Set forth below is the text of a comment that I recently posted to the discussion thread for one of my columns at the Value Walk site:
Rob, besides dismissing comments here, it appears you have been deleting all comments posted to your blog for several weeks. Any particular reason for this?
I have deleted several abusive comments. That’s not a new policy. I have always done that. Almost every board and blog at which I have posted has a policy of deleting abusive comments. They don’t serve any positive purpose. They intimidate people and drive good people away from the site. If you want to encourage a learning experience for your readers, you need to delete abusive stuff.
I delete more today than I did in earlier times. That’s not because I feel stronger about the need to rein in abusiveness. It’s because I used to leave up a good number of comments that contained some worthwhile questions in addition to some abusiveness. I am less inclined to do that today because many of the worthwhile questions that are raised by the Goons have already been asked and answered on numerous occasions. It’s become repetitive to answer them again and again. So I now delete questions that have been asked on at least several occasions in the past. I still permit new questions to go up.
For example, the Goons often ask “Do you think that the cover-up of the errors in the Buy-and-Hold strategy revealed by Shiller’s research is a conspiracy?” That’s a good question. It’s one that many good and smart people wonder about. The Goons don’t ask that question out of a genuine desire to learn the answer to it. They are just trying to cause trouble. But it is a good question all the same and so in the past I have responded to that one many times for the benefit of the many people who do possess a genuine desire to know the answer.
I am not inclined to respond that one today. If the question were put forward by a non-Goon, I would respond to it. Or if one of the Goons approached it from an angle that has not been explored in the past, I might respond to it. But I see no purpose being served by responding one more time to a Goon question that has been asked and answered on many prior occasions. Those who are looking for an answer to the question can do a search at my site and find the blog entries in which I have set forth answers to it in the past. So those people are getting what they need. To continue to respond to the Goons re this point is a waste of my time and of their time and it clutters up the site.
I still respond to new Goon questions. The Goon always proceed with bad intent. But that doesn’t mean that they never ask questions that deserve answers. They have asked good questions on many, many occasions. The Goons truly believe (at least on one level of consciousness) in Buy-and-Hold. They follow the strategy themselves. It is important that everyone understand this. So, even though they are not seeking to learn new things, they can and do identify aspects of the Valuation-Informed Indexing strategy that both Goons and non-Goons need to understand. In this regard, I think they have been a big help to all of us in their posing of various questions that I have answered here and at my site and at other sites. All worthwhile questions help us all to learn, even when they are posed by people with no genuine desire to learn the answers to them.
There has been no change in policy on my part. I have always deleted comments that served no positive purpose. The change that has taken place is that the Goons are either no longer able to come up with questions that have not been addressed before or else are no longer willing to put forward such questions. None of the Goons are banned at my site. If they present questions that would help us all to enjoy a learning experience, I will certainly let those comments appear. I am grateful for those sorts of questions. I hold no animus toward the Goons. I just don’t want the site being cluttered up with stuff that has been addressed on many earlier occasions.
I hope that helps a bit, Dan. Thanks for stopping by.