I see that Ace of AoSHQ has had enough of his comments section. I don’t know the details – and I don’t give a tinker’s dam about the details, frankly – but I do have several rules of thumb for running a comments section.
- Be vicious to trolls. It’s not like you’re depriving anybody of food or oxygen.
- Be capricious. If you’re consistent, they’ll know where the line is; if they know where the line is, they’ll skate to the edge of it.
- Be indifferent to trollish suffering. Being called a facist (not a typo: most trolls can’t spell) who’s suppressing free speech* is not a cause for concern; it’s semantically equivalent to “You’re doing your job.”
- Be obnoxious. Trolls do it because it amuses them to do it. Being made fun of is not amusing, particularly when you can enforce a ban. Remember: they need your site more than your site needs them.
It all boils down to this: every so often you have to shoot a troll, the better to encourage the others. It’s fun!
PS: None of this applies to this personal site, as my commenters here are all perfectly nice people who don’t provoke a heavy hand.
*By the way: the Internet is not public property. It’s a collection of various sites, most of which are privately owned. You do not have free speech rights on private property. It’s amazing how many ‘libertarians’ don’t get that.