to ignore them as if they didn’t occur? You could just apologize and admit that you were wrong to act in such a way.

          3. Menzie Chinn Post author

            EConned: Sorry, I don’t know what I’m to apologize for. Is it for having *suspicions* about your positions given you have characterized me as partisan? Is it for taking up to 24 hours to moderate comments w/o full disclosure by myself or Jim? Can you please be more specific?

            For full disclosure, on staff for CEA, I served both a Democratic and Republican president, I believe faithfully. I advised on CBO analyses, without to my knowledge any charges of partisanship. Could it be that partisanship is in the eye of the beholder?

          4. EConned

            Menzie…
            I know there’s a lot going on in this dumpster fire of a post but I was specific in my initial suggestion for you to rethink your comments. I’ll repost in its entirety …
            “ First… You absolutely did state your views on *my* policy stances in stating you suspect I am “one of those newfangled conservatives who is happy with budget deficits, wanted to quit Afghanistan early on, and loves tariffs.” And you made this claim with absolutely zero support whatsoever. None. Are you sure you don’t want to amend your response(s)? That you’re denying your very own comments on this weblog speaks volumes.

            Second… I haven’t suggested that I “want to write that being concerned with, say ethnic/racial/gender bias in who gets to make policy, is “partisan””. This is another unfounded and baseless claim against one of your guests which speaks volumes as well.”

            As to a prior employer, how is that at all relevant wrt your blog posts and comments? – I’m certainly not biting on your logical fallacy (would this be affirming the consequent? – can’t recall).

          5. Menzie Chinn Post author

            EConned: If you state without description that I am partisan, then I am allowed to respond as best I can given no information.

            You wrote: “Also, it should be noted that categorizing individuals into blanketed stereotypes with zero support is, if nothing else, a subjective act. While certainly of a vastly different magnitude, is it much different than your (justified) concerns of targets against Asian and other groups?” Well, you brought up the topic of bias, re: ethnic groups.

            Prior employer is relevant in the sense that I know what patisanship is. I know where I sit in the spectrum of macroeconomists, and more broadly *economists*. Could it be that you are overly sensitive because you lie on one part of the spectrum. Look at the last 10 posts by me. Aside from (potentially) the post on “inflammatory language”, what posts are “partisan” in your view.

          6. Baffling

            My bet, this is rick. Changed his moniker once he realized what it referenced. I cant imagine another person out there embraces the art of the “technicality” argument as much as him.

          7. EConned

            Menzie,
            Just because I casually referenced biases against ethnic groups as a point of compassion to show that you acted similarly, this in no way suggests that I “want to write that being concerned with, say ethnic/racial/gender bias in who gets to make policy, is “partisan””. Either you misread or you misunderstood. Period.

            I’m “overly sensitive” (and laughing now as your comment forced me to imagine a QAnon follower labeling someone a snowflake after calling FoxNews or Roger Stone or Alex Jones or DJT biased/partisan) because I don’t like when analysts (particularly economists) don’t acknowledge their biases.

            I see that you’re jumping directly from one logical fallacy to now seeking an appeal to recency bias… I’m eagerly awaiting to see what’s next.

            Are you still not going to acknowledge that you’re in the wrong by making completely unfounded suggestions regarding my views? I’ll make a suggestion about you – your baseless claims about me are likely due to your biases. I wonder if you’re able to fathom the concept that an individual could have very similar political/policy views when compared to you yet they can still view your public writings as partisan and bias (or maybe this is your snowflake-equivalent). Your comments/replies have spoken volumes.

          8. baffling

            rick, i am curious why you felt the need to change your moniker when posting on the blog these days? not sure what you are trying to achieve with such trickery! seems a bit sophomoric to me, considering the criticisms you are leveling at menzie.

        2. baffling

          “It is not so much an inconvenience but considering there isn’t a readily accessible list of policies and no disclaimer when commenting, how could I know if it was an error on my part, or censoring, or a 24hr policy, etc…? ”
          in reality, why should these rules be posted? menzie has also stated the rules, and they are by no means egregious. if you operate in a basically humane way with consideration of others, it is fair to assume you will not be in violation.
          econned, you seem to want rules posted, to see how close you can come to them before crossing them. this also encourages reckless behavior on the part of commentators. it is also how a toddler behaves, seeing how far they can push before getting into trouble.

          Reply
          1. EConned

            I agree most of your comments.
            As to your question “why should these rules be posted”… because if I knew about the 24hr policy I wouldn’t have assumed my comment didn’t go through and this reformulated my comment.
            As to your assertion that I “seem to want rules posted, to see how close [I] can come to them before crossing them.” Is not based in evidence or reality. It’s a rather “baffling declaration. It is obvious that the hosts have a problem with comments that are not published in a “basically humane way with consideration of others”. If not, this post wouldn’t be needed. As such, if it’s important enough to make a post, one must assume the problem is ongoing and that commenters of this blog are serial offenders. It seems impracticable to expect future or current readers who are attracted to this blog to search through every post for the rules of discussion especially as we know that readers of this blog have not followed the newly established rules. This isn’t about me at all, rather I think it would make things easier on the hosts.

            I suppose that we disagree.

        3. Menzie Chinn Post author

          eConned: I must confess I never thought that writing down the policy would elicit such concern. Perhaps we have been too informal, and we should consult a lawyer to write up some language. If you wish to find the 24 hour tradition noted, search through comments posted by Jim H. It’s more of a plea – both of us have day jobs.

          Reply
          1. EConned

            Jeeez. There no “concern” and your consulting an attorney is extreme for an econblog. Why would I need to search through comments posted by Jim H considering you’ve already told me the policy? I’m finding it hilarious that everyone so upset with my questions.

    2. baffling

      “I’m interested in the site’s prior policy and anything prompting such a long-running blog to adopt new policy.”
      really, what is your interest? why? you think you should have influence on how menzie runs his blog? really? it is pretty pompous to think a commentator has the right to tell somebody how to host the blog. why not simply follow the rules the host asks of commentators. there is really no need to question those rules. you are not being forced to participate on this blog in any way. if you do not want to follow the rules, you simply log off of the blog. do you walk into your neighbors house and proceed to tell them how they should change their way of life? foolish and entitled mentality.

      Reply
      1. EConned

        Very baffling comments.
        I haven’t gone outside of the rules.
        How is curiosity the same as entitled?
        Let’s assume this neighbor hypothetical… I have a neighbor I visit almost daily for decade to have a post-work beer. And then I appeared at their house this evening and they said that no beer was allowed on their property. Yes, I would be curious and ask questions.

        I just think it’s interesting a long established blog has suddenly the need to point out such issues. It’s known that blogs experience new traffic due to certain posts and can lead to changes in the comment sections.

        You’re mighty upset about my comments and questions. Maybe go have a beer, it’s almost the weekend – but stay at home, your neighbor could have a new “no beer” policy effective immediately.

        Reply
        1. baffling

          econned, you sound almost like rick.

          “I have a neighbor I visit almost daily for decade to have a post-work beer.”
          have you been coming here daily and commenting? if not, then your hypothetical is a poor comparison.

          a better hypothetical is you have been walking by your neighbors house for years, never even saying hello as he sat outside on his porch drinking a post work beer. then one day you see him not drinking a beer, saunter up to the stairs, and ask him why he is suddenly against drinking beer? that would be a better hypothetical to consider.

          Reply
          1. EConned

            Hahaha – that’s really a great response.

            The truth is that I used to comment years ago but stopped because of how trashy the comment section became. I recall what I thought to be unnecessary and sophomoric mudslinging between commenters and Menzie (don’t recall the same from JDH).

            So I suppose to be correct, I drank beer daily at a bar but stopped because I became displeased by the discourse between the bartender and regular patrons. I continued to walk by the bar on a daily basis and would shake my head when overhearing their arguing and pettiness. Then one day there was a sign outside the bar stating “new policy – no arguing at the bar”. As such, I decided to join for drinks only to find the bartender and regulars still arguing and being petty.

          2. Baffling

            Econned, let me add one more thing to your bar hypothetical. If you went into that bar and made that statement, you most likely would have left with a black eye and bloody nose. Rick, i dont think anybody has ever been physically harmed on this blog.

  17. Roberto

    Menzie and James, this blog is an absolute delight. I check it every day/week and I would like to say thanks. I would also add, Menzie, that despite your best intentions to interact with readers in a civil and constructive way, the trolls (you know who they are) will keep coming back. So I would ignore them and delete their comments as you see fit — after all it is your blog. Hopefully they will go away.

    Reply
    1. Steven Kopits

      You’ll notice that ltr did not respond to my question above, and I believe has not posted on this thread since. Ditto for Ivan.

      And you can do that to them all day long across a wide range of topics. In this particular case, if ltr says China should be a democracy, she’ll lose her job. If she says it should be a dictatorship, then the commenters will jump all over her and the thread will be all about how bad China’s government is, which is bad propaganda. It’s not particularly hard to get rid of trolls, at least Chinese trolls.

      The Russian trolls, god bless them, often engage in actual debate because, of course, they have no meaningful oversight in Russia. So they can largely speak their minds. I have had very good debates with them. As a Hungarian, I understand Russians. Hungarians hate communists and Soviets, but interestingly, not Russians (although they certainly fear Russia). We understand where their hearts are.

      The Chinese by contrast are much more organized. But I understand them too. I know those communist bureaucracies, because I used to be their consultant.

      It’s Saturday, so I’ll go off on a tangent to illustrate the point. In 1998, my wife and I were living in Budapest and took our ten month old daughter to Provence for the weekend. Of course, our car was burgled in Aix-en-Provence before we left for the airport and they took everything except the cases of wine from Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (So French.) We had to fly home through Brussels and arrived back at the old Ferihegy 1 terminal at Budapest airport around 9 pm. We were both in a foul mood and our little daughter was restive. There was a long line at passport control, with of course one single agent painstakingly examining every stamp in every passport. Everyone was smoking and a haze filled the room.

      So I took out my mobile phone and call information. I got the number of Ferihegy Airport and then the number of passport control, and I spoke to the supervisor who lamented that he had only one agent and that we would just have to be patient. I said I understood, and I said I just wanted his name. The line went dead, and five minutes later we were through passport control.

      That, my friends, is also the way communist bureaucracies work. (Of course, socialism ended in Hungary in 1990, but the bureaucracies were essentially unreformed for many years thereafter.)

      Ivan and ltr, to the extent I am correct about their professional affiliations, do not have an easy position. Ivan I think is pretty good at his talking points. He would do a first rate job working for, say, Josh Hawley or Ted Cruz. Ltr is a nice person in a bad job. Don’t stay too long, for it will make you a bitter person over time.

      In any event, it’s not too hard to shake off trolls if that is the intent.

      Reply
      1. Menzie Chinn Post author

        Steven Kopits: Truly, it is not fruitful to speculate on who is a troll, and who is a readily identifiable (by hosts, through software) is not. I can say with high confidence you are wrong on Ivan. Put that in the “Menzie Chinn is intimidated by China” can.

        Reply
        1. Steven Kopits

          Why is it not fruitful? If I am in a dialogue with a paid agent of the Chinese government, I think that’s relevant. Don’t you want to know if a paid agent of the Chinese government is spreading propaganda through your blog?

          Reply
      2. Barkley Rosser

        Steven,

        I do not know if ltr is paid or not by certain parties, although it is certainly true that she adheres very closely to official CCP lines here. I have urged her to say something that would disagree with their lines to show her independence. I do not think she has done so here so far, although over on Econospeak the poster I think is her did post something about China possibly setting up a digital currency that referred to Hong Kong as a “country,” which may not be in accord with the official line, although maybe that is allowed for topics where the different systems (and exchange rates) between PRC proper and Hong Kong are under discussion.

        That said I shall continue to defend her willingness to be open to factual discussions on non-China topics. I note that she has just accepted correction regarding the Marshall Plan from Menzie, and I have seen her accept arguments on other matters when a factual issue is involved.

        I note that I am someone who has defended you on similar grounds, including even saying complmentary things about your intelligence and knowledge of certain matters, although actually I think ltr is more open to changing her mind on factual matters than you are, although in her case with the exception of matters related to the PRC, and you are more so than many here.

        Again, Steven, if ltr is who pgl and I think she is, then she was long a frequent commenter on Mark Thoma’s Economists View. She always had a pro-China position there, although I do not remember it being so strictly in accord with the party line. it may have been, but back then there was less upset abroad about Chinese actions, so it may not have been as noticeable as it is now.

        Reply
        1. Steven Kopits

          Barkley –

          As I have stated, I don’t have a problem interacting with trolls. But I prefer to know their affiliations. Ltr is free to make those, or her independence, plain. If she is an English teacher in Norway, say so. She is also free to say that China should remain a dictatorship and the Uighurs should be purged. But then take the shots that come with it. If you’re here, engage in debate. Let’s see the strength of her intellect and ideas. Let’s see the rigor of her research and data. Otherwise, she walks and talks like a troll, so that’s my assumption about her given the information available to me. She is free to disabuse me.

          Reply
  18. Barkley Rosser

    Menzie,

    Maybe this has now been clarified, but I confess to seeing one point now muddled with the policy clearly unclear. Your original post listed “posting on topic” as a concern. But in discussions especially with Not Trampis but others as well such as Ivan it seems that it is not really a big deal after all, with your main concern being about racist and misogynistic comments. If that is the deal, fine, but it is now unclear what the standard is on off-topic posts, and I note that Jim complained about ltr and Moses Herzog posting off-topic comments on his last thread here.

    In response to Ivan’s hypothetical about introducing a comment about Biden’s dog, you seem to say that it is OK, but if he does it 20 times it is not. Well, what is the cutoff? Saying it is OK up to 19 times on a single off-topic by a single person looks to me to pretty much blow that concern out the window. I think this needs some clarification, please.

    Reply
  19. Barkley Rosser

    I am smelling a rat here. I may be wrong, but in the last few days we have had three posters under different monikers suddenly here posting very similar things and with a very similar, extremely pompous tone. I speaking about “Bill Sumption,” “johannes” (who commented favorably on Bill Sumption’s post on another thread), and now this “eConned.” I have been posting on this blog since soon after it started and know both Jim and Menzie personally. All of these, although maybe they are really three different people, claim to have posted back in the good old days before Menzie was here, when all was civil blah blah blah. Yes, I agree that it was more civil back then, but it is also the case that polarization of views has accelerated since then. However, it may be that this is just more proof that Moses Herzog is right about me suffering from the now forbidden “s word” that supposedly both Biden and Pelosi suffer from, but, frankly, I do not remember any of these three from back then, although it is certainly possible that they posted under different monikers, and it also may simply be that we are talking a long time ago. At least two of them have mentioned how things were “fifteen years ago,” and, well, I could easily have forgotten them in that amount of time, because none of them have been around more recently under these monikers, of that I am reasonably certain (although less certain about johannes, maybe he has, and maybe he is distinct while “eConned” and “Bill Sumption” are one and the same).

    “Bill Sumption” of course inappropriately jumped into a thread of Menzie’s to post a message to Jim Hamilton, essentially calling on him to step in and discipline Menzie. I stated there and repeat here that if Jim has actually seen this post by B.S., he is embarrassed by it. The inappropriate pomposity and placement of it at a minimum made it unacceptable. Several of us dumped on him for this, although “johannes” chimed in to support him, declaring that this blog is just full of hatred for Trump and Steven Kopits. I noted there that indeed lots of people do denounce them, while we also have people defending them, and a few who actually take more nuanced positions on at least S.K. (hack cough). No reply from either of them to that so far.

    Anyway, I am wondering if after getting his hand slapped on another thread, B.S. has decided to show up here as this “eConned” who has basically been insufferable, going on and on about how there is some problem because either Menzie never posted rules in the past (although in faxt he has stated them in threads numerous times) or that he is doing so now, and taking offense that he somehow was not informed that there might be a delay in getting a comment of his up, which happens on most blogs. He has even had the nerve to suggest that somehow Menzie should be putting in a sdiebar his views on the effiiciency of markets or how they compare to market design or something like that.

    Anyway, maybe I am reading too much into all this and also suffering from memory loss. Maybe all three of these posters are three separate people who all posted once upon a time here in the good old days, and it is simply a coincidence that with similar tones and proclaimed backgrounds (although neither jonannes nor eConned has claimed to know Jim H,’s father as Bill Sumption has) regarding the blog have all showed up now more or less out of the blue, posting lots of very pompous posts with a strong and essentially identical ideological tone. Whatever.

    Reply
  20. Barkley Rosser

    Regarding my rat-smelling something else has occurred to me further that is fishy here. I now kind of think maybe johannes has been around, although I am not going to check. But even if they were around in the distant past, and are two separate people, there is a problem regarding Bill Sumption and “eConned.” I note that probably Bill Sumption is a real name. I can’t imagine somebody would come on here and claim to know Jim H. and his father without in fact knowing them, even though he made this claim on a thread of Menzie’s. Obviously “eConned” is just one of these madeup names people like to use around here.

    Anyway, here is the fishy part (I know, shame on me mixing up rats and fish): both of these guys have put out this whine about how they used to comment many years ago before no good Menzie showed up and brought in all these “new commenters” who are all a bunch of meanie Trump and Steven Kopits haters. They somehow, or at least B.S., expect Jim H. to come in and clean up the mess and return Econbrowser to its golden apolitical technical past. OK, fine.

    Here is the problem: Jim H. has continued to post all this time, if less frequently, and as in the past he continues not to engage in political discussions (or only very occasionally for very limited and precise points). It is true that some of those “new” commentators show up making off-topic comments that drag in politics and other stuff, but he tends to ignore them other than to note as he did on his last thread that they were posting off-topic (clearly against his wishes). So, the problem is that these pompous self-righteous commenters could have continued to comment on threads initiated by Jim and simply ignored the ones initiated by Menzie, if they think he is so ill-behaved. Why have they not been doing so? Why have they suddenly popped up here en masse pushing this weird line about “Menzie bad, Jim good” given that they appear not to have commented at all on any of his threads for something like 15 years? I mean, why?

    Not only is something fishy here, but it seems that there is something rotten in the state of Denmark here, and maybe some rats have something to do with it.

    Reply
    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Barkley Rosser: Bill Sumption is not recalled by either us, despite his assertions. eConned and johannes and Bill Sumption come in under different IP addresses, although of course individuals could disguise their actual IP addresses if they so desired. Rick Stryker routinely does so. So I think these are all different individuals. johannes is a long time commenter.

      There has been a long-standing differential in treatment of us hosts. The same commenter will address Jim as professor and me by my first name. That doesn’t even cover commenters who will question my allegiances because of my last name. I will daresay most of the commenters who do these things don’t even realize that they are possibly being offensive.

      Reply
      1. EConned

        This is unfortunate that your guests would treat you differently in the fashion you’ve cited. I hope that it changes and if anything I have said was taken out of context, I apologize and ask you to point it out to me.

        Reply
        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          EConned: In your present incarnation, you have not indulged in this behavior (I don’t know your previous incarnation). After observing some 15 years of commenting, I am thankful I’m not female; the treatment would be much worse.

          Reply
      2. Barkley Rosser

        Menzie,

        I take by your remark that “Bill Sumption is not recalled by either of us” that the “us” is you and Jim and you have communicated with him about this. Well, no wonder he commented on your thread rather than Jim’s. He was actually counting on Jim not noticing or commenting that he was just outright lying. YIkes! This particular rat is not only inappropriate but a stupid liar. Wow.

        Yes, I do remember johannes now.

        As for this eConned, or however it is capitalized, if he has commented here before I think he must have used another moniker. I have googled “eConned Econbrowser” and got nothing about any comments by someone so identified commenting here before this fresh batch of bizarre remarks. However I did learn that Yves Smith wrote a book entitled “Econned.” in 2014. I do not know if this commenter is inspired by that book or might even be Yves Smith, but I rather doubt the latter, although this is definitely weird.

        Yes, I had noticed what you comment on, this matter of people addressing you and Jim differently. This has ben regrettable. Of course I address both of you both by your first names, which is easy given that I know both of you. I do sometimes call him “Jim H.” because I worry that there may be other “Jims” commenting here so want to be clear. I think you are the only “Menzie” commenting here, although maybe there are no other Jims.

        Anyway, pretty weird this “Bill Sumption” had the nerve to blatantly lie here, if I am understanding things right, and I am not going to further respond to “eConned” given the incoherence of so much of what he is posting here.

        Reply
      3. Barkley Rosser

        Menzie,

        I note that in one of these old pages linked to there was somebody commenting identified as “Jim D.” So I was not improperly referring to you and Jim H. slightly differently out of concern that there might be confusion if I did not call him just “Jim.” As it is, I so not think I have ever referred to either of you ad “Professor” or “Dr.” although I stand to be corrected if I have done so. I do think people should treat the two of you consistently, whatever they are calling you all.

        Reply
    2. EConned

      Barkley Rosser…
      You say I “claim to have posted back in the good old days before Menzie was here, when all was civil blah blah blah.
      This is all false. I never said anything about or even implied “good old days” nor was I ever aware of a pre-Menzie era.

      You say I am “going on and on about how there is some problem because either Menzie never posted rules in the past (although in faxt he has stated them in threads numerous times) or that he is doing so now, and taking offense that he somehow was not informed that there might be a delay in getting a comment of his up, which happens on most blogs. He has even had the nerve to suggest that somehow Menzie should be putting in a sdiebar his views on the effiiciency of markets or how they compare to market design or something like that.”
      I don’t think you’ve thoroughly read my comments. Although it could be that I’m to blame and an absolutely atrocious communicator.

      You say “they used to comment many years ago before no good Menzie showed up and brought in all these “new commenters” who are all a bunch of meanie Trump and Steven Kopits haters.”
      All false. Every bit of it. I commented for years and this was always a problem. Again, a pre-Menzie era is news to me. And absolutely zero of this has to do with the last 6 words you typed above.

      You claim “So, the problem is that these pompous self-righteous commenters could have continued to comment on threads initiated by Jim and simply ignored the ones initiated by Menzie, if they think he is so ill-behaved.”
      That’s what I did as stated previously.

      You ask “Why have they suddenly popped up here en masse pushing this weird line about “Menzie bad, Jim good” given that they appear not to have commented at all on any of his threads for something like 15 years? I mean, why?”
      I was clear I stating this exact post as my reason to pop up and inquire about its sudden origin (also, I commented much more recently than 15 years ago).

      Also, I agree with “ one point now muddled with the policy clearly unclear. Your original post listed “posting on topic” as a concern. But in discussions especially with Not Trampis but others as well such as Ivan it seems that it is not really a big deal after all, with your main concern being about racist and misogynistic comments. If that is the deal, fine, but it is now unclear what the standard is on off-topic posts, and I note that Jim complained about ltr and Moses Herzog posting off-topic comments on his last thread here.

      In response to Ivan’s hypothetical about introducing a comment about Biden’s dog, you seem to say that it is OK, but if he does it 20 times it is not. Well, what is the cutoff? Saying it is OK up to 19 times on a single off-topic by a single person looks to me to pretty much blow that concern out the window. I think this needs some clarification, please.”

      Reply
      1. Steven Kopits

        I think the addition of Moses and in particular pgl really changed the dynamic. We had heated debates and there was ad hominem stuff from time to time, but nothing like recent times.

        Reply
          1. Steven Kopits

            Pgl’s posting increased enormously. He began commenting regularly in late 2017, and by March 2018 was often the first commenter on a post and commented multiple times.

            Prior to 2018, such comments as I could find from pgl were mostly short and technical. After late 2017, they become much more frequent and regularly abusive, which a number of other commenters noted.

            After that time, Moses and pgl lead much of the commenting, although Bruce and Slugs are also notable.

            I would guess that pgl had a life change around late 2017. Perhaps he retired. His mother, if she is still alive, should be around 90 now, so that puts pgl probably in the 60-65 range.

            As for ‘so what?’, I think it’s fair to say that Moses and pgl set the tone of the comments section from early 2018.

  21. ltr

    There has been a long-standing differential in treatment of us hosts. The same commenter will address Jim as professor and me by my first name. That doesn’t even cover commenters who will question my allegiances because of my last name. I will daresay most of the commenters who do these things don’t even realize that they are possibly being offensive.

    [ As discussed at length in a relevant course taught by a psychology professor, expressed prejudice is decidedly “realized.” Changing a speech pattern, is a realized change. This was just studied by economists for women presenters:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/23/business/economy/economics-women-gender-bias.html

    February 23, 2021

    For Women in Economics, the Hostility Is Out in the Open
    Studies have found that the field is plagued by a singular problem of gender bias. The latest evidence comes from the types of questions posed at seminars.
    By Ben Casselman ]

    Reply
  22. ltr

    There has been a long-standing differential in treatment of us hosts. The same commenter will address Jim as professor and me by my first name. That doesn’t even cover commenters who will question my allegiances because of my last name….

    [ This was immediately evident, and again changing an expressive pattern is realized. Interestingly, I remember William James writing just that in a letter some 120 years ago. James taught the first psychology course offered in this country. Among the students at various times were WEB Du Bois, George Santayana, Gertrude Stein… ]

    Reply
  23. Barkley Rosser

    This thread is pretty much burning out now, but I shall accept that I have played a role in some of the unfortunate ad hominemzing that has gone on here, and I support seeing a reduction of it, and I also think there had been a noticeable increase in it in recent years by several parties. I think one possible reason for that was the increase in conflict after Trump became president, with much of the worst such ad hominem attacks, although not all, going across the political divide. I do hope we shall see a sharp reduction of it, and it looks like some parties may have cut back at least somewhat.

    Anyway, regarding my own contributions to this unfortunate tendency, I think the solid majority of my ad hominem comments involved a single individual and a solid majority of those were in response to ad hominem attacks made against me by that individual, although not all in both cases. I have offered several times a “peace agreement” with that individual without ever getting a reply. However, it may be that it may have come into de facto effect, and if that is the case I welcome it and will not initiate any ad hominem attacks against that individual, whom I am clearly avoiding naming here.

    Reply

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