It has long been the policy of CHT to allow the comment threads to go whichever way they will, and to not moderate comments based on political positions. It would be hypocritical for us to exercise a heavy hand with comment moderation when we frequently complain about thought policing by the PC cops or about ideology enforcement at some “conservative” sites.
That said, there is a difference between moderating comments because we disagree with them, vs. moderating them because they are deliberately offensive or crude. As trad cons, we should adhere to traditional ideas about civility and good manners. We should strive to be gentlemen and our site should reflect gentlemanly decorum. Without being specific, it should not be difficult to figure out what is meant and intended by this standard.
While it should go without saying that the comments here do not necessarily reflect the beliefs of this blog or its bloggers, it is still the case that comments can reflect poorly on a site if they get out of control.
I [Red] understand trolling as a strategy, and sometimes it is an effective approach, but I don’t think it is as across the board effective as some people believe it is, because a lot of people don’t pick up on it right away. If trolling is not easily identified as trolling, then how does it have its intended effect? In those cases it just ticks people off and seems to me designed more to amuse the troller than to shake up and move the people being trolled.
If someone is trolling people in some IMDB forum (where I see it a lot), for example, then the purpose is to amuse the troller and to make the trollee look silly. But if someone is doing it at a political site it is more likely that he is attempting to make some sort of political point. I think it is important to assess how effective that strategy is and where it can be best employed and not just resort to it as a default.
Update: I will also add that the editorial policy we have generally practiced at CHT is to let the post author moderate his own threads. This is to make the delegation of labor clear, but also reflects that different authors might have different levels of tolerance for different things. My [Red] preferred method is generally to modify the comment and leave an editor’s comment that I did so, rather than to delete the comment entirely.