A little blog housekeeping

Lately, I've been getting hostile comments posted to old posts, dating from June or earlier. Some appear to be outright trolls, and others are just hostile. I rather suspect that such commenters are trying to have the "last word" on various topics about which they disagree with me strenuously, particularly mercury and autism. Given that few people will be likely to be reading these posts or these comments in the future (blogs being a very "in the now" sort of medium, with few people reading posts more than a few weeks old), it hardly seems worth my time to answer them. On the other hand, I don't necessarily want to let obvious trolls have the last word. Consequently, I'm going to begin closing posts older than two months to any new comments. It will take a while to work my way through old posts.


  1. Great idea, I should clean house as well.

    Off topic, would you indulge the curiosity of a layperson and tell me what the piece of scientific instrumentation your latest profile shot is and what it does? Or would that be too revealing as to your identification?

  2. Why don't you get automatic closing after 2 weeks like PZ? If the discussion drags out you could always extend the period/reopen.

  3. I come to this site a lot. When I first posted a comment, I was accused of trolling. And so, for a long time I didn't come back because my comments were slammed and shredded to bits, and I was upset. What is trolling exactly? If I'm just reading your site, and want to make a comment, is that trolling? Can you please explain this to me? I'm almost afraid to post any comment on this site, because I might get slammed, and called very mean names. But the sad part is I actually like the site. Can you clue me in?

  4. Trolling is generally considered as posting inflammatory comments that are designed solely to start an argument or to deflect attention from the substance of the original article or post.

    That said, a lot of people extend this definition to include posts espousing (often forcefully) points of view they don't personally agree with.

    If a comment is germane to the original point of the post and is presented in a way that invites or allows a reasoned response, it's unlikely to be a troll, even if you don't agree with what it's saying.

  5. Let me troll a little bit. Has anyone seen Paula Zahn tonight? She had that nasty guy on (the author of Natural Health ..or Healing, whatever) - the notorious infomercial guy. She was pretty good and he looked really nasty defending his altie views.

  6. Actually, I don't delete posts that I consider to be trolls. I only rarely delete posts ever, and that's mainly for spam, people posting complete copyrighted articles, or clearly abusive comments.

    I'm merely planning on no longer allowing comments on old posts. Two months, I think, provide plenty of time for any conceivable discussion to play out. The impetus, of course, was as I described.

    Unfortunately, Blogger doesn't allow automatic closing.

    And, no, I didn't see Paula Zahn last night....

  7. Oops. Forgot. The "piece of scientific instrumentation" is simply another view of Orac...


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