Some comments on comments

On a couple of occasions in recent weeks people have come up to me and asked how I keep the comments section of this blog so lively—only sometimes they replace “lively” with “nasty”. While it’s great that this blog has attracted this much interest, I have become increasingly concerned about the level of discourse in the comments. Most of the time there aren’t any problems, but there have been cases where the exchange of opinions has been far from professional, to the detriment of all.

I am loathe to institute measures that would restrict the dialogue, but I do have some guidelines—which should be common sense to everyone—that should help matters:

  • Who are you? I can understand some people’s concerns about anonymity, but if you’re not going to disclose your real name, please at least use a valid email address. It helps ensure some degree of accountability for your comments.
  • No copying: Please don’t copy large chunks of documents from other web sites (especially copyrighted documents): just provide a URL to that document.
  • On topic: Topic drift is natural in any discussion, but please be sure your comments have some degree of relevance to the original post. If you start debating minor technical details of launch vehicles, you’re probably going off topic; if you start debating gun control, you definitely are.
  • Play nice: Remember the old saw about disagreeing without being disagreeable?

I’ve maintained a fairly hands-off approach to comments here, but I plan on taking a more active role in order to maintain the quality of this blog. Hopefully this should avoid the need to take more drastic measures. Thanks for your cooperation!

5 comments to Some comments on comments

  • Actually, even though my views are drastically out-numbered here, I think we have it pretty good. People do get carried away — myself among them — I’d say there are fewer truly nasty jibes here than in most political sites.

    — Donald

  • If you really want to let people prove who they are, you could support a blog extension called “OpenPGPComment”.

    Thanks for hosting this site, by the way.

  • Dfens

    There is a marked difference between the commentary and opinions you hear discussed within aerospace companies and those you see reflected on the internet. Your policy will ensure that continues. Thanks for an excellent site. I will continue to enjoy reading the opinions of the others who post here.

  • Paul Dietz

    I notice that posting volume here seems to have fallen off dramatically after this entry went up.

  • Sam Hoffman

    Well said, and thank you for providing this forum.

    As Astra Per Ardua