September 11, 2003

Arnold Kling Thinks He Wants Comments

Arnold Kling thinks he wants comments on his weblog. I'm not sure that he really knows his true preferences. But he does think he has a clever plan to neutralize the downside:

Economics: information technology - Corante: The Bottom Line: I want to respond to the typical pushback I get when I extol the virtues of comments.... "Comments turn into flame wars." I have a modest suggestion, which is to have the site automatically preface each comment with "I may be wrong, but,"  That is, If I write, "Virginia, you are an ignorant slut," my comment will be posted as, "I may be wrong, but, Virginia, you are an ignorant slut."

Brother Shirky of many-to-many says that software can make a difference in social climate.  I'd be curious to see if an innocent little thing like the automatic "I may be wrong, but, " preface might induce people to change the tone of their comments.  My hope is that it would encourage people to think about how to establish the validity of their arguments as opposed to how to dehumanize their opponents. But even if flame wars break out, I think that a flame war is healthier than the silence that is enforced by not allowing comments.

Posted by DeLong at September 11, 2003 02:46 PM | TrackBack

Comments

I may be wrong, but, I don't think this addresses the fundamental problem facing discourse in general in our country. And I can't imagine FoxNews would at all appreciate such a thing.

Posted by: Dennis O'Dea on September 11, 2003 03:30 PM

The next time I want to trash someone over at Arnold's, I'll be sure to start off with the words "You, Virginia, are even wronger."

Posted by: Paul Zrimsek on September 11, 2003 03:44 PM

just what we need, PCpc's

I may be wrong but, have a nice day!

Posted by: -Tater on September 11, 2003 04:02 PM

Maybe: I don't want to be a bad person, but, ... then lay it right out unapologetically!

Posted by: Don Majors on September 11, 2003 05:12 PM

Maybe: I don't want to be a bad person, but, ... then lay it right out unapologetically!

Posted by: Don Majors on September 11, 2003 05:13 PM

I may be wrong, but I think that's a sweet idea.

Posted by: John Isbell on September 11, 2003 06:01 PM

As a Corante brother of Kling...I couldn't agree more...the web is social, let the conversation begin. And while your at it, get Hylton, Corante's publisher $100K so can share his vision.

Posted by: Zack Lynch on September 11, 2003 06:40 PM

I would be a natural Kling-commenter; I emailed him a few times about items on his blog. Then he ran one too many left-bashing rants and I deleted him from my bookmarks. There is more than technology to promoting high quality discussion.

Posted by: Ken D on September 11, 2003 07:37 PM

I would be a natural Kling-commenter; I emailed him a few times about items on his blog. Then he ran one too many left-bashing rants and I deleted him from my bookmarks. There is more than technology to promoting high quality discussion.

Posted by: Ken D on September 11, 2003 07:42 PM


It is highly unlikely that I am wrong, but the key to a successful comments section is to make it impossible to know whether you have actually posted your comment or not.

Posted by: Chris on September 11, 2003 11:06 PM

I may be wrong, but I think Arnold is right in saying that "a flame war is healthier than the silence that is enforced by not allowing comments".

Posted by: Mats on September 11, 2003 11:55 PM

Default intro: "I may be wrong, but"
Hard-core flame artist followup: "I don't think so."

Posted by: michael on September 12, 2003 06:20 AM

My first response was to guess that a bunch of smart-arses would find ways to play off the enforced preface, to make comedy out of rigidity. Thank you all for proving me wrong.

Posted by: K Harris on September 12, 2003 08:59 AM

I may be wrong, but on my weblog I'm going to promote civil discussion by ruthlessly editing out any uncivil discussion.

Of course, it's easy for me to say this, as I haven't yet had a single comment on my weblog. ;-)

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