Note to readers and commenters

August 31, 2021 • 8:30 am

The comments on this site have, on average, gotten more splenetic and insulting in the last year, though of course most readers are, as always, civil and polite. I attribute the rise in vitriol to peevishness induced by the pandemic, something that’s afflicted even me. But that is no excuse to call people names, and you won’t get a “pandemic pass” if you try to make comments like this, from one “Robert Ottley”:

In reply to GimmePaws. [JAC: GimmePaws was also rude, as you’ll see at the link]

Totally agree. At least as regards Covid, I am afraid the moron is Jerry Coyne. Why does he continue to display the spurious Covid ‘Cases’ dashboard. Why not contextualise it with all the other causes of daily death especially including those due to withheld or delayed healthcare.

Needless to say, this one didn’t appear, and Mr. Ottley, or whoever he is, won’t be commenting here again. This is only one example of several like these I’ve received in the last week or so.

It amazes me that people come over here and insult not just the host, but each other; and it’s getting worse. I urge you to do two things:

  1. Read the “Roolz”, or guidelines for commenting, on the left sidebar or here. Obey them.
  2. Reread your comment before you post it, ensuring that it is not insulting to the host or to other commenters.

This isn’t one of those sites where people delight in gutting each other. I can recommend other websites if you feel you need to take out your venom on others.

27 thoughts on “Note to readers and commenters

  1. It is partly because of the generally couth and caring commentariat at this site that I subscribed years ago, and am still reading the comments on posts. (As well, I frequently learn something interesting or have my curiosity tickled.)

  2. Don’t listen to this rude commentator.
    Another ignorant in covid-19 pretending to be a wise connoisseur on social networks and internet blogs.

  3. I got this from Mary Trump’s latest book, The Reckoning. One of the most striking developments of the last five years has been the trend toward cruelty, the cultivation of a callousness toward anybody who believes differently or thinks differently. A society without kindness is no more tenable than a relationship without it. For four years the performative cruelty of the Trump administration and its message that we need to be tough and vindictive and punitive wore away at the fabric of our society.

    1. Agree. And, keeping that warning in mind, I’ll say that Trump supporters have many good qualities and motivations too easily hijacked by the power of really bad ideas. Change the facts, change the reasonable response.

    2. Yes, and then the clicks really motivate people to keep cranking up the indignation. I really don’t know how people have the energy to stay angry all the time.

    3. While i agree that the Trump years were callous and cruel, I’m going to respectfully disagree about the TREND toward cruelty. This instantly reminded me of a conversation I had 10 or so years ago with my big brother. Me: “Vance, why can’t people be more courteous to each other–I long for the days of my youth when people were more civil.” Vance: “Two words–Jim Crow.”

      1. And yet Trump’s “Big Lie” is urging many states to impose new “Jim Crow” laws to curtail voting…especially minority voting. I’m not at all confident that Trump didn’t start a real trend towards cruelty. And look what some (Trumpy) governors are doing regarding Covid- cruelty through and through.

      2. And I’ll disagree with your disagreement! 🙂 All quite respectfully of course! I believe that this trend was exacerbated by Trump and his minions, including his purportedly-Christian sycophants. Unfortunately I have recently become quite acerbic when dealing with anti-vaxxers. Unless they have a known medical condition that precludes vaccination, I have lost my patience when dealing with that crowd and no longer mince my words when telling them that they are self-centered, placing themselves above their family, friends, community and country. And if they are of the Christian brand – hypocrites also.

    4. I like what Sam Harris has to say on this subject and I do my best to apply it to my own behavior and thinking: Always apply the most charitable interpretation on others’ behavior.

  4. “Reread your comment before you post it, ensuring that it is not insulting to the host or to other commenters.

    I really do make an effort to do this, though I’ve failed many times no doubt. If I’m feeling dismissive, scornful or disgusted by the comment I’m responding to I try to remember to go back through 2 or 3 times and strip out anything that seems like a personal insult. Often I simply end up clicking on Cancel Reply because it just seems impossible to not be insulting.

  5. I for one want to point out what a great blog and forum this is. There is a wealth of information here, and a pretty impressive variety of subject matter.
    I was thinking about this a few days ago, as I had been spending quite a bit of time out on the range ruminating on free will, although it is not a subject I have a deep understanding of, nor is it something I gave much thought to previous to reading the discussion here.
    The civility maintained here makes this discourse possible. It is refreshing to take part in a spirited discussion without worrying that it will devolve into someone resorting to calling everyone else fascists.

  6. There is an exception ” insulting god” in the many and fascinating ways that science, atheists and sites like WEIT can mutter (that would be me) muster, describe, or however, whatever is appropriate to the post.
    Long live WEIT.
    Just recently someone tried to elevate me to the status of a god…
    calling me arrogant and conceited!
    I was shocked I tell you.

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