Saturday, September 23, 2017

Feedback on Your Feedback

I thank those of you who took the time to respond to my request regarding how I handle the comments section.  There were many comments of “fine as is,” and I appreciate these.  Overall this is my view as well, but obviously not entirely.

I offer my thoughts to some of your other responses:

JaimeInTexas September 21, 2017 at 10:21 AM

I think that it is your circus; you chose the monkeys and acts.

I do appreciate this, yet I also appreciate that there is a community here – a community that I enjoy.  I have mentioned before: the best comment section to which I have been a party was in the early days of The Daily Bell.  The dialogue was intelligent and robust.  This began to change as Anthony Wile began to flop around on the purpose / focus of the site – even stopping all comments for a time, etc.

But perhaps the worst, for me, was how the same repetitive – and often abusive – feedbacker was allowed to continue in his manner while others were edited, or had comments blocked, etc.  (I think there was a personal relationship between Anthony and this individual.) 

So I am cautious about all of this, because I enjoy the community.  Therefore, I asked for feedback from the community on this issue. September 21, 2017 at 6:48 AM

Prohibit "anonymous", let those with a name through without moderation unless a specific individual abuses that privilege.

I have thought about this in the past.  I have so far decided against it.  On the occasion where an anonymous feedbacker is repetitively obnoxious, I tend to just ignore the comment (once I skim it for abusive / vulgar language).

Nick Badalamenti September 21, 2017 at 12:03 PM

You have to credit discussions for being honest and civil even if some were repelled by said honesty/ideas.

I agree.  What bothered me the most was that it was assumed by (or concerning to) someone that knew me pretty well that I held those same ideas.  It still bothers me – what did or didn’t I write or say to make this so?  In a subsequent email to me, he wanted to know if I favored a white America, or words to this effect.  What do others who don’t know me as well think?

You as a person, do have a tendency to think the best of people's intentions/positions when it's not clear if that's the case…

In the earliest days of BM, I was much more aggressive; I would believe the worst interpretation of a written statement and run with it.  I learned quickly that this was a dumb idea.  It is so difficult to truly convey meaning on complex subjects via the written word; it is so easy to assume we all interpret what we read in the same way.

So today I really try to take the best from the feedback, at least until the clarifying dialogue has gone back and forth enough to give me comfort – but I don’t always do this well…so when I am told that I messed up, I will often apologize.

This person you respect highly, obviously had a tremendous impact on you….

Yes, for the reason cited in my response to your first point, above.  If someone who knows me this well believes (or isn’t sure about) such a thing, what will others believe?

…the question is this: Is the owner of the blog happy with the outcome? (Not anyone else, including me)

I was, until the aforementioned belief / concern.  I was unhappy with this more than I was happy with the outcome of the dialogue.

Anonymous September 21, 2017 at 10:12 AM (identified at the bottom of the comment as “SD”)

However, the individuals also found it 'concerning' that Mel Gibson and his Dad might really be Jews. The only thing concerning about this is that someone is actually concerned. Forgive me for making the ready inference about what (and who) these individuals really hate. Now THIS is morally, and intellectually disgusting. These sorts of posts should be moderated imo.

I don’t recall these specific comments, but I will take your word for it. 

As my later comments make clear, I find such comments equally disgusting.  But I lose something, I believe, if I “moderate” these – although this is where I am headed.  I would welcome, frankly, others in the group to speak up in the dialogue – that might help prevent such episodes in the future.

JaimeInTexas September 21, 2017 at 10:21 AM

You could "white list" certain commenters with a long history of respectful posts.

I have pretty much done that.

Jeff LeVesque September 21, 2017 at 10:39 AM

I think that the following additions to your singular prohibition would be reasonable.

1 off topic
2 refusal to answer a direct question
3 no more than three links to Gary North articles per comment. ;)

As much as I am tempted by your items 1 & 2 given that they both describe Dmitry A. Chernikov (as the most recent example), I think I will not incorporate these at this time. 

For item 1, sometimes the “off-topic” item is a link or reference to something I appreciate; for item 2, I end up just ignoring the person – as I did with Dmitry when he wrote three or four more screeds after I told him I was done with him and as I am doing now with his link to his post where I suspect (because I won’t waste my time reading it) he takes all of his misperceptions and biases about me and concludes I am an idiot. 

That someone would spend so much energy on a topic where he clearly does not want to engage or understand I find so humorous that I would lose some joy if I cut him off.

For item 3…that’s a thought!

I think the recent changes in how you respond to some comments is already achieving what you are setting out to do here.

I am thinking that this is necessary – as I have referenced a couple of times above, when someone who knows me better than do most of the readers here is confused by my words or actions, it tells me that I have to be a little more direct.


When it comes to controversial topics, I think – after letting the dialogue run for a while – I will be clearer and more direct in my comments.  This is my one big takeaway from both this episode and your feedback.


  1. "I agree. What bothered me the most was that it was assumed by (or concerning to) someone that knew me pretty well that I held those same ideas. It still bothers me – what did or didn’t I write or say to make this so? In a subsequent email to me, he wanted to know if I favored a white America, or words to this effect. What do others who don’t know me as well think?"

    Does your friend oppose a white America? This is a sincere question. If so, why? And why is white minoritization a good thing for white Americans?

    Is your friend in favor of a Jewish Israel? If not, does he send emails to his supporters of a Jewish Israel friends to admonish for that? If he does support a Jewish Israel, how does he square that with opposition to a white America?

    It seems to me that the worst thing that you can do in contemporary western society is to notice things. Steve Sailer pointed out that "political correctness is a war on noticing". So when you see people on TV openly advocating for the perceived interests of their ethnic group while dismissing the concerns of your own ethnic group and you notice it, you have committed crime think.

    You crossed that Rubicon when you demanded articles calling for "open borders for Israel" because you noticed the double standard, and the double standard can only be established through power.

    1. Matt, see my reply here:

  2. "I will be clearer and more direct in my comments."

    Good luck with that, but your present clarity and directness puts you squarely within the arena of diminishing returns. And has clarity ever stopped a nit-picker from picking nits? Better directness changed the typing of a preferred paradigmatic notion or cultural preference when one is hell-bent on typing it?

    As a long-time gardener, I sometimes have to prune a plant back hard, and occasionally, despite my best efforts, I have to pull it up from the roots . Everything needs shaping from time to time, and some plants require more work to stay in proper form. There's a fine subjective line between harmonic growth and chaos.

    But this is your garden and, from my perspective, it's all good - especially on a Saturday morning sipping coffee. :)

    1. Brutus

      I can interpret your comment in one of two ways, given the context of this current situation:

      1) My being more direct will not change the views of those...let's call them..."fascist" elements of the audience.

      If this is your point, I am not concerned about being more direct for this reason.

      2) My being more direct will not change the (in your words) nit-picking from the non-fascists in the audience who believe I have strayed too far from the libertarian reservation.

      It is for this reason that I am considering being more direct. But if this is your meaning (actually, whether it is or isn't), you raise a good point, and one that has bugged me throughout this event.

      I believe one reason many find the dialogue here of value is because I frame the discussion via questions, driving the reader toward thinking through the issue on their own. (Maybe I am wrong about this, but I think it is so; I also think this is one reason why the quality of the audience is as high as it is and why the quantity is as low as it is - well, beside the fact that I do virtually nothing to promote the site!).

      By my being more direct, how much will this change the dynamic? I have struggled with this, and your comment - whether or not intended in the way of number 2 above - brings this concern to the fore.

      What a mess...

    2. "1) My being more direct will not change the views of those...let's call them..."fascist" elements of the audience."

      On this point, not knowing if Brutus intended it or not, I find it an interesting topic regardless.

      That is the reason I like seeing you allow the civil discussion of controversial subject matter in an intelligent manner.

      There is no question that UC is highly intelligent. In allowing for the discussion you allow for the opportunity to convert him from fascism. There are some people who clearly are not receptive to libertarian ideals/ideas- I'm not sure that's the case with UC.

      Did you see this BM?

      I immediately thought of UC when I read it. Such open honesty in both in UC and the writer to Block(coincidence?). Block's response was great too, and honest.

      That is the value of you allowing these discussions. And "direct" is good/great btw!

    3. Nick, I did see the item from Walter.

      You understand my struggle in all of this. How many people now grasp the value of a common culture to the libertarian idea because we have held this dialogue? However many or few, it seems to me a victory.

      But I am going go with a little less Socratic and a little more sledge hammer. It shouldn't scare off those who want an honest debate, at the same time there should be less confusion about my opinion.

      In any case, I am going to try this out shortly! Let's hope I don't end up with a total melt-down.

  3. "By my being more direct, how much will this change the dynamic?"

    This is pretty much the gist of what I was saying. It's your site and it's your TIME. Preferably, I'd rather you put any more of your effort into your posts, although to me it seems you put a great deal of effort into them already.

    The comments are other people, and there's a limit to the what you can do there. I can't speak for others, but I'm not here because your site is libertarian nearly as much as I am because your topics and writing intrigue me.

    I'm a libertarian because, years ago, the info and my interpretation of it caused my paradigm to shift. Who's to say the same can't happen again? Is that such a bad thing? I could, all-of-a-sudden, begin quoting Martin Bormann and start goose-stepping all over the house. So what?

    In all my years, I don't think I ever brought anyone around to "my way of thinking" by offering up a political philosophy or staying the political course. All I did was try my best to become a conduit for facts. Once their trust was established, then my opinion held more sway, but even now those friends and acquaintances who value it don't necessarily "think my way" but are now fellow searchers like myself. I like that they're free thinkers and they like me for the same.

    So search away. Libertarianism is just a theory anyways. (Camelot! Camelot! Camelot! - It's only a model. - Shh!)

  4. And may I point out that I thought I was being direct enough, only to discover that y'all were unsure of my point(s). Should I have written 20 paragraphs? A book? Made it my life's work? I'd rather play some golf, or piano, or with my kids...

    Mises wrote whole tomes and still had questions popping up.

    There was one Jesus, but how many church sects?

    What chance do I have? ;)

  5. I, too, enjoyed those discussions and debates in the early days at Daily Bell; they helped quite a few of us to expand knowledge and develop understanding of a wide range of subjects. In particular, human action.

    "Say what you mean and mean what you say" is an apt cliche when it comes to the question of how direct to be when word-smithing. Respect is earned by those who act with honor (honesty, fairness, or integrity in one's beliefs and actions), and your considerable library exhibits ample evidence of your honor. Different people relate to various subjects and certain words or concepts in so many different ways that the optimal degree of directness becomes ever elusive. So, just figure out who you wish to speak to on a particular subject and follow your muse. You have done a marvelous job thus far, imho, of exploring, examining, categorizing and comparing relevant subjects, books, ideas, people and events. The tendency to self-examine and seek something more, something better from ourselves, from life, is what pushes men and humanity to new heights. Keep at it as long as you can.

    Thank you for your service, BM.