An Exchange on Comment Moderating

A few minutes ago I deleted a comment from a conservative commenter, “Gaydude,” that was an obnoxious and personal attack in response to liberal commenter “ArthurKirkland.” GayDude then wrote another comment directed to me that I think deserves a wider audience:

Wait, my post criticizing Arthur’s post was removed? Oh, right, this is an Orin Kerr thread. And now I will post a comment that is much less civil than what I posted before, but it needs to be said, even if it gets me banned. (And hopefully it will.) A message to Orin…

Orin Kerr, in your quest to prove how fair you are (due to your own Kennedy-esque insecurity that stems from not being loved enough by others in your field), you insist on trying to make everything look fair, even when the situation doesn’t call for it . Notice how you make a comment about both DailyKos and RedState. In this situation, it’s perhaps not too bad, but you do this all the time. If you criticize something from the Left, you will always do the same to something from the Right, even if the things or comments or posters in question are not at all the same in terms of degree, just so you can feel better about yourself. It is not intelligent moderation.

On a side note, this kind of silly fairness desire (that is really not fair at all in reality) is exactly what leads to silly rules in schools, in crime & punishment, etc. You are probably against people who shut off their brains in those areas, but fail to see how your kind of “liberal” fairness thinking is actually quite similar to those who do those things (though the reasons for the desire may be different).

Do not confuse this behavior with that of those who intelligently consider all sides. It’s based on something entirely different.

And with that, please ban me. I do hope that one day you will realize there is at least a bit of truth to what I’m saying here.

A few thoughts in response.

First, I think this is the first time a commenter has criticized my comment moderating on the ground that I am trying to be fair. Normally, those who find their uncivil comment deleted claim that I harbor a bias against the commenter and I am afraid to recognize the deep truth of their message. So this is a bit new, and I appreciate that.

Second, moderating comments can make you feel many things, but one thing it cannot make you feel is deeply loved. The kinds of people who write uncivil comments are the kinds of people who get furious when their comments are deleted. They often write in with very angry responses filled with an unusual number of four-letter words, usually indicating their belief that you have some deep-seated insecurity that is making you not realize how right they are. If you need to feel loved, you don’t generally volunteer to spend your time interacting with that sort of person.

Third, Gaydude is right that I am against people “shutting off their brains.” I always have been, and I don’t expect to change that. I realize not everyone agrees, but then it’s a big Internet.