Sunday, December 14, 2008

Digging a Little Deeper

I have a bit more on the CHE comment cleansing controversy. A prolific commenter over at Brainstorm, Anti-Hypocrisy Advocate, the AHA referred to in my previous post, sheds some light on the new statement which suddenly appeared on the comment form. He claims, contra to the Brainstorm editor Alex's assertion, that the statement reflects a new policy and not an obscure longstanding one. He offers as evidence a brouhaha over his comments with Brainstorm blogger Marc Bousquet in March of 2008, a year after the policy cited by Alex went into effect. Bousquet also has a personal blog, on which he cross-posted his CHE contributions, and from which he deleted one of AHA's comments. Bousquet informed AHA that Brainstorm editors were discussing doing away with open commenting and instituting moderation.

Brainstorm has not instituted moderation, but it has begun to delete comments. Does this constitute a change in policy? It's clear that Bousquet would have liked to have had AHA's comment deleted from Brainstorm back in March of this year and the March of 2007 policy, which Alex now uses to justify deletions, should have allowed for deletions in March of 2008. Yet AHA's comment wasn't deleted. Further, if there was a discussion on the use of moderation to deal with certain commenters, AHA in particular, why didn't they use the deletion policy that Alex would have us believe was at their disposal in March of 2008 to delete AHA's comment on Bousquet's post? This suggests that not deleting comments was until recently de facto, if not de jure, policy at Brainstorm.

What's changed? My guess is that the Brainstorm editors resisted Bousquet's request for deletion because he didn't have enough juice. But there's a man with juice.

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