Monday, July 16, 2012

Tender souls over at Econlib

I found this pretty funny.

My comment deleted for "rudeness"? I wondered how many people on the thread even cared what Ezra Klein was arguing, because rather than discussing it many were just recycling really bad libertarian blogosphere memes (this was after making a few substantive points myself). So two accusations (not concerned with Klein's arguments, and recycled memes), zero insults (unless someone at Econlib wants to correct the record).

The comment accusing Ezra Klein of being economically illiterate and a political hack?

No, that one was not accused of rudeness. Nope.

So calling someone a political hack: not rude.

Saying the thread wasn't substantive: rude.


It really amazes me how so much of the blogosphere is simultaneously fueled by insults and hypersensitivity.

This is not typcial of Econlib, I should add. And on Econlib it's the least typical of David Henderson's posts and threads (Arnold is the one that's regularly on the attack). But the sort of coexistence of this coarseness and hypersensitivity still manages to leak in. Blogging is a strange phenomenon (yes, I know Facts and Other Stubborn Things has sprung a bazillion such leaks - we're not special).


Anyway - I take blog civility seriously, which is part of the reason why I find this funny. I don't think I insult people (if I have insulted you, raise it with me and I'm happy to make a public apology). But if I think you're making a low quality argument I'm not going to prance around the fact that you're making a low quality argument.

And there were several low quality arguments on that particular thread.


  1. You might have gotten an email with the comment. If so, can you post it?

    1. I wasn't sure if I should, but what the hell - my readers demand it now!:

      Hi, Daniel.

      Your EconLog comment, quoted below, is too rude and has been rejected for publication.

      Commenters are required to be civil. Disagreeing with the points of view of the bloggers and commenters is fine. Throwing your hands in the air and categorizing them all as not being high quality is just plain rude.

      Please read about EconLog policies here:

      Your future comments are precluded until we hear from you indicating that you have read and will abide by our civility policies.

      We appreciate your comments and interest in EconLog, and we look forward to hearing from you so that we may reinstate your comment privileges.


      (Lauren Landsburg)
      Library of Economics and Liberty

      Submitted to

      Is there a single person on this thread that actually cares about the arguments that Ezra made, or are we just going to continue to substitute favorite memes for a discussion?

      Because I'll tell ya - these memes aren't very high quality.

      Submitted by
      Daniel Kuehn

    2. That's my submitted comment at the bottom, obviously.

      In retrospect, I probably could have more narrowly circumscribed "Is there a single person...", but I still don't see how it's rude. The people I was immediately responding to were just recycling low quality memes and they weren't very interested in the arguments presented.

      I noted that my comment isn't really "rude" or insulting, replied that I read the policies as requested, and that I will maintain civility on the blog in the future.

  2. Yeah, Lauren was a bit trigger happy there I'd say. Me, I'd slam you for 'what' not 'who' :)

    1. I'm checking back periodically to see if they delete Dave T accusing Klein of "political hackery".

      If I had a comment that said "David Henderson is such a political hack" it would probably be removed very quickly. Perhaps rightly, given the kind of public education resource that Econlib aspires to be. It's surprising that when it's said of Ezra Klein rather than David Henderson no one seems to notice (for the record, I don't think Henderson or Klein are political hacks).

      It belies a lot of the "we're interested in civility" claims. They're really not. Or they are and they're really bad at identifying it.

      Because that is unambiguously rude and insulting. Mine? I don't think so at least.

      I tolerate moderate insults like that, particularly if they come with substantive thoughts as well. Things get heated and sometimes we just don't like people and that stuff slips out. As long as it's not a continuous, unjustified diatribe it'll probably stand in this comment section.

  3. I coincidentally just replied to one of your comments -- overlooking your notorious rudeness! --and suggested Klein might be a partisan hack. I would plead truth as a defense if I get cut.

    I like your comment about fueld by insults and hypersensitivity. I think that applies particularly to the RonPaulosphere, where they tend to be touchy about God, the Sanctity of Propity, and The Lost Cause.

  4. Actually Dave T said Klein peddled hackery, not that he was a hack. There is a difference.

    1. Aha! I have slandered Dave T! I should remove my comment above for rudeness....

  5. For a rude guy you're very pleasant ...

    (Repeat that on Murphy's blog and I'll deny it. They hate me enough already; can't make it worse by praising YOU!)

  6. Daniel I don't think they should have deleted your comment, but there *is* a difference in discussing someone who's not "in the conversation," versus talking to people who are right there. I.e. just because someone called Ezra Klein a hack, and then you got zapped for saying something about the people "in the room" that was milder, by itself doesn't prove hypocrisy.

    E.g. let's say you come to my house for a dinner party, and lots of people in the room are talking about what a socialist Obama is. Then you say, "I can't believe the fools in this house!" I think any reasonable person would agree that you were ruder than my other guests.

    However, if Ken B. were there too, I am sure he would be more annoying.

  7. I just had a comment deleted for linking to a joke. And told I wasn't contributing to the debate when two of my comments were praised by other readers! So I was warned I was gonna be banned.

    1. In the same thread? If so it looks like they completely removed it. Usually they don't do that. Or is it a different thread?

  8. Same thread. And Lauren was I thought pretty insulting in her note:

    It was _not_ related. And if you do it again, you are going to get banned.

    You know what the standards are on EconLog. Your comments should be related to the content and should productively further the discussion.

    EconLog is not your personal space to behave like a juvenile in heat. Please use your own blog when you want to link to jokes without contributing your own ideas that further the discussion. There is an actual discussion going on in the thread. The goal is to contribute to the discussion, not distract from it.



    Say what you like about Bob Murphy (no really, say anything) he never ever does this.


All anonymous comments will be deleted. Consistent pseudonyms are fine.