As any commenter has noticed on this blog, I'm a hardass with comments. I decided to explain some of my commenting philosophy - maybe even sticky this entry - so people understand where I'm coming from and what my standards are. Let's go with the tried and true FAQ format.
What sort of comments do you weed out on Crude Ideas?
Generally, posts that fit in the following categories: Spam comments, rude comments from people I neither know nor respect, comments from people acting like over the top social autists, comments from people trying to argue with me about something I'm not interested in arguing about at any given time. These are all standards filed beneath the greater banner of "Whatever I feel like, but these are the general standards." I'd also skunk a comment if I thought doing so would provoke a funny reaction. Honestly, I'm pretty casual about all this.
But don't you want to encourage an active community of people participating in your blog?
The first reply is, not really. Maybe if I start to update this blog on a regular schedule. As it stands, this is more or less a place for me to unwind, less loose with ideas at times, and maybe receive comments from people I consider worth hearing back from.
The second reply is that even if I was interested in building a community here (that still seems like a foreign idea to me), I'd want one that's actually worthwhile to build. I don't know if you've been through the comments sections of most sites, but the rule - especially on sites with no or little moderation - is that they're cesspools. And the majority of their activity usually comes from a handful of diehards who will not stop responding until the topic falls off the page, until they have the last word, or until they are exhausted.
Which leads into the third reply. I'm not a fan of the Scott Adams "dance monkey dance" philosophy of blog adminning, where what brings people back isn't so much any redeeming offering on the part of the host as the (usually very off topic) pit fights in the comments section. Put simply, I'm not interested in having anyone who shows up here do so to witness or take part in the spectacle of comments section arguments.
Mind you, that's a ridiculously easy recipe for modest site success - so long as the guy in charge really couldn't give a crap about any of his readers. I'm not interested in that attitude, or in wasting the time either of myself or of thoughtful, reasonable people who care to comment here.
You rag on New Atheists at times. Don't you want someone around to provide a valuable counterpoint?
Not particularly. I enjoy hearing the thoughts of (actual) agnostics, panentheists, (non-materialist) pantheists, mormons, hindus, (actual) buddhists, protestants, catholics and more. I have little patience for mere anti-theists and New Atheists, a group which has entirely and explicitly defined itself by its militancy, its ignorance and its loudness (split into equal parts whiny, dishonest, and idiotic.) I see as little reason to have any leniency with New Atheists when discussing religion as I see to have for holocaust deniers when discussing the history of 20th century Europe. Less, in fact, since at least holocaust deniers typically make efforts to focus on actual pertinent details, wrong as they are.
So there we are. Hopefully this gives you some idea of just where I'm coming from on all this.