Thursday, October 27, 2005

# Posted 10:17 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

SECOND ADMINISTRATIVE ANNOUCEMENT: Patrick and I have decided that OxBlog should have a comments section after each one of its posts, just like most of the other blogs you read. However, we would like to get your opinion on this subject before we make a final decision. Thus, we would very much appreciate it if during the next week you sent us your thoughts on whether OxBlog should have comments.

As we see it, comments provide readers both with the opportunity to respond to our posts in a public forum as well as the opportunity to engage fellow readers in discussion that otherwise would not have been possible. From our end, we appreciate the chance to get additional feedback on our work.

At the same time, we recognize that comment sections introduce a whole host of problems of their own. Above all, we recognize that a lot of posts wind up generating comments that consist of nothing more than partisan name-calling and personal attacks. But so far, I have been very impressed with the intellectual caliber of those readers who've gotten in touch with me via e-mail over the past three years, so I have a lot of confidence that an OxBlog comments section will be a very good thing.

But in order to help ensure that it is a very good thing, I would like to invite all of you to send in your ideas for how to ensure that our comments section becomes a forum for sophisticated, aggressive debates rather than sophomoric insults. My sense is that a set of informal guidelines for commenters would be best. For example, comparing anyone to Nazis is not a good way to foster discussion. Yes, such comparisons may be valid. But there are lots of other good ways to get one's point across.

So, I look forward to hearing your thoughts both about whether OxBlog should have comments and about how to make sure that the comments add value to this site instead of becoming a burden. In the meantime, Patrick and I will try to come up with some of our own ideas for how to make sure that having comments turns out to be a good thing.

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