Update: I have changed the Commenting Guidelines to reflect (in boldface) the changes I am considering. Let me know what you think about the changes (as opposed to what you think about other folks making comments) in comments; I’ve about decided to do this unless there is a reasoned objection.
Before I state the rule, I will note that I am considering imposing a rule that will not relate to content or the source of the comment, but give me an objective basis to shut people up when something has gone wrong in comments. And thinking about my whole history of blogging, I think this rule might well resolve almost every time I have seen comments go wrong.
I also want to state that I am tired of seeing discussion threads that had a lot of substantive interesting content go south on the blog to such a degree that I find it so depressing that I don’t want to read the thread and just don’t for as much as days.
Here’s what I am considering: A rule that after a certain number of comments that relate in no way to the subject matter of the post, as judged by me in my sole discretion, I am going to close comments on a thread. I’m thinking perhaps 5 or perhaps 8 irrelevant comments (including by me), and that anyone who subverts the process by going into a different thread to continue the fracas will be subject to being set to moderation.
My largest reservation about this is that frequently a thread will go off into another topic in a way that is not tiresome at all, and is even interesting. But I’m about ready to do something.
I don’t want to police what people say. I don’t want to continue to read threads that redundantly rehash old battles. I don’t want to assign blame.
If you really want to discourage me, use this thread to argue about who is wrong on this sort of thing. Don’t do that here, that’s what Anderson’s blog is for. I would prefer hearing thoughts from any and all about whether this would be an acceptable and possibly even good idea.