I strive to treat people as though I expect them to behave according to appropriate standards. I don’t put “RSVP” on invitations, for example, because it insults my guests, as my mother taught me, treating them as though they don’t have the minimal class necessary to reply without being prompted. (And who wants rude boors for friends anyway?)
That’s why I’ve always had an open comment policy on this blog. I allow all sorts of annoying comments, from jerks who call me a liar or a f—–g idiot or make unchivalrous observations about my figure. I reason that these losers say more about themselves than about me. And so I delete very few comments, only those that are over-the-top obscene and contribute nothing of value to public discourse.
Unfortunately, this morning I spent more than an hour deleting such comments, and I just don’t have the time for that.
So I’m activating word verification for comments. I really hate doing this. I hate treating my readers as though they need baby-sitting. I hate burdening responsible commenters with this extra step.
But the opportunity costs of deleting obscene spam have become so great that they are preventing me from writing about the moral hazards of making decent people pay for others’ irresponsibility.