Actually, I think there's been an uptick in trollish behavior on both sides of the aisle. Leslie Carbone, one of the most intelligent and best writers I'm never going to agree with in this life time had to activate word verification for her comments, something she admits she hates doing.
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.
I have to admit that I had to make use of word verification for a long time since, for some reason, my site has always attracted a lot of spammers advertising weird products that I'd never use or endorse. But I've resisted comment moderation for much the same reason as Leslie and others have tried to keep their sites' control to a minimum.
I like the free flow of ideas and don't mind people disagreeing with me. In fact, I welcome debate because I learn a lot from exchanging ideas and being challenged. But I am not comfortable with ad hominem attacks, insults and people demonizing others. Come down hard on ideas and don't pull punches. But personal attacks just are unacceptable here. And not just on me. If a commenter who agrees with me launches an unfair and rude attack on another commenter, no matter how much I might disagree with that second commenter, I'll come down hard. I view readers and commenters as my guests. And nobody disses my guests. Debate them, yes. Insult them, not on my site.
By the way, I keep meaning to put up Leslie's blog on my site because I do read it. It would save me a lot of time to just be able to get to it from my own blogroll (I read all the sites on the roll and I have it as much for my convenience as for my readers' sake). So, anyway, it's now up on the blogroll. And by the way, check out this wonderful piece from her on Grant's Bar, also known as the back bar of the Old Ebbitt Grill. It's one of my favorite places too.
If you look hard enough, you can always find something about which to agree with others.
Meanwhile, be good all - or don't get caught. I'll be back next Thursday.