I'm off to day three of my mediation course (which is a very interesting, informative process, by the way), so no more blogging today until after six, but I just discovered that some commenters have been blocked by my assignment of one particular comment to the "spam" folder. I try to moderate this blog so that a civil tone is maintained - maintaining an interesting, engaged commenter community is important to me because, to my mind, the comment section is a vital part of this dumb project, and the comments are usually the best part of that.
But I just realized that when I've consigned a particular comment to the spam folder, any future comments from the same IP address are automatically sent there as well, and I don't see them. That's not what I intended, and will in the future hit "delete" on the (very few) comments I take off, which should keep future comments unblocked. Again: it's my attempt to maintain decorum, not to shut down discussion or to turn the comment section into an echo chamber. I still miss, for instance, our Harvard law student who used to provide intelligent counter-arguments to my own,and others' take on political issues. He was never, eve blocked: instead, he went on to join a huge, oppressive NYC law firm, and found better things to do than argue with a nitwit like me, but he was a fun, and enriching addition.
But here's the deal: if you readers who find themselves blocked would just use the same screen name each time, I can recognize you, and, when I see a regular commenter who generally posts comments that add to the discussion, I'll almost always give an otherwise-objectional comment a pass. Or, if I think that a particular post exceeds my totally-undefined limits, I won't bar all future comments from the same ip address.