December 30, 2009

Blog hijack

Language Log is a terrific blog with a long list of prolific contributors. It can be a little unwieldy to follow, not only because of the number of posts but because each post is usually an in-depth article and is followed by many insightful comments.

Not so one Dec. 25 entry, in which Arnold Zwicky traces the divergent sources of a clever line by Paul Krugman (writing on politics: "No, Virginia, at this point there is no sanity clause.").

The entry itself is brief, and the comments section is abruptly truncated by Zwicky after a commenter went off-topic, attempting to move the discussion from language to politics.

Zwicky writes, in his terminal comment, writes:

I've had it repeatedly explained to me that when you open a posting to comments, the comments section then "belongs to" the commenters (who are free to take up any topic they want), not to you. I reject this idea, but hardly anyone seems to agree with me.

Well, I certainly agree with him, as do many other bloggers who moderate the comments on their sites. Unfortunately, Zwicky has decided that to obviate such a hijacking in the future, he simply won't allow any comments at all.

I do hope Zwicky reconsiders this drastic measure. It's a shame the rest of us should miss the lively discussions Language Log usually inspires just because one crank realized there's a bigger audience for his political views there than at his own blog.

1 comment:

  1. My decision to cut off comments on this posting was instigated by this particular comment, but it follows in a long line of similar comments. Against my better judgment, I was convinced a while back to allow some comments, but I view this as a failed experiment and have now gone back to my (and our) previous practice.

    The alternative is to delete all such attempts to hijack Language Log. When I do this, I'm accused of censorship, as if everyone had a right to post whatever they want on Language Log (when there are now huge numbers of blogs around).

    I will probably soon stop posting to Language Log, even with comments off. It's just too much grief.