Arnold Kling  

Comment Dialogs--take them off line

Robin Hanson's View of the Wor... Co-operative Signaling...

A sure sign that a comment thread is degenerating is when two commenters argue a point back and forth. From now on, before you enter a third comment that in such a sequence, I recommend taking the discussion off line.

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COMMENTS (6 to date)
Jadagul writes:

I'm probably in the minority on this, but for the record I often enjoy reading long back-and-forths between two commenters. (As long as it's an intelligent discussion and not reams of abuse, of course). Some of my favorite comment threads have been the results of two or three people batting a discussion back and forth, and I'm often disappointed when an otherwise interesting exchange gets taken offline.

That said, it is of course your blog and your rules.

Patrick writes:

I second Jadagul.

Just the other week there was a long debate in the comments thread about oil prices by two people who worked in commodities trading. It was some of the most intelligent commentary about the issue I've read anywhere, and it would be a shame to see it go offline.

Ajay writes:

Let me third that. While I agree that these back-and-forths are more likely to consist of verbal abuse or nitpicking than reasoned debate, it is worth it for the times when it is the latter. Since the costs of having it online are minimal, as it costs practically nothing to publish them and readers can easily skip those comments, I see no reason to ask these people to go offline. Of course, you can always step in and ask them to keep it down if they start bashing each other personally or the rancor gets out of hand in some other way.

This is just a continuation of Arnold's anti-comment bias.

I second what the above commenters said. As long as the conversation is civil, I see no problem with back and forth. It's easy for the rest of us to skip what we're not interested in. I think it is a good idea--and maybe this is what you were getting at--not to just keep repeating arguments. Simple repetition doesn't strengthen an argument.

Ted Craig writes:

I'm with Arnold. The back-and-forth usually adds nothing new to the conversation and often turns nasty. It's mainly an issue of people feeling they must argue until the other side sees they're right.

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